10 Best Engine Air Filters for Cars of 2022 – Review & Buyer’s Guide

A good engine air filter can help protect your motor and save you time, money, and headaches. In this guide we look at ten best engine air filters for cars.

10 Best Engine Air Filters

While it might not be the most fun thing to talk about, the truth is that your vehicle’s air filter is one of the most important parts of your vehicle. Not only does the air filter keep all the contaminants out of your engine’s combustion chamber, but they also regulate airflow for engine performance.

So, whether you’re just looking for long-lasting protection or if you want to try and increase your engine’s horsepower a bit, an engine air filter is a fantastic place to start!

That’s why we took the time to track down and review ten of the best air filter companies out there. After you read through the reviews, you can easily find the exact air filter company you’re looking for and get the right air filter in your car as soon as possible.

And if you need a little help finding the right filter number, cross-referencing it, or just some general questions about air filters, we have you covered in our comprehensive buyer’s guide.

Remember that you need to choose the right air filter for your car and engine model.

Disclaimer – This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

Top 10 Best Engine Air Filter Brands

1. FRAM Air Filter – Best Overall

Fram Extra Guard Air Filter, Fits Select...

When you’re shopping for the best combination of price and performance, then FRAM filters are worth checking out. Not only are they extremely affordable, but they deliver a reliable experience and performance specs you can count on.

They let through a ton of air, and there are tons of filters to choose from, so there’s sure to be an option that fits your vehicle. Not only that, but whether you’re looking for a long-lasting air filter or a performance monster, FRAM has the filter you’re looking for.

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While they don’t have too many OEM filters, they have plenty of vehicle-specific options and even more universal options, which means if you want a FRAM filter for your vehicle, they likely make one that’ll work. However, don’t expect that it’ll match the OEM filter number without a cross-reference.

Still, with so many options and such a great price, it’s no wonder that FRAM filters topped our list. Check out what they have for your vehicle, and you’ll likely be able to find exactly what you’re looking for!

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Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Reliable performance
  • Good airflow
  • Outstanding selection

Cons

  • Not many OEM options

2. K&N Air Filter  – Best for Performance

K&Amp;N

Sure K&N filters are more expensive, but when you look at everything, they offer the truth is that they might be the best deal around. Because not only are they completely reusable and will last the lifetime of your vehicle, but they allow more airflow than just about any other filter out there.

More airflow means better performance, so if you’re interested in maximum horsepower and torque, then a K&N filter is exactly what you need. However, the tradeoff for these reusable and high-performance air filters is clear, the price.

K&N air filters are among the most expensive air filters out there, even if they are one of the highest-quality options. When you’re shopping for a K&N filter for your vehicle, keep in mind that they don’t work directly with vehicle manufacturers.

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That means you’re getting an aftermarket part, and you’re not likely to get a vehicle-specific option. Still, with all the universal options they offer, you’re sure to find an option that fits your vehicle. And even though it’s not vehicle-specific, you’ll still get better results with a universal K&N filter than a typical OEM air filter for your vehicle.

If you want the best of the best and never want to worry about changing your air filter again, go with a K&N filter. All you’ll need to do from now on wash out your air filter instead of changing it out completely!

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Pros

  • Reusable filters
  • Maximum airflow
  • Tons of options

Cons

  • More expensive upfront
  • Not always vehicle specific

3. EPAuto Air Filter  – Best Budget

Epauto

If you’re on a tight budget but need a great air filter for your vehicle, then EPAuto has some great choices for you. While they’re certainly budget air filters, they have a large selection for you to pick through, and they still deliver reliable performance.

There’s little doubt that they’re budget air filters, and this shines through in two different ways. First, they don’t give your engine the best airflow. Sure, they do a great job at removing foreign matter to keep it away from the insider of your engine, which is the most important part, but they can impact your performance some.

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If you’re not worried about your vehicle’s total performance specs, then the drop in airflow doesn’t mean too much, but if you’re taking your vehicle out to the track, then these aren’t the filters you want.

Second, they don’t last nearly as long as the more expensive filters. So, while they might be a little more affordable upfront, if you look at the long-term value, they’re not much better than the premium filters.

Still, if you don’t have the money upfront, then an EPAuto air filter can hold you over until the next time you need a new filter. It might not be the best, but it’ll safely get the job done time and time again for you.

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Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Reliable performance
  • Large selection

Cons

  • Not the best airflow
  • It doesn’t last very long

4. Motorcraft Engine Air Filter – Best for Ford

Motorcraft

You can almost always decide if a Motorcraft air filter is right for your vehicle by answering one question: do you drive a Ford? That’s because Motorcraft is a Ford-specific brand, and as such they make air filters for any Ford vehicle out there.

However, if you don’t drive a Ford, then there’s a good chance that Motorcraft doesn’t make the filter you’re looking for, and it’s not the right brand for your vehicle. But since Motorcraft is a Ford brand for Ford vehicles, anytime you get a filter from them you’re getting an OEM replacement part.

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Not only is this the best choice if your vehicle is still under warranty, but it’s a guaranteed product that is both effective and reliable for your vehicle. However, since they are OEM replacement parts for Ford vehicles, they tend to be a little more expensive than comparable aftermarket parts.

Not only that, but if you’re looking for a performance air filter to take your vehicle to the next level, Motorcraft won’t have what you need. Not only that, but they don’t have a lower-end filter option. Instead, they make one OEM air filter for each vehicle, and that’s what you have to work with.

Sure, it’ll get the job done, and you’ll get the same performance you’d get from the factory, but you don’t get any more customization or options from there.

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Pros

  • Very effective and reliable
  • OEM replacement part (Ford only)
  • Vehicle specific parts (Ford only)

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Only offers Ford specific filters

5. ACDelco Air Filters  – Best for GM

Acdelco

Just like Motorcraft is the OEM replacement air filters for Fords, ACDelco makes the OEM replacement air filter for GM vehicles. This includes Chevy, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Pontiac, and more! Because GM uses ACDelco filters in all of their vehicles, this means no matter what GM vehicle you drive, ACDelco has a filter that fits your vehicle.

Not only do they fit your vehicle, but they’re both effective and reliable at giving your factory-spec performance every time you get behind the wheel. But just like with most OEM replacement parts, you don’t have the most choices to choose from for each vehicle.

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This means if you’re looking for a long-lasting budget option or a premium performance choice, then ACDelco isn’t the brand you want. But if you’re looking for a reliable air filter for your GM vehicle, then ACDelco is an excellent choice.

Still, like most OEM replacement parts, they’re a little more expensive than a comparable aftermarket option, and they don’t last as long as most aftermarket options. Still, if your GM vehicle is still under warranty or if you simply want to stick with OEM parts, then ACDelco is the way to go.

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Pros

  • Vehicle specific parts (GM only)
  • OEM replacement part (GM only)
  • Very effective and reliable

Cons

  • Slightly more expensive
  • Not the longest-lasting

6. WIX Air Filters

Wix Air Filter

WIX is a massive name in the air filter industry, and as such they have one of the largest selections around. Not only do they have a ton of options that fit nearly every vehicle on the market, but they also have different level filters for these vehicles.

So, whether you’re shopping for the lowest-priced option, the longest-lasting, or something else entirely, WIX has a filter option for you. All of their filters provide more than adequate airflow and protection for your engine, and all of them are available for an affordable price compared to comparable filters.

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WIX also produces air filters for larger vehicles and construction equipment, so even if you’re looking for industrial equipment, they’re a filter company that’s worth checking out!

Still, unless you’re opting for one of their slightly more expensive long-lasting filters, they don’t last the longest, and you can’t always find a vehicle-specific filter to fit your vehicle. But for a large-scale and affordably priced air filter company, they offer a reliable product that you can trust mile after mile.

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Pros

  • Large selection
  • Provides great airflow
  • Affordably priced

Cons

  • Not always vehicle specific
  • Not the longest-lasting

7. Spectre Essentials Air Filter

Spectre Essentials

You might not have heard of Spectre Essentials before, but if you’re in the market for a low-priced air filter or a premium option for better performance, it’s a name to keep in mind. Not only do they offer extremely affordable air filters, but they have a longer-lasting service life that helps justify the cost further.

And while they don’t have the largest selection, especially for vehicle-specific options, they do have universal air filters that you can slap on just about any vehicle. And if you spend a little more you can get one of their performance air filters that allow for maximum airflow, which really can improve performance.

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However, while it’s certainly better than a typical OEM air filter, they don’t provide the same performance benefits as a K&N filter. Not only that, but while they have plenty of reusable options, they typically don’t last as long as the K&N options.

While you might get lucky and have it last the life of your vehicle, you also might need to replace it after 100,000 miles or so. Of course, while they don’t perform quite like a K&N air filter, a Spectre Essentials air filter doesn’t cost near as much either.

Before you settle in on any air filter give Spectre Essentials a look, you might just be a little surprised on what you find!

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Pros

  • Both affordable and premium options
  • Longer lasting life
  • They have universal options

Cons

  • Limited selection
  • Not as good as K&N

8. Denso Air Filter

Denso

While Denso makes tons of car parts, they aren’t really known for their air filters. But just because it’s not their top-selling product doesn’t mean that it’s not worth checking out. When you go with a Denso air filter, you’re getting a reliable product from a well-trusted brand, and you’re not breaking the bank to do it.

That’s because Denso offers affordably priced air filters, and they have an extremely large selection to choose from. Not only do they have long-lasting options, but they also have budget choices and performance filters.

And the best part is no matter which filter option you choose, you’re getting it a great price compared to a comparable filter from another company. However, they don’t offer any OEM replacement parts, which means if you get a Denso filter, you’re using an aftermarket option.

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Not only that, but they don’t give you the best airflow compared to the top brands out there. While a performance Denso air filter will certainly give you better airflow than a budget filter from another brand when you compare them to other performance filters they just don’t stack up.

This lack of airflow is a big reason Denso air filters fell to eighth on our list, even though they’re more affordable filters from a larger company.

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Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Very large selection
  • Reliable filters

Cons

  • No OEM replacement parts
  • Not the best airflow

9. Bosch

Bosch

If you want options, check out what Bosch air filters have to offer. No matter what you’re looking for, Bosch has an option for you. They have a ton of performance options in addition to some of the longest-lasting air filters on the market.

Bosch always has some universal filters that you can slap on your vehicle, so in the unlikely chance that they don’t have an exact filter match for your vehicle, they can still find something to make it work. As another perk, Bosch is a large and reliable company, which gives you even more protection and peace of mind that their product will do exactly what they say it will.

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However, even while they’re a larger company, they don’t offer many OEM replacement parts, so if your vehicle is still under warranty or you want factory-level performance, then it’s not the choice for you.

But if you’re looking for a company you can stick with for a wide array of replacement parts for your vehicle, Bosch has you covered on filters and so many other parts!

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Pros

  • Tons of options
  • Both affordable and premium filters
  • Very reliable company

Cons

  • No OEM replacement parts

10. ECOGARD

Ecogard

Rounding out our list of the top air filter options out there is ECOGARD. But before you purchase an ECOGARD filter for your car you need to know what you’re getting. While they do a good job at filtering out contaminants before they reach your vehicle’s combustion chamber, they also do a great job at restricting some airflow.

Not only do they negatively impact performance, but they also have a shorter shelf life than many other air filters out there. Because of this, we can’t recommend them over any of the other filters on our list, but if you’re in a pinch and need a low-priced filter that works, it’ll get you there.

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That’s because they have an extremely wide selection to choose from, even if they’re not all vehicle-specific. Paired with the fact that they’re available for a low price and do a good job at filtering out contaminants, they can definitely hold your vehicle over until your next air filter change.

Just know what you’re getting and check out some of the filter companies higher up on the list to see if they have a comparable filter for your vehicle at a similar price first!

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Pros

  • Insanely affordable
  • Wide selection
  • Effective filter

Cons

  • Not vehicle specific
  • It doesn’t last the longest
  • Not the best airflow

Buyer’s Guide

If you still have a few questions about which air filter is the right choice for your vehicle after reading the reviews, you’re not alone. That’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know to get the right filter the first time.

Where Can You Find Your Air Filter Size?

Before you can get your air filter on order you need to know what size air filter your vehicle needs. The good news is that when you’re shopping for an air filter, finding the right size could hardly be any easier. Each company has their own part number for the filter, so there’s no universal number to track down.

So instead, all you need to do is go to the manufacturer’s website and search for your specific vehicle. The area on the site that the air filter manufacturer offers this varies by site, but because there are so many different air filter numbers for different brands out there, it’s typically the best way to go about finding the right number.

However, if you do decide to try and Google the correct part number for an air filter for your vehicle, ensure that you include your vehicle’s information and the brand of the air filter in your search.

Finally, you can try to use the information on the air filter already in your vehicle, or some owner’s manuals will include that information. Once you have this information you can either replace it with the appropriate part or cross-reference the number to a different brand to get what you want!

How Often Should You Replace Your Air Filter?

While you can look up the manufacturer recommendations for how often you should replace your vehicle’s air filter, the truth is that number only tells you anything if you’re using the OEM replacement filter.

This is also the interval you need to keep up with to maintain your manufacturer’s warranty. Generally, this interval sits anywhere between every 12,000 and 15,000 miles. However, once your warranty is over and if you switch to an aftermarket filter, then the replacement times change too.

And the truth is that for most manufacturers they recommend that you change the air filter far more often than you need to. Instead, look at the replacement interval as an inspection interval. Take a look at the air filter every oil changer thereafter and replace it if it starts to get too dirty.

Can You Clean a Disposable Air Filter?

While disposable air filters aren’t nearly as easy to clean as a reusable air filter, that doesn’t mean you can’t clean them out at all. If you have a lot of loose dirt or dust in a disposable air filter, there’s no reason you can’t spray it out with a low level of compressed air if you have already passed your vehicle’s warranty window.

However, if your vehicle is still under warranty, then you need to keep up with all of the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals to keep the warranty in place – so don’t clean out the filter and stick it back in.

If you choose to spray out a disposable air filter don’t exceed 25 psi from the air compressor, and never use anything other than compressed air. Because while water might help you clean a reusable air filter, it will completely destroy a disposable one.

Also, keep in mind that spraying out a disposable air filter will not make it last forever. Eventually, you’ll still need to replace the air filter, so you’re only delaying the inevitable!

How Much Can an Air Filter Affect Performance?

Because air filters help regulate how much clean air gets into the combustion chamber, it’s no surprise that the right high-flow air filter can improve your vehicle’s total performance.

The first way it does this is through maximum horsepower and torque. A high-flow air filter can give your vehicle an extra 3 to 5 horsepower, making it one of the easiest ways to improve your vehicle. But not only does it improve top-end speed and acceleration, but it also can help improve your vehicle’s fuel economy.

Depending on the type of filter you switch to and the condition of your old air filter, simply switching it out can improve your fuel efficiency by 10%! That means over time, a new air filter ends up paying for itself, so the longer you wait to replace it the more you’re costing yourself.

Reusable vs Disposable Air Filters

When you’re looking at replacing your vehicle’s air filter, there are two main options you can choose from – a reusable filter and a disposable filter. But which option is right for you, and are reusable filters all they’re cracked up to be?

We’ll break down the pros and cons of each option for you here.

Reusable Air Filters

If you’re looking for the best long-term deal, there’s no doubt that reusable filters are the way to go. Their entire selling point is that you’ll never need to replace them so that first-time cost is all you’ll need to spend.

However, while that’s all perfectly true, that doesn’t make reusable filters perfect. For starters, they almost always come in universal sizes. That means you’re not getting a vehicle-specific air filter. This isn’t a huge deal, but it might require a little more work to get the air filter on your vehicle.

Second, once you get the air filter on your vehicle, you’ll still need to clean it out once every 12,000 to 15,000 miles. While it’s not a ton of work, it’s certainly a little more than if you simply swapped out the filter to a new one.

But while it’s a little more and you never need to replace it again, there’s one perk outside of the reusability that convinces many drivers they’re the way to go. That’s the fact that most reusable air filters are high-flow air filters.

Being a high-flow air filter does two things for your engine. First, it boosts the overall horsepower of your engine some. It’s the easiest way to up your vehicle’s horsepower, and it’s a go-to for anyone trying to get a little more out of their vehicle.

Second, it improves your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. So, not only are you saving a little extra cash since you’ll never need to purchase a new air filter, but you’ll save some money at the fuel pump too!

Disposable Air Filters

While disposable air filters are the most common air filters out there, that doesn’t mean that they’re always the right choice for you and your vehicle. Because while they’re extremely convenient and easy to use, they certainly have some drawbacks.

First, they’re not as good for the environment. Anytime you’re using a product and throwing it away, it’s a poor deal for the Earth. Second, in the long run, reusable air filters are more expensive. That’s because you need to replace them every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, so even if they’re three to four times more expensive upfront, eventually the reusable air filter saves you money.

Third, if you’re sticking with an OEM air filter, you’re not getting any performance boosts. While they’ll protect your engine and provide adequate airflow, why not get even better performance if it’s as simple as switching to a better air filter?

But as a perk to disposable air filters, there’s plenty of options out there. Every vehicle out there has a specific disposable air filter that fits, which means you don’t need to worry about any extra installation steps when you’re replacing it. Simply pull out the old filter, install the new one, and you’re good to go!

And as the option with the lowest upfront cost and most convenience, disposable air filters aren’t going anywhere any time soon.

How Much Does Your Air Filter Brand Matter?

While it might not seem like a big deal if you don’t know what you’re looking at, the truth is that the air filter brand matters more than you might think. Not only do certain brands make vehicle-specific air filter options for your vehicle, but some do a better job than others at putting out a quality product.

With any of the air filter brands on our list you know you’re getting a top-notch product, but if you go off the list you never know what you might get! So, play it safe and get a top-notch filter that we reviewed here. That way, you know you’re getting a great filter at an even better price.

Final Thoughts

With so many air filter brands out there it can be hard to find the exact right choice for your vehicle. Just remember to double-check the warranty and stick with OEM replacement filters until the warranty period is up.

While there’s nothing wrong with most of the aftermarket options out there, if something goes wrong with your vehicle, the manufacturer is looking for any possible reason not to payout. But once that warranty is up, you can move on to a better air filter and get even more out of your vehicle!

Just be sure to come back and double-check with this list before placing any air filter on order. That way you know you’re getting the best deal and the best product the first time!