What Are The Best Cold Air Intake System Kits? (New 2020 Edition)

Best Cold Air Intake System Kits

Have you ever wanted a faster, more powerful car? Is your ride going from old reliable to old and boring? Well, before you go out and start looking for a new car to drop a couple thousand dollars, make sure you look into all of your options. There might be an easy and much, much cheaper option that can help satiate your need for speed and make your car run more efficiently. If you can boost your car’s performance for a fraction of the cost of a new vehicle, why would you pass that up?

One of those enticing options to help boost your engine’s overall performance is to install a new cold air intake system. An effective cold air intake system can do a world of good for your ride. After installation, you will notice boosts in engine performance, ease of acceleration, and even better gas mileage. On top of that, you can help reduce obnoxious and distracting engine noise and make your ride a completely new, more pleasant experience.

While it might seem intimidating to pick the right system, there are a lot of great choices out there. This useful guide will assist you in figuring out what cold air intake system kit works best for you and your vehicle.

Our Picks For The Best Cold Air Intake System of 2020

Our #1 Choice
Cold Air Intake Induction Kit System, Universal Car 3" Carbon Fibre Cold Air Filter Enclosed Intake...
Runner-up
Air Intake Filter - Universal Performance 2.5" / 3" Cold Air Intake Aluminium Pipe Hose System...
Honorable Mention
Spectre Performance 8208 Chrome Universal Intake Tube Kit
Cold Air Intake Induction Kit System, Universal Car 3" Carbon Fibre Cold Air Filter Enclosed Intake...
Air Intake Filter - Universal Performance 2.5" / 3" Cold Air Intake Aluminium Pipe Hose System...
Spectre Performance 8208 Chrome Universal Intake Tube Kit
$38.89
Price not available
$33.16
Our #1 Choice
Cold Air Intake Induction Kit System, Universal Car 3" Carbon Fibre Cold Air Filter Enclosed Intake...
Cold Air Intake Induction Kit System, Universal Car 3" Carbon Fibre Cold Air Filter Enclosed Intake...
$38.89
Runner-up
Air Intake Filter - Universal Performance 2.5" / 3" Cold Air Intake Aluminium Pipe Hose System...
Air Intake Filter - Universal Performance 2.5" / 3" Cold Air Intake Aluminium Pipe Hose System...
Price not available
Honorable Mention
Spectre Performance 8208 Chrome Universal Intake Tube Kit
Spectre Performance 8208 Chrome Universal Intake Tube Kit
$33.16

1. Estink Cold Air Intake Induction Kit System

The Estink Cold Air Intake Induction Kit System might have a name that makes it sound like it will make your car smell terrible, but this system is actually one of the best kits available. This system is one of the cheaper options on the market, yet it remains as durable as any other option out there. It is made of high quality materials, including a washable, reusable air filter so you can make sure you are keeping those nasty toxins and pollutants out.

On top of being a well-made, reliable option, the Estink is also an extremely effective cold air intake system kit. This system will help boost your engines performance and make it more efficient, so you do not have to spend as much at the pump. It also does an effective job muffling annoying engine and road noise. All in all, it is almost impossible to find a better overall value in a cold air intake system kit.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Reduces engine and road noise
  • Inexpensive
  • Reusable, washable filter
  • Improves gas mileage and performance

Cons

  • N/A

2. Konduone Air Intake Filter

The Konduone Air Intake Filter system is another inexpensive option that still does a good job at boosting engine performance. You should notice a sizeable increase in power once you install the system, making your car more effective and more exciting to drive. That boost in power will help you feed the hungry little speed demon inside of you. Plus, this powerful engine will also be more efficient, helping you get the most out of every tap of the gas pedal all while saving you money at the gas pump.

The Konduone does have a more limited range of vehicles that it is compatible with, but even the most cautious should not be worried about the fit. Even if it does not work with your ride, it is inexpensive and comes with a full three month warranty to help ease any worries about losing out on this investment.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • 3 month warranty
  • Increases engine power and efficiency

Cons

  • Fits a more limited scope of vehicles

3. Spectre Performance 8208 Chrome Universal Intake Tube Kit

The Spectre Performance 8208 Chrome Universal Intake Tube system kit is a durable option that will last a long time. It is made up of high quality materials that make it a great long term choice for someone looking to not have to buy a replacement any time soon. It does its job well, increasing engine power and performance for a better overall driving experience.

The Spectre may be durable, but it is not the most reliable in many situations. It is sometimes fluky, and can misfire or malfunction without any clear reason. On top of that, it needs some sort of adjustment or adapter to work with most vehicles.

Pros

  • Quality materials
  • Increases power

Cons

  • Somewhat fluky
  • Needs adjustments or adapters to fit most cars

4. AEM 21-5011 Universal Cold Air Intake System

The AEM 21-5011 Universal Cold Air Intake System kit is a great choice if you want a reliable, durable system that provides significant improvements in engine performance. It has a near universal fit that works with almost all vehicles, able to boost engine power and efficiency in almost any car. This durable option will keep your car working better than ever, and you will not have to constantly worry about it breaking down on you.

The AEM has great features that make it enticing to any consumer, but it comes at a price. That price is actually its really, very expensive price tag. It also needs to be assembled, as basically all the pieces are separate when shipped. However, this system’s performance and reliability is definitely worth the cost, time, and effort.

Pros

  • Fits a wide array of vehicles
  • Increases engine power and efficiency
  • Durable

Cons

  • Assembly required
  • Much more expensive than most

5. Soosee Universal Performance Induction Cold Air Intake System

The Soosee Universal Performance Induction Cold Air Intake system kit is another cheap option that still helps you get the most out of your engine. It is composed of high quality materials, especially compared to the price. You can count on these parts to keep working consistently, as they can handle the intense pressure and strain they will have to endure. This system gives your engine a big boost of power that will make it feel like a brand new car when you get behind the wheel.

The Soosee is a very effective cold air intake system kit, and it comes in a sharp metallic blue color. However, this slick system might not work with your car, as it has a much more limited number of vehicles with which it is compatible. However, if this system works with your car it is a great choice for a cold air intake system kit.

Pros

  • Quality materials
  • Boosts engine power
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Fits a more limited number of cars

6. K&N RC-5052AB Universal Cold Air Intake System

The K&N RC-5052AB Universal Cold Air Intake System does its job well, but it has a few more issues than most other cold air intake system kits. This system definitely gives your engine a boost in power and acceleration. On top of that, it is truly universal, able to work with most vehicles out there. Also, it features a washable and reusable air filter, so you can always make sure your system is working at peak performance.

But as it was mentioned previously, the K&N RC-5052AB definitely has some issues that could make it a bad fit for your situation. It is on the pricier side, more expensive than most other cold air intake system kits. And despite its universal claim, it is difficult to install on a lot of vehicles. The system is composed of plastic parts that can warp and crack under the intense heat and pressure to which it will be exposed. On top of all that, this system is not legal in states that follow California’s emission standard laws. But if you are in need of a good cold air intake system kit, there are definitely worse options than the K&N RC-5052AB.

Pros

  • Increase power and acceleration
  • Washable and reusable air filter
  • Fits a wide array of vehicles

Cons

  • Not legal in some states due to emissions
  • Hard to install on some vehicles
  • Made of plastic, not the most durable
  • Expensive

7. Volant Cold Air Intake System

The Volant Cold Air Intake System will not only improve horsepower and torque, but it will also bring about better fuel efficiency. This product has polyethylene ducts for cleaner air intake. One of the most significant advantages of this product is that it is virtually maintenance-free. The system gets paired with Donaldson Powercore Air Filters.

The Volant Cold Air Intake System can bring your car more power, but it is also quite easy to use. The easy-to-open lid provides access to the filters. You also get reliability with this product in the form of a one-year warranty and marine-grade steel clamps that can stand up to engine heat.

Pros

  • The Volant Cold Air Intake System has durable polyethylene ducts and maintenance-free components.
  • It improves fuel efficiency as well as horsepower and torque.
  • Users get to enjoy an easy installation process.

Cons

  • Some users had difficulty understanding the installation instructions.
  • You only get a one-year warranty.

What To Consider When Buying A Cold Air Intake System Kit For Your Car

Most people do not realize the untapped power stored in their engine. With the right modifications, your old rust bucket could be cruising faster with more power than ever before. One good way to boost your engines performance is to install a cold air intake system. However, not every intake system is a great fit for every vehicle.

The two main things you want to be looking for are engine performance and durability. Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of what makes a good cold air intake system.

Performance

The main goal you want to achieve after installing a cold air intake system in your vehicle is better performance. This means a variety of things. For one, a good system will increase your engine’s horsepower. You will be able to feel that extra power when you press down hard on the gas pedal. Also, it will hopefully improve your acceleration, so you can reach higher speeds faster and more smoothly.

Even acceleration makes driving a much more pleasant and stress free experience. On top of that, a solid cold air intake system will improve your engine’s efficiency. You will notice improved gas mileage, which will also make a big impact on your bank account as well as your car.

Durability

A car part that you cannot rely on is basically worthless. If your steering wheel was likely to fall apart and not work without any prior warning, almost everyone would be too afraid to drive. Less obvious parts should be treated the exact same way. A good cold air intake system kit will be able to stand up to the intense heat, pressure, and strain it will have to endure.

Systems with parts made of plastic and other easily warped materials might not be able to handle all the stress it will face. Also, each system has a filter that needs to be clean and effective for the system to be useful at all.

Without consistent parts, your cold air intake system will not be able to provide the boosted performance you are looking for.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Additional Performance Specifications Can an Aftermarket Cold Air Intake System Bring?

Users of cold air intake systems report varying levels of improvement in performance. Most intake systems do provide an improvement in performance. In addition to an increase in torque, you can get between five and 20 extra horsepower when you add a cold-air intake system.

Some users also report improved fuel economy because their engine runs cooler. Some users report getting several miles-per-gallon more after installing a cold air intake system. Those systems that provide uninterrupted airflow offer the best performance.

Does a Cold Air Intake System Improve Throttle Response?

One of the most significant claims of cold air intake systems involves throttle response. Stepping on the gas brings a quicker response if you have a cold-air intake system. In theory, this makes sense. The cold air intake system brings more cold air into the engine. Since cold air is denser, the engine will get more oxygen.

In theory, this improved performance can bring a better throttle response. However, performance varies depending on design and quality. Cold air is denser, so if you force more of it into your engine, you will get air with a higher oxygen content, which can increase fuel efficiency. Some race car drivers use ice or cold water in their air intake systems to get a temporary spike in throttle power.

Not all intake systems perform the same, however. Some intake systems have designs that draw air that is already hotter because of its proximity to the engine. You want to find a cold air intake system that has a design that brings colder air into the engine, and that has a heat shield or heat-resistant materials that do not absorb the heat from the engine.

Can I Install a Cold Air Intake System Myself?

Cold air intake systems all come with installation directions. While you could theoretically perform installation based on these directions or third-party online instructions, you generally need some knowledge of the workings of a car to conduct a successful installation that gives you the most benefits out of your cold air intake system.

You can purchase a kit online or in an auto parts repair store. Most auto garages will also be able to assist you with installation or help you if you have trouble during a self-installation. Correct installation is necessary if you want to get the biggest benefit out of your cold air intake system. Also, you could damage your engine if you make a mistake during installation.

Do I Need a Heat Shield?

You may or may not want a heat shield on your cold air intake system. Why would you want to consider one? When running, engines create heat under the hood. As this hot air circulates, it may get into the cold air intake system. This additional heat will create a situation where the air getting into your engine through your cold air intake system is heated rather than colder. The hot air could lead to the opposite effect than you want.

One way to avoid this is to get a heat shield, which can protect your intake system from hot air generated by your engine. Ideally, this shield can lower the temperature inside your cold air intake box and make it easier for it to do its job.

What is an Air Box?

Yes, an airbox is an empty compartment next to the engine that feeds air into the engine. The cold air intake system uses a tube, sometimes known as a “snorkel” to supply cold air into the airbox, which in turn transfers it to the engine. The airbox needs to be the correct size so that it can provide an adequate amount of air to the engine. An airbox that is too small or too large will allow the wrong amount of air into the engine, which could lead to diminished performance.

How to Choose Cold Air Intakes for Your Car

There are several factors to consider when you choose a system for your car. Most manufacturers design cold air intake systems to fit specific cars or engine types. A quality manufacturer will have a list of vehicles that are compatible with their cold air intake systems. Online retailers may not have these specific details. If they do not, you should contact the manufacturer to make sure the product will work in your vehicle.

Quality cold air intake systems have components that help them repel heat. These can come in the form of heat resistant material or heat-repelling coverings.

One crucial design element is a straight intake tube or “snorkel.” These straight tubes are more efficient because the air flows directly into the system. Some cold air intake systems have partially curved hoses. These can still be efficient but are not as much as straight hoses. What you want to avoid, however, is a significantly curved intake tube. This type of design may reduce the overall size of the system, but will not bring enough air into the engine.

Conclusion

Everyone wishes they had a nicer car, even if it is just a fraction better. While you may not be able to upgrade your car’s interior and design so easily, there is a very simple way to boost your car’s engine performance and efficiency. By installing a top notch cold air intake system, you can get a major increase in your engine’s power, acceleration, and gas mileage. The power and acceleration make your car more fun to drive, while the better gas mileage actually saves you money in the long run instead of investing in a new car with expensive monthly payments.

However, not all cold air intake systems are created equal, so it is important that you end up with a product that is compatible with your car and your budget. While many claim to be universal, that does not mean they will universally work with all of your needs and desires. Instead of being intimidated by the options, use this guide to get the most out of your vehicle and the most out of your life.

Brett Gordon
 

The engine behind editing at Dig My Ride and the brains behind its build. During the day, Brett is a thirty-something dude from SoCal climbing the corporate ladder, but by night, he spends most of his time contributing to the online world of cars, automotive tech & trends.