Short Ram Intake Vs Cold Air Intake: Which One Is Better? (2022)

While the factory air intakes aren’t that effective, many people look for aftermarket replacements to improve the engine’s horsepower and torque. There’re various aftermarket air intakes that come in different makes.

Cold air intake and short ram intake are the two major types of air intakes available on the market. Both types have distinct advantages and disadvantages.

If you’re searching for an air intake replacement, you’d probably ask the difference between the two types of air intake and which one would be better for you. If so, this article regarding “Short ram intake vs cold air intake” should meet the queries that’d help you get the most suitable one.

Before we start comparing cold air intakes vs short ram intakes, an introduction is necessary.

What Is Cold Air Intake?

A cold air intake is designed to draw cool air as the name suggests. The air filter is usually placed far away from the heat of the engine. You’ll see the cold air filters are placed either somewhere behind the engine or under one of the sides of it depending upon the suitability.

What Is Short Ram Intake?

Short ram intake is the most common air intake type which is simply designed to replace the factory intake by introducing a smooth pipe and an open-element air filter. As the air filter is placed in the same position as the OEM intake system, engine heat is easily carried with the filtered air that goes for the combustion.

(Video) Quickly Clarified - Cold Air Intakes vs Short Ram Intakes

Comparison Between Cold Air Intakes Vs Short Ram Intakes

Many times, I come across the question that which air intake is better than the other. The answer actually depends on some important and practical aspects, for example:

  • Ease of installation
  • Amount of air delivered
  • Level of performance gains
  • Short ram intake vs cold air intake sound

Let’s dig down some aspects that make a difference that will help you get a clear picture.

Design & Position

Well, as said already, the cold air intakes suck cold air to deliver to the engine. These filters are placed far away from the engine so that cool air is delivered without getting involved with the heat of the engine. The filters may be placed at different positions depending on the vehicle’s design but the goal remains constant which is ensuring only cold air is drawn to the engine.

Short ram intakes are designed to replace the factory intake systems themselves and positioned right at that place.

Ease of Installation

Installing a cold air intake requires more pipes as you need to make a tunnel from the air intake to the engine. The process is more complicated and time-consuming than that of the other type. However, if you follow the instructions from the owner’s manual properly, you shouldn’t find it too hard to install a cold air intake.

Check this video to see how to install a cold air intake.

Short ram intake, on the other hand, requires less hassle to install. Because of the simple design and a direct replacement of the stock intake, these intakes are a lot easier to install than cold air intakes.


Cold Air Intakes

(Video) Cold Air Intake vs Short Ram - Testing Summary - Project Integra

The primary reason to install a cold air intake is that the cool air is passed into the engine for better engine performance. A cold air intake also helps in reducing fuel consumption.

However, some people think that pumping cool air into the engine manifold may damage the engine. But that’s not true at all. In fact, the reality is quite opposite to it as cold air intakes result in efficient combustions.

If you can recall the basic science lessons, you’d know that cold air contains more oxygen molecules than warm air. And as oxygen is the vital element for combustion, the more oxygen will be in the air, the better combustion will occur. Better efficient combustion leads to a boost of horsepower and torque.

The reason why many people avoid cold air intakes is that the increased sound that they produce. Then again, this is an advantage for many, especially for those who love an engine with strong sounds. If you are one of them, you’d be pleased with the cold air intake certainly. If not, well, an air intake with noise-limiting technology might work for you.

Short Ram Intakes

Short ram intakes usually perform a lot better than factory air intakes by increasing horsepower and torque. They also improve the fuel-saving capacity of the vehicle.

However, the short air intakes aren’t as effective as cold air intakes in case of boosting efficiency. This is because of the nature of the air they provide to the engine manifold.

As a short ram intake is placed in the position of the stock intake system which is close to the engine body, the heat of the engine increases the temperature of the air flowing inside the tube. As a result, the engine manifold gets a bit of warm air that contains less amount of oxygen molecules than a cold air intake would contain.

With less density of oxygen molecules, the combustion isn’t as efficient as a cold air intake offers. You may get more horsepower than the stock intake but it isn’t comparable to what a cold air intake delivers. Consequently, fuel consumption increases.

(Video) Why Cold Air Intakes DON'T or DO Work on Your Car - Motive Tech

To get rid of the heating issue, you can use a heat shield to place in between the intake and engine bay. This will reduce the influence of heat on the air’s temperature.

Engine Noise & Air Pressure

The engine’s sound largely depends on the amount of air getting into it. Usually, the more air gets into the engine, the more sound it produces. As you know, the cold air intakes let more free-flowing air pass, the engine sound is improved. So, if you love your engine to roar like a beast, a cold air intake would be a perfect mod for you.

On the contrary, short rum intakes can’t let as much free-flowing air as cold air intakes do. As a result, they can’t produce loud sounds as cold intakes do.

Short Ram Intake or Cold Air Intake: Choosing the Right One

Choosing the type of intake for your car depends on your preference. If you want to enhance engine horsepower and torque at the highest level, you may want to install a cold air intake. However, it costs a lot more as compared to a short ram intake and the installation is a bit difficult.

If you want a moderate performance enhancement at a lower cost, a short ram intake would be suitable for you. You may not get as much horsepower and torque as a cold intake offers but will definitely get better than that of a factory intake does.

Again, most enthusiasts want a noisy and lively engine. In that case, a cold air intake is the only option. Otherwise, short ram intake is the only savior if you don’t want the engine to be noisy.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is cold air intake better than short ram intake?

Cold air intake allows more air to pass into the engine for better combustion. It eventually results in more torque and horsepower. Short ram intake also improves the performance of than factory intake system but isn’t comparable to the cold air intake. So, yes, a cold air intake is better than a short air intake.

Is a short ram intake worth it?

(Video) Are Aftermarket Intakes Even Worth It?

A short ram intake costs comparatively less and easier to install than other aftermarket air intakes. The simple design easily fits the place of the factory intake system. Again, it enhances engine performance up to a certain level. So, it’s really worth it buying a short ram intake at a low price.

Does heat shield make any difference?

Yes, it does. A heat shield prevents the heat of the engine increases the temperature of the intake tube. So that the air stays cool and makes efficient combustion.

Final Words

So, I’ve come to the end of the article regarding short ram intake vs cold air intake. Reading up to this, you may have decided to install a cold air intake in your vehicle. But both the cold and short ram air intakes are good aftermarket replacements for your factory intake system.

Both the intake systems have a few drawbacks with lots of advantages. You need to decide what you want from the engine in the first place. If you’re willing to spend more money for better horsepower and sound, a cold air intake is recommended.

However, if you’re on a budget, a short ram intake wouldn’t be a bad choice at all, especially if you get a heat shield for better performance.

The decision is solely yours to make. If you want me to discuss anything more about aftermarket parts, let me know in the comment section below.


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(Video) Cold Air Intake VS Short Ram - Which is better?


Is short ram intake better than cold air? ›

Cold air intakes draw air from outside the engine bay to give the engine cooler, denser air and offer bigger overall improvements in power than short ram intakes. The outside cold air is denser, and that means that there's more oxygen available for combustion, which means more power.

What is the point of a short ram intake? ›

The goal with the short ram intake is to direct air into the engine in the shortest route possible. The shortest route is also straight. These characteristics combine to create a path that has the least amount of resistance for air to get into the engine.

What's the difference between a cold intake and a ram intake? ›

The main difference between short ram intake and cold air intakes has to do with the length of the piping and the placement of the air filter. In many cars, the intake charge passes through a resonator, an air filter, and then into an inlet hose that connects to the intake manifold.

What is better a cold air intake or stock intake? ›

A cold air intake is better because it brings colder air into the engine, allowing more fuel to be sent in and increasing power — hence why many turbocharged vehicles come with an intercooler as standard.

How much hP does short ram intake add? ›

You gain 0 hP with a short ram. Technically most SRI advertise you can add between 0 to 10hP and most of the time you can't feel the difference. If your car is not tuned for short ram intake it can even lower your engine performance.

Is short ram intake is cold air intake? ›

A short ram eliminates the resonator and filter box, giving the air a short travel distance and hopefully increasing power. That said, it's pulling air from the engine bay, thus the intake air will be warmer than by using a cold air intake.

Does short ram intake increase gas mileage? ›

If the original intake is overly restrictive and the new one draws cool air and retains all of the sensors and auxiliary air feeds then it can improve mileage.

Does a short ram intake really increase horsepower? ›

Do Short Ram Intakes Actually Work? - Project Integra - YouTube

Do you need a tune for short ram intake? ›

You don't need a tune with a short ram.

How much HP does cold air intake add? ›

Cold Air Intakes are said to improve your vehicle's performance by 5-20 horsepower. This number will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. While this isn't enough power to put you back in your seat, it will give your car or truck a little pep in its step.

Does cold air intake increase HP? ›

That's why a cold air intake is a small investment with a rather big payoff. It makes such a big difference, in fact, that the simple process of redirecting the filter to draw cooler air is good for a horsepower gain of about 5 to 20 ponies in most cars.

Does cold air intake make car faster? ›

Cold Air Intake

With more condensed air, your engine can breathe better, and the fuel can also be burnt efficiently which helps to push your ride forward. That being the case, cold air intake is one of the easiest mods to make your car faster since air and fuel enable your car to accelerate in the first place.

Does cold air intake hurt engine? ›

no, as long as it was installed properly and isn't damaged it cant do anything to the engine it may give a slight performance increase. Who has installed a cold air intake system on their vehicle?

What are the disadvantages of a cold air intake? ›

The cold air intake does typically get denser air than the stock intake. However, since it is longer and more requires more complex routing, it is often more expensive. This increased complexity also leads to a more difficult and time-consuming installation.

What problems can a cold air intake cause? ›

One of the most common symptoms associated with a bad or failing cold air intake is a reduction in engine performance. The cold air intake also uses an engine air filter, which when clogged or dirty can cause a reduction in power, acceleration, and fuel efficiency.

How can I add 50 hp to my car? ›

How You Can Increase Horsepower and Torque?
  1. Clean House to Increase Horsepower. ...
  2. Perform a Tune-Up on the Engine. ...
  3. Install a Turbo Kit or Supercharger. ...
  4. Install a Cold-Air Intake. ...
  5. Install an Aftermarket Exhaust System. ...
  6. Buy an Engine Tuner.
16 Mar 2018

Do you need a tune for a cold air intake? ›

Yes. To put it simply, anytime you modify the airflow in an engine you will need a custom tune to compensate for the change. There are intakes that don't modify the airflow enough to where you need a custom tune so identifying which one you have is important.

Does more air mean more power? ›

The more oxygen (air) that flows into the engine, the more fuel that can be burned, and the more power the engine can make. To say it another way, assuming you mix the correct amount of fuel with the air, how much power an engine can make is dependent on airflow.

What is a true cold air intake? ›

A true cold air intake advances this principal one step further and relocates the air filter outside of the engine compartment, usually near the front of the vehicle, with the goal of directing cool, dense, outside air into the engine for more efficient combustion.

Do ram air intakes work? ›

Do Ram Air Intakes Work??? (FKXRacing Ram Air Intake Review)

How does a cold air intake improve performance? ›

Cold air intakes help surge a vehicle's responsiveness, as it can reach its intended speed more rapidly when a larger volume of denser air is carried to the engine. If you're looking for an acceleration increase, whether on busy highways or empty backroads, aftermarket cold air intake kits can help.

Do you need a tune for short ram intake? ›

You don't need a tune with a short ram.

How much HP do cold air intakes add? ›

Cold Air Intakes are said to improve your vehicle's performance by 5-20 horsepower. This number will vary depending on the make and model of your vehicle. While this isn't enough power to put you back in your seat, it will give your car or truck a little pep in its step.

Does a cold air intake increase HP? ›

Cold air intake systems can increase horsepower by replacing the restrictive stock intake, with components that are designed to handle a much larger volume of air. To ensure all that extra oxygen is cold, a low-restriction K&N performance air filter is positioned where the stock air box used to be.

Does a ram-air intake work? ›

Do Ram Air Intakes Work??? (FKXRacing Ram Air Intake Review)

Will cold air intake turn on the engine light? ›

Check Engine Light comes on

An illuminated Check Engine Light is also a common symptom associated with a problematic cold air intake. If any of the sensors that are installed in the intake detect any issues, they may set off the Check Engine Light to notify the driver of a problem.

Should I tune my car after installing a cold air intake? ›

For a quick answer – no, you don't need to tune your car after installing a cold air intake. Tuning your car is expensive and for doing it only to optimize a cold air intake is not worth the money. A cold air intake is a cheap and easy upgrade that does not require tuning.

Does cold air intake make car faster? ›

Cold Air Intake

With more condensed air, your engine can breathe better, and the fuel can also be burnt efficiently which helps to push your ride forward. That being the case, cold air intake is one of the easiest mods to make your car faster since air and fuel enable your car to accelerate in the first place.

What is the cheapest way to increase horsepower? ›

(Relatively) Cheap Ways To Increase Horsepower
  1. Upgrade the Air Intake. Many gearheads start here. ...
  2. Upgrade the Exhaust. More air entering the engine means more air has to exit the engine. ...
  3. Install A Performance Tuner. ...
  4. Install a Boost Controller. ...
  5. Clean the Fuel System.
7 Jul 2022

What intake gives the most horsepower? ›

What Cold Air Intake System Gives You the Most Horsepower? If you're looking for the greatest increase in horsepower, choose the K&N 57 Series FIPK Air Intake, which is legal in every state and includes a washable cotton air filter.

How can I add 50 hp to my car? ›

Supercharger or turbocharger

A turbocharger works with the exhaust system and can potentially give you gains of 70-150 horsepower. A supercharger is connected directly to the engine intake and could provide an extra 50-100 horsepower.

How much horsepower will a cold air intake add to a 5.7 Hemi? ›

How much HP does a cold air intake add to a 5.7 hemi? A 5.7 hemi can expect up to 30 or so extra horsepower with the addition of a cold air intake. The same with all of the other engines; this will vary depending on the quality of the intake itself.

Why does cold air make engines run better? ›

Now, cold air is denser than warm air, so in cold weather the number oxygen molecules entering the combustion chamber per unit volume of air is significantly greater than when the temperature is high. More oxygen provides better combustion, and hence a noticeable increase in power.

Do throttle bodies increase horsepower? ›

Will a Throttle Body Spacer Increase Horsepower? Gains from a throttle body can be dependent on modifications. Generally speaking, anytime a throttle body is added, there will be some added horsepower. The amounts can range from 5-25 HP depending on what other modifications are done to the engine.

At what speed does ram air work? ›

Engine Tuning Considerations

For ballpark tuning considerations for ram air, we use a 200 mph standard. At that speed with no head or tail wind, the air pressure increase into a forward facing scoop or fuel injection hat is 2 psi of pressure and 4 inches of mercury.

Why is it called ram air? ›

Abstract: WHEN AIR is taken aboard an aircraft in flight, it undergoes an increase in pressure which is called the “ram effect,” and a cooling system which uses such air is called a ram-air cooling system.

What is ram effect in engine? ›

The ram effect in a jet engine is when the air pressure created from a jet in motion is used to make the air pressure in the combustion chamber higher. This lets more mass flow through the engine to give it more power.


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