AEM Dryflow Air Filter Vs. Paper – Which Should You Choose?

Choosing the right air filter for your vehicle is crucial. Not only does it help keep your engine running smoothly, but it can also improve the overall performance of your vehicle. There are two main types of air filters to choose from, paper and AEM Dryflow. If you're not sure about which choice to go with, we have done our research to help you pick.

Choosing between an AEM Dryflow air filter and a paper filter will depend on your specific needs and budget. A paper filter will be a good choice if you're looking for a cost-effective option that you'll need to replace frequently.

On the other hand, if you're willing to invest in a higher-quality filter that will last longer and provide better protection, a synthetic filter like the AEM Dryflow would be the better choice.

If you want to know more about choosing the best air filter for your car, continue reading for more in-depth details. We would also discuss the pros and cons of each filter and how to care for your air filter. 

AEM Dryflow Air Filter Vs. Paper: What Option Should You Go With? 

Close up hands of unrecognizable mechanic doing car service and maintenance

There are many factors to consider when choosing an air filter for your car, truck, or SUV. Make the best choice for your vehicle based on your needs and preferences.

The AEM Dryflow air filter would be the better choice if you want a more convenient and long-lasting option. However, a paper air filter would be a good choice if you are looking for a more cost-effective option. If you’re still stuck on which one is best for you, then understanding their features and disadvantages can help you choose. 

AEM Dryflow Air Filters

AEM Dryflow air filters are designed to filter the air that enters your engine while providing excellent airflow and performance. Here are some key features of AEM Dryflow air filters:

Synthetic Materials

AEM Dryflow air filters are made with synthetic materials, making them easier to maintain than traditional cotton gauze filters.

Washable & Reusable

AEM Dryflow air filters are made with high-quality materials, ensuring they are durable and long-lasting. Synthetic AEM Dryflow air filters can be easily cleaned and reused, making them more cost-effective in the long run.

Good Filteration

AEM Dryflow air filters are designed to filter out contaminants down to 2 microns in size, ensuring your engine is protected from harmful particles. AEM Dryflow air filters are also more environmentally friendly than disposable filters.

Easy Installation 

AEM Dryflow air filters are designed to be easy to install, with a precise fit for most vehicles. 

Disadvantages of AEM Dryflow Air Filters 

Some of the disadvantages of the AEM Dryflow Air Filter include the following:

  1. The initial cost could be higher than disposable filters.
  2. It might not be suitable for extremely dusty environments.
  3. It can require more frequent cleaning in certain conditions (such as driving in heavy traffic or on unpaved roads).

Check out the AEM Dryflow air filter on Amazon.

Paper Air Filters

Paper air filters are made from layers of paper or other fibrous materials designed to remove contaminants such as dust, dirt, and other particulates from the air drawn into the engine. Some of the key features of paper air filters for cars include:

worn cabin air conditioner filter of car


Paper air filters are designed to withstand the high temperatures and harsh conditions in a car's engine bay. They can withstand the heat, pressure, and vibration in this environment, making them a durable choice for car owners.


Paper air filters are highly efficient at trapping and removing contaminants from the air. They can capture particles as small as 5 microns in size.

Low Cost

Paper air filters are generally less expensive than other air filter types, such as oiled cotton gauze or synthetic materials. This makes them an affordable option for car owners looking to keep their engines running smoothly.

Easy To Maintain

Paper air filters are easy to maintain and can be easily cleaned and replaced. They do not require any special treatment or maintenance beyond regular cleaning and replacement.

Disadvantages of Paper Air Filters

Some disadvantages of using paper air filters include

  1. They may not be as effective at trapping smaller particles as other air filters.
  2. Paper air filters can become clogged more quickly than other air filters, reducing their effectiveness.
  3. They are not as durable as other air filters and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Check out this air filter on Amazon.

How Often Should You Clean The AEM Dryflow Filter? 

Car Open Air Intake Filter with DIY Heat Shield, AEM Dryflow Air Filter Vs. Paper - Which Should You Choose?

AEM Dryflow air filters are designed to be washable and reusable. It is generally recommended to clean the filter every 50,000 miles or every year, whichever comes first. However, the cleaning frequency can vary depending on the vehicle's driving conditions and the environment.

For example, if you frequently drive on dirt roads or in dusty conditions, you might need to clean the filter more often. 

The general process involves removing the filter from the air intake system, soaking it in a cleaning solution, rinsing it with water, and allowing it to dry completely before re-installing it. Using a cleaning solution specifically designed for Dryflow filters is important, as other cleaning products may damage the filter materials.

Can You Use K&N Cleaner on AEM Filter? 

Manual wash engine with pressure water. Washing car engine with water nozzle

Yes, you can use K&N cleaner on an AEM filter. K&N makes a special cleaner designed specifically for cleaning their own brand of reusable air filters, but it can also be used on other brands of reusable air filters, including those made by AEM. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the cleaner carefully. 

Check out K&N on Amazon.

Do AEM Filters Need To Be Oiled? 

AEM filters do not need to be oiled. AEM air filters use a dry, oil-free synthetic filter media that does not require oiling. The synthetic media filters out contaminants and allows air to pass through without needing additional lubrication. In fact, using oil on an AEM filter can actually decrease its effectiveness. 

How Long Does a Paper Air Filter Last? 

The lifespan of a paper air filter depends on the type of vehicle it is used in and the driving conditions. On average, a paper air filter should last between 12,000 and 30,000 miles, depending on these factors. 

However, in some cases, a paper air filter may need to be replaced more frequently if it becomes clogged with dirt and debris or is damaged.

How Many Times Can You Use a Paper Filter? 

It is generally not recommended to reuse a paper filter for a car engine. Paper filters are designed to be disposable and should be replaced after each use. Reusing a paper filter can allow contaminants to pass through and potentially cause damage to the engine.

What Is The Highest Grade Air Filter? 

Several types of air filters are rated based on their ability to filter out contaminants. The highest grade of air filter is typically one that is able to remove the smallest particles from the air with the highest efficiency. Some of the highest-grade air filters are:

  1. HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters: These filters are able to remove at least 99.97% of particles with a size of 0.3 microns or larger from the air.
  • ULPA (Ultra Low Particulate Air) filters: These filters are even more efficient than HEPA filters and are able to remove at least 99.999% of particles with a size of 0.12 microns or larger from the air.
  • Activated carbon filters: These filters are able to remove gases, odors, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. They are often used in combination with other types of filters to improve the overall effectiveness of the air filtration system.

It is important to note that the effectiveness of an air filter depends on the specific contaminants it is designed to remove and the size of the particles it can filter out. 

Does a Better Air Filter Improve Performance? 

Engine concept of an ac air filter

A better air filter can potentially improve the performance of your vehicle or HVAC system. A clean air filter helps to ensure that a sufficient amount of air can flow into the engine or HVAC system, which can help to improve fuel efficiency and increase power.

In addition, a clean air filter can help to extend the life of the engine or HVAC system by protecting it from contaminants that can cause wear and damage. However, it's important to note that many factors can affect a vehicle's or HVAC system's performance, and a better air filter may not necessarily improve performance in all cases.

Are Deeper Air Filters Better? 

In general, deeper air filters are more effective at trapping particles and impurities in the air. This is because they have more surface area for capturing contaminants, and the deeper layers of the filter can often trap smaller particles that the surface layers might miss. 

Final Thoughts

There is no specific answer when deciding between an AEM Dryflow air filter and a paper filter. Both have pros and cons, and it ultimately comes down to personal preference. If you are looking for maximum protection for your engine and don't mind spending a little extra, then the AEM Dryflow air filter is the way to go. 

To read more about similar topics, check out these engaging posts: 

How Long Does a Tesla HEPA Filter Last? 

Does Engine Air Filter Brand Matter? 

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