Talking about cold air intakes always excites me because they are awesome instruments to take your vehicle’s performance to a new level. But you must pick the right one for that. My clients often ask me about choosing the right CAI. I love to discuss CAIs and their performance with them.
As I have experience with CAIs from different brands and their performance, I can help you pick the best one based on your expectations.
That’s why I’ve come up with this article about the best cold air intake for Ram 1500. Here, I’ll talk about the top CAIs you can install in your Ram 1500 to enjoy better driving.
I know that you’re searching for one. So, without wasting more time, let’s start talking about the possible options you can choose from.
Who Does Need Cold Air Intake?
Aftermarket CAIs offer better performance compared to factory CAI systems. So, anyone who wants to improve vehicle performance by ensuring a better-performing engine can get an aftermarket CAI. It filters the air better and keeps it cool by avoiding the engine heat as much as possible. Thus, your engine gets the chance to perform better.
This is why replacing the CAI is one of the most common changes vehicle enthusiasts look for when they want to improve performance.
Also, you need an aftermarket CAI if the factory-installed one is damaged or dead. In such a case, you may look for something that matches the OE performance. But getting one that outperforms OE CAI is better if you want to enjoy a better driving experience.
Someone looking for a better towing experience requires a good CAI. As it allows the engine to perform better, the vehicle can tow heavier loads.
Our Top 3 Recommended Products Comparison
Top 5 Best Cold Air Intake for RAM 1500 Review
K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: Increase Acceleration & Towing Power
When it comes to cold air intakes, K&N is an absolute beast, according to most users. This fact is not different in the case of Ram 1500 too. The one I’m talking about helps you with added towing power and improved handling.
The kit comes with K&N’s signature filter having 4 cotton gauge layers. Thus, it is more restrictive to particles and less restrictive to air. The air that enters the filter passes through the high-density polyethylene intake tube. You’ll find an open thermal shield to protect the filter from hot engine air.
The best thing about this K&N filter is its durability. Coming with high-quality materials, it ensures long-term support. You just need to clean the filter once every 100,000 miles.
K&N claims that it improves horsepower and torque as it takes more cold air to the engine compared to other intakes. The claim is correct because many users have experienced improved performance and handling.
K&N performs dyno-testing randomly to ensure you’re getting a perfect intake system.
If you have to carry heavy weight regularly, you must try this. By providing continuous airflow, it improves your engine’s ability. Thus, it can handle towing tasks efficiently with minimum effort. If you love engine growl, you’ll love it.
It sits under the hood really well without any modification. I think you won’t find another air intake system offering such effectiveness. It allows your engine to breathe properly.
- Constructed with dependable material
- Installation requires no modification
- More durable than any other intake systems
- Traps tiny and microparticles efficiently
- Installation instruction is a bit complex
Why We Choose This Product
While looking for a CAI system, you’ll find K&N on top in most cases. But that’s not the only reason to select it as the top product. It is an all-rounder offering performance, durability, efficiency, easy maintenance, and value for money.
Not only for Ram 1500, but K&N also offers outstanding cold air intake systems for many other vehicle models too. You’ll find a lot of enthusiasts talking about its performance and other aspects.
Most forums regarding cars and trucks are full of positive views about K&N filters and intake systems. I’ve visited a lot of forums discussing CAI systems and found that K&N is one of the most common suggestions everywhere.
Based on everything, I’ve picked this as the top pick when you’re looking for a good CAI system for your Ram 1500.
2. Flowmaster 615111 Performance Air Intake: Runner-up Product
I think this CAI from Flowmaster is the closest competition to the one from K&N. Coming at a slightly higher price, it offers good filtering with its 8-layered washable cotton gauge filter. It even looks like the one from K&N.
Flowmaster has built this CAI with high-quality materials. The intake tube is made of durable polyethylene. The heat shield comes with a durable powder coating to ensure durability and heat resistance.
If you want, you can use the pre-filter wrap from the same brand to increase the durability of the filter.
It looks great under the hood, but the look is not all it offers. Many users have seen a huge improvement in mileage. Some of my clients have experienced better handling, too, after installing this CAI system.
Though it costs a bit higher compared to K&N, you’ll receive the value for the money you spend on it. Oh! I forgot to mention the improved engine sound it offers. For owners who love engine sound, this can be a perfect pick.
The only issue I’ve found in this CAI is the installation instruction. The instructions are not well-written at all. So, without previous experience in installing CAIs, you shouldn’t try this at home.
3. aFe Power Momentum GT 54-72102: Also Great
aFe Power is one of the most renowned brands to offer high-quality cold air intakes. The one I’m talking about here, aFe Power Momentum, is one of the best designs from this brand. Let’s know how this CAI has got third place on this list.
The best thing about this CAI system is its filter. In this large 5-layered cotton gauge filter, the layers are gradually finer to ensure maximum protection from the tiniest particles out there. I love this design as it handles particles like most others can’t.
It also has a roto-molded airflow pipe for smooth airflow toward the engine. The pipe ensures protection against engine heat.
But the thing that you should see is the sealed filter housing. It is there to ensure maximum protection from engine heat and dust. The housing comes with an auxiliary opening to ensure maximum air intake.
aFe Power claims that Momentum helps the engine receive around 23% more airflow compared to the stock one. I couldn’t measure it exactly, but I have seen a noticeable improvement in engine performance. I don’t know if it offers an additional 14 HP exactly as the manufacturer claims, but you’ll experience some positive change.
Many users are pleased with the throttle response, and I don’t have the scope to doubt. The only thing I’m not satisfied with is the price. You’ll have to spend more than four hundred bucks, which is a bit high.
4. S&B Filters 75-5106 Cold Air Intake: Best for Towing
If you’re looking to install an aesthetically appealing CAI under the hood, I suggest trying this one from S&B filters. This statement doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well. You’ll see a slight performance improvement.
I call this aesthetically beautiful because the clear lid of the heat shield looks great. Besides, the lid allows you to check the filter without opening the shield. The heat shield also comes with an added opening to ensure maximum airflow to the filter and the engine.
S&B uses a highly efficient multi-layer silicone filter to capture the smallest particles from the air. Thus, your engine receives pure and cool air through the heat-resistant and less restrictive airflow pipe made of powder-coated polyethylene.
It is designed to avoid check engine lights. So, you don’t need to worry about codes.
It is known for increasing engine sound to a different level. A lot of my clients use it for towing. According to their experience, it helps in towing heavy loads regularly.
However, if you’re looking for something to help you improve MPG, this is not the one you should go for. It doesn’t show a noticeable improvement in mileage.
It might not be the best pick, but it deserves consideration. Being made of high-quality material to last for a long time, it can meet your towing demands.
5. AF Dynamic Black Cold Air Filter Intake Systems: Budget Pick
AF Dynamic offers a budget option for your Ram 1500. It helps you enjoy a better performance compared to the OE CAI system. So, if you’re looking for a budget option to replace the stock CAI, try this.
The manufacturer claims to use high-quality materials to build each part of the system. From my research, I can say that the claim is somehow valid. Silicone couplers, aluminum pipe and heatshield with black powder coating, and an efficient filter has made this CAI system efficient enough to give you some added horsepower.
Compared to the OE paper filters, it ensures way better filtration. Besides, it allows better air penetration to the engine. Thus, the engine can maximize capacity and offer a faster throttle response. Besides, you’ll get a pleasing sound from the engine.
It is designed to fit under the hood without modification. So, just with hand tools, you can get it installed. Around 30-40 minutes is enough for an experienced mechanic to set it under the hood.
I won’t say it is the best pick, but it is one of the best cold air intakes under $200. It won’t improve performance like the ones discussed above. Still, if you’re on a budget, try this CAI. I’ve found a lot of people satisfied with its performance.
It comes with all the parts and necessary hardware.
AF Dynamic Cold Air Intake Installation Guide
S&B vs AF Dynamic Cold Air Intake – Which one to choose?
Both these CAI systems are good, but they have their distinct advantages to offer.
I suggest going for the one from AF Dynamic when you’re on a budget. It offers you everything you can expect from a CAI.
But if you’re looking for a good cold air intake to help you carry heavy loads almost regularly, you shouldn’t miss the one from S&B. Don’t go for cheap options if it is about towing. Cheap CAIs can’t support towing for a long time.
Why You Should Trust Us
Before suggesting something, our team has researched multiple products (around 15-16 CAIs) to find the best picks for you. It started with searching for CAIs well-known for their performance.
Then, our experts have checked the product specifications, features, and offerings. Also, we’ve gone through user reviews to know them from the users’ viewpoint. Our team has tested as many CAIs as possible to help you with the best value. Besides, we have used views from expert mechanics and vehicle enthusiasts to conclude each product.
All the products in this list are picked after extensive research by digging as deep as possible. This is why our information is accurate, real-world-centric, and provides the exact view of the products.
You can count on our suggestions and try them without any hesitation. We know that we were transparent enough while researching them.
Features We’ve Considered to Pick Top CAI Systems
By supplying cooler and denser air to the engine, a perfect CAI system can increase horsepower, throttle response, and fuel efficiency. Here we are going to provide you with the things that we have focused on before choosing the top cold air intake.
Having a CAI designed for your vehicle saves you from a lot of issues, including modification during installation. That’s why we’ve picked CAIs designed for different makes of Ram 1500 only.
The filter is the main part of the CAI system, as it traps most unwanted materials from the air. Installing a CAI with a bad filter won’t help you much. So, we’ve picked CAIs with filters that can capture most microcontaminants from the air.
Parts made with high-quality materials last for a long time. It is an expensive investment, so building one with premium materials is necessary. Each of our suggestions comes with parts made of premium material.
Engine heat keeps the area under the hood very hot, which may damage the filter material. This results in an ineffective filter. Having a heat shield saves the filter from excessive heat and allows it to stay efficient.
Improved performance is one of the main reasons for getting an upgraded CAI system. Without any such value, spending such an amount on something is unnecessary. So, we’ve picked the CAIs that offer you noticeably better performance than the OE system.
Where To Buy Cold Air Intakes?
The ones I’ve talked about here are found on Amazon. Also, most of them are available in online shops specifically for automobiles. So, you can check shops like AutoZone, RockAuto, etc., for the CAI you want to pick.
Also, you can visit the official websites of the CAI brands like K&N, S&B, Flowmaster, etc.. But most probably, the site will send you to a dealer near you, as many of them don’t sell them directly.
Check your local automotive store. You may find your expected cold air intake there. If it is not available, they can manage a set if you ask.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How long does an aftermarket cold air intake last?
It depends on several things, including quality, driving condition, maintenance, etc. Typically, a good cold air intake lasts for years if you maintain it properly. If the filter is washable, you must clean it once every 40,000-50,000 miles. Cleaning and other maintenance can help you use it for several years without major issues.
For an unwashable filter, you need to change it every 50,000 miles. So, the durability is exactly the time you need to ride 40,000-50,000 miles.
Is tuning the vehicle after installing a CAI a must?
Tuning your vehicle is a must after installing most cold air intakes. However, a few brands claim you don’t need to tune in after installing their products. However, get a tune or test run after replacing the CAI system to stay safe.
Does cold air intake make my vehicle louder?
Yes, it does. When you install a CAI, it provides more air to the engine. More air means more oxygen. More oxygen allows your engine to perform better. That’s why it roars louder than before. Cold air intake can be a good choice if you love your engine roar.
How to stop water from entering my CAI?
If a splash of water goes in the CAI, it doesn’t matter much. That’s why you can drive the vehicle in the rain. However, if there is too much water, you’re in danger. To stop water from entering the CAI, don’t drive through 8-inch or deeper water. Also, if possible, install a hydro-shield for maximum protection.
While searching for the best cold air intake for Ram 1500, you should be very careful. It is an expensive investment, and you want to get the most out of it. So, you must consider everything carefully.
The options I’ve picked here are some of the bests in the market. We’ve selected them through multiple steps, including checking user reviews and getting expert views. So, you can count on the CAIs we’ve talked about here.
You’re also open to exploring other options and comparing them to get the best one. We just want you to decide wisely and enjoy the experience of having a brand-new cold air intake system.