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Cold Air Intake Filter Test – K&N vs HKS vs Apexi vs Blitz

Which is the best cold air intake filter?

Revspeed magazine in Japan did a filter comparison test to see which cold air intake filter did the best job at filtering dirt ie stopping dirt from entering the engine and which filter made the most power.


The Test

Dust was panned out over the filter for a fixed period of time, while air was being sucked through the filter with a vacuum cleaner. A filter was placed in the neck of the air filter to catch the dirt that had passed through the CAI filter. These samples were compared to see which filter filtered the best.

The Filters

The dirt intake tests were done on HKS Super Power Flow filter, Apexi Super Intake, Sard Sports EX, Blitz SUS Power Cone and a K&N cold air intake filter.


The Results

1st Apexi – Best Cold Air Intake Filter

The dirt filter from the Apexi Super Intake was by far the cleanest of all the filters in the test. Power increase was also the highest with a 14PS increase

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2nd K&N

K&N air filter results. Power & filtration
The K&N cold air intake filter had the second cleanest filter. Power increase was slightly down versus the Apexi filter at 13PS increase

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3rd – SARD Sports EX

SARD cold air intake filter
The filtration quality of the SARD filter was third behind K&N and Apexi. Power increase was also lower than the Apexi and K&N cold air intake filters. The SARD air filter gave a 11PS increase.

4th – Blitz SUS Power Cone

Blitz air filter results. Power & filtration
Filtration by the Blitz SUS Super Power Cone was worse than Apexi, K&N and SARD but it was not the worst cold air intake filter in the test which was a big surprise. The Blitz filter is made of metal which does not have a good reputation for quality filtration. However the power increase with the Blitz was almost the same as the Apexi filter (13.9PS)

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5th – HKS Super Power Flow

HKS air filter results. Power & filtration
By far the worst filtration performance of any filter in this test. The dust filter was clearly much dirtier than any other filter. It is slightly surprising to us that the foam used in the HKS filter performed worse than even the metal mesh used in the Blitz filter. Power increase was good though, 3rd in this comparison with a 13PS increase

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Best Cold Air Intake Filter – Conclusion

The Apexi super intake filter is the clear winner. By far the best filtration of dust and also the biggest power increase.

Looking at the filter material of the Apexi filter you can see there is more going on than normal filters like the K&N. The Apexi filter appears to have multiple layers but at the same time having a low restriction. The cost of the Apexi filter maybe more than the other filters and the filter material itself is not replaceable (like the HKS) but the performance looks more than worth the extra cost.

Dirt going into the engine can drastically reduce the life of an engine, paying more to filter the air well, is a sound investment which pays itself back many times over especially when it does not hinder engine power.

The only thing that was not covered in this test, as far as we can tell, is the time it takes for each filter to get choked with dust. Having said that we do not believe it would change the finishing order of the filters.

Click here for a filtration test on standard size replacement air filters

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This page was last modified Apr 5, 2023 @ 3:40 pm

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