Best Vehicle Snorkels for the Most Popular 4x4s

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Picking a snorkel for your 4×4 can be tricky. 

First, snorkels are vehicle specific so you first need to pick one right for your vehicle.

Second, picking a ‘good’ snorkel opposed to a ‘bad’ one can mean the difference between a nightmare install and a relatively easy weekend project.

In this article, we’ll help you get your hands on some of today’s most sought-after vehicle snorkels that’ll help your ride keep going, even on rough waters. If you want to know the vital factors to consider before buying one, check out our how to guide below.

In case you prefer to create your own vehicle snorkel, we’ll teach you how.

Best Vehicle Snorkels for the Most Popular 4x4s

winner iconRugged Ridge XHD Low and High Mount Snorkel Kit

 

When dust and water are at an all-time high, the Rugged Ridge XHD Snorkel Kit for 2007-2018 JK Wrangler helps your ride easily dodge them.

This vehicle snorkel is the first of its kind that keeps air intake clean and clog free; the Pre-filter, Low-mount repositions air intake at a safer level and the Ram High-mount lets you adjust it on top of the window.

It also consists of manual drain valves that flush away large amounts of water, before it reaches the air intake.

Moreover, if you’re the type of person that puts a prime on your JK’s appearance, this snorkel doesn’t have a plastic tubing that runs all the way down the side of the hood. Instead, it has a box-like base that looks sleek and doesn’t take too much space, for a seamless installation.

Rugged Ridge XHD Snorkel Kit Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Reasonably affordable compared with other brands.
  • Effective against deep water crossing.
  • With a sophisticated look.
Cons
  • Quite difficult to install if you’re a newbie.
  • Produces noise when in contact with head shield exhaust.

winner icon  ARB Heavy-duty Snorkel Kit

When there’s airflow insufficiency in your air intake, count on ARB Safari Snorkel Kit for 5th-generation Toyota 4Runner to fix it.

This vehicle snorkel also transfers the air intake above the engine bay to help your 4×4 breathe properly and moves it away from areas that are susceptible to water, dust, etc.

What’s noteworthy about it is its unique design that separates water from clean air to allow your vehicle to properly breathe.

ARB Snorkel Kit Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Reasonably priced.
  • Reduces possibility of engine damage.
  • Fits well on Toyota pickups.
  • Polyethylene construction is durable.
Cons
  • Takes 3-6 hours to install.
  • Instruction manual can be difficult to follow.

winner icon  AVID Desert Edition Snorkel Kit

When UV light and other elements gang up on your 2017 Jeep Renegade, having a new one that’s AVID Desert Edition Renegade Snorkel with Cold Air Intake is a great choice.

This vehicle snorkel is composed of a black polyurethane body that’s greatly resilient against sunlight’s scorching heat.

It’s also equipped with a hydro lock design that lets your 4×4 breathe even when the engine is in deep waters.

What makes this a cut above the rest is its Finite Element Analysis (FEA) design. As the term itself suggests, it has been subjected to various forces like; wind, dust, and even water for endurance against damage.

But to do this, FEA comes up with a mesh model or replica of the vehicle snorkel which can be used to test its different strengths and weaknesses. This so-called model then, mimics the same response that its real counterpart will create, once under pressure.

A sample FEA 3D model showing a virtual mesh or grid to emphasize an object’s various stress points.

Take note though, that the level of toughness is not equal to all parts of the snorkel. Some parts like the stem or body, is made slightly bendable when the wind blows to reduce breakage factor or the head is made thicker than usual to prolong its lifespan.

AVID Snorkel Kit Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Increases air flow for vehicle.
  • Specially made to withstand heavy dust and snow volumes.
  • Drain valves prevent water accumulation.
Cons
  • No instruction manual.
  • Quite expensive.
  • Vehicle modification is needed for fitting.

Horwin Offroad Snorkel Kit

Now, if you’re not choosy and prefer to have the best of almost anything for your 2009-2017 Ford F-150, the Horwin Offroad Snorkel Kit completely sums it up.

This vehicle snorkel comes with an impeccable ram air component that also gets rid of too much water to prevent choking your engine. It also changes the position of your air intake to avoid the risk of a water ingress.

One good thing about it, is its somewhat basic fitting which automatically eliminates the need for fender or other 4×4 modifications. And because of this, its installation is simple.

Horwin Offroad Snorkel Kit Pros & Cons
Pros
  • The most affordable snorkel.
  • Also removes water from incoming air.
  • Easy installation.
Cons
  • Has no UV protection.
  • LLDPE plastic construction isn’t very durable.

winner icon  4x4parts Nissan Frontier Snorkel

If you’re concerned about your 2000 Nissan Frontier’s fuel consumption, then 4x4parts Nissan Frontier Airflow Snorkel is just exactly what you need.

This vehicle snorkel not only relocates your air intake but also ensures that your 4×4 is equipped with the appropriate forced air induction design. This forced air induction is the one responsible for increasing your engine’s air absorption capacity. 

But how does it work? It runs in conjunction with turbochargers and superchargers that use exhaust from the engine and control the impaler. In turn, such an impaler delivers high-pressure air into the engine that will later be used to provide more running power for your vehicle without putting much burden on it.

Think of it this way, when your engine isn’t having a hard time breathing, it’s combustion or fuel consumption process isn’t “forced” to work double time.

4x4parts Nissan Frontier Snorkel Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Keeps engine in good running condition.
  • Improves your 4×4’s MPG.
  • Air ram head flushes away water and snow.
Cons
  • Needs 4×4 modification for fitting.
  • Installation includes the possibility of fender trimming.
  • Looks very simple.

Picking a Vehicle Snorkel

Considering getting your 4×4 wet? Then you may be considering outfitting your vehicle with a snorkel.

But what exactly is a snorkel? How do they work? And what should you look for when selecting one?

Continue reading to find out why you need a snorkel (including the absolute most important reason that the other articles won’t even mention!)

What Is a Vehicle Snorkel?

A vehicle snorkel does exactly what a swimming snorkel does – it allows your engine to breathe underwater! However, it also has other advantages as well, which we’ll discuss below.

A snorkel “feeds” purified air into your engine, regardless of your 4×4 being dipped in water. In turn, it puts less pressure on the air filters and also contributes to better engine efficiency.

Advantages of a Snorkel

A snorkel gives several superpowers to your vehicle including:

  • Raising the level of the air intake to reduce the likelihood of water entering your engine
  • Allows cooler air to enter your engine
  • Reduces the amount of dust entering your engine

Aside from keeping your air intake dry, a snorkel also sucks in hair well above your engine bay, which means colder air. Your engine bay is hot and this hot air reduces performance.

By raising your intake, it also reduces the amount of dust and dirt entering your engine which are, again, performance inhibitors.

The Most Important Reason to Get a Snorkel

By far the most important reason to get a snorkel though is because they just look cool.Let’s be honest – snorkels just look cool. So after adding a Hi Lift jack to your vehicle and perhaps a bull bar, there’s no better way to make your 4×4 look tougher.

How Hard Is It to Install a Snorkel?

Installing a snorkel is a do-it-yourself job and normally takes around three or four hours.

Installing a snorkel can be a relatively easy weekend project.

The most difficult thing about installing a snorkel is going to be the fact that you need to cut through some part of your 4×4. This may mean your fenders or even your hood.

Don’t feel comfortable installing your own snorkel? Then get a local 4×4 shop to do it for you and won’t break the bank.

Other Things to Consider

There are a few other things to consider before picking a snorkel for your vehicle.

Check Your 4×4’s Wading Depth/Height

Before you consider outfitting your 4×4 with a snorkel you need to determine two things: the wading height and ground clearance.

Wading height refers to your 4×4’s water resistance level. Determining it quickly helps you protect the cabin from water intrusion as well as your vehicle’s engine and its other vital parts, from choking and early damage.

Ground Clearance refers to the available space between a given terrain and your 4×4’s underside. Being aware of it gives you an idea of how far your vehicle’s bottom is from the muddy or watery surface.

Take note, the two terms are different. Flood can reach your 4×4’s ground clearance but may not affect its wading height. This is because ground clearance only reaches your vehicle’s exterior parts, while the wading height reaches its interior parts where the vital engine components like the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and batteries are located.

The battery is where your vehicle draws power and the ECU is what makes your vehicle run. The higher they are (which is known through wading height), the safer your vehicle is the moment it travels on water.

Even if you install a vehicle snorkel based on the recommended position and height, it will eventually be useless, once water enters your vehicle and damage its vital electrical parts.

Look for the Right 4×4 Snorkel Fitting

Unfortunately, there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all vehicle snorkel because its air intake system, through which every 4×4’s engine works, is different.

For example, if you own a Toyota Land Cruiser 100 Series, you have to equip it with a vehicle snorkel that’s precisely for it and the same thing goes, if you own a 2014 and above Wrangler TJ Jeep.

Therefore, buying a new one requires you to replace your current air intake system. Going for a commercial vehicle snorkel is usually a wise choice because it’s already designed for a specific 4×4.

And as far as air intake is concerned, vehicle snorkel undergoes a series of tests from wind tunnel testing to driving the vehicle up to the windscreen of water to ensure no excessive amount of dirt flow through it.

Wind tunnel testing happens when an object is put in a place surrounded by fans that are either generating or absorbing air. The movement of air around the object simulates the object’s reaction to it when running under actual situations.

With a properly fitted vehicle snorkel, it effectively allows air through its ram and body then transfers cool and clean air into the air box. This is something that’s very essential when your 4×4 is supercharged to help it generate more power without stressing its engine too much.

Select Your Preferred Vehicle Snorkel Materials

Not all snorkels are created equally and most of that inequality is due to the material they are made from.

The material where a vehicle snorkel is made from determines if it’s high-quality or not. In other words, the more durable it is, the longer its lifespan and usefulness.

Linear Low-density Polyethylene (LLDPE) – is a kind of plastic that’s adequately resilient against sunlight. However, its sunlight resistance is further strengthened when it’s coated with a black carbon additive.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) – is a kind of plastic that’s regarded for being very inexpensive that’s normally used in DIY snorkel projects.

Mild Steel – is a variation of stainless steel but different from the latter in terms of composition. A notable characteristic of mild steel is you can easily bend and shape it at will which makes it useful for customization.

Stainless Steel – in terms of durability, takes the lead on all the vehicle snorkel materials.

See the full comparisons among vehicle snorkel compositions here.

Identify the Type of Snorkel Head That You Need

Vehicle snorkels are divided into two kinds; one with air ram head and the other, with vortex head. Both kinds serve one purpose of filtering dust and water. On the other hand, the filtration process is what distinguishes one from the other.


Air Ram Snorkel – pushes dirt and water in an inward motion until they’re finally flushed out of its upper vents. The remaining, purified air then travels from it and eventually goes to the engine.
Vortex Snorkel – pushes dirt and water in an upward motion through the circular force created by its blades (like an exhaust fan). As dirt and water reach the top, they’re gradually sucked out through small holes, until nothing’s left but clean air.

Mushroom Snorkel – contains slits and are tightly enclosed in design to easily get rid of dust and water. It’s a slight combination of ram and vortex variants.

Liberally Use Silicone Sealant

Image courtesy of alcolin.com

Believe it or not, a silicone sealant also helps prevent auto gaskets from failing due to the possibility of an engine over heat.

You want to cover all possible weak spots on gaskets and other areas, which could prove to be a fatal access to your engine.

What Is the Usual Vehicle Snorkel Price?

Vehicle snorkel price varies based on the material and quantity. Usually, the more durable your vehicle snorkel is as in the case of the stainless steel, the more expensive it is.

However, many 4×4 experts are divided when it comes to this part because choosing your vehicle snorkel is really a matter of preference. Just because a vehicle snorkel is expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s of high-quality.

On the other hand, when it comes to quantity, a vehicle snorkel that’s sold as a unit with two to three parts included is more affordable as opposed to one that’s sold as a kit. Take a look at the table below courtesy of amazon.com to have a clearer idea.

Vehicle Snorkels Parts Prices

  Vehicle Snorkel Heads Only Vehicle Snorkels with Limited Parts Vehicle Snorkels as a Kit
Price $30-$60 $80-$100 $300-$500+

 

D.I.Y. Vehicle Snorkel

Now, if you don’t like to buy any vehicle snorkel for various reasons such as; fitment problems, additional expenses, etc., it’s time you get crafty and follow our guide in making your own vehicle snorkel. Click here for the complete tutorial.

Conclusion

These are the top 5 vehicle snorkels. In buying the one that’s right for you, you need to determine your 4x4ing level, geographic location and how you’ll be installing it. But if you don’t want to buy one, you can always come up with your own. Share us your thoughts below.