Axle-Back vs. Cat-Back Exhaust Systems

All Camaro drivers want to make their presence known. One of the ways we do this is replacing the exhaust system to give you a bit more horsepower, better sound and a premium appearance.

We talk a lot about exhaust systems at Phastek and answer a lot of calls on which exhaust system is best for your Camaro.

Our veteran Camaro modders have typically already decided which exhaust they want, but those of you who are new to Camaro mods might wonder – what the difference is between an axle-back exhaust and a cat-back exhaust?

What is a cat-back exhaust?

A cat-back exhaust refers to all the exhaust components and pipes after the catalytic converter.  This usually starts at the exhaust manifold, eliminates the catalytic converter and goes straight to the muffler. It includes the intermediate pipe or x-pipe that runs out of the catalytic converter, the muffler and tailpipe. A performance cat-back exhaust is designed to give you more horsepower and efficiency.

What is an axle-back exhaust?

An axle-back exhaust is an exhaust system that includes the muffler and “tips.” An axle-back exhaust is really going to give you a much more aggressive sound than a cat-back exhaust.

Benefits of a Cat-back Exhaust

  • Since the cat-back exhaust system keeps the catalytic converter, it’s going to be a little more fuel efficient.
  • A cat-back is going to give you a little better exhaust flow.
  • A cat-back exhaust typically outperforms an axle-back exhaust by fine-tuning the torque.

Benefits of an Axle-Back Exhaust

  • An axle-back exhaust will be slightly cheaper since it doesn’t include the extra piping from the catalytic converter.
  • An axle-back exhaust is typically going to take less time to install.
  • The axle-back exhausts tend to have a deep, full-throttle sound.

Which Exhaust System Do I Choose?

Both types of exhaust systems are designed to give you more horsepower and a more impressive sound. It really depends on what your intention is with your exhaust system.

If you’re looking for a little more power and a meaner sounding Camaro, then an axle-back exhaust might be what you’re needing. But if you want to improve your fuel-efficiency, then I’d go with a cat-back exhaust.

2 thoughts on “Axle-Back vs. Cat-Back Exhaust Systems

  1. I have a 2015 SS and still have the stock exhaust, however I’m wanting to upgrade my exhaust. I’m looking for the best system for my application, any suggestions, Borla, Corsa. Etc?

    1. Our suggestions for the 2015 SS would be the MRT Axle-Back for the ease of installation and cost efficiency. It’s a little louder than your factory exhaust with a raspy tone. Next would be the Borla ATAK Axle-Back. The Borla supports both benefits of the MRT, but it’s a bit louder. We also offer a complete cat-back x-style exhaust by Stainless works, which has a dual chambered muffler and complete 3″ diameter pipe from the cat-back. This provides that loud, raspy and aggressive sound for your Camaro. Here is our full line of exhausts.

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