Resonator vs Muffler: Comparison of Two Exhaust Components

Resonator vs Muffler comparison article will help you understand the differences between the two exhaust components. Both components are designed to make the exhaust produce good sound while working harmoniously.

Resonator vs Muffler

Whether you want to enjoy a silent drive, a mighty roar, or a deep growl, understanding their differences will help maximize the potential of your exhaust system.

Features Resonator Muffler
Function Modifies the sound produced by the exhaust system Reduces the sound produced by the exhaust system
Back Pressure Creates low back pressure Creates high back pressure
Cost and Maintenance Low cost and maintenance Higher costs and maintenance


What Is the Difference Between a Resonator and a Muffler?

The difference between a resonator and a muffler is that the resonator is designed to modify the sound the exhaust produces, while the muffler is designed to reduce this sound. They both help in reducing the sound the exhaust produces but in different ways.

Generally, the resonator is mostly found in one of two places within the exhaust system of a vehicle. Most setups usually feature the resonator farther up the system, but mostly after the catalytic converter. On the other hand, the muffler is mostly the last component you’ll find on the exhaust system.

In some cases, you can also find the resonator chamber and the resonator both within the muffler. This type of setup helps in creating a more compact system, which makes it perform better in eliminating and modifying sounds from the exhaust. There are many key differences between the two components, and this includes the following:


Resonators are not always included in every vehicle, but when they are present, they are paired with the muffler. On the other hand, the muffler is a feature that must be present in every car to meet standard noise level requirements. Basically, the mufflers create a backpressure to hinder performance. Resonators also do this, but to a lesser extent because of restrictions in their design.

A key thing to understand is that you can buy a car that has a muffler and doesn’t have a resonator but not one that has a resonator and no muffler. However, this is not always the case if you’re buying a modified or used vehicle. Sometimes, car owners and enthusiasts remove both components to amplify the exhaust sound.

Even though the two components influence the exhaust’s overall tone and noise level, the resonator is specialized, while the muffler is generalized. The resonator is selective and only cancels out some frequencies, while the muffler completely reduces the noise from the exhaust.

Back Pressure

Another difference between the two components is the effects of backpressure on performance. Mufflers are known for creating high back pressure within the exhaust system. This is because they utilize the bafflers and chambers to eliminate the noise from the exhaust.

The backpressure negatively affects the vehicle’s performance because it restricts the flow of exhaust gasses to the system. It’s worth noting that this is mostly common stock mufflers. Mufflers for performance purposes are designed to limit these negative effects. In addition, resonators also help to reduce the restriction and increase performance.

Maintenance and Cost

The cost of resonators and mufflers is different, but this also depends on the brand and style you get. Mufflers for performance purposes are generally more expensive than aftermarket resonators. The maintenance cost of the two components isn’t much, and maintenance only involves occasional inspection and cleaning. Driving needs are also a factor that influences the cost of both components.

Resonator vs Muffler: Which is Better?

Both the muffler and the resonator are parts of the exhaust system, and as such, neither is better. They are designed to serve different purposes, even though it includes changing the sound produced by the exhaust system. As mentioned earlier, the resonator changes the tone, while the muffler reduces the volume of the vehicle.

Despite that, it’s important to note that a vehicle can run without both components. This will cause the vehicle to produce so much sound, which might be against some laws.

Resonator Delete vs Muffler Delete: Which is Better?

Between a resonator delete and a muffler delete, it’s hard to know which one is better. Determining which one to remove is not always easy. It’s important to always consider your local laws before removing the muffler or resonator. Removing both components won’t offer much performance gain.

It will only produce minor improvements like an increase in horsepower. Consider removing the muffler if you want your vehicle to sound louder. This is because it’s the muffler that is responsible for changing loud sounds to softer sounds. However, removing the resonator will only change the tone of your vehicle.

What Are the Functions and Features of a Resonator?

The functions and features of a resonator are designed to serve as a complementary feature for the muffler. It helps in removing buzzes and hums, and high-pitched noises. The resonator is located between the muffler and the catalytic converter, and it creates a smooth note without altering the exhaust note.

Key Features of Resonator

Difference sound frequencies are created during combustion, but the resonator helps to morph these frequencies. The design of the resonator is like that of a hollow chamber with a small interior. It also features steep wool, which is used in wrapping the inner part of the tubing. The material that allows it to deaden sound is placed around this configuration.

A key thing to always remember is that resonators work hand-in-hand with mufflers. Their role is basically to lower the sound at certain RPM and frequency ranges.

Features of the Resonator

Exhaust resonator has many features that allow it to perform its functions effectively. This includes the following:

  • It works with the muffler to reduce noise effectively.
  • Designed to function only at some RPM and frequency ranges.
  • Eliminates the drone that is usually produced when the muffler is used alone.Features of the Resonator

The key thing to understand is that the resonator doesn’t always come as a factory-fitted installation on every vehicle. Some models have this component, while other models lack the component.

Aftermarket Resonator Types

There are different types of resonators on the market, and they include the following:

  • Expansion Chamber Resonators, which have a simpler design and help to produce a lower tone and smoother exhaust note.
  • Dissipative Resonators, which feature a metal packing or fiberglass material to absorb loud noise.
  • Helmholtz Resonators feature a chamber with a small hole that helps cancel sound waves.

How a Resonator Works

As mentioned earlier, the resonator is designed to change the sound of the vehicle, and this also allows the muffler to handle it better. However, this doesn’t really explain the resonator, especially with respect to how it works. The key thing to understand is that the resonator is like an echo chamber that reverberates the sound from the exhaust to get the required frequency.

Most engineers use the exhaust system of a vehicle to create an echo chamber capable of modifying the sound produced by the exhaust system. This is mostly a pitch of sound that the muffler system can handle with ease. Basically, the resonator will lower the level of sound via this mechanism.

Basics of Resonator Delete

This involves removing a vehicle’s resonator from the exhaust system. When the resonator is in place, your vehicle won’t have annoying humming noises and droning sounds, but you’ll hear this noise when you take out the resonator.

Resonator delete offers different benefits, which include the following:

  • It is an affordable modification.
  • Assists in reducing the weight of the vehicle.
  • Increases the performance of the vehicle.
  • Offers changes to the volume of the vehicle.
  • It’s a legal modification in many states.

However, it’s important to note that performing this modification on your vehicle will void its warranties and also trigger the check light on your dashboard.

What Are the Functions and Features of a Muffler?

The functions and features of a muffler are designed to deaden and moderate the sound from the exhaust system. It features perforated baffles or tubes that create many chambers for exhaust gasses to move through. Expansion of these gasses causes a reduction in volume.

Characteristics of Muffler

From the name muffler, it’s easy to tell the functions it serves, and this is mostly involved in eliminating unwanted noise from your exhaust system. Basically, it will help you lower this sound without canceling or altering it like with resonators.

The perforated tubes of the mufflers are connected to the resonator chamber, which passes to the exhaust pipe. Sound is also reflected within the muffler, and this also causes waves to cancel each other. These waves are usually generated from the resonator chamber.

Once the sound is reflected on the walls of the muffler, it directs waves to different tubes in the muffler, and this takes it out of the exhaust system. Performance mufflers are designed to reduce back pressure, and this helps to increase the life of your engine. This is why they are also widely used in different sports applications.

Features of the Muffler

With everything above, here are some interesting facts about the mufflers that you should know:

  • They are effective at different RPM levels.
  • Help to soften the sound from the exhaust system.
  • The tube pattern and baffles of the mufflers determine the exhaust sound produced.
  • Tube patterns and bafflers also determine the tone of the exhaust system.Features of the Muffler

Mufflers come in different designs, and this has an impact on sounds. Some are designed to produce high-pitched sounds, while others are designed to produce deeper sounds. It’s important to consider all these factors when choosing one.

Aftermarket Muffler Types

There are different types of aftermarket mufflers, and they include the following:

  • Chambered Mufflers, which feature different chambers and perforated baffles to direct the flow of gas and produce a different sound.
  • Straight-Through Mufflers, which feature sound-absorbing materials like steel wool or fiberglass.
  • Glasspack Mufflers also have perforated tubes wrapped in steel wool or fiberglass and produce a deep, distinctive exhaust note.

How a Muffler Works

As earlier mentioned, mufflers are involved in removing the noise and sound produced by the vehicle. This is achieved through a combination of different sound waves, each of which hits one another. With this, they cancel out their frequencies and eliminate the noise that is produced.

Unlike resonators, mufflers are more complex, and they feature channels, holes, and tubes that allow the movement of gasses in different directions. Each of these openings is vital for directing sound to angles where it is eliminated, thereby making the exhaust to be quiet.

Basics of Muffler Delete

Muffler delete is a process that involves removing the muffler from the exhaust system. This causes the vehicle to sound deeper and louder. However, it’s important to note that there’s a need to place another feature once the muffler is removed.

In many cases, people use a straight pipe to replace the mufflers. The process is not for everybody, which is why you should examine the pros and cons before considering it. The benefits include the following:

  • It offers a cleaner appearance.
  • Doesn’t require much cost.
  • Produces little performance gains.
  • Helps to reduce the weight of the vehicle.
  • Yields in fewer restrictions and, as such, improves the exhaust flow.

However, there are some consequences you’ll have to deal with if you remove your vehicle’s mufflers. This includes the following:

  • Removing your mufflers will void the warranty of your vehicle.
  • It will cause your check light to be on.
  • Increases the volume of the sound created by the exhaust system.
  • It may be against some driving laws.


Resonators and Mufflers are designed to work together and produce a pleasant sound from the exhaust system. They also help in reducing performance deficits while ensuring that the noise from your vehicle is within specified regulatory limits. Before choosing between the two, it’s important to know their functions, features, and differences.

This comparison article has everything you should know about the two components. Deleting either of the two components won’t result in much horsepower gains, but it will affect the sound levels and exhaust notes. Also, always consider the laws in your area before deleting the two components.


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