Bar and Plate vs Tube and Fin – Best Guide To Intercoolers

If you own a car, you might have thought at some point to buy an intercooler. Well, that is a good choice. However, if you want to consider bar and plate vs tube and fin intercoolers- you need to think twice before deciding. 

Well, the basic difference between the two is that bar and plate refers to the intercoolers that achieve their task through a medium of rectangular air galleries. On the other hand, tube and fin complete the same job through a series of curved air vents. 

However, that is not all there is to this topic. Scroll down below and keep reading so that you can learn more before you buy the right thing.

Bar And Plate vs Tube And Fin- Differences At A Glance

SpecificationsBar and PlateTube and fin
Typical core size450x180x65mm600x280x65
Typical Inlet2.5 inches76mm
Typical Outlet2.5 inches76mm
Typical Manufacturing materialAluminium and silicon Aluminium
Core designBar and plateTube and pin
Compress air rate flow800cubic feet/minLess than 700 cubic feet/min
Pressure drop0.2-0.5 at 15 PSI2-5 at 35 PSI
Recommended range300-420 rwkws100-350 rwks
hoseTypically presentTypically not present
Typical power rating600-800 hp550-600 hp
Typical weightMore than or around 12 kgLess then or around 10 kg
Popular ProductUniversal Tube and Fin IntercoolerUniversal Dual Pass Bar and Plate Intercooler
PriceCheck Latest PriceCheck Latest Price

Key Differences

There are differential factors between bar and plate and tube and fin. We have already given you the differences in specifications above in the form of tabular data. Well, it’s high time that we delved deeper into the matter. 

Below, we compiled some of the most crucial differences and their brief details.


These intercoolers are given the names of bar and plate and tube and fin because of their construction techniques. It is because of how they are designed. This design allows them to have different specifications and output values.

The bar and plate are constructed so that it is heavier than the tube and fin. It has a very upbeat design where the more serious core acts as an absorbent for the heat to sink in. Since it is heavier, more heat can sink inside without causing overheating to the vehicle. 

On the other hand, tube and fin are more conventional and are constructed to weigh a lot less. They have a very thick tube that allows them to be kept in place without being affected by external vibrations and force.


The intercooler can be compared to a cross-road. Ambient air and modified air intersect in the tubes and exchange heat. The amount of air that an intercooler can take inside depends on its thickness and area. The thickness affects how the air will flow, while the area affects the air being cooled. 

We have already mentioned that the bar and plate have a larger body, therefore, a larger contact area. This allows it to absorb a lot of heat.

On the other hand, the tube and fin have thicker tubes. As a result, it can allow the air to flow faster. 

Manufacturing Method

While the manufacturing method isn’t as important as the other two, we have still included it in this section. The manufacturing method refers to the construction technique used by the intercoolers. 

While the cores are made differently, you must know that the tube, fin, bar, and plate are often made using the same old furnace techniques. Their materials are clad together after being aligned in the furnace. Finally, they are clad into place to produce the cooler.  

What Is An Intercooler?

An intercooler is a special appliance installed in a vehicle as a medium of air cooler. It uses several thermodynamics theories to apply to the device’s mechanism, including the induction process. 

If you have an engine that heats up a lot, intercooler core can prove to be a game-changer for you. They will absorb the heat released by the engine and cool the air down while reducing airflow restriction.  

These appliances are usually made from metal structures and consist of the exterior body and the core. The main body causes the appliance to be durable and does not break easily. 

The core consists of internal air galleries or vents. It is responsible for the main task of cooling the air.

What Is A Bar And Plate Intercooler?

Bar and plate have a rectangular core. This setting allows a more significant amount of air to pass through into the charge air intercooler.

Bar and plate intercoolers are very sturdy and do not break easily. They come with thick vents in the core that increase the overall stability. In addition, it also allows the device to have a greater air capacity. 

However, bar and plate intercoolers aren’t designed to keep aerodynamics in mind. As a result, there is more resistance to the airflow. Hence, it isn’t that efficient. 


  • It comes in tonnes of shapes and sizes befitting your preference
  • Less likely to be damaged.
  • Those with turbulators offer even more excellent heat rejection
  • It has a large air capacity
  • Offers great stability


  • It can be costly
  • It doesn’t offer any protection against air resistance that causes flow restriction in the air.

What Is A Tube And Fin Intercooler?

Tube and fin intercoolers have the same purpose of removing heat from the car, like the bar and plate. Instead of rectangular vents, they have curved fins at the end tank. Since the fin core is curved, it loses its air capacity more than its rectangular counterpart.

The tube fin, however, has a small surface area. This along with the fin design at the charge air entry means that air resistance doesn’t dominate these types of coolers during a heat transfer. 

Tube and fin are highly efficient. What they lack are stability and strength. This means they can easily fall from the original place where you have installed them. They can also break when too much pressure drop through the vent. 

Another characteristic of the tube fin intercooler is that they cannot withstand high compressed air or when there is too much pressure drop in the airflow. 


  • It is very light (half of the bar and plate) 
  • Typically less expensive
  • Lower internal air resistance
  • Allows better flow from the rear of the core to the radiator


  • Has lower air capacity.
  • It can break easily when pressure increases too much. 

Why Are Intercoolers So Important?

Your engine is highly prone to get overheated in a turbocharged system. An overheated engine causes a multitude of issues starting with engine failures, the greater flow resistance of air, and a decrease in life expectancy of the motors.    

Intercoolers play an essential role in decreasing the amount of heat that the engine can release. It is installed near the machine so that the hot air discharged from the engine can pass through the cooler via conventional currents. When it is released back to the air from the plate cooler, it loses all of its heat. 

With a greater heat rejection, the engine’s performance is increased in the long run. Additionally, with a better flow of air and cleaner entry, your engine life expectancy would increase.

FAQs On Bar And Plate vs Tube And Fin

What Is The Most Crucial Part Of An Intercooler?

If you consider the most important part of a cooler, it would be the plate core. The entirety of the process of heat exchange occurs in the core.

What Intercooler Type Is More Efficient?

All intercoolers have their pros and cons. If we consider the proficiency, then tube and fin intercooler would be the clear winner. They have been designed along with their internal fins in the core wall to reduce the amount of air resistance experienced. As a result, more air can flow inside and lose its heat.  

Does A Bigger Intercooler Mean Better?

It is not necessarily true. A bigger intercooler means that the appliance will have a larger air capacity. However, it can also mean that there will be a larger surface area for air resistance to act on. 

What Is An Ideal Material To Make An Intercooler?

Intercoolers can be made from any metal that is malleable enough to be made into uniform shapes. However, aluminum is the most ideal metal to for the plate design in the plate tube due to its high flexibility and reduction in the cost of the metal.

Is An Intercooler Same As A Radiator?

While they share a heat exchanger’s similar material and functional properties, they are different. The radiator is a large category of machines that intercooler is only a part of.


So with this, you should have a considerable amount of knowledge on “Bar And Plate vs Tube And Fin.” So which one do you think is worth your notice?

Personally, our money is on tube and fin due to how efficient it is in its task. However, you could have your own opinion on things. You are more than welcome to share it with us.

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