Though often misunderstood, octane boosters should find their way into every car owner’s toolbox since they serve to increase the vehicle's performance. While most people would argue that octane boosters shouldn't be used on passenger cars, we're here to reveal the truth – octane boosters are great for all vehicles, not just racing ones.
Octane boosters increase the power potential of fuel. But only the best octane boosters serve a multitude of functions that greatly benefit your car's engine, performance, and longevity. This article will discuss the best octane boosters, how they work, and how impactful they are on your vehicle's performance. So, without further delay, allow us to introduce you to our top picks:
The Best Octane Booster Products:
104+ Octane Boost
The legendary 104+ is one of the oldest best octane boosters on the current market that can easily go toe-to-toe with some more expensive products. Luckily, the manufacturer keeps the formula updated since its inception in the 1970s by the pioneers of additives and aftermarket fluids for cars. The 104+ started as an additive for muscle cars, growing into a more versatile option suitable to modern engines.
The high-impact formula reduces hesitation and increases acceleration while serving as a fuel housing and fuel injector cleaner. These additional functions offer a noticeable positive impact on the performance of your engine and gas mileage. It will reduce throttle jerking without any detrimental impact on your oxygen sensors, catalytic converter, or spark plugs.
The 104+ raises the octane rating by one octane number, which might feel insufficient – which is why you can use MaximumBoost ration instead, and double the octane rating increase. It comes in a 16 fluid-ounce bright red container with a narrow top that allows pouring into the tank without any spillage. Thought the design attracts the customers; the performance of this product is what keeps them returning.
The unfortunate downside of 104+ is that it isn't meant for on-road vehicles. In other words, it's not street-legal, and you can use it on off-road and race cars only.
BOOSTane Professional Octane Booster
This is truly a professional-level octane booster, since it provides excellent octane increase, while it also cleans and lubricates your engine. It transforms premium pump gas into rocket fuel. And best of all, you can buy it in large quantities; the containers measure from 32 fluid ounces up to 5 gallons of this magical octane boosting formula.
A quick disclaimer before we continue: BOOSTane, though a highly effective and good-quality product, is a newcomer to the game. As such, you can’t expect to find higher levels of consumer feedback, since it only features a limited number of reviews. Still, we’re sure the situation will change, turning BOOSTane into a recognizable product.
Let us tell you: this stuff is fantastic. A single 32 oz bottle provides an incredible 120 octane point boost to a 10-gallon tank, raising your typical 93 octanes to 105 octanes. And with proper use, it can go even further, boosting all the way up to 116 octanes, which isn't really applicable to standard passenger vehicles.
But the good stuff doesn't end there, and BOOSTane offers a plethora of additional functions. It doesn't contain ethanol and helps protect your engine's inner workings and components from ethanol-induced side effects. It will also increase the lubricity of your engine, reducing its wear, and promoting smoother operation. This further prevents corrosion, sediment build-up, and all sorts of harmful things.
Additionally, you can use it on nearly all gasoline engines, but please check yours before use. A little bonus feature is an accompanying app that lets you calculate the exact octane count you can add to your engine – eliminating any guesswork.
Lucas Oil Octane Booster
This is one of the best octane boosters in the entry-level range since it works well with various engines, making it a safe choice to start with. However, don't be fooled by its entry-level label; the Lucas Oil Octane Booster provides professional-level results. It's formulated to increase the octane levels of your car's fuel but also raise the temperature of engine combustion leading to more effective fuel burning inside the cylinders.
This booster doesn't provide a significant octane boost, as it raises the fuel's rating by one octane number. Instead, it's specially blended conditioners inside the formulation allow for a boost in performance without a necessary leap in the octane rating.
Thanks to its unique ingredients, the Lucas Oil Octane Booster lubricates the engine's upper cylinder, ensuring the pistons' smoother movement. In turn, it provides a much smoother engine operation and an added layer of protection for the valve seats. Since it operates through engine treatment, rather than an octane rating increase, it works on both carbureted engines and turbochargers and fuel injectors.
The product itself won’t harm your oxygen sensors in the exhaust, or the catalytic converter, facilitating cleaner fuel burning and reduced emissions at the same time. However, Lukas Oil 10026 Octane Booster can't be used in on-road vehicles due to its high potency. That said, it offers the best bang for your buck.
Royal Purple ROY11757 MaxBoost
Often referred to as MaxBoost or Boost Royal around the shops and stores, the Royal Purple offers premium performance. And for a high-end fluid brand that’s primarily aimed at professionals, it features quite a reasonable price.
The product comes in a 16oz container, which treats up to 25 gallons of gasoline, raising its octane number by 3 (from 91 to 94 octane). It also serves as a fuel stabilizer, preventing the fuel from "going bad" and creating sediments in your gas tank. Simultaneously, it cleans the fuel injectors and replaces lead additives for increased protection of non-hardened valve seats.
As such, it's compatible with both leaded and unleaded gas and gasohol and ethanol blends. With MMT as its main component, the Boost Royal eliminates the engine-damaging detonation due to pre-ignition and knocking from low-octane gasoline. Even computer-controlled engines gain a significant boost in performance thanks to MaxBoost.
It works on carbureted, turbocharged, supercharged, and nitro-injected engines, and all types of gasoline. Unfortunately, MaxBoost is branded as a racing formulation and isn't intended for on-road vehicles.
Klotz Higher Octane Booster
Another old-timer on our list, the Klotz Octane Booster's been around for over 50 years, providing performance benefits to most engine types. The highly concentrated formulation started as a tetraethyl lead-based booster but moved on from there with the introduction of a ban on lead-based vehicle fluids. Today, the Klotz Higher Octane Booster offers a substitute formula that provides the same performance and lubrication properties as tetraethyl lead did.
The formulation comes in a hefty, 1-gallon container, which is suitable for treating more massive quantities of gasoline, raising the octane rating by 10. With that increase, the Klotz prevents and eliminates detonations, pre-ignitions, and engine knock. It modifies gasoline's flashpoint and aids faster burning of gas, which results in a stable detonation across engine chambers, maximizing both the horsepower and performance.
Furthermore, it also serves as a fuel stabilizer for vehicles in storage, stabilizing both ethanol and oxygenated fuel components. It also absorbs any type of moisture from your vehicle's internal components, attributing to your engine's longevity.
Thanks to the exceptionally designed formula, you can use Klotz on power equipment such as lawnmowers, two-stroke, and four-stroke engines, and any gasoline type. However, optimizing its use can be tricky; it's highly recommended that you perform your ratios with caution.
Blue Magic NA30
Blue Magic might very well be the best octane booster for race muscle cars since it's illegal for street use. But if you're a muscle racing enthusiast, the added benefit of 7 octane points, along with other favorable effects, may sound interesting or even exciting.
The Blue Magic is an MMT-based booster that provides an increase of up to 7 octane ratings. This will prevent any pre-ignition and engine knocks, accounting for any imperfections within the fuel's formulations. It'll also clean out the fuel injectors, increasing the performance, and contribute to better fuel economy. That way, you’ll get better gas mileage.
The product comes in a 16oz bottle and treats up to 16 gallons of gasoline, though you can further optimize it. However, due to Blue Magic's potency, we must advise caution. Other than that, using the product is stress-free, as it provides a good performance boost, cleansing effects, and acts non-aggressively towards catalytic converters and oxygen sensors.
An important thing to remember is the product's low flashing point, stated under the warning disclaimer. The product features a flashpoint of 37°C, which means that it's susceptible to spontaneous combustion when left on high heat during hot summer days. Please exercise caution when handling the product and store it according to the manufacturer's instructions.
TORCO Unleaded Fuel Accelerator
The performance benefits provided by TORCO can better be prescribed to a magic potion, rather than an octane booster product. But, since it’s designed for premium pump gas and high-performing vehicles, it’s fabulous boosting properties shouldn’t come as a surprise.
As its name suggests, TORCO is an unleaded blend of fuel additives that enhance both the fuel and the engine's performance. Since it improves the quality of premium pump gas, arguably transforming it into a potent mimicry of racing fuel, TORCO eliminates engine knocking in your high-performance machine. It also lowers the end burn, which triggers many other chained effects making your vehicle more fuel-efficient.
And with the newly found fuel efficiency, you’ll notice a considerable increase in horsepower, allowing you to reach higher speeds without overstressing the engine. However, given the product's design towards high-performing machines, the TORCO isn't exactly suitable for your everyday passenger car. It's specifically designed for race cars and motorcycles, with applications on snowmobiles, ATVs, UTVs, and boats.
TORCO is compatible with all modified engines and potent enough to work with carbureted, turbocharged, or supercharged vehicles. Still, despite its potency, TORCO isn’t aggressive towards O2 sensors or catalytic converts. Using 32 ounces of TORCO on five gallons of premium pup gas might raise octane count to 105. Truly one of the best octane boosters on our list.
Race-Gas Race Fuel Concentrate
Race-Gas is a patented laboratory-grade product and a proven alternative to racing fuel, once mixed with premium pump gasoline. The formulation chemically alters the premium pump gas by adding roughly four octanes at 2 ounces per gallon of fuel. This can raise premium pump gas to 105 octanes, which is more than enough for high-performance engines' smooth operation.
This removes any unnecessary calculations, as you just add 2 ounces per gallon. Using an entire 32oz of this octane booster on a 10-gallon tank potentially raises the octane rating by six octanes, which is quite reasonable given the product's price point. Using it on a 93 octane will undoubtedly add another six octanes to your fuel and prevent any undesirable detrimental effects a low-quality fuel might impose on the engine.
Race-Gas is perfectly safe for O2 sensors, catalytic converters, and fuel system components. It's one of the best octane boosters for 2-stroke machines, adding to its versatility. Besides boosting your car's performance, Race-Gas improves the performance of your ATV, snowmobile, or lawnmower.
STP Octane Booster
Though it may look like a spicy hot sauce, the only thing STP spices up is the fuel octane rating, while also cleaning your fuel intake system. These properties place it among the best octane boosters on the market, and one of the most recognized brands in brick-and-mortar stores. It may not be quite as intensive as some other products on our list, but it’s definitely worth mentioning.
Unfortunately, as an octane booster, the STP provides only the marginal increase in octane. However, due to the higher combustion temperature, which burns out and removes any residue that decreased the engine's performance. This will significantly reduce, if not eliminate, the engine pinging and knocking, bringing even further increase in performance and longevity of your vehicle.
The STP is mainly aimed at passenger car owners looking to boost their performance by removing and performance-robbing residues and effects provided by lower-quality gas. It's designed to be used during refueling, so it's most commonly sold in packs of twelve.
Johnsen’s 4688 Octane Booster
The Johnsen’s been in the aftermarket fluid business since 1928, offering a plethora of different fluids for the aftermarket car care. This small, 12-ounce bottle of Johnsen’s Octane Booster treats up to 20 gallons of fuel, offering maximum performance gains for your car’s engine.
However, its boosting capabilities aren’t as significant as with other products on this list. That said, the Johnsen’s does provide just enough boost to prevent any knocking and pinging in passenger cars running on mid-grade gas. This might give slight, noticeable changes in performance, speed enhancements, and better gas mileage for an average passenger car. But it will prove to be relatively insignificant to high-performance engines.
Even so, the formulation proves to be safe to use with catalytic converters, O2 sensors, and turbochargers. Besides its low impact on the fuel's octane rating, Johnsen's formulation does clean out the fuel intake system and eliminates the accumulated build-up. This makes it an excellent solution for a passenger's vehicles with sluggish performance, rough idle, or stalls.
All octane booster products might seem similar to an inexperienced user, and choosing the right one might seem difficult. Sure, you can always opt for a universal product; however, these usually provide mediocre performance improvements, without added benefits. That why it really pays to know what you're doing when purchasing the best octane booster for your car.
Besides providing you with the list of best octane boosters, we also comprised a somewhat comprehensive buyer’s guide – to provide you with the essential knowledge regarding octane boosters. In this section, we’ll explain what octane boosters really are, how they work, and what are the added benefits they contribute.
What are octanes?
Octane is a measure of how much compression a fuel and air mixture can withstand before spontaneously combusting. In the US, the most common octane ratings are 87 for regular, unleaded fuels, 91 for premium, and 93 for super-premium. European octane ratings are somewhat different, as they're measured in Research Octane Numbers or RON.
Regardless of how they’re measured, higher ratings are generally needed for higher performing vehicles, as they’re engines run at higher temperatures. This means that the combustion has to occur at higher temperatures, to reduce any premature detonation or engine knock. And since modern gasoline engines now run on either 91, 95, or 98 RON by design, you might need to boost your octane rating. Higher octane ratings, like 100 RON, do exist, but they’re usually present in racing cars, boats, and other high-demanding engines.
The problems occur when the fuel used has a lower octane ranking than the engine. A lower ranking than indicated might happen for various reasons, ranging from the fuel's low production quality to contaminants found in fuel-storage barrels. Whatever the reason may be, leaving the issue unattended might cause engine knocking – a case of premature detonation inside the engine.
With the rise of modern engines, engine knocking becomes a thing of the past, and your car can still work using fuel with a lower octane rating. It may even seem to work seamlessly. However, modern engines monitor fuel quality and adjust engine management routines accordingly, significantly reducing any knocking. Still, this causes the engine to perform in a low-power phase, putting more stress on the engine itself.
This is where octane boosters come into play. Besides lifting the fuel's RON index, octane boosters are beneficial for your engine for multiple reasons, which we'll cover in the later section of this article.
What are octane boosters?
Octane boosters are best described as fuel additives that increase the fuel's octane rating, improving its performance and that of your engine.
Technically speaking, octanes are hydrocarbon components of your engine's fuel. Adding more hydrocarbon chains to the fuel, or boosting the octanes, so to speak, increases the fuel's RON. In turn, this smooths out the spontaneous combustion that happens in the engine, significantly reducing or eliminating knocking caused by inconsistent or unstable detonation within the cylinder.
Besides raising the RON index, most octane boosters serve many secondary purposes, like cleaning spark plug heads, increasing the lubrication of the cylinder head, etc. All these effects combined have beneficial impacts on the performance and longevity of your vehicle's engine.
Since less powerful engines don't actually need fuel with a higher RON index, octane boosters, arguably, aren't necessary for your standard passenger cars. However, despite fuel's given octane rating, a bad quality fuel or incorrect mixture might cause your engine to run poorly and knock. Engine knocking can, in turn, cause severe damage to the engine and its components. For that reason, and the increase in performance and long-term benefits they provide, car owners should consider investing in high-quality octane boosters.
What are the benefits of using octane boosters?
Besides increasing the fuel's RON index, octane boosters provide a comprehensive range of secondary benefits for your vehicle. These include:
- Improved performance – in most cases, depending on your engine's size and power, octane boosters won't cause any noticeable difference in performance. However, the best octane boosters offer a more significant torque improvement, resulting in better acceleration, and reduced knocking.
- Optimized compression – By eliminating premature detonations within the combustion chamber and removing engine knock, octane boosters ensure that each piston reaches its optimum compression ratio. This allows the compression to detonate the air-fuel mixture at the exact top-dead-center position of each piston, leading to stabilized and consistent detonations across all cylinders.
- Cylinder lubrication – Some octane boosters feature additives that lubricate the cylinder walls of combustion chambers. This aids the smoother engine operation and increases its long-term effectiveness and longevity.
- A cleaner burning engine – By increasing the fuel's octane rating increases the compression stability and temperature. At higher temperatures, additives inside the octane booster's formula help loosen any gunk, residue, and engine build-up, which is than blown out the exhaust.
- Clean spark plugs – Spark plugs can accumulate carbon build-up and other debris. The additives within the formulation, coupled with increased combustion temperature due to better RON rating, will burn or remove any excess build-up.
- Increased longevity of engine – Engine knock and premature or inconsistent detonations increase the amount of stress exerted on engine components. Stabilizing the fuel and promoting stabilized and consistent detonations cause less wear on your engine, increasing its longevity while reducing repair costs in the long run.
Different types of octane boosters
Octane boosters are divided by their main active ingredients instead of the different types and specific benefits. This is mainly because different brands combine various additives with their formulations, across different product qualities. And while they all increase the RON index of your fuel, some of them offer better lubrication, while others add fuel stabilizers for long-term inactivity.
Mainly, there are three distinct ingredients used in octane boosters:
- Methylcyclopentadienyl Manganese Tricarbonyl – more commonly known as MMT, this is the most common and least environmentally harmful ingredient in modern octane boosters. As it's much more environmentally friendly, it replaces outdated and unsafe lead boosters used in the past.
- Tetraethyl Lead – tetraethyl lead was widely used in the past, as it's one of the oldest forms of octane boosters. It was quite efficient at raising octane rating in fuel, but it also featured desirable engine-protective properties. Its byproducts formed a protective coating on some of the internal gaskets and seals of compression chambers, extending their lifetime. Nowadays, due to its lead contents, tetraethyl lead octane boosters aren't available to the general public. They're actually illegal because of the health risks they pose.
- Ethanol – Most common in race car engines, the E85 is becoming increasingly available throughout the country. It requires an additional modification to the fuel injection system to ensure that the engine receives the correct amount of fuel, but it allows cleaner engine performance.
What to look for in a high-quality octane booster?
There are several factors you should consider when purchasing the best octane booster product for your vehicle. While we covered the most important ones, here are some additional things you should pay attention to:
- Compatibility – As with most things nowadays, make sure to choose a product that's compatible with your vehicle and engine. While some octane boosters work for all kinds of cars, most high-quality ones don't. It's essential to match your engine type with a good, high-quality octane booster; a mismatch can cause severe issues that are very expensive to address. However, there are less complex, universal octane boosters on the market, which provide relatively good performance increase stress-free. If you're driving a turbocharged vehicle, make sure that you use an octane booster compatible with your engine. Since the same rule applies to catalytic converters, please read the product labels carefully.
- Safety – High-quality octane boosters shouldn’t be aggressive on oxygen sensors and catalytic converters. As with compatibility, choosing a universal product often pays the most, but also offers the least performance increase. The safest boosters can generally be used on all types of fuels and vehicles.
- Capacity – most products ship out in similar-size containers; however, depending on quality, they might treat different fuel amounts. Since they don't work in the same proportion, it's essential to find a suitable product and avoid higher recurring costs.
- Price – The best octane boosters aren't exactly affordable, prompting a healthy debate between pumping a higher-octane fuel or using additives on regular fuel. Octane boosters are a recurring investment, and since they're not exactly affordable, pumping higher-octane fuel often comes off as a more affordable solution. The most affordable product can be found under the $30 price bracket. They're quite popular since they offer elemental performance boost at a relatively low price. The best octane boosters are usually found between $30 and 100 dollars since they're much better formulated and offer additional functionalities. There aren't that many products over the $100 price bracket; however, these provide premium-grade performance and a plethora of other functions, like fuel system cleaning, increasing RON, and preventing long-term damage to the engine of your vehicle.
Octane boosters aren't something to be taken lightly, despite their quality. Our buyer's guide provided you with the necessary information about octane boosters, but doing your own research on the subject pays by preventing damage to your engine. Octane boosters are considered automotive performance-enhancers that reach peak effectiveness with constant use over time—expecting your car to sprout jet engines after a single pour is unreasonable.
If you're looking to increase your car's performance, make sure you treat the fuel with the best octane booster possible. Our top pick, BOOSTane Professional Octane Booster offers remarkable performance increase and engine-protective functionalities at a reasonable cost. On the other hand, Royal Purple ROY11757 MaxBoost is one of the best octane boosters on the market, extremely popular with racecar enthusiasts.
We recommend Lucas Oil Octane Booster for those on a budget, which provides a good performance boost while protecting the environment from harmful emissions. You can reference our Buyer's Guide whenever you need a reminder about octane boosters when selecting the best octane booster for your vehicle.