Best Cold Air Intakes For Ram 1500 – 2021 Round-up

Shawn
| Last Updated: March 13, 2021

With so many different aftermarket components geared toward improving the performance of your Ram 1500, you might find difficulty in nailing down the right one.

However, one part is a surefire way to improve the drive and power of your vehicle: a cold air intake system. 

Providing an uptick in torque, horsepower, and fuel economy, this system provides everything you need and want in one convenient package.

Comparison of the Best Cold Air Intakes for Ram 1500

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Improves power output with up to 23 percent
  • 5 layers filter system for improved protection
  • One-piece sealed housing for quick and easy installation
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Lightweight and durable design to last longer
  • Very easy to install on the vehicle
  • Improved filtering option for cleaner air intake
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Easily increase the intake of air volume into the system
  • Designed to reduce operating temperature
  • Torque and horsepower will increased drastically
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews
  • Equipped with an 8-layered cotton gauze filter
  • A high-flow intake tube included for better volume
  • Very easy installation with no drilling required
View Latest Price →Read Customer Reviews

How to Choose a Cold Air Intake Specifically for Ram 1500 

Cold air intake systems come in both universal and direct-fit options. But if you want to cut out the hassle of modifying the system or part of your engine compartment, you should probably opt for a direct-fit cold air intake that specifically fits the Ram 1500. If you’re wondering how to choose the ideal system, here are a few guidelines to push you toward the perfect purchase.

Material Choices

When you’re choosing a cold air intake specifically for the Ram 1500, keep the construction materials in mind. The stock air intake has tubes typically made of hard plastic and sheet metal, which is particularly susceptible to heat absorption. However, it’s also cheaper in aftermarket cold air intake systems.

Conversely, aluminum, or polymer-based tubes reduce the amount of heat that enters the system. This makes them more efficient. As a result, the increase in performance is more noticeable. However, this also comes at a higher price.

Short Ram vs True Cold Air

Cold air intake systems for the Ram 1500 come in two types: short ram and true cold air. A traditional cold air focuses on maximizing the flow of cool air while a short ram reduces air restriction to produce the same effect. Also, true cold air intakes use longer terms while short rams have shorter tubes. 

AIRAID Performance System

In this regard, short ram intakes may have an advantage over a true cold air intake simply due to the smaller size, making it fit more easily into the engine compartment of the Ram 1500.

Heat Shields and Fender Mounts

A heat shield is a part of higher-end cold air intakes. Typically made from aluminum with a ceramic barrier, this shield reduces the heat given off by the engine, allowing the cold air intake to maximize the amount of cold air it brings in.

Fender mounts are another type of cold air intake that attempt to increase the flow of cold air by moving the intake away from the engine bay. However, these don’t often come with a heat shield due to space restrictions but tend to have a similar result to heat shields.

Review of the Best Cold Air Intakes For Ram 1500 

Cold air intakes for the Ram 1500 come in many varieties and budgets. This makes the research process long and arduous. So to give you a better idea of what system is best for your needs, here are reviews of some of the best cold air intakes for the Ram 1500.

aFe Power Momentum GT 54-72102 Dodge RAM HEMI Performance Intake System (Oiled, 5-Layer Filter)

PROS

  • Installs in about an hour
  • Five-layer performance air filter
  • Premium stainless steel hardware
  • Little noise in the cabin when driving
  • Produces up to an additional 14 horsepower and 19 pound-feet of torque

CONS

  • Instructions can be difficult to understand
  • Novices may find the installation more difficult

What Recent Buyers Report

Overall, buyers report that the aFe Power Momentum GT Dodge Ram HEMI Performance Intake System is a solid system that provides a noticeable boost to both power and acceleration. However, some buyers also state that it provides no boost to fuel economy, and can also be difficult to install for newbies.

Why it Stands Out to Us

One of the best aspects of this cold air intake system is that it’s a direct-fit option, allowing easy installation without the fitment issues presented by universal options. In addition, the housing comes in a single piece and includes all the hardware, making installation even easier. Once it’s in place, the improvement in power is well worth the moderate expense.

Bottom Line

If you’re searching for a great cold air intake for the Ram 1500, few other options can match the results of the aFe Power Momentum GT Dodge Ram HEMI Performance Intake System.

Airaid Cold Air Inatke System: Increased Horsepower, Superior Filtration: 2009-2019 DODGE/RAM (1500 Classic, 1500, 2500, 3500, Ram 1500, Ram 2500, Ram 3500) AIR-302-371

PROS

  • Direct fit
  • Heat shield included
  • Limited lifetime warranty
  • Washable, reusable, and oil-free synthetic filter
  • Black powder-coated intake tube to resist corrosion and match other engine components

CONS

  • Some of the hardware is flimsy
  • Some buyers report no noticeable impact on fuel economy

What Recent Buyers Report

With a throaty growl and an improvement in both torque and horsepower, recent buyers report that this cold air intake is well worth the money. The component also has an anti-corrosion coating, which some buyers in wet climates praised compared to other available options. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

With no drilling or modifications necessary, the AIRAID Performance Air Intake System requires no special tools and installs in about 30 minutes. Furthermore, the limited lifetime warranty shows that AIRAID stands behind its products, giving consumers peace of mind, especially if it’s their first time purchasing the brand.

Bottom Line

Courtesy of excellent construction, the MCAD installation system that requires no extra tools, and a conspicuous increase in performance, this air intake system check all the boxes. And while AIRAID might not have the allure of some other brands, this air intake is proof that they’re on top of their game.

Volant 164576 PowerCore Filter Enclosed Air Intake System

PROS

  • Highly affordable
  • Cool metal grate aesthetic
  • Excellent throttle response
  • Noticeable improvement in fuel economy
  • PowerCore Filter for maximum filtration that’s designed specifically for off-roading

CONS

  • Modifications often necessary
  • Doesn’t provide the loud growl prized by some Ram 1500 owners

What Recent Buyers Report

Buyers commend the Volant PowerCore Filter Enclosed Air Intake System due to its responsive throttle touch and excellent improvement in fuel economy. Besides, the PowerCore Filter works just as advertised, providing excellent air flow when off-roading without the filter getting excessively dirty. However, a large number of buyers also report significant fitment issues requiring modifications that some newbies aren’t apt to tackle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

If you’re an off-roader, few other cold air intakes will provide the efficiency and improved performance you’ll find with this product. Besides, the PowerCore Filter is up to 10 times more efficient than stock air filters, vastly improving power and increasing fuel economy by up to 2 mpg.

Bottom Line

Volant remains one of the top names in the cold air intake industry with the PowerCore Filter Enclosed Air Intake System. And while budget-conscious buyers may balk at the higher price tag, off-roading enthusiasts and Ram 1500 owners desire improved performance in both torque and horsepower.

Flowmaster 615111 09-18, Ram, 5.7L, Performance Air Intake

PROS

  • Anti-corrosion coated
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • Modification-free installation
  • Eight-layer, easy-to-clean filter
  • Larger, high-flow tube for maximum air flow
  • Durable, high-performance cross-linked polyethylene intake tube

CONS

  • Some hardware (bolts) didn’t fit the stock threads
  • Instructions are difficult to follow, even for seasoned mechanics

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers report that the Flowmaster Ram 5.7L V8 Performance Air Intake offers a more aggressive growl compared to cold air intakes. It also adds under-hood appeal to the engine bay, providing a look that will make other Ram 1500 owners jealous. Nevertheless, this product is also difficult to install due to poor instructions and pictures, regardless of the knowledge of the mechanic.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Coming from a reputable company like Flowmaster, buyers know that this component is going to be of the utmost quality and backed by a limited lifetime warranty. And with up to 7% gains in horsepower and torque, buyers will praise the gains they get every time they get behind the wheel.

Bottom Line

The Flowmaster Ram 5.7L V8 Performance Air Intake boosts horsepower, torque, and fuel economy, giving it the top three characteristics that Ram 1500 owners want most. And with a reputable name and an affordable price, even thriftier buyers will find this cold air intake has everything they want.

AF Dynamic Red Air Filter Intake Kit 2009-2017 Compatible For Ram 1500/2500/3500 HEMI ST SXT SLT 5.7L 5.7 V8

PROS

  • 6% to 8% increase in torque
  • Sporty, throaty engine growl
  • Increase of 5 to 10 horsepower
  • Filter is 95% more efficient than OEM filter
  • Stainless steel hardware and silicone coupler for maximum durability

CONS

  • Some fitment issues
  • Not for sale in California

What Recent Buyers Report

With excellent construction and a sporty red intake tube, buyers report that the AF Dynamic Red Air Filter Intake Kit provides a one-two punch of both quality and aesthetics. In addition, buyers also stated that the affordable price was a great selling point without diminishing the overall quality or performance of the product. On the flip side, some buyers claimed that the component had fitment issues with the Ram 1500, as well as vague installation instructions that can be difficult for some novice mechanics.

Why it Stands Out to Us

With a noticeable increase in fuel economy and power, this cold air intake system does everything that’s asked of it and more. A 60-day warranty isn’t as generous as other manufacturers, but it still provides some additional comfort over other brands.

Bottom Line

Thanks to an attractive price and appearance, the AF Dynamic Red Air Filter Intake Kit is an excellent option for buyers that put a premium on under-hood aesthetics and affordability.

Cold Air Intake Pros and Cons 

Cold air intake systems are performance aftermarket parts that provide a rush of cooler air to the engine of your Ram 1500. This results in colder, denser air reaching the engine, which allows the engine to fire more efficiently, resulting in improved performance. Yet despite its seemingly massive upside, a cold air intake system also has a few disadvantages. So before you decide to pull the trigger on a cold air intake, make sure to weigh the pros and cons.

Cold Air Intake Advantages

  1. Increase in horsepower and torque

  2. Better fuel economy due to improved engine firing

  3. Savings on air filters, as most cold air intake system filters, have a washable, reusable filter

  4. Better throttle response when accelerating

  5. A throatier growl when firing up the engine, idling, and accelerating

aFe Power Momentum GT Dodge RAM HEMI

Cold Air Intake Disadvantages

  1. Installation is difficult for novices, requiring the help of a professional in most cases

  2. Intakes places outside of the engine compartment are susceptible to moisture, which can result in expensive repairs and even engine failure if submerged or partially submerged in water

  3. May not pass emissions laws in certain states, such as California

Cold Air Intake Installation - Ram 1500 

A cold air intake installation is one of the more complex aftermarket installations, often requiring the skills of a licensed mechanic or installer. But if you’re up for the challenge or have some experience, installing the cold air intake on the Ram 1500 can provide a sense of satisfaction as well as saving you some money. Here are step-by-step directions to install the cold air intake on your truck.

  1. Make sure the engine is off.

  2. Disconnect the negative battery cable.

  3. Disconnect the crank case vent line (it should have a quick disconnect to make the job easier).

  4. Disconnect the intake air temperature (IAT) sensor connector.

  5. Loosen the factory intake tube hose clamp.

  6. Pull out the factory air filter housing from the grommets.

  7. Install trim or installation on the new cold air intake system housing (if necessary).

  8. Install the filter adapter into the new housing.

  9. Take off any hardware you need from the original hardware to use on the new housing.

  10. Fit the air housing filter onto the factory mounting posts.

  11. Install the coupler if necessary and tighten using the tube hose clamp.

  12. Remove the IAT sensor from the original intake tube, as well as the O-ring.

  13. Install the IAT sensor into the new cold air intake.

  14. Install the intake tube into both the coupler at the throttle body and the filter adapter.

  15. Reconnect the stock crank case vent line and IAT sensor connector


  16. Install the air filter onto the included air filter adapter.

  17. Make sure all the connections are tight to ensure proper operation.

If you need more information or want a visual representation of the installation process, make sure to check out the video below:

Give Your Ram 1500 a Burst of Fresh Air With a Cold Air Intake System

With tons of upside and minimal downside, cold air intake systems are one of the best accessories to improve your Ram 1500’s overall power and mileage. So give your truck a burst of fresh air and reinvigorate your drive with one of these high-performance aftermarket components.

Recap - Best Cold Air Intakes for Ram 1500

Here's a recap of the best cold air intakes for Ram 1500

  1. aFe Power Momentum GT Dodge RAM HEMI
  2. AIRAID Performance System
  3. Volant PowerCore Filter Enclosed System

People Also Ask

Whether it’s your first time purchasing a cold air intake or your first time installing one on your own, you may have some additional questions. Here are some of the top questions that people also ask about cold air intakes for the Ram 1500.

How Much HP Does a Cold Air Intake Add?

Depending on the brand and type of cold air intake (or short ram), expect an increase of somewhere between 5 and 20 horsepower.

What Does a Cold Air Intake Do to Gas Mileage?

Typically, a cold air intake will increase fuel economy or gas mileage by about 1 to 2 mpg.

How Much is a Cold Air Intake? 

Cold air intake systems span a wide variety of materials with several types of features and varying qualities. As a result, cold air intakes can range from about $100 to $1,000 with most fitting in the $300 to $600 range.

Does Brand Matter For Cold Air Intake?

Several brands are widely regarded as some of the best in the industry due to the quality of construction of the cold air intake and how long the brand has been around. Volant, Flowmaster, K&N, and S&B are some of the most popular and oldest brands, but other brands are closing in fast. Don’t be surprised to find a more affordable or lesser-known brand that does a similar job. Just make sure to do your research. 

How Often Should You Clean Your Cold Air Intake?

In general, you should clean your cold air intake and filter every 6,000 to 10,000 miles. But if you’re forgetful, just clean it every two oil changes to maintain performance.

Shawn

An ex-salesman of industrial equipment, Shawn used to drive nearly 60K miles a year just commuting to clients. He also has a little project Miata build going on the side. Safe to say, Shawn has slain a few tires in his days. He knows all about horrid road-noise, hydroplaning risks, and how much damage a bad alignment can do to your wallet. He enjoys helping us out and Chris always values his opinion when designing something new for the website.