Few upgrades to your vehicle are going to make as much of a difference when building an off-road or Overlanding rig as a serious snorkel setup will.
Quite literally giving your engine the ability to “breathe” underwater, you’ll be able to tackle terrain that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise with this (relatively inexpensive) piece of gear added to your vehicle.
At the same time, finding the best car snorkel is never as simple or straightforward as most people think it’s going to be.
Not because there are so few top options to pick and choose from, but because there are so many! But that’s why we’ve put together this quick guide. Let’s jump right in!
Table of Contents
- 1 How Does A Safari Snorkel Work?
- 2 The Best 4WD Snorkel Kits
- 2.1 My Top Choice: K&N Performance Intake Kit with Snorkel
- 2.2 The Next Best Thing: ARB Safari Snorkel
- 2.3 Highest Reach: Volant Snorkel Periscope Kit
- 2.4 Low Profile: Hauk Offroad Cast Snorkel
- 2.5 Modular & Adjustable: Rugged Ridge XHD Low and High Mount Snorkel Kit
- 2.6 Budget Conscious: Red Rock 4×4 Snorkel Kit
How Does A Safari Snorkel Work?
Before getting into my favorite options for the best 4WD snorkel world today, let’s cover a couple of important details you want to consider before you pull the trigger on this kind of upgrade.
Vehicle Wading Depth
Right out of the gate, you need to know exactly how high your vehicle can wade as it is – and that’s done by figuring out how high your air filter and air intake sit in your engine.
Water getting into your intake is the number one risk factor when you’re thinking about crossing water in your truck, Jeep, or SUV. Find out what your vehicle wading depth is (as well as how protected your fluids and electronics are) and you’ll be ready to get outfitted with a new best 4WD snorkel set up.
Snorkel Design and Fit
Secondly, you want to be sure that you pick a snorkel that is designed specifically for your vehicle. You need a good seal, you need easy-to-access mounting points, and you want something that can improve the performance of your vehicle while giving you “underwater” capabilities.
Quality Means Everything
Whatever you do, do not buy a cheap snorkel!
The last thing you want to worry about is whether or not your snorkel is going to become compromised, flooding your vehicle faster than you ever would have thought possible. Stick to quality options from reputable manufacturers.
Ram or Vortex?
Finally, it’s important to pick between a ram or vortex-style snorkel system.
Ram style snorkels are a little more commonplace (and a little less expensive), essentially ramming air into the vehicle through a forward-facing duct.
Cyclone or vortex-style snorkels, though, have tilted veins inside of the best 4WD snorkel had that allow air to swirl around – pushing dirt, debris, and water out of the snorkel a little more effectively.
Ram style units are a little more performance-focused but vortex style options are easier to maintain. It’s really more of a personal choice.
Now that that’s out of the way, though, let’s dig deeper into breaking down our favorite snorkel options on the market today.
The Best 4WD Snorkel Kits
K&N Performance has a legendary reputation in the world of aftermarket cold air intakes, air filters, and snorkel systems, giving your vehicle everything it needs to “breathe” to maximize its capabilities.
The snorkels are always super well-made, engineered to improve throttle response, engine sound, and overall performance and efficiency – all while enjoying a bump in the horsepower department, too.
Very easy to clean and maintain and featuring a literal bolt-on installation process that takes next to no time to knock out at all, these snorkels are well worth consideration.
They are a little bit on the expensive side of things (and aren’t always “Jeep friendly” when you want to fold down the front windshield), but other than that they are superstar options.
Manufacturers of really durable snorkel cats or a wide variety of different vehicles (but really specializing on Jeep kits), ARB and the Safari snorkel will turn your off-road set up into a water wading monster in no time at all.
Featuring a very clean kind of look that is almost minimalist in nature, the snorkel itself is a little bit boxy and a little bit “oversized”. But that’s only going to help to improve the performance of your vehicle. The snorkel mouth is as high as possible to improve overall performance and airflow, helping to prevent hydro locking big time.
Again a little bit on the expensive side of things, you know you’ve got a product worth owning with ARB, though. The durability, longevity, and warranty you get here are top-tier.
Those looking for the best 4WD snorkel to sort of overhaul every aspect of their cold air intake into something very performance-focused (while still being able to push your vehicle deeper underwater than you would have been able to before) will want to take a closer look here.
The whole system has been designed to move the positioning for your air intake from the bay of the engine to the roofline of your vehicle. This capitalizes on the aerodynamics of modern vehicles to force more air into your vehicle, improving performance but also helping your car breathe better when you start to go into shallow streams, rivers, and other bodies of water.
High-quality construction materials (including a polished aluminum snorkel cover) work to protect your vehicle over the long haul while adding a little bit of visual flair, too.
Constructed almost entirely out of cast aluminum (instead of the ABS plastic that a lot of other snorkel brands like to use), this option belongs on any list of the best 4WD snorkel choices for sure.
For starters, you’re going to get a lot more longevity and a lot more durability out of this overbuilt snorkel just because of the choice of material used. The powder coat finish improves aesthetics and durability at the same time.
The design of this snorkel set allows your engine to run much cooler than it would have before, boosting efficiency and performance while giving you a couple of extra horses under the hood, too.
Stainless steel mounting hardware allows you to bolt on this snorkel without much difficulty, and you won’t have to make a lot of modifications to the exterior of your vehicle with this snorkel, either.
The top option you won’t have to spend a small fortune on, just know that if you stick this snorkel on a Jeep you lose the ability to flip your windscreen down.
Exclusively made not just for Jeep Wrangler vehicles, but the JK generation of these jeeps as well, the modularity of this snorkel kit is what makes it so attractive.
You can go with a low-mounted setup when you’re looking to keep things sort of discrete and aren’t looking to turn your Jeep into a full-blown scuba diver.
The high mounted setup (conversion takes only a couple of seconds and can be done with simple tools) lets you push your Jeep deeper and deeper into the water than you would have been able to with most other snorkels – and best of all, both of these components can tuck away into your Jeep without taking up a lot of space.
The really cool feature here, though, is that you won’t have to worry about this snorkel design getting in the way of folding down your windscreen or getting in the way of your light bars the way you might with other Jeep specific options.
Anyone not looking to spend a small fortune and still get one of the best 4WD snorkel kits will want to seriously consider this package from the folks at Red Rock.
Essentially rerouting the air intake to a much lower position in the engine bay, but pulling air from the top of the vehicle roofline, this ram-style air intake guarantees improved performance without having to actually replace the factory air box at the same time.
The whole installation can be pulled off with no real extra effort whatsoever, with very minimal modifications to the body of your vehicle. At the end of the day, it’s a cost-effective solution for those just tinkering with the idea of putting a snorkel on their vehicle.
Thanks for reading and stay dirty