Which cold air intake is best?

November 5, 2021

The cold air intake is often the first step one takes when adding performance parts to their vehicle. Compared to other power adders, the cold air intake typically requires the least amount of labor and tuning. It is also a great performance modification to consider when trying to keep your vehicle as a daily driver.

What does a cold air intake do?

A true cold air intake replaces the factory intake and collects air from outside of the engine bay. This allows for cooler air to enter the engine. Why is this important? Cool air is more dense because it contains more oxygen. More oxygen equals more power. Now, there are a lot of cold air intakes on the market that still collect air from inside the engine bay. While this allows more air to flow into the engine, the actual temperature of the air is considerably higher compared to the air outside of the engine bay. This isn't really doing you or your car any favors as far as performance goes.

Which Cold Air Intake is Best?

There are 4 cold air intakes that we recommend to our customers. All of which have different pros and cons when it comes to performance, budget, and installation. So let's get into it.

Steeda Cold Air Intake

Steeda is a leader in Mustang performance parts and they have many cold air intake options to choose from. The best cold air intake that we have experienced from Steeda is their closed filter option. When the hood on your vehicle is closed, having the filter enclosed actually protects the temperature of the air going into the filter allowing for cooler air to make its way into the engine.

JLT & PMAS Cold Air Intakes

The JLT and PMAS cold air intakes are very similar in regards to performance and price point. There's actually a lot of debate about which cold air intake is best on many of the online forums. Both allow a considerable amount of air to enter the engine compared to the factory cold air intake. The horsepower output really comes down to the tune done to the vehicle after the cold air intake is installed.

Bumbera's Performance OTR Cold Air Intake

This is our top pick for performance applications. The over-the-radiator or OTR cold air intake made by Bumbera's Performance allows the absolute maximum amount of cool air to enter the engine. This is done in two ways: the filter for the intake is placed in front of the radiator and the 5" aluminum pipe provides plenty of room for airflow. You'll notice that the price is steeper compared to Steeda, JLT, and PMAS. However, this intake comes with a lot more than just the intake itself. Since this is an OTR cold air intake, the core support must be modified. In addition, the radiator must also be replaced for better fitment. So the Bumbera's OTR cold air intake kit includes the intake, filter, hood pins, and radiator. When you factor in all of the components you're getting, the price makes complete sense. For an extra $300 you can upgrade to the pie-cut intake for a more custom look.

Best Cold Air Intake for Racing Applications

Our vote goes to the OTR intake by Bumbera's Performance. It provides the maximum power that a cold air intake can and, for that reason, is an excellent component for naturally aspirated mustang builds.

Best Cold Air Intake for Drivability

In our opinion, both the JLT and the PMAS cold air intake will provide you the best combination of daily drivability and power. Neither one is very expensive but both are great quality. For the daily driver that's not looking to go to the race track but wants a little something extra under the hood, you can't go wrong with choosing either the JLT or PMAS cold air intakes.

Best Cold Air Intake for Performance

If you are the type of person that wants to go to the track but doesn't want to cut on the car or do any heavy modifications then go with the cold air intake by Steeda. It will provide the maximum amount of power without altering the factory set up as much as an OTR intake.

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