Buying Guide to the Best Air Intake Kits of 2022

You can increase the horsepower and torque of your engine by using a few different options for car performance. But, first, you can get the most out of your ride with a cold air intake filter. Here’s how to do it right. We picked out some of our favorite cold air intake filters that are easy to install and not too hard on the wallet.

Intakes of all sorts can inject any car with a powerful dose of power, as speed demons know, for just a few hundred dollars. But the market is saturated with them all. Some variants may not even be legal where you live, and some intakes may require more than just a single click before you can slap it on. So let us take some hassle out of your search for the perfect part.

Our criteria for selecting the best cold air intake kits were the ease of installation, the air filter, and compatibility. A kit that is easy to install is essential, especially for novices. An air filter that can be washed is also critical as this extends your cold air intake kit’s lifespan and makes maintenance easier. Choosing a cold air intake kit that fits your vehicle correctly begins with confirming compatibility with its year, make, and model.

K&N 57 Series FIPK Air Intake Kits

The “FIPK” in the K&N FIPK Air Intake stands for “Fuel Injection Performance Kit,” and the result of having this system installed is a significant boost in power, torque, and throttle response. Adding up to 26 horsepower, this kit includes a washable cotton-gauze air filter that will last your vehicle’s lifetime and beyond.

There’s a reason the K&N 57 Series is everywhere in auto magazines: It works. Solid construction with a polyethylene pipe ensures a sturdy, reliable fit, and K&N claims its oiled filters can last up to 100,000 miles before they need to be cleaned and re-oiled. The whole product is a practical choice for consumers who have gained actual performance gains and pleasant induction noise. For buyers living in states with stricter emissions laws, the 57 is a no-brainer since it is CARB legal across all models, unlike K&N’s 63 or 77 Series kits.

It comes in several variants, resulting in either competitive pricing or prices that are hundreds of dollars higher than cheaper rivals. In addition, drop-in filters for the factory airbox are available for those on a tight budget. However, due to K&N’s focus on U.S.-made cars, finding a kit that fits foreign models can be challenging. Nevertheless, if you dig deeper into their catalogs, you’ll find kits for other popular makes like Honda and BMW.

ARB’s Safari Snorkel

Safari Snorkel by ARB is a fantastic intake kit for off-roaders looking to protect their engines while maintaining performance. It may not be a true cold-air intake, but it is an excellent, solidly built product that deserves mention. 

Intakes are almost at the roofline to prevent dust buildup, and some models are angled slightly downward to keep out snow and rain. The combination of stainless steel and polyethylene makes a robust system for off-road rigs. If an owner desires, it can be configured with upgraded tunes and forced induction kits to maintain vehicle performance. Owners of 4Runners even reported efficiency gains of more than 1 mile per gallon on highways.

It has obvious benefits that aren’t found elsewhere, but there’s no beating a traditional cold-air intake for simplicity and performance. Unfortunately, the snorkel is much more complicated to install and a bit more expensive than a regular intake. This is undoubtedly an item for adventurers, but one they will be grateful for.

Cobb Intake System

Cobb Intake System filters and ducting are designed for compact cars, which help them go like lightning. These intakes come in a dizzying variety and are made by one of the biggest names in the business. They can fit anything from Focus ST hot hatches to VW Golfs to Mazda Speed3. Cobb intakes are well-built and snug-fitting for any modern sport compact. Since Cobb strongly suggests you pair the new windpipe with a tune, which Cobb will happily sell to you, you’re essentially guaranteed performance gains. As a result of that performance, you will still have a CARB EO number to cement your equality with your peers struggling to pass smog tests in 50 states.

There are cheaper intakes on the market, but we doubt they’ll be as accurate as Cobb units because you have to work with a tune.

Spectre Cold Air Intake

With Specter Cold Air Intakes, you will unlock your vehicle’s true potential. They are custom-made to your vehicle’s make and model, and they include everything you need to install them quickly and easily. High-quality air intake is included to boost horsepower, torque, and fuel economy.

Volant 15957 Cool Air Intake Kit

With its molded Polyethylene ducts, the Volant Air Intake will draw additional cold air into your engine, giving it more power. You’ll feel as though your vehicle has been completely transformed by the Volant Air Intake, which adds up to eighteen horsepower and forty pounds of torque.

AEM Short Ram Induction System

Your vehicle will benefit from the AEM Short Ram Air Intake because it is made from mandrel-bent 6061 aluminum. This custom-designed cold air intake comes with a washable and reusable AEM Dryflow Filter. It is available in red, blue, or polished finishes and has a lifetime warranty.

AEM Cold Air Induction System

Featuring a choice of red, blue, grey, or polished finishes, the AEM Cold Air Induction System is CARB-exempt and made in the USA. A soft-mount hardware kit and detailed instructions are included to make installation as simple as possible. The mandrel-bent design offers the smoothest possible flow of fresh cool oxygen for a great ride.

aFe Air Intake

Your engine will be able to accelerate faster and have more power if you install the aFe Air Intake. It replaces your stock air filter and your stock air box and has an optional intake tube available for purchase. This system bolts on easily for easy installation, and the filters are completely cleanable and reusable.

Drivers who want more performance and flash will find the Afe Track Series impressive. It comes with either the Pro DRY S dry filter or the Pro 5R oil filter, and is configurable for various vehicles. As well as being strong and light, carbon-fiber piping is a good material for resisting heat soaking into the intake air, which makes it an excellent choice for track rats or drivers with cars that can get a little toasty.

This intake is the most expensive on the list by several hundred dollars because carbon fiber is expensive. It seems too good to be true, a showpiece with actual function and performance advantages. This one is the best option if you want carbon, but it’s not exactly a bargain if you want the look or benefits of carbon.

Injen PowerFlow Intake System

Custom-tuned to the exact application it’s ordered for, the Injen PowerFlow Intake System comes with a Lifetime Warranty. In addition, a vehicle upgrade kit, a powerful ride, and a no-drill installation are guaranteed with boosted acceleration, more consistent power output, and lightning-fast throttle response.

Airaid Cold Air Intake System

You can open your horsepower and torque wide open with the Airaid Cold Air Intake System, one of the most wide-open airflow systems on the market. With this kit, you can choose between a dry or an oiled high-performance air intake, easily installed with household tools. The system is backed by a lifetime warranty as well.

While delivering meaningful performance, the MXP fits snugly into the engine bay with a sturdiness that matches OEM efforts. There are few gains off the factory tune for most MXPs, but tuning makes the most of this intake and its gaping maw. During the purchase process, buyers can choose between SynthaMax synthetic dry filters and SynthaFlow synthetic dry filters. Carbon piping depends on stock availability, and airboxes can be enclosed or open.

This product comes with some downsides. First, the price is higher than other quality rivals. Depending on the car and intake, it can be up to $100 higher. While most MXPs are CARB legal, some models for performance cars are not.

JLT Performance Air Intake

If you’re looking for your first intake, JLT’s intakes are perfect for you. A JLT Cold Air Intake with a Red Oiled Filter designed explicitly for your SS will boost your Camaro’s RWHP by replacing the stock airbox with the JLT Cold Air Intake. The JLT Cold Air Kit features a spectacular 110mm MAF housing, a reusable, oiled, red S&B Powerstack air filter designed specifically for your Camaro. Now you can clean the filter, re-oil it, save money, and go. There is no need to purchase a new filter every few thousand miles.

In addition to being CARB legal, the JLT Performance Air Intake gives the impression of high-end, big-name products at a lower price. Its intake designs are smooth, straight shots into the engine, and your single filter is an oiled off-the-shelf product borrowed from S&B Filters. A central selling point of this product is the claim that it works flawlessly with factory tunes. This intake is a simple, affordable piece for budget-minded enthusiasts that can be enhanced with custom tuning later on, and it seems to work quite well. Consumers report a noticeable boost in grunt, but it is small, and the loud intake roar is frequently complimented.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Cold Air Intake Kit Save You Money?

Even though high-quality cold air intake kits are often somewhat pricey, there’s no doubt that you’ll save money month after month. But how long before those savings pay for themselves?

Let’s talk about the savings from no longer having to replace the air filter. An air filter costs anywhere from $10 to $20, and you need to replace it every 10,000-15,000 miles, depending on what you drive.

It will take about 150,000 miles to offset the cost of a $250 cold air intake kit if you need an air filter every 10,000 miles. Cold air intake kits don’t just save you money, and they also boost fuel efficiency. A car’s fuel economy can jump anywhere from 2 to 5 miles per gallon, depending on what you drive and the kit you use.

You can save up to $1850 to $2700 in fuel savings if your vehicle goes from 28 to 31 miles per gallon.

You’ll save money if you invest in a high-quality cold air intake that improves fuel efficiency.

Is It Necessary to Tune Your Engine After Installing a Cold Air Intake Kit?

The answer is no; unless you’ve modified more parts on your vehicle, you don’t need to tune it after installing a cold air intake kit.

No need to tune an engine after installing a cold air intake kit since the kits don’t add enough air to require the ECM to adjust performance settings.

Why You Want a Heatshield On Your Cold Air Intake

It’s essential to keep the air going into your engine as cold as possible to reap the maximum benefits from your air filter. However, since the air filter sits in a hot engine bay, that isn’t always an easy task.

Keeping the cold air intake filter cold makes the air enter the engine at a lower temperature, improving the performance. Always opt for the cold air intake kit with a heatshield when comparing it to one without one. It improves overall performance and gives you the best results.