Table of Contents
- View The Best Octane Booster Below
- Octane Booster Buyer’s Guide
- Do I Need an Octane Booster?
- Do Octane Boosters Really Work?
- How Do I Know if an Octane Booster is Street Legal?
- Is an Octane Booster Safe to Use?
- When Should I Use an Octane Booster?
- Can You Add an Octane Booster to a Full Tank?
- How Much Octane Booster Should I Put In?
- What is RON?
- What is Ferrocene?
- What are MMTs?
- Do Octane Boosters Clean Out Your Car’s Engine?
- Can I Use an Octane Booster in a Diesel Engine?
What is an Octane Booster?
What is the best octane booster? Ah, the age-old question asked by… not many people, to be honest with you.
For this of you that don’t know, an octane booster will raise the octane rating of the gas in your car.
The octane rating of fuel is a rating of how good the fuel is at withstanding “engine knock”. The higher this octane number is, the better. Octane ratings are usually measured in “RON” (see the buyer’s guide for more information).
“Knock” is when the fuel ignites at the wrong point during your engine’s cycle. It is also sometimes referred to as “pinging” or “detonation”. During a normal engine cycle, the pistons go through 4 necessary actions; you may have heard these referred to as “suck, squeeze, bang, blow”.
During the “suck” phase, air and fuel droplets are “sucked” into the cylinder. The valve they are sucked through then shuts before phase 2: “squeeze”. In this phase, a piston rises in the cylinder and compresses (or “squeezes”) this air/fuel mixture into a tiny volume. The spark plug then sparks, igniting the fuel and causing the “bang”, which forces the piston back down again.
When it rises again, another valve opens (conveniently named the exhaust valve) – this open valve means that the vast majority of the waste gases from the “bang” of the fuel being ignited are then forced out of the engine. The exhaust valve then closes, and the cycle begins all over again. One of these cycles is called a revolution. In a four-cylinder engine, this cycle will happen four times in a revolution, as all the cylinders operate at offset times. In a 6-cylinder engine, there are 6, and so on. These revolutions are measured on your rev meter on your dashboard, in revs/minute.
“Engine knock” is when some fuel explodes at the wrong time – that is, it is not ignited in the “bang” of the spark plug firing. This can happen due to high levels of compression in the cylinder, or the walls of the cylinder getting very hot and igniting the fuel that way. When you have engine knocking, this is bad for your engine because it puts extra forces on the parts that are not intended to be there. If you don’t do anything about knock, it can cause damage to the cylinder wall or piston, essentially rendering your engine, and therefore car, utterly useless without an engine swap or engine rebuild. Engine swaps and rebuilds are not cheap, by any means.
One possible way to avert this happening in your engine is to use an octane booster. As mentioned earlier, octane boosters raise the octane level of the fuel you are putting into your car. This will help make the fuel burn more smoothly in your engine by all igniting at the right time, increasing engine performance, fuel economy, and general engine health, all by making engine knocking less likely.
Are Octane Boosters Legal?
There’s an important thing you need to know before you delve into the world of octane boosters if you’re new to it: that is that those octane boosters are almost all illegal to use on the street in the United States of America. And also most other countries in the world. This is because an octane booster is essentially just a formula of compounds that are more stable than gas.
Because gas is unstable, it can cause engine knock. The addition of an octane booster makes the gas more stable and will help to reduce knock. Using these boosters is great for your engine, but many argue they are potentially toxic for humans and the environment in general.
The most well-known additive in octane boosters is MMTs. For more information on these, see the section “What are MMTs?” in the buyer’s guide. Other chemicals are often used; ferrocene is also used in some products.
MMTs have been banned from fuel since 1977 by the EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency). Because of this, you can only use almost all octane boosters if the car is not running on the street, or is made up of some different kind of ingredient other than metal-based ones.
If you are looking for an octane booster, you are most likely to use it on either a racetrack or off-road course. Where its ingredients are still possibly bad for human health and the environment when used here, the EPA does not have the authority to tell you not to use octane boosters when you are not driving on the road.
You should also know that, in some cases, using an octane booster has been known to affect people’s warranties on their cars. If you are set on an octane booster, make sure it will not make your warranty void. That could be disastrous.
Below, we have compiled a list of 10 of the best octane boosters on Amazon. We hope you find this guide useful.
View The Best Octane Booster Below
1. Royal Purple MAX BOOST
We have selected this product as the best octane booster we can find. It works by replacing the lead additives in the fuel and raising the octane rating by 30 points (or three numbers).
When the lead additives are replaced, this helps to protect non-hardened valve seats (if your car has them). The high octane rating of the gas means, as explained in the introduction to this article, you will see an increase in fuel economy and engine performance due to a more stable fuel. At the same time, the engine will be cleaned through, making it run even more smoothly while also contributing to keeping the parts durable and long-lasting.
As all octane boosters do, this best overall product will help reduce the amount of knock in your engine if it has been a problem up until now. It is, however, not legal to use this octane booster on the road.
+ Higher octane rating – raises the octane rating by 30 points / 3 numbers (or “RON”)
+ cleans the engine through
Why We Like It – We chose this as one of the best octane boosters you can by because of its value for money combined with how it helps you protect your engine.
2. Lucas Octane Booster
This octane booster, from Lucas Oil, does what all octane boosters do – it means that your fuel burns more cleanly and smoothly, which in turn results in fewer emissions. Lucas Oil reassures customers that this product is safe to use with turbochargers, oxygen sensors, and catalytic converters.
The octane booster can be used in engines with fuel injectors or carburetors and is known to provide more boost than many other comparative brands. Customers rate it very highly on Amazon, and you’ll get a pack of 12, one bottle of which will boost a 25-gallon fuel tank.
This Lucas Oil product is made with MMTs. This means that the octane booster could be somewhat damaging to specific sensors and could affect your car’s warranty if it has one. If you are on a warranty, it’s best to check with your manufacturer before using it it’s best to check, either way, to make sure you won’t have to be shelling out more money on repairs than you want to. For example, Acura recommends not using this octane booster in its vehicles.
+ raises octane rating by unknown – approximately 2 – 3 RON (20 – 30 points)
+ provides a good amount of boost
Why We Like It – We chose this as our premium product because it is a high-quality octane booster. However, it is also illegal to use it on the road due to the Clean Air Act.
3. Rislone Super Concentrated Octane Booster
For the best octane booster for value, look no further than this fuel additive for Rislone.
This octane booster comes with a bottle that is designed in such a way as to be a nozzle, making it simple to pour into most fuel systems, including cap-less systems. One bottle will treat 20 gallons of fuel, and it will not harm oxygen sensors or catalytic converters.
You can use this octane booster with many different types of gasoline-based fuel, including racing fuel.
+ raises octane rating by: 20 points / 2 RON
+ nozzle-design bottle
+ won’t harm the emissions-related parts of your car
Why We Like It – For value, this is certainly one of the best octane boosters you can get. Despite its low price, it still does a good job with increasing the octane rating and therefore producing a smoother, more powerful engine with fewer emissions and increased fuel economy.
4. Blue Magic Octane Boost
Here we have another octane booster, which is not for use on the road due to the MMTs it is made with.
Although it is claimed to be safe for all gas engines and not to damage any part of your emissions systems, parts of the scientific community and certain car manufacturers will disagree with this statement. Please see the section below on “What are MMTs?” in the buyer’s guide.
Instead of using it on the road, you should purchase this octane booster for racing or off-road usage only. It also comes in a pack of 12.
+ increases the octane rating by 7 points (0.7 RON)
+ will clean the engine as well as increase power and mileage
Why We Like It – Although it may seem irrelevant to you, reading about this product that can’t be used on the road, if you are planning to get an octane booster for use in racing or off-roading, these products will be great for you. The lower increase in octane ratings is notable compared to the Lucas product, but this product is of better value.
5. BOOSTane Professional Octane Booster
BOOSTane’s octane booster is also not street-legal but can be used for racing and off-roading. It comes in a sizeable quart-sized bottle, which will treat approximately 80 gallons and therefore, can be used multiple times.
This octane booster has been designed especially for performance and dealing with high compression or turbocharged engines. It is intended to be used with fuel rated between 94 and 116. The ratios can be found on the side of the bottle, on the company’s website, and their app.
You should be aware that, despite good engine performance increases, this product does tend to turn lots of parts orange – in particular, spark plugs and oxygen sensors. Despite this, most customers leave high amounts of praise in their reviews.
+ increases the octane rating by about 23 points / 2.3 RON
+ significant increase in engine performance
Why We Like It – Despite also not being street legal, this product will substantially increase your car’s performance and help to clean it out at the same time. Compared to other octane boosters, the increase in the octane rating is quite high.
6. 104+ Octane Boost
This is another example of one of the best octane boosters you can get your hands on. This product, from Gold Eagle, is only to be used off-road. This is because the formula used in this product is not registered with the EPA.
If you have somewhere off the road where you can use it, great, you will see an increase of about 5 to 10 points in the rating of the octane. This will result in increased performance and the engine being cleaned while you are driving too.
+ increases the octane rating by: 5 – 10 points (0.5 – 1 RON)
+ increases engine performance and cleans the engine through
Why We Like It – Although it’s small and only for use not on the street, this product will clean through your car’s engine system nicely and also provide a decent boost in performance.
7. STP Octane Booster
This octane booster comes with the description, from STP, of being “barely street legal”. That is despite it containing less than 3% methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMTs).
As usual, the product will clean out your engine and increase engine performance. The bottle that it comes in is compatible with all fuel delivery systems, including cap-less ones.
+ increases the octane rating by unknown
+ easy to put into your fuel tank
+ improves engine performance and cleans the engine through
Why We Like It – Customers all give this octane booster very high reviews. It is easy to put into your fuel system and provides a good increase in your vehicle’s performance.
8. Klotz Higher Octane Booster
Coming from Klotz, this high octane booster comes with the potential to raise your octane level by about 10 points, or 1 number. It comes in a 1-gallon container, so you will have plenty to last you. This is a tetraethyl lead substitute, which leads the flame to burn more efficiently, and, as usual, this will increase your engine’s performance and its durability over time. It will clean through injectors and carburetors.
This product does not contain MMTs and instead is made up of a tetraethyl lead substitute. This is entirely made up of a mixture of “Petroleum Distillage NOS”.
Klotz says that you should be careful with this product and avoid spilling it on any surfaces. It will discolor paint, plastic, and fiberglass.
+ increases the octane rating by 10 points / 1 RON
+ Does not contain MMT
Why We Like It – Despite perhaps not sounding like much, raising the octane level by 10 points will cause a dramatic difference. This octane booster from Klotz is an excellent MMT-free addition to our list.
9. TORCO Unleaded Fuel Accelerator
TORCO has produced this example of octane boosters to work on 91-octane-rated gas. It is a blend of ingredients that is very similar to the gas used for racing. TORCO makes a point of saying that this product will not affect oxygen sensors or catalytic converters. This MMT-based product will increase the stability of the burn within your combustion chamber.
+ increases the octane rating by unknown
+ formulated to work with high-quality fuels and engines
Why We Like It – This is an example of an octane booster which is focussed on enhancing existing premium performance.
10. RaceGas Race Fuel Concentrate
RaceGas is the real engine enhancing stuff. This will boost the octane levels in your gas by up to 40 points, which is a ridiculous number. It is a formula which was designed by racers, for racers, and produces results accordingly. It is fundamentally racing gas in a concentrated form. When you mix it with the fuel already in your fuel tank, the result in an impressive increase in performance.
Due to the very impressive increases in engine performance that this octane booster will bring, we would recommend making sure that the rest of your car has been modified or tuned to deal with this, if necessary. You should make sure your brakes can handle the increased power, as well as your exhaust, air intake, and cooling system.
+ increases the octane rating by approximately 40 points / 4 RON
+ massive increase in performance
Why We Like It – We liked this MMT-based product because of its insane performance increases.
Octane Booster Buyer’s Guide
Do I Need an Octane Booster?
Octane boosters are recommended for two types of situation: 1) if you have a high-performance car that you want to get more power out of, or 2) if you have an engine knocking problem in your current vehicle.
For most standard cars, an octane booster is unlikely to make any difference.
Do Octane Boosters Really Work?
They do work, especially the best of the best boosters – as anyone who has ever used a high-quality octane booster will tell you. However, it’s usually good advice to say that you shouldn’t use them in place of a higher grade fuel. All that octane boosters mainly do is increase the rating of the octane, and it is usually cheaper to simply buy better grade fuel in the first place. Octane boosters can be particularly useful if you are already planning on using the highest-grade fuel, as they will then increase engine performance even further.
How Do I Know if an Octane Booster is Street Legal?
The best way to check is on the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (US EPA) website. Here you will find a list of all of the registered fuel additives. If they are registered with the EPA, you can use them on the street.
Here is a link to their website: https://www3.epa.gov/otaq/fuels1/ffars/web-gas.htm#S. We would recommend saving this link in case you ever need it in the future.
If in doubt, assume it isn’t. There is only one product licensed for use on the road. This is the HiTEC 3000 from Afton, which is the only metallic gasoline additive licensed for use in the USA.
This means, in short, that all the best products that use MMTs (apart from this one) or ferrocene are not considered street legal in the United States of America. This includes the vast majority of the above products.
Is an Octane Booster Safe to Use?
We would recommend always looking for the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for every product, to check what ingredients make up the octane booster formula.
When buying the best octane boosters, you should also look at the MSDS to be aware of any particular hazards that you should protect yourself from. The main risks you should be mindful of when using octane boosters relate to breathing protection, skin protection, and eye protection.
Most companies producing octane boosters do not state it to be necessary to use breathing protection, such as a ventilator, if you are working in an open space. To be safe, we would recommend wearing one anyway. If you are working with octane boosters in an enclosed space, then respiratory protection of some kind is a must-have.
To protect your eyes, you should wear goggles of some kind to keep the potentially highly toxic formula out of your eyes.
It is also essential to keep your skin covered with coveralls and gloves of some kind. Some of these octane boosters will absorb through the skin very quickly, before directly entering the bloodstream. Due to the highly poisonous nature of some of these, this is something that must be avoided at all costs. Therefore, we would advise always covering all of your skin.
Make sure you read the MSDS thoroughly. There may be specific instructions to firefighters if they are fighting a fire caused by your product, or extra precautions you have to take when using the octane booster, for example.
So, is an octane booster safe to use? You must make your own mind up in that regard.
When Should I Use an Octane Booster?
You should pour the octane booster in before refueling. This will result in the best mixture of the two products possible. When you add the fuel to the tank, this will mix the octane booster with the gas.
It is also important to note that octane boosters tend not to have very long shelf lives. They will probably become ineffective if they have been stood around for, say, over a year.
An octane booster will be most effective when used with a high octane fuel. In the USA, a fuel with high octane would be at most gas stations, be classified as about 90 – 93 in terms of its octane number. In many European countries and the UK, 96 – 98 octane-rated gas (or “petrol”) is available.
Using an octane booster with a low octane fuel (for example, 89 or below) will still give noticeable results. Again, you will probably find it more efficient not to use the octane booster with low octane, and instead replace it with a high octane fuel.
Can You Add an Octane Booster to a Full Tank?
You can, but we wouldn’t recommend it. It would likely waste most of the product since it wouldn’t mix in with the gas properly.
How Much Octane Booster Should I Put In?
We would always recommend you to read the label of the octane booster you buy. This will tell you the exact octane booster to gallons of gas ratio that you should put into your fuel tank.
What is RON?
RON is what octane ratings are usually measured in. It stands for Research Octane Number. To get this number, the gas is placed in a test engine and comparing the results with those for mixtures of iso-octane and n-heptane.
“RON” should not be confused with “points”. “Points” are 1/10 of a RON. Many manufacturers of octane boosters list how much you should increase the octane number to increase in points rather than RON to make it seem more significant than it actually is to people who aren’t sure what’s what.
Other measures of octane include MON (Motor Octane Number) and AKI (Anti-Knock Index), but these are both far less common.
What is Ferrocene?
Ferrocene is another material commonly used in octane boosters. Some studies suggest that exposure to this iron-based compound results in irritation to the lungs and gastrointestinal tract, as well as many other potential symptoms. For more information on ferrocene and studies into it, please follow the link in the section “What are MMTs?”.
What are MMTs?
Manganese fuel additives are usually abbreviated to MMTs. If you want the full name of MMTs, well, brace yourself: Methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl. Try to say that three times quickly. Or even just once…
In 1977, the US Congress introduced measures whereby all fuel additives that were not made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen would need approval from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). This approval would be granted to a company in the form of a waiver. A company called the Ethyl Corporation applied for this waiver a total of 3 times: in 1978, 1980, and 1990.
All 3 of these times, the EPA refused to grant the Ethyl Corporation the waiver, initially because of concerns with how MMTs might damage pollution-management systems in an engine, in particular catalytic converters and certain OBD (on-board diagnostic) sensors. However, this final application in 1990 prompted a 4-year-long review of MMTs and their impact.
In 1994, eventually, the EPA concluded an inconclusive risk assessment investigating MMTs, but still denied the Ethyl Corporation the waiver because of possible health impacts on local populations. The Ethyl Corporation took the case to the US Court of Appeal and, following this ruling – the EPA issued the company their waiver.
This meant that the Ethyl Corporation could produce MMT fuel additives, provided the concentration was less than 1/32 grams per gallon manganese (gpg Mn).
Despite eventually winning the case, there was and still is a lot of opposition from many car manufacturers and some members of the scientific community. Most producers of products that included MMT (in particular oil companies) have voluntarily ceased using it. The company, now known as Afton, maintains that studies looking into negative health impacts and potential damage to OBD sensors and parts such as catalytic converters are still inconclusive.
The main (potential) dangers come from the inhalation of MMTs. Manganese is part of a balanced diet and is found in some foods. It helps in the production of enzymes for digesting blood sugars. When digested through the mouth and stomach, the amounts are then regulated through the liver into the bloodstream.
If, however, you were to inhale a large quantity of manganese, it would be absorbed into the blood directly from the lungs, bypassing the liver, meaning large concentrations could travel to the brain and build up to toxic levels. Some studies associate MMTs with diseases such as Parkinson’s. Octane boosters that utilize MMTs also often leave an orange coating on parts of your engine, such as spark plugs and oxygen sensors.
Other tests have come to conclusions that MMTs reduce the amount of carbon monoxide (CO) and nitrous oxides (NOx) coming out of the exhaust in newer engines, meaning they could be better for the environment.
To read more about studies into MMTs, follow this link http://article.sapub.org/10.5923.j.ijee.20180803.03.html.
There is currently only one octane booster product on the market in the USA that is manganese-based. This is the HiTEC 3000 from Afton, formerly known as the Ethyl Corporation.
Do Octane Boosters Clean Out Your Car’s Engine?
Most of them do – check the individual product descriptions, of course. Many octane boosters will help to clean fuel injectors and other related parts, such as your carburetors. Of course, when you have clean fuel injectors and carburetors, among other parts of your engine, this will help the vehicle run more smoothly; this increases mileage, performance, and durability.
Can I Use an Octane Booster in a Diesel Engine?
No. An octane booster has been specifically designed for use in gas engines, in particular high-performance gas engines. An octane booster will have an adverse effect on diesel engines – that is, it is more likely to cause ignition at the wrong time, rather than prevent it. For this reason, it’s best to never use any kind of octane booster in a compression ignition (diesel) engine and instead use it solely for gas engines or variants thereof.
So what is the best octane booster? We believe the best octane boosters you can find will protect your car’s engine as well as providing that much-desired power boost. You should also look to make sure that your catalytic converters and other emissions parts will not be affected by the use of the octane booster.
If you are just driving on the road, the best octane booster will probably just be for you to put higher octane fuel into your car at a gas station. This will give you a significant performance increase over standard low octane fuel and also help to clean out your car’s system, without the need for an octane booster.
If, however, you are using your car for racing or off-roading, an octane booster will increase your performance noticeably. If you are willing to risk the potential health and environmental issues, octane boosters are a possible way to go at the moment.
We hope you find the kind of octane booster you are after and that this article has been at least of some help.
Thank you for reading this article.