CAI vs. K&N Cold Air Intakes – Which Is Better?

Our cold air intake kits offer enhanced performance, improved fuel economy, and a great sound. Our customers tend to agree:

Why manufacturers don’t install this [intake] from the get-go is beyond me.” – Lonestar Hawaiian Garage

Lonestar Hawaiian Garage installed a CAI kit on their 2020 Chevy Silverado Trail Boss and was so impressed they decided to do the same to their 2007 Silverado, too.

Check out their video of the install and test drive. And read on to find out more about why our CAI cold air intakes are ahead of the competition.

The 2020 Silverado Cold Air Inductions Kit

Lonestar Hawaiian installed one of our CAI kits on their 2020 Silverado Trail Boss and loved the results. Aside from the impressive quality and fit and finish, the truck was also more efficient. Delivering 21mpg compared to 19.5mpg with the stock system.

Stock induction kits are made from ABS plastic. The main aim is to deaden the intake sound, which also restricts airflow. Plastic also can’t shield the intake tract from heat in the engine bay. All good reasons to eliminate the stock system as soon as possible.

Seeing the improvements on the 2020 truck, they decided it was time to get a kit for their 2007 Silverado as well. This vehicle was already fitted with a K&N system, but it was time for an upgrade. So out it came.

K&N Vs. Cold Air Inductions Kit

K&N intake

Comparing the two systems, it was clear that the CAI kit was better built, and more attention had been paid to the materials used and heat insulation. Notable benefits of Cold Air Inductions Kit vs K&N include:

  • Thermal-coated intake tube and air box
  • Plexiglass viewing port
  • Better quality components
  • Way larger air filter – better filtration and air volume

The K&N system had worked well over the years, but fuel economy was actually a bit worse compared to the stock system. Once the two kits were laid out on the table, the biggest differences were in the air box, intake tube, and filament filter.

“Build quality of the Cold Air Inductions intake is super strong and super sturdy.”  – Lonestar Hawaiian Garage

Lonestar Hawaiian used his “finger science” method to compare the two intake boxes. Not exactly scientific, but the differences in quality were obvious.

  • The CAI box is clearly better insulated with thicker material. And it has a fitted, stitched-on, pre-molded edge for precise fitment. The K&N system has a simple weather strip-like rubber seal, thinner metal, and no insulation at all.  
  • K&N uses a plastic intake tube for its design. The CAI system uses a thermal-coated metal intake tube. That means lower intake temperatures and more power.
  • And finally, the most obvious difference was CAI’s HUGE filament filter. This allows more air to be sucked into the engine and enhances the intake sound.

The installation itself took a little longer than intended. Mostly due to a bracket he wanted to retain for a future project. But the results were well worth it. And like all our systems, no changes were made to the harnesses, and OEM sensors were retained.

Immediate Driving Impressions

The results from the CAI intake install were immediate – most notably:

  • Better intake sound
  • Much lower intake temps

Out on the road, the first noticeable difference was the enhanced intake sound. That’s because the freer-flowing CAI system allows more air to be sucked into the engine. The superior design also showed up in the temperature difference under the hood. He recorded between 121 and 180 degrees in the engine bay, yet the intake box was at a far lower 93 degrees.

That is thanks to our state-of-the-art testing equipment, CAD engineering, and airflow analysis that each CAI kit goes through. While he didn’t get to compare fuel economy figures, judging by the performance of the CAI kit in the 2020 Silverado, it should also show an improvement

Time To Give Your Truck The CAI Upgrade

Cold Air Inductions has been a leading manufacturer of sealed air box intakes since 2004. Our products are built to last and come with a lifetime warranty.

Each kit is designed and tested to fit a specific vehicle. We use real-world dyno testing procedures to deliver real-world benefits. Check out some of the kits available for Chevy Silverados and Sierras here.

Get in touch with our team to order your CAI cold air induction kit today.