Buy now, pay later with Learn More

Need Help?

We've got you covered!

Sales & Service Hours

Sales & Service Hours

Customer Service

  • Monday to Friday: 8am - 6pm EST
  • Saturday/Sunday: Closed


  • Monday to Saturday: 8am - 11pm EST
  • Sunday: 9am - 10pm EST

> Cold Air Intakes vs Short Ram Intakes

Cold Air Intakes vs Short Ram Intakes

Shop for for Air Intakes
Pick up the best Air Intakes for your car, truck or SUV.

Shop Now

Image of a Cold Air Intake and Short Ram Intake
Pictured from top to bottom: a cold air and a short ram intake. Note the airbox on the cold air intake.

Are you looking to increase the performance of your vehicle? A great way to accomplish this is with an air intake system. Air intakes collect more air than a stock air filtration system, allowing your engine to breathe better, and increase the horsepower and performance of your ride. When looking into air intake systems, two popular choices come to mind: cold air intakes (CAI) and short ram intakes. Though cold air intakes and short ram intakes both collect more air than a stock air-filtration system, each has its own unique features.



Image of a Cold Air Intake
A K&N cold air intake with polished metal tube.

Cold Air Intakes

Cold air intakes (CAI) replace the stock air-filter system (airbox, tubing, and all) and relocate the point of air intake to a position further away from the engine where colder air can be collected. This position is typically from within the vehicle's fender or wheel wells. One of the greatest benefits of a CAI is that the tubing is engineered to reduce obstruction to airflow, allowing more cool air to get to your engine and increasing performance. Cold air intakes also use a conical-style performance filter that can be cleaned and reused, rather than a stock panel filter.

Cold air intakes are popular amongst vehicle owners looking to get the biggest performance gain from an air intake upgrade. However, CAIs tend to be more expensive than short ram intakes as there is a lot more engineering involved in their creation.


Image of a Short Ram Intake
An AEM short ram intake

Short Ram Intakes

A short ram intake replaces your vehicle’s stock airbox and intake tubing with a conical, open-element performance air filter and a precision-engineered intake pipe. Just as with cold air intakes, these performance filters can be cleaned and reused, unlike stock panel filters. While a CAI replaces and relocates your intake filter and tubing, a short ram replaces items in their stock location. This makes the short ram intake easier to install, but less effective at increasing power since it only draws in a greater volume of air, rather than bringing in cooler air like a CAI.

Another downside to short ram intakes is that as the engine warms up, the intake will take in the warmer air of the engine compartment thus becoming less effective at increasing power, though still netting a small performance gain over stock. With that being said, short ram intakes are a popular upgrade for those who want to improve air flow while
purchasing something that's easy to install, retains a close-to-stock appearance, and
costs less than a cold air intake.

Whether you get a cold air intake or a short ram intake your vehicle will breathe better, bring in more air, and boost your ride's overall performance. If you need help finding the perfect intake system for your vehicle or have any questions, don't hesitate to contact one of our product experts.