Top 11 Best Cold Air Intakes For Maximum Engine Performance

We all need air to stay alive, and so do engines. These machines generate high amounts of power through controlled explosions in the internal combustion units. This process is highly dependent on oxygen, so if air is lacking, the engine may fail to deliver as expected.

For this reason, there are specialized kits that convey cold air right to the core of the engine, hence increasing the rate of combustion, which results in more engine power.

In case you are worried about the kit that is good for you, this review list will clear up your mind and possibly help you find the best cold air intakes that are currently in the market.

11 Cold Air Intake Reviews

#1 K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: High-Performance

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

The cold air intake unit from K&N can unlock your engine’s full potential by ensuring the combustion chamber gets a good supply of air. Compared to the restrictive factory cold air intake systems, this kit is 50% more efficient.

This unit has an advanced air filter system that ensures the engine gets clean air that is free of contaminants. The K&N air intake kit is designed to enhance performance and improve the health of your engine.

This cold air intake kit has a conical shaped air filter that is oversized to allow maximum airflow. More to this, it is easy to install in the engine compartment since it is fitted with factory-grade mounting holes. All you need is a pair of pliers, ratchet-set, and a screwdriver.

The intake tube is aerodynamically designed to deliver the right amount of air that will make your engine growl with power. The extra-large filter provides you with long service life and won’t need cleaning until the vehicle covers up to 100,000 miles.

With this equipment, your engine will have an enhanced acceleration and a better throttle response. As such, the engine will deliver an amazing performance when the vehicle is moving uphill.

This kit is compatible with a good number of vehicles produced between 2014 and 2020 such as GMC (Yukon Denali XL, Sierra1500, etc.), Chevrolet (Suburban, Silverado 1500, Tahoe, etc.), and Cadillac Escalade ESV, among others.

Pros
  • Improves engine sound
  • Increases horsepower and torque
  • Better towing
  • Easy to maintain
  • Ultra-longevity
Cons
  • Uses plastic fittings
  • In rare cases, the oil from the filters may interfere with the readings of the mass air flow (MAF) sensor

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#2 AEM 21-478WR Wrinkle Red Cold Air Intake System

AEM 21-478WR Wrinkle Red Cold Air Intake

The AEM 21-478WR is innovatively engineered to feed the engine system with the required volume of air that will help you get maximum engine performance. According to the manufacturers, this kit can increase engine power by up to 36 HP at 5300 RPM.

This unit uses a dryflow air filter system that relies on a synthetic filtering media, which blocks impurities from clogging the parts of the engine. Also, it has a heat shield, which prevents hot engine air from interfering with the cooling system.

As a result, only cold air will be taken in, bringing about an intense cooling effect to the engine. This air intake kit is courtesy of a CAD design, which has been achieved through rigorous on-road evaluations.

Therefore, this kit can serve as a good replacement for your old air intake and filter system. The intake tube is conveniently bent to allow cold air to flow into the engine with the right velocity, thus allowing adequate oxygen combustion.

Consequently, the engine will be able to generate more torque, allowing the vehicle to move at a commendable speed while consuming less fuel.

This kit comes with an installation manual that you can use when making changes to your air system. Additionally, this unit delivers heavy-duty performance, so you can use it on all compatible vehicles.

Pros
  • Dyno-tested
  • Washable and reusable
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Does not require oil
Cons
  • Some users may have a problem fixing the MAF screws

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#3 Spectre Performance-SPE-9976 Air Intake Kit

Spectre Performance-SPE-9976 Air Intake Kit

The high-performance cold air intake kit by Spectre has durable aluminum tubing that maximizes air flow to the engine, while the filtering media is made of high-quality urethane and steel mesh.

This air intake kit works by limiting restrictions and maximizing filtration. The filter has a large surface, which allows it to trap foreign particles that are likely to lower engine performance. This kit is dyno-tested to ensure that it gives users the results that it is supposed to deliver.

When the filter becomes dirty, you can clean it in four easy steps. Simply apply your favorite cleaner, flash with water, allow the unit to dry, and apply the filter oil. This unit has tight fittings that prevent air from leaking, so the engine will get a full dose of what is supplied by the intake kit.

As such, the engine will make powerful combustions that will provide the whole system with enough energy to push the wheels. Moreover, you only need a few basic tools to get the unit up and running.

This air intake kit will prompt your engine to give you nothing but excellence. It can also prolong engine life by ensuring the air passageway is not obstructed.

If you have been thinking of going pro with your engine, the Spectre SPE-9976 will guide you throughout the way. You can mount on classic cars as well as late-model vehicles with matching specifications.

Pros
  • The filter comes in a variety of colors
  • More air and more power
  • Filter media is fade-proof
Cons
  • Non-CARB compliant
  • The box covering the filter has no mounting holes

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#4 Airaid 453-265 AIRAID MXP Series Cold Air Dam Intake System

Airaid 453-265 AIRAID MXP Series Cold Air Dam Intake System

The Airaid 453-265 has a roto-molded intake tube and airbox, which are tough and long-lasting. This unit is computer designed and tuned to deliver top-notch results when running the engine. The AIRAID intake system will allow your engine to breathe more efficiently.

As a result, you will notice an increase in torque and horsepower, which automatically results in low fuel consumption. If you do the math, you will realize that you will be saving a lot of money that could have been spent on gas.

When dealing with this brand, you have the option of choosing a kit with an oiled synthetic media (Synthaflow) or one with a dry filter (Synthamax). The former is applicable in situations where the vehicle is exposed to dusty conditions such as off-road driving, while the latter performs well in street driving.

The material used in designing the filter is less restrictive and permits air to flow freely into the engine. This is a high-performance kit, so it is compatible with both diesel and gas applications.

The filter has multiple layers, which enhances its tensile strength, thus limiting the possibility of premature wear and tear. Additionally, the layers ensure that only air is passed through the intake system. This kit preserves the engine and allows acceleration gains that will enable your vehicle to move smoothly.

Pros
  • Delivers a powerful growl
  • Hassle-free operation
  • Increased fuel efficiency
  • Has stainless steel clamps
Cons
  • Some users may have problems with the installation

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#5 Flowmaster 615111 Cold Air Intake Kit

Flowmaster 615111 Cold Air Intake Kit

This air intake kit is made up of high-quality components that work together to improve engine output. The intake tube is made of durable polyethylene, which dissipates heat, thereby causing a cool intake charge.

More to this, the filter has eight layers that clean and purify the air before it enters the combustion chamber. The silicone couplers are reinforced to ensure that the kit is tightly held in place during installation. This unit has factory mounting points that will help you achieve reliable and leak-proof fittings.

The attachment brackets will provide additional support to the intake kit, while the soft bumpers will offer cushion, thereby preventing direct contact with other parts. The filter is conical-shaped and has a large diameter that delivers a high-flow of air to the engine.

Also, it is serviceable, so you won’t have to make replacements each time it gets dirty. However, you have to adhere to the cleaning instructions to avoid damaging the filter system.

This is a vehicle-specific kit that is compatible with Ram 1500 Trucks (2009-2017) with 5.7L Hemi engines. Therefore, you have to be keen and ensure that it matches your vehicle’s requirements. If you want your engine to sound and work powerfully, you can tune it with this intake kit.

Pros
  • Washable
  • Eliminates dust particles
  • Durable design
Cons
  • The mounting bolts are not well labeled despite some looking alike

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#6 Cold Air Inductions 501-1099-10 Intake System for Chevrolet Camaro 6.2L

Cold Air Inductions 501-1099-10 Intake

The Cold Air Inductions 501-1099-10 is solely engineered to fit Chevrolet Camaro with 6.2L engines. Its design allows it to increase engine power while maximizing fuel efficiency, hence economizing the amount of fuel consumed during combustion. The bolt-on feature enables you to make quick installations without relying on a professional. You only have to keep a keen eye on the guide manual to get the perfect installation outcome.

Furthermore, the intake tube is thermal coated to prevent heat soak, so heated air won’t flow back into the engine. When the engine is fed with cool air, there will be a general improvement in performance, which will allow you to have an easy time handling your vehicle.

Additionally, the tube is powder-coated to prevent corrosion. As such, you will use this air intake kit without encountering complications.

The air box has a removable lid that allows you to make frequent inspections on the air system. This kit will provide your engine with all the air that it needs to deliver outstanding performance. The fasteners are made of stainless steel, which is resistant to rust.

Pros
  • Durable aluminum construction
  • Spring-loaded fasteners
  • Unrestricted air flow
  • Enhances throttle response
Cons
  • The inspection window is tightly sealed

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#7 aFe Power 54-32642-1B Magnum FORCE Performance Intake System

aFe Power 54-32642-1B Magnum FORCE Performance Intake System

This air intake kit has a filter with five layers fitted with fine cotton mesh. To add to this, the filter is oiled to enhance its efficiency. The filter has a 5-1/2-inch flange opening that allows air to flow into the system with ease.

The easy-to-install heat shield does not require assembly procedures since the unit has mounting holes that can help you set the kit in place. You will get every piece of hardware that you may need during installation.

The unit is dyno-tuned, so you won’t have to make any system adjustments because everything is already set to deliver top-class performance. It will make your engine sound better and work more effectively.

The other advantage of using this air intake kit is that it is CAD designed, so it will allow your engine to unleash its full power without straining the combustion chambers. The filter will ensure that the engine is free of performance-robbing particles that may cause the engine to break down.

All the clamps are durable, so they won’t break during or after installing the kit under the hood. This will prevent unnecessary air leaks that may slow down engine performance.

The cool air delivered to the engine will not only be used during combustion but will also act as a coolant to the hot chambers. This air intake kit fits the 2015-2016 Ford F-150 3.5L EcoBoost and 2015-2017 Ford F-150 2.7L EcoBoost.

Pros
  • High-quality clampings
  • Bolt-on design
  • Roto-molded tube
Cons
  • Not CARB compliant

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#8 S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake

S&B Filters 75-5068 Cold Air Intake

The 75-5068 cold air intake kit is designed for 2013-2018 Dodge Ram Cummins 6.7L. It has an aesthetic appearance that will preserve the beauty of your engine compartment. The filter on this kit is oiled using an advanced robotic technique that applies the oil with exact precision.

This prevents the oil from building up on the MAF unit. As such, the computer system in your car will always provide you with accurate readings on the air flow.

This kit was engineered to give you a stress-free experience when running your engine. With this kit in place, the “check engine” light on your dashboard will rarely light up. This is because the engine will constantly be in good condition.

The filter has silicone fittings that won’t crack or loosen after repeated use. Nevertheless, you have to clean the filter if you notice that it is kit is underperforming.

The large custom enclosure protects the filter from excess engine heat. Also, the intake tube is wide and allows a less restrictive flow of air to the engine.

If you are the type who loves to hear powerful engine growls, this intake kit will leave you more than impressed. Dodge engines are known for their immense power. However, this kit will give your engine even more power, so wait no more.

Pros
  • Easy installation
  • ISO 5011 tested
  • Enhances engine tuning
  • Transparent lid
Cons
  • Vehicle specific

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#9 BBK 17375 Blackout Cold Air Induction Intake System for Ford Mustang

BBK 17375 Blackout Cold Air Induction Intake

This cold air intake kit has a cotton filtering element that captures both small and large debris that may cause a malfunction in the engine system. It allows 75% more air flow than other factory air intake models.

You should keep in mind that this kit is meant for Ford Mustang engines. It also has a presentable look, so you won’t have to worry about how the under-hood will look after achieving an installation.

The CNC mandrel tubing is designed in such a way that it does not collapse regardless of the engine temperature. As a result, air will continuously flow inside the engine so that the rate of combustion is kept at a constant.

Through this, the engine will always deliver maximum torque, thus allowing the vehicle to handle different road conditions. As a plus, you will have a hassle-free experience when installing this kit.

This unit can help you solve some of the basic engine problems that come about as a result of insufficient air supply. If properly installed, you will notice significant improvements with the first ride. The other interesting feature is that the kit does not cover too much space when installed.

Pros
  • No tuning required
  • Direct bolt-on
  • Improves acceleration
Cons
  • If the MAF sensor is not placed correctly you may experience air leaks

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#10 DC Sports CAI4105 Mazda 3 end Cold Air Intake System

DC Sports CAI4105 Mazda 3 end Cold Air Intake

The intake kit from DC Sports has a short Ram intake, which boosts engine performance by allowing smooth air flow. This unit will power the engine with enough oxygen, so all combustions will be complete.

More to this, it increases horsepower, thereby allowing the engine to deliver heavy-duty performance. This unit has a simple design, which makes it easy to install, you just have to ensure the hoses are given a tight fit.

This unit uses dry filters that are easy to clean. It improves breathability, thus preventing air deficiency in the engine.

Moreover, it allows the engine to deliver a powerful throaty growl that will make your vehicle sound like a raged machine. If you notice that the filter is getting dirty, you can detach from the air box for a wash. The filter can only be mounted back after it has completely dried up.

The package comes with clamps and screws that you can use when mounting the kit under the hood. This kit is CARB approved, so it is one of the safe air intake kits that you can consider using. The rubber fittings prevent accidental air leakage from the system, so you have to ensure that they are perfectly put in place.

Pros
  • Washable filter
  • Dyno-tuned
  • An installation manual is included
Cons
  • Difficult to remodel

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#11 Injen Technology SP1431P Polished Mega Ram Cold Air Intake System

Injen Technology SP1431P Polished Mega Ram Cold Air Intake System

This intake kit uses Injen’s patented MR Technology system to enhance engine horsepower. It creates a safe balance between air and fuel ratio in the engine, so the engine won’t get damaged during operation.

Additionally, it assists you in lowering engine temperatures to levels that can support maximum combustion. This process enhances torque, thereby bringing about significant improvements in acceleration.

The filter is constructed with surgical-grade cotton gauze that is pre-oiled to allow non-stop air flow to the engine. It deeply purifies the air such that nothing foreign flows into the combustion unit.

This will help you prevent possible cases of engine trouble. The intake tube is built with premium quality aluminum that is lightweight. Apart from that, it has a unique silvery finishing that gives it a sleek look.

More to this, the intake tube has welded adaptors that offer more stability during installation. This feature ensures that the kit is set at the correct angle for increased air flow. If you plan on transforming your engine, you can install the SP1431P.

Pros
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Prevents obstruction during air flow
  • TIG-welded
Cons
  • Does not come with a filter cover

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do cold air intakes work?

Cold air intake kits allow cold air to be sucked to the internal combustion chambers in the engine. The filter is the most critical part of an air intake system since it is the one that cleans the air before it goes into the engine.

Are all cold air intake systems street legal?

This depends on the local laws of the region you are living in. As such, one model may be legal in one state but illegal in another.

Can an air intake unit increase horsepower?

Yes. Air intake kits are designed to increase the rate of combustion in the engine. As a result, this leads to a boost in both horsepower and torque.

How often should I wash the air intake filter?

The filter can get dirty depending on the conditions that it is exposed to. If you do a lot of off-road driving then you may need to clean the filter often. On the other hand, if the vehicle only engages in street drives, you can clean the filter after a specified mileage.

Final Verdict

Engines are one of the most powerful machines. They are strong and can take on heavy loads effortlessly.

Nonetheless, they are prone to malfunction or slowdown in performance if they are not given proper care such as an adequate supply of air. With the help of cold air intake kits, you can tap more power from your engine.

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