Best AEM Cold Air Intake Reviews 2021 – Tested, Compared & Recommended

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One of the best ways to improve your car performance is to upgrade the air intake system. The cold air intake draws a massive amount of air into your car engine to boost up horsepower & torque.

When all of you agree with what we said above, we bet you also accept this truth- it is challenging to pick the right air intake. You can find a ton of options out there with different brands. Neither every cold air intake comes with equal specifications, nor each of them fits your car model.

Indeed, choosing the best CAI is a complex puzzle. But you can easily break down the perplexity if you stick with a single brand like AEM.

In this guide on AEM Cold Air Intake Reviews, our experts enlisted some of the best air intake systems from AEM. Every CAI we mentioned offers the max horsepower you need for a smooth ride.

Is it a Wise Decision to Buy AEM Cold Air Intake?

AEM is a widely accepted brand that designs and distributes premium quality cold air intake systems. Each of the CAI this brand offers is functional, durable, and easy to install.

The air intake comes from AEM uses mandrel-bent aluminum as its construction material. Therefore, its tube is coated with heat shield powder. So, each of the air intakes lasts for long, resisting corrosion and heat.

When it comes to functionality, you can hardly find an air intake in the market that can beat AEM air intake systems. Every CAI from AEM is specially designed and dyno-tested for producing extra horsepower & torque. Therefore, the oversized air filters let more air draw into the car engine to boost HP & torque.

On top of this, some air intakes relocate the air filter outside the engine compartments. As a result, your engine gets more cool air which also increases the horsepower and torque.

And lastly, you can also install the air intake system by yourself without hiring a mechanic as it includes every attachment.

To sum up, it will be a wise decision to get an air intake system from AEM.

Top Rated AEM Cold Air Intake 2021

Image

Name

Fits For

Rating

Price

AEM 21-485R Red Cold Air Intake System

AEM 21-485R 

Mazda Models

AEM 21-748C Cold Air Intake System

AEM 21-748C 

Honda Models

AEM 21-478WR Wrinkle Red Cold Air Intake System

AEM 21-478WR 

Cars and Trucks

AEM 21-818C Cold Air Intake System

AEM 21-818C 

Nissan Sentra Models

AEM (21-728C) Cold Air Intake System

AEM (21-728C) 

Hyundai Genesis Models

7 Best AEM Cold Air Intake Reviews 2021 – Experts Guide

After scrutinizing every in and out, we enlisted these 7 best AEM cold air intake systems. Now, it’s to explore what makes the CAI from AEM unique, functional, durable, and stylish.

1. AEM 21-485R Red Cold Air Intake System

Great filtration
Easy oil-free cleaning
Designed to provide extra horsepower & torque
Dual-chamber intakes hold more air to boost up the performance

Do you look for a substitute for the factory airbox and air filter to gain more horsepower & torque? Then, installing an after-market air intake system will be your best solution. And this CAI from AEM is exactly what you are looking for.

The AEM 21-485R comes with an oversized DRYFlow synthetic air filter. It draws a large amount of air into your car engine. You know the more air your engine receives, the more horsepower you will gain. Because of the oversize air filter, this CAI system helps you to gain a maximum of 8.4HP. In return, you will get the power with the increased throttle response you need for smooth riding.

Besides, the AEM air intake system features mandrel-bent intake tubes for ensuring optimal airflow. The airflow to your car engine increases throttle response. And when you drive by getting into the deeper throttle, your car will make a badass sound.

Now, let’s move on to its construction material. The CAI uses aluminum, which can resist corrosion. Therefore, the intake tube is coated with heat shield power to protect your intake from the heat coming from the engine. Indeed, this air intake system will support you for years after years.

Ease of cleaning is a notable feature of the cold air intake. Its filter is washable. So, you can wash and remove the dirt or pollen with water.

Pros
  • Increase throttle response
  • Premium quality material gives it a prolonged life
  • Maximize horsepower and torque by providing ample air into your engine
Cons
  • Though it is easy to install, the instructions are not good.

2. AEM 21-748C Cold Air Intake System

Great sounds 
Perfect fit for Honda Fit models
Heat-shield is specially designed to block heat coming from engine
Oversized air filter to draw a massive amount of airflow into the engine

Your driving friend, Honda Fit, may have trouble breathing because of its age or lack of cold air. The built-in airbox of the car is not enough to draw air into its heart (engine) to take it a deep breath for gaining horsepower. In this case, your Honda requires a CAI to provide the air into its engine and gives it the power to travel with you. And this air intake system from AEM is what you need for your Honda Fit.

The CAI system from AEM was specially designed and dyno-tested to fit Honda Fit models. It has an oversized dry flow synthetic air filter. So, air can enter without any restriction to your car engine to bring life back to it. As it draws more air, you will get more horsepower, which also increases the throttle response.

The growling sound it makes is another noticeable feature of this air intake system. At 4000rpm, it sounds so good.

Turns out, you can effortlessly install the air intake without having any prior experience. It requires a few basic tools for installation. So, you don’t need to hire a mechanic to set it into your car, which saves you extra bucks.

Nonetheless, this CAI requires a minimum maintenance workflow. It comes with synthetic filter media that needs no cleaning before driving the car up to 100,000 miles.

Pros
  • Easy to clean
  • Made with high-quality material to ensure longevity
  • Convenient to install with some commonly used tools
Cons
  • It doesn’t increase a significant mileage or horsepower

3. AEM 21-478WR Wrinkle Red Cold Air Intake

Outstanding air filtration
Increase throttle response
Produce the max 36 horsepower's
Make an aggressive throaty sound

Every car owner brings modifications to their vehicle to boost up their car performance. Installing an air intake into your car will always be a good starting point. A CAI helps you by providing the extra horsepower & torque you need for smooth driving. Regarding this, AEM 21-478WR Air Intake will be your best trait.

Like other CAI systems, the air intake from AEM is designed and dyno-tested to fit a specific vehicle. So, it will be a wise move to check the year, model, and make of your car.

The king-size synthetic air filter draws a greater amount of air into the car engine like a magnet. As a result, your engine can take a deep breath and gain the max 36 horsepower. As the engine receives ample air, it also increases the throttle response.

Now, it’s time to talk about the construction. The air intake system is made with corrosion-resistant aluminum. On top of this, the intake tube is coated with heat shield powder. It helps to block hot engine air, which ensures longevity.

Therefore, its dry-flow air filter requires no oil to operate. So, you don’t need to hassle to clean the filter. Above all, the air filter is washable and reusable. In return, you can use the single filter years to come with minimum maintenance.

Pros
  • Simple to install
  • Make a badass sound
  • Improve throttle response and overall performance
  • Made of long-lasting material and comes with a great finish
Cons
  • You need to take out the entire assembly to clean the air filter

4. AEM 21-8128DC Cold Air Intake System

Powder coated finish
Offer lifetime limited warranties
Specially designed for Ford F150 EcoBoost models
No need to clean the air filter until your
drive up to 100k miles

Are you looking forward to modifying your Ford F150 Ecoboost models to gain extra power and torque? Then, AEM 21-8128DC Cold Air Intake will be the perfect modification for your car.

Due to the oversize air filter, a massive amount of air enters the system through the filter to your car engine. Plus, its aero-dynamic intake tube directs the airflow into the engine to increase horsepower for gaining peak performance.

For protecting the air filter from the heat coming from the engine, it has a heat shield. The heat shield doesn’t only protect the intake from air temperature but also keeps the air cool. In return, it takes a bit of contribution to increasing horsepower.

Now, let’s focus on the air intake construction. The intake tube is made with mandrel-bent aluminum to resist corrosion. On top of this, its tube is coated with gunmetal gray powder to protect the CAI by blocking hot engine air.

Easy installation is a game-changing feature of this air intake. It comes with clear instructions and requires only a few basic tools to install the CAI into your car.

Pros
  • Excellent made and fitment
  • Washable and reusable air filter
  • Include every part for effortless installation
Cons
  • It takes a bit of elbow grease to pull the air sensor out of the stock tube

5. AEM 21-818C Cold Air Intake

Reusable oil-free filter
Increased horsepower
Low restriction aluminum tubing
Tuned and dyno-tested to improve
acceleration and engine sound

Get yourself ready to modify your Nissan Sentra with the AEM 21-818C Cold Air Intake! It helps to boost up horsepower, increase throttle response, and let your car make a badass sound.

Its oversized air filter draws more air to get into your car engine. As a result, your thirsty car engine that chokes because of lack of air, satisfies its hunger with cold air to regain its power. Now, you don’t need to be concerned about a long drive as it will provide the horsepower and torque for smooth riding.

Turns out, this CAI will also help to make your car make a growling sound. You can hear the sound of airflow that enters into your intake- when you rev the car up and release the throttle.

Now, it’s time to take a look at what materials the air intake uses for construction. The CAI tube is made of mandrel-bent aluminum to resist corrosion. On the other hand, the tube is covered with gunmetal gray powder. As a result, hot air from your car engine fails to damage the air intake, which ensures longevity.

Low maintenance requires, which is an upside of the CAI system. The air filter of this air intake is made with oil-free, synthetic media. In return, you don’t need to clean it until you drive your car up to 100000 miles.

Pros
  • Easy to clean
  • Made of high-quality and durable material to ensure longevity
  • Come with clear instructions and include every part for easy installation
Cons
  • It takes a lot of time to install the air intake

6. AEM (21-728C) Cold Air Intake

Great filtration
Increases power and torque
Feature dry flow synthetic air filter to ensure superior filtration
Relocates air filter outside the engine compartment to feed your engine with cool air

Every AEM Cold Air Intake System is specially designed to generate extra horsepower and torque. And the 21-728C CAI from AEM is not an exception to that. This air intake draws more air into the intake system to offer better performance.

To ensure optimum performance, this CAI places the air filter outside the engine compartment technically. As a result, your car engine gets cool air to satisfy its thirst. You know cooler air carries dense oxygen, resulting in a more intense explosion in the combustion chamber. Guess what- you will get more horsepower and torque for a smooth ride.

Therefore, its oversized air filter also draws more air into your car engine to improve performance. On top of this, it also increases the throttle response.

Ease of installation is an excellent feature of this CAI. It includes every part like the air filter, intake tube, clamps, and other accessories for complete installation. Above this, you need only some commonly used tools to install the air intake.

Lastly, let’s know what construction material the CAI uses. It is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum. In return, this air intake lasts for a long time.

Pros
  • Improve horsepower and throttle response
  • Include every attachment for easy installation
  • Made from high-quality hardware to ensure durability
Cons
  • Though it is easy to install, the instructions are not friendly enough.

7. AEM 21-855C Cold Air Intake

Convenient to install
Reusable oil-free filter
Washable and reusable air filter
Air filter lasts up to 100000 miles before cleaning is required

At number 7, we enlisted AEM 21-855C Cold Air Intake System for its ability to improve the overall performance of your car. Compared to the factory airbox, this CAI system draws more air into your engine to let it take a deep breath.

Unlike other air intake systems from AEM, it has a unique heat shield with edge trim lining. Due to this unique design, it can resist more heat compared to other CAI systems and keep the air intake cool. Above this, the air intake tube uses mandrel-bent aluminum as the construction material. So, you can use the CAI system for years to come as it can withstand corrosion.

The best feature we spot out of the air intake is- its low restriction aluminum tubing. Because of it, air can enter through the tube to your car engine freely to improve performance by boosting up HP and torque.

Apart from these, we love its cone-shaped dry-flow air filter. It is made with oil-free, synthetic media. By dint of the feature, you don’t need to clean the air filter until you drive your car up to 100k miles.

Pros
  • Easy to clean
  • Convenient to install
  • Washable and reusable air filter
  • Provide extra power and sound you need
Cons
  • It would be best if the top of the unit is a bit buoyant.

What to Look Before Buying AEM Cold Air Intake

Consider the following criteria before going for one from this list to choose the right CAI for your car.

Check Compatibility

Not all air intake systems are compatible with your car. Each of the cold air intakes is designed to fit specific vehicles. So, it is a must to check your car’s model, make, and year. Otherwise, you may end your buying session by picking the wrong one.

Air Filter & its Size

For cold air intake, the air filter is an important part. Because of the filter, air enters through your car engine and gains the horsepower & torque you need for smooth riding. Therefore, the filter also filters air and prevents dirt & pollen from reaching the engine. Ensure the air intake you will pick comes with an oversized air filter as it draws more cool air to boost up HP.

Construction material

What built-in material an air intake uses matters a lot. The longevity of your air intake depends on the construction element. We recommend you pick a CAI that uses mandrel-bent aluminum as it can withstand corrosion. Also, make sure the intake tube is covered with a heat-shield powder to resist air temperature.

Ease of cleaning

The air filter of the CAI requires you to clean it regularly to let your air intake system function properly. In this case, you should choose a washable & reusable air filter. You can clean the filter with water to suck away dirt & debris. The best part of AEM air intake systems is- you don’t need to clean the air filter until you drive up to 100k miles. Indeed, cleaning the air filter is not only simple but also requires a minimum maintenance workflow.

Easy Installation

Nonetheless, choose an air intake that comes with every attachment like from air filter to clamps. Plus, ensure the air intake system includes an instruction to complete installation workflow with ease.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is AEM a good cold air intake?

Ans: Undoubtedly, yes. Its oversized air filter draws cooler air into the engine to produce more horsepower & torque you need for a long drive.

How much horsepower does AEM cold air intake add?

Ans: Typically, it depends on the air intake models that come from AEM. For example, the AEM 21-478WR Wrinkle Red Cold Air Intake System produces a max of 36 horsepower. In contrast, AEM 21-485R generates 8.4hp.

Is AEM a good brand?

Ans: Yes, it is a good brand with good products. The company designs high-quality air intake systems with premium quality material.

Can you clean the AEM air filter?

Ans: Yes, you can clean AER air filters as they are washable and you can wash away dirt & debris with water

Conclusion

From the above guide on AEM Cold Air Intake Reviews, we elaborated every ins and out of the CAI system from AEM. Each of them is recommended to put under the hood of your car.

However, AEM 21-485R Red Cold Air Intake System will be best if you want to increase horsepower and throttle response.

You can choose AEM 21-748C Cold Air Intake System if you look for a CAI for Honda Fit models.

On the other hand, AEM 21-8128DC Cold Air Intake System will not be the wrong choice for boosting up the performance of F150.

Nonetheless, AEM 21-818C Cold Air Intake System is just designed to improve the performance of your Nissan Sentra.

Therefore, you can also go for the other three air intake systems to gain the max horsepower. To conclude, we want to make you careful saying that- before choosing an air intake consider the car’s model, make, and year.

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Brian Hazel

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Hazel (Automotive Enthusiast)

I am a professional auto repair & automotive enthusiast currently living in USA. My interests range from all types of vehicle maintains & repairing.

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