Cold Air Intakes (CAIs) are said to crank up the horsepower and add a growl to your engine. 

But do they deliver on the hype? Should you slap one to your F150? 

Keep reading to find out if this upgrade is the real deal or just another truck mod myth.

Is Putting A Cold Air Intake On F150 Worth It?

Simply put, unless you’re keen on a more audible engine note, the tangible performance gains from adding an aftermarket cold air intake to your F150 might be limited.

Advantages Of Installing Cold Air Intake On F150

Enthusiasts talk up snappier gas response with aftermarket intakes, saying it makes acceleration livelier. I’ve tried it on a friend’s F150; to me, it felt more like a placebo. 

Now, if you’re still eyeing an aftermarket cold air intake, let me break down what you’re in for:

  • Better Aesthetic: Aftermarket intakes add style under your hood with shiny tubes and a sleek design, offering a customized look. Yet, since it’s not visible, it doesn’t mean much unless you have car enthusiast friends to show it off to.
  • Increased Engine Growl: If you enjoy the roar of a revving engine, that’s where aftermarket intakes shine. Their tweaked design, ditching restrictive parts, makes your engine sound more aggressive during acceleration.

Disadvantages Of Adding Cold Air Intake On F150

Now, let’s talk about why you should avoid these:

  • Limited Power Boost: The extra HP some brands promise may not show up much in your daily drive. In terms of real-world performance, you’ll barely feel any difference over your stock CAI.
  • Makes The Truck Run Too Lean: Tweaking the factory setup can mess with your engine’s air-fuel mix. If it leans out too much, you might see lower fuel efficiency, more heat, and, in rare cases, engine trouble.
  • Warranty At Risk: Modding your intake will void your warranty. If something goes wrong, you’ll have to foot the repair bill. 
  • More Trouble Than It’s Worth: While some dig the louder engine hum, not everyone’s a fan. The CAI can get noticeably loud, which means you’ll have to deal with annoyed passersby or neighbors.

Suggested Cold Air Intakes For F150

Experienced users suggest sticking with the Factory Air Intake system, which is already fine-tuned to your engine and is even a cold air intake itself. It’ll even give your Ford F150 the best gas mileage.

However, if you still want the extra noise, here are some recommendations:

  • K&N Ford F150 Raptor 3.5l V6 Gas Air Intake: Costs around $479.99.
  • AEM Cold Air Intake System: Costs around $349.99-$399.99, and works very well for all compatible 2016 F-150 trucks.
  • Roush Cold Air Intake Kit: Costs $449.99, particularly good for 2018-2019 2.7L/3.5L F-150 EcoBoosts
  • S&B Cold Air Intakes: These cost around $349.00, users say they work great on the 2021 5.0 F150 XL and most 5.0 F150 Raptors.


How much HP does a cold air intake add to a 5.0 f150?

A cold air intake might give a 5-10 horsepower bump to your 5.0 F-150 under very specific conditions, but it’s not a guaranteed thing. 

Final Thoughts

As you’ve seen, the horsepower gains from a cold air intake on your  F150 may not be all that groundbreaking. 

If you’re itching for a bit more excitement behind the wheel without going all-in on a pricey upgrade, consider an upgraded drop-in filter. 

It delivers a similar sound boost, letting you enjoy the ride without having to make your wallet lighter to try and make your truck faster.

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