There are 4 primary contact points between you and the car when you’re driving — the steering wheel, seat, pedals, and the shift knob.
Upgrading either of these contact points will definitely make your car feel different — not faster, but more ergonomic. Aftermarket shift knobs are the cheapest and most accessible out of the four. They’re a must-have if you want to spruce up your car’s interior on the cheap.
They’re one of those driver-feel-focused mods that make a very subtle but noticeable difference. When on the lookout for aftermarket shift knobs, you’ll quickly realize that the variety is nearly endless.
You’ll find everything from beautiful, precision-made weighted knobs, to cheap flimsy feeling knobs made with low-quality materials. Unfortunately, when shopping online, it’s hard to tell the two apart, and the biased reviews don’t help the situation.
We want to make it easier for you by helping you to narrow down your options. In this guide, we’ve listed some of the best Toyota Tacoma shift knobs on the market, and we’ve discussed everything you need to know to choose the right one.
Shift Knob Replacement: Things to Consider
Unlike aftermarket seats and steering wheels where compatibility is a concern, shift knobs are a bit easier to work with. Roughly 75% of aftermarket shift knobs are universal; they come with multiple adapters that make them cross-compatible across various cars.
Besides that, there you need to consider the construction material, shape, size, lettering, color, and most importantly, weight. Below we’ve discussed these parameters in more detail.
The first thing you need to consider is the Tacoma shift lever thread count and size which is M12 x 1.25 — 12 mm outer diameter with a corresponding thread pitch of 1.25 mm. You only need to know the numbers to make sure you have a compatible fit.
When sifting through shift knobs online, you want to ensure that you filter your selection and either:
- Choose the right size to begin with, or
- Make sure that the shift knob is sold with an adapter that fits this size. Many shift knobs are sold without any adapters.
Another thing to consider is whether you drive an automatic or a manual. The shift lever thread size for automatic Tacomas is smaller than the manual variants: M8 x 1.25.
There are currently three generations of Tacoma, and they all use the M12 x 1.25 thread size for their manual transmission vehicles, so you do not have to worry about whether you have a 2004 or a 2016 Tacoma, the type of shift knob you can install is the same regardless.
When you install an aftermarket shift knob in your Tacoma, you’ll notice that it won’t line up the way the OEM knob does, leaving an awkward gap between the bottom of the shift knob and the shift boot collar. This leaves the shift boot loose.
There’s a way you can remedy this by using a 0.075” rubber grommet and a basic workshop tool set. It’ll help to secure the boot, and these can be purchased at most hardware stores for low prices.
Size and Shape
This really comes down to your preferences. Many enthusiasts prefer the good ol’ sphere, but those of us who like holding the shifter sideways prefer tall, cylindrical shift levers. This is completely up to you and your preferences/driving style.
Common shapes include:
- Ball or sphere-shaped
- Cylindrical (taller shift knobs literally resembling a cylinder)
- Variations of OEM-style shift knobs that have a rounded top with curvature to assist in side-grip or top-grip.
- Then you have the odd and unconventional shapes/designs such as swords and skulls. Personally, we don’t like those but hey, it’s your car, you can do whatever you want with it. No judgment.
We recommend choosing a size and shape that works best for your hand size as well as your preferences.
Material matters. Your selection will significantly impact the look, feel, and weight of the shift knob. But look and feel aside, what matters more is the conductivity of the material.
The material will also impact the overall finish of the shift knob. You can choose a matte, glossy, or metallic finish, typically available in multiple different colors.
Stainless steel or SS is a common choice for shift knobs. SS knobs have a shine and a smooth texture.
The only downside is that stainless steel is a good conductor of heat. This means that your shift knob can get freezing cold on a snowy day, and it can get significantly warm if you leave your truck in the sun on a hot day.
Aluminum is another commonly used material for manufacturing shift knobs. Just like stainless steel, it is tough and has a smooth texture, but is prone to getting hot or cold.
That said, its benefits in durability make up for the issues with conductivity. Just be sure to let it cool off or warm up prior to use if needed. Consider wrapping the shift knob in a sock or similar fabric to protect it from the weather).
Many cars come with leather-coated shift knobs from the factory. These provide excellent texture and grip, as well as quality.
When made well, they can look incredibly classy while also being rugged and very durable. Temperature conductivity is never an issue with these.
If you live in a region that experiences extreme temperatures, then Delrin shift knobs are ideal for you. Delrin is an acetal resin — an engineering thermoplastic commonly used in precision parts that require high stiffness, low friction, and dimensional stability.
The reason why it’s commonly used for makeshift knobs (and countless other car parts) is that it is very stiff, and it’s a poor conductor of heat. Which means it will always stay at a neutral temperature.
Wooden shift knobs and steering wheels were a very common sight back in the day, and it makes sense. It has all the good properties of aluminum and stainless steel, paired with the conductivity of Delrin.
If you have a penchant for high-quality, classy materials, we’d say seek out a nice shift knob made using a rare wood type.
The Targa Heritage shift knob by MOMO comes to mind — it’s made using solid beechwood and mahogany, with authentic leather inserts.
Finally, carbon fiber is another popular option when it comes to shift knob material selection. It’s an excellent material to work with, quite possibly the best material you can choose for shift knobs.
The only issue with buying carbon fiber shift knobs is that it’s difficult to verify if it’s actual carbon fiber or if it is just made to look like it. It is important to distinguish between real carbon fiber and carbon fiber patterns.
So be careful when selecting a carbon fiber shift knob and double-check the product description states that the knob is actually made of carbon fiber.
Choosing the right material is a matter of finding out what textures/surfaces you like best when shifting, as well as considering how much appearance matters to you.
If appearance is an important factor, as it often is for automotive enthusiasts, you want to look at how the shift knob will fit with the overall interior style of your Tacoma.
The weight of your shift knob has a significant impact on how it’s going to function. That’s why you’ll come across weighted and non-weighted knobs.
The idea behind weighted shift knobs is for them to be able to carry some momentum when you shift. This translates to a “bulkier” shift that requires less effort and slots the lever into gear with plenty of feedback.
It might sound counterintuitive that heavier shift knobs would make shifting easier, but it actually makes sense. The extra weight really does help propel the shift knob into the selected gear.
Of course, having a weighted shift knob will not make your car suddenly perform better or improve your skills as a driver, but it is an add-on that many enthusiasts appreciate. With that being said, if you prefer a lighter shift knob or do not even care about the weight, that is absolutely fine.
Ultimately a shift knob is one of the most personal choices you can make when customizing your car because it is really about your preferences and how you drive, how you shift, and the way you prefer to grip the shift knob when doing.
Best Shift Knobs for Toyota Tacomas
We’ve curated the following list of replacement shift knobs keeping in mind a wide range of styles and preferences.
Our list includes both OEM and aftermarket shift knobs that are highly favored by Tacoma owners and all of which are designed for manual transmissions. However, some of these shift knobs do have a variant that’s compatible with automatic Tacomas.
Toyota TRD Pro
Part Number: PTR57-35170
Material: Leather Coated
Weight: 6.8 oz
Buy on: Amazon
What we like about it is the neat little TRD logo as well as red-accented stitching which beautifully contrasts the black finish.
First on our list is the OEM Toyota Tacoma shift knob. This isn’t an exact replacement though, it is an upgrade from the one that’s installed from the factory. It’s leather-coated, and it’s fairly lightweight, coming in at a little under half a pound.
This is a great shift knob for those who prefer the OEM look and feel but want something a little nicer in quality. Just changing the OEM shift knob that is solid black for one that is dual-tone can really enhance the overall look of your shift lever.
AJT Design Billet Knob
Manufacturer: AJT Design
Part Number: 10001-STB
Weight: 11.5 oz
Buy on: Amazon
Another popular shift knob in the Tacoma community is the one from AJT Design. It weighs almost a pound and features billet aluminum construction.
This shift knob has a unique design — a rounded top with indentations containing hex screws which make it look tough and rugged. Even the bottom of the shift knob features small indentations. The rounded top is great for those who like to grip the top of the shift knob as opposed to holding it sideways.
AJT Designs offer several color options including black, silver, red, blue, and green, giving you a wide variety to choose from.
Mishimoto Weighted Knob
Part Number: MMSK-BK
Material: Alloy steel
Weight: 12.8 oz
Buy on: Amazon
The Mishimoto weighted shift knob is a steel knob weighing close to a pound at 12.8oz and has a nice “M” logo on top of the knob, giving a nice accent to the otherwise smooth surface.
While the knob is made of steel, the outer layer is aluminum and provides a smooth, shiny finish. Mishimoto offers a plethora of colors so if you want a neon yellow or pink knob, they have it. Of course, you can always stick to the traditional color scheme.
This shift knob is a taller one with a cylindrical shape that widens near the top. This is great to grip it either from the middle or the top when shifting. The weighted feature helps you shift more quickly and smoothly.
Note that this knob comes with multiple adapters, so be sure to use the M12 x 1.25 adapter for your Tacoma.
Toyota Hilux OEM
Part Number: UAQAKKE
Weight: 10.5 oz
Buy on: Amazon
Although designed for the Toyota Hilux, this OEM shift knob will fit your Tacoma perfectly. Many owners feel this is much better than the stock knob which the Tacoma comes with, giving you an upgrade while still being a genuine Toyota product.
If you are someone who prefers retaining the OEM look, then this is the perfect shift knob for you. The knob itself is coated in black leather and weighs 10.5oz, with a traditional OEM shape for comfortable, familiar shifts.
Part Number: SKU17HLPB1
Material: Leather and wood
Weight: 6.4 oz
Buy on: Amazon
The lightest shift knob on our list at just over 6oz comes from Shiftin. The knob is leather-coated and has a smooth wooden finish. It’s worth mentioning that the leather used here is not 100% authentic leather; it’s PU leather. We won’t be surprised if the “walnut wood” isn’t actually wood, but that is to be expected at this price point.
Either way, the shift knob looks classy and feels like it was made exclusively for the Tacoma. If you don’t dig the wooden finish, you can also buy this same shift knob in a carbon fiber pattern or a simple piano black finish.
It has a similar shape to the above-mentioned OEM Hilux and TRD Pro knobs, with perforation throughout, giving it a unique and upscale look.
Billetworkz Blue Cosmic Space
Part Number: BWKNOBUNIVCSBL
Weight: 7.1 oz
Buy on: Amazon
The Blue Cosmic shift knob from Billetworkz is a small, lightweight, aluminum ball-shaped shifter that looks just as the name describes. If the sparkly cosmic style isn’t your thing, you’d be happy to know that Billetworkz makes many shift knobs with multiple patterns and solid colors too.
This is the first ball shift knob on our list and definitely a great choice for anyone who prefers the smaller shift knobs to larger and/or taller ones.
Note, like the Mishimoto shift knob, it comes with multiple adapters; use the M12 X 1.25 adapter for your Toyota Tacoma.
DC Sports SKT1000
The heaviest shift knobs on this list at exactly 1 pound are those manufactured by DC Sports. The SKT1000 is a stainless steel weighted shift knob and it comes with multiple adapters.
It sports a cylindrical design, similar in size and shape to the Mishimoto weighted knob but with a matte, powder-coated silver finish.
It also weighs a few ounces more than the Mishimoto knob, which is important to consider if weight is of interest to you. However, more or less weight is not inherently better or worse, but something that alters the driving and shifting experience generally.
If you are after that, this is a great choice. If not, you might want to go with a lighter option on our list.
DC Sports SKB1000
The SKB1000 is another weighted 1 pound option from DC Sports, the difference being that this one happens to be a smaller, sphere-shaped knob. It features the same powder-coated finish as its larger sibling.
There is not too much to say on the SKB1000 as it is so alike the SKT1000; choosing one over the other is purely a matter of personal preference in the shape and overall look you like the best.
Our Top Picks for the Ultimate Toyota Tacoma Shift Knob
And that concludes our list of the best shift knobs for your Toyota Tacoma. We really love how simple yet exciting this mod is. One good thing about interior mods is that many of the rules for modified car insurance don’t apply to them.
To help you narrow down your options, we’ve chosen our top 3 recommended options for you.
Best OEM replacement knob: Toyota TRD Pro
If you prefer the OEM look and feel, we recommend the Toyota TRD Pro shift knob. Though it’s very similar to the factory shift knob, it definitely feels plusher in comparison. Don’t forget, it is a genuine Toyota part and it offers a much nicer appearance.
Top weighted knob: Mishimoto
If you are after a weighted knob, our top choice is the shift knob from Mishimoto. It offers durable steel construction and a weight of 0.8 pounds, as well as a smooth aluminum exterior.
It is also one of the most customizable knobs with a wide range of colors so you can go with something traditional like black or even neon colors. The full-color options list includes:
- Neon yellow,
- Neochrome, and even glow in the dark!
Nicest looking shift knob for your Tacoma: AJT Designs
If you want your Tacoma’s interior to be as unique as possible, we recommend the AJT Designs shift knob. It provides a ton of durability and an enjoyable driving experience for years to come.
What do you think about this list? Is there a Tacoma replacement shift knob that you know of and highly recommend? Let us know by leaving a comment below!