Shorty vs. Long Tuber Headers: Which is Better and Efficient

Headers are the first stop for exiting exhaust manifold gases from the engine of the vehicle. Although some people interchange the term manifolds and headers because of this, they function differently.

Design and makeup of the headers are two of the key factors in the performance of any vehicle because otherwise, the RPM will vary which will lead to varying performance.

Therefore, choosing the right headers for the establishment of your vehicle’s engine will create a huge impact on the torque and horsepower of the engine.

So, in this article, we will be learning about headers and both the kinds of headers: long and short tube, as well as find out which one is the best fit for your engine. 

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About Headers

Headers are also known as “extractor manifolds” or “tubular manifolds” depending on their location. Headers are comprised of several tubes that connect to each of the cylinders of your engine so that they can help to extract the exhaust out.

When your stock exhaust manifold is made out of cast iron or stainless steel, then headers can produce a variation in the materials. But when the stock manifolds are prone to get practical, then the pipes of a general header will seem bold and wild.

Headers make an extended tube for each exhaust of the cylinders to go into and it relieves the created back pressure (when all cylinders are nulling into the same space simultaneously. Every individual pipe will then come together and turn into a collector pipe.

But they will come out into the collector tube several times because of the spacing of the collector tubes. Headers are the directors mostly as they make sure each cylinder can use the collector tube in turn so that it can help to prevent back pressure as well. In this way, headers improve and enhance the performance of an engine.

Shorty Headers

Don’t get the wrong ideas about shorty headers from their name because they are only short compared to long tube headers. But it has a much longer tube as opposed to your exhaust manifold.

Generally, the shorty headers are an easy modification because you can use all the available components of your exhaust manifold and the reason behind this is the way shorty headers are designed.

No matter what vehicle you are driving, short headers should be a reasonable step up from the exhaust manifold (existing). With shorty headers, you may have to make an additional choice between the equal and unequal length headers.

Equal length headers will offer greater performance consistently. On the contrary, unequal length headers will offer a deeper rumbling noise and some extra low-end torque.

Long Tube Headers

Long tube headers are the best fit for track cars or other vehicles that spend most of their driving time in the top end of the RPM range.

It may need either uninstalling or relocating the fuel converter depending on the type and model of the long tube header.

This is why long tuber headers are not legal in fifty states. But the sound is another reason why they are frequently not 50 state legal.

Although many enthusiasts still love the sound of an exhaust manifold that is fitted with long tuber headers. But if you have neighbors around you, then it can hardly be a choice for you because of the sound issue.

These long tube headers tend to be incredibly noisy and loud. But long tube headers can also be more challenging to install because they will take a longer period to work with the remaining components of your exhaust.

Shorty vs. Long Tuber Headers

Now, we will discuss some basic and other differences between shorty and long tube headers as follows:

  1. Installation Process: Installing shorty headers is an incredible project which you can finish in an hour approximately. You have to follow the mentioned steps as follows to complete the installation project of short headers:
  2. Disconnect the car battery and lift your vehicle then.
  3. Unbolt the mid-pipe from the remaining exhaust manifold and connect to the headers gently.
  4. Line up everything before starting to torque down the bolts.
  5. Connect the new headers to the mid-pipe.
  6. After a short adjustment, you will require to re-torque the nuts.

Long tuber headers require having to engage with a more complex method of installation according to the aspects of the exhaust manifold system.

Though the basic steps are similar to shorty headers installation. But there are some additional steps that you need to follow in the case of long tuber headers which make this a more complex installation than the shorty headers.

You have to uninstall the oxygen sensors here and do other complex aspects of the exhaust system to occupy the same space as the previous exhaust manifold.

Pros and Cons:

Header’s Type                    Pros                     Cons
 Shorty HeadersLegal in 50 states.
Better than any stock exhaust manifold.
Easy and comfortable to install.
Great and useful for your Turbos.
Less RPM provider.
Less rev-happy.
Long Tube HeadersGreat noise and peculiar sound.
Smart and improve high rev vehicles.
Substantial performance enhancement.
Quite challenging to complete the installation.
Not fifty-state legal.
Will damage turbocharged engines.


Shorty headers can be a great choice for people who are searching for a little extra performance in their car or who are currently driving a turbocharger.

Long tuber headers tend to increase their turbo lag eventually because of the length of their headers. It may also harm your performance when you are using a turbo.

But when you are looking for a substantial performance gainer for your track driving, then this day beast long tuber headers will be the perfect match as a long-term service provider for you and your engine even though it may take longer times to install.

Which Brands Are Recommended?

If we are to recommend the brands of shorty and long tube headers, then we will suggest you go with proven and reliable brand names for better performance and upgrades.

A company like Hooker Headers, BBK Headers, Gibson Headers, Hedman Headers, Pacesetter Headers, and Kooks Headers are the top names in this industry who can provide high-quality materials and high-standard products.

These are the three models we would love to recommend as follows:

  1. Gibson Performance Headers (Price: $567.97)
  2. PaceSetter Quick Trip Long Tube Headers (Price: $310.30)
  3. BBK Shorty Tuned-Length Exhaust Headers (Price: $370.97)

Shorty or Long- Which One is better?

Choosing the right headers plays an important part in enhancing the performance of your vehicle’s engine and therefore you have to choose between two basic options which are shorty and long tube headers.

The basic difference between them is the length of the exhaust tubes or pipes.

In the case of shorty headers, the port tubes merge into a single one and start exhausting in a much shorter distance.

But for long tuber headers, the port tubes are longer and they marge in the farther outer distance. Therefore, both of them take an impact on backpressure in the exhaust manifold system differently.

Longer tuber headers result in lower exhaust manifold back pressure and it means a boost or enhancement in horsepower as well as better oxygen intake.

But it doesn’t mean that long tuber headers will always outperform the shorter ones because HP and Torque hugely rely on the range of RPM. Long tuber headers don’t increase the RPM range.

Shorty headers deliver their best performance in an idle mode to the range of mid-RPM. This is what builds them the right headers for cars and other vehicles which count on the power of low-RPM.

They are more like a work pickup or a daily commuter that shows a lot of hauling and towing. So, in a word, shorty headers are the better ones between shorty and long tube headers.


What sounds better long tube or shorty headers?

Long tube headers sound better than the shorter ones. With shorty headers, you will require to choose between equal and unequal length headers where the unequal length headers will offer a deeper rumbling sound that will bother you or anyone at all. But in the case of the longer tubes, there won’t be a choice to make and therefore the longer tubes won’t make extremely loud noises which will disturb your neighbors and the people around you.

Are shorty headers louder than long tubes?

Yes, shorty headers are usually a little louder than a long tube. Depending on the stock exhaust manifold, shorty headers may have longer tubes as well. Then it won’t make an extremely loud sound but still, it will sound louder than the longer ones.

Are shorty headers better than stock manifolds?

Yes, shorty headers are better than stock manifolds. Shorty headers don’t produce the same amount of low and mid-range power as the fuller ones. But they do give significant power gains over exhaust manifolds. They also have the potential to produce bigger and higher RPM power gains. You can easily maximize the performance of your shorty headers by selecting equal-length tubes.

Do long tube headers increase low-end torque?

Long tube headers provide huge flow but they don’t make a noise like the cast iron. They also know how to flow enough so that you will require to re-jet your carburetor for a good and low-end torque performance. Therefore, we can say long tube headers do increase low-end torque.

Are shorty headers worth the money?

If you are driving a turbo-boosted engine, then you will certainly want shorty headers. But they are also capable of providing great service to a variety of other drivers. In case you are looking for increasing and enhancing the performance of your car and vehicle which is your daily commuter and driver as well, then shorty headers are worth your money.

Do shorty headers increase mpg?

Shorty headers are more involved from an installation point therefore with headers in a combination with a cat-back system, they can provide you a reasonable boost in power. So, in most cases, fuel mileage may remain the same or increase a little

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