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10 Best Aluminum Heads for Small Block Chevy: Buyer’s Guide [2021]

Have you ever thought of the importance of the cylinder head for your engine? It is sometimes just a change or repair in the head that changes the engine performance significantly. Cylinder heads close the cylinders of the engine creating a suitable combustion medium to produce energy. So, if they are not efficient, the resulting performance won’t be efficient as well. If you got your factory heads damaged, we can replace them easily. Luckily, cylinder heads are sold separately. However, since there are plenty of products, it is sometimes hard to choose the best product. Thus, this review will give you everything you need to know about the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy.

Contents

What are the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy?

Edelbrock 5089 is the best overall product. It is an American company that is well-known for high-quality aftermarket car pieces. So, in terms of quality, you are sure you will get something that lasts.

Why Edelbrock 5089 is considered the best?

Edelbrock 5089 is the best small block aluminum head as all of its features are suitable for a cylinder head. The combustion chamber volume, runner intake volume, and other features are ideal. Also, the material is high-quality aluminum that resists heat very well.

Comparison Table of The Best Aluminum Heads for Small Block Chevy

IMAGEBRANDDETAILS
01. Edelbrock
02. Flotek
03. Edelbrock
04. DNA Motoring
05. Auto Dynasty
06. DNA Motoring
07. Speedmaster
08. Flotek
09. Edelbrock
10. Edelbrock

 

Top 10 Best Aluminum Heads for Small Block Chevy Reviews

01. Edelbrock 5089 Cylinder Head: Best overall

 

 

Product Features

  • 2.02 / 1.6 intake/ exhaust valve diameter
  • 60 cc exhaust runner volume
  • 64 cc combustion chamber volume
  • Suitable for hydraulic flat tappet

Product Specifications

  • Brand: Edelbrock
  • Model: ‎5089
  • Weight: ‎59 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎25 x 12 x 8.3 inches

Product Description and Performance

Edelbrock 5089 is on top of the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy. The cylinder head gives a 64 cc combustion for the chamber volume. This boosts the performance of the engine significantly. Further, the intake and exhaust runner volume is 60 cc as well.

The intake valve diameter is around 2.02 inches whereas the exhaust valve diameter is 1.6 inches. Both measures are pretty good enough for a well-performing engine. The gas intake and exhaust are ideal with these valve openings.

As for the beck thickness, it is around 0. 56 inches making a durable and sturdy item. The material is also very good quality metal which lasts for years.

Edelbrock is already a known brand that will never manufacture something that has significant effects. Also, you will be paying a lot for this product. So, expect something that lasts.

The overall construction of the aluminum cylinder head produces an enhanced performance most Chevy owners are looking for. In particular, the dimensions of the valves and thickness of the deck regulate gas entering and moving out from the car. Also, it makes the engine more resistant to high temperatures.

“When you use a premium quality head replacement like this one from Edelbrock, you can expect a lot. Besides the boosted performance of the engine, you can save fuel and use it more efficiently.”  

Pros

  • Suitable deck thickness
  • Efficient fuel consumption
  • Enhanced engine performance
  • High-quality construction

Cons

  • Very pricey
  • Works with Hydraulic flat tappet only

Recommendation

Although the product does come on the pricey side, it is worth the investment. You are paying for quality before anything else. So, if your budget allows, just go for this one blindly.

02. Flotek Cylinder Head: Best for engine performance

 

 

Product Features

  • 64 cc combustion chamber
  • 180 cc intake / 64 cc exhaust runner volume
  • 2.02 /1.6 intake/exhaust valve diameter
  • Maintains original block design
  • Universal fit

Product Specifications

  • Brand: Flotek
  • Model: ‎102505
  • Weight: ‎ 28.4 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎‎24 x 10.4 x 8.7 inches

Product Description and Performance

Flotek 102505 is another high-quality cylinder head for a small block Chevy engine with similar performance to the previous one. It features a 64 cc combustion chamber giving the same engine boost. Further, it has a 180 cc intake and a 64 cc exhaust runner volume adding to this upgraded performance.

The intake and exhaust valve diameters are the typical 2.02 and 1.6 inches. Their material is stainless steel adding to the durability of the product. As for the block itself, it is an aluminum cast block which is known to be the best material for head replacement.

The overall construction of this head is very sturdy and well-structured. It incorporates manganese in the intake guides while the exhaust guides have phosphor bronze metal. This construction stands for the upgraded performance of the engine with such characteristics of head replacement.

“What is so special about this aluminum head cylinder replacement is that it maintains the original design of Chevy’s head. This design we knew before 1986 which has been always known for practicality and performance.”

This head for small block Chevy is a universal fit. It may fit other engine blocks but the intake valve is specifically designed for Chevy.

Pros

  • Pre-assembled
  • Very easy to install
  • Keeps original block design

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold up to supercharger

Recommendation

This model from Flotek is the best option for those looking for upgraded performance and flawless design. Further, assembly is very easy and won’t take time.

03. Edelbrock 77199 Cylinder Head: Best for quality

 

 

Product Features

  • 60 cc combustion chamber
  • 75 cc exhaust runner volume
  • 210 cc intake runner volume
  • 2.02 /1.6 intake/exhaust valve diameter

Product Specifications

  • Brand: Edelbrock
  • Model: ‎77199
  • Weight: ‎32.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎NA

Product Description and Performance

Another cylinder head from Edelbrock with the same boosted performance as usual. This model has high combustion chamber volume and exhaust runner volume. Thus, performance is enhanced with a slight increase in fuel consumption.

Starting with the material, it is made of aluminum which is as stated above the best material for this car item. The product comes with all the valves and springs needed for assembly. Thus, you won’t need to buy those from anywhere else. However, you will need to purchase holes and nuts and such small installation hardware.

As for the thickness, similar to Edelbrock’s other head replacements, it has a suitable thickness. The thick deck produces maximum power as a result of the high compression and retention rates.

Needless to talk about the intake and exhaust valve dimensions are ideal. However, it is important to mention that the intake runner volume is 210 cc. The combustion chamber volume is 60 cc and the exhaust runner volume is 75 cc.

“All of these features give the engine higher efficiency resulting from the higher intake capacity. You will notice the difference in the horsepower and torques with this head for Chevy small block.”

Pros

  • High-quality materials
  • High engine power
  • Enhanced horsepower and torque

Cons

  • Vehicle-specific
  • Works with hydraulic flat tappet only

Recommendation

The item uses hydraulic flat tappet camshafts only. Also, it is vehicle-specific. So, make sure you are buying the right product for your vehicle.

04. DNA Motoring CYLH-SBC-350: Best for lightweight

 

 

Product Features

  • 68 cc combustion chamber
  • 200 cc intake runner volume
  • 2.02 /1.6 intake/exhaust valve diameter
  • Bronze valve guides

Product Specifications

  • Brand: ‎DNA Motoring
  • Model: ‎CYLH-SBC-350
  • Weight: ‎‎21.9 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎22.25 x 10.25 x 7.5 inches

Product Description and Performance

DNA Motoring’s CYLH-SBC-350 is another powerful cylinder head that is capable of providing a 68 cc combustion chamber in addition to a 200 cc intake runner. The high intake runner volume means higher gas capacity which reflects better performance.

Moreover, the material is very durable but lightweight. It makes it easier in installing without compromising the quality. The aluminum material is not only lightweight but also better in heat dissipation and resistance.

So, if you are after enhanced overall performance including the horsepower and torque, this option is a very perfect one for you.

One other feature of this cylinder head is the bronze valve guides. Other products on this list have the same feature which is only available in high-quality products.

As for the valve diameter, it is similar to most other options with the 2.02 inches for the intake valve and the 1.6 inches for the exhaust valve. No issues with these diameters as they are the most suitable thing for small Chevy blocks.

This is one of the SBC aluminum heads which are suitable for many SBC engines including the small block ones. Thus, giving versatility of options.

Pros

  • Durable material
  • Lightweight
  • Can be used for many engine models
  • Cheap price

Cons

  • Pushrods aren’t well-placed

Recommendation

While most heads are made of aluminum, not all of them have this premium aluminum construction. The deal here is to create something that is light but durable at the same time. This will reduce fuel consumption and enhance airflow in the long term.

05. Auto Dynasty Straight Aluminum Bare Cylinder Head: Best for airflow

 

 

Product Features

  • 68 cc combustion chamber
  • 200 cc intake runner volume
  • 2.02 /1.6 intake/exhaust valve diameter
  • Spark plug has an angle shape
  • Bronze valve guides

Product Specifications

  • Brand: ‎ Auto Dynasty
  • Model: ‎ AD-CYLH-SBC-350
  • Weight: ‎‎22 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎ 22 x 10 x 7 inches

Product Description and Performance

This cylinder head is compatible with a wide range of Chevy engines with a 68 cc combustion chamber volume. However, take care that the intake port is square. So, you need to check your original intake port and manifold intake as they should match.

To improve the performance of your engine, this cylinder head for Auto dynasty comes with a 200 cc intake runner volume. The diameter is the same as the OEM one allowing for good airflow and later, a good combustion capacity.

As for the construction of this product, it is certainly made of aluminum material whereas the valve guides are bronze. The head has an advanced port design that maximizes airflow and enhances performance.

“This cylinder head is a good choice from the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy. It has all that it takes for a high-quality product to work properly and provide the improved performance of the engine you want.”

The cylinder head comes at a very good price. It is also sold in one or 2 pieces in case you want to have a spare.

Pros

  • 1 or 2 pieces
  • Affordable price
  • Smooth airflow

Cons

  • Pushrods aren’t aligned well

Recommendation

The airflow of this cylinder head is more than perfect. This smooth airflow has a significant effect on engine performance. Also, the gas elimination process goes smoothly with this cylinder head which results in a more efficient combustion process.

06. DNA Motoring LEPOW-038: Best for after-sale service

 

 

Product Features

  • 68 cc combustion chamber
  • Square-shaped port
  • 200 cc intake runner volume
  • Spark plug has an angle shape
  • 3-angle valve seat

Product Specifications

  • Brand: ‎ DNA Motoring
  • Model: ‎ LEPOW-038
  • Weight: ‎‎22.5 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎ 22 x 10 x 8 inches

Product Description and Performance

LEPOW-038 is another good option for an aluminum cylinder head for Chevy small block engines. You may need to check if your engine is compatible with this cylinder head or not before purchasing. The head is compatible with a wide range of small block Chevy engines so it is more likely your engine is one of them.

The cylinder head has most of the features of any quality part. It has nearly the same combustion volume, intake runner volume, and valve opening dimensions. So, no worries from this side.

As for the material, it is also a high-quality aluminum material that withstands heat. This gives excellent performance at the end

“Beware that the exhaust port of this cylinder is square. This is one of the considerations when buying ahead cylinder.”

Finally, the head cylinder comes with an angled spark plug and hardened seats. All of the construction details are taken care of as DNA motoring is a popular name with its reputation in this market.

Pros

  • Hardened seats
  • High-quality materials
  • Improved engine performance

Cons

  • No installation instructions

Recommendation

DNA Motoring cares about their customer satisfaction a lot. That’s why their customer service will happily answer your questions if you have any problems with your car aftermarket piece. So, when you purchase this item, you are getting quality and great customer service.

07. Speedmaster PCE28: Best for premium coating

 

 

Product Features

  • 64 cc combustion chamber
  • Compatible with small block Chevy 350
  • 205 cc intake runner volume
  • Straight plug

Product Specifications

  • Brand: Speedmaster
  • Model: PCE281.2010
  • Weight: ‎52 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎ 22 x 18.25 x 6.5inches

Product Description and Performance

This cylinder head is very vehicle-specific as it works only with 350 w small block Chevy engines with hydraulic flat tappet. This reduces the range of options you have for this cylinder head. However, if you own this Chevy with the motor features, you can rely on this cylinder head.

The combustion chamber is the typical 64 cc combustion whereas the intake runner volume is 205 cc allowing for the most efficient combustion process.

“One of the most significant features of this cylinder head is the coating material used in the construction of this head. It is made of a special material which will reduce porosity and thus, preventing head cracking.”

This cylinder has a straight plug with valves and springs included within the package. The cylinder head is nearly assembled and doesn’t need much effort to get it right into your vehicle.

Pros

  • Hardened seats and advanced ports
  • Premium coating
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Needs gaskets
  • Works with one engine model only

Recommendation

The cylinder head is a perfect choice for aggressive use. If you go for races or such uses, this cylinder head is a very good option. All of the small details are taken care of the seats, valve guides, and ports.

08. Flotek 101505: Best for ease of installation

 

 

Product Features

  • 64 cc combustion chamber
  • 180 cc intake
  • 2.02 /1.6 intake/exhaust valve diameter
  • Preassembled

Product Specifications

  • Brand: Flotek
  • Model: ‎101-505
  • Weight: ‎ 28.3 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎‎24.3 x 10.6 x 8.8 inches

Product Description and Performance

Flotek 101505 is a good option from Flotek you can rely on if you didn’t like the other product from the same brand. The combustion chamber volume here is 64 cc. This is nearly the standard for most cylinder heads.

In fact, you won’t need more than the standard for a great performance from your engine.

On the other side, the intake runner volume is 180 cc which is also pretty much a standard. The valves’ diameter is 2.02 and 1.6 as usual. Also, the material is the same as aluminum with a special aluminum cast treatment for more durability.

“The horsepower delivered using this cylinder head is what every Chevy driver looking for. Many top-quality heads provide the same performance which is what you should be seeking. If there is no change in the horsepower in the cylinder head you bought, consider switching to this option.”

Pros

  • Pre-assembled
  • Durable material
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • Doesn’t hold up to supercharger

Recommendation

Similar to the other Flotek model on the list, it doesn’t take time for assembly. The product is nearly pre-assembled, so, it is very easy to install.

09. Edelbrock 60229: Best for performance with RPM range

 

 

Product Features

  • 60 cc combustion chamber
  • 170 cc intake
  • 21.9 /1.6 intake/exhaust valve diameter
  • Manganese bronze valve guides

Product Specifications

  • Brand: Edelbrock
  • Model: ‎60229
  • Weight: 32.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎NA

Product Description and Performance

This model from Edelbrock is another great performer for cylinder heads. It is maximum performance can be reached with the 1,500-6,000 RPM range. You should really try this to know how your head cylinder is of the highest quality.

As for installation, the intake valve is 1.9 inches whereas the exhaust valve is 1.6 inches. So, select this item carefully after checking your original parts. The combustion chamber volume is 60 cc and the intake runner volume is 170 cc.

“When you use this cylinder head, expect a change in the horsepower, throttle response, and torque provided that you are within the range of the RPM.”

One last thing to mention here about this product is that it has manganese bronze valve guides and rocker studs insert. However, it doesn’t accept rail rockers.

Pros

  • Increased horsepower, torque, and throttle response
  • Reliable brand name
  • High-quality material

Cons

  • Expensive

Recommendation

Edelbrock is a brand to rely on. If you need high performance in normal street conditions, this option is for you. You will notice the upgraded performance yourself.

10. Edelbrock 60859 Performer: Best for practical use

 

 

Product Features

  • Compatible with TBI and tuned port injection systems
  • Compatible with OEM valve covers
  • 165 cc combustion chamber volume
  • Comes as one piece

Product Specifications

  • Brand: Edelbrock
  • Model: ‎ 60859
  • Weight: 30.1 pounds
  • Dimensions: ‎NA

Product Description and Performance

This is one of the easiest cylinder heads to use every for your Chevy small block engine. First of all, the head comes as one unit without much hassle for assembly. You can install it yourself if you have some decent information about car parts.

As for the combustion rate, it keeps the original combustion chamber volume as the original parts if you used it with gaskets of high quality. Best of all, from the same brand.

The intake runner volume is 165 cc. It works with tuned port injection systems or TBI systems. In addition, the cylinder head comes with a CNC port which means the aluminum and other metals are cast for more durability.

Overall, this is one of the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy and it can work for other engines as well.

Pros

  • Works with OEM parts
  • CNC ports
  • Easy installation

Cons

  • The difference in part numbers might be confusing

Recommendation

This aluminum cylinder head works with small block Chevy and other engines as well. Thus, the part number may vary according to the engine. It is sometimes #4246 and #4247 depending on which OEmparts you use.

Buying Guide: Best Aluminum Heads for Small Block Chevy

Even though you might know many brands for head replacement, choosing the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy is still confusing.

As you have seen above, each product has pros and cons. There is no single product without any cons. However, it is a matter of priorities. According to your needs, you might choose the best product for you.

So, to make it easier, here is a small guide you can always refer to when choosing the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy.

Material

Like most other car aftermarket pieces, the material is very important or not the most important thing when choosing the product.

Generally, cylinder head replacements are either iron or aluminum. Iron is a very durable and heavy-duty metal but it is heavier than aluminum, so, more difficult to install.

Further, aluminum withstands heat better than iron. So, the combustion chamber volume of aluminum heads is higher than that of iron. This results in overall better engine performance.

Also, iron is cheaper than aluminum, however, aluminum is certainly better. So, in a nutshell, if you want to save more money but still get something that works, iron is a good option. On the other side, if you want the best of the best, then choose aluminum head replacements.

Aluminum models, on the other hand, are more easily accessible, buy, and find. Mainly, the overall budget affects this choice.

Combustion Chamber

This is usually a number followed by the abbreviation cc in most head replacements. This abbreviation stands for cubic centimeters which is basically a volume. Also, this measures the combustion chamber of the head replacement which indicates a lot about its performance.

Of course, large ports are better and have higher gas intake volume. However, small ports are designed today to give the same exact performance without having to use very large ports.

Note that if you go with small ports, you might notice a slight decrease in the RPM. So, here, you need to balance your priorities. Which Chevy cars are using and for what purposes. Choosing the right port volume intake will lead to increased torque and better throttle response.

Port configuration intake

Port intake will connect with the intake manifold, so, they must have the same shape. Some intakes have a rectangular shape while others are round or oval-shaped. Hence, you need to double-check the manifold intake, so, both match together.

Another important aspect here is the intake port location. This should be also checked for the exhaust port. Ideally, you should get something that matches the original. However, a slightly raised intake port is not a major problem. Instead, it might give better flow and thus, better engine performance.

CNC and CFM

CNC is short for computer numerical control which means the aluminum metal of the head is cast. Metal casting is very important for metals in the head to get it exactly the same shape and size as the factory one. So, intakes can fit easily into the head.

Whereas CFM is short for cubic feet of air per minute. This is the amount of airflow passing through the engine. It has to do with the overall performance of the engine. This number is usually written on the head itself, so, when replacing this head, you need to consider getting the same number or above.

Dimensions

If you choose an aluminum head made for small-block Chevy, there is no problem. These will typically fit but if you choose a universal head, you should make sure its dimensions are suitable for the small block engine of your Chevy.

Apart from the size of the head, the size of valves is also important. The largest the better, however, large valves are sometimes incompatible with your engine. Hence, getting heads that keep the original dimensions is better. If you decided to get one with larger valves, just ensure everything fits in.

Coil bind

Coil bind is the maximum valve lift of any head you are getting. Coil bind is measured in inches and should be set to a suitable number to avoid hitting the engine.

This factor, although mostly you will get it right, is also related to the engine performance.

FAQs: Best Aluminum Heads for Small Block Chevy

What makes the best aluminum head?

The above guide has numerous points to consider when replacing the head. Generally, what makes the aluminum head better than others are the capacity of combustion, the intake valve dimensions, and the runner intake volume for more airflow. These points, if satisfied in your head, make sure you will have the best working aftermarket piece.

What happens if the cylinder head is damaged?

The head is a very important piece in the small block Chevy. It closes the combustion chamber allowing for air and gas to combust under suitable pressure and combustion capacity. If the head is damaged or stopped functioning for any reason, there won’t be proper combustion. This may lead to engine misfiring or it stops working at all.

Should I replace the cylinder head once damaged?

Although you can still drive your vehicle with a damaged cylinder head, this is not recommended at all. A damaged cylinder head will cause problems with the combustion process which at the end may cause failure to the whole motor.

Can I install the head replacement myself?

If you are not experienced in car aftermarket pieces then we don’t recommend you do this. The installation process might seem easy but in the end, it needs a mechanic to get the job done perfectly. Typically, installing should take a few hours if everything else is ok. Also, if the cylinder head is only cracked not totally damaged, the mechanic can fix it by using TIG welding.

What causes the cylinder head to damage?

Sometimes the reason is that it is just the lifespan of the product. It had worked enough years, so, it is worn out and needs replacement. Other times it is a manufacturing defect. Many heads are made of a mixture of metals like iron and aluminum. Each of these metals reacts differently to heat. So, they expand differently when heated and this results in head cracking which eventually leads to its damage if not solved. Also, excess heat may be another reason for head damage even though they are made to resist heat but to certain limits.

Conclusion

Heads are very important parts in the overall engine compartment that you might not have thought of before. Sometimes, it is the only reason your vehicle is not performing as required is because of the head. So, part of maintaining your car is to check the cylinder head. With so many options in the market, the choices became difficult. However, this review and buying guide will help you a lot in determining the best product and reaching a decision about the best aluminum heads for small block Chevy.

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