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10 Best Car Air Filter (Review) 2021

Nothing beats the feeling of riding a new car! The brand-new engine seems to read your mind before you even touch the accelerator pedal. It runs like a beast with such speed that makes you feel like the boss of the road!

And that feeling remains so until your beloved car starts to perform poorly. As your engine adds more mileage to its lifespan, its air filter starts to get dirty and at some point becomes clogged.

The muddy roads, stormy weather and dust on the highway take tolls on your car’s engine. Air filters remove all of these pollutants and provide your engine with clean air and improve its efficiency.

Depending on your usage, your engine might need a new filter after 15000 to 30000 miles. Changing the air filter will give your car an extra boost and enhance its performance. To buy the best car air filter, read along to the rest of the article.

Best Filter For Cars Choices 2021

Car Air Filter Review
Car Air Filter

A clogged up air filter can no longer fight against dust in the air and makes your engine vulnerable. How would you know it’s time to change your filter?

If your engine doesn’t rev up easily and you seem to struggle to get enough power out of it, then it’s time to take a look at the air filter. A dirty air filter is easy to spot as you won’t see any light passing through while you hold it up in a well-lit area.

To find out some good air filters on the market, take a look at our best car air filter review.

Top Car Air Filter Comparison Chart

ImageProductDimension
(Inches)
Filter
(Type, Media)
Price
Airaid-AIR-720-128-Universal-ClampAiraid AIR-720-128
(Expert’s Choice)
12.2 x 9.5 x 8.2
Engine, SynthaFlow
Check Price
aFe-24-91018-Air-Filter-ElementaFe 24-9101811 x 9.3 x 9.2
Engine, Cotton
Check Price
K&N-Engine-Air-FilterK&N 3323-04
(Editor’s Choice)
11.6 x 10.4 x 1.8
Engine, Cotton
Check Price
S&B-Filters-KF-1035DS&B KF-1035D10 X 10 X 9
Engine, Dry Extendable
Check Price
AEM-21-203DK-Universal-DryFlow-Clamp-On-Air-FilterAEM 21-203DK9.2 X 7 X 6.4
Engine, Synthetic DryFlow
Check Price
ACDelco-A3141C-Professional-Air-FilterACDelco A3141C14.7 x 14.2 x 3.2
Engine, Paper
Check Price
K&N-RG-1003RD-L-Mini-car-air-filterK&N RG-1003RD-L
7 x 6.5 x 5.5
Engine, Cotton-gauge
Check Price
Spectre-Performance-8131-Universal-Clamp-On-Air-FilterSpectre 81317.4 x 7.3 x 5.7
Engine, Synthetic
Check Price
Mann-Filter-CUK-29-005-Carbon-Cabin-Air-FilterMann CUK 29 00510.6 x 3.4 x 11.2
Cabin, Nano-fibre
Check Price
FRAM-CF10134-Cabin-Air-FilterFRAM CF1013410 x 2 x 10
Cabin, Paper
Check Price
MOTOKU-2-PC-Air-FilterMOTOKU2.36 x 2
Engine, N/A
Check Price

Our 11 Picks For The Best Car Air Filters

1. Airaid (AIR-720-128) | Best Automotive Air Filter

Airaid 720-128 is a strongly built air filter which vows not to break under pressure. Its urethane body protects this device from high temperature and any kind of scratch.

You wouldn’t mind seeing your car producing more power with some added fuel, would you? To make it happen, your engine might need a bit of extra air in its system.

Airaid AIR-720-128 Universal Clamp Review
Airaid AIR-720-128 Universal Clamp

Airaid is capable of improving your engine’s efficiency by delivering 20% more airflow to your engine than the original factory-made filters! With better fuel-efficiency, your car will be able to gain more horsepower and gas mileage.

The device has multiple levels of defense to fight off the dust in the environment. It is layered with multiple cotton pleats to enhance its ability to filter dust and debris in the air.

You can wash and reuse this product as long as you want. To get the optimum service, try washing the filter after every 30 to 50 thousand miles on it.

Highlighted Benefits
  • With Cotton-Gauze and SynthaFlow layers, it gives optimum protection.
  • Airaid provides the engine with 20% more airflow.
  • It has a durable, long-lasting urethane body.
  • The epoxy-coated wire mesh provides cleaner air to the engine.
  • The filters can be reused again with regular washing.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • The filters need proper maintenance to work properly.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
While washing and oiling the filters, you have to be careful. Too much oil in the filter can damage your car’s mass airflow sensor. To maintain your engine’s efficiency and good performance, wash and regularly clean the filter with proper care.

2. aFe 24-91018 Air Filter Element | Best air filter for diesel engines

aFe 24-91018 is known to be a good match for classic cars like Ford Excursion diesel 2001. It has a conical shape design with a deep blue finish.

aFe 24-91018 Air Filter Element Review
aFe 24-91018 Air Filter Element

The top of the filter measures about 7 inches in diameter. With 8 inches length, the bottom part measures around 7 inches in length and 10 inches in width. Before you buy an air filter for your car, it is advisable to check if these measurements are the right fit for your engine.

Built with polyurethane material, this device is sealed from top to bottom with the same material, so that the engine can only get clean air from the filter. It does not use any sealing grease or foam gasket to airtight the device.

The filter has 5 layers of fine mesh cotton media which act as a barrier between the dirt in the air and the engine. The cotton fiber catches small particles and protects the inner compartment of your vehicle’s engine.

Highlighted Benefits
  • aFe Power features a pre-oiled, ready-to-install filter.
  • Its polyurethane body is heat and chemical resistant.
  • Its universal model matches any vehicle with the right dimension.
  • The device is washable and reusable for multiple times.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • This device is more expensive than paper media.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
Although you may have to spend a little more initially, this device will pay you off in the long run. As you can clean and reuse it multiple times, this air filter will save your time and effort and give you more airflow than the paper media.

3. K&N Engine Air Filter | Best Engine Air Filter

K&N is a renowned brand, which is known for making high-quality replacement air filters. Their reusable devices not only save your time and money but also protect our environment from getting filled with unnecessary wastes.

K&N Engine Air Filter Review
K&N Engine Air Filter

Your car is running fine and all. But you still feel like it’s missing something. K&N filters will give you that extra vibe by adding 1 to 4 horsepower on your engine. This little boost comes as a big help when you are driving through a dusty or windy weather and you need to accelerate.

The washable cotton media of this device allows clean air to get inside your engine. Even when they get dirty, they don’t tend to block the airways as paper media does! Rather they keep absorbing it until you decide to clean them again. This cleaning device is good for another 50,000 miles once they are cleaned and properly oiled.

It is highly advisable not to use any kind of motor oil while you clean this device. For best performance, use the oil and spray that comes with K&N cleaning kit and you might never have to buy another filter again for the rest of your car’s life!

Highlighted Benefits
  • The device increases the engine’s power up to 4 horsepower.
  • It is an eco-friendly product.
  • The cotton media delivers refined air to the engine.
  • It can be cleaned, oiled and reused again.
  • It can be used as a replacement for original equipment.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • It may produce a rubbery smell.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
The unpleasant odor goes away after the first few days. You can hang it in the open air for a few days before installing it, the smell will eventually go away.

4. S&B Filters KF-1035D | Best Performance Air Filter

Don’t like the idea of an oiled filter for your engine and think they are too messy and high-maintenance? S&B has the perfect filter to fulfill your demand! With its dry extendable media, you don’t have to worry about oil messing up your sensor system anymore.

S&B Filters KF-1035D Review
S&B Filters KF-1035D

This device can catch tiny dirt particles that are hard to see with bare eyes. If you travel through dry, dusty roads and have to face windy weather a lot in your daily life, then this filter will be the best companion in your journey!

The product weighs about 5 pounds and the ID of the flange is 5 inches. It is built with a premium silicone component to make it resistant to high temperature. It also gives the device a nicer look and makes it last longer.

It has a pretty easy installation process. If you want to keep using this filter for a long time, blow off the dust around the device with compressed air. It is advisable to change the filter after 30,000 miles of usage.

Highlighted Benefits
  • The dry media doesn’t hamper the car’s sensor system.
  • Its silicone parts make the device heat-resistant.
  • The installation process is quite easy.
  • It filters tiny dust and delivers clean air to the engine.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • You have to discard the filter at some point.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
As it is a dry media, it won’t last forever. But you can extend its lifespan with minimum maintenance. If you want to keep this device dirt-free, use a cover on top of it. The cover will capture the big dust particles and take the pressure away from the actual device itself.

5. AEM 21-203DK | Best Vehicle Air Filter

AEM 21-203DK can be used as a replacement of AEM 21-203D, as they both have the same features.

The device is in the shape of round tapered and has the measurement of 3 inches in Flange ID, 5.125 inches in height, 6 inches in the base and 5.125 inches on top.

AEM 21-203DK Universal DryFlow Clamp-On Air Filter Review
AEM 21-203DK Universal DryFlow Clamp-On Air Filter

To know whether it’s compatible with your car’s engine, just check to see if the car has a 3 inches intake. If it does, this air filter will fit in perfectly regardless of your car’s make or model.

Reusable filters are great, right? But the washing, rinsing and oiling process takes a little bit time. A shortcut wouldn’t be bad, eh? Well, AEM seems to read your mind and uses synthetic media to filter air. Thicker than the paper media, synthetic material doesn’t restrict airflow when it gets dirty.

As the product has a dry filtering media, you don’t have to oil it after the cleaning process. After proper cleaning, the AEM DryFlow filter is good to go for another 50,000 miles on the road.

Highlighted Benefits
  • The device provides increased airflow.
  • It doesn’t require any oil after cleaning.
  • It keeps the air-flow running even when the filter gets dirty.
  • The device helps the engine to gain more horsepower.
  • It is wire mesh supported to catch fine particles.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • The engine may sound a bit louder after installing it.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
As the air flows more freely, the engine sounds a bit louder after installing this device. To get a good service out of it, make sure to clean it regularly. Just spray with an Air Filter Cleaner, rinse it with water and let it dry before your next use.

6. ACDelco A3141C Professional Air Filter | Cheap Car Air Filter

The A3141C is the perfect choice for anyone who wants to have the feel of an OEM filter on their engine. The ACDelco brand is reputed for delivering high-quality replacement part in super reasonable price.

ACDelco A3141C Professional Air Filter Review
ACDelco A3141C Professional Air Filter

This device is capable of catching even the microscopic dirt from the air and protects your engine from being damaged. Don’t get surprised when your old car runs faster after installing this filter! ACDelco provides your vehicle with better gas mileage.

The device is so easy to install that you don’t need any professional help or anything. Just grab a screwdriver, remove the old device, clean the box, drop the new unit to place and you are done! Their round styles are a perfect fit for most of the car’s engine.

In case your car backfires, there’s always a chance of fire hazard. To prevent it from spreading, the device is equipped with a fine mesh screen. A strong seal is provided to prevent polluted air from entering into the internal combustion chamber.

Highlighted Benefits
  • The engine lasts longer with its precise filtering capacity.
  • The device has a mesh screen to reduce fire hazards.
  • It blocks 99% of airborne dirt from entering the engine.
  • It is long-lasting and can be used up to 12000 miles.
  • The installation process is quite simple.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • It doesn’t increase airflow as well as a performance air filter does.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
ACDelco A3141C is an excellent choice for you if you believe in the power of an OEM filter. The brand itself has maintained its reputation of delivering only quality products to the market for over 100 years so that you can enjoy a premium product within an affordable price.

7. K&N RG-1003RD-L | Mini car air filter

A universal clamp-on air filter is always a great choice if the size and shape fit your engine properly. Available in three different flange sizes, the K&N RG-1003RD-L is a universal air filter with a round tapered shape.

K&N RG-1003RD-L Mini car air filter Review
K&N RG-1003RD-L Mini car air filter

The device is red and has a chrome finish to make it wear-resistant. The chrome plating also helps it to fight off corrosion and makes it last longer. The top part of the device measures about 3.5 inches and the bottom part has a diameter of 4.5 inches.

The end cap of the device is made of steel. It comes with flange inserts which let you choose from its three different sizes of flange diameters. The flange diameter options are 70 mm, 64 mm and 57 mm.

The device is quite small and weighs only 14.6 ounces. You can’t belittle its performance on its small size though! This little monster is capable of absorbing the strongest vibration and doesn’t cause any displacement. With intense airflow, it can increase the engine’s horsepower and acceleration speed.

The cotton-gauge filter system of this device provides maximum surface area and catches dirt from the environment with more accuracy.

Highlighted Benefits
  • The outer layer of chrome protects it from corrosion.
  • It is a universal filter to match most of the engines.
  • Three different flange sizes are available in this unit.
  • The filters are washable and reusable.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • The device a little small to fit in certain models.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
K&N RG-1003RD-L is smaller than its siblings. Make sure to get the correct measurement and check to see if it is the perfect fit for your vehicle. You can find all the details of this product on the company’s website.

8. Spectre Performance 8131 | Best racing air filter

If you want to experience smooth acceleration and some added power gain in your race car engine, Spectre Performance 8131 air filter won’t fail to impress you. With better fuel economy and gas mileage, this device is all you need for getting the best performance out of your car.

Spectre Performance 8131 Universal Clamp-On Air Filter Review
Spectre Performance 8131 Universal Clamp-On Air Filter

If you are confused about whether or not this device will fit your engine, Spectre has good news for you!

This filter lets you install it into 3 different sizes of intakes with the help of its adapter rings. It can easily fit into 3, 3.5 and 4-inch diameter tubes, allowing you to upgrade your intake size without needing a new filter!

The synthetic material of this product allows the engine to get sufficient airflow without getting in touch with all contaminants in the environment. You will be able to tell the difference it makes as the fuel economy increases from 1.5 to 3 miles or more depending on the type of vehicle you are driving.

The filters capture the dirt and dust more efficiently if the air intake is located closer to the ground. It is advisable to wash and oil the device properly for its smooth performance.

Highlighted Benefits
  • The top and base are coated with chrome to fight corrosion.
  • The synthetic media provides airflow without any restriction.
  • It is compatible with 3 different sizes of intake.
  • It increases fuel economy.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • The rubber seal comes loose after some time.

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Bottom Line
If you notice the seal coming undone at some point, pour some glue on it to make it tight. This situation only occurs when the engine goes through strong vibration. That issue aside, Spectre Performance 8131 is sure to earn your satisfaction with its long-lasting performance.

9. Mann Filter (CUK 29 005) | Best Carbon Cabin Air Filter

Are you stuck with a funky odor in your car because of the poor ventilation system? If the answer is YES, then it’s time to change that old filter in your cabin already! To experience an immediate change in the environment, you can take a look at the Mann Cabin Filter.

Mann Filter CUK 29 005 Carbon Cabin Air Filter Review
Mann Filter CUK 29 005 Carbon Cabin Air Filter

When you do your dishes, have you noticed how the sponge takes away all the dirt and makes your dishes clean at once?

Mann filter works in the same way with the help of its non-woven Nano-fiber material. The filter will spate all dirt, smoke, odor-causing particle and bacteria from the air, providing you with clean and fresh air to breath in.

To ensure you get the highest quality of air, Mann filter is equipped with mechanical and electrostatic layers to capture particles that are 10000 times smaller than a piece of hair! With a large filtering surface, this device is capable of eliminating all kinds of harmful chemicals from your environment.

Highlighted Benefits
  • It removes unpleasant odor from your vehicle’s cabin.
  • It can capture even the finest dust particle.
  • It has an Activated Charcoal Component to absorb harmful gases.
  • The device has a large surface area.
  • It can be used in place of the Mercedes OEM filter.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • The device has a foam gasket instead of rubber material.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
Although, a rubber gasket would have been better, just like the OEM filter has one, but the foam gasket doesn’t affect the performance of this device. If you want an affordable replacement filter for your vehicle, then Mann filter is the best option for you.

10. FRAM CF10134 Cabin Air Filter | Best Car Cabin Air Filter For Allergies

Did you know a dirty cabin filter puts a strain on your air conditioner and makes it work harder to deliver cool air inside your car?

FRAM CF10134 Cabin Air Filter Review
FRAM CF10134 Cabin Air Filter

Your AC might make a strange noise and stop working at some point if this situation continues! Fram Cabin Air Filter can help it to work more effectively by removing all contaminants from the air.

The device is an easy fit for most the vehicles. Equipped with activated carbon, this filter is capable of removing up to 98% of dust, pollen and bacteria and gives you relief from allergy symptoms.

Does your car stink of bad odor? FRAM Cabin Filter has a unique process for freshening up your cabin. With Arm and Hammer Baking Soda, all kinds of odor are absorbed through the filter. It also reduces the strain on your vehicle’s ventilation system.

The device is charged with static electricity to trap and hold more dirt and dust particles which varies from 5-100 microns in size. Its simple design makes the installation process much easier for you.

Highlighted Benefits
  • The device can remove up to 5 microns of dust particles.
  • It takes away strain from the car’s engine.
  • The Arm and Hammer baking soda removes bad odor.
  • Its Activated Carbon eliminates all contaminates.
  • The device reduces allergy symptoms by removing pollen.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • The airflow may get restricted if the filter gets clogged.

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Bottom Line
As the device gets dirtier over time, it may restrict the airflow a little bit. Dirty and clogged air filters may slow down your engine’s performance. Depending on your driving condition, you should change the filter after every 15000 miles to maintain a healthy environment inside your car.

11. MOTOKU 2 PC Air Filter | Best Air Filter For Motorcycle

MOTOKU Air Filter is a crankcase vent air filter to prevent oil leakage from damaging the device. The package comes with 2 pieces of air filters within reasonable price.

MOTOKU 2 PC Air Filter Review
MOTOKU 2 PC Air Filter

The red, cone-shaped filters can be used for racing purposes. They are also a good fit for motorcycle, bike, car and scooters. Each of these air filters comes with a diameter of 13mm or .51 inch and a weight of 112 grams. Despite being lightweight, they speed up the efficiency of the filtration process by 95%.

With 2.36 x 2 inches in size, the device has a wider surface than the OEM products. You can feel a sudden increase in horsepower after installing this device. It also does a pretty decent job in terms of smooth acceleration and improves fuel economy.

The body of the filter is made of aluminum, which makes the product durable and lightweight. The chrome coating on the outer side makes it rust and corrosion-resistant. To reuse this filter, it is advisable to wash and oil them properly.

Highlighted Benefits
  • The device provides a larger surface than the OEM filter.
  • It is coated with chrome plating to fight corrosion.
  • Aluminum makes the device lightweight and long-lasting.
  • It adds extra horsepower to the engine.
  • The device has an installation process.
Cons/Potential Flaws
  • It might not fit for certain models of vehicles.

View Features on Amazon

Bottom Line
If you want your engine to protect itself by preventing the oil from getting into the air intake, then you can try out this breather filter on your vehicle. Make sure to check the dimension and size of the product before purchasing it.

How To Choose The Best Car Air Filter

Design

The first step before buying one of the best auto air filters for your car is to find out whether it’s compatible with your car’s make, model and engine size. You can get all of this information by looking up in your car’s manual guide or searching the internet by using your car’s model number.

However, if you have made some changes in your engine to gain more power out of it, like adding a supercharger to burn more fuel, then you might need some custom-made, high-performance air filters to supply more air to your engine. Make sure these cone-shaped filters are the right size for your car’s setup.

Heat Resistant

Hot weather not only makes us sweat but also affects your engine too!

Your car may overheat and malfunction at some point if you live in a humid climate. To let your engine breathe easily on a hot summer day, find an air filter that can resist high temperature. These types of filters usually have a protective layer of heat-resistant material around them to deliver clean air to your car’s engine.

Type

You can find some variations in filter designs available on the market. Depending on your engine settings, you can get a Universal Filter or a Custom-Build device to serve your needs.

As you can probably guess, a Universal Filter is a perfect fit for most of the car’s settings and layout. They are cheap and are available in most of the local market.

If you have a general setup in your engine, you don’t even have to go through the trouble of matching the exact size, as this filter is flexible enough to adjust to your machine’s intake system.

What if you want something extra? A device specially designed for your engine to give it more horsepower and gas mileage? Although a Custom-Build filter will cost you a few extra bucks, it serves you for a long time to make up for that.

This device is capable of capturing the tiniest dust particle possible and gives your engine a longer lifespan. It has an easy installation process too fit into your engine perfectly.

While looking for a replacement of your current device, you will find the following types of air filters on the market.

1. Paper Air Filter

This filter usually comes with your newly purchased vehicle. It protects your engine from dirt and contaminates. The outer corner is covered with plastic or foam material. Depending on the climate and situation, you may have to replace this one frequently.

2. Oiled Performance Filter

You can probably guess that this filter uses oil in its system! To capture pollutants and dirty air particles, an oil bath is prepared on a mesh or a foam. Being stuck on this layer, the dirt can’t get pass through the filter and your engine performs smoothly with cleaner air.

3. Re-Useable Filter

You can wash this filter and reuse it as many times as you want. With the help of oil batch filters, this type of filter catches the big and small sizes of dirt particles and keep them away from your engine. Cotton gauze and foam air filters fall into this category. To clean these filters, just buy a recharge kit from a nearby store.

4. Cabin Air Filter

Cabin air filters are found on the dashboard or behind the glove department. This filter is responsible for delivering clean air to your cabin from the heating and air-conditioning system of your engine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1.Why Should I Change My Air Filter?
Answer: By changing the filter, you are improving your engine’s performance and lifespan. A dirty and clogged filter will hamper your engine and result in poor fuel economy and gas mileage.

Q2. What Tool Is Needed To Change A Filter?
Answer: Only a screwdriver! Most of the vehicles have an easy filter replacement process. Take out the old device, clean or replace it as necessary, oil the machine and seal up the box at the end.

Q3. What Are The Symptoms Of A Bad Filter?
Answer: In case of a bad engine filter, you will notice a certain reduction of MPG. Your car may lack the required horsepower and its performance will decrease.
If you smell an unpleasant odor in your car and feel like the airflow that’s coming from the AC is noticeably weaker, then your cabin air filter may need to be changed soon.

Q4. What Is The Purpose Of An Engine Air Filter?
Answer: It prevents dirt, debris and dust on the roads from entering the internal chamber of your engine. The engine also gains some extra horsepower and torque with the help of its increased airflow.

Q5. Is A Cotton Filter Better Than A Dry One?
Answer: They both perform well in different situations. Dry filters are good for the dusty environment. The advantage with cotton filters is that you can clean them and reuse them as long as you want.

Q6. What Is A Filter Wrap?
Answer: It’s a cover for your device to keep the big dust particles away. It also helps extend the life of your filter as it doesn’t let water or any other chemical damage your device.

Final Words

A car’s air filter can be compared to a human’s respiratory system. Even if we breathe polluted air from the environment, our respiratory system filters out the pollutants as much as possible.

An engine or a cabin air filter is responsible in the same way to provide your car with uncontaminated, fresh air.

You may notice a huge difference when you install a performance air filter in your car, as it works extra hard and makes your engine to gain more horsepower.

To experience a smooth performance, it’s important to choose the best car air filter, keep it clean and up-to-date. Hope this article has helped you to choose the right one.

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