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Muffler Delete vs Cat-Back Exhaust: Which is Better?

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Table of Contents

The Pursuit of Sound

A roaring exhaust system resonates deeply with the primal instincts of car enthusiasts, embodying a blend of power, performance, and presence that few mods can match.

For those of you chasing a sportier exhaust note from your cars, you will have likely encountered cat-back exhausts and muffler deletes.

These are some of the most popular options when it comes to increasing the sound on your car and even the performance!

In this guide, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each option to help you decide what is right for your goals and budget.

Let’s get started!

Muffler Delete

A muffler delete is a simple modification that involves removing the car’s muffler from the stock exhaust system.

The muffler’s primary function is to reduce the noise produced by the exhaust gases as they leave the car. Removing it results in a more pronounced, aggressive exhaust sound.


Increased Sound: The most obvious effect of a muffler delete is the significantly louder and more distinct exhaust note. For those looking to turn heads with the sound of their car, this can be a quick win.

Cost-Effective: A muffler delete is generally less expensive than installing a cat-back system since it involves less materials.

Weight Reduction: Mufflers add weight to the car. Removing the muffler can reduce the overall weight, albeit slightly, which can have minor performance benefits by boosting the power-to-weight ratio.


Potential Performance Decrease: In some cases, especially with cars designed with carefully tuned exhaust systems, a muffler delete can disrupt exhaust flow, causing a minor reduction in performance rather than an improvement. 

Legal Issues: Depending on local regulations, removing the muffler entirely could cause the car to fail a roadside or annual test like an MOT.

Unrefined Sound: While a muffler delete does produce a louder and more aggressive sound, it’s often unrefined compared to a cat-back exhaust system. This is often dependent on the car and engine. Some sound good with a simpler muffler delete, while others may have you wishing you had kept the stock muffler on!

Cat-Back Exhaust

A cat-back exhaust system replaces the stock exhaust piping and muffler from the catalytic converter back to the exhaust tip. These systems are designed to enhance performance and provide a sportier exhaust tone.


Performance Gains: A well-designed cat-back exhaust system can improve engine performance and efficiency by reducing back pressure and enhancing exhaust flow.

Improved Exhaust Note: While not as loud as a muffler delete, a cat-back system provides a richer, more refined sound that many enthusiasts prefer.

Legal Compliance: Since most cat-back exhausts aren’t too overbearing on their own, they have a higher chance of passing tests in locations that are strict on those who modify the exhaust system to be louder.


Cost: A full cat-back exhaust system is a more significant investment compared to a muffler delete. Premium systems from reputable brands can be particularly costly.

Aside from the cost, there aren’t many more cons to a cat-back exhaust!

Which is Better?

Ultimately, the choice between a muffler delete and a cat-back exhaust system depends on your desired outcome and budget.

If your goal is maximum volume and you’re navigating a landscape with minimal noise regulations, a muffler delete is a quick and inexpensive solution.

However, for those of you seeking a balance of enhanced performance, richer sound, and legal compliance, a cat-back exhaust system is the recommended route.

Happy modding!

Cat-Back Exhausts