Best Jeep Wrangler Cold Air Intakes – 2021 Round-up

Cory
| Last Updated: December 19, 2020

Investing in a high-quality cold air intake will ensure your Jeep’s combustion system is running at its best, which will improve your vehicle’s overall performance and increase fuel efficiency.

To help you get the most from your Jeep, we will be reviewing the best cold air intakes available for Wranglers in 2020.

Our Top Picks for Jeep Wrangler Cold Air Intakes

  • Improved response
  • Strong output
  • Easy to install
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  • Easy to install
  • Improved intake
  • Easy to clean
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  • Best for the Money
  • Improved performance
  • Easy to install
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Comparison of the Best Jeep Wrangler Cold Air Intakes

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Will drastically improve throttle response
  • It will improve torque as well as horsepower output
  • Very easy to install on Jeep Wrangler
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  • Easy and quick installation with one-piece housing
  • Will improve the factory intake by up to 47 percent
  • 7-layerd media can be removed and washed
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  • Best for the Money
  • Superior gain in acceleration and horsepower
  • Quite easy to install on your vehicle
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  • Best Cold Air Intake For Jeep JK
  • Comes with 10 Years limited warranty included
  • Protect engine from harmful contaminants
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  • Best Jeep TJ Cold Air Intake
  • Guaranteed improve of overall engine power
  • Comes with 10 Years limited warranty included
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  • Best Mopar Cold Air Intake Jeep Wrangler
  • Quick and easy bolt-on installation option
  • Improves engine performance in different conditions
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What is a Cold Air Intake? What Does a Cold Air Intake Do?

Cold air intakes help your engine generate more horsepower. They are relatively simple, inexpensive modifications. Since the air drawn through a stock air intake pipe tends to be dirty, it needs a filter. This filter can drown out some of the engine noise, which is why some Jeep owners that enjoy hearing the sound of their engine roar will install a cold air intake.

How Does a Cold Air Intake Work? 

Cold air intakes move the vehicle’s air filter outside of the engine compartment, drawing cooler air into the engine for combustion. Cooler air holds more oxygen with it, which means your engine will produce more power.

What Should I Look For When Buying a Cold Air Intake? 

There are several factors you should consider when choosing a cold air intake for your Jeep Wrangler. As with any aftermarket part, you will want to keep an eye on design, durability, material, cost, and, of course, compatibility with your particular vehicle.

Vehicle Compatibility

Cold air intakes fit specific types of engines, which means you have to find one that is compatible with your make, model, and year.

Material

Since cold air intakes control the temperature of the air entering your engine, you will want to find one that uses high quality, heat-resistant materials.

Durability

You want to make sure your new cold air intake will last, which is why it is essential to choose one that is weather and moisture resistant. The last thing you want is corrosion or for your air intake system to draw water into your engine.

Affordability

As with any aftermarket auto part, cold air intake systems are available at a wide range of prices. Make sure you are choosing a quality product that also fits your budget. Cold air intakes can help with performance, but they are not necessary for engine function, so you shouldn’t blow your car maintenance budget on buying one.

Quick Take - Best Jeep Wrangler Cold Air Intakes

Before you get too far, here's a quick take of the best Jeep Wrangler cold air intakes:

  1. RedRock J100284
  2. AFe Power 75-76204
  3. Airaid 310-360

Review of the Best Jeep Wrangler Cold Air Intakes 

To help you choose the best cold air intake for your Jeep Wrangler, we have reviewed 6 of our favorites, starting with our top overall pick.

Best Overall:
RedRock J100284

Red Rock Cold Air Intake Kit in Black High Flow Filter Fits Jeep Wrangler JK 2007-2011 3.8L

PROS

  • Uses a money-saving reusable conical air filter
  • Simple installation that requires no drilling or cutting
  • Does not require a computer engine re-tune after installation
  • Designed to give your Jeep improved horsepower and torque
  • Durable aluminum construction with protective wrinkled black coating

CONS

  • Instruction manual lacks detail
  • Black finish on the aluminum intake tube is susceptible to scratching

What Recent Buyers Report

Some recent buyers report a noticeable difference in fuel efficiency after installing the Red Rock Cold Air Intake. While some buyers noticed a difference in horsepower, most were just impressed by how much meaner their Wrangler sounded after installation. 

There were quite a few complaints about the somewhat vague instruction manual, but installation is straightforward enough that it is not a significant issue.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason why we recommend this cold air intake as our best overall is because it offers a noticeable improvement in performance at a low price. This product is a stellar upgrade for the price and a top choice for any Jeep enthusiast that would like their Wrangler to produce a louder and more aggressive sound when they fire it up.

We appreciated the overall build quality and also liked how straightforward the installation process is. The fact that you can improve horsepower, torque, and fuel efficiency with a simple upgrade is fantastic.

Another feature we liked is the reusable air filter, which is both economical and environmentally friendly. 

Bottom Line

This cold air intake presents a combination of affordability and quality. It is our top recommendation because it performs exactly as well as Red Rock 4x4 advertises it will.

aFe Power Momentum GT 75-76204 Jeep Wrangler (JK) Performance Intake System (Oiled, 7-Layer Filter)

PROS

  • Noticeably improves throttle response
  • Improves factory air intake by up to 47%
  • 7 layer performance air filter provides a high level of engine protection
  • One-piece sealed housing with a unique filter for straightforward installation 
  • Stainless steel T-bolt clamp and urethane coupler for added strength and durability

CONS

  • Fairly expensive 
  • Greatly increases engine noise, which can be good or bad depending on personal preference

What Recent Buyers Report

Although this intake system is expensive, most buyers find it is a good value given the overall performance enhancements it offers. Buyers saw noticeable gains in horsepower and fuel efficiency, which is what AFe Power claims its product will do.

The one issue was a significant increase in engine noise after installation; however, some buyers prefer a more noticeable engine growl.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The reason why this air intake system was our runner up is that it increases performance and protects engines by thoroughly filtering dust and debris from the air. It presents a significant performance upgrade over the stock Jeep Wrangler air intake system.

While it is expensive, the cost is relative. If you value increased horsepower and torque, the investment could be well worth it for you. We also really liked the overall appearance of this intake system. The matte black casing matches most Jeeps and will not look out of place.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a noticeable increase in torque and horsepower and have the money to spend on a higher-end part, this air intake system from AFe Power might be just what you are looking for.

Best for the Money:
Airaid 310-360

Airaid Cold Air Inatke System: Increased Horsepower, Superior Filtration: 2018-2020 JEEP (Gladiator, Wrangler JL) AIR-310-360

PROS

  • Low cost
  • Easily installed without specialized tools
  • Includes a high airflow, washable and reusable premium air filter
  • Offers improved horsepower and acceleration over the stock system
  • Air intake tube constructed of high-density, cross-linked polyethylene for exceptional durability 

CONS

  • Difficult to remove the filter for cleaning
  • Increases cabin noise during acceleration 

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers appreciated how easy it was to install this air intake system. Some were put off by the increased cabin noise, but others preferred the noticeable engine noise.

Given the low upfront cost, most buyers were impressed that they experienced noticeable performance improvements.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Given that we chose this air intake system as our most budget-friendly cold air intake, it is no surprise that the low cost was the first thing that stood out to us. More often than not, when you purchase a low-cost auto-upgrade, you expect the performance improvements to be hardly noticeable; however, with this air intake system, you get a decent level of horsepower increase and throttle response.

While cleaning the filter can be a little difficult, it could be worth the hassle if you are shopping for a cold air intake on a bit of a budget.

Bottom Line

This air intake system will upgrade your stock Jeep Wrangler set up without breaking the bank. It presents an impressive level of performance improvement at a relatively low price.

Best Cold Air Intake For Jeep JK:
K&N Cold Air Intake Kit 63-1566

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: High Performance, Guaranteed to Increase Horsepower: Fits 2012-2018 Jeep (Wrangler, Wrangler JK) 3.6L V6,63-1566

PROS

  • Easy bolt-on installation
  • Guaranteed increase in horsepower
  • Impressive 10 years/million-mile limited warranty
  • Filter only needs to be cleaned after 100,000 miles
  • 50% increase in airflow over the factory air filter and intake tube

CONS

  • Instruction manual lacks detail
  • Packaging is flimsy and unimpressive

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers were impressed with how easy it is to install this cold air intake kit in the Jeep Wrangler JK. Even buyers with little mechanical experience can install this kit without needing to buy advanced or specialized tools. However, they were left unimpressed by the vague and poorly written instruction manual, which required them to turn to YouTube for installation help.

Most buyers also reported noticeable improvements in acceleration speed and horsepower.

Why it Stands Out to Us

We liked that this was a no-nonsense air intake replacement for the Jeep JK that offered improved performance at a reasonable price. The fact that K&N offers a 10-year warranty and guarantees horsepower improvements is also a nice touch.

While the increase in noise might not be for everyone, we enjoy the more noticeable engine sounds. We also liked the idea of the state of the art air filtration system, which uses layered and oiled cotton to protect your engine from contaminants. 

Bottom Line

This cold air intake kit is perfect for Jeep Wrangler JK owners that are looking for horsepower improvements and don’t mind a louder engine. It is well made and backed with an impressive 10-year warranty, so you can feel confident that it will last. 

Best Jeep TJ Cold Air Intake:
K&N Cold Air Intake Kit 57-1514-1

K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: High Performance, Guaranteed to Increase Horsepower: 50-State Legal: Fits 1997-2006 Jeep (Wrangler, TJ) 4.0L V6, 57-1514-1

PROS

  • Engineered to fit the Jeep Wrangler TJ
  • Impressive 10 years/million-mile limited warranty 
  • Filter only needs to be cleaned after 100,000 miles
  • Guaranteed increase in horsepower and acceleration
  • 50% increase in airflow over the factory air filter and intake tube

CONS

  • Poorly packaged
  • Vague instruction manual 

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers enjoy the straightforward installation and noticeable improvement in engine performance. While the instruction manual was vague and suffered from blurry and unclear photographs, the installation process was easy enough that most buyers could do the installation themselves.

As is the case with most air intake modifications, some buyers did not like the increase in engine noise, while others enjoyed the more pronounced sound.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The first thing that caught our eye about this cold air intake is the fact that K&N guarantees that it will increase horsepower and acceleration. We also liked that they do not take a one-size-fits-all approach to design parts and instead engineer them to the exact specifications of particular makes and models.

We also liked that the built-in air filter is both washable and reusable and only needs to be replaced after 100,000 miles. The fact K&N backed the entire air intake kit with a million-mile warranty is also great peace of mind.

Bottom Line

This cold air intake is a reasonably high-quality kit designed for use with the Jeep Wrangler TJ. If you own a TJ and you are looking for an affordable way to increase horsepower, this is a great place to start.

Best Mopar Cold Air Intake Jeep Wrangler:
Mopar 77070052

Mopar 77070052 Cold Air Intake

PROS

  • Easy bolt-on installation
  • Removable and washable air filter
  • Designed to increase fuel efficiency
  • Noticeably increases horsepower and torque
  • Sleek overall appearance and highly visible iconic Mopar logo look great under the hood

CONS

  • Fairly expensive
  • Poor instructions 

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers first noticed that this cold air intake system improved the look and sound of their Jeep; however, the changes were not just surface level. Buyers were also happy to report improved fuel efficiency and a noticeable difference in horsepower. There were quite a few complaints about the low quality of the installation instructions, but most people were able to find directions on YouTube.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Mopar has an outstanding reputation for building high-quality automotive parts, so we already had high expectations when we looked into this cold air intake. Luckily, we were not disappointed. The build quality is impressive, as is the increased performance it can provide.

We liked the appearance of this air intake and the straightforward installation process. Although Mopar parts tend to be expensive, you usually get what you pay for in the form of durability and performance.

Bottom Line

If you have a larger budget and you can afford a more expensive cold air intake from Mopar, we highly recommend making that investment. It works as described and is easy to install.

Cold Air Intake Pros and Cons 

If you're still on the fence about whether you need a cold air intake for your Jeep, here are some pros and cons to consider: 

Cold Air Intake Advantages

  1. They can improve throttle response over stock air intakes.

  2. They can increase total horsepower due to the conduciveness of cooler air for fuel-burning.

  3. They can offer mileage improvements by making sure the vehicle’s fuel burns more efficiently.

  4. The washable and reusable filters save you money because they do not need to be replaced every 15,000 miles like a standard filter.

  5. They can extend the overall lifespan of some engine parts by ensuring that the engine operates at a cooler temperature. The superior filters in cold air intakes are also beneficial, as it cuts down on the number of particles and contaminants that enter the engine.

Cold Air Intake Disadvantages

  1. Due to their curved design, cold air intakes can crowd your engine compartment and make it more difficult to add other aftermarket parts.

  2. Cold air intakes can make your engine sound much louder. While some people enjoy the more aggressive engine noises, others find it annoying.

Comparison Overview 

To help you decide if a cold air intake is right for you Wrangler, let’s take a look at some direct comparisons:

Cold Air Intake vs Stock

Cold air intakes add horsepower and improve gas mileage by forcing colder, denser air into the engine than you would get with a stock system.

Cold Air Intake vs Air Filter

Cold air intakes relocate the air intake outside of the engine, which draws in cooler air than you would get with just an air filter. Most cold air intakes also feature their air filter, so with either setup, the air entering the engine has been filtered.

Cheap Cold Air Intake vs Expensive

While cost is not always the deciding factor, expensive cold air intakes use more durable materials than those that are cheaper. You also usually get a higher quality air filter with a more expensive cold air intake system.

Dual Cold Air Intake vs Single

Dual cold air intakes are less restrictive than single cold air intakes. They draw more air into the engine at a faster rate, which can help with combustion and overall performance.

Cold Air Intake vs Turbo

A turbocharger is a turbine-driven, forced induction device that increases engine efficiency by forcing extra air into the combustion chamber, where a cold air intake simply draws colder air into the engine from outside. While both increase performance, cold air intakes tend to be more affordable and less complicated to install.

How to Install a Cold Air Intake  

First, you need to make sure your cold air intake is compatible with your Jeep. Wait until the engine is completely cooled down, and then unplug the battery. 

Make sure your vehicle is parked securely, and you are in a location that has plenty of space for you to maneuver around the Jeep. It is also a good idea to choose a well-lit place, so you have a clear view of what you're doing.

Locate and remove the original air intake before following the manufacturer’s instructions to install your new cold air intake.

Make sure your new cold air intake is attached correctly before reconnecting your battery. Once the battery is connected, you can test drive your vehicle and make sure everything is running as it should be.

Each cold air intake varies, which is why it is so critical to carefully read the exact instructions for your particular cold air intake.

If you do not feel comfortable installing it yourself, you can always bring your vehicle and a new intake system to a professional garage.

How to Clean a Cold Air Intake 

Most cold air intakes feature removable and washable air filters, which is one of the reasons why many people install them in the first place.

1. To clean your air filter, you first need to remove it from the intake system. This step usually involves using a screwdriver to loosen and remove the air filter mounting band.

2. You can use a simple solution of dish detergent and water. Mix a few drops of dish soap with about a gallon of warm water. Soak the filter in the mixture for about 15 minutes before shaking it dry. Dump out the original solution and mix another batch.

3. Soak the filter for another 15 minutes. Shake it dry once again, and then lightly spray the filter with the appropriate oil, which will protect it against corrosion and help trap dirt and debris.

4. After it has completely dried, remount it into your cold air intake system.

5. You should always consult your original manufacturer’s instructions before you begin cleaning your filter.

Be sure to watch the video below for a full overview of how to clean your cold air intake:

Conclusion 

Now that you know a little more about cold air intakes for your Jeep, we hope you're able to find one that works for you.

People Also Ask

If you still have some questions about cold air intakes, don’t worry. Here are some answers to the most common questions people have while shopping.

How Much HP Does a Cold Air Intake Add?

The specific number will vary depending on the product and vehicle, but usually, people note improvements around the 25HP mark.

What Does a Cold Air Intake Do to Gas Mileage?

Cold air intakes improve overall engine efficiency, which improves gas mileage by making sure the fuel burns as efficiently as possible.

How Much is a Cold Air Intake?

Prices vary depending on the brand and model of the air intake, but you can usually find a high-quality air intake for around $300.

Cory

Cory epitomizes the 'function over form' debate. His XJ Cherokee has taken many a beating due to his lust for climbing the tallest ledges he can find and is armored to the max. Welded on sliders, tube fenders, and no bumpers allow him to achieve some pretty crazy approaches. We regularly tease him that there's more rust than paint on his rig, but that’s his style. Cory's favorite new mod is a larger winch he bought off a buddy after his Smitty cooked itself, trying to yank his buddy out of a ravine.