The air filters in cars are equally as essential as the other parts in your vehicle. These components tend to remove impurities and contaminants while passing engine oil to and through your car’s engine. Filters also keep the car engine lubricated and prevent harmful particles from reaching it. Overall, air filters promote the proper engine operation, while extending the engine life and improving its performance at the same time.
With that said, here are the top-rated air filters for cars that will help in delivering clean oxygen that eventually results in improved engine horsepower and torque as well as fuel efficiency. Each product has been reviewed thoroughly, including customer ratings and some feedback from actual users. So, look no further as these 5 air filter brands are the best choices to date.
Best Car Air Filter Reviews
1. ACDelco CF177
- Equipped with long media in the non-woven material/compound media in order to help capture particles while increasing air flow
- Has a multi-layered construction that creates 'separated' media in order to contain particles
- Some ACDelco GM Original Equipment parts may have formerly appeared as GM Genuine Parts (OE) or ACDelco Professional
- ACDelco GM Original Equipment parts are designed, engineered and tested to rigorous standards, and are backed by General Motors.
- GM Engineers design and validate OE parts specifically for your Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac vehicle
First on the list is the ACDelco CF177 car engine filter. Garnering cabin air filter from ACDelco features a professional-grade design as it is equipped with a long media within the non-woven material. This design ensures that the filter can capture more unwanted particles while increasing the airflow simultaneously.
This equipment also features compound media, consisting of 3 layers, whereas the outside layer can capture 100% of huge airborne elements, the middle layer is capable of capturing smaller components, and the last layer offers strength and stability.
The layered construction of this top air filter tends to create ‘separated’ media so as to contain dust as well as pollen particles more effectively; thereby, leading to higher efficiency. The ACDelco CF177 is a replacement part recommended by General Motors (GM), for your car’s original factory component. Hence, dependability and quality rest assured.
This air filter is very reliable in capturing fumes, pollens, smoke, and many other elements from reaching the interior of your car. The high-quality filtration system is also capable of removing airborne allergens, before reaching your car’s ventilation system. As a result, this cabin air filter prevents mold and bacteria from breeding inside your ventilation, while reducing odor at the same time.
Hence, the ACDelco CF177 is a very good air filter that provides the same durability and performance as the original equipment from GM. The benefits do not exempt the long service life that this filter can provide, which is the same service life expected from GM.
2. FRAM CF10134
- VEHICLE APPLICATIONS: HONDA ACCORD; 2006-2015 HONDA CIVIC; 2012-2015 HONDA CROSSTOUR; 2007-2016 HONDA CR-V; 2005-2017 HONDA ODYSSEY; 2019-2022 HONDA PASSPORT; 2009-2022 HONDA PILOT; 2006-2014,2017-2022 HONDA RIDGELINE
- VEHICLE APPICATIONS CONT: 2007-2011 ACURA CSX; 2013-2022 ACURA ILX; 2007-2020 ACURA MDX; 2007-2018 ACURA RDX; 2005-2012 ACURA RL; 2014-2020 ACURA RLX; 2004-2014 ACURA TL; 2015-2020 ACURA TLX; 2004-2014 ACURA TSX; 2010-2013 ACURA ZDX; 2003-2022
- FILTER CROSS REFERENCES: BOSCH P3875WS; Honda (80219-SHJ-A01, 80292-SDA-407, 80292-SDA-A01); K&N VF2001; Purolator C35519
- EASY INSTALL: This cabin air filter is located behind the glove box and on average will only take 15 minutes to replace the old filter with a new filter
- FRAM Fresh Breeze cabin air filters are the only cabin filter built with Arm & Hammer baking soda combined with carbon embedded in the filter helping to take out and odors that enter your vehicle through the ventilation system
Next up is the FRAM CF10134, which claims to be a ‘Fresh Breeze’ cabin filter. This FRAM car filter receives a top rating from customers due to its efficiency in filtering up to 98% of pollen, dust, and other air contaminants. It is equipped with Arm & Hammer baking soda, which has been combined with carbon. This combination results in thoroughly cleaning the outside air that is flowing through your car’s ventilation system.
This air filter is also capable of providing a better airflow, which results in improved performance. It is also helpful in eliminating musty odors to form inside the vehicle, hence, the label ‘Fresh Breeze’ cabin filter. It is certainly among the engine air filters that can prevent harmful particles from reaching the engine, reducing the tendencies of engine wear.
In every kit, the manufacturer has provided installation instructions together with QR codes and installation videos. This product does not only filter the air, but also deodorizes it, while improving the available airflow, which is crucial to the overall function of heating as well as the air conditioning systems.
It is the best air filter for cars, protecting all its passengers from harmful air contaminants. As a cabin air filter, which is not well-known or familiar to most drivers, the FRAM CF10134 is located under the hood, next to the windshield or inside the passenger compartment, next to the glove compartment. Hence, this model is highly capable of minimizing both small and large particles, allergens, and other harmful contaminants from entering the car’s ventilation system.
Due to this ability, the FRAM CF10134 is widely used in many vehicles since its introduction way back in 2000. FRAM CF10134 features premium efficiency while delivering an improved airflow with odor absorption ability. It offers fresh essence and is very easy to install, even for first-time users.
3. Mann Filter C 3698/3
- Specially embossed paper for good pleat stability
- Filters harmful particles such as dust, pollen, sand, soot or even drops of water out of the intake air
- is attached
- Balances the air flowing towards the air flow meter and seals off adjacent components
Meanwhile, the Mann Filter C 3698/3 garners an average rating of 4.9-Stars. This very high rating from customers is mainly due to the filter’s especially-embossed paper that results in exceptional pleat stability. It is the best car air filter for many actual users as it can filter any harmful particle like sand, dust, pollen, soot, water drops, and more.
Among the features that has captivated users is the reduced intake noise, unlike other air filter brands. It also boasts the ability to balance the airflow towards the meter, while sealing off adjacent components. This filter has been engineered for maximum dirt separation efficiency as well.
Equipped with state-of-the-art filter media, the Mann Filter demonstrates high mechanical stability. It tends to filter the intake air reliably and efficiently, allowing maximum composition of the fuel or air mix, while ensuring a consistent engine performance at all times.
Besides the reduced air intake noise, this filter is also helpful in temperature regulation; thereby, setting new standards when it comes to future air filtration systems and solutions. It ensures that only clean air gets through the combustion engine while improving the gas mileage up to 10%.
It could be the best automotive air filter, considering its very high rating. And, indeed, the Mann Filter can also prevent electronic component damage like the delicate sensors. Verification of the fitment is highly recommended, prior to purchase, although Mann Filter is also a provider of OEM engine oil filters, making it still a reliable source of OEM engine air filters.
4. Purolator A25463
- Multi-fiber, high-density media traps up to 99% of dirt, dust and soot
- Protects up to 12 months or 12,000 miles
- Helps prevent engine wear
- May improve acceleration up to 11% with a new air filter (U.S. DOE study)
On the other hand, the Purolator A25463 claims to be a Classic Air Filter that makes use of specially-treated paper on maximizing airflow and trapping harmful particles at the same time. This 4.6-Star-rated air filter is capable of providing high volumes of clean air, resulting in a consistent and efficient operation, while reducing engine wear simultaneously.
For many individuals, this is the best car air filter brand, considering the special gasket that provides a very tight seal; thereby, ensuring no less than filtered air gets through the engine. The gaskets also remain flexible, despite cold weather conditions, which is usually an issue with other filter models. Also helps in saving gas, the Purolator A25463 aids in reaching the peak performance of your engine.
Based on reviews, the Purolator air filters are exactly what have been described in product descriptions and specifications. Its easy-to-open packaging and easy installation make it a highly-recommended product by several owners. However, fitment verification is likewise recommended, before any purchase.
Other customer feedbacks also express their satisfaction with the Purolator A25463 air filter, saying that they will buy one again when necessary. Overall, this car air cleaner has created a lot of happy customers due to its efficiency in filtering air intake, getting only better and clean air through vehicle’s ventilation systems.
Some of the long-time users of the Purolator A25463 also say that they never had issues, thus, sticking to this air filter consistently. Certainly, this filter for car is very easy to install and very affordable, beating more expensive variants and brands.
5. K&N VF2000
- INCREASED AIRFLOW IMPROVES HEATING/COOLING EFFICIENCY
- HELPS CONTROL ODORS: Treated to help prevent bad odors. Dirty disposable cabin filters can cause a musty smell in your car’s interior
- SAVE MONEY: Washable product that lasts
- EASY TO INSTALL: Pre-treated and ready to drop into your factory air box. Typically installs in less than five minutes with no tools required
- WASHABLE AND REUSABLE: Engineered to last for the life of your vehicle
Finally, the K&N VF2000 is also a cabin air filter, which receives an average customer rating of 4.5-Stars. This is the best auto air filter, which is very easy to reuse and clean. It is highly capable of freshening and cleaning the incoming cabin air, while helping in controlling odors at the same time.
Similar to what the previous products claim, this, too, greatly helps in capturing mildew, fungus, bacteria, mold, allergens, germs, and pollens. It is a factory-fit filter, which has been pre-treated and is ready to install.
The K&N VF2000 could be the best performance air filter that replaces the stock filter in most vehicles. It has a reusable design, unlike other models, allowing you to clean it and reuse it in refreshening the incoming cabin air. It is equipped with electrostatically chargers that are very effective in grabbing and holding dust particles.
In fact, the washable design is the very first of its kind, allowing you to clean and reuse it over and over, instead of buying a new one when the old filter fails. Along with this air filter, K&N also offers refresher kits, although they are sold separately.
These refresher kits tend to help in loosening the road grime and dirt from the cabin filter, helping you remover the trapped mildew, allergens, mildew, bacteria, fungus, and other debris it has captured. These refresher kits also help in increasing the electrostatic properties of the filter, making it more and consistently effective in trapping contaminants.
All in all, the K&N VF2000 is one of the best auto air filters with a refresher kit that offers long-lasting cleaning and deodorizing formula.
Car Air Filter Buying Guide
Most of the time, car owners have purchased an air filter just to replace the old one without understanding the real purpose of air filter in car and other vehicles. As mentioned earlier, this automotive component serves in cleaning the air, prior to its delivery towards the engine. Keep in mind that the operation and power of any car may suffer due to unclean and low-quality air filter. Also, the delivery of fuel can be affected negatively.
Generally, it is imperative to pick an air filter from a trusted manufacturer, considering the importance of an increased engine performance when left to substandard equipment or a disreputable brand. Among the highly recommended products include the K&N and Fram air filters.
But, the choice of automotive air filters largely depends on the vehicle owner, although the selection boils down to 2 things. It is either the buyer chooses OEM specifications, following the car model and make, or improves upon the vehicle’s level, durability, and performance.
Regardless the side of the spectrum the probable buyer falls into, a thorough comparison of air filter for cars is essential and a highly-recommended step, before any purchase.
Air Filter Types
There are three basic types of air filters for cars, including the disposable variety, the performance, and the cabin filter. Below is a brief summary of each type, giving you an adequate idea about these crucial components of your vehicle, and make an educated decision eventually.
- Disposable Air Filter – As a discerning consumer, you will notice that the majority of automotive repair shops tend to replace a disposable filter with another, which is due to some reasons. For one, the disposable variety is cheaper than other air filter types.
Another reason could be the long-time partnership of the auto repair shop owner with a particular supplier or manufacturer of filters. After all, the installation of disposable air filters equate to more business for the auto repair facility. But, the reduced cost is a big advantage with less complex installation for DIYers.
- Performance Air Filter – On the other hand, performance filters for cars could last for the life of your car, although they cost more than the disposable counterparts. A performance filter is reusable, and is considered as the optimal choice for boosting a car’s performance. While the cost is quite big on the onset, it pays off eventually as it eliminates the need for future replacement.
The fuel consumption is likewise reduced with the use of a replaceable filter, while giving out a good impact on the overall environment. Performance air filters are built to last and can withstand the car’s life simultaneously.
- Cabin Air Filter – Cabin air filters do not only improve the overall performance and horsepower of a car, but also helps in achieving fuel efficiency. On top of that, such type of air filter is capable of protecting a car’s occupants from possible harmful contaminants. This air filter type can reduce the prevalence of unwanted elements like mold, mildew, dust, smoke, soot, pollen, and more.
Cloth Versus Foam Filters
When it comes to reusable or performance air filters, there are two essential material types that are used for advanced filtration. The materials include cloth that usually comes in multi-layers, while the other makes use of high-quality foam.
- Cloth Filters – Performance air filters may employ multi-layers of cloth. Some car filters even use as many as seven layers of cotton-gauge cloth, which is typically contained in a specific-ridged shape through wire mesh on the sides, whereas, the mesh catches the majority of incoming particles, while the highly-breathable cloth helps in capturing the rest.
Its pleated shape provides a bigger surface, catching more dirt and dust in the crevices and ridges. With the proper oil application, cloth filters can catch massive amounts of particles without clogging. A very popular cloth filter is the K&N VF2000.
- Foam Filters – Meanwhile, a foam filter boasts superior breathability, which is obviously attributed to the natural material. The foam alone is 97% air, providing numerous pockets for air flow. The natural spaces in foam material make the perfect place for catching dust, while the trapping power is improved by proper oiling as well. Foam air filters allow for plenty rooms for clean airflow, while the other pockets already hold dust.
Note: Take note that the overall assembly of both materials is held collectively through polyurethane molding, a compound that is liberally applied for a strong adherence to the wire mesh and filter layers.
Why Choose Performance Air Filters?
The results of installing and using an air filter in a car may vary from one car model to the other. The engine size also plays a crucial role in the car’s overall performance. However, one can expect a range of 2% to 4% horsepower boost with the use of performance air filters. The results are also noticed instantly after the installation.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, a range between 2 and 4 more kilometers/gallon is expected due to the clean air caused by the advanced filtration of a performance air filter. The engine tends to burn fuel more efficiently with such components in a car.
Furthermore, the installation of such air filter types is very convenient as the product packages usually come in a ready-to-install design. While the installation instructions from various manufacturers may vary slightly, the general installation process is fast and simple.
In addition, most performance air filters have been engineered to be compatible with the ordinary filters they ought to replace. But, in some models of filters, an extra auto part or two may be needed or removed throughout the initial installation of the equipment. This process, however, will only ensure a perfect fit for optimum efficiency.
Choosing the best air filter brand is imperative for every car owner. Keep in mind of the boundless advantages that this automotive component offers to the car’s performance, including fuel efficiency and horsepower boost. Having an effective air filter also affects the car’s occupants, keeping them safe from harmful particles, while allowing only clean air to get through the car’s ventilation system.
All in all, there are wide ranges of vehicle air filters on the market, and choosing a specific kit must ensure the optimal cleaning solution, while a regular upkeep of this component should be guaranteed for its maximum efficiency as well.