Stainless Steel vs Ceramic Headers

Material technology is still changing, and it never seems to be quick enough to keep up with the pace of thrill seekers everywhere. Ceramic coating is a stranger to the aftermarket scene, and many people have hurried to purchase pre coated header or have their current headers coated. However, the procedure is not cheap, and some argue that it is not worthwhile, but this depends on your goals.

The Process

The conventional solution to building headers has been to use mild steel and possibly coat them with chrome for aesthetics and resistance to corrosion. Chrome, on the other hand, has a habit of flaking off as the surface metal contracts and expands at nearly 1,000 degrees, particularly when it’s applied cheaply.

Steel headers avoid this issue by being made of a material that does not corrode in the first place. Ceramic coatings go a step further. These coatings, which are composed of aluminium powder mixed with ceramic particles, are coated as a powder onto the header and then cooked on in an oven. This results in a rigid, impermeable barrier that will not corrode.

The Price

Precoated ceramic headers are typically twice as expensive as uncoated equivalents, although this isn’t always the case. Stainless headers are slightly more costly than mild-steel headers, but they are less expensive than a ceramic-coated, mild-steel exhaust manifold. Those that want to have their headers coated at a nearby shop narrow the distance even more.

Depending on where you go and what they charge, this can reduce the cost of the coating by a quarter to a third. It’s much better if you purchase the powder and do the job yourself. As a result, a decent set of stainless headers can cost very much like or more than a range of DIY or local covered mild-steel ceramic-covered headers.


Since stainless and ceramic products do not corrode, you will never have to worry about corrosion. However, stainless steel discolours when the header gets wet, while ceramic does not. Ceramic headers will keep their brand-new, chrome-like look for several years, and the smoothness makes them easy to wash.

When finished, stainless-steel headers can be very bright, but they deteriorate to a hot-metal shade of dusky gold, shading to cobalt blue around the hottest regions. Some people, however, prefer the racy look and will polish the header even after running it to bring out the colour and shine. In terms of selecting by appearance, beauty is subjective to the beholder.


In the very same PHR header test, the publication discovered that the ceramic coating made hardly any improvement in output power on that engine, but only on that engine. In any case, ceramic will never be detrimental to electricity. In terms of longevity and rust resistance stainless headers outperform mild-steel headers that have only an exterior ceramic coating. Ceramic-coated headers, both inside and out, can last indefinitely, or at least as long as stainless steel.

The decision depends on your preferences and wallet. Consult a technician at your closest garage and decide on which upgrade to go with.

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