Best Cold Air Intake System Kits 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Cars are fine when you get them from the dealer. They get you where your destination in reasonable speed. However, people have a surprising fascination with power in their cars. They tinker around with them to improve their performance in a variety of ways so that the car becomes more powerful.

One of the more interesting modifications is the addition of after-market cold air intake systems. Compared to other modifications, this is actually a pretty simple set-up. When you add this to your vehicle’s, you will be able to notice a big jump in its performance.

The trouble is which cold air intake system kit to buy. There are dozens of them on the market right now. This article takes a look at the 7 best cold air intake system kits (by brand) available and helps you make your choice.

Why Get One?

Why would you buy a cold air intake system? To understand why, you’ll need to understand how your engine works. An internal combustion engine works by using the combustion process to run the pistons. It does this by drawing in gas and air, then using a spark plug to ignite the mix. This is what generates the force that pushes your car.

A cold air intake system helps draw in colder air. Why cold air? It is because the colder air is denser with oxygen molecules. It is the oxygen that makes the explosive combustion work. With more oxygen, the process is more powerful and releases more force.

The cold air intake system does all this providing a better way for cold air to enter your engine. It also protects it from heat so that it reaches the engine fresher. For a more visual comparison, think of the air intake system as an unclogged nose and the engines lungs. Your engine can breathe more freely with their presence.

 Your car already has an intake system, but it is probably not as effective as a cold air intake one. For one, the better performance that you can get from cold air is very noticeable. It also improves your car’s fuel efficiency. Finally, if you want a roaring engine, then adding a cold air intake is a good choice.

What to Look For

It is easy enough to find cold air intake systems. A lot of car supply stores sell them. You can even find them online. The trouble is that you need to make a choice from the dozens of systems out there.

If it feels confusing, then this article is here to help. Here are a few basic factors you should look at when buying a cold air intake system:

  • Size. Unless you’ve got a really big space under the hood, you need to be aware of how big the system is. You don’t want your system squeezed into a small engine space since it increases the chances of it getting damaged. Note also that some kits are specifically for some car models.
  • Filter. Since this will be taking air into the engine, it needs to have good filters so that your engine won’t have dust and dirt getting drawn in.
  • Heat Transfer. This system is right near the hottest part of your car. Unless you have a way to stop the heat, no cool air will reach your engine.
  • Installation. You should also know how easy it is to install. You can have a service shop install it, but you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself.

With these factors in mind, here are some of the best cold air intake systems on the market right now.

Best Cold Air Intake System Kits 2018

RankProductOur RatingPrice
1Spectre Performance Cold Air Intake 9900 Kit with Red filter for 1999-2007 GM Truck – Looks Good, Works Even Better4.5 out of 5 starsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
2K&N Performance Cold Air Intake Kit 69-3531TS with Lifetime Filter for Ford Tarus SHO/Explorer Sport/Flex 3.5L V6 Turbo Ecoboost4.5 out of 5 starsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
3Spec-D Tuning AFC-ACD98-KM Honda Accord Dx Lx Ex Cold Air Intake w/ High Flow Air Filter – Give Your Honda a Boost4 out of 5 starsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
4S&B Filters 75-5057 Cold Air Intake Kit for 2010 - 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 3500 (Cleanable Filter) – Sleek Design Matched with Efficiency4 out of 5 starsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
5 DC Sports CAI4105 Polished Cold Air Intake System with Filter and Installation Hardware – Make Your Mazda Roar4 out of 5 starsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
6 HPS 27-165SL Silver Shortram Air Intake Kit Cool (Non-Carb Compliant) – Get Your Engines to Perform Their Best3.5 out of 5 starsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE
7Airaid 451-328 MXP Red Cold Air Intake System with Dry Filter – Go Fast with a Bit of Assistance3.5 out of 5 starsCLICK FOR BEST PRICE

1. Spectre Performance Cold Air Intake 9900 Kit with Red filter for 1999-2007 GM Truck – Looks Good, Works Even Better

Spectre Performance Cold Air Intake 9900 Kit with Red filter for 1999-2007 GM Truck – Looks Good, Works Even Better

The Spectre Performance Cold Air Intake 9900 Kit is a good choice for those who own a 1999-2007 model GM truck. However, it has a wider application than that. It can also fit some Chevrolets and Caddillacs. Be sure to check which car models it works best with before your purchase.

One of the good things about the Spectre kit is that it provides the same quality as much more expensive kits. You can save a lot of money by going with this kit.  Plus it look great. The eye-catching red filter is only a bonus.

The first thing you should note that the air filter is very good. No way any bit of dirt is getting past that. It even has a heat shield to prevent exhaust engine air from contaminating your incoming cold air with heat.

It is also pretty easy to install. The instructions are straightforward. You can be done in literally minutes. The performance boost is also very noticeable, with the increased horspower and torque vibrating through the engine.

Pros

  • Good Alternative. Since it has the same quality as more expensive brands, you aren’t sacrificing anything by using it.
  • Solid Filter. The red filter may look flashy but it is very effective at keeping dirt out.
  • Easy Installation.  The only way it could be easier is by having it just plug in.

Cons

  • Aluminum Piping. This may cause some heat transfer issues.

 Overall, a good buy for anyone who owns a GM of the right model.

2. K&N Performance Cold Air Intake Kit 69-3531TS with Lifetime Filter for Ford Tarus SHO/Explorer Sport/Flex 3.5L V6 Turbo Ecoboost

K&N Performance Cold Air Intake Kit 69-3531TS with Lifetime Filter for Ford Tarus SHO/Explorer Sport/Flex 3.5L V6 Turbo Ecoboost

K&N is one of the world’s best makers of air intake and air filter systems. Obviously, this makes them one of the go-to guys for buying cold air intake system kits from. They have dozens of models out for many cars.

 One of their best is the K&N Performance Cold Air Intake Kit 69-3531TS with Lifetime Filter for Ford Tarus SHO/Explorer Sport/Flex 3.5L V6 Turbo Ecoboost. It is mainly for Ford cars,  with it being perfectly-sized for the engine space in them.

The TS in the name stands for Typhoon System. That’s what it delivers into your engine: a typhoon of cold air to boost its horsepower.  Benchmarks put the improvement at a surprising 12 horsepower. That’s a lot considering that an improvement of a full tune-up can’t match that.

The other thing that’s nice about this K&N product is its durability. The company guarantees it for 100,000 miles before any cleaning or servicing. That’s a lot of mileage to get through before any cleaning.

 Pros  

  • Durable. The durability is what should attract you to this product. Car parts go through a lot of punishment and having one that lasts this long is a good thing.
  • Good Brand. K&N release some of the best intake systems in the world. This product carries their seal of approval and you should trust that.
  • Easy Installation. Less than 2 hours under the hood and you should have this intake system ready to go.

Cons

  • Ford Only. This model is only for Ford cars. You might wish to look for another system if you own another car.

 Buy this one if you want a trusted brand of intake system to install.

3. Spec-D Tuning AFC-ACD98-KM Honda Accord Dx Lx Ex Cold Air Intake w/ High Flow Air Filter – Give Your Honda a Boost

 

Spec-D Tuning AFC-ACD98-KM Honda Accord Dx Lx Ex Cold Air Intake w/ High Flow Air Filter – Give Your Honda a Boost

If you’re a Honda lover, this cold air intake system is for you. Designed for the popular Honda Accord line, the Spec-D Tuning AFC-ACD98-KM is a nice, easy-to-install kit. This is good news for those who want to squeeze out more power from their Honda engine.

For one thing, it does a great boost for a Honda engine. Honda are no slouches, but they are more known for being dependable workhorses rather than thoroughbreds. You’ll see jump in horsepower with this system installed. You won’t be racing but you won’t be a slowpoke anymore.

Another attractive feature of this product is the quick installation. It will take you less than 10 minutes to set all the parts of the system. You’ll only need some experience with an engine to install it.

Pros

  • Decent Power Boost. You’ll appreciate a stronger Honda engine.
  • Quick Install. It will only take you minutes to add this to your car.
  • Inexpensive. This kit won’t break the bank. Most intake systems are cheap already but you can buy this one on a tight budget.

Cons

  • Limited Models. This intake system will only fit with Honda cars from 1998 to 2002. Also, some of the special models from those years won’t accept this kit. Be careful about buying this system because of that.

 If you’ve got a limited budget and own a Honda, this may be the one for you.

4. S&B Filters 75-5057 Cold Air Intake Kit for 2010 – 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 3500 (Cleanable Filter) – Sleek Design Matched with Efficiency

S&B Filters 75-5057 Cold Air Intake Kit for 2010 – 2012 Dodge Ram 2500 3500 (Cleanable Filter) – Sleek Design Matched with Efficiency

The S&B 75-5057 cold air intake kit is an excellent intake system for Dodge cars from the year 2010-2012. When you buy this kit, you’ll immediately love the design. The system is all in black and has a cover over its filter system.

The biggest advantage of this intake system is the increased airflow. There is a 47% improvement on airflow when this kit is installed, and an over 99% efficiency jump. That’s a big jump. This is thanks to the air scoop and the box design with a larger opening that concentrates the air into the system.

The filter itself is pretty good. You can make a choice to either use a replaceable filter or a basic cotton filter that you can clean regularly. Never worry about the cleanliness of the air going into your engine because of this filter.

It also fits well better than the original intake. Replacing your old intake will only take an hour at most.

Pros 

S&B has made a good intake system for Dodge cars and you’ll love it for several reasons.

  • Easy Installation. The system only needs one attachment point to be ready.
  • Strong Filter. The filter will keep the dust and dirt out of your engine easily.
  • Boosts Engine. The performance gains with with model are phenomenal.

Cons

  • Limited Fit. This system is only for 2010-2012 models of Dodge cars.

However, if you are a Dodge owner, you should seriously consider buying this kit for your car.

 5. DC Sports CAI4105 Polished Cold Air Intake System with Filter and Installation Hardware – Make Your Mazda Roar

DC Sports CAI4105 Polished Cold Air Intake System with Filter and Installation Hardware – Make Your Mazda Roar

If you’re looking for a way to boost your Mazda’s performance, this kit is the answer to that. The DC Sports CAI4105 is a simple kit that works well with a lot of Mazda models. This because the kit only has a few parts.

You’ll notice immediately that you get a pipe, a filter, and the attachment parts. This is a pretty bare-bones approach compared to other models. However, it manages to perform quite well. The filter can stop dust and dirt down to the size of one micron and you can clean it regularly.

Overall, this is a great intake system if you’ve got a Mazda in your garage.

Pros

  • Simple. No complicated parts here. Just the basic set of parts like a filter and a filter.
  • Powerful Filter. The filter will handle even the smallest piece of dirt.
  • Easy to maintain. You only have to worry about the filter and you can clean it regularly.

Cons

  • Installation. You may have to work a bit at installing this system. There are several attachment points and it may take time to set it up.

 You’ll want this one if you are trying to improve your Mazda’s performance.

 6. HPS 27-165SL Silver Shortram Air Intake Kit Cool (Non-Carb Compliant) – Get Your Engines to Perform Their Best

HPS 27-165SL Silver Shortram Air Intake Kit Cool (Non-Carb Compliant) – Get Your Engines to Perform Their Best

Another intake system for Mazda cars, the HPS 27-165SL Silver Shortram Air Intake Kit should work for models produced from 2003 to 2009. HPS worked hard on this kit to ensure that once you install this kit, you won’t need to fine tune it. You’ll immediately see a jump in performance for your car engine’s horsepower and torque.

As a single unit, you can easily install this kit. With the high-quality materials that HPS used for this model, you can expect great performance and durability. It has light weight aluminum alloy piping deliver the air to you engine for maximum efficiency. Combined with reinforced silicone hoses and stainless steel T-bolt clamps, you’ve got a great system right here.

Pros

  • High-quality Materials. It uses the best materials out there to get the best performance.
  • Easy to Install. This is a single piece unit so you just need to bolt it into your engine, replacing your old system.
  • Durability. No need for regular maintenance. This system is good for a 100,000 miles before it needs cleaning and a checkup.

 Cons

  • Aluminum. The aluminum of the piping can heat up the air a bit.

 Overall, this is a good product that can dramatically improve your Mazda’s performance.

 

 7. Airaid 451-328 MXP Red Cold Air Intake System with Dry Filter – Go Fast with a Bit of Assistance

Airaid 451-328 MXP Red Cold Air Intake System with Dry Filter – Go Fast with a Bit of Assistance

The Airaid 451-328 MXP is one of the best cold air intake systems in the market. It should be since it is for Ford Mustangs. It is also easy to see why at first glance.

For one, it has a streamlined air box. This funnels in the cold air properly instead of just a simple funnel. You can see the system’s solid filter inside. This lets air through while not impeding the flow. After the filter, the air gets to pass through the system’s velocity stack to accelerate its speed.

The result is that your engine will get all the air it needs to perform better.

 Pros

 The Airaid 451-328 MXP is a great product and has several advantages.

  • Easy Installation. This system is all one unit and you pug it in to replace your old system.
  • Great Gains. Your engine will super-charge with this system in place. Expect better acceleration and horsepower.
  • Washable.  You can wash the filter when it has gotten too dirty.

Cons

  • Not Allowed in California. This system is not available in California because of environmental restrictions.

 Your Ford Mustang will tear up the asphalt with this system installed.

 

In Closing

 A cold air intake system can boost the performance of your engine greatly. However, not all of them are right for your car. Make a careful choice to ensure that you are getting the right system kit for your engine. With the right choice, your engine will purr like a pleased cat in no time.  Hopefully taking a look at the 7 best cold air intake system kits (by brand) can give you a hint on which kit to choose.

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