Top 5 Best Cold Air Intake Systems for Your Car

If you’re looking to enhance your car’s performance and upgrade its engine, the best cold air intake is essential. Not only does it help improve power output and fuel efficiency, but it also provides increased throttle response and noticeably better acceleration compared to standard air intakes. Whether you want a smoother ride or higher performance for track racing, a high-quality cold air intake system can offer an exciting experience.

In this blog post, we will present a comprehensive overview of the factors that contribute to the exceptional effectiveness and widespread appeal of these systems as popular modifications for numerous drivers. We’ll also discuss factors that need to be considered when selecting a kit as well as tips on installation so that you can get the most out of your purchase!

A Guide To Choosing The Best Cold Air Intake

A Guide To Choosing The Best Cold Air Intake

Cold Air Intake Factors To Consider

Material Quality: When choosing a cold air intake, consider the material used. The intake system will face elements like heat, water, dust, dirt, and debris. Popular materials include aluminum, stainless steel, and plastic. Aluminum and stainless steel are strong but expensive. Plastic intakes are cheaper but less durable. Consider the benefits and costs before selecting the right thickness and material.

Air Filter Efficiency: The air filter quality is crucial. A high-quality air filter ensures clean air supply to the engine. Dirty air can damage the engine, reduce horsepower, and acceleration. Synthetic air filters are durable and offer maximum filtration with minimal maintenance.

Compatibility: Ensure the cold air intake kit is compatible with your vehicle’s make and model. Each engine has unique airflow needs. The kit should fit seamlessly without modification. Check the manufacturer’s specifications to ensure it’s ideal for your car.

Price: Consider the price when choosing a cold air intake. Aluminum and stainless steel are relatively expensive. Some intakes may require additional parts, adding to the cost. Select an intake that fits your budget without compromising quality.

Brand Reputation: Consider brand reputation. Look for trusted brands with a proven track record of quality air intake systems. Research reviews and forums to find reliable cold air intakes.

Advantages of Installing Aftermarket Cold Air Intakes

Improved Fuel Efficiency: By supplying colder, denser air to the engine, these intakes improve the fuel-to-air ratio, potentially enhancing your car’s fuel efficiency.

Longer Engine Life: Cold air intakes can reduce engine heat and wear, thereby extending the engine’s lifespan.

Increased Horsepower:  Cold air intakes are designed to draw in more air than the factory air box, thereby increasing your vehicle’s horsepower.

Enhanced Engine Sound: By providing a smoother path for engine exhaust gases to exit, cold air intakes create a throatier and louder engine sound than traditional intake systems.

Increased Throttle Response: With better airflow, cold air intakes reduce the amount of time it takes for the engine to respond to pedal inputs, resulting in a sharper throttle response.

Where Are Cold Air Intakes Illegal?

Due to strict emission laws and regulations aimed at reducing pollution levels, cold air intakes are considered illegal in several states across the United States. These states, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, have implemented these restrictions to ensure compliance with environmental standards.

It is crucial for car owners to be aware of these state-specific regulations and consult with automotive experts before considering the installation of cold air intakes. By doing so, they can ensure they comply with local laws and make informed decisions about their vehicle modifications.

Different Types of Air Intake Systems

Cold Air Intake System

A cold air intake system is designed to suck in cold air from outside the engine bay, which usually produces more horsepower than the factory air intake system. Since cold air is denser than hot air, it contains more oxygen per cubic inch, which helps to burn fuel more efficiently. Cold air intake systems are usually made of metal or plastic and are designed to be easy to install – some can be installed in under 30 minutes.

Ram Air Intake System

Ram air intake systems work by using the car’s forward motion to force more air into the engine. The system uses a scoop or grill in the hood to increase the amount of air that enters the engine. The air is then routed into a specially designed air intake duct that directs it to the engine. Ram air intake systems can increase horsepower, but the gains are usually smaller than cold air intakes.

Short Ram Intake System

A short ram intake system is similar to a cold air intake system, but it has a shorter air intake duct. The shorter duct allows it to suck in warm air from the engine bay, which usually results in lower horsepower gains than a cold air intake system. Short ram intakes are usually less expensive than cold air intakes and are easier to install.

10 Best Cold Air Intakes for Your Car

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit Model 63-3082-Best Fit For Truck

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit Model 63-3082

The K&N Cold Air Intake Kit is the perfect way to boost performance with the added power and torque of up to 11HP and 21.24ft.lbs. Not only will your engine be able to breathe easier, but you’ll get a growling sound that adds just the right amount of edge to your vehicle.

With dyno testing performed on wheel-based dynamometers and reports included with each kit, you can trust you’re getting the most out of your investment. Plus, the system improves towing with enhanced throttle response and overall power.

The reusable air filter only needs cleaning every 100,000 miles under normal highway driving conditions – talk about convenience!

This intake system is also made from durable high-density polyethylene (HDPE) for maximum protection, and won’t void your manufacturer’s warranty since it’s backed by a lifetime limited warranty as well as US-based customer support.

The installation process is easy too, thanks to the step-by-step instructions and all necessary parts included in the kit. Get ready to experience superior quality and reliability – made in USA!

S&B Cold Air Intake System

S&B Cold Air Intake System

Get your engine roaring with the S&B Cold Air Intake System! With advanced research and development coupled with exceptional design, the kit is engineered to maximize the amount of airflow to your engine.

The system includes a custom air box that keeps unwanted engine air and dirt out while protecting the filter. It also features a specially made “crosslink” intake tube that minimizes restrictions.

Plus, all kits come complete with premium 4- or 8-layer cotton gauze filter for superior airflow and filtration performance. The clear top also allows for easy inspection of your high-performance filter.

Most systems are simple to install in under 30 minutes or less! Tested to ISO 15011 Standards, S&B Cold Air Intakes are fully washable and reusable filters made right here in the U.S.A., so you can rest assured they come backed by an amazing million mile warranty.

Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit

Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit

The Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit is designed to boost horsepower and torque in your vehicle. It also protects the engine from harmful debris.

This kit includes a washable, reusable low-restriction air filter. It also has polished aluminum intake tubing. Additionally, it features a black powder-coated heat shield to prevent hot air from entering the intake inlet. The kit includes a velocity stack adapter, hose clamps, MAF adapter ring, couplers, stainless steel clamps, and all necessary hardware for an OE fit and finish.

The Spectre air filter has been dyno-tested with up to 50% more airflow than restrictive factory box air filters and intake tubes. With this high-performance system, you can enjoy improved acceleration and better towing performance when hauling heavy loads.

You will also experience an increase in throttle response and improved engine sound. Get ready for some serious power under the hood with the Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit!

Volant Air Intake

Volant Air Intake

Experience unparalleled performance with Volant’s revolutionary Cold Air Intake System. Designed specifically for your vehicle, this system will increase horsepower, torque, and gas mileage to help get you from point A to point B faster and more efficiently than ever before.

The Hi-Flow Velocity Air Box is constructed of molded polyethylene to provide an unrestricted air passage for your engine while the stainless-steel marine grade clamps hold up in even extreme underhood temperatures.

Complete with a chrome Volant box lid for tricked-out looks, optimal engine performance is just a few clicks away. Choose from two filter options – the high-performance Primo air filter or the super efficient and zero maintenance Power Core filter – for a truly custom experience.

With quick and easy installation taking typically 1 hour or less, you’ll be back on the road in no time enjoying the power gains of up to 18 horsepower and 40 lbs of torque as well as improved fuel economy that some have experienced a 1 to 2 mpg increase!

Plus, you’ll have two filter options to choose from: the classic Primo filter with high flow and filtration requirements every 35k-50k miles, or the oil-free PowerCore filter that offers superior filtration and requires no cleaning for an incredible 100,000 miles! All backed by a 1-year warranty.  – you won’t regret choosing their Cold Air Intake System!

AIRAID Cold Air Intake System by K&N

AIRAID Cold Air Intake System by K&N

The AIRAID Cold Air Intake System by K&N is an essential upgrade for your performance vehicle, offering superior filtration and improved engine efficiency all in one easy-to-install package.

This system features a unique aerodynamic intake tube designed to maximize airflow to your engine, allowing it to burn fuel more efficiently during combustion and ultimately increase horsepower under the hood.

The AIRAID system also comes with a high-performance reusable filter that captures contaminants without sacrificing airflow or the quality of the engine protection.

This filter is paired with a SYNTHAMAX air filter for additional protection against dirt, dust particles, and debris.

And since these systems are proudly made in the USA from high-quality materials, they come backed with a no-hassle lifetime warranty for your peace of mind. Upgrade your vehicle’s performance today with the AIRAID Cold Air Intake System by K&N!

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit 71-1561

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit 71-1561

Looking for a way to ensure your vehicle’s engine gets the oxygen-rich air it needs to produce maximum power? Look no further than the K&N Cold Air Intake Kit BlackHawk. This kit is guaranteed to increase the overall HP and torque of your vehicle with an estimated increase of up to 7HP and 8.12 ft lbs of Torque, while also providing a better tow performance with improved acceleration and uphill performance.

On top of that, it will give your engine a raw growl on acceleration that will return to quiet at speed, ensuring you have an enjoyable driving experience. It features K&N’s reusable air filter built with 2 layers of breathable cotton combined with K&N’s red filter oil that absorbs dirt and dust particles – only needing cleaning every 50,000 miles.

The aluminum intake tube increases airflow volume for an increased performance, while the heat shield protects intake air from high engine bay temperatures. Not to mention the No-Hassle Lifetime Limited Warranty provides exceptional vehicle protection for life! With all these features combined, look no further than the K&N Cold Air Intake Kit BlackHawk for trusted premium engine protection from one of the most reputable names in engine performance.

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit Model ‎63-3110

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit Model ‎63-3110

The K&N Cold Air Intake Kit Model 63-3110 is designed to provide the ultimate air intake experience for your vehicle. This advanced system increases horsepower and torque by allowing more cool, oxygen-rich air into your engine. It has been dyno tested and shown to provide up to 17HP and 23.3 ft.lbs. of Torque.

You’ll feel the increased airflow performance with improved acceleration and improved towability when you hit the gas pedal, plus you’ll get to enjoy that classic growling engine sound as a bonus. The reusable signature air filter features 4-layer pleated breathable cotton so you can be sure it’s protecting your engine from dirt and dust particles, guaranteeing clean airflow into your engine for its entire lifespan without needing to worry about clogs or voiding your manufacturer warranty.

Plus, the high-density polyethylene roto-molded intake tube and custom heat shield work together to resist heat coming from the environment while enhancing airflow volume for even more power. There’s no doubt that this K&N cold air intake kit will take both your performance and protection up another level!

Injen Technology SP1121P Polished Intake System

Injen Technology SP1121P Polished Intake System

The Injen Technology SP1121P Polished Intake System is designed to provide the greatest horsepower and torque gains and features the most durable construction available. The system is crafted from aerospace quality aluminum for maximum weight savings and improved corrosion resistance, while its TIG welded hardware and adapters ensure superior sturdiness and durability.

Additionally, the filter elements are expertly oiled to maintain consistent air flow for optimal performance, ensuring peak performance even in extreme driving conditions. To back up their product’s exceptional quality, Injen Technology also offers a limited lifetime warranty on all of their products.

Based on customer reviews, this intake system helps really build great sound with any stock exhaust installed, provides amazing power and sound increases, and ensures a smoother ride that reaches higher speeds quicker. With its impressive engineering and craftsmanship combined with Injen Technology’s dependable warranty, the Injen Technology SP1121P Polished Intake System is an unbeatable choice for those looking to upgrade their car for maximum performance at an affordable price.

aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-10412

aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-10412

The aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-10412 is an upgrade to your factory intake system. This product outflows the factory intake by 117%, producing 18 horsepower and 24 lbs. x ft. torque – sure to make your vehicle run more powerful and efficiently. It features a 5-Layer progressively finer oiled, washable cotton gauze media that ensures maximum airflow for maximum power.

Furthermore, this product has a one-piece powder-coated heat-shield and one-piece intake tube for hassle-free installation that utilizes all factory mounting locations while still being CARB E.O Number D-550-4 compliant in 50 states.

Customers rave about how the filter is huge and positioned comfortably in front of the factory cut out in the fender so cooler air can get to it, resulting in improved acceleration, throttle response, and turbo scream sound quality. Installation is fairly easy thanks to YouTube assistance videos; however, some bolts may be hard to access during assembly process but nevertheless this product is awesome.

AEM Cold Air Induction System

AEM Cold Air Induction System

Experience the performance of an AEM Cold Air Induction System for your vehicle. Custom-designed to fit your specific make, model and year, this system is state-of-the-art. It includes 6061 aluminum intake tubes that are mandrel bent for smooth airflow, and an AEM Dryflow filter to keep your engine supplied with clean air while still allowing ample flow.

Choose from one of four eye-catching finishes: Red, Blue, Gunmetal Gray or Polished. This system is made in the USA with a Lifetime Warranty and installs in under 90 minutes with the included soft-mount hardware kit and detailed instructions – CARB exempt or pending depending on your vehicle year.

Testimonials from our customers include “Great product! Easy install and I can definitely feel the increased performance!” and “excellent build quality and relatively easy to install with instructions.” Enjoy maximum power and performance today with an AEM Cold Air Induction System for your vehicle!

FAQ For Best Cold Air Intake

Is a cold air intake better than stock?

A cold air intake system is often considered superior to a stock air intake in a number of ways. Firstly, it’s designed to reduce air temperature, which can enhance engine performance. Cooler air is denser and contains more oxygen molecules which lead to better combustion, thus providing more horsepower.

Secondly, they are often larger than stock intakes, allowing for more air to flow into the engine, which can result in better throttle response and increased engine efficiency. Lastly, they often come with high-quality air filters that are both long-lasting and capable of filtering out small particulates, enhancing the engine’s longevity.

However, it’s important to note that the effectiveness of a cold air intake can vary widely depending on the specific make and model of the vehicle, and the quality of the cold air intake system itself. Additionally, improper installation can lead to damage or inefficient performance. Therefore, while a cold air intake system may offer potential advantages, it’s crucial to ensure it’s a good fit for your specific vehicle and installed correctly.

Does a cold air intake require a tune?

A cold air intake system does not necessitate a tune for your vehicle. The system is designed to allow more air flow to the engine, increasing the overall efficiency and power. The car’s computer will automatically adjust to the increased airflow. However, to maximize the performance benefits of a cold air intake, a tune can prove beneficial. It’s not a requirement, but an optional enhancement.

What happens if you install a cold air intake without a tune?

If you install a cold air intake without a tune, your engine will still see some improvements in terms of efficiency and power. The cold air intake system works by allowing more air into the engine, which helps it run more efficiently. This is largely due to the increased oxygen concentration in colder air, which allows the engine to combust fuel more completely and thus generate more power. Additionally, the car’s computer, or Electronic Control Unit (ECU), will automatically adjust to this increased air flow.

However, without a tune, you may not be maximizing the full potential benefits of the cold air intake system. A tune makes precise adjustments to factors such as ignition timing and fuel injection parameters, allowing your engine to harness the increased airflow more effectively. This can potentially lead to more power and better fuel efficiency than you’d get with just the cold air intake system alone. So, while a tune isn’t absolutely necessary after installing a cold air intake system, it can help you get the most performance out of your vehicle.

Does a high performance air filter make a difference?

The addition of a high-performance air filter can indeed make a difference to your vehicle, impacting several aspects such as performance, efficiency, and even longevity. When compared to traditional paper filters, high-performance filters made of fabric or reusable materials allow a higher volume of air to reach the engine. This increased airflow results in better combustion, which can lead to an improvement in horsepower and overall engine performance.

Moreover, high-performance air filters are typically engineered to filter out smaller particulates, securing cleaner air for the combustion process. Cleaner air translates to a cleaner engine, which can reduce wear and tear and potentially extend the lifespan of your vehicle.

An additional notable benefit is that many high-performance air filters are washable and reusable. This characteristic not only makes them more environmentally friendly but also cost-effective in the long run, as you don’t have to replace them as regularly as conventional air filters.

In conclusion, while the performance gains from a high-performance air filter might not be as significant as major engine modifications, they do contribute to a more efficient and potentially longer-lasting vehicle. Therefore, investing in a high-performance air filter can indeed make a discernible difference.

How does cold air intakes improve fuel economy?

Cold air intakes can significantly improve a vehicle’s fuel economy. The principle behind this is fairly straightforward: cold air is denser than hot air, containing more oxygen molecules per cubic foot. When more oxygen is made available for combustion in the engine, fuel can be burned more efficiently.

This improvement in combustion efficiency can result in less fuel being needed to produce the same amount of power. In other words, the engine can do the same work while consuming less fuel, improving the vehicle’s miles-per-gallon (MPG) rating.

Moreover, when a cold air intake system replaces a vehicle’s standard, restrictive air box, the engine’s workload is reduced. This is because the more freely-flowing air from the cold air intake system requires less energy to draw into the engine.

These factors combined — the enhanced combustion efficiency and the reduced engine workload — can contribute to a noticeable improvement in fuel economy. Therefore, although the specific increase in MPG can vary depending on the vehicle and driving conditions, installing a cold air intake system can be a worthwhile investment for those seeking to optimize their vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Suggested read: Does a Cold Air Intake Void Warranty?

Sum Up

In conclusion, the best cold air intake depends on your vehicle’s make and model and the specific performance needs of the car.

Whether you are looking to increase power, enhance fuel economy, or reduce heat soak, the right cold air intake can make a world of difference when it comes to creating a more efficient vehicle.

Furthermore, an upgraded cold air intake will give your vehicle better looks and increased sound appeal, while providing a smooth yet powerful ride with improved acceleration.

Installing your new cold air intake is simple and doesn’t require any special skills or tools; however, the benefits it provides are immense.

With so many options in the market today, it is important that you take into account all of the needs of your vehicle before making a decision on which kit is right for you.

No matter which one you choose, you can be sure that your superior engine performance will take you wherever you want to go.

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James Todd

I'm James, I've been a car mechanic for as long as i can remember, It's always been my dream to work on cars and i love it more than anything. I love the challenge of figuring out what's wrong with them. I'm good at my work and people often come to me for advice. I'm happy to help out whenever i can and i always try to learn something new. I enjoy nothing more than helping people keep their vehicles running smoothly - It's what makes me happy.

2 thoughts on “Top 5 Best Cold Air Intake Systems for Your Car”

    • Hello Lincoln, If you have 6.7 Cummins engine, you should definitely consider the S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake or K&N Cold Air Intake Kit. Both of these cold air intakes will provide your engine with greater horsepower and torque as well as increased fuel efficiency.


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