10 Best Cold Air Intakes

10 Best Cold Air Intakes Of 2022 – Review & Buyer’s Guide

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If you’re looking for one of the easiest ways to add a few horsepower to your vehicle, then a cold air intake is the way to go. But the last thing you want is to do all that work and install the new air filter only to find out that there’s a better option out there.

Even worse, you don’t want to get the cold air intake on order, wait for it to arrive, only to find when it gets there that it doesn’t fit. We understand the frustrations because we’ve been there, and that’s why we came up with this comprehensive guide to highlight some of the best choices out there.

Not only that, but we came up with a comprehensive buyer’s guide that will walk you through everything you need to find the best cold air intake kit the first time!

Many cold air intake kits are model and engine based, so make sure you have the right kit for your vehicle before you buy.

Disclaimer – This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.

10 Best Cold Air Intake Kits in 2022

1. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit – Best Overall (Universal)

K&Amp;N Cold Air Intake Kit

If you’re looking for the best aftermarket cold air intake filter out there, you need to check out K&N air filters. While they don’t claim the highest performance boosts compared to some other brands, what K&N claims they actually deliver.

This K&N Cold Air Intake Kit is a universal model that fits on almost any vehicle, and it’s completely legal in all 50 states. Another perk of K&N air filters is that you only need to clean the filter every 100,000-miles, making it one of the easiest air filters out there to care for.

K&N air filters are a more expensive option, but when you consider that they come with a 10-year, 1-million-mile warranty, it’s really an excellent value for what you’re getting. Chances are when you buy this air filter and kit, it’s the last one you’ll need to purchase for that vehicle.

The only real drawback to getting this universal K&N cold air intake kit is that it is a universal option, which means it’s not vehicle specific. While you can get this cold air intake kit on just about any vehicle, it might require some minor modifications and it likely won’t be as easy to install as a vehicle-specific option.

Still, when it comes to performance, durability, and longevity, this K&N air filter gives you everything you could want and then a little bit more.

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Pros

  • 10-year/1-million-mile warranty
  • Legal in all 50 states
  • Only clean the filter every 100,000 miles
  • Outstanding airflow

Cons

  • More expensive option
  • May require minor modifications to install on some vehicles

RELATED: 10 Best Engine Air Filters for Cars – Review & Buyer’s Guide


2. Nextirrer Universal Cold Air Intake Kit – Best Budget (Universal)

Nextirrer Universal Cold Air Intake Kit

While K&N air filters might be our top choice, not everyone has that much money to drop on a cold air intake kit. If you don’t have the largest budget out there but still want a top-notch filter, consider the Nextirrer Universal Air Intake Kit.

It’s a far more affordable option, and with two different color choices, you can match the filter to your specific style. As a universal option, it’s not always a seamless installation, but with a design as simple as this one it’s typically pretty straightforward.

It comes with a reusable air filter that can save you some money down the road and it provides tons of airflow, but we’d be lying if we said it gave you the same performance perks as the more expensive options.

But if the choice is the stock air filter or this, this cold air intake will certainly provide you with better airflow and performance. Still, it is a budget choice, and nothing reflects that like the fact that there’s no protection around the filter.

So, if you’re driving a vehicle with a larger engine that generates a lot of heat, this isn’t the ideal air filter for you as there’s nothing to protect the filter from it. But for many vehicles, this air filter has everything you need at a fraction of the cost of higher-end options.

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Pros

  • More affordable option
  • It comes in two color options
  • Easy to install in most vehicles
  • Reusable air filter

Cons

  • Not as effective as higher-end intakes
  • No protection around the filter

3. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit – Dodge Ram 1500

K&Amp;N Cold Air Intake Kit

If you’re driving a Dodge Ram 1500 you want an air filter that gives you the best possible performance from your truck. If that sounds like you, then you want this vehicle-specific K&N Cold Air Intake Kit. Because it’s a vehicle-specific kit, it’s super easy to install on your truck, saving your time and frustration when setting things up.

And while it’s easy to install, it still comes with everything you’d expect from a top-notch K&N air filter. That includes its signature 10-year/1-million-mile warranty and the fact that you only need to clean out the air filter every 100,000 miles.

You get phenomenal airflow with this filter, and it’s legal in all 50 states so you don’t need to worry about where you’re driving or the local laws in your area. Finally, the air filter on this kit does a great job protecting your engine from various particulates, giving your vehicle more protection when you’re on the road.

However, like most K&N products, this filter isn’t a lower-priced option, so you need to be ready to open your checking account a bit if you want it. Still, for everything that it offers, we think it’s worth every penny.

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Pros

  • Easy to install
  • 10-year/1-million-mile warranty
  • Legal in all 50 states
  • Provides outstanding engine protection
  • Only clean the filter every 100,000 miles
  • Outstanding airflow

4. Super-Fast Racing 4” Cold Air Intake System – Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Super-Fast Racing 4” Cold Air Intake System

Not all trucks are the same, and if you’re driving a Chevrolet Silverado 1500, you’re in luck. Not only do you have a great truck to drive, but there’s an outstanding cold air intake kit out there at an exceptional price in the Super-Fast Racing 4” Cold Air Intake System.

But not only is it available for a great price, but it’s easy to install, and there are four color options for you to choose from. This cold air intake is all about increasing the airflow for your truck, and it does a great job of it.

And since Super-Fast Racing built this cold air intake system specifically for the Silverado 1500, they knew it needed a little extra heat protection and built that into that assembly too. It has a heat shield that helps absorb and deflect some of the heat away from the air filter, which improves the performance and longevity of the filter.

Still, even with this feature, this Super-Fast Racing 4” Cold Air Intake System isn’t quite as durable as some of the top-notch options. There’s no reason it can’t last a few hundred thousand miles, but compared to options with a lifetime warranty, it’s just not there.

But for the price it’s an outstanding choice, and that’s why it easily earned our nod as the top choice for the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.

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Pros

  • Affordably priced
  • Easy to install
  • It comes in four color options
  • Provides tons of airflow
  • Heatshield helps protect the filter

Cons

  • Not as durable as more expensive options

5. Mishimoto Performance Air Intake – Subaru WRX

Mishimoto Performance Air Intake

There’s no doubt that people love to mod their Subaru WRX, and one of the best mods you can make is a cold air intake kit. And if you’re looking for the best cold air intake kit out there for your Subaru WRX, it’s the Mishimoto Performance Air Intake and it’s not even close.

Sure, it’s a more expensive product, but that’s because it’s the best of the best. It includes a lifetime warranty so you know it’s the last kit you’ll ever need, and you can’t beat the performance benefits that this kit gives you.

Even with these top-notch performance advantages, this cold air intake kit is super easy to install, and you don’t need to worry about any special tuning when you put this on your engine. It’s all about more airflow and more performance, and for a bolt-on mod, you’re not going to get better results.

If you can afford this cold air intake kit for your Subaru WRX start customizing it with this kit and never look back.

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Pros

  • Includes a lifetime warranty
  • Provides outstanding performance benefits
  • Super easy to install
  • It doesn’t require any special tuning

6. BBK Performance 1557 Cold Air Intake System – Ford Mustang

Bbk Performance 1557 Cold Air Intake System

Alright, while this might be the best cold air intake system for a Ford Mustang, it’s really important to remember that there are about a hundred different Ford Mustang configurations out there, and this vehicle-specific cold air intake kit won’t fit them all.

But if you have a 5.0L Mustang and want a fender well style cold air intake, this is the top choice out there. It’s an extremely durable product that provides a ton of airflow. But what’s really its top selling point is the mix of price and performance you get with this cold air intake system.

It’s not the lowest-priced option out there, but it’s not the most expensive either. That’s what makes it so impressive that you get high-end results despite the fact that you’re not paying a high-end price.

The only real difference is that this cold air intake system doesn’t come with a lifetime warranty, but considering how well-built this cold air intake system is, it’s not likely you’ll need it.

This cold air intake system is super easy to install, in fact, you should be able to have the old system out and this new system in well under an hour. You up the airflow significantly, but you don’t need any tunes making this cold air intake system one of the quickest and easiest upgrades you can complete on your Mustang.

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Pros

  • Good mix of price and performance
  • Very durable build
  • Provides a ton of airflow
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • It doesn’t include a lifetime warranty

7. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit – Chevy Camaro

K&Amp;N Cold Air Intake Kit

We told you K&N is great right? This is the third time one of their products has made our list, and you really couldn’t go wrong using a K&N air filter for every option on our list. Sure, this cold air intake kit is on the pricier side, but it’s really a top-notch option in so many ways.

This K&N Cold Air Intake Kit is specifically for 2016-2019 Chevy Camaros equipped with the 6.2L V8 engine, although K&N does make an option for just about any Camaro out there – including the V6 models!

Not only does this cold air intake kit really help improve airflow for your car, but it also provides tons of protection through outstanding filtering capabilities. This K&N air filter includes all the top-notch features the brand provides, starting with the 10-year/1-million-mile warranty.

Because it’s a vehicle-specific option through K&N it’s easy to install, and you should be able to complete the job in 30 to 60 minutes. This cold air intake kit gives your Camaro engine an outstanding sound, which really puts everything over the top considering how great it sounds stock!

You only need to clean out the filter every 100,000-miles too, so it’s as maintenance-free as an air filter is going to get. This filter is legal in all 50 states too, so it’s the perfect choice no matter where you live. Sure, it’s a bit more expensive, but if you can afford it, go for it and you won’t have any regrets.

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Pros

  • 10-year/1-million-mile warranty
  • Easy to install
  • Legal in all 50 states
  • Only clean the filter every 100,000 miles
  • It helps provide a great engine sound
  • Outstanding airflow

8. Airaid Cold Air Intake System – Dodge Challenger/Charger

Airaid Cold Air Intake System

Where would we be if we highlighted a top-notch cold air intake kit for the Mustang and the Camaro but left the Challenger and Charger off the list? While the Challenger and Charger are two different vehicles, this Airaid Cold Air Intake System works on different models of both vehicles.

It comes with a lifetime warranty, and every component comes from right here in the USA! It’s easy to install too, so you don’t have to worry about the installation headaches that come with many aftermarket air filter kits.

Sale


Airaid Cold Air Intake System: Increased…

  • INCREASES HORESPOWER: AIRAID performance…
  • SUPERIOR FILTRATION: AIRAID performance…
  • EASY INSTALL: These simple-to-install,…
  • HIGH PERFORMANCE REUSABLE FILTER: Each…

Of course, you’re swapping out the air filter for the increased airflow and performance benefits, and this Airaid Cold Air Intake System doesn’t disappoint there either. It lets in a ton of airflow while filtering out more containments than ever, which is exactly what you want from your cold air intake kit.

The heatshield also protects the filter from all the heat your performance engine puts off, so you don’t need to worry about it wearing out on you no matter what you do to your engine.

The only real drawback to this cold air intake is that it’s a more expensive option, but when you’re looking for maximum results this is the air filter you want on your vehicle.

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Pros

  • It has a lifetime warranty
  • Made in the USA
  • Super easy to install
  • Outstanding filtration benefits
  • Allows a ton of airflow
  • Heatshield helps protect the filter

9. Mishimoto Performance Air Intake – BMW 3 Series

Mishimoto Performance Air Intake

Outside of K&N, Mishimoto is the only brand to make our list twice, and it’s for a good reason. While Mishimoto parts are certainly a more expensive option, the performance benefits they give your vehicle are obvious.

Not only does this Mishimoto Performance Air Intake do a great job providing more airflow to improve performance, but it’s also a lightweight option which helps too. But just because it lets in a ton of air and it’s a lightweight design, it still does a great job filtering out containments, which means your engine stays safe throughout it all.

If you drive a 2012-2017 BMW F3X 3-Series and can afford the higher upfront price tag that comes with this air filter, then you’re not going to find a better option out there. The problem really is that price. It’s the most expensive cold air intake on our list, but if you drive a BMW 3 Series you’re probably used to the higher prices for all their parts by now anyways.

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Pros

  • It has a lifetime warranty
  • Lightweight design
  • Allows a ton of airflow
  • It does a great job improving performance
  • Easy to install

10. PRL Motorsports “Cobra” Cold Air Intake – Honda Civic

Prl Motorsports

There’s a reason that so many people turn their Honda Civics into tuner cars, and one of the easiest tunes you can make to dabble into the market is the cold air intake. And with the PRL Motorsports “Cobra” Cold Air Intake, you’re getting the best of the best to start your journey.

This cold air intake can provide anywhere from 9 to 14 horsepower gains depending on the tune and anything else you’ve done to your engine, making it one of the most effective cold air intakes on the market.

It’s also easy to install, making it an even better choice for those that haven’t performed too much work on their vehicle in the past. Not only does it provide a massive increase to airflow, but it also provides tons of filtration power.

There are two main drawbacks to the “Cobra,” with the first being the price. But while it’s undoubtedly one of the most expensive cold air intake kits on our list, the performance benefits you get make it worth every cent.

The second issue is the fact that it doesn’t find the Honda Civic Si. Instead, this cold air intake fits the Honda Civic 1.5T, as long as it’s a 2016 or newer. That’s still a pretty large range of Civics though, so there’s a good chance it’ll fit your vehicle.

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Pros

  • 9 to 14 horsepower gains
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Easy to install
  • Provides tons of airflow
  • Tons of filtration power

Cons

  • Very expensive option
  • Does not find Honda SI

Cold Air Intake Buyer’s Guide

With so many great options and so many finer points out there, it’s only natural to have a few questions when you’re trying to get a product on order.

We understand and that’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know and answer some of the most important questions you might have!

Why You Want a Cold Air Intake

Before you head out and install a cold air intake kit on your vehicle you need to decide if one is right for you. Even if you’re not looking to build a performance vehicle, there’s a good chance a cold air intake kit still might be a good investment.

Because while many people focus on the performance benefits that a cold air intake will give your vehicle, it’s not the only perk. That’s why we highlighted four different benefits you’ll get from installing a cold air intake kit on your vehicle.

There’s no doubt that installing a cold air intake on your vehicle will improve the overall performance of your vehicle. While it’s nothing like installing a turbo or even completing a tune, installing a cold air intake is likely the easiest upgrade you can make on your vehicle to get a little more from it.

If you install a cold air intake on your vehicle, you can expect performance gains anywhere from 5 to 15 horsepower depending on what you drive and what kit you go with.

2. More Protection

The entire purpose of an air filter is to keep contaminants out of your vehicle’s engine. While stock and disposable air filters do a decent job of this, there’s no doubt that many upgraded cold air intake does an even better job.

Keeping more containments out of your engine helps protect it, and it can lead it to last longer and give you fewer problems. Who knows that new cold air intake might actually save you a ton of money in the long run.

3. Better Fuel Efficiency

Speaking of saving money, upgrading your intake typically leads to better fuel efficiency! More air to your engine gives it a bit more power, all without increasing the fuel consumption. So, the next time you want to get on the freeway, you won’t need to press the pedal down quite as far, which means less fuel goes into the combustion chamber.

The less fuel you use, the fewer trips you make to the gas station, and the less money you spend filling up! While it’s not likely to completely offset the cost of the cold air intake kit, some savings is better than none!

4. Less Maintenance

With a traditional air filter, you have to swap them out every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. With most cold air intake systems, you get a reusable air filter that lasts the lifetime of your vehicle, and you only need to wash them out every 50,000 to 100,000 miles.

This is far less maintenance, and it saves you money since you don’t need to replace the filter too!

Universal vs. Vehicle-Specific Kits

When you’re picking out a cold air intake kit, one of the first decisions you need to make is whether you want a universal kit or a vehicle-specific kit. While there’s no wrong answer, there will be a choice that works better for you. We’ll highlight the pros and cons of each choice here.

Universal Kits

Universal kits fit on just about any vehicle out there, which means you don’t need to do a bunch of extra homework determining whether or not it will fit on your vehicle.

However, sometimes they don’t fit on as smoothly, which means you might need to make minor modifications to get it on. Furthermore, they typically don’t give you the same level results that you’ll get from a vehicle-specific kit.

Another perk that you can get from a universal kit is that there are generally lower-priced options out there. While there are still higher-priced premium choices, if you are looking for a more affordable choice, a universal cold air intake kit might be the way to go.

Vehicle-Specific Kits

If you get a vehicle-specific cold air intake kit, you need to do the extra work to ensure you’re getting the right option for your vehicle. That’s because while these kits are super easy to install on that type of vehicle, they’re often impossible to get on any other type.

That’s because the part manufacturer built the kit for that vehicle in particular, which allows them to tailor every part to your vehicle. Not only does this normally make it easier to install, but it often gives you better results too.

However, the tradeoff is often the price. Vehicle-specific kits generally cost a bit more since the part manufacturer doesn’t have as wide of a market. Still, for the convenience and performance benefits, it’s often worth the slight jump in price.

Can a Cold Air Intake Kit Actually Save You Money?

While most high-end cold air intake kits are on the pricier side of things, there’s no doubt that they do offer you some savings from month to month. But how long until those savings actually offset the cost of the kit?

Well, let’s start with the cost savings that come from not needing to replace the air filter anymore. Depending on what you drive, an air filter will cost anywhere from $10 to $20, and you need to replace them every 10,000 to 15,000 miles.

So, if you need a $15 air filter every 10,000 miles, it’ll take you about 150,000 miles to offset the cost of a $225 cold air intake kit. Of course, this isn’t the only savings you see from a cold air intake kit. Depending on what you drive and the kit you use, you can see your fuel efficiency jump anywhere from 2 to 5 miles per gallon.

If your vehicle goes from 28 to 31 miles per gallon, that translates to about 500 gallons of fuel saved over those 150,000 miles too. Depending on the cost of fuel that’s another $1,750 to $2,500 in savings!

In short, if you get a high-quality cold air intake that improves your fuel efficiency, it’ll definitely pay for itself in the long run.

Do You Need to Tune Your Engine After Installing a Cold Air Intake?

This is one of the most common questions out there, but unless you’re modifying more parts on your vehicle, you don’t need to tune your vehicle after installing a cold air intake kit.

The kits simply don’t add enough air for the ECM to need to adjust performance settings. However, while you don’t need to tune the engine after installing a cold air intake kit, there’s a good chance that you’ll see even more performance results if you do.

Why You Want a Heatshield On Your Cold Air Intake

To achieve maximum benefits from your air filter, you need to keep the air going into your engine as cold as possible. But since the air filter sits in the hot engine bay, that’s not always an easy task.

The heatshield on the cold air intake helps keep the filter itself cold, which allows the air to enter the engine at a lower temperature. This improves the overall performance and gives you the best possible results. When looking at a cold air intake kit with a heatshield and one without one, always go for the one with the heatshield.

Final Thoughts

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you should get a cold air intake kit for your vehicle, let us be the one to push you over the edge. There are tons of perks to getting a kit, even if you go for a lower-end option like the Nextirrer Universal Air Intake Kit.

Whether you want more power, better fuel efficiency, or you’re simply tired of disposing of air filters every 10,000 miles, and a cold air intake kit fixes all those problems. They’re also super-easy to install, so there’s no reason you can’t do it yourself!



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