Dual Exhaust vs Single: Which Exhaust System Is Best?

Dual exhaust vs single is a common comparison among people looking to upgrade the exhaust of their vehicle. There are certain things to consider before you decide if you want to go for dual or single exhausts. This includes the pros and cons of each system, as well as their key differences.

Dual Exhaust vs Single

To help you make an informed decision, we will provide their key differences, pros, and cons in this comparison guide!

Features Dual Exhaust Single
Horsepower gain 30hp 15hp
Exhaust velocity Higher Lower
Exhaust backpressure Lower Higher
Sound improvement Big improvement Small improvement
Installation More complex Easy
Cost High cost Affordable


What Are the Differences Between Dual Exhaust vs Single Exhaust?

The main difference between dual exhausts vs single exhausts is that with dual exhausts, you get louder sound and improved car performance, which is not the case with single exhaust systems. Also, the dual systems will add to the weight of your vehicle, unlike single systems.

Your car engine and personal preferences are the key factors that can determine which of the two engines to get. However, it’s important to note all their differences, and we’ll have a deeper look at these differences to enhance your understanding.

  • Sound Improvement

One of the most noticeable differences between the two systems is the sound improvement offered. In general, the dual system is louder than the single system. This is due to its better ability to eliminate gasses from the engine and the lower back pressure created. The resulting effect of this is a rumbling sound, which isn’t the case with single systems.

The sound produced by the system is also greatly influenced by your engine configuration. Therefore, if you have a smaller engine, the sound produced wouldn’t be loud, compared to vehicles with bigger engines, like V8 engines.
  • Performance Improvement and Turbo Application

The performance improvement offered by the two exhausts is a vital factor to consider before making your decision. If you’re looking to improve the performance of your vehicle, the better option to consider is the dual system. It is the preferred aftermarket option in terms of performance applications.

With dual systems, you get a lower backpressure which the engine creates to resist the hydraulic pressure of the system to the discharge gas. If you’re looking to reduce backpressure and maximize horsepower to ensure that air leaves the cylinder at a faster rate, getting the dual system is the best option for you.

Basically, with the dual system, you get up to 30 horsepower, which is twice the 15 horsepower offered by the single systems. Also, the delivery of gas out of the engine in the dual system is faster than what is offered by the single systems. Ultimately, this helps in improving the combustion of your engine and creating more power for improved performance.

The two systems can be used for turbo applications. However, for turbo-boosted engines, dual systems take the lead, and this is because of the amount of fuel and air that the turbo pumps into the engine. If you drive a V6 engine or higher, you’ll notice the increase in horsepower offered by the dual systems.

  • Fuel Efficiency

Gas mileage is also a crucial factor to look at before choosing between the two systems. The single systems take the lead under this context than the dual systems. You’ll mostly find single systems on cars that are designed to produce less power and consume less fuel. Basically, your car will run more efficiently and effectively with single systems.

Fuel Efficiency in Single Exhaust

On the other hand, dual systems produce more power, and this is mainly because it will make your vehicle breathe better. Therefore, if you’re looking to increase your horsepower, this is the option to consider, but bear in mind that your vehicle will consume more fuel.

  • Legality

As long as the two exhausts are designed to meet all standards, you won’t have to worry about whether they are road legal or not. Also, the legality won’t be a source of concern if both exhausts are made from trustworthy and reputable brands.

However, you risk getting fined if you fabricate the exhaust yourself with cheap tubing and without using any muffler. Therefore, before choosing any of the two exhausts, you need to ensure that it meets standard limits, which include sound limit and performance ratings.

  • Tune Required

To ensure that you get the right level of performance after installing either of the two systems, you’ll need to get a tune. This is because your O2 sensors will get different backpressure rate readings, and with that, you’ll need to adjust your engine control unit.

If your care is not properly tuned, it will result in bad fuel economy and power delivery. It’s advisable to always check your engine dash light for warning lights to help you know if your car needs tuning or not. Basically, you should tune your car after installing aftermarket parts, whether it’s a dual or single system.

  • Installation and Cost

Another feature that differentiates the two systems is their installation. Both systems are very easy to install, but you need to ensure that you have the right equipment. You’ll also need to raise your car during the installation process so that you can have easy access to the lower part of the car.

When it comes to installation, the difference between the two is that with dual systems, two manifolds are used to get exhaust gases, while single systems only require one manifold.
The most important thing when getting an exhaust is to ensure that it is compatible with your vehicle. This is to ensure that you don’t need extra improvements and fabrication, which can be expensive. In addition to everything above, cost is also a key thing to consider before choosing between the two systems.

Single systems are generally more affordable than dual systems, and this is because they only have one piping. The price of dual systems is more than two times that of single systems because of they have a more complex design.

What Are the Characteristics and Benefits of Single Exhaust Systems?

The characteristics and benefits of single exhaust systems are that they are cheaper and the option that you’ll find on most new cars. Despite being affordable, single systems can effectively deliver gasses from the exhaust manifold into the atmosphere. Also, single systems won’t add much weight to your vehicle.

Key Properties of Single Exhaust

Unlike other systems, they mostly come factory fitted to most cars, and they form a perfect channel through which gasses leave the vehicle through the exhaust pipes. The main reason people opt for this system is that they are affordable and offer better performance benefits than the factory-fitted counterparts.

  • Benefits of Using Single Systems

Single system utilizes a single pipe to channel gases out of the vehicle. This is possible because, in the systems, the exhaust tube is combined into a single tube. As mentioned earlier, it’s the option that comes factory fitted on most trucks and cars, and this is because it’s all you need to effectively eliminate gases from your vehicle.

However, there are also aftermarket single systems that you can get, and these alternatives provide improved fuel efficiency, a throaty growl, and more power gains. Other benefits of the single systems include their increased exhaust gas velocity, reduced prices, increased horsepower, improved sound, and being lightweight.

In addition to these benefits, it’s also important to note the disadvantages of single systems. The main drawback with the system is absolute flow, which results from the diameter of the tubing.

What Are the Characteristics and Benefits of Dual Exhaust Systems?

The characteristics and benefits of dual exhaust systems include enhanced sound, increased economy, enhanced style, and the ability to boost the cooling capacity of engines. These are generally high-performance systems, and this is further aided by the two manifolds they come with.

Key Features of Dual Exhaust

Most muscle cars of the 1960s and 1970s models come with dual systems. In most cases, they are basically a single system with one manifold and a split pipe extending after the muffler. The two exit points in the dual system make a significant difference, especially when it comes to eliminating gas from the engine.

Dual systems offer more benefits than single systems, and here’s an overview of these benefits:

  • Horsepower and Efficiency

One of the main reasons why people switch to dual systems is because of the increased horsepower and engine efficiency they offer. This is due to the enhanced ability to remove burnt gases from the engine, thereby enhancing the entry of oxygen into the engine. Ultimately, the engine gets to reach peak performance quickly.

  • Sound

In addition to increased efficiency and horsepower, dual systems will improve the sound of your vehicle. With these systems, your vehicle will start to sound like a muscle car. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that there are no laws against the use of these exhausts in your region.

  • Appearance

If you’re after enhancing the visual appeal of your vehicle, getting dual systems should be your priority. There are different aftermarket dual systems on the market today, and they all come with a different appearance, which gives you options to choose from. Appearance and sound produced by the systems are the initial attractive features for most buyers.

  • Reduced Back Pressure

Another benefit of using dual systems is the reduced back pressure, which helps in saving energy. This also increases the efficiency of your engine and gas mileage. Basically, back pressure reduction helps eliminate issues like overheating and the potential for the exhaust to block. These are conditions that can alter the fuel efficiency of your vehicle.

  • Fuel Efficiency

The initial cost of getting dual systems is generally high, and you might be discouraged. However, this will pay off in the long run because the system improves fuel economy. It achieves this by reducing the strain on your engine through the efficient removal of burnt gasses. This also facilitates the flow of air into the engine for the production of more energy, and the result of this is better fuel efficiency.

Fuel Efficiency in Dual Exhaust

Despite these benefits, there are a few downsides to note, and this includes the fact that they are generally more expensive than single systems in terms of installation, replacement, and purchase. Another downside is that they have a shorter lifespan, and this is because they don’t get warm quickly, making them more prone to rust and other moisture-related damage.

Which Intake System Is Better: Dual Exhaust or Single?

When it comes to the spectre vs k&n intake system comparison, the choice between dual exhaust and single largely depends on the desired performance. While both systems have their advantages, dual exhaust offers improved airflow and enhanced engine power. On the other hand, a single intake system is more cost-effective and suitable for everyday driving. Consider your needs and preferences before making a decision.


The system you get depends on your preferences and the vehicle you drive. If you drive a vehicle with a V8 engine, the dual system is the best option for you. On the other hand, a single route is an ideal option to choose if your vehicle has a smaller engine. The way you drive your car is also a factor that can determine which of the two-exhaust route to choose.

Single route is a great option for daily commuting due to the increased fuel efficiency it provides. However, if you’re considering racing with your car, you will want it to have a good sound, and this is where the dual route is a better option. Ultimately, it depends on what you are looking for, and we have provided everything you should know about the two systems so you can decide easily.

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