8 Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner for Harley Davidson Reviews 2023 [With Buying Guide]

Looking for an upgrade for your Harley’s air intake system? Then, you need the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson to increase your RPM and overall performance.

Harley’s stage 1 cleaner is for those who like to ride their Harley with a sweet Harley exhaust tone and an aggressive performance thrive. And a top-notched stage 1 air cleaner kit can help you in this case.

And after a long-query research and user experience analysis, we are here with the 8 best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson with an in-depth buying guide. After reading this article, you will get your right pick with the desired performance peak with your Harley ride.

Does Changing Air Cleaner Improve Harley Davidson Performance?

In a nutshell, the answer is yes. But here you need to know-how. And for this, first, let’s learn what a stage 1 upgrade on Harley Davidson is.

So, when you think about upgrading your Harley with stage1 air cleaner, it indicates the stage 1 upgrades. And Harley Davidson stage 1 upgrade includes modifying the air filter, exhaust system, and fuel metering part.

Does Changing Air Cleaner Improve Harley Davidson Performance

Consequently, your Harley parts get a clean air filter to let the engine flow with contamination-free pure air. At the same time, an exhaust system upgrade helps in better gas emissions to let your Harley breathe well.

And all these things, on the whole, help your Harley get more Horsepower and torque increase, resulting in a visible performance upgrade.

So, you can assume what a cost-efficient RPM thrive stage1 air cleaner kit can bring.

Now, let’s move on to the hunt for the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson.

Comparison Chart:

Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner for Harley DavidsonMaterialFitmentDimensionsWeight
K& N Air FilterCotton gauge filter mediaVehicle specific fit‎3.35 x 1.43 x 3.35 inches1.3 pounds
Arlen Ness 18-320 Big SuckerAlloy SteelUniversal Fit‎9 x 8 x 6 inches3 pounds
Vance & Hines VO2 NakedCNC machined billet AluminumVehicle specific13 x 10 x 7 inches3.89 pounds‎
Happy Motor Air CleanersCNC machined billet AluminumVehicle specific‎13.15 x 11.65 x 8.03 inches6.02 pounds
Krator Night Performance FilterChrome Billet AluminumVehicle specific fit‎12.9 x 8.3 x 5.7 inches 3.74 pounds
Happy Motor Black TurbineAluminumVehicle specific fit‎0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches3.8 pounds
Arlen Ness 18-505Billet AluminumUniversal fit9.7 x 9.4 x 5.3 inches2.54 pounds
Happy Motor Black TurbineAluminumVehicle specific0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches3.8 pounds

8 Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner For Harley Davidson Reviews

Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner for Harley Davidson Reviews [With Buying Guide]

1. K&N High-Flow Air Filter – Best Harley Air Filter Overall

Need more power and acceleration with your Harley stage 1 upgrade? K&N premium air filter can meet your ride needs.

K&N High-Flow Air Filter

Build Design:

K& N high-performance air filter is designed so that it can ensure more velocity in airflow. And this engineering technology helps it create 50% more acceleration leading your ride with more power.

Do you know how? K & N air filter comes with its integrated internal velocity stack to push more airflow inside. If you are concerned about the look, you can also look for the square-shaped filter of K & N.


K &N air filter does not use general paper. Instead, it uses 4 to 6 layers of cotton gauge. According to K & N, cotton breeds easier than paper, so airflow is increased than traditional paper filters.

And filtration media is where K & N air filter is totally different, keeping its brand fame.


So, the secret of this premium air filter lies in the mechanism. The K&N filter oil is suspended inside the thousands of cotton fiber layers. And it does not let the engine face any restriction during this high and increased airflow.

This is why K & N air filter is one of the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson if you are looking for something premium.

Easy to Install & Use:

This air filter is reusable, and mounting it is super easy. You can wash and use it frequently, unlike any other paper filters that are not reusable.

And this air filter does not need additional tools to install. You can install it within minutes.

Best Compatibility:

This premium air filter is compatible with Harley Davidson Softail, Dyna, Electra Glide, and some other selected year models.

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: Cotton gauge filter media
  • Fitment: Vehicle specific fit
  • Compatibility: Harley Davidson Dyna, Softail, Electra Guide (1995-2015)
  • Featuring Benefit: 50% increased airflow
  • Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Dimension: 3.35 x 1.43 x 3.35
  • Replacement Type: Performance Part
Things We Like
  • Perfect replacement of the stock air filter
  • More airflow, more acceleration, more gain
  • Lightweight
  • Washable & reusable
Things We Don’t Like
  • Slight noise in performance gain

Bottom Line

If you value the brand and want to give your Harley the premium performance part, the K & N air filter will be a good choice.

2. Arlen Ness 18-320 Big Sucker – Air Filter Kit with Cover

The best thing about this stage 1 air filter kit is it comes with a universal fitting. And so, the Arlen Ness air filter kit removes the hassle of mounting it with additional banjo fittings and hoses.

Arlen Ness 18-320 Big Sucker

Outer Design:

This air cleaner comes with Alloy steel-made outer cover, so there is no question about its durability. And the backing plate or carb support brackets are also Aluminum-made.

Many air cleaner kits like the Vance & Hines don’t offer the cover, and you need to buy the cover separately, thinking about keeping it out of water. Arlen Ness Big Sucker air filter meets your needs and saves your budget.

Build Quality:

Hidden Breather technology is used here, which helps in particle and moisture prevention with engine airflow.

It is made with 4-layers of surgical-grade cotton that ensures a solid filtration leaving no doubt. It makes an excellent option to thrive the stock air cleaner performance.


Arlen Ness air cleaner kit is a performance air filter kit ensuring the performance increase. It lets the engine breathe through the throttle body mouth end or the carburetor mouth. And this process creates a virtually closed-loop system.

This is the unique feature of this air cleaner kit. And if you want a complete stage 1 upgrade without thinking about vehicle compatibility issues, this works best always.

Ease of Installation:

This air cleaner kit is super easy to install. And the additional benefit is you don’t need any other hoses or brackets.

It comes with all the necessary kits like the backing plate, mounting bolts, breather bolts, and gaskets.


Arlen Ness’s air cleaner kit is durable for its chrome plating on the backplate and a robust filtration media. It is always a step ahead of the additional tools attached to the kit.

This installing video might help!

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Fitment: Universal Fit
  • Compatibility: Harley Davidson Twin Cam / FI FLT/ XL Sportster / Evo
  • OEM Part Number: ‎18-320
  • Weight: ‎3 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9 x 8 x 6 inches
  • Replacement Type: Performance upgrade part
Things We Like
  • Universal fitting
  • Easy to mount
  • Comes with a durable steel-made cover
  • Noticeable boost up of gear response
Things We Don’t Like
  • Bikes other than Harley Davidson might find some fitting issue

Bottom Line

Folks who want a real performance upgrade, this air cleaner kit is a gem to use. And the best thing people most find with this over-stock air cleaner is it worth upgrading for an instant increase in bike response.

3. Vance & Hines VO2 Naked – Best Air Filter for Harley Cruiser

Do you want a replacement for your Harley Sportster air cleaner parts? Don’t bother with a huge performance increase? Then, Vance & Hines air cleaner kit is your right pick.

Vance & Hines VO2 Naked

Build Design:

The Vance & Hines air cleaner kit is made and manufactured inside the manufacturer’s house. It uses Billet aluminum-made venture in its cleaner.

It includes a durable and large inlet backing plate, too.


This air cleaner kit comes with washable and replaceable filter media. And it helps more airflow inside the engine increasing power gain.

Again, the billet venture is sleek enough, which helps the carburetor get more airflow and does not lack durability like some low-quality Alloy steel-made casing.

Upgrade Type:

Vance & Hines air cleaner kit is a replacement upgrade for the Harley Davidson Sportster engine. The kit is not aimed at increasing performance upgrades; this kit will keep the same airflow as your stock filter is doing with a bit of upgrade to the bike.


This filter cleaner kit is the right fit for a cruiser or touring-type vehicles. And its installation does not change the stock exterior look; that is where people fall for this kit.

And how easy to install this kit is, you can assume after watching this Vance & Hines stage 1 cleaner kit installation.

However, the kit does not come with the cover, and you need to buy the cover compatible with your vehicle fit.

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: CNC machined billet Aluminum
  • Fitment: Vehicle specific
  • Compatibility: Harley Davidson Cruiser/Touring
  • OEM Part Number: ‎ 71011
  • Weight: 3.89 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13 x 10 x 7 inches
  • Replacement Type: Kit Replacement Part
Things We Like
  • Replacement without changing stock filter
  • Billet venture helps more airflow
  • Worth-upgrading replaceable filter element
  • Greater look with better airflow increase
Things We Don’t Like
  • Need to buy the compatible cover additionally

Bottom Line

If you own a Harley Sportster and want to upgrade the air cleaner, at the same time, don’t want to lose the factory cleaner look, Vance & Hines is for you. The best part is that it helps in more airflow, resulting in more performance gain without changing the stock design.

4. Happy Motor Air Cleaners- Best Value for Money

So, Happy Motor brings a stage 1 air cleaner kit thinking about users’ most comforting and easy maintenance. It’s the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davison M8 featured on our list. Let’s see why.

Happy Motor Air Cleaners

Build Design:

This air cleaner kit is designed using Billet Aluminum, and the interior of the air filter is welded with a CNC machine. So, you see how durable it features, and the Billet Aluminum adds more style to enhance the outer look.

This air filter’s build design and interior area make it premium and pricier.


Apart from Aluminum, the filter media is made from synthetic stuff, which ensures a water-resistance feature while functioning.

So, it stands a step ahead of other air filters in this case. Also, this makes you worry-free from adding any rain sock to the filter, as you may need with the Arlen Ness kit.

Ease of Use:

This filter does not just feature the style only but offers a less maintenance function.

This black stage1 air filter is washable, and wait; you don’t need to use any oil, which gives the user a big relief in terms of filter maintenance.


It is called the Monster sucker air filter. Why? Because it has more room inside the filter and has an inverter filter top design that can draw in air from all inner corners, resulting in more airflow to the engine to provide more torque.

If you want to enjoy more torque in the ride, this air cleaner kit can give you that feel than any other air filter kit.

Best Compatibility:

Here comes the most concerning fact- vehicle Compatibility. Well, this air cleaner kit is a precise fit for the Harley Davidson Street Glide, Road Glide,  and Electra Glide series. You can consider this one of the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson Street Glide. Also, Softail 2018-2020  year model and the Touring Milwaukee-Eight M8 Engine 17-20 year model are nicely compatible.

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: CNC machined billet Aluminum
  • Fitment: Vehicle specific
  • Compatibility: Harley Davidson Street Glide, Road Glide, Softail Slim, Electra Glide
  • Color: Black cone-shaped
  • Weight: 6.02 pounds
  • Dimensions: 13.15 x 11.65 x 8.03 inches
  • Replacement Type: Kit Replacement Part
Things We Like
  • Billet Aluminum ensures durability
  • Design draws in more air
  • No need for oil for maintenance
  • Easy to install & use
Things We Don’t Like
  • Expensive

Bottom Line

This cone-shaped black color air filter is a perfect fit when you want to enjoy more power and torque gain from your Harley. And the beneficial part is it does not need any oil and is easy to maintain.

5. Krator Spike Air Cleaner- Cone-Shaped Air Filter

Want to give your Harley an aggressive look with a stage 1 upgrade? Then, the Krator Night Cone Spike air filter should be your pick.

Krator Spike Air Cleaner

Build Design:

This air filter comes with a unique design that makes your Harley ride like a beast. This filter is different from other air filters as its 360-degree slotted spike housing elevates the shape & design.

Its cone-shaped spike air filter gives an aggressive look that can make people gaze at your Harley when you fly.


Like most high-performance air filters, the Krator Night stage 1 air cleaner kit is made with high-quality Billet Aluminum stuff. And Chrome plating ensures its long-time durability.

However, there is a red color air filter inside the Chrome build. This gives the filter a premium and aggressive look that you might want to feature.

Best Compatibility:

This intake filter is the best fit for the Harley EFI engines, not the carb engines. The Harley 2002- 2007 Softail series, 2004-2007 Dyna series, 2002- 2007 Touring series, and 2008-2009 Rocker Softail series bikes are perfectly compatible with this spike cone.

Ease of Use:

You don’t have to scratch your head when riding your Harley with a Krator air filter in it. Just wash and use, no extra hassle.

However, the kit doesn’t include any installation guide. You can install the air filter yourself following the video below.

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: Chrome Billet Aluminum
  • Fitment: Vehicle specific fit
  • Compatibility: Harley Davidson Touring, Dyna, Softail
  • Design: Red color filter with a spike cone shape
  • Weight: 3.74 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12.9 x 8.3 x 5.7 inches
  • Replacement Type: Performance Part
Things We Like
  • Durable Billet Aluminum
  • Washable
  • Beast looking performance gain
  • Slotted spike conical shape
Things We Don’t Like
  • Not compatible with carburetor engine

Bottom Line

So, for people looking for a performance gain with an aggressive look, the Krator air cleaner kit can be the best-suited option for your Harley.

6. Happy Motor Black Turbine- Best Air Filter for Harley Touring Glide

Are you looking for the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson that will be worth your bucks? This air cleaner kit is what you have been looking for so far.

Happy Motor Black Turbine


Billet Aluminum is used in this black air cleaner kit which is finely crafted to ensure its longevity. Though users are confused as the manufacturer does not include any clear assurance with the filter media, there is no further question about longevity.

So, it’s good to give it a try to make your Harley enjoy the stage 1 upgrade.

Build Design:

This air filter from Happy Motor is designed as an exposed shape that enhances more airflows. Apart from this, this shape and design also give your bike a premium look.

If you look for a premium look and do not like the conical-shaped one like the Krator, this black turbine can suit your needs.


This air filter features quality built design and ensure an increase in airflow. Again. The backing plate design also helps with a smooth and increased airflow into the carburetor or throttle body.

Best Compatibility:

This black air intake cleaner is ideal for the Harley Davidson Road King, Electra Glide, and Road Glide series bikes.

Consider this another best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson Street Glide.

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Fitment: Vehicle specific fit
  • Compatibility: Harley Davidson Road King, Electra Glide, Street Glide
  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches
  • Replacement Type: Performance Part
Things We Like
  • Fast installation within minutes
  • Gives a good look
  • Compatible with both carburetor and EFI engine
  • Innovative backing plate design
Things We Don’t Like
  • Some say it gets rusty after a time period

Bottom Line

Though a few users said this black turbine air cleaner kit to be rusty over time, it is a price-worthy item for your bike upgrade. Besides, it helps with smooth and increased airflow leading to more Horsepower.

7. Arlen Ness 18-505 – Air Filter with Universal Fit

Another big air sucker is here with universal vehicle fitting.

Arlen Ness 18-505


This Arlen Ness air cleaner kit comes with an Aluminum backplate that supports the entire filter case and ensures durability.

And this backplate design makes this air filter a unique look from other stage 1 air filters.

Build Design:

Arlen Ness stage 1 air cleaner filter is designed in an oval-shaped. So, any oval rounded outer cover will be compatible with it. Or, if you want some savings, you can also use the stock cover.

Besides, the stage2 air filter of Arlen Ness seems to be more effective than the stage 1 in high-airflow.


Whether your Harley has the carburetor or EFI engine, this air filter breathes out the air at the mouth. While doing so, like most Arlen Ness products, it creates a virtually closing loop.

And this is the common feature for all of the Arlen Ness air cleaner kits, excluding the bike compatibility issue.

Ease of Use:

This air filter is super easy to install and use. It comes with the carburetor supporting backplate, so additional fittings and hoses are needed. Again, you can install it yourself within minutes.

Best Compatibility:

This air filter removes the hassle of vehicle fit issues. Why? It comes with universal fitment, and so, almost all of the Harley Davidson owners can have a sigh when buying this.

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: Billet Aluminum
  • Fitment: Universal fit
  • Featuring Benefits: Budget-Friendly
  • Weight: 2.54 pounds
  • Dimensions: 9.7 x 9.4 x 5.3 inches
  • Replacement Type: Performance Part
Things We Like
  • No hassle of fitment guarantees
  • Works best on both carburetor and EFI engines
  • High- airflow with more acceleration
  • No need for extra mounting hoses and banjo fittings
Things We Don’t Like
  • Not as large as the stage 2 filter

Bottom Line

So, if you don’t want to go for any vehicle fitting hassle and looking for an exact fit filter to bring some acceleration difference, this Arlen Ness air filter can be your Harley’s right fit.

8. Happy Motor Black Turbine- Best Design for Harley

Here comes another black turbine from Happy Motor, but best compatible with Harley Davidson Touring series models.

Happy Motor Black Turbine (2)


It is built with Aluminum, so it ensures maximum durability with protection. Like other Happy Motor stage 1 air cleaners, it has the same crankcase breather system for the engine to breathe more airflow.


This air filter is designed for exposure benefits, which help airflow into the engine. As a result, this stage 1 air cleaner kit does not lack an inch in terms of torque gain.

This black turbine stage 1 air cleaner got more customers’ positive reviews for its build within an affordable price range.


The best feature of this air cleaner is its airflow mechanism. You don’t need to bother if your Harley works with the carburetor or EFI engine mode. It can create smooth and increased airflow to help you ride with an improved horsepower than the stock.

This filter comes with breather technology featuring a crankcase inside. The backplate design also helps with smooth airflow without restricting the engine performance.

Best Compatibility:

This stage 1 air cleaner is perfectly compatible with the Harley Davidson 2008-2016 Trike, Road Glide series, Road King series, Electra Glide series, and Street Glide.

Technical Details & Specs

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Fitment: Vehicle specific
  • Featuring Benefits: Turbine spike with contrast cut
  • Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Dimensions: 0.39 x 0.39 x 0.39 inches
  • Replacement Type: Performance Part
Things We Like
  • Build design features smooth & increased airflow
  • Provides acceleration gain
  • All mounting accessories are included
  • Worth the price
Things We Don’t Like
  • May not fit in Softail series

Bottom Line

If you own the Touring series Harley and look for something price worthy that will offer the look and increase in speed, this black turbine air filter should be your pick.

How To Choose Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner For Harley Davidson

Oh, have you just got your pick, or are you still scratching your head with the dilemma of which one should you go for? Let’s help you out here with this ultimate buying guide.

How To Choose Best Stage 1 Air Cleaner For your Harley Davidson

Look For The Best Material

While picking parts for your Harley, the material comes at the top list. The air cleaner that is made with Aluminum or Billet Aluminum can ensure maximum durability for a longer time. So, look for the best material used in the filter.

Check Filter Design

This is where the entire air-purifying secret lies. The air filter design features how the air will be pulled in. So, look for more air-pulling power inside the filter that can increase acceleration.

Don’t Forget About Vehicle Compatibility

Whatever filter you choose, must check vehicle compatibility. Some filters may claim for the fitment; you should purchase comparing the filter size and dimensions with the stock filter.

Double Check For Filter Upgrade Type

Some air cleaner kits come with a performance upgrade, and some come with replacement part type only. So, be sure of these before making the mind to purchase.

The replacement part type only improves the style and look with a bit of performance gain, and the performance upgrade type part increases the torque to offer you the best ride.

And these are basically the things you must look at before getting a stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson. And if you consider the price, Happy Motor Black Turbine for the Harley Touring series is worth every penny.

This DIY Installation of the Harley Davidson stage 1 air filter can help you too!


While upgrading your Harley with stage 1 air cleaner kits, don’t forget to tune your Harley to update its performance with the change air intake system.

Frequently Asked Question (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions about the best stage 1 air filter for Harley davidson.

How Often Should You Change The Air Filter On Harley?

Though Harley Davidson air filters can last up to 50000 miles, it is recommended to change the air filter every 10000 to 15000 miles.

However, this time interval can vary in some cases depending on how off-roader or overlander your Harley is. So, if your sweet Harley has to go through dusty off-road rides most, you should consider replacing the air filter every 10000 miles.

Do You Oil A Harley Air Filter?

It basically depends on what air filter you use. Some air filters do not need oiling that comes pre-oiled, so you can just wash and use them. Again, some need oiling when reusing.

For example, both the premium K & N air filter and the Krator cone-shaped air filter are washable and reusable. But the difference is the filter paper inside the K&N air filter comes pre-oiled, so you don’t need to use oil when reusing.

Contrarily, the Krator air filter does not come pre-oiled. So, you need to oil it after you wash it.

Can You Clean A Stock Harley Air Filter?

Of course, you can clean it, but it is not recommended to wash the factory stock Harley air filter. Instead, you can use compressed air to clean the stock Harley air filter. However, if you are thinking about aftermarket air filters, tons of top-notched aftermarket air filters are available that you can wash and reuse.

How Much HP Does An Air Cleaner Add?

According to experts’ recommendations, adding an air cleaner that is performance targeted can add around 3 to 5 HP (Horse Power). Also, it can also help increase torque.

In some cases, it is seen that upgrading the air cleaner can improve fuel efficiency.

Are Cone Air Filters Better?

Indeed, they are.

Cone air filters or conical-shaped air filters are much better, especially when compared to stock air filters. Most of the cone air filters are designed in such a way that they can pull in more air resulting in more airflow. And ultimately, it increases the HP in rides.

Besides, people also go for the cone air filters for their aggressive-looking design and striking exterior.

Wrapping Up

Changing the air cleaner kit with the best stage 1 air cleaner for Harley Davidson not only can bring a greater look to your bike but increase performance and torque with more airflow.

And after going through the above reviews and buying guide, we are hopeful that you will get your final pick right away.

However, if you are still hovering among these shortlisted air cleaners, we suggest you go for the Arlen Ness 18-505 air cleaner kit. It is the universal fitting type and does not need extra hassle in installation time. But if you don’t think about the budget, K& N premium air filters can go a long way (please check fitment first).

However, you will get the best performance and better airflow with any of the products listed in this article.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top