If you are looking for a cold air intake then you must be looking to increase the performance of your Chevy. But what is the best cold air intake for Chevy Silverado 1500 and 2500 6.0 Vortec engines?
That is the question this article seeks to answer!
You can achieve massive performance gains without breaking the bank. Cold air intakes are one the simplest and most cost-effective ways to increase torque, MPG (miles per gallon) as well as horsepower!
So, with power gains in mind, this list provides the top products for your Silverado. Read to the end if you want to see our top pick!
Best Cold Air Intake for 6.0 Vortec and more – Overview
You came here to find the best options out there for your Chevy Silverado so let’s not interrupt that goal too much. However, it is important to note that this list will point you in the general direction when it comes to brands and consideration.
We have included options that can work with 6.0, 5.3, etc. so you will need to make sure the product fits your Chevy Silverado model, year, engine, etc.
The best way to do that is to add your vehicle, with all the details like bed size and cab size, into your amazon ‘garage’ so that you will instantly determine if it fits.
If it doesn’t fit, you will likely find one manufactured by the same company that does fit.
So, now that we have covered our bases, here is quick glance at the whole list so you can see what brands and products are worthy of your consideration:
|Image||Cold Air Intake||Compatibility||Details|
|K&N Performance Air Intake Kit||2014-2020 Chevy Silverado 1500, V8|
|Spectre Performance Red Filter Cold Air Intake||1999-2007 Chevy Silverado 1500|
|aFe Power Momentum Performance Intake System (Oiled, 5-Layer Filter)||Silverado (Universal Fit) – Check compatibility|
|Million Parts Air Intake||Chevy Silverado 1500, 4.8L, 5.3L, 6.0L, V8|
|K&N 57-3058 Performance Air Intake||2007-2008 Chevy Silverado 1500|
|Volant PowerCore Cold Intake||2001-2006 Chevy Silverado|
|Airaid Cold Air Intake System||2015-2020 Chevy Silverado|
|S&B Cold Air Intake||2017-2018 Silverado 1500 5.3L & 6.2L|
|Rough Country Cold Air Intake||2014-2018 Chevy Silverado 1500 5.3L & 6.2L|
Best Cold Air Intake for Silverado – Detailed Reviews
Now that you have seen everything at a glance, let’s dive into the detailed review. This list includes some really heavy hitters from a brand perspective, as well as some great, overlooked intakes.
1. K&N Performance Air Intake Kit
To get us going, we are starting off with a heavy hitter. K&N is a leader when it comes to quality auto parts and vehicles. You may not even have to look any further than this option as it is a solid, reliable choice.
Not only does this performance air intake look good. it also has a whole host of benefits and features.
It has a heat shield that replaces the entire factory air box to keep the temperature of the air down. plus, it has a large, washable air filter that can go about 100000 miles before it needs to be cleaned.
Furthermore, they dyno-test their intakes to make sure they provide improvements in performance. Finally, they even boast an improvement in engine sound as well.
When it comes to installation, even will little mechanical experience you should be able to get the job done. All you will need is a socket wrench kit, screwdriver, pliers, and about 90 minutes of time.
- Dyno-tested for gauranteed performance
- Filter provides engine protection
- Boosts engine sound
- Simple to install -‘Bolt on’ with basic tools
- 10 year/million mile warranty
2. Spectre Performance Red Filter Cold Air Intake
The Spectre air intake systems are another great option for increased torque and horsepower. They are in a slightly lower price bracket so you get some good bank for your buck with this one.
Like the K&N, you get all the benefits of Dyno-testing, excellent filter life, protection against particles and debris as well as improved engine sound. It even looks good with the stylish polished stainless steel and red filter.
All that at ~$100 less.
The only difference is the warranty which is not up to the same standard as the K&N. This intake includes just a limited warranty. Thus, you are going to have to weigh up price and longevity if it comes down to a choice between the two brands.
If a price saving is worth it to you, this could be a great option for you.
- Simple Installation
- 4 colour options available
- Constructed with Polished aluminum tubing
- Up to 50% more airflow than OEM part
3. aFe Power Momentum Performance Intake System (Oiled, 5-Layer Filter)
This aFe Performance intake is a bit of a beast in both appearance and price. What you get in return are performance gains of around 12 additional horsepower and 15 LB-FT of torque. The additional airflow is roughly 35% more than the factory part.
It attributes these performance gains to its massive air filter which has 5 layers that get increasingly fine for increased airflow.
Each part is CAD design for a precision fit. This also makes for easier installation as the manufacturing ensures a perfect fit. If you would like to hear more about the specification of this air intake, check out this video.
aFe Power is based in California and they are known for creating performance automotive parts. To this end, they have designed great products specifically with trucks in mind!
This part is all about performance! Not only does its filter housing better protect your filter, it also protects your precious cold air from the heat of the engine.
- 5-layer oiled filter material
- Tested to ensure quality and performance
- Precision CAD design ensure easy installation
- Housing has ‘sight glass’ to see filter condition
- ~12 HP and 15 LB-FT increases
4. Million Parts Air Intake
This is the budget air intake on the list. It is far cheaper than the rest.
However, even at this price range, you should get decent results. You cannot expect massive performance gains but if you are looking to replace the factory product with something that will allow your engine to ‘breath’ a bit better this may do the trick.
At this price, it is worth your consideration as a budget option.
- Easy Installation
- Will allow your engine to ‘breath’ better
- Affordable price
5. K&N 57-3058 Performance Air Intake
This is another K&N performance air intake but it fits some of the earlier Chevy Silverado models. It is designed for Silverados between the years 2007 and 2008.
You get all the K&N benefits like Dyno-testing, Long filter life, engine protection, and improved engine sound. This one also has more of an enclosed airbox than the previous K&N which may be your preference.
Keep in mind that if neither of these K&N options are compatible with your exact year, they will most likely have one that does. It would be overkill to include them all in this article so this should just determine whether K&N is right for you.
- Dyno-tested for gauranteed performance
- Filter provides engine protection
- Boosts engine sound
- Simple to install -‘Bolt on’ with basic tools
- 10 year/million mile warranty
6. Volant 161536 PowerCore Cold Intake
If you are looking for a performance intake for even earlier Silverado models this could be the one. It fits models between the years 2001 and 2006.
The completely enclosed box with a massive air filter will aid in airflow and performance enhancement. You will likely be surprised at the gains over your OEM part as well as the increased fuel economy!
The pipe is constructed of polyethylene plastic. Plastic is generally a preferred material for air intakes due to its better airflow. Overall, the design stands out and will also boost your under-hood appeal. The under-hood appeal is not something you can underestimate!
This is both a quality product and a performance booster so if you have a slightly older Chevy Silverado this is worth your consideration. Especially, if you want to get back some of that power when you put your foot down.
- Polyethylene plastic tubing construction
- Matches OEM filter standard
- Great under-hood aesthetic
7. Airaid Cold Air Intake System
It is important to note that Airaid was actually acquired by K&N in 2015 so technically speaking these are limited edition products. This move by K&N definitely speaks to the quality of Airaid and perhaps the threat K&N believed they posed.
Regardless, the product speaks for itself and is right up there with the best. This product has all the bells and whistles including a washable filter, easy installation, quality construction, and of course, performance gains.
This includes a dry filter so it is best suited to every day, street-driving.
- Dry filter material
- Tested to ensure quality and performance
- Quality construction
- Lifetime warranty
8. S&B 75-5116 Cold Air Intake
S&B is another reputable and popular brand when it comes to aftermarket cold air intakes for Chevy trucks.
These intake kits house a massive silicon air filter in a fully-enclosed box. This both protects the filter from dust and debris but also keeps out unwanted heat from the rest of the engine. Furthermore, it has a see-through lid allowing you to quickly determine the state of your filter and whether it requires cleaning.
This intake boasts up to 40% increased airflow over a factory part and around 99% efficiency. These numbers speak for themselves.
Furthermore, they have tested their air filters, comparing them to OEM parts to ensure performance gains. They use the ISO 5011 standard for testing which is an international standard for testing air filters and air intakes. So, you can be confident in the product.
The air filter is Oiled so if you would like to take it off-road it should not be a problem. Furthermore, it is made from 8-ply Cotton Filter, and combined with the oil, it traps dirt in a sophisticated way that aids longevity.
Installation is simple and fast. You should only require around 30-60 minutes of time with basic tools. On this note, they have also engineered this intake to work no matter what your engine calibration be it factory calibration or if you have applied advanced tuning. Say no more to ‘check engine’ lights.
- Specifically engineer to avoid ‘check engine’ lights
- Easy 30-60 minute installation
- Oiled, 8-ply Cotton Filter
- It meets the ISO 5011 standard for testing air filters
- Up to 40% more airflow than OEM part
9. Rough Country Cold Air Intake
Rough Country is a well know and popular brand when it comes to auto parts. Especially when it comes to Chevy trucks. This is a mid-range offering but worth your consideration.
Overall, you should see significant performance gains in horsepower, torque, and throttle response. Like the rest, it includes a reusable air filter. It is oiled so it is suitable for off-road use and will protect against dust and debris.
With this product, you get a reputable brand, performance increases, and all the standard bells and whistles like a washable filter, lifetime warranty, etc. but at a much more affordable price.
Therefore, it had to make the list. So, if price is a concern, this is a big package for a small charge.
- Affordable mid-range price
- Oiled filter for off-road use
- Easy home installation
- Limited Lifetime warranty
There are always considerations when buying aftermarket auto parts. These are the main ones when it comes to cold air intakes:
Types of Air intakes
While this is not necessarily a buying consideration as we have been looking specifically at Cold air intakes, it is important to understand what else is out there.
Cold Air Intakes
These are what we have been looking at above.
Generally, cold air intakes have a longer tube to place them as far away from the heat of the engine as possible to get the benefit of ‘çold’ or colder air. This is because cold air is more dense and thus provides more oxygen to the engine.
As you know, oxygen is required for combustion so more air equals better combustion. That is how to get performance increases with Cold air intakes.
To get a better understanding, check our article which outlines all the cold air Intake Benefits and more.
Short Ram Air Intakes
Ram Air Intakes are pretty much designed to do the same thing as cold air intake systems. However, they have shorter tubing so the air will not be as cool as a cold air intake. The benefit of a shorter tube is that it can fit into more compact engine compartments if space is limited.
Also, some short ram intakes have two filter heads to improve airflow.
If you can fit a cold air intake into your hood, it really doesn’t make sense to buy a short ram intake. If you want a more detailed argument, this is a useful article that compares cold air intakes and short ram intakes.
Ram Air Intakes
Ram Air Intakes also have longer tubing like a cold air intake. However, the difference is that, unlike the cold air intake, the filter is at the back of the tube near the engine. Additionally, they sometimes have a filter on the front as well to protect against dust, dirt, and debris.
Ram intakes are harder to find and can be more difficult to install so cold air intakes are generally recommended.
This is very important so this is us mentioning it again. There are many different Chevy Silverado 1500s when it comes to year, engine, etc. so you want to double-check that the part you like will fit your exact truck.
Again, use Amazon garage as we explained above and you will quickly determine if a product is compatible.
When in doubt you can even search the list of questions to see if your vehicle has come up, post your own question, or contact the seller directly.
Construction materials are always an important factor when it comes to auto parts. These are some of your material considerations:
Dry vs Wet Filter
This is an important consideration that is informed by your driving requirements.
Wet, Oil filters are designed to keep dust out of the engine and are appropriate for off-roading on sandy or dusty terrain.
Dry, non-oiled Filters, on the other hand, are designed for everyday street driving.
Metal or Plastic Tubing
You may also be wondering if stainless steel (or aluminum) tubing is superior to a polyethylene plastic tube…
The answer may surprise you.
While the obvious answer may be that a metal tube is superior, generally speaking, plastic is the preferred material.
While you may think this is because a metal tube will hold more heat and therefore increase the temperature in the air flowing through, the difference is negligible between the two materials.
The main reason is actually that plastic can be easily molded easily to bend however you want. Metal tubing, on the other hand, is a bit more restrictive in terms of the bends your can make.
Thus, a plastic tube can be molded to create the most efficient path for airflow. If you want more info on this debate, this article is short and helpful.
Closed airbox or Open Airbox
You may have noticed from the products above that some cold air intakes have a full enclosure while others do not. There are certainly benefits and detriments to both. Both will provide great gains in performance so here are the other important factors:
- Keeps the air cooler no matter how hard you are driving
- Better protects the filter from dust and debris for increased filter life
- From a style perseptive there is much more impact
Ultimately, it comes down to what is most important to you. If you are simply looking for performance and style is of no importance a closed box is likely right for you. However, if you are looking for style and performance an open box will have the impact you want.
Price to Power ratio
We have included Cold air intakes from the bottom-of-the-range, mid-range to higher ranges. When it comes to cold air intakes (and really all auto parts) the price you pay is equivalent to the performance improvements you will get.
If you go with the bottom of the range product you will get minor improvements in horsepower, torque, and MPG.
However, if you go for a top-of-the-range product you can be assured of performance improvements as these products are tried and tested.
So, you can think of it as a price to power ratio where the two are almost directly proportional. Of course, there are other factors that affect the price such as brand reputability and quality of materials but this is still a fairly reliable standard.
Thus, you need to balance what you are willing to spend and how much performance you want to get out and find your happy medium.
FAQs about Cold Air Intakes
Here are some of the common questions people ask when it comes to cold air intakes. Answers are below:
Does a cold air intake really work?
If you go with a reputable brand and do not go with the lowest-end product you will very likely see an improvement in overall performance. Don’t believe it? have a look at this video:
Is a cold air intake worth it on a truck?
Trucks are often very thirsty when it comes to fuel and heavy. They use powerful engines to make up for the extra weight but that is also what makes them use more fuel.
A cold air intake can increase your truck’s power and increase its MGP (miles per gallon).
It is easy to say those gains are worth it in general. However, there is of course a cost attached to those gains so whether it is worth comes down to the price you are willing to pay for such gains.
Is cold air actually better for my engine?
Cold air is denser than warm or hot air. This means it is more oxygen-rich.
Oxygen will greatly increase the efficiency and effectiveness of combustion inside your engine. This will provide improvements in horsepower, torque and save fuel.
So, yes cold air is better.
Does a cold air intake make noise?
A performance cold air intake will indeed be louder than the stock part. However, the sound will be created by the engine due to better airflow and subsequent combustion. This is a satisfying sound though, making your vehicle sound more powerful.
Where in the car is the air intake situated?
The location of the air intake will be different on every vehicle. Generally speaking, a cold air intake is placed close to the front of the car/hood to create distance from the heat of the engine. This also helps pull in air from the outside.
Can my mileage be enhanced from the cold air intake?
Yes, you will likely see an increase in MGP (miles per gallon). This is dues to better, more efficient combustion.
Does adding a cold air intake void warranty?
No, it should not.
According to the Consumer Products Warranty Act in the United States, a manufacturer cannot deny warranty coverage unless they can provide evidence that the aftermarket cold air intake was the cause of damage.
For more info have a look at this article on the topic.
How much does a cold air intake cost?
You can pick up a cheap air intake for as low as $60. However, you will likely see little improvement in performance with such a product. You may get your engine to breathe a bit better though.
If you are looking for performance enhancement you can expect to pay between $150 and $500 or more for a cold air intake.
What are the cons of a cold air intake?
A cold air intake is not without downsides but whether they outweigh the upside is up to you.
The main cons of a cold air intake are that it is an expensive upgrade when you already have a functioning stock intake. The new location of the intake further away from the heat of the engine also means that it is more prone to collect dust and debris. The final risk is that the new location may increase the chances of the engine taking in water through the intake.
While this is not particularly likely unless you are doing some serious 4×4 water crossings or driving with your hood up in the rain, the chances are just slightly higher.
If you are doing regular off-roading or simply driving on the street you really shouldn’t have any problems with the above issues.
How much HP does a cold air intake add?
From a quality cold air intake, you can expect about a 5-10% increase in horsepower or 5-20 HP.
Not only that, you will also get approximately 15 LB-FT improvements in torque as well as increased fuel efficiency/MPG.
Do you need to tune your car after cold air intake?
No, you shouldn’t need to tune your car.
A cold air intake should be a simple and affordable way to get increased performance. However, taking your car in to be tuned is very expensive and not something you should waste money on simply to optimize a cold air intake.
If you are looking to increase your truck’s performance with an affordable and easy-to-install part, a cold air intake may be perfect for you.
Not only do cold air intakes provide increased horsepower, torque, and mileage but they also can add major underhood appeal. Style is not something to dismiss either. Look good, feel good as they say!
Our list includes all the best options depending on your needs. Whether you are looking for style, performance, or affordability, we have got you covered with the right brand and product.
When it comes to our top pick, it has got to be the K&N Cold air intakes. It is hard to wrong with these. They are reputable, reliable, Dyno-tested, have a great warranty and they do not lack in style. They simply have it all.
However, that is not to detract from the other products because many of the above options can provide similar results for a lower cost. For example, the Rough Country and Spectre cold air intakes fit into this category mong others.
Furthermore, you may need something for off-roading with better dust protection so the aFe Power or S&B options may be more up your alley.
Regardless, with our buying guidelines, you should be right on track to determining what is the right choice for your needs!
1 thought on “Best Cold Air Intake for Chevy Silverado 1500 & 2500 for Massive Gains!”
Like!! Great article post.Really thank you! Really Cool.
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