4 Best Catalytic Converters Not Breaking Your Budget

The catalytic converter in your engine is one of the most important components of your engine. The part itself is typically made of a combination of platinum and palladium, usually coated onto a honeycomb-like ceramic interior, or beads that are then attached to the exhaust pipe.

This is to convert the carbon monoxide that your engine produces through everyday operation into carbon dioxide which is far less toxic to the environment. However, catalytic converters are also renowned for being one of the most expensive engine parts, so you’ll want to make sure you’re making the right decision when purchasing a replacement. Otherwise, it’s going to be a very costly mistake.

For your purchase, you’ll want to consider the overall quality of your catalytic converter and the performance, so you can be sure that it’s doing its job properly. While it can be tempted to go for the cheapest option, this can be costly in the long-term since it can break far easier and will require another costly replacement part sooner.

When purchasing a new catalytic converter, there are several aspects you’ll want to consider. This most importantly includes making sure that it fits the year and model of the vehicle you’re buying it for. You’ll also want to ensure it’s the right size and matches the exhaust requirements of your engine. Of course, you’ll also want to consider the budget you have to spend.

Purchasing your own catalytic converter can save you a ton of money, especially since purchasing a new one through your local dealership or mechanic can be even more expensive as you’ll be paying their costs as well.

To help you get started, we’re searched far and wide looking at all the catalytic converters that are available today. After much deliberation, we’ve managed to narrow down the selection to just four of the best. We’ve taken everything into account to make sure that you can easier find the converter you’ve been looking for.
Flowmaster 2230130 223 Series 3-Inch Inlet Outlet Universal Catalytic Converter

Flowmaster 2230130 223 Series 3-Inch Inlet/Outlet Universal Catalytic Converter

To start off our list, we’ve chosen this hugely popular catalytic converter that’s been designed and produced by the leading vehicle specialists at Flowmaster, one of the most diverse and professional vehicle parts companies in the US.

This universal converter features a compatible 3-inch inlet and same-sized outlet, ensuring it can fit easily and effortlessly onto the vast majority of vehicle exhaust pipes. This means this converter can be used for a wide variety of applications, whether that’s your car, van, truck or any other vehicle with a 3-inch fitting.

While installation is easy, depending on the make and design your vehicle, it should fit straight on.
What’s more, once installed it has been designed to help you keep your MIL light off the dashboard, the traditional problem indicator that something is wrong with your engine/exhaust pipe.

The converter itself is produced using highly durable stainless-steel metals which ensures that it’s built to last for many years to come while remaining affordable and suitable for any kinds of budget.

This means the device can be safely and secured welded to your vehicle without the risk of it breaking or becoming damaged.

However, there is the one downside that this converter isn’t CARB compliant, meaning you won’t be able to purchase or legally use it if you’re based in California. Yet for all other states, you shouldn’t have a problem.

PRO
  • Affordable mid-range catalytic converter
  • Crafted using high-quality stainless-steel
  • Suitable for a welded installation
  • 3-inch inlet/outlet for universal compatibility
CONS
  • Not compliant in the state of California
  • May not pass emissions test on high output vehicles

Walker 16370 Direct Fit Catalytic Converter

Walker 16370 Direct Fit Catalytic Converter

If you’re looking for a premium-quality converter that’s slightly more expensive than your conventional mid-range device, but outperforms the average level of performance, this is the converter you’ve been looking for.

This particular Walker model has been designed for use on OBDII vehicles, meaning it’s suitable for a vast range of vehicles made in 1996 or more recently. The installation process has also been made effortless thanks to the flange to flange design.

This means the converter is a direct fit to many vehicles using the direct bolt-on application that can fit your existing exhaust pipe. As mentioned above, when it comes to performance, this converter goes above and beyond the call of duty.

This is because the device is produced using highly precious metals in the interior and then finished with a high technology wash-coat, maximizing the level of performance you simply don’t find with lower-end converters.

These high-quality metals are then encased in a stainless-steel body, all in an aluminized body with an addition pipe heat shield. This provides you with an outstanding level of protection against the everyday heat and wear and tear that your engine produces, ensuring this is a catalytic converter that will last for many years to come.

This level of strength is only complimented by the OE-style flanges that this converter prides itself on, and the durable hangers and brackets that you’ll find with your purchase, ensuring this is one of the hardiest converters on the market.

PRO
  • Outstanding level of strength and durability
  • Precious metal interior with HT wash-coat for superior converter performance
  • Pipe heat shields for added engine protection
  • Easy to install with bolt-on fitting
CONS
  • Does not come with hardware such as resonators and mufflers
  • Does not come with bolts (will need to be purchased separately)

MagnaFlow 99205HM Universal Catalytic Converter (Non-CARB Compliant)

MagnaFlow 99205HM Universal Catalytic Converter (Non-CARB Compliant)

When you’re in need of a mid-range catalytic converter that’s not too expensive but still provides an outstanding conversion performance level, MagnaFlow has an optimal solution for you. This universal converter is a highly popular converter that’s been designed to suit a wide variation of vehicles, including both cars and trucks.

This converter is produced using the tried and tested stainless-steel construction techniques that have been seam welded in all connection points to ensure the maximum level of strength. This is to guarantee that the converter won’t become damaged or falls apart with everyday use.

However, it is worth noting that while this converter has been designed to meet or exceed federal emissions regulations on both gas and diesel engines, this device isn’t CARB compliant. This means you won’t be able to use the converter in the state of California legally, but you’ll be fine in all other 49 states.

Nevertheless, the converter does meet all EPA requirements and thanks to its universal fit and ease of installation, which will only require a bit of tube bending and welding, this is one of the easiest yet most effective converters out there. This ensures that you’ll have a stress-free experience where you can get your vehicle back on the road as quickly as possible.

PRO
  • Sturdy stainless-steel construction
  • Suitable for both gas and diesel engines
  • Compliant in 49 states of the US
  • Produced right here in the heartland of the US
CONS
  • Not compliant for legal use in the state of California
  • May require professional installation for accurate fitting

MagnaFlow 51006 Universal Catalytic Converter

MagnaFlow 51006 Universal Catalytic Converter

To finish off with, we’ve chosen another leading MagnaFlow product that’s easily the most popular universal catalytic converter on the market and is sure to tick all the boxes when it comes to quality, performance and, most importantly, price.

This mid-range converter inexpensive compared to some of the leading brands and manufacturers, yet still boasts a highly durable stainless-steel construction that guarantees to last for many years to come.

In fact, this quality is so superior; you can use this converter on both gas and diesel engines without any problems arising. This level of quality is only added upon thanks to the seam welded construction techniques that MagnaFlow is famous for.

This means that once you’ve effortlessly installed your unit or invested in the assistance of a professional with the right equipment, there’s no chance that the bond and connection points are going to break through everyday use.

However, like all MagnaFlow products, it’s important to remember that while this converter meets or exceeds all EPA requirements, it’s not CARB compliant and cannot be legally installed and used in the state of California.

PRO
  • Outstanding quality stainless-steel construction
  • Universally fits many vehicles including cars and trucks
  • Works with both gas and diesel engines
  • EPA emissions regulations approved
CONS
  • Cannot legally be used in the state of California (non-CARB compliant)
  • May require professional fitting since no instructions included

Summary

As you can see, purchasing a new or replacement catalytic converter for your car or truck doesn’t have to be a painful or expensive process. Any of the four converters we’ve listed above are ideal choices for when you’re ready to make the purchase, all in terms of quality, conversion performance and price.

Make sure you’re checking that the converter is going to fit your vehicle before you make the purchase, or whether adjustments and welding will need to be made, and you can buy safe in the knowledge that you’re making the right decision the first time.