SOHC vs. DOHC – Which Engine is better?

SOHC or DOHC- The confusion may spin your head. But, before moving forward and clearing your doubts, it should be clear that these engine types have several pros and cons that makes them distinctive from one another.

Both SOHC and DOHC have managed to gather the limelight for their superior performance when it comes to engine efficiency. But to help you choose better, we have listed out certain factors that will help you make a better choice when SOHC vs. DOHC is in question.

Definitions Of SOHC And DOHC

What Is SOHC Engine?

SOHC stands for Single Overhead Cam (Only one cam rod operating the intake and exhaust valves). That means there is only one camshaft in the head. Inline engines will have one camshaft. Flat engine and V-engine will have two camshafts, one per cylinder bank.

What Is DOHC Engine?

DOHC stands for Dual Overhead Cam or Double Overhead cam (there are two cams located over head operating various intake and exhaust valves). That means each header has two camshafts. Hence, an inline engine will contain 2 camshafts as it has only one header. Flat engine and V-engine will contain 4 camshafts as they have two headers. The DOHC engines usually come in 4 valves. One camshaft for the intake valves and the other for the exhaust valves.

SOHC vs. DOHC – Which One Makes For A Better Choice?

Each type has its own features that make them unique and distinctive from one another. Let’s look for the difference between SOHC and DOHC in detail so as to help you make a better choice.

1. Operation

A SOHC is simply a single camshaft regulating both the inlet and the outlet of gases and DOHC is double camshaft that has a dedicated setup for inlet and outlet of gases. This further implies that a DOHC has double inlet and exhaust valves as compared to SOHC. Thus, this makes for a cooler engine with equal distribution of operations, which, in turn, leads to the smooth, noise-free and effective ride experience.

2. Valve Timing

Valves are known to activate the working of the engine. And, the timing of the intake and the outtake of the gases depends on the shape and the angle of the camshaft. When that breathing process needs to be optimized variable valve timing is required, which in turn, also enhances the maximum horsepower attained. It is known that SOHC designs have less control over valve timing as compared to DOHC, owing to the single camshaft availability, making DOHC more flexible in terms of tuning.

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3. Fuel Efficiency

As discussed a DOHC has a double setup of valves per head. This, in turn, implies that more power would be consumed owing to the enhanced control over the valves. And, more the power more is fuel consumption. Thus, when talking in the terms of SOHC vs. DOHC fuel efficiency, a SOHC is more fuel efficient. But, it should be known that it is the skills of a driver and the design of the engine that can make a DOHC engine reflect fuel efficiency. You could look for maintenance tips that can help you learn how to manage the engine efficiency well.

Find difference between SOHC vs DOHC
Fuel Efficiency of SOHC and DOHC. Credit: Kadmy – Fotolia

4. Price

When the question” What is SOHC” comes to your mind, just know that it has a single rotating cylindrical rod that regulates the intake and the exit of gases. This calls for affordability over DOHC which has distinctive setup for both the incoming and outgoing of gases. A DOHC has double the valves as compared to SOHC, which make it a less complicated design and thus cheaper than its counterpart.

Price difference of SOHC vs. DOHC
SOHC vs. DOHC- Which is reasonable? Source: Yahoo Autos


Having looked at the perspectives of the two engine types, you must have got a clearer perspective on SOHC vs. DOHC. Also, one should know that both SOHC and DOHC has its own advantages and disadvantages, but when it comes to choosing a better option keeping in mind the market trends, it would undoubtedly be DOHC.
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