best aftermarket camshaft 2023: 5 brands you can buy now

An aftermarket camshaft can make a massive difference to your engines performance. Whether you want to drive around town with your daily driver or build a high horsepower drag car this is the performance mod you for you.

In this article we breakdown the 5 best aftermarket camshafts brands and what exactly are camshaft stages.

COMP Cams

COMP cams

Crower

Crower cams

Melling

Melling cams

Howards

Howards Cams

Isky Cams

Isky cams

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what are aftermarket Camshafts

An aftermarket camshaft is simply a replica or modified version of the stock camshaft for your engine from a 3rd party brand. In the majority of cases, the one we talk about in this article is a camshaft made to enhance the performance of your engine.

A camshaft can be modified in three main ways such as:

  • lift
  • duration
  • lobe separation angle (LSA)

Furthermore, There are 4 different types of camshaft varying on the lifter it uses.

  • hydraulic flat tappet
  • hydraulic roller
  • solid flat tappet
  • solid roller

If you are unsure of what all these different terms means you can find explanations for all of them on our other article: performance camshaft ultimate guide (What is the best camshaft type)

What are camshaft stages

Camshaft stages from one brand to another may slightly vary. However the overall concept stays the same.

Stage 1

A stage 1 aftermarket camshaft is a very close to stock camshaft. This stage is usually great if you want to add a little more power or “spiciness” to your daily driver car. Although they can make your car gain a slight bump in power, these camshafts are not necessarily used for racing. They are popular for the reason they commonly do not require extra performance modifications.

Stage 2

A stage 2 aftermarket camshaft is a more street performance and track oriented camshaft. This stage will usually make a big enough performance boost for your car to be worth bringing to the track. Yet, this boost in performance will also not be too overwhelming if you plan on using your car as a street car. Stage 2 will usually require you to make different performance upgrades especially if you have an older carbureted style V8.

Stage 3

A stage 3 aftermarket camshaft is a racing and performance oriented camshaft. This stage of camshafts is capable of making high power and is installed for a specific power and racing goal. This type of aftermarket camshaft is not often used for fun around town for two main reasons. First, it will require a decent performance rebuild of your engine which automatically equals the need for a bigger budget for performance parts. Secondly, they are incredibly choppy and not pleasant at lower rpm and lower driving speeds. 

Stage 4 and stage 5

The majority of camshaft companies will stop their categorizing at stage 4. However, stages 4 and 5 are very similar. For companies with a stage 5, stage 4 is an extra category to be more precise in stages. Their stage 4 is used for heavily modified and high-performance engines only. Whereas the last stage of both types of company gradings (stage 4 or 5) is used for a fully custom high-performance track-only racecar. Usually, if you are looking to buy this type of aftermarket camshaft you have a big budget and you either know what you are doing in terms of mechanics or have an expert orienting you in the right direction.

The 5 best camshaft brand Reviews

These brands have not been reviewed or ranked in any particular order. Number one on the list is not superior to number two. The brands on this list are all brands that we consider are worth your money and capable of providing the performance you are looking for.

1. best aftermarket camshaft – COMP Cams

COMP aftermarket camshaft

About

COMP Cams is a well-known and popular leading American manufacturer of performance-based internal engine components. They manufacture many parts including camshafts, valve springs, rocker arms, lifters, pushrods, and other valve train components. 

Founded in 1976, COMP Cams uses innovative technology to produce high-performing products, providing great efficiency and reliability for automotive enthusiasts. 

COMP Cams aftermarket camshafts are produced with sophisticated manufacturing equipment and highly trained engineering staff, making them an amazing brand for valve train components. They are also a member of the Edelbrock Group™ family.

COMP Cams put a lot of energy into results-driven technology and superior customer support.

Claims and Facts about COMP Cams

  • Founded in 1976
  • Part of the Edelbrock family
  • Their camshafts are made in USA
  • They have many different aftermarket camshaft series for different purposes 
  • Headquartered in Olive Branch, Mississippi

Aftermarket camshaft and valve train Parts Range

*The following specification list was made with Summit Racing Shop product range. COMP Cams true spec offering may have a small variation*

  • Lift Range Intake: 0.354 – 0.882
  • Lift Range Exhaust: 0.350 – 0.830
  • Duration Range Intake (at .05 inch lift): 180 – 296
  • Duration Range Exhaust (at .05 inch lift): 198 – 304
  • Lobe Separation Angle (LSA) Range: 104 – 134
  • Part Versatility: Camshafts, Valve springs, Rocker arms, Lifters, Pushrods, Timing components and Lubricants

Performance and Quality

According to COMP Cams, they are a leader in valve train components, using advanced manufacturing and testing equipment and highly trained engineering staff. 

Their goal is to produce more power, higher torque, greater consistency, and reliability in addition to their no-compromise attitude. By combining the best engineering minds with advanced testing and measuring equipment, they can achieve superior performance and reliability.

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2. best aftermarket camshaft – Crower

Crower aftermarket camshaft

About

Crower, founded over 50 years ago, has grown into a large manufacturing business that produces high performance parts for cars, trucks, boats, tractors, motorcycles, and antiques.

Crower claims to be the world’s largest manufacturer of aftermarket crankshafts and connecting rods. Furthermore Crower clutches have been dominating the drag racing and tractor pulling series for nearly four decades.

Crower is very capable of creating high quality products with USA milled materials in its manufacturing

Their product undergoes a rigorous cycle of testing under dyno simulated racing conditions. Evaluating maximum horsepower, torque, and rpm specs for durability.

Crower Cams and Equipment Company is still a family owned and operated business.

Claims and Facts about Crower

  • Founded over 50 years ago
  • Crower is a family owned and operated business
  • They use USA milled materials
  • They claim their clutches has been dominating the drag racing industry
  • They claim to be the largest manufacturer of aftermarket crankshafts and connecting rods.

Aftermarket camshaft and valve train Parts Range

*The following specification list was made with Summit Racing Shop product range. Crower true spec offering may have a small variation*

  • Lift Range Intake: 0.270 – 0.759
  • Lift Range Exhaust: 0.242 – 0.736
  • Duration Range Intake (at .05 inch lift): 180 – 285
  • Duration Range Exhaust (at .05 inch lift): 184 – 285
  • Lobe Separation Angle (LSA) Range: 100 – 114
  • Part Versatility: Camshafts, valve train parts, Lifters, connecting rod, crankshaft, clutches

Performance and Quality

Crower has been in the market for over 50 years and claims to be a leading producer of aftermarket camshafts and valve train components. 

They also claim to be the largest manufacturer of aftermarket crankshafts and connecting rods. Furthermore, the Crower line of clutches has been dominating the drag racing series for decades.

All points proving their capability of manufacturing high performance and durable parts. 

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3. best aftermarket camshaft – Melling

Melling aftermarket camshaft

About

Melling has been manufacturing and supplying cutting-edge performance engine parts for over 70 years. Melling Performance features BILLET Aluminum & Cast Iron oil pumps, camshafts, timing components, and valve trains.

They also produced parts for a wide range of engines, including automotive, heavy truck, industrial, performance engine, hydraulic, agricultural, and marine engines.

They have numerous quality boundaries, regulations, and certificates (1) in place to ensure the highest quality for their consumers. Melling also services the global transportation original equipment and aftermarket sectors.

Claims and Facts about Melling

  • Founded over 70 years ago
  • They serve motive, heavy truck, industrial, performance engine, hydraulic, agricultural, and marine industries
  • Melling serves the global transportation original equipment and aftermarket segments 
  • Participating for the 24th consecutive year in the Contingency Connection (2)
  • Melling operates 7 facilities, 5 in North America, 1 in Mexico, and 1 in Europe.

Aftermarket camshaft and valve train Parts Range

*The following specification list was made with Summit Racing Shop product range. Melling true spec offering may have a small variation*

  • Lift Range Intake: 0.297 – 0.559
  • Lift Range Exhaust: 0.297 – 0.580
  • Duration Range Intake (at .05 inch lift): 168 – 262
  • Duration Range Exhaust (at .05 inch lift): 170 – 273
  • Lobe Separation Angle (LSA) Range: 104 – 118
  • Part Versatility: Water Pump, (Performance) Oil Pump, Camshafts, Timing Components, Cylinder Sleeves, Lifters and  Valve Train Parts

Performance and Quality

Melling manufactures a wide range of precision parts for heavy-duty applications. Their expertise and engineering on these parts enable them to provide highly durable and high-quality camshafts.

These qualities are critical when it comes to performance, making Melling an excellent brand to consider.

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4. best aftermarket camshaft – Howard

Howards aftermarket camshaft

About

Founded in 1945, Howard Cams is a manufacturer with a rich history and a strong focus on racing performance.

Howards Cams have always used on-track experience to design the most powerful aftermarket camshaft designs. They have amateur to professional class racers in Circle Track, Drag Racing, Road Race, Mudd Bogg, and Marine racing offering them all the feedback necessary to design the most competitive race-winning parts.

Not only do they design and manufacture high-performance aftermarket camshafts they also produce precision American-made forged steel connecting rods and crankshafts along with billet main caps and forged aluminum pistons.

Howard Cams produces the high-performance racing camshaft for the racer that you are.

Claims and Facts about Howards Cams

  • Founded in 1945
  • Utilizes on track experience 
  • Racing and performance focused brand
  • Manufactures American made forged steel connecting rods and crankshafts
  • Howard Cams is located in Oshkosh, Wisconsin USA

Aftermarket camshaft and valve train Parts Range

  • Lift Range Intake: 0.297 – 0.873
  • Lift Range Exhaust: 0.297 – 0.867
  • Duration Range Intake (at .05 inch lift): 184 – 342
  • Duration Range Exhaust (at .05 inch lift): 186 – 319
  • Lobe Separation Angle (LSA) Range: 104 – 118
  • Part Versatility: Camshafts, Piston, Connecting rod, Crankshaft, Lifters, Rocker Arms, Valve Train Parts, and Oils and Lubrication

Performance and Quality

Howards Cams is a racing and high-performance specific brand. As a result, their aftermarket camshafts are extremely efficient, with on-track statistics and testing to guarantee exceptional performance.

Furthermore, any car part made for high power and racing requires great durability, precision, and strength. 

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5. best aftermarket camshaft – Isky

Isky aftermarket camshaft

About

Founded shortly after WW2, Isky Racing Cams has established itself as a premier manufacturer of camshafts and valvetrain components.

Their constant dedication to precision and power in order to achieve excellence has earned them a trusted reputation among racers, and car enthusiasts. Isky has achieved numerous breakthroughs in camshaft engineering, resulting in enhanced valve lift, duration, and overall engine performance.

To this day their camshafts still dominate racetracks and drag strips thanks to decades of racing experience and an uncompromising commitment to excellence.  Furthermore, when it comes to achieving great amounts of power Isky aftermarket camshafts are a great choice.

Claims and Facts about Isky

  • Founded shortly after WW2
  • Founded by Ed Iskenderian (3)
  • Racing and performance focused brand
  • Located in Gardena, California
  • Made numerous advancement in aftermarket camshafts

Aftermarket camshaft and valve train Parts Range

*The following specification list was made with Summit Racing Shop product range. Isky true spec offering may have a small variation*

  • Lift Range Intake: 0.364 – 0.770
  • Lift Range Exhaust: 0.364 – 0.772
  • Duration Range Intake (at .05 inch lift): 248 – 324
  • Duration Range Exhaust (at .05 inch lift): 248 – 332
  • Lobe Separation Angle (LSA) Range: 108 – 113
  • Part Versatility: Aftermarket Camshafts and Valvetrain Parts

Performance and Quality

Isky aftermarket camshafts are performance and racing focused.

With such a long history and advancement made in the camshaft market Isky has developed great knowledge and engineering. This allows them to provide high quality camshafts for many different racing styles and power goals.

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conclusion

In conclusion, aftermarket camshafts offer a wide range of options to enhance the performance of your engine. Whether you’re looking for a slight power increase for your daily driver or seeking high-performance upgrades for racing, there are camshafts available to meet your specific needs.

Leading brands such as COMP Cams, Crower, Melling, Howard, and Isky have established themselves as reliable and performant manufacturers of aftermarket camshafts and valve train components.

Furthermore, the different stages of an aftermarket camshaft provide options for various levels of performance. From Stage 1 to stage 4 or even 5. It is important to consider your budget, engine modifications, and intended use when selecting an aftermarket camshaft.

Finally, aftermarket camshafts provide a valuable opportunity to optimize engine performance, delivering increased power, torque, and reliability for automotive enthusiasts and racers alike.