Best Cold Air Intake Systems For Every Situation

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Upgrading your cold air intake is a great way to improve your car’s horsepower, gas mileage, and engine sound.

But, each cold air intake gives you something a bit different. Unfortunately, deciding on your cold air intake is overwhelming.

There are countless models from different brands at every price point you can imagine.

Don’t worry. I’ve done the research, and I’m here to help you out. In this post, I will review the 10 best cold air intake systems for every situation. 

Let’s get started. 

1.K&N Cold Air Intake Kit - Best Overall

Pros

✅ Budget-friendly

✅ Dyno tested

✅ Precision engineered

✅ No cutting or drilling needed

✅ Provides better acceleration and performance

✅ Has a reusable filter

✅ Reduces gas consumption

Cons

🚫 May increase engine noise

🚫 Not suitable for all vehicles

🚫 Needs to be calibrated

🚫 Hydro-locking issues

Features

  • Increases horsepower
  • Has an oversized air filter
  • Easy to install
  • Protects your engine
  • Long-lasting

What I Like

Conical shaped high-flow filter

This captures and holds more dirt, which extends the time before it would need cleaning.

This would fit into your engine compartment because of the holes and mounting points. It also helps provide more airflow at the lower restriction.

 

Reusable

This cold air intake filter uses a reusable filter. This makes it easy to clean the filter and you won’t have to spend money on buying a new set frequently. This is great for beginners who are not familiar with changing filters. 

 

Protection from contaminants

The filtration system features thousands of microscopic cotton fibers. It has an innovative design of layered and oiled cotton media. This would help increase the longevity of your engine.

What I Dislike

Fit Issues 

Since this filter is made as a generic part that can fit many models this can lead to some size and fit issues. It’s nearly impossible to make a single that will fit perfectly on every car. These sizing issues mean that this part may require additional brackets and wraps to hold it securely in place. 

Who Should Buy?

This would be perfect for those who own the 2014–2020 models of Chevy, GMC, and Cadillac vehicles. In particular, the Silverado 1500, Suburban, Tahoe, Sierra 1500, Yukon, Yukon Denali, or Escalade.

It’s very likely that many other make and models of car will also fit this option. I recommend checking before you purchase. This is also a great option for beginners looking to install their intake system. This intake has a simple bolt system that most people can complete after a few tries.

2. Airaid 400-140-2 Intake System - Runner Up

Pros

✅ Comes with all the hardware needed for an easier installation

✅ Washable and reusable filter

✅ Custom-fit to your vehicle’s model

✅ Long-lasting and durable

✅ Comes with Cold Air Dam panels

✅ Reduces gas consumption

Cons

🚫 Instructions aren’t that clear

🚫 It may increase engine sound

🚫 Expensive

Features

  • Increases airflow to the engine
  • Provides more torque and horsepower
  • Has a black, high-density polyethylene tube
  • Reusable
  • Easy to install

What I Like

SynthaFlow Oiled Filter

You can remove, wash, and reuse this filter with ease. This allows it to provide continuous protection for your intake.

It’s constructed with a premium synthetic material. This has lesser restrictions compared to traditional paper filters.

 

Black powder-coated aluminum intake tube

This gives a sleek design and provides long-lasting durability. It is also corrosion-resistant.

 

Cold Air Dam

Protected by Cold Air Dam panels, this provides a big boost to the filter with its open-element air inlet. It helps give a steady and more free-flowing supply of cooler air from the outside.

 

Improved performance

It provides increased airflow to your engine to help get more horsepower and torque.

A better oxygen level would mean better combustion. Your engine gets more energy with every drop of fuel, which increases its mileage as well.

What I Dislike

May increase engine noise

When installed this cold air intake system may change the sound of your engine. If you are keen or pay attention to this sound very closely then this filter is not the best option. After installation it may make your engine a bit deeper and add a subtle growl sound when your car is running. 

Who Should Buy?

This would be perfect for those who own 2004–2008 models of the Ford F-150 5.4L – 24V Triton.

This would also be suitable for beginners since it doesn’t need any cutting or drilling.

3. JLT Performance Cold Air Intake - Best For High Performance

Pros

✅ Reusable filter

✅ Heavy Duty C-clamp

✅ Silicone reducer coupler

✅S&B Power Stack 5in x 7in Air Filter

✅ Easy to install

Cons

🚫 Tends to produce rattling sounds

🚫 Intake temperature may be high

🚫 Expensive

Features

  • Black textured plastic construction
  • Provides maximum filtration of contaminants
  • Improves airflow and performance
  • Increases horsepower and torque
  • Minimum restriction
  • Roto-molded heat shield

What I Like

Comes with a complete kit

This has everything you would need to replace your intake without any adjustments.

It includes a JLT plastic intake tube with a 120mm MAF size and a silicone reducer coupler. A heat shield, with duct and weatherstrip, and heavy-duty clamps are also provided.

 

Minimum restriction

There aren’t any choke points or accordion-style bends present in this product.

Your engine also gets great air density, which would help improve its mileage. This is because the JLT intakes only draw in air from outside the engine bay.

 

Roto-molded heat shield

Together with the fresh air duct to the grille, this helps keep your inlet air temperature cool.

What I Dislike

High intake temperature

It has a hard time keeping the engine heat out. You may tend to get around 80°F-90°F at fast speeds and around 105°F-115°F when idle.

 

JLT Tunning Required 

This cold air intake system is not for beginners. It designed for increased performance and requires a JLT tunning. Without the JLT tunning, this cold air intake system might not function at its optimal state. 

Who Should Buy?

The JLT performance is a great option for people looking to increase the performance of their car. This is generally a cold air intake replacement that a non-car enthusiast would make. 

The JLT performance comes for a variety of different cars, but it popular on RAM trucks and muscle cars such as Dodge Challengers and Ford Mustangs.

They accommodate newer modal cars from 2000 to 2021, but they do offer parts for some cars older than 2000. 

If you want to increase your performance, the JLT will give you an additional 30 – 35 horsepower and 20-25 all-wheel torque. 

4. Spectre Performance 9976B Air Intake Kit - Budget Option

Pros

✅ Long-lasting and high-performing filter

✅ No cleaning needed within the first 100,000 miles

✅ Provides protection from contaminants

✅ Comes with a velocity stack adapter and stainless steel clamps

✅ Comes with all the needed hardware

✅ Budget-friendly

Cons

🚫 Tends to increase engine noise

🚫 The metal box for the air filter is loose

🚫 The intake tube is shorter compared to others

🚫 Water may soak the filter at times

🚫 Not suitable for all vehicles

Features

  • Increases torque and horsepower
  • Easy to install
  • Has a polished aluminum air intake tube
  • Comes with a red Spectre air filter
  • Powder-coated steel heat shield
  • MAF sensor and PCV hose

What I Like

Powder-coated heat shield

This helps keep the air flowing through the intake as cool as possible. It would allow your engine to breathe easier.

 

Red Spectre air filter

This gives a low airflow restriction so your engine can get great air density. It would help improve mileage despite varying driving conditions.

 

Polished aluminum air intake tube

This tube can extend the intake kit as far as needed. It would help you get that perfect fit and function.

 

Mass airflow sensor and PCV hose

These allow you to fine-tune your engine’s performance. It can help regulate the amount of air that is coming into your engine.

What I Dislike

Metal box

It may be hard to mount to the factory air box. This would be an issue since this holds the air filter. It wouldn’t be advisable to use for off-road trips and the like.

 

Intake tube is short

If you happen to pass by roads that have water, it may splash and soak your filter. This would be a problem, especially if it gets into your engine.

Who Should Buy?

This product would be perfect for those who own a 2011–2014 model of the Ford F-150. With its custom fit design, it’s sure to make your engine more powerful.

It would also be suitable for those who are on a budget.

5. S&B Filters 75-5069 Cold Air Intake - Best For Trucks and SUV's

Pros

✅ Comes with a roto-molded battery tray

✅ Easy to install

✅ Comes with a custom-designed box

✅ Provides a better throttle response

✅ Can withstand extreme conditions

✅ User-friendly

Cons

🚫 Doesn’t have an option to open the housing for increased airflow

🚫 Pricey

🚫 Increases engine sounds

Features

  • Comes with a fully enclosed air-box
  • Clear lid
  • Efficient air filter
  • Made from premium silicone rubber
  • ISO 5011 tested
  • Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • Improves performance

What I Like

Filter choices

You can choose between eight-layer cotton cleanable or a dry extendable media. This allows you to choose the filter that best fits your needs. This is a perfect option if to make sure you’re not wasting money on unwanted filters. 

 

Designed for Performance

This cold air intake is designed to enhance performance compared to your stock option. For most vehicles, it increases airflow by 40%. The enclosed air filter and filter box keep your filter clean and the air cold. 

 

Eliminates check engine lights 

This cold air filter comes with a unique option with a mass airflow sensor. The mass airflow sensor ensures that your cold air intake system is performing optimally with stock or enhanced tunning. 

 

What I Dislike

Cannot open housing

This makes it hard to increase the airflow to your engine. Although it already provides more than enough as it is, it won’t be much of an issue.

 

Limited car options 

The downside of this cold air intake system is that it does not come with parts for many different cars. This brand is heavily restricted to trucks and SUV’s. It’s compatible with GMC and Chevy products. 

Who Should Buy?

The S&B filter is a great option if you drive a newer model truck or SUV. This cold air intake filter is designed to enhance the performance of trucks and SUVs.

The S&B system is suited for enthusiasts who want to enhance the performance of their trucks. The good thing is that it’s a moderate DIY project, so if you’re familiar with changing your car parts, then this is a doable project at home. 

6. BBK 1557 Cold Air Intake System - Best Mid-range System

Pros

✅ Custom-fit

✅ Improves performance

✅ Suitable for factory and aftermarket tunes

✅ Air intake tube has a built-in high-flow mass air meter housing

Cons

🚫 Pricey

🚫 Instructions aren’t that clear

🚫 Not scratch-resistant

Features

  • Has a high-flow, reusable conical air filter
  • Wide range of horsepower that increases depending on the application
  • Bolt-on installation
  • Suitable for both stock and aftermarket tuners
  • No modifications needed
  • Available with chrome, titanium powder coat, and charcoal powder coat finishes, depending on the application
  • Has a shield to protect the filter from engine heat
  • Custom designed
  • Dyno tested
  • Has a large diameter
  • Comes with high-quality steel clamps and molded silicone hoses

What I Like

Easy to install

The entire unit is bolt-on, so it won’t need any modifications or tuning. You can finish this in as fast as 30 minutes.

 

Dyno tested

This helps produce an added horsepower of around 7-21. Although this would depend on the kind of vehicle you’re using.

 

Conical cotton gauze

This inhales dense and pure cold air, filtering it from other impurities. It helps in increasing the combustion rate, horsepower, and engine acceleration.

What I Dislike

Not scratch-resistant

Since this model consists of chrome, it has a higher chance of getting scratches. You would have to be extra careful in handling this, especially during installation. You can avoid this problem by buying one in the color black.

 

State Specific Regulation

This cold air intake may not be allowed in your state, especially if you live in California. You should make sure to check this before buying one to avoid the hassle.

Who Should Buy?

This product would be perfect for those who own any late model EFI performance car or truck.

It would help increase the power of your engine. With an improved horsepower and torque, you’ll get a better sounding vehicle.

It would also be suitable for those who don’t have that much experience with cold air intakes. It has an easy bolt-on installation and won’t need modifications or tuning.

7. Volant 15553 Pro 5 Filter Enclosed Air Intake System - Best For Customization

Pros

✅ Has different filter options based on needs

✅ Has an easy-open box lid for quick filter access

✅ Power-inducing enclosed air box blocks heat and provides great filtration

Cons

🚫 May tend to increase engine noise

🚫 Oversized closed air box can create fitting issues

🚫 Sensor holes aren’t aligned

Features

  • Increases fuel economy, horsepower, torque, and throttle response
  • Comes with a reusable Volant Pro5 filter
  • Cross-link polyethylene construction
  • Comes with high-performing silicone connectors and stainless steel clamps
  • Custom-designed for your vehicle
  • Has molded polyethylene ducts
  • Maintenance-free for up to 15,000mi
  • Stainless-steel marine-guard clamps 
  • CARB-Exempt 50-State Legal – CARB EO Number D-526-7

What I Like

High-quality materials

The air filter box is well-made to ensure that there would be no leakage of air.

The steel clamps help keep the box closed and are sure not to lose their shine over time.

With these components, hot engine air won’t make its way inside the airbox, allowing a cooler airflow.

 

Provides a greater performance

Since its pipes are big, it provides great air movement, which enhances its efficiency. This also helps increase your engine’s airflow and volume to be able to create more power.

 

Cross-link polyethylene

It protects and insulates the five-layered air filter from engine heat. This helps in optimizing its performance as well.

 

Two filter options

You can choose between the Donaldson PowerCore Filtration Technology, which boasts a 100k mile maintenance-free drive.

On the other hand, you can opt for a more traditional filter based on what performance benefits you want. 

Their Drytech filter improves performance while minimizing maintenance. 

The oiled cotton gauze filter is designed to maximize airflow to boost horsepower and torque. 

What I Dislike

Airbox sealing

There might be times when you’ll have a hard time sealing the airbox, which will lead to gaps in your intake. The airbox is also very large which can make it hard to fit in your car. This is especially true if you have upgraded other parts of your engine as well.

 

Only focuses on the performance

This cold air intake filter does not add much in terms of roar or aggression to the sound of your car. If you are looking for more of an engine sound boost over performance then this is not the best cold air intake. This cold air intake is focused on performance rather than sound. 

Who Should Buy?

This product would be perfect for those who own a 2014-2018 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 5.3L.

It is also ideal for other large vehicles such as SUVs and trucks.

It would help improve the airflow, fuel economy, horsepower, and torque of your vehicle. With this, you’ll get to maximize your engine’s performance.

8. Roush Cold Air Intake Kit

Pros

✅ Improves engine health

✅ No recalibration needed

✅ Provides a boost in mileage and power

✅ Reduced pressure drop

Cons

🚫 Expensive

🚫 Not rust-resistant

🚫 Not suitable for all vehicles

Features

  • Increases airflow 
  • Reusable high-flow dry air filter
  • No computer tuning needed
  • Easy bolt-on installation
  • CARB EO Number: D-418-30
  • Suitable for all 2015-2017 5.0L V8 F-150s
  • CAD-designed for better sealing
  • Comes with the complete hardware and instructions

What I Like

Easy to install

This makes it a direct-fit replacement for the factory intake and airbox. With its bolt-on installation, it wouldn’t need cutting or drilling.

 

Comes with a complete kit

This intake includes an air filter with a clamp and an injection-molded lower air box. It also has Blow-Molded clean air tubes and all the required hardware for mounting.

 

Great construction

The entire tube is roto-molded and consists of polyethylene plastic. It has textured surfaces for added visual appeal.

It also has stainless steel clamps and a red synthetic fabric filter element.

 

Dry filter

It has an inner and outer layer that’s made of wire mesh to ensure durability. It also retains its shape despite high airflow.

This helps provide support to the filtration media as well.

 

Filter is easy to maintain 

You can use this filter for about 100,000mi before it would need cleaning. Although this is not the same case for when it gets clogged up or too dirty, of course.

Unlike other filters, this won’t need oils for maintenance. You can just wash and let it dry before using it again.

What I Dislike

Needs the proper tuning

There may not be any noticeable difference in your engine unless you pair it with the right tune. 

 

Confusing Instructions

Its bolt-on installation is not always accurate. There might be times when you would need to do some cutting to get the perfect fit for your vehicle.

The provided instructions may also be hard to understand for some. It would be advisable to look for downloadable manuals online.

Who Should Buy?

This product would be perfect for those who own a 2015-2017 5.0L V8 F150.

It would also be suitable for those who don’t have that much experience with cold air intakes. It has an easy bolt-on installation and won’t need recalibration.

9. Injen PF9013P Power Flow Air Intake System - Best For Increased Horsepower

Pros

✅ Increases the efficiency of your horsepower, torque, and throttle response

✅ Easy to install, no drilling needed

✅ Boosts acceleration

✅ Engineered to pull in more oxygen, strip out turbulence, and pressurize it to the ideal level

Cons

🚫 May increase engine noise

🚫 Pricey

🚫 May not be a perfect fit

🚫 Doesn’t increase mileage

Features

  • Heat-resistant brushed aluminum composite
  • Integrated air inducer, stabilizer, and velocity stack
  • Dyno tested
  • Well-engineered air filter
  • Delivers great acceleration, throttle response, and power gains
  • Made from lightweight, aerospace-grade, and anti-corrosive T-6 aluminum
  • Easy bolt-on installation

What I Like

Improved performance

With this intake, you get a boosted acceleration and a more consistent power output. Add a fast throttle response to the mix, and your vehicle is sure to achieve that great performance.

 

Timing

It’s engineered to provide a blast of oxygen at the right moment for better combustion and power output.

 

Unique process

The filter draws in air, smooths it out, and then pressurizes it. From there, the oxygen would flow through the pipe. This is where it gets released to the mass airflow sensor.

 

Powerbox

This consists of a brushed aluminum composite material. With its heat resistance, it helps protect your air filter from engine heat.

 

Allows calibration

This helps in controlling the airspeed so that it gets released at calculated times. This further pushes the horsepower of your vehicle’s engine.

What I Dislike

Increases engine noise

The only downside to this product is that it wouldn’t be ideal for those who don’t like loud engine sounds.

Who Should Buy?

This product would be perfect for those who own a 2011 F-150 3.5L Turbo V6 EcoBoost.

As long as you have this kind of vehicle and don’t live in California, this would be perfect.

It would help improve the horsepower, acceleration, and throttle response of your vehicle. This results in a more powerful and enjoyable ride.

10. AEM 21-8032DS Brute Force Intake System

Pros

✅ Has a unique mass air sensor

✅ Improves airflow and engine performance

✅ Dyno tested

✅ Needs little maintenance

✅ Adds horsepower and lessens restrictions

✅ Provides a greater engine noise

Cons

🚫 Pricey

🚫 Aluminum may get dented

🚫 Needs tools for installation

🚫 Doesn’t seem to improve fuel efficiency

Features

  • Improves engine performance and efficiency
  • Has a strong and durable construction
  • Comes with a DryFlow Air Filter
  • Made in the U.S.A.
  • Suitable for all 2014-2018 5.3L Chevy Silverado 1500 Models

What I Like

High-quality materials

It has an aluminum inlet pipe, which makes it have a lighter weight compared to other intakes. It also has a steel powder-coated heat shield and a DryFlow oil-free synthetic filter.

 

Intake tube

It consists of High-Density Polyethylene. This helps guide the air from the filter to the engine’s intake.

 

AEM Dryflow synthetic washable air filter

This provides great airflow, filtration, and performance. It also allows for easy oil-free cleaning.

 

Electronically tuned intake system

This allows the mass air sensor to make adjustments for a more proper and accurate air density. 

What I Dislike

Cleaning process

It would be easier to clean this intake with a synthetic cleaner. This is because it helps loosen or dissolve the dirt that builds up.

Although this would cost you more in the long run.

Who Should Buy?

This product would be perfect for those who own large vehicles such as trucks, SUVs, and the like. It increases horsepower and reduces the restrictions of your engine. 

It would also be suitable for those who often go on long trips. It comes with a heat shield that can help protect your intake from your engine’s heat.

Conclusion

These are the various cold air intakes that would help boost the performance of your engine.

I’m sure that this made you change the way you think about your vehicle’s capacity.

What are you waiting for? You’re now one step away from having a superior engine that would stand out from the rest. 

I can guarantee that once you see the improvements it provides, the only thing you’ll regret is not getting it sooner.

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