Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner For Harley Davidson To Buy In 2020

Motorcycle air filters take up the role of your nose. They function by shielding the engine from foreign particles and maintaining optimum levels of airflow within the engine.

The cleaner the air inside, the engine is the better combustion, more enhanced acceleration, and increased overall horsepower of the bike. Knowing the existing quality of air around us, modern-day bike engines would not be able to survive without the insertion of the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson.

Air Intake For Harley Davidson Comparison Table

If you do not have an air filter, then dust and debris would enter the internal system and lead to excessive fuel consumption, mix with engine oil, cause abrasions on your bike’s internal structure and dampen the smooth movement of the pistons within the cylinder.

Kuryakyn 9439
  • Compatible: 1999-2017 HD Models
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V&H Naked VO2 Air Intake
  • Compatible: 1991-2018 Sportsters
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Arlen Ness 18-326
  • Features: No need of Hoses, banjo Fittings, and filter
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Arlen Ness 18-803
  • Features: No need of Hoses, banjo Fittings, and filter
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K&N Motorcycle Air Filter
  • Compatible: 2008-2013 HD Models
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Arlen Ness 18-329
  • Compatible: Almost all Sportster models
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Lingdu Filter System Kit
  • Compatible: Almost all HD Models
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7 Air Cleaner For Harley Davidson Reviews 2020

Rather than ruining your bike, you must opt for an apt bike filter that consists of several filtrate layers that assures the removal of harmful particles before they make their way to the engine.

We have curated a list of great filters in our knowledge that is present in the market today. Keep reading to have a better idea of their working structure, pros, and cons –

Kuryakyn 9439 Alley Cat

Out of all the specially designed air cleaners for Kuryakyn Street Sleepers II/III and Harley Davidson bikes, this is one of the highest flow air filters. If you are searching for something elegant that imparts a radiant presence while on the road, then this one of a kind chrome-colored air cleaner with a metro look is your best bet.

stage 1 air cleaner for harley davidson from Kuryakyn
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Whether you need the best air cleaner for Harley 103 or a 2016 stage 1 road glide, this air cleaner fits just fine and comes with the lowest of loosening instances. Weighing just one pound, it adds no noticeable extra weight onto your vehicle and lets you soar freely without any weight burdens.

The aluminum makeover of this air filter ensures that the stainless-steel mesh undergoes minimal rusting even under the harshest of weather conditions. The precisely engineered structure of this filter comes with hundreds of tiny mesh’s that are beneficial in throwing out the dirt that enters the filter.

Along with it, you will also get one stay ring, one chrome alley cat air cleaner cover along with a hardware kit that you may need if you are an amateur in the field. You will need a set of hex and combination wrenches along with an LBS torque wrench and a socket set to install your air cleaner conveniently.

This air filter is compatible with all bike models ranging from ’99-’07 Dyna, ’00-’17 Softail, All Arlen Ness Stage 1 Sucker Kits, Screamin’ Eagle Stage 1 Air cleaner kit for ’99-’16, etc. Also, this air filter can suit any bike color as it is available in black and grey. Get a Harley Davidson tuner to watch the engine condition on your iPhone. Now, watch the official installation video:

Pros & More Features

  • Eye-catching chrome finish made out of meshed stainless-steel.
  • Top-notch aluminum construction to impart strength against wear and tear.
  • A black out for the internal section of the air filter is given with this product.
  • Overall a heavy-duty product.
  • Comes with an air cleaner cover, stay ring and hardware kit with basic equipment.


  • Engine tends to wind up faster due to excess air coming out the front.
  • A handful of buyers claim that the mesh screen is ghetto looking in the long run.


Vance & Hines Naked VO2

Some people love the stock look of the air intake for Harley Davidson but almost all of them are disappointed in its performance. V&H Naked VO2 solves the dilemma perfectly. It lets you use the stock air cleaner cover! But how about its performance?

V&H air intake for harley davidson
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Undoubtedly, it sucks more air; hence, gives you more power. This is a simple truth! It perfectly pairs with V&H FP3 and you can actually hear it’s working. If your engine seems dull, it gives it a goosebump! To give your engine a wakeup call from the dead, it’s a must-have for you.

To reroute the oil to the filter, you will find the tubes very useful. You won’t see this feature in other prominent brands like Arlen Ness. Once bolted up perfectly, you get a solid sucker. Even without any fuel adjustment, you will notice all around increased power.

You will find a lot of overpriced air intakes for your stage 1 upgrades. I am sure of that. But you should only trust the prominent brands like V&H. Surprisingly, you can get this at a very reasonable price.  Give it a try and you won’t be disappointed.

Already got huge recommendations for people who want to see a big difference in power and torque. If you want a reliable air filter that flows better than the stock filter, this is for you.

The air cleaner for Harley runs and sounds great and it is a must to have the true power of your bike. The feel is real and you can actually hear its sucking air. If you already have the V&H fuelpak and short shots, it’s a great addition to the arsenal.

More Features & Pros

  • Ensure more air for more power. Thanks to its large inlet backing plate and sleek dual-port venturi.
  • Reusable and washable high flow filter element. It’s hard to find a reusable filter that you can clean as many times as you want.
  • Great hold up even during the rain!
  • Fits any 1991-2018 Sportster as the perfect stage 1 air cleaner.
  • The cover is available too, but you have to buy it separately.
  • Affordable price.
  • It gives not only a huge performance boost but also a great solution to fix your oil leaks problem.
  • Features hidden breather bolts. Adds true beauty to your bike.
  • Quick installation. And it does the job great whatever it is supposed to do.
  • Really satisfactory after-sales service. Totally worry-free investment.
  • Huge recommendations calling it a badass. If you are just completing stage one, you should seriously think about it.


  • Very bad instruction manual. You won’t be needing it though. Watch some YouTube videos, and you will be good to go!


Arlen Nes 18-326 Black Big Sucker

Speaking of ideal execution while engineering and manufacturing an air cleaner for motorcycles, it does not get any better than this. This entire product is a one-piece aluminum carb support backing plate that possesses a well-netted and meshed circumference to keep out any contaminants from entering the engine’s section.

Arlen Nes 18-326 Black Big Sucker
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The design has focused on sections for both, removal of particles and smoke that is formed during combustion, and also for keeping out foreign particles to sustain the engine’s lifetime. Get a perfect sounding slip on muffler and enjoy the true beauty of your HD.

There is a perfectly positioned breather hole at the center of the mouth of the throttle body. This succeeds in creating an all-new unique closed-loop system.

Although it weighs 2.7 pounds, this excess weight is balanced out by the heavy-duty outer steel cover offering resistance and endurance against the strongest of debris and crashes.

The top-notch steel, in combination with a heavyweight backing plate, proves to reduce the efforts of the performance filter and ensures your engine runs smoothly for as long as you reap its benefits.

The coolest part is that all the relevant hardware to install this product comes in the form of a full-fledged kit along with an easy to read and navigate the instruction panel.

This means you do not need to spend extra money on purchasing equipment; neither do you have to spend ample of time fixing it up – simply follow the steps.

Also, nothing better than being part of an ecosystem that has its own patented technology. Yes, you got that right – this Arlen Ness 18-326 comes with its personalized Breather technology to ensure that your engine never does face the issue of overheating and malfunctioning.

Whether you are opting for short trips to the supermarket or longer trips across cities, this air filter ensures you can drive without worrying about the health of your engine.

Pros & More Features

  • The carb support bracket erases the need of extra banjo fittings or hoses.
  • Utilizes a unique patented Breather technology.
  • One-piece product – thus no hassle of assembling and disassembly.
  • The closed-loop system completely restricts the entry of dust and random debris.
  • 9 X 8 X 6 inches in size – making it a small and space-efficient fit for most bikes.
  • Compatible with behaving like an air cleaner for Sportser 1200.


  • Seller may send the product with missing rings that can be a pain to find.
  • Bolts provided are of poor quality and some tweaking may be required.


Arlen Nes 18-803 Performance Air Filter Kit

Also compatible as a Harley Davidson stage 1 air filter, the Arlen Nes 18-803 Big Sucker air filter proves to impart a smooth functioning mechanism, efficient power delivery, and a ‘badass’ sound-emitting the vehicle.

Arlen Nes 18-803 Performance Air Filter Kit
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This air filter comes as a one-piece aluminum backing plate that ensures the braking system is safe and intact while eliminating the necessity of any kind of banjo fittings, hoses, and additional filters.

The structure of the air cleaner consists of cotton foam around the rim that restricts the entry of all foreign particles. There is also a breathing passage in the center of the filter, which allows air to enter and exit from the opening of the carburetor. This entire design builds up to form a closed-loop system that ensures the engine is always kept in top-notch condition.

This proves to provide just the perfect air intake for Harley Davidson motorcycles due to its variations in stage kits. The stage I kit comes with a High Flow Air Filter that fits a 93 by 15 round/oval outer cover for the air cleaner. Whereas, the stage II kit comes with 20 percent bigger High Flow Air Filter and can accommodate 8’ round OEM outer covers.

Also, expect a hassle-free installation process due to its well-structured instruction panel and add-on hardware that comes with the entire package itself.

Pros & More Features

  • Lower fuel is released from the exhaust due to complete fuel combustion.
  • Hardware kit comes with High Flow Air Filters (HFAF) for greater power delivery and increased efficiency.
  • Increases overall horsepower of the vehicle.
  • Convenient and time-efficient installation process.
  • Backing plate proves beneficial to the braking system.
  • State I and II kits come with high-quality High Flow Air Filters (HFAF).
  • Makes uses of a patented Breather technology.


  • Backplate is not chrome – it is painted silver.
  • Faulty information regarding compatibility with stock air breather covers.

K&N Motorcycle Air Filter

You have surely heard of several motorcycles emitting unique sounds despite having the same make, specifics, model, and brand.

K&N Motorcycle Air Filter
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You may see an aftermarket exhaust muffler on these motorcycles to give way to some more power to your engine, so you can speed up as you desire, though the rest of the motorcycle looks like its standard model.

Are you wondering why similar motorcycles sound unique and throaty in their own manner? This is because of the inclusion of a High Flow Air Filter (HFAF). These filters allow three times more air to enter the combustion system than a regular air cleaner does, and this affects the speed positively.

K&N Motorcycle air filters are designed specifically further to increase the horsepower and acceleration of a bike, while also ensuring an exceptional filtration mechanism.

Once installed, you need not replace it for years as cleaning suffices in long-term sustainability. In fact, the high flow air cleaner for Harley Davidson bikes can be replaced by this K&N motorcycle filter if you ever land up purchasing a new motorcycle.

Pros & More Features

  • Designed specifically to fit into your existing factory air box.
  • Cotton foam filters can last up to 50,000 miles before replacement is required.
  • High Flow Air Filter (HFAF) imparts extra air for the fuel to burn, thus greater speed.
  • Improved combustion process increases the maximum power of the bike.
  • High Flow Air Filter (HFAF) provides fuel efficiency to a great extent.
  • Enhanced response by the throttle due to greater intake of air.
  • Peak torque output of the bike is also increased due to the High Flow Air Filter (HFAF).

Cons –

  • Increased performance due to higher combustion can reduce the bike’s mileage in the long run.
  • High Flow Air Filter (HFAF) is made of low quality; thus the engine is exposed to contaminants.

Arlen Ness 18-329

It got a huge recommendation from lots of HD enthusiasts who love to customize their bikes for better performance. Throughout the years, it has been proved to deliver improved throttle response and a noticeable increase in power. It’s so powerful that you can hear and feel it sucking!

Arlen Ness 18-329 air filter
Arlen Ness 18-329 air filter

You can’t go wrong with this high flow air filter for Harley Davidson and let me explain why.

It literally sucks. Also, not just the instant increase in horsepower, the overall performance improvement will be better than your expectations. There will be no more valve pinging. In fact, many users said HD should consider this as their built-in design.

When you put this on our Harley, there will be a day and night difference. Your bike will breathe way better.  If you have a Sportster or XL1200R, this is a must-have upgrade if you hate the factory air filter. It gives your bike a beautiful look as well.

It comes with all the hardware you need to install it yourself with a clear instruction manual. Once you set it up right, it will move air as you have never seen before. You will notice the difference momentarily. Also, do not forget to tune your bike after the installation is done.

After waiting for a long time, many riders have left their feedback. Their appreciation is pretty great! There is no chance you will regret having this.

Installation Tips
The installation is simply a breeze and there is not much technical difficulty to do so. But pay attention when you screw the bolts into the throttle body. Do not overtighten those. You can use the stock breather bolts if you think that will make the looks better.

More Features & Pros

Let’s see why so many people love this and why you should get the Harley Davidson stage 1 air filter.

  • From steel outer cover to high-quality filter, it comes with the backing plate too.
  • Comes in K&N red color. The look is really awesome.
  • Suitable for every Sportster model.
  • For stage 1 improvements (exhaust/air intake), it’s a great choice!
  • You can use your V&H Fuelpak tuner to tune it.
  • Competitive price but the performance boost will supersede the cost for sure.
  • So many love and recommendations!
  • For the amazing performance difference, call  Arlen Ness tech support to double-check your bike compatibility and other issues.


  • Instead of the red color, the black color would be much better.

Lingdu Filter System Kit

Last but not least, this air cleaner sold by Lingdu is one of the most retro-looking and dashingly elegant air filtration systems you can find for your bike. The chrome design with the rim-like structuring on the front end of this equipment acts as a perfect filtration system by allowing great amounts of air to enter and help in efficient fuel combustion.

Lingdu Filter System Kit
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The circumference of this piece of biking equipment comes with a cotton foam filter that keeps debris from entering the engine. Go on, ride your motorcycle for tens of thousands of miles, and you can yet expect this air filter to be usable. All you got to do is remove it and do an occasional cleaning session.

It has been designed only to fit cable throttles that are equipped with Delphi Fuel Injection or Carburetor models. Are you a 90s bike rider?

Do you own either the Touring Road King Electra Glide Street Glide Road (1993 – 2007) model? Or are you a classic Harley Dyna/FXR (1993 – 2007) motorcycle enthusiast? This air cleaner has been specifically designed to optimize the engine capacity of both these models effectively.

The KN air flow filter provides exceptional filtration results by crushing, churning and discarding any foreign particles or debris that try to enter the system. This system is also supported by the heavy-duty backing plate that directs all the incoming and outgoing air directly through the breathing passages (or throttle body).

Weighing 3.21 pounds, it proves to provide highly effective engine functionality as long as you follow the instruction manual and assemble the given parts without any kind of miscalculation and misplacement of parts.

Pros & More Features

  • Comes with a matching clarity Derby cover and a timing / Cam cover is available on demand.
  • High-end backing plate provides a smooth airflow in the carburetor body.
  • KN air filter with a top-notch filtration mechanism, keeping maximum debris out.
  • The manufacturer stands behind their products for a long time.
  • Can be used for engines under the Milwaukee 8 air cleaner category.
  • Accommodates Delphi Fuel Injection or CV Carburetor equipped models.
  • Billet aluminum has contributed to the CNC machinery.


  • Cable throttle does not allow Magneti-Marelli fuel injection equipped models.
  • Chrome color is actually painted silver.
Buying Guide For The Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner For Harley Davidson

high flow air filter for harley davidson

Depending on the type of bike, mileage of bike, the average duration of trips, manufacturer, and any additional modifications, you must make a choice as to what specific air filter you require.

How much attention would you pay to buy the rear shocks for your Harley? The importance is almost like that. Below are a few factors you must take into consideration while looking for a relevant air cleaner –

  • Type of air filter – There are paper, foam, and cotton air cleaners. Paper filters are preferred by people who are not really conscious of their bike’s engine. These are delicate, disposable, and inexpensive.

Foam filters are costlier and are used by off-road bikes as they can be cleaned and replaced whenever extra pollutants are clogging the breathing system. However, when uncleaned for a long time, airflow is reduced, damaging the engine in the process.

For this reason, you can consider the costliest of all – cotton foam filter. These can usually outlast the engine and also be used for thousands of miles worth riding with unlimited cleaning instances.

  • True HEPA – HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are useful in eradicating allergens like animal dander, dust, metallic shards and plastic as they can flush out molecules as small as 0.3 microns. Keep in mind, the bigger the HEPA filter, the higher its performance.
  • Check CADR ratings – Ensure to check the CADR of an air filter before shelling out a single penny. The CADR rating determines the output (purified air) by an air purifier when the motorcycle is as its maximum achievable speed while also indicating the foreign particle removal efficiency.
  • User reviews – See what others have who purchased the same filter have to say. What issues did they face? How long did it last them? Did it turn out to be defective? What benefits did they get with the purchase?
  • Customer Service and Warranty – Most moderately-priced air purifiers need to be replaced within some decent years. Make sure the seller has a cost-efficient replacement or damage warranty in place, so you do not have to go through the hassle of organizing and fitting a new air cleaner again.
  • Surface area – The more the surface area of your air filter, the greater and bigger a barrier is formed to keep the dirty particles and clean engine apart. Try to opt for an air cleaner that has dozens or ridges and pleats, as this is a smart design that increases the surface area and offers greater safeguarding effects.
  • Temperature resistance – Depending on your motorcycle’s horsepower, engine model and temperature generating capabilities, you must cautiously choose a suitable and relevant air filter. In case you live in a location where the thermometer displays continuously progressive mercury levels, you must head to the market and look for a filter that offers a superiorly high-temperature resistance amongst its other features.
Final Verdict

Air cleaners prove to be a critical part of a motorcycle. Make sure you choose the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson that you can clean and maintain using your existing equipment. No point splurging money on an air filter that requires the purchase of additional equipment. The list of air cleaners curated above has been made correctly, keeping in mind a dozen common HD models.

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