Best LS1 Heads: Top 2 Cylinder Heads For Engines (2022 Buying Guide)

Despite being introduced in 1997, the GM LS engine series is still present in many recent GM and Chevy vehicles, although there have been revolutions. Experts have introduced their tips about the power, features, and improving the efficiency of this engine series.

Among the helpful recommendations, equipping the motor with a cylinder head is considered a must-do action to enhance the engine. And if your vehicle is using an LS1 engine, you may be interested in the best LS1 heads below.

Buying Guide: What To Consider Before Buying An LS1 Head

To choose an appropriate cylinder head of an LS1 engine or any other kind, you need to consider these factors: the purpose of the vehicle, manufacturer, material, compatibility, and some essential specifications of the head. Moreover, don’t forget to check your financial ability before buying. 


It’s vital to determine what you use your vehicle for because choosing the cylinder head will be affected. For example, a transporting vehicle needs boosting while a frequent car doesn’t. If you choose the wrong head, the engine’s consistency may decrease. 


Next, a reputable provider is insurance for the quality of your product. Buying directly from GM is an excellent choice, but you can search for the others if the product is unavailable. 


A cylinder head is often made of aluminum or iron cast. An aluminum head is lightweight and easy for mechanical manipulations. Moreover, it is better for heat dissipation.

On the other hand, an iron-cast cylinder head is better in heat retention. This kind of motor is heavier but sturdier than an aluminum one. In addition, its price is lower. 


Remember to check which engine the head is used for before deciding. This information is often written in the product description. For example, you cannot equip an LS1 motor with a cylinder head designed for LS2 or later engines. 

If you choose the wrong head, some components or their positions may mismatch the engine. Moreover, you need to pay attention to small machining components such as bolts, buts, or springs. 


Combustion chamber size, intake and exhaust port sizes, and compression ratio are important figures you need to consider. Although a cylinder head has a lot of technical figures, these specifications affect the engine’s performance and efficiency the most. 


Last but not least, don’t try to get the most expensive item in the market because you need to invest in other components. Instead, make a wish list, then pick up the affordable one with acceptable quality.

Best Cylinder Heads For LS1 Engine: Top 2 Products Of 2022

JEGS Small Block Chevy Vortec Cast Iron Cylinder Head – Most Compact Size


With a dimension of 21.5 x 9.7 x 6.4 inches, JEGS is among the cylinder heads with a compact design, but it is pretty heavy (48 pounds). Besides LS1, this product is also suitable for LT1 and LT4 engines. 

This cylinder head has a 170cc intake port, a 1.94-inch intake valve, and a 1.5-inch valve. With these valve sizes, the amount of airflow going through is not much, so this head is more suitable for a frequent travel vehicle. In addition, the combustion chamber size of this product is 64cc, which brings a compression ratio of 9.5:1, a figure of a moderate engine. 

However, this cylinder head includes some advanced features that may enhance your engine a little higher. First, the fast-burn combustion chamber makes the motor start and accelerate faster. Second, the intake and exhaust ports are high-velocity with a max lift of 0.475 inches, which means the valves open and close faster. As a result, the time of supplying fuel and exhausting gas decreases, and the efficiency of the engine increases.

Click here for more information about a fast-burn chamber. 

Moreover, this head also has a rocker arm, an essential assistant in enhancing the motor’s speed.


  • Excellent for frequent vehicles
  • Fast-burn combustion chamber
  • Multi-purpose
  • High-velocity ports
  • Rocker arm included


  • Not suitable for heavy-duty vehicles
  • Heavy

Edelbrock 79949 E-CNC 215 LS1/LS2 Cylinder Head (Single) – Best CNC Machining

Despite being a little bigger than JEGS, the Edelbrock 79949 E-CNC cylinder head is much lighter, only about 32 pounds. This product is made of stainless steel, an ideal material for a consistent, durable component against heat and oxidation. Moreover, this cylinder head is made with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, bringing absolute precision to every minor part. 

Another prominent factor in the material is that small components, such as bolts, nuts, and springs, are heli-coiled, increasing durability and force transfer. In general, Edelbrock 79949 E-CNC is perfectly manufactured and machined.

Below is a video posted by Albany County Fasteners, showing how to install heli-coiled minor components. 

How to Use & Install Helicoil Thread Inserts | Fasteners 101 

The main specifications of Edelbrock 79949 E-CNC are similar to JEGS. It has a 215cc intake port, a 76cc exhaust port, and a 65cc combustion chamber. Therefore, it is more appropriate for medium means of transport rather than heavy-duty vehicles. Moreover, this cylinder head also includes a rocker arm that has the same function as JEGS.

However, with the maximum valve lift of 0.68 inches, this head brings less significant valve opening and closing speed than JEGS. Still, you can feel pleased with this figure because the deviation is not remarkable. 

An Edelbrock 79949 E-CNC cylinder head costs nearly $1,400, a price that makes you consider carefully before deciding.


  • Excellent material
  • Perfect CNC machining
  • Heli-coiled components
  • Suitable for frequent vehicles
  • Rocker arm included


  • Not suitable for heavy-duty vehicles
  • Expensive

Frequently Asked Questions

How powerful is an LS1 engine?

When the LS1 engine was first released in 1997, its wattage was 345HP, equal to 257kW at 5,600 RPM. In 2001, it was revolutionized to reach 350HP. Later LS motor generations, for example, LS6, were formed by utilizing the basic LS1 version. 

Why are LS1 motors popular?

First and foremost, the LS1 engine’s quality has kept it in the market for a long time. Despite being released in 1997 and revolutionized for various versions, the basic design of LS1 has never been outdated. Some people said they still prefer the traditional LS1 to later versions because it is powerful, consistent, and compatible with many car series. 

Next, most LS1 versions are at affordable prices, which attracts many customers and other vehicle providers. Therefore, drivers can change if their motors break down while cars manufacturers have a reliable engine supply. 

Moreover, the LS swap customization policy is what people love about GM. GM will make and provide newer ones to save a considerable amount by receiving any used GM motors or even parts. 

For the detailed GM LS swap customizations, click here

Is there any difference between LS2 and LS1?

In general, the overall design of an LS2 motor is similar to LS1. Some components may have minor changes, such as size and position, to be compatible with LS2 specifications. However, the LS2 engine has a little larger intake port than LS1 to provide more airflow and make the vehicle more powerful. Therefore, the price of LS2 is also higher. 

Read more: Best Cylinder Heads For Ford 302


We hope any of the best LS1 heads above can be an appropriate component of your engine. If you have any other excellent choice, recommend it to us, or if you think the information above is helpful, share it with your friends. 

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