Serious 4×4 enthusiasts know that an air intake snorkel is an important part of an off-road toolkit when it comes to preparing to tackle anything a trail might throw their way. Upgrades to wheels and tires, suspension, lighting, and other areas have an important role in dialing up capability in an off-road setting, though the snorkel is the go-to product to protect your engine from the typically catastrophic ingestion of water or mud. For such an important job, you will want to look carefully at the best snorkels available.
Whether you’re a novice off-roader looking for affordable options in your first snorkel kit, or a seasoned veteran building or upgrading a new rig, we’ll highlight some of the most popular options on the market below.
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1. Editor's Pick: K&N Performance Intake Kit With Snorkel
When brand reputation and long-term confidence are key, look no further than this snorkel kit from K&N. From one of the most popular brands in aftermarket intake systems comes this cold air intake snorkel that’s guaranteed to provide a horsepower gain, engineered to improve throttle response and engine sound, and built to fully separate the fresh air inlet from the hot engine compartment.
As a K&N product, the quality of the materials and components are top-notch, though this unit is priced accordingly. A removable airbox lid provides easy access to the filter beneath, for quicker inspection and replacement. Expect quick and easy installation thanks to clever design that ties into existing mounting points. The high-flow, open-element filter can be used for years before servicing is required, too. Simply put, this is one of the best snorkels available to day.
2. Customer Favorite: ARB Safari Snorkel
This tough and smooth-looking snorkel kit moves the air intake duct up high and out of the way, protecting your engine from water ingestion and hydro locking. A clean exterior look and tough black polyethylene construction with a cross-linked body add style and strength, while high-flow ducting helps improve performance and fuel efficiency. Finally, a uniquely-designed evacuation system helps more effectively disperse rain and unwanted moisture from the system, before it reaches your airbox.
3. Volant Snorkel Periscope Kit
Available for numerous applications, this Snorkel Perisocope kit from Volant attaches to the brand’s cold air intake kit on your 4×4 to create a new intake system that gathers air from above the vehicle’s roofline. The three-piece air duct is made from durable polyethylene for a long service life, and connects to the Volant Cold Air Intake through the front fender. A polished aluminum cover adds some visual flair and helps prevent debris from finding its way into the intake system. This kit is popular, though shop carefully: it only includes the periscope snorkel extension, and NOT the required cold air intake (purchased separately), so some online product images may be misleading.
4. Rugged Ridge XHD Low and High Mount Snorkel Kit
Rugged Ridge offers up this modular snorkel system for Jeep Wrangler JK models. This setup relocates the stock air intake location to better keep the filter clear of dust and keep you from hydro-locking your engine when you get a little too deep. Unlike several options on this list, the Rugged Ridge XHD still allows the windshield to fold and the doors to be removed.
This system comes with a pre-filter low mount that relocates the air intake to just below the windshield. But there is also an optional Ram high mount that allows the air intake to be extended up another 21 inches to the top of the windshield. The choice is yours, but they are easily interchangeable so you can go with the option that best suits your needs.
5. Wotefusi Air Ram Intake Snorkel Kit
We aren’t terribly familiar with the Wotefusi brand, but the company’s air ram intake snorkel kit for the Toyota FJ Cruiser certainly looks interesting.
For one thing, the snorkel is constructed with rotational molding rather than blow molding. This is a slower and thus more expensive process, but it results in thicker walls that should be more durable. Of course, those thicker walls will add some overall weight to the snorkel kit, so there is that to consider. The Wotefusi kit also comes with stainless steel accessories – no plastic.
On the downside, some users are reporting that the installation template provided with the kit is a little off. However, once installed it performs well.
6. Hauk Offroad Cast Snorkel
Here’s a premium product that takes snorkels upscale, and provides outstanding durability and performance. Unlike most snorkel kits, this unit is constructed of cast aluminum, not plastic, for a longer service life and improved toughness. A powder-coat finish enhances the appearance even further, while a high-flow design allows the engine to run cooler, and more efficiently. Heavy duty ducting is included, to connect the exterior snorkel to the factory airbox. Stainless steel hardware is included for mounting and connecting this snorkel, helping round out the Hauk Offroad Cast Snorkel as the first, and last, snorkel you’ll buy – it’s also one of the best snorkels anywhere. Colored epoxy coating is available for a customized look, if desired.
7. Red Rock 4x4 Snorkel Kit
If you are looking for a snorkel kit for your Jeep Wrangler TJ and funds are limited, this option from Red Rock 4×4 is worth exploring. This kit relocates the air intake on JK Wranglers without having to replace the factory air box. This single-piece snorkel uses your the air box that comes on the JK, which makes installation fast and easy.
As this is a budget option, you can expect some fit and finish issues compared to systems that cost hundreds more. Some users point out that the templates do not match the parts perfectly, resulting in more cutting and shaping that the directions suggest. However, the majority of buyers seem happy with the purchase and have few complaints.
What You Need To Know About Snorkels
Limited Functionality: Many snorkel kits for the Jeep Wrangler will block the factory hinged windshield from being able to fold down onto the vehicle’s hood and out of your way. If you’ll off-road with your windshield folded, you’ll likely have to remove the snorkel kit. Some will also block or interfere with the transmission of light from roof-mounted light-bars in an after-dark setting, too.
If either of the above is a concern for you, consider the Rugged Ridge Low Mount Snorkel Kit be will talk about below. It’s the only product on our list that that’s modular, allowing drivers to quickly install a high-mounted snorkel when required, and to replace it with a low-profile air intake duct that won’t block the windshield, or lighting provisions when a more elevated air intake isn’t required. Its one of the best snorkels you can have.
Professional Installation: Many snorkel kits require some light to moderate modification of your vehicle’s factory air intake system, body, and more. You may need to drill, cut, bend, or modify certain parts of your vehicle’s body, and this mean’s there’s a risk of damage. Also, proper installation of all couplers, mounts, and components is vital to the snorkel’s ability to keep water out of your engine. If you have any doubts about your ability to handle the install, consider having a professional off-road shop, or experienced installer, complete the work for you. A few dollars spent on high-quality installation may save you thousands in engine damage.
Quality Instructions: Check owner reviews, or available online literature, to ensure the snorkel kit you’re purchasing comes with detailed, high-quality, and easy-to-understand instructions. Many kits also include a template for your vehicle, which illustrates where you’ll need to cut holes through the bodywork to pass the snorkel kit ducting and plumbing through. Remember that proper sealing and painting of any cuts or holes you make through your vehicle’s body-work is vital to sealing out water, moisture, and eventual corrosion.
Crossing Water: If you’re inexperienced when it comes to crossing deep water or mud in an off-road setting, be sure to exercise extreme caution and safety – even if you have one of the best snorkels installed on your vehicle. Check the depth of the water or mud before entering, and if you feel the depth will exceed the capability of your vehicle, or your own comfort levels, back out and find another way across. Cross streams in a straight line where possible, and don’t underestimate the power of even a light flow of water. Many off-roaders have their vehicles washed away by flowing water each year, risking harm, injury, and environmental damage in the process. Finally, remember that crossing deep water or mud may introduce unwanted liquids into certain parts of your vehicle’s driveline, braking system, and more. Many off-roaders either make special modifications to address this, or, flush and change any potentially-affected fluids afterwards, to fend off possible damage to driveline parts.
How Deep: Remember that installing a snorkel does not necessarily prevent water-related damage to vehicle wiring, electronics, fluids, or parts like the alternator, power steering pump, and more. A snorkel may prevent your engine from sucking up water and becoming a paperweight, though it could also leave you with an expensive repair bill if water gets into other components that aren’t’ designed to get wet. Further, your vehicle’s door seals may not be completely waterproof, and deep water can, therefore, find its way inside of your vehicle, leading to pricey damage. Ditto if water or mud finds its way into the air intake for the climate control system. Do your homework first, and determine how much water you can drive through, if you’ve got one of the best snorkels installed or not.
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Updated 7/12/2021: Updated product links, ranked products, product descriptions, removed discontinued products, added additional resources.