Do Performance Air Filters Actually Increase Horsepower

The Ultimate Test: Four Filters, Dyno Testing and Real World Acceleration

2y ago

Performance air filters claim to increase horsepower and improve acceleration, but do they actually work? I took four air filters, included dirty & clean OE filters, a low cost aftermarket filter, and an expensive performance filter and put them to the test. To measure differences in horsepower and torque, each filter was put on a Mustang dynamometer, with multiple runs. A VBOX was used to measure real world acceleration differences.

The idea behind performance air filters is that a less restrictive air filter means the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to bring in air. That means it’s more efficient, and makes more power. It could also mean the engine pulls in more air, and with more air, the engine can inject more fuel to make more power.

Join In

Comments (10)

  • I've used K&N on cars and motorcycles for years. They're good filters overall. I live in a rural area so when pollen season hits it can look like a dust storm. As for power, using the non-scientific "seat of the pants" test method, it does seem there's a wee bit more "punch", but there could also be a secondary factor. A K&N can make the intake a little bit louder. The engine sounds a bit more powerful, so you think it is. That's nice.

    For those of us who've built up engines for performance, we know power is expensive. So, if you pick up a few horsepower for the price of a K&N that's reasonable. It's an easy mod for a stock engine and anyone can do it. Keep the expectations real.

    What I'd like to see is a comparison between a stock airbox intake and a "cold air" kit. This seems to be all the rage.

      2 years ago
  • I have installed a performance one on my SEAT Ibiza FR mainly due to the original stock filter caused a lag on the turbo (engine is a 1.2 tsi four cylinder). since installing the performance one I have lost the lag on the turbo a little bit. Another thing that is good with the performance filters is that you can wash them (remembering to re oil outside once dry) and re-use them over and over again rather than buy a new filter each time.

      2 years ago
  • Should have had a dirty performance filter too. Just for curiosity sake.

      2 years ago
  • I never knew I was buying light performance filters all along...

      2 years ago
  • It really depends on the engine and the amount of air it needs. Trust me, I wont need one for my 1.2 NA Kappa-engine. But on a turbo engine it makes a lot more sense.

      2 years ago
    • air restriction is air restriction. Even if you aren't getting more air, reducing the effort it takes for the air to flow in, will improve the output by reducing load. While it is a very small amount, it would likely be more statistically...

      Read more
        2 years ago