Finding the Best Air Cleaner for Harley Sportster: A Complete Guide

This article will help you decide on some of the best options available for the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster. By definition, air cleaners are used to remove dirt particles from the incoming airstream before they enter your engine’s carburetors or fuel injection system.

During regular operation, these paths can ingest airborne particles, which decreases the amount of power provided by the engine. 

Over time, this accumulation of dirt can wear down moving parts in your engine, resulting in sluggish performance or reduced gas mileage if your bike is being driven.

The best air cleaner for Harley Sportster can be installed using three different methods on your bike, each of which has its benefits and drawbacks.

Air Cleaner Installation For Harley Sportster

Under The Seat

The first location you should look at as an option for adding an aftermarket air filter is under the seat near the electrical box. This option provides clean outside air without passing through any other engine parts or accessories before it gets to where it needs to go. If you do not have a pre-existing air cleaner attached to the bike, this location is your best option, but you’d lose out on any filtering effect by passing it through other parts before getting to your engine.

Same As The Stock Filter

The second option for an aftermarket air filter would be the same as the stock filter that came with your Harley. The stock filters are usually located just in front of and below where your feet rest when riding. One drawback to this option is that these filters get dirty pretty quickly and would need to be replaced more often than other types of aftermarket filters. If this type of filter came with your model when purchased new, you should replace it with another type such as foam or cotton so that it will last longer or work more efficiently.

Best of Both Worlds

The third option for adding an aftermarket air cleaner would be to purchase a pre-made performance kit. These kits come with everything needed as one unit and can be purchased as a top or bottom style filter to attach wherever you like. There are several benefits to these types of kits; they usually provide the most optimal airflow and filtration, last the longest compared to other aftermarket filters, and save time and money since all parts need replacing at the same time for this type of upgrade.

If you are searching for the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster, this list should help you determine if it is time to replace your stock filters with aftermarket foam or cotton pre-oiled types rated for 18,000 miles.

best air cleaner for Harley sportster

Best Air Cleaners for Harley Sportster

Bullet Air Cleaner Kit


The chrome air cleaner with a red filter will attract some attention and provide some serious power gains. This kit includes everything you need (other than the breather) to add a fantastic look and performance increase to your Harley Sportster.

This kit features a high-quality Chrome Billet Aluminum Cone Spike Air Cleaner Kit and an aggressive look and performance gain and a 360-Degree Slotted Spike Cover and a Washable Filter.

The cone-shaped air cleaners are known for their better throttle response and increased horsepower, not to mention they look fabulous! The airbox on these kits will fit most custom applications. They can be used with both Sportster models with the proper breather kit, either fuel injected or carbureted but please make sure you check.

The breather is an excellent quality oiled breather kit that will work for all Harley Davidson’s and consists of a 1 to 3 ratio relief valve and a 52mm air filter. It has a system pressure relief valve of 5 psi and an atmospheric pressure release valve that opens at 15 psi. That allows the filter to self-adjust to varying altitudes and temperature changes, so your engine runs better all around.

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The Slotted Spike Cover features six strategically placed, slotted holes for better airflow, which will allow the engine to breathe much easier—making it one of the best air cleaners for Harley Sportster!

What do customers say about the bullet air cleaner kit?

One customer recently installed this kit on his 2010 883 Hugger. It is everything he expected it to be, and more! He could feel the power increase when he gave it some throttle. He recommended these kits to every biker he knew.

Another customer said that this is the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster he has ever tried. He said that it looks great, sounds good, and gives him a noticeable boost in power. He recommended this kit to anyone looking for a great product.

Vance & Hines Naked XL883N VO2


If you want to improve your Harley Sportsters’ looks and performance, the Vance & Hines Naked XL883N VO2 Intake is the right choice for you. Vance & Hines renders this model with an injection-molded ABS cover featuring Vance & Hines branding on top of it; other than that, there are no alterations made to the original product. Their intake is a blend of high performance and great style, ideal for Harley Sportsters. This is the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster because this model fits perfectly on all Harley Sportster models. Vance & Hines created this product as an OEM replacement part, guaranteeing you fantastic performance and looks.

Vance & Hines products are known for their quality and durability, thanks to the high-end materials. The intake features an improved airflow overstock, a washable high-flow ULTRAM filter, and a larger backing plate. Vance & Hines is a top-notch manufacturer of aftermarket parts, creating some of the best filters you can get to improve your vehicle’s looks and performance. This one is the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster 48 you can try out for your motorcycle!

What do customers say about the Vance & Hines Naked XL883n VO2

A customer said that this kit is an excellent addition to his Harley Iron 883. The kit was pretty easy to install as the instructions were obvious, and it’s a good choice for Harley Sportsters.

Another said that it looks good, sounds good, and he would recommend it to someone trying to get away from the stock look and grab a little extra horsepower. He’s only got about 20 miles on it, and so far, so good. He can hear it and feel it. I added that it was worth every penny.

K&N 63-1126 Harley Davidson


K&N® is a leader in producing performance-related cleaning products for the power sports industry and a leading provider of premium filtration products for passenger cars, trucks, and motorcycles. K&N Powersports products include air and oil filters designed to increase horsepower and acceleration and improve engine protection. They make some of the best air cleaners for Harley Sportster!

So, for all Harley Sportster owners who wish to increase their bike’s power and torque, the 63-1126 K&N Performance Air Charger is one of the best things money can buy. It features a cone-shaped, rugged, high-performance kit that replaces the Harley factory air cleaner. With a mandrel-bent, aluminum-tubed intake, this filter allows significant airflow and extra torque. The washable K&N filter also features a complete pack of mounting hardware, including a throttle body mounting plate. This is by far the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster iron 883!

So, if you use a Harley Sportster built between 2007 and 2014, this air filter is a must-have upgrade. Since it’s reusable, the red cotton pre-oiled kit will last for 100,000 miles and increase horsepower too!

So, if you crave more power out of your bike, get yourself one of these high-performance kits. With K&N’s low cost, superior performance, and exceptional washability, you can’t go wrong.

What do customers say about the k&n 63-1126 Harley Davidson

Many customers said that this air intake is well worth the money and reported that the upgrade does increase torque, and a lot of them love the sound. One customer installed this air intake on his 2008 Harley Wide Glide and noticed that it did increase torque, and he was surprised with the performance and how much torque it added.

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Arlen Ness 18-326


In 2018, Arlen Ness released a cleaner system that significantly boosts performance, suitable for Sportster models from 1998 to 2018. The 18-326 is the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson. It’s a level 1 kit that promises high performance and excellent airflow. The system causes the torque of your bike to go up by at least 21%. Arlen Ness guides your engine to deliver maximum airflow with its one-piece billet mounting plate and breather technology. The breathers have throttle bodies and exit o-rings, so you don’t need any external hardware. The kit offers two options for filters: the standard red pre-oiled cotton and the stainless steel-jacketed black synthetic filter element. 

The standard kit includes an Anodized Billet Plate, a Black Synthetic Filter (Pit Bull Intake El Diablo), Breathers, Throttle Body O-Ring, and an Exit O-Ring.

What do customers say about the Arlen ness 18-326?

Most customers report that this Arlen Ness air cleaner system is easily installed and delivers a noticeable increase in throttle response, torque, sound, and horsepower. One customer was thrilled with the difference the new intake made, saying it sounds great. Another was impressed with how solid everything feels when installed. He says he can’t recommend this enough.

Spike Air Cleaner Filter


Being famous for its quality motorcycles, Harley is known for its Twin Cam 88s. Further proof of the company’s top quality products, Spike Air Cleaner Filter Kits are finely manufactured at their facilities in York to be compatible with all the 1998-2018 Sportsters. It’s the best air intake for Sportster 883!

The filter kits are coated with a high-quality, black-finished billet aluminum spike cover air filter head.

Some of the latest Sportsters are part of the ’96-2018 Softail family, while all MY2013+ Dynas are equipped with a single cam engine.

The Spike Air Cleaner is the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster compared to other custom series because of its excellent bullet style, matt black finish, and aluminum body, tube, and frame.

Installing the product is also easy, even without any tools. Moreover, it takes under 90 minutes. The kit comes with detailed instructions, making the installation process even simpler.

The Spike Air Cleaner Filter Kit also includes a red cotton filter of the K&N KN-SP3301 model to ensure that each rider has a highly efficient filtration system and improved airflow.

The air cleaner system is compatible with all Harley models with the Sportster Evolution engine, i.e., from 2004 to 201— including Softail, Breakout, and Fat Boy.

In conclusion, these Spike Air Cleaner Filter Kits are the best way to upgrade the air intake of any Sportster with their black-finished, bullet design and easy installation process. Making it a great option if you’re looking for the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster!

What do customers say about spike air cleaner filters?

Customers are incredibly impressed with their purchase, saying it might be the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster they have used so far on their bike. According to them, the filter itself improved their motorcycle’s throttle response and sound. They also claim that it increases torque at all speeds. One of the customers was worried that it would affect his fuel economy, but it didn’t.

Krator Harley Davidson Spike Air Cleaner Kit


Improving motor performance and adding a bold and aggressive style to your ride are two functions an excellent air filter should deliver. If there’s any air filter for Harley Sportster in the market that does that, it is this fantastic spike-style air filter kit from Krator. Although it’ll require removing your stock air filter and housing, this kit is easy to install. It also provides better airflow than your stock filter. The design is impressive compared to your stock air filter housing. It features a distinctively bold styling, excellent airflow, and increased performance.

The Spike Air Cleaner Kit for Harley Sportster is made out of high-quality aluminum, which gives it a lighter weight. It has been designed to fit both stock and chopped Sportsters. It also fits both carburetors, equipped with a standard K&N filter. The kit is available only in a spike design.

The Spike Air Cleaner Kit is easy to install. It does not require any cutting or drilling, making installation pretty easy. It also features a compact design that fits your Sportsters stock frame nicely.

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What makes the Spike Air Filter Kit from Krator really stand out is its bold design. Air flows through the four slots on the sides of the filter, which come together in a spike design at the bottom. The alloy construction provides a lighter weight, while the chrome-finished exterior gives it a great appearance. The kit is also available in a matte black design.

The spike design is intentionally designed to look like a badass accessory. It’s easy to install and blends nicely with the lines of your Sportster. At the end of the day, we think you should definitely go for this Spike Air Filter Kit from Krator if you want to add a custom and more attractive look to your Harley Sportster. You will also get excellent airflow and increased performance, two functions that every great air filter should have—making it the best stage 4 air cleaner for Harley Davidson!

What do customers say about the Kraton Harley Davidson spiker air cleaner kit?

Customers are typically amazed by the design of this Krator Spike Air Filter Kit for Harley Sportster. They’ve tested it and noticed that it significantly improves throttle response and sound. A customer shared a story about how he had an aftermarket exhaust system added to his bike but was disappointed because the engine did not deliver the same roar as before. After installing this kit, the roar was back, and it sounded just like before. Customers also claim that this air filter kit increases torque. However, they recommend using a standard K&N filter for this kit.


Are there any air cleaners out there that you definitely do not recommend?

It’s essential to steer clear of air cleaners with oily filter pads. There have been many complaints about them getting gummed up and not working well. Be wary of the ones that require you to take the entire air cleaner housing off your bike to change the filter. There are a lot of good options out there, so it’s best to do some research and find one that fits your needs.

Do you have any tips on installing or maintaining an air cleaner on a Harley speedster?

There are a few different ways to install or maintain an air cleaner on a Harley speedster. The best way to do it depends on the particular model of the bike and the type of air cleaner you’re using. Here are some general tips:

  1. Make sure your bike is properly tuned before installation or maintenance.
  2. If your bike is new, be sure to break it in before tuning it or installing an aftermarket air cleaner.
  3. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and cleaning.
  4. Clean your air cleaner regularly to ensure optimal performance and fuel economy.

Do you have any other suggestions for an air cleaner filter besides the ones made by K&N?

There are a few other air cleaner filter brands that you might want to consider, such as J&P Cycles, Vance & Hines, and Air Resources Board. These brands offer a wide variety of air cleaner filters that should fit your Harley Davidson speedster quite well. Make sure to do your research to find the perfect filter for your needs!

What are other brands worth considering?

If you are looking for the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster, then K&N is a great brand, but several others are worth considering.

One option is the BMC air cleaner. It’s designed to fit Sportster models, and it improves performance by increasing airflow. It’s also washable and reusable, so it’s a good choice for those who want to reduce their environmental impact.

Another option is the Twin Air filter. Like the BMC, it’s designed to improve airflow, and it’s also washable and reusable. It’s been explicitly engineered for Harley-Davidson bikes, and it offers superior performance compared to other air cleaners on the market.

There are many other great brands, so do your research and find one that best meets your needs.

Are there any special considerations when choosing the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster?

You’ll want to take a few things into account when choosing the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster. The most important factor is the size of the air cleaner. You’ll want to make sure that it’s big enough to fit your bike.

Another thing to consider is the type of filter inside the air cleaner. Some filters do a better job of trapping dust and dirt than others. You’ll also want to think about how often you plan to clean the filter. Some filters can be cleaned more easily than others.

Finally, you’ll want to consider the price of the air cleaner. You’ll want to find one that fits your budget without sacrificing quality.

You’re All Set!

Finding the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster can be a tough choice to make. With the information we provided in this article, you’ll hopefully find the right fit for your specific model!

We hope you enjoyed this article on the best air cleaner for Harley Sportster. Please share your thoughts or questions about these kits in the comment section below. Don’t forget to check out our homepage, where you will find everything you need.

By Jacob - The Rider

Hi, my name is Jacob. I'm the founder of Backyard Rider Mag - a blog about motorcycles. I've studied engineering in college but decided to make blogging my career because it really aligned with what I wanted to do creatively - talk about bikes! I've been riding for 16 years now- everything from sportbikes to cruisers, dirtbikes or even dual sports. And after all these years on the road, there are still new bikes that excite me just as much as when I first started riding.

1 comment

  1. First time owner of Harley so looking for best choices on upgrades. Glad I found you, will be back again. Thanks

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