Best 5.9L Cummins Turbos (1994-2007) – Complete Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: December 24, 2021

Best of Diesel is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The name turbo charger can be confusing and difficult to understand since it is considered to be complex. However, they are simple mechanical fans that aim to provide air compression to your vehicle.

Buying a turbo charger for your car can be a confusing and daunting task. To make this mission and task easy and painless for you, we have compiled a complete buyer’s guide.

Read on below to find out more about these and learn how to buy the best one present in the market.

Comparison of the Best 5.9L Cummins Turbos

  • High flow 10 blade turbine wheel
  • Drop-in turbo can support up to 60 horsepower easily
  • Provides you with quick spool-up for ultimate towing and drivability
View Latest Price →
  • Comes with a more useable and efficient torque curve
  • Helps in providing a quicker spool without reducing any lag
  • Everything that comes with it can be installed very smoothly without any problem
View Latest Price →
  • Designed especially for daily driving and towing
  • Provides a quicker spool and reduces the overall lag
  • Turbine wheel comes with a new design of a curved blade, which allows it to flow better
View Latest Price →
  • Lowers the EGTs and provides quick throttle response
  • Makes use of fleece performance exclusive FMW compressor wheel technology
  • Does not need any specialized tuning or expensive kit; you just need to bolt it in
View Latest Price →
  • Has a fast spooling and very quick response right away
  • Lowers the EGTs and upgrades the performance overall
  • Direct replacement turbo that comes with a turbo clamp and outlet elbow
View Latest Price →

What is a Turbo Charger and What Does it Do?

A turbo charger is a mechanical device used to boost the engine's power without increasing its weight. These products are used for increasing the airflow present inside the engine and also for increasing the amount of fuel entering the cylinders. The main reason people invest in these is to simply increase the overall horsepower of their vehicle, which, in turn, increases the performance.

Some vehicles come with a turbo charger already installed, whereas some do not. These are made of pipes that provide it with air inside the blades, which rotate and feed the air inside the exhaust. There is a compressor attached to the turbo which feeds this compressed air into the engine's cylinders.

Are All Turbos The Same?

When it comes to constructing an engine, turbo chargers are the best thing to invest in. A good turbo helps provide the extra oomph that you need. However, there are different types of turbochargers present, and they vary from one another. These include:


Single-turbo chargers are what most people understand by the word turbo. By altering the elements present inside the turbo, you can achieve entirely different torque characteristics. Large turbos provide you with higher levels of premium power, whereas small turbos can provide you with better low-end power and spool faster, as well. They are a cost-effective way to increase the engine’s power and efficiency by creating power, but with a low weight.


As the name clearly shows, twin-turbo means adding another turbo charger to your engine. In the case of V8 and V6 engines, this twin-turbo scenario can be achieved by adding a single turbo with each cylinder bank. Similarly, a large turbo can be added for higher RPMs and a smaller one can be added at low RPMs. Having two turbos helps in increasing the complexity and associated costs.

Twin-Scroll Turbo

Twin-scroll turbo makes use of an exhaust manifold and divided-inlet turbine housing that pairs up with the correct engine cylinder for each scroll, but independently. An example of this is an engine with four-cylinder, cylinders four and one can feed to one scroll, whereas three and two can feed to a separate scroll of the turbo.

This layout ensures more efficient gas delivery and provides purer and denser air to the cylinder.

Variable Geometry Turbo

This is an expensive and very complex power solution that is dominant in diesel engines. A VGT-turbo has a ring of aerodynamically-shaped vanes present inside the turbine housing that can change the area to radius ratio in order to match with the revolutions of the engine.

At the low revolution, area and radius ratio can create more velocity and pressure in order to spool the turbo effectively. This results in a better boost range and less lag.

Variable Twin Scroll Turbo

A variable twin-scroll turbo mixed is a VGT along with a twin-scroll setup. This ensures that at low revolutions, one scroll remains closed completely, which forces the air to be pushed into the other one. The end result of this is a good response from the turbo and low-end power.

As you speed, a valve opens up, which allows the air into the next scroll, ensuring a high-end performance.

Electric Turbo

An electric turbo charger is used in removing turbo lagging and to assist a normal turbo at low engine speed where a traditional turbo is not efficient. This action is achieved by adding an electric motor that spins the turbo's compressor from the start all through the lower revolution until the power from the exhaust is high enough to work on the turbo.

This approach reduces the turbo from lagging and also increases the RPM band significantly within which the turbo can operate efficiently.

How to Spot a Quality Turbo From Our List

A quality turbo has some outstanding features that make it stand out. These features separate the good ones from the weak ones. Make sure the turbo you buy has these qualities:

Good Charging Efficiency

The ability of the engine to pull in air is known as the charging efficiency. A conventional engine has a charging efficiency of around 65-85% since it has a slight resistance to the intake system and the exhaust gas remains in the exhaust system. However, the charging efficiency of an engine equipped with a premium turbo charger can be more than 100%, which makes it ideal for your car.

Compression Ratio

Since air is compressed to a pressure which is higher than the pressure of the atmosphere and then fed into the cylinder of a turbo charger, the compression pressure gets higher than what is present in the conventional engine. In turn, the engine gets a better performance tendency. Therefore, the compression ratio of a turbo charger is lower than the conventional engine to prevent it from knocking.

Value For Money

When you are spending money, it is important that you get good value for your money. The turbo chargers mentioned below are efficient in performance and provide top-notch experience. All of them have pros and cons, but with good customer reviews and recommendations, you can get your money's worth.

Review of the Best 5.9L Cummins Turbos

Finding the best 5.9L Cummins turbo is a difficult decision to make, especially with the limited information present on the internet. Digging through customer reviews, pros and cons, and other features of these products can be a time-consuming task. In order to make it an easy task for you, we have compiled the top five present in the market.

Best Overall:
Calibrated Power 64mm Stealth Drop-In Turbo


  • Can support horsepower up to 650
  • Provides you with direct stock replacement
  • Comes with a high-flow 10 blade turbine wheel
  • Provides you perfect fitment without any hassle
  • Has low drive pressure and EGT compared to stock


  • Can only fit for 2004.5-2007 5.6L Cummins

What Recent Buyers Report

According to the buyers of this product, the Stealth 64 is a complete replacement that will support rear wheel horsepower of 700 HP. The bolt in it, along with its perfect build and easy to place features make it an ideal and loved product. This is also said to be one of the quickest-spooling turbos tested out for 5.9L Cummins.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stands out to us because the built-in transmission and stock injector, which can easily provide trucks with 100+ rear wheel horsepower (RWHP) gain without any tuning or adjustment needed. Also, due to the quick spool and better top-end power, this is ideal for towing performance, especially if you use your truck for towing work frequently.

Who Will Use This Most

This charger is the ideal buy for people who have a future plan with a twin kit. You can take your time with it and place it in stages. It is ideal for beginners buying an easy drop-in turbo for their car, as well as for professionals, since it has exceptional performance they will appreciate.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for power coming out of a single turbo to rule the streets, then the Stealth 64 is the one for you. When pushed, this turbo has the ability to provide you with 700 RWHP and since it has a good calibrated power that is tested, it is one mean machine to buy.

Aurora 3000 Turbo System with Optional Pulse Flow Exhaust Manifold


  • Designed for daily driving and towing
  • Comes with increased fuel economy
  • Has a quick spool-up with reduced lagging
  • Ideal for stock motor and its components
  • Decreases pressure on the motor because of better combustion


  • Ideal for models from 2003-2007 only
  • Does not have easy installation for beginners

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a very quick spooling turbo that comes with unmatched reliability and is ideal for stock-powered trucks as well, according to recent buyers. It is a very responsive unit and is safe for stock components, driving daily, and even towing, which makes it suitable for many people.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out because it increases the air volume and this, in turn, makes use of all the fuel present inside the cylinder and creates efficient and complete combustion. Moreover, it leads to lower EGTs, a more usable torque curve, and even a better throttle.

Who Will Use This Most

This turbo is ideal for people who haven’t committed themselves to rear-wheel horsepower of over 500. Even though matching up to this turbo with future modification can be slightly tricky and not ideal for a beginner, with the right professional help, it can be perfect for trucks, stock-powered trucks, and for 2003-2007 5.6L Cummins, as well.

Bottom Line

These ATS turbos are designed with Pulse Flow manifold installation, so you get the maximum gain when installing it as a package. Its multi-piece design provides you with an area for contraction and expansion to occur, which reduces the chances of a cracked manifold and also, prevents a decrease in performance. It is an ideal turbo with many performance advantages you will surely appreciate.

Best for the Money:
Holset Stock Replacement HY35W Turbo


  • Aims to provide exceptional EGT control
  • Great all-around performer with good gains
  • Safe for the stock engine and its components
  • Comes with everything needed for smooth installation
  • Ideal choice for people looking forward to towing heavy loads


  • Has slow shipping, so not ideal for urgent usage
  • Comes with an alignment pin on the stock exhaust and no hole on exhaust flange of the turbo

What Recent Buyers Report

According to recent buyers, this turbo is very well-made and is in good shape. It provides spool-up quicker than the stock and makes your truck more responsive and better performing. However, once ordered, consumers had to wait for the arrival, as it has slow shipping. But apart from that, it worked incredibly well as soon as it arrived.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product stands out because of exceptional performance, quicker spool-ups, and the low-end power it provides. It has an exact fit and is easy to install, even for beginners. Moreover, once you have gotten used to it, you can upgrade yourself to the twin later on.

Who Will Use This Most

This turbo has a very quick-spooling turbo present inside, which makes it difficult for even the most experienced drivers to point out the difference. It is perfect for light throttle and is also ideal for daily driving. Since it provides an easy fit, you can simply remove the factory turbo and place this in place, making it a good buy for beginners, as well.

Bottom Line

This is a good turbo with no tuning adjustments needed. It has great towing performance and excellent EGT control without sacrificing its performance. Whether it is for a professional or a beginner, it fits all needs with its good horsepower. Plus, no tuning is required!

4. Fleece Performance 63mm FMW HX35 Cheetah Turbocharger


  • Lowers the EGT for better performance
  • Works as a great drop-in replacement
  • Has an amazing operating range of 40-45 PSI
  • Rear-wheel horsepower rating maximum is 650HP
  • Ideal in performance due to the exclusive compressor wheel technology


  • Makes a whistle-like noise when working

What Recent Buyers Report

According to the consumers of this product, it is a great turbo for beginners due to its direct bolt-on ability. It works properly and lowers the EGT. Also, the quick throttle response it brings, along with the high-end power is ideal for the classic Cheetah feel in your truck and car.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This Fleece Turbocharger stands out because it is a drop-in replacement for 5.9 Cummins. It has a standard fleece compressor wheel of 63 mm and a mounting gasket that comes with the wastegate. Since it is a premium-quality brand, you will have to pay slightly more. However, the performance it delivers makes it worth every penny spent.

Who Will Use This Most

This turbo is ideal for a smooth ride, whether it is racing, towing, sled pulling or simply getting to work. Its easy-to-install feature makes it the perfect buy for beginners, and since it uses an FMW compressor wheel and a high flowing turbine wheel, it can support up to 650 RWHP without compromising on its drivability for professionals, as well.

Bottom Line

With this, you can amplify your driving experience and take it to new heights. The FMW compressor wheel and high-flow turbine can support horsepower up to 650 and does not sacrifice on the drivability. It also doesn’t require any special tuning, you can just bolt it in and enjoy.

5. Industrial Injection K27 BorgWarner Drop-In Performance Upgrade Turbo


  • Lowers the exhaust gas temperature
  • Helps in increasing the performance
  • Comes with a direct replacement for easy fixing
  • Comes with a clamp and outlet elbow for the turbo
  • Allows for fast spooling and a quick response turbo


  • Sometimes the oil return line will not fit and will have to be removed for the wastegate to fit

What Recent Buyers Report

People who bought this turbo recently claim to love its performance and build quality. It ensures high-end performance at a reasonable price-point and since it is easy to fit in, you can use it right away.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This product has a drop-in direct replacement ability that makes use of your stock two-bolt, flange down-pipe. It also has an enhanced 60 mm compressor wheel that helps in the outflow of the stock turbo, yet it is not very large for stock fueling as that can lead to degradation in low-end responsiveness.

Who Will Use This Most

This product is ideal for beginners and professionals hoping to add a good performance upgrade to their vehicle. Its easy-to-install ability makes it perfect for beginners and since it provides fast spooling with quick response, it is good for experts wanting to upgrade their vehicle.

Bottom Line

This is a great unit that is priced appropriately at this tuning ability. It is ready to install and provides a perfect performance that lasts for a long period of time due to its durability.

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying a Turbo?

Before investing in a turbo, there are few things you should know about. These include:

They Require Maintenance

Turbochargers require a good deal of maintenance in order to work properly, especially if you are adding this to a small engine. They increase the temperature and pressure inside the combustion chamber and add more strain on the internal components, including the head gasket, pistons, and valves. 

Are Reliable

Turbo engines tend to be reliable, only if they have few parts with them. The more the parts, the more things can go wrong. For this reason, it is a smart decision to buy a turbo engine that is compact and small with quick fixing ability. This makes it a good choice for beginners and makes it even more reliable.

Are Good for Towing

Keep in mind that if you are using a vehicle for heavy towing, then you should get a larger V8 or a V6 engine. A turbocharged engine is more ideal for quick power bursts when accelerating or passing, making it ideal for towing.


Finding the best turbocharger should be made much easier for you with this article. Make use of the information mentioned above and get your money’s worth, and enjoy driving your vehicle all day and night. Make sure to check the features and compatibility with your car before finalizing your purchase.  

Sean comes from the forums actually and drives an OBS Ford. He writes fantastic DIYs and knows his way around a camera, too. We keep him caffeinated and away from DPF filters to avoid another rant about recent emissions restrictions.