Your engine needs to breathe, but the factory filtration isn’t up to snuff. So, what are the options? Well, there are those “miracle” engine accessories found in the dark corners of the internet. But sadly, those are better for turning your car into a lawn ornament than letting it breathe. Then there’s the logical option –an aftermarket intake system from a well-known brand like aFe and K&N. By adding power and fuel economy, without the use of glass jars filled with snake oil or high voltage, these brands are the cornerstones on opposite sides of the performance accessories tower.
So, which one do you choose? Like feuding twins, they look and perform similarly but have different personalities. Luckily, both intakes have good manners for daily drivers. Not surprisingly, searching online for kn v afe yields mixed results and lots of brand bias. So, let’s compare aFe power vs. K&N to see how each manufacturer really measures up.
The Benefits of an aFe Intake System
Quickly becoming a favorite for performance enthusiasts for their clean looks and great sound, aFe combines molded plastic tubes and a variety of high-flow air filters to maximize power and economy. As challenging as a jigsaw puzzle with three pieces, each aFe intake uses the bare minimum of parts to simplify installation. Like a bodyguard keeping your engine protected from threats of all sizes, air filter meshes get progressively smaller to trap particles large and small. As if that’s not enough, the filter pleats are 30% deeper than competitors, to lock in more dirt between cleaning intervals. Even better, since they are made out of cotton, both their oiled and dry filter styles are washable and reusable.
The Benefits of a K&N Intake System
Being the pioneer of high flow cotton-gauze filters, it’s easy to see how K&N has grown to become one of the most well-known performance filter brands out there. Using a molded plastic tube and washable oiled filter, K&N intakes generate a throaty performance tone like the aFe kit. But the similarities end there—with options for polished metal tubes, K&N adds clean style to an engine compartment full of black plastic. Simply stated, over the last 40 years, K&N has perfected the high-flow air filter and cold air intake system.
Which Brand is Best for You?
By now, it’s easy to see that either an aFe or K&N filter is a great choice. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to determine the best sounding cold air intake as they both use plastic tubes to eliminate the restrictive factory baffles for more power and sound. To further complicate matters, in both cases, reusable cotton-gauze filters are used to maximize airflow. So which brand is the best? Well, that depends on which features are more important to you. If you want the choice between oiled and dry filters, choose aFe. If your focus is on the construction of the intake tube—then go with the K&N system. Best of all, you can’t go wrong with either brand.