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Harley Davidson is among the most popular names in the motorcycle industry. For this reason, finding replacement parts for these bikes is rather simple.
Although these bikes don’t require much maintenance, one thing you’ll have to invest in is a quality air cleaner.
Finding the greatest air cleaner for Harley Sportster is sometimes overwhelming because there are many types and models on the market.
Take a few minutes to read the article below to discover the best filters. Stick around for the buyer’s guide as well since the information included can help you choose.
7 Highest Rated Harley Sportster Air Filter Reviews
NT – Aluminum
NT is a quality-made filter that measures 10.2 x 6.1 x 6.1 centimeters and weighs 730 grams. It’s reusable, which means you can easily wash and re-oil it for the best performance.
The faceplate is made of billet aluminum, featuring internal breathing passages for a clean installation. It requires no brackets, oil-catchers, or hoses.
One of the most important things to note is that this one is suitable for both carburetor and fuel injected models. It fits Harley Sportser XL 833, XL 1200, and all from 2004 to 2015.
The kit comes with an air cleaner and a set of mounting accessories for easier installation. It also comes with instructions on how to install the filter properly.
Another thing worth mentioning is its black anodized polished surface that enhances its looks, adding to the overall durability.
K&N – High Performance
K&N is a good choice if you’re looking for a high-performance air cleaner. It’s engineered to protect your motorcycle, providing up to 50% more airflow. As a result, it helps to increase acceleration and power.
This one comes pre-oiled, which means that it’s ready to install right when it arrives. It’s cost-effective as it doesn’t require much maintenance as it’s unlikely to clog as quickly.
K&N is engineered to fit into the factory box, which means it takes only a few minutes to install it even if you don’t have much experience with this.
It’s washable and reusable, which means you no longer have to spend as much money on constantly replacing your filters. It’s designed to replace and last longer than at least ten disposable cleaners.
TTMT – High Quality
This high-quality chrome billet aluminum cleaner features a cone-spike shape. It’s an aggressive look that many Harley riders look for.
Apart from the looks, this one is meant to enhance your performance. It’s designed to protect the engine from different contaminants, enhancing acceleration and power.
The 360° slotted cover enhances its durability and longevity. Also, it’s important to note that this one doesn’t come with any instructions, which may be a problem if you don’t have any experience in installing air cleaners.
For this reason, you may want to have a professional help you with the installation. Also, keep in mind that a breather kit is required as well.
It measures 4.9’’ in diameter and 9’’ in length. It fits most custom applications and Sportster models that are fuel-injected or carbureted.
XKH – Chrome
XKH chrome air cleaner intake filter is made for Harley Sportster XL 883, 1200 04-15. It measures 4 inches in diameter and 2 23/64’’ in height.
The most important thing to mention is that this one is made of high-quality aluminum. It fits Harley Sportster 1988-2015 models and is easy to install.
Also, it fits both the fuel-injected and carburetor models. Still, keep in mind that it doesn’t come with instructions, which means you might need a mechanic to help you with this.
The kit comes with a filter and a set of mounting accessories. However, some people complained that the mounting accessories were lost during shipping.
If this happens, feel free to contact the manufacturer, and the company will send you new mounting accessories.
Happy-motor – Black
This black air cleaner is meant for Harley Sportster 1991-2019 models. It’s made of billet aluminum and has a unique turbine spike style.
Note that this one is reusable and durable. It’s reliable and made to last a long time, protecting the engine from different contaminants.
The exposed filter design allows more airflow, while the backing plate promotes smooth airflow into throttle/carburetor.
It has built-in internal crankcase breathers and comes with all the mounting hardware you might need. However, it comes with no instructions, which means you’ll probably need a professional to install it for you unless you have experience with it yourself.
Most people said how this one is easy to install, so give it a try before you take your bike to a mechanic.
WOOSTAR – CNC Metal
WOOSTAR is made for several Harley Sportster models from 2004 to 2014. It’s made of high-quality CNC-machined metal and is among the most durable and long-lasting options.
The package includes the filter along with a set of mounting accessories. No instructions are included, so make sure to have a professional install this for you if you’re not as skilled.
The air cleaner is designed to increase the intake flow while providing reliable protection for the engine. It protects the engine from contaminants, prolonging its life as well.
Another thing worth noting is that WOOSTAR is among the most reliable companies. Its customer service is always available in case you have a problem with the cleaner or the installation process.
Vance & Hines – Stock Look
This is one of the best choices if you want to keep the stock look but have better performance. This air cleaner is a replacement for your original stock filter, requiring no cover.
It has a dual-port venture that’s machined from billet aluminum. Also, it’s easy to install as it bolts onto the factory throttle body in a few minutes.
This one produces strong performance gain using its high-flow washable filter element. It comes with all the mounting hardware and accessories you could need.
As we said, you don’t have to use a cover, although you can if you want to. It matches with many VO2 Skullcap covers, but they’re sold separately.
One thing to keep in mind is that this one isn’t street-legal in California.
How to Choose the Best Air Cleaner for Sportsters
As you’ve noticed, most air cleaners are mostly made of paper. This means you have to remove and replace the filter when it gets dirty. In most cases, you have to change the filter once or twice a year unless it gets clogged.
Some cleaners feature a cotton-gauze or sponge outer layer. These are aftermarket filters and are washable and reusable.
A cotton-gauze air cleaner is among the most durable solutions. You can wash and reuse it many times before you ever have to replace it.
A quality cleaner can boost the performance of your bike by allowing airflow and protecting the engine.
So, if you notice that your motorcycle is idling roughly, it may be time to replace the filter. Your bike requires clean air to reach optimal performance, which is why you should choose a cleaner that can provide that.
The performance of an air cleaner depends on its materials, quality of manufacturing, and the ability to trap different contaminants.
As you’ve probably noticed, most air cleaners come with no instructions. For this reason, you should have a professional help you with installation regardless of the filter you choose.
You can mount it yourself if you have some experience with Sportsters, but be careful with how you do it. Some filters are more complicated to install than others, especially for people who aren’t as skilled.
Most air cleaners come with mounting hardware, so you can immediately mount it when it arrives.
Ease of Maintenance
Air cleaners don’t require much maintenance except an occasional washing. In most cases, the entire maintenance process depends on the type of cleaner you choose.
Disposable cleaners don’t require any maintenance. Because they’re made of paper, you simply throw them out once they’re dirty and clogged.
On the other hand, reusable air cleaners require an occasional washing. It’s usually enough to do this once or twice a year, although it depends on how frequently you ride.
Most air cleaners are quite affordable, although the price ranges depending on the manufacturer, type of filter, and its durability.
Disposable paper cleaners are usually cheaper than those made of cotton or sponge. The difference in price is mainly because paper models are disposable and easier to replace.
As always, you should have a budget in mind, but try not to sacrifice important things for a lower price. Things like durability, mounting, and ease of use are much more critical.
What You Need to Know About Motorcycle Air Filters
The main purpose of an air filter is to clean the air before it reaches the engine. Engine runs on fuel, spark, and air, which is why it’s important that it’s free of small particles and contaminants.
Small particles could cause quite a mess if they reached the combustion chamber. For this reason, an air cleaner is placed to prevent this type of catastrophe from happening.
Other than that, a cleaner doesn’t have any purpose. If the surrounding air were clean, you wouldn’t even need an air cleaner for your Harley Sportster.
Types of Motorcycle Air Cleaners
Foam filters are what we typically find in off-road motorcycles. These are pretty cost-efficient and eco-friendly because you can rinse and reuse them several times.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that these aren’t always the best for Sportster bikes. Foam filters are denser than all others, and might not let enough air through.
Most stock cleaners are made of paper because they’re disposable and cheap. These don’t require any maintenance, washing, or cleaning.
A paper filter is fine, but not the best. It’s not the best when it comes to removing particulates from the air, especially when compared to those made of cotton or foam.
Cotton air cleaners are the most expensive but also the most efficient. They allow more airflow, trapping even the tiniest particles.
These are easy to clean and are meant to be reused. Also, if you maintain it properly, this filter can last you hundreds of thousands of miles.
Benefits of Motorcycle Air Cleaners
A reliable and quality-made cleaner traps the unwanted particles in the air before it reaches the engine. As a result, only clean air gets in, providing smooth power delivery and overall better efficiency.
As you know, clean air is vital for the best combustion of fuel. It’s required for proper and efficient performance, which is why you should also maintain your filters regularly.
Having a reliable cleaner provides better performance by protecting the engine.
How to Clean Motorcycle Air Filters
The first thing you should do is locate the air filter. It really depends on the bike since some models have filters under the gas tank. Harley Sportsters usually have the filter on the side of the engine.
It also depends on the type of filter you have. Cotton and sponge filters should be washed in a solvent. If you have a paper filter, you can just blast it with compressed air.
Paper filters aren’t the most durable, so make sure to be careful when cleaning them. In most cases, it’s better to replace it with a new one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make a DIY air cleaner for motorcycles?
You can try and make your own filter if these models don’t fit your Sportster. Use 12x16x5/8-inch foam sheets or measure your old air cleaner so that you can make a replica.
Cut the pieces and glue them together using a hot glue gun. Oil them as you would a regular oil filter and mount it the same way.
What’s the best air cleaner for Sportster?
Finding the top air cleaner for Harley Sportster bikes isn’t as complicated once you know what to look for. The ones we reviewed are all a good fit.
Think about the buying factors we disused so that you can choose the best air cleaner to boost the performance of your engine.
Having the best air cleaner makes all the difference in how your Sportster performs. It’s vital for proper airflow and smooth performance.
However, you can’t just go for any filter you come across. Sportsters require filters that may not work with other motorcycles.
Hopefully, the information in our buyer’s guide helped you choose one of the cleaners we reviewed. These are the best that the market has to offer, and it’s unlikely you’ll wrong with either one of them as long as you’re sure it fits the Sportster you have.