Ford F-150 Exhaust System Buyer's Guide

Ford F-150 Exhaust System Buyer's Guide

If you drive an F-150, you've probably noticed that while your stock exhaust is perfectly functional, it still leaves a lot to be desired in the areas of performance and sound. Even with a top-of-the-line high-powered V8 5.0-liter engine, an early upgrade for many F-150 owners is a brand new aftermarket Ford F-150 exhaust system to help customize the sound profile and enhance the performance capabilities. In other words, replacing the stock exhaust system for Ford F-150 trucks makes them much, much better.

Aftermarket Ford F-150 exhaust systems are all different, so it's worthwhile to think about what you want out of your exhaust before you buy. Like many aftermarket components, shopping for Ford F-150 exhaust systems isn't as straightforward as replacing your windshield wipers. That's why we've put together the ultimate Ford F-150 exhaust system buyer's guide full of important factors and critical choices you'll have to make when you're ready to upgrade. Keep reading to learn more.

Table of Contents

What Are F-150 Exhaust Systems?

> Ford F-150 Exhaust System Legality

> Our Favorite CORSA Ford F-150 Exhaust Products

> Axle-Back & Cat-Back Exhaust Systems

> How to Find the Best Sounding Exhaust for F-150 Trucks

> Rear & Side-Exit Exhaust Systems

> F-150 Exhaust Pipe Material

ford f-150

What Are F-150 Exhaust Systems?

Ford F-150 exhaust systems are responsible for taking all the cycled exhaust gases from your engine and expelling them. It's a system that impacts your acceleration, horsepower, torque, fuel economy, weight (minimally) and, of course, sound.

Complete Ford F-150 exhaust systems are made from the following components:

  • Headers
  • Mid-Pipe
  • Catalytic Converter
  • Downpipe (F-150 EcoBoost Exhaust Only)
  • O2 Plugs
  • Muffler
  • Exhaust Tips

Axle-Back & Cat-Back Exhaust Systems

When car enthusiasts talk about finding the best exhaust system for their Ford F-150, they usually aren't talking about replacing the entire system. The first decision you'll have to make when purchasing a Ford F-150 exhaust system is whether you want an axle-back or cat-back system. Lucky for you, when it comes to truck exhaust systems cat-back exhaust systems, mid-pipes, and tip kits are the primary options available to the truck enthusiast.

Though these two systems may seem complicated at first glance, they really aren't. An axle-back system replaces everything from your rear axle back – the muffler, tailpipe and exhaust tips. A cat-back exhaust system will replace everything from your catalytic converter back – the mid-pipe, muffler, tailpipe and exhaust tips. The pros and cons of each are pretty straightforward, so it shouldn't be too hard to decide.

For the Purposes of this article we are going to focus on the benefits of a cat-back exhaust system.

Cat-back exhaust systems are touted as the best-performing and best-sounding exhausts for F-150 trucks. Because you're replacing more components, you'll see more substantive gains in performance and sound. And although it is more work to install a cat-back system, it's hard to argue that it's not worth the additional time when you hear and feel the differences in horsepower, acceleration and torque.

Ford F-150

Rear & Side-Exit Exhaust Systems

The next decision you'll have to make when picking up a Ford F-150 exhaust is whether or not you'll want a rear or side-exit system.

If you're looking to put all that extra horsepower and torque to good use and tow a lot of equipment, it's likely you won't want a rear-exit exhaust. You'll be blowing all the exhaust gases right into your trailer, which can quickly cause an accumulation of "exhaust dust." Also, if you're transporting passengers (like cattle), you'll likely be too worried about what they're breathing in to appreciate any performance or sound improvements.

Side-exit Ford F-150 exhaust systems tend to sound louder than rear exit systems, as the exhaust doesn't have to travel as much. There are plenty of options that let you choose where you have a side-exit exhaust come out regardless if you want a single or dual exhaust kit.

Look to CORSA for a Ford F-150 Exhaust

Here at CORSA PERFORMANCE, we offer an extensive selection of Ford F-150 exhaust system options so you can find the one that matches your exact needs. From cat-back exhausts to rear and side-exit systems, CORSA has the best-performing and best-sounding exhausts for F-150 EcoBoost, V8 and Raptor trucks on the market. With our patented Reflective Sound Cancellation® (RSC®) technology and free-flowing mandrel-bent designs, a CORSA exhaust will maximize the performance and sound benefits of your truck without having to worry about exhaust drone. Check out our entire selection of the best exhaust systems for Ford F-150 trucks today.

Shop Ford F-150 Exhaust Systems

Ford F-150 Exhaust System Legality

Depending on where you live, there may be different laws regarding exhaust volume to keep in mind. California's exhaust system laws are probably the most infamous example of this, but aftermarket exhaust laws exist all over the nation.

How much you care about being 50-state legal largely depends on where you live, where you drive and how much you plan to push your loud exhaust for your F-150 when out on the road. Tickets can add up pretty quickly, and no one wants to build an incredible Ford F-150 exhaust only to find out they can't "legally" drive it around.

Thankfully, even if you live in a restrictive area, plenty of 50-state legal Ford F-150 exhaust system options are available that will still improve your exhaust notes and increase your performance. For example, while CORSA products are regarded as very loud exhausts for F-150s, they are still legal in all 50 states and due to CORSA’s RSC® Technology the exhaust volume is very manageable.

Ford F-150 Exhaust

How to Find the Best-Sounding Exhaust for F-150 Trucks

Whether you're looking for the best-sounding exhaust for your F-150 EcoBoost, Raptor or V8, the common denominator remains the same – you want deep, aggressive exhaust notes. The importance of sound in Ford F-150 exhaust systems cannot be overstated, as it's generally the main draw for car enthusiasts in the first place. Luckily, there are a few key things you can look for when browsing for exhaust systems that will ensure you pick up a product with the best sound.

The stock exhaust system for Ford F-150 trucks comes standard with crushed bends – it's one of the things that make the sound so bland. Be sure to look for a Ford F-150 exhaust pipe that proudly features a mandrel-bent design. Mandrel-bent tubing flows better and allows low-frequency sound waves to travel easier, leading to deeper, more aggressive notes.

Obviously, your Ford F-150 exhaust muffler matters a great deal when it comes to sound. Be sure to purchase a system that comes with a straight-through performance muffler, as they are specially designed to enhance low-frequency sound waves. cat-back exhaust systems should come standard with a performance muffler, but remember that cat-back systems generally create a louder exhaust note.

Finally, you'll want to ensure your F-150 exhaust pipe is made to be wider than a stock system. Aftermarket manufacturers decrease the attenuation of high-frequency waves by reducing backpressure through wide diameter tubing. Low-pressure sound waves sound better when system pressure drops, which is why high-flow exhaust systems naturally sound lower than their higher-pressure, lower-flowing counterparts.

F-150 Exhaust Pipe Material

When looking for a new system, the final thing you should pay attention to is the content F-150 exhaust pipe material. Most high-quality Ford F-150 exhaust systems will be made from either 409 or 304 stainless steel. Cheaper Ford F-150 exhaust systems may be made from aluminized steel construction. Systems featuring aluminized steel construction are prone to corrosion and may eventually rust through especially if the product is exposed to a wet or salty environment. When it comes to top-quality exhaust systems, 304 stainless steel should always be your go-to choice for exhaust pipe materials. It's the most reasonably priced, durable exhaust pipe material available and can withstand rust and corrosion easily for 10+ years.

Our Favorite CORSA Ford F-150 Exhaust Products

At CORSA, we've got an extensive selection of 2016-2020 F-150 5.0 exhaust systems, but these are some of our top picks for performance, sound and price. Each system is outfitted with mandrel-bent, premium stainless-steel construction and our patented no-drone, Reflective Sound Cancellation (RSC®) Technology.

3.5T 2011-2014 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Cat-Back (Sport Sound Level)

The 3.5T 2011-2014 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Cat-Back Exhaust allows for a 9% maximum flow increase while reducing the weight of your truck by 6lbs. for a smoother and faster drive. This exhaust system has a single-tip, side-exit design.

Want to hear how it sounds for yourself? Check it out in action.

5.0L Ford F-150 V8 Cat-Back (Sport Sound Level)

The 5.0L Ford F-150 V8 Cat-Back Exhaust is even more powerful, offering up a 17% maximum flow increase while reducing the weight of your truck by 19lbs. This F-150 exhaust system also has a single-tip, side-exit design.

3.5T 2015-2020 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Cat-Back (Sport Sound Level)

The 3.5T 2015-2020 Ford F-150 EcoBoost Cat-Back Exhaust is a top contender for the best sounding exhaust for the F-150 EcoBoost, offering a 17.4% maximum flow increase and 7lbs. of weight savings. This system is a dual tip, side-exit exhaust.

Watch the Video above to hear how it sounds for yourself!

The Best Exhaust Systems for Ford F-150 Trucks Come from CORSA

Now that you know what to look for when purchasing a Ford F-150 exhaust, you should have no issues finding the perfect system to take your performance to the next level. Here at CORSA PERFORMANCE, our Ford F-150 exhausts meet (and exceed) all the essential factors found on this list. From smooth mandrel bends and stainless steel exhaust pipe material to our wide-diameter design and no-drone, Reflective Sound Cancellation (RSC®) Technology, we're sure to have the Ford F-150 exhaust perfect for you. Browse our selection today, and unlock the true potential of your F-150.

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