Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson Sportster in 2023

One of the main attractions of a high-end bike like the Harley Davidson is its exhaust. Most of the models have the exhaust out in full display for the public to see. The exhaust is the bike’s pride.

But you can’t just go with any exhaust. You need to get the best performance exhaust for Harley Davidson for the most fruitful outcome. The exhaust has to be compatible with your vehicle and also has to add and improve its features.

We’ve chosen these products after rigorous research.  Factors like heat resistance, aesthetics, and price were taken into consideration while choosing the items. In addition to the in-depth reviews, we’ll also be providing a detailed section on how to choose the best one for you.

Quick Summary for Top 5 Products

Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Sportster: Vance & Hines 47229 Full System Exhaust

Available in two color options, the model is easy to install and affordable as well. The 12mm oxygen mounts make your ride smoother and more comfortable.

Best Dual Chrome Exhaust For Harley Davidson:
The unit is powerful but goes through all limits to save your bike from heat damage. It also has great horsepower generation and higher torque.

Best Slip On Mufflers For Harley Touring: Vance & Hines Twin Slash Round Slip Ons Black 46861

One of the top options for touring bikes! It comes with a full-coverage heat shield and requires minimum effort to install.

Best Blue-Proof Exhaust For Harley Davidson: Vance And Hines Chrome Shortshots Staggered Exhaust System

Lighter, with a 220-degree muffler body heat shield coverage. Baffles that can be removed are included with purchase.

Best True Dual Exhaust For Harley: Vance & Hines Dresser Duals Exhaust

Comes with two oxygen ports of 12mm and 18mm and all installation hardware. You can add the Harley stage 1 air filter with this model for a finer modification.

How To Select The Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson Sportster

Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson Sportster

Here are a few things you need to keep in mind before settling on a performance exhaust.


This is one of the main reasons why people get this modification in the first place. If you want to try out something different, changing the exhaust for your Harley Davidson can be a great pathway.

It’s better to choose an exhaust that goes with the overall style and look of your bike. Although most of the options you will see in the market are either black or chrome, you can try getting custom-painted options as well. These are the ones that will truly set you apart from all those factory-build exhausts that everyone else has.

Heat Resistance

The exhaust produces a lot of heat. When buying an exhaust, you need to check whether or not it has the capability to deal with this high temperature.

If the heat is not controlled, your engine might also get damaged. Any paintwork you might have done on the bike or the exhaust will very likely melt off. It can also be uncomfortable to sit next to extremely hot exhaust.

That’s why you need to check for proper heat and pollution protection when buying a new exhaust.


Whether or not you want your bike to make a roaring sound is up to you. Some neighborhoods appreciate it and some don’t.

You can add a combination of pipework and silencers to get louder and more aggressive sounds. The kind of noise the exhaust will make depends on the size and shape of the exhaust itself. Do your research in the kind of sound you want and the exhaust that can provide so.

So go for exhausts that come with removable baffles. You can add the baffles when you want the sound and just take it off if you are entering an area that doesn’t allow loud vehicles.

Better Rides

Adding an aftermarket exhaust to your bike has its fair share of benefits; two of the main ones are that it adds better torque and horsepower and that it makes the vehicle a lot lighter.

Get a unit that can get the exhaust gases out of the bike quickly. This way, fresh air gets in faster and therefore helps generate more power in the engine.

Performance exhausts with larger diameters help with the obstruction in the exhaust. So when you have more fuel intake with more air getting in, the increased combustion gives you more power. In a way, the feature also helps increase the speed of your vehicle.


Most of the exhausts that come with your initial purchase of the Harley Davidson are usually quite bulky.

A heavy exhaust can sometimes cause you to lose control and balance. You might want to consider changing your factory exhaust to a new lighter one for safer and better rides.

Once you get rid of the excess weight, you can also travel faster.

Top 7 Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson Sportster Reviews 2021

For the best performance, you need to get your hands on the right exhaust for your Harley Davidson. If you make the wrong choice, you could be doing more harm than good to your bike. Here are some options you could look into.

1. Vance & Hines 47229 Full System Exhaust – Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Sportster

Key Features

  • Weight: ‎21 pounds
  • Fits Model: 2014-2018
  • Dimensions: 12.01 x 37.99 x 15.98 inches
  • Color: Black
  • Oxygen sensor Mounts: 12mm

The Harley Sportster is quite a common model. So we’re starting with an exhaust that most people are looking for.

This 47229 model is the perfect fit for Sportster that is in the 2014-2018 model range—installing the model is smooth and easy as the product fits like a glove.

If you love rod-hot sounds on your bike, this is the exhaust kit you need. But if that is not your thing there is also a quiet baffle option available.

Although this model comes in a matte black finish, you can also get it in chrome silver. The style is simple and plain, so the exhaust won’t look like ad added part. This unit will blend right in.

Other features of the unit include oxygen sensor mounts that are 12mm and flat in design. The head pipe of the model is 1¾ inches and fits into a 2 1/8 inch muffler body.

Staggering exhausts with full coverage heat shields are rarely available at a price as such.

What We Liked

  • A great option for quiet baffle
  • Smooth installation on 2014-2018 models
  • 12mm flat oxygen mounts
  • Affordable compared to other aggressive exhausts
  • Comes in a plane easy to blend design and two color options

What Could Be Better

  • It can get too hot at times

2. Vance & Hines Power Duals Exhaust – Best Dual Chrome Exhaust For Harley Davidson

Key Features

  • Dimensions: 8.5 x 18.5 x 38inches
  • Weight: 25 pounds
  • Type: Power Dual Head Pipes
  • Model Compatibility: 2017 and up
  • Pipe Coverage: Full
  • Color: Chrome

Power matters when shopping for a dual exhaust for your Harley Davidson. That is why we recommend this 16871 model. For reference, the unit is compatible with all 2017 and up models.

An added power chamber in this exhaust helps generate more torque and horsepower compares to stock headers. With power like this, high performance is a given.

Tired of having to deal with excessive heat coming from your exhausts? No need to worry about that with this model. This unit is the best option for Harley Davidson when it comes to temperature control.

A special design on the right side of the unit helps eliminate any heat going off on the left side of the bike.

The feature works in a way that routes the exhaust under the footpeg. So the side covers and the engine is also protected from heat damage. As this is where the passenger is usually seated, the heat control ensures more riding comfort.

You can use any kind of fuel processor you want with these exhausts. The construction includes 12m/18mm oxygen sensor ports that allow this service. With that, the headers also come with heat shields with full coverage.

What We Liked

  • Best option to protect the engine from heat damage
  • Ensures more comfortable ride by eliminating heat
  • Powerful unit with higher torque and horsepower generation
  • 12/18mm oxygen sensor ports allow you to use any kind of fuel processor

What Could Be Better

  • Mufflers are not included

3. Vance & Hines Twin Slash Round Slip Ons – Best Slip On Mufflers For Harley Touring

Key Features

  • Weight: 6 pounds
  • Dimension: 32x16x8 inches
  • Color: Black painted
  • Fit Type: Slip fit
  • Size: 3 inches round

Don’t want to replace the entire exhaust system? These slip-on mufflers are a great way to customize your bike without going through all that trouble.

The parts of the muffler need some assembly, but installation after that is quite easy. But as this model is painted, you need to be careful not to scratch the surface. This could result in the paint scraping off.

If roaring through the streets is not your thing, there is a separate quiet baffle sold of this version as well. The normal version adds the typical hot-rod sound to your bike. Users have added that the unit is much louder than stock exhausts. So you might want to check with your area’s noise and emission compliance.

When installing or slipping on these mufflers, you need to keep a keep the clamps a bit loose. This will make adding the black protective shields much easier.

No matter what model you put these on, the performance of your bike is never hindered. That is why these are considered as best slip-on mufflers; they never shake off or ruin your riding experience.

What We Liked

  • Heat shields are full coverage, and black
  • Great for touring and for rough roads
  • Requires minimum installation; easy slip-on set up
  • Loud with good sound quality

What Could Be Better

  • Quiet baffle does not make any noticeable difference
  • Paint chips off easily

4. Vance And Hines Chrome Shortshots Staggered Exhaust- Best Blue-Proof Exhaust For Harley Davidson

Key Features

  • Head pipes: 1 ¾ inch
  • Muffler: 2 1/8 inch
  • Weight: 22.3 pounds
  • Dimension: 38x13x16 inches
  • Baffles: Included
  • Coverage: 220 degrees

Blue-proof pipes are all the rage now. They make the exhausts more durable and also add some heat protection. So why not get yourself the top-rated blue-proof exhaust for Harley Davidson from Vance and Hines.

This exhaust is a straight pipe and comes in fat and short style. Its silver chrome color goes well with any modifications you make to your bike.

For the price, the product serves and looks great. In this kit, you get all the mounting hardware needed, removable baffles, and also an instruction manual. The instruction manual guides you through all the steps you need to follow. It’s easy to use and helps you get done with the setup in 25 minutes.

If you’re not sure about the fit and compatibility of the exhaust with your bike, you can purchase these blindly. The unit is compatible with most Harley Davidson models ranging from the year 2006 to 2013.

Muffler bodies give a 220-degree coverage with the heats shields. Head pipes measure 1 ¾ inch and are stepped into 2 1/8 inch muffler bodies.

A reason why people prefer these overstock pipes is that they are much lighter. Therefore they do not affect your rides. Also, these make more sound than stock pipes as well!

What We Liked

  • Compatible with models ranging from 2006-2013
  • Easy to install
  • Removable baffles included with purchase
  • Great deal for the price
  • Lighter and much louder than stock pipes

What Could Be Better

  • The exhaust gasket has to be replaced to ensure proper sealing

5. Vance & Hines Dresser Duals Exhaust Chrome (2009-16) – Best True Dual Exhaust For Harley Davidson

Key Features

  • Heatshield Coverage: Full
  • Compatible Models: 2009-2016
  • Design: Classic true style Dual
  • Oxygen Sensor Ports: Dual 12mm/18mm
  • Weight: 24.1 pounds
  • Dimension: 38 x 18.5 x 8.5 inches

Dual exhausts can look great on a Harley Davidson. Besides adding a completely different and rugged look to your bike, it can also improve its performance greatly.

But the problem arises when the attachment adds too much weight. This Dresser Exhaust is the ideal true dual exhaust for Harley when it comes to weight.

Because the item weighs only 24.1 pounds, the exhaust does not hold you back. You will have no problem with balance with these installed.

When it comes to looks, the unit has a classic dual design with a silver chrome finish. This can also be painted over to make black.

Heat shields that you get are full coverage. So they help keep things cooler and also prevent heat damage on the engines.

The Dual exhaust has two oxygen sensor ports of 12 and 18mm.

You can easily install these in about half an hour on any model from the 2009 to 2016 range.

Hardware that you might need is added with the purchase, including a new set of clamps for the heats shields.

What We Liked

  • Lightweight; helps you keep your balance
  • Dual 12mm/18mm oxygen sensor ports
  • Comes with new clamps for the heat shields
  • Compatible with Harley Stage 1 air cleaner

What Could Be Better

  • The heat shield needs to be trimmed for perfect installation

6. Vance and Hines Pro Pipe Newer Harley Davidson Touring – Best Performance Exhaust For Harley Davidson Touring

Key Features

  • Dimension: 56 x 19.5 x 7.75 inches
  • Item Weight: 34.6 pounds
  • Competition baffle and silent baffle can be bought separately
  • Added stepped headers
  • Larger merge collector
  • Torque increased to being broader

There’s no doubt that vines and Hines is one of the most popular brands that sell Harley Davidson performance exhausts. Their products rarely disappoint. This one too is a great model that they have launched with new and better improvements.

One of their greatest evolutions was the 2-into-2 dyno-tested legacy. With this addition to the model, the exhaust gives you unimaginable performance and power.

Power mainly comes from the improvement in stepped headers. This time it is a tuned length version 2-into-1 pro pipe version, 1 ¾ inch and 1 7/8 inch.

Merge collector is more efficient and fits into the 4 ½ inches stepped megaphone design. Now the backpressure is perfectly balanced and has the best roll-on power.

With a crisp throttle response, the model is considered the finest performance exhaust for Harley Davidson touring.

With your purchase, you get collector and header heat shields. Even the megaphone’s first step comes with a shield.

As this is an exhaust of premium quality, even the CNC-machined billet end cap is chrome plated!

What We Liked

  • Comes with better power and performance
  • 2-into-one dyno legacy improves smoothness
  • Added tuned length version of the stepped headers
  • Perfectly balanced back pressure with merge collector
  • Crist throttle design

What Could Be Better

  • Complicated setup

7. SHARKROAD 3 Inch Slip-on Mufflers Exhaust – Best Slip On Exhaust For Harley Davidson

Key Features

  • Compatibility: 2014-2020 models
  • Item Weight: 9.23 pounds
  • Item Dimension: ‎21 x 8.5 x 4 inches
  • Removable baffle
  • Slip-on Installation
  • Better sound performance

Adding exhausts that are too Harley on a Harley Davidson can throw you off balance. Lightweight ones, as such, are the better option at all times. Weighing just 9.23 pounds, this is remarkably lighter than the other options that are available in the market.

Although this is quite an affordable option, the performance of the tool is great. It comes with baffles that you can remove to make your bike sound louder.

Free-flowing mufflers make the sound quality better, meaning it won’t sound cheap. The mufflers also help improve the overall performance of the exhausts.

Being compatible with almost all the newer models of Harley Davidson makes the exhaust quite demandable. Finding good quality exhausts for bikes of recent models can be tough.

You can install the whole unit in just about half an hour. These are the most perfect slip-on exhaust for Harley you don’t want to call in a professional for the setup.

Besides performing great, the accessory also looks great on any Harley Davidson model. Matte black exhausts look cool with all kinds of bike customizations, so it’s a safe option to go for when it comes to aesthetics.

What We Liked

  • Does not throw you off of balance
  • Baffles can be removed to make bikes louder
  • Compatible with recent models of Harley Davison
  • Half an hour installation time
  • Goes well with all kinds of bike modifications

What Could Be Better

  • Bolts added with purchase are a bit short, so you might have to buy this separately

Related Reviews You May Check: Ideal Exhaust System for Harley Davidson Street Glide

FAQs About Harley Davidson Sportster Exhaust System

1. What is The Difference Between Dresser Duals and Power Duals?

Ans: Dresser duals are separate pipes that have a sharper exhaust note and are generally louder. Unlike power duals, dresser duals do not show any difference in low-end performance. Power duals give better performance and efficiency with their exhaust scavenging and crossover design.

2. Do Motorcycles Need Tuning After Changing The Exhaust System?

Ans: You won’t have to tune your bike if it’s a Harley Davidson touring bike. But if the entire exhaust system is changed, then you will need tuning with high airflow intake.

3. Which Exhaust for The Harley Davidson Sounds the Best?

Ans: The Vance & Hines Twin Slash Round Slip Ons Black 46861 is quite well known for giving you smooth but extremely loud and powerful sounds. You can also adjust the baffler for any tweaks you want to make in the sound.

4. Can Harleys Run Without Mufflers?

Ans: With the right fuel management system, your Harley can run without mufflers.

5. Does Removing the Baffles Cause Damage to Harley Davidson Bikes?

Ans: Removing the baffles causes the engine to run with less fuel at times. This is because the mixture burns too fast. Also, removing the baffles can mess with the power curve of the motor.


With the right options by your side, finding the best performance exhaust for Harley Davidson is not that hard of a task.

We’ve got the top options for your Sportster, for dual exhausts and for touring as well.

Remember to choose an exhaust that is compatible with your bike, and with the right installation and maintenance, the tool will give you great service!

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