Best Cold Air Intake for 6.0 Powerstroke

Replacing the factory installed air intake is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase and improve your 2003-2007 6.0L Powerstroke diesel engine. There are, however, so many cold air intake systems on the market that choosing the best one can be difficult and confusing. The purpose of this review will be to help you to determine which after market cold air intake may be the best to install your vehicle.

Best Cold Air Intake for 6.0 Cummins – Top Picks:

K&N 57-2546-1aFe Power Magnum
FORCE 54-30392
Spectre Performance
aFe Power Magnum
FORCE 51-30392
Sinister Diesel
OEM Part Number57-2546-154-30392997351-30392AI38006SD-CAI-6.0
Torque Increase23.83 ft. lbs. of torque39 ft. lbs. of torqueNo data39 ft. lbs. of torqueNo dataNo data
Horsepower increase15.53 HP9 HP10 HP9 HPNo dataNo data
Airflow increaseup to 50%31%up to 50%31%64%No data
Filter TypeWashable and reusableWashable and reusableWashable and reusableWashable and reusableNo dataDry
Vehicle applications year2003-20072003-20072003-20072003-20072003-20072003-2007
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Important Cold Air Intakes Benefits

Improved In Airflow – After market air intake systems collect air from outside the engine compartment, allowing the engine to breathe better. Locating the filter near the upper wheel well provides a better, unrestricted airflow than the factory-installed system.
Best Cold Air Intake for Improved Airflow: SUPERFASTRACING AI38006 Air Intake Kit

Improvements In Fuel Economy – Because cooler air contains a higher percentage of oxygen, fuel economy will be increased. That will result in a more fuel-efficient burn, increasing overall fuel economy.
Best Cold Air Intake for Improvements in Fuel Economy: aFe Power Magnum FORCE 51-30392 Performance Intake System

Improved Engine Roar – A more aggressive roar will be heard when a cold air intake system is installed. Some systems are quieter than others, so you must take that into account when you make your choice of systems. Are you after that really throaty roar or do you want a softer, muffled rumble.
Best Cold Air Intake for Improved Engine Roar: Spectre Performance 9973 Air Intake Kit

Increased Throttle Response – Cold air intake systems can improve horsepower anywhere from 7-18 HP. With more horsepower available, the engine will provide a better throttle response and an increased acceleration potential when you step on the gas.
Best Cold Air Intake for Increased Throttle Response: Sinister Diesel SINSDCAI160

K&N 57-2546-1 Cold Air Intake Kit

K&N 57-2546-1

The K&N 57-2546 is guaranteed to provide a horsepower gain of over 15 HP. And it has been dyno-tested to improve airflow up to 50% more than the factory system. K&N, the official air filter of NASCAR, has been crafting automotive applications for 35 years and backs their cold air intake systems with a limited 10-year, million-mile warranty.

If you use your vehicle for towing, you will feel an immediate improvement in towing ability and uphill performance. With no filter cleaning required for up to 100,000 miles, you will save money on filter replacement. Installation is easy and the system can be installed in one hour or less with no special tools required.


  • Legal in all 50 states (CARB E.O # D-269-34)
  • Made in America
  • No ECU tuning required
  • Filter is washable and reusable


  • Many drivers report no improvement in fuel mileage
  • Installation instructions can be confusing

aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-30392

aFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-30392

Performance Intake System
The aFe Power Magnum FORCE easily outperforms the factory system. The 31% increase in airflow provides increased torque and horsepower. The heat-resistant molded plastic intake tube keeps the air cooler as it enters the combustion chamber.

The power Magnum FORCE comes with your choice of a dry, 3-layered filter, or an oiled, 5-layer filter, both of which are washable and reusable. The system is legal in all 50 states. Installation is pretty straight forward, other than the fact that attaching the boot to the intake pipe can be difficult.


  • One-piece powder-coated heat shield
  • Horsepower increase of 9HP
  • Increases airflow by 31%
  • 6% efficiency rating
  • 50-State Legal (CARB E. O # D-550-4)


  • Filter boot difficult to install

Spectre Performance 9973 Air Intake Kit

Spectre Performance 9973

Spectre has made this system extremely easy to install with detailed instructions (including photos) and the installation can be achieved in 60 minutes or less. The powder-coated heat shield ensures that air remains cooler as it is directed into the engine’s combustion chamber.

The system has been dyno-tested to provide up to 50% better airflow than the OEM system. Increased airflow improves throttle response and better towing power. It comes with an oiled, red, non-woven filter that requires no cleaning for up to 100,000 miles and will not void the manufacture’s vehicle warranty. The Spectre 9937 is not legal in California and other states that adhere to California emission standards.


  • Polished aluminum tubing
  • Powder-coated heat shield
  • Quality mounting hardware included
  • Reduces turbo lag while increasing sound


  • Not CARB legal
  • Buyer complaints about installation hardware quality



Intended for off road use only, the SUPERFASTRACING air intake kit is not for everyday driving. It improves airflow by up to 64%, which results in better throttle response, better MPG, and more torque.

Its polished red tubing and filter look great under the hood. Because it is crafted from stainless steel and billet aluminum, it is ensured to be of high quality and will provide long-lasting performance. Installation is tricky in that everything doesn’t always fit perfectly and may require a more experienced installer.


  • Constructed of stainless steel and billet aluminum
  • 4-inch silicone filter
  • 64% improvement in airflow
  • Has been pressure tested against leaks


  • May require professional installation assistance
  • Strictly for race use only
  • Does not include MAF sensors

aFe Power Magnum FORCE 51-30392 Performance Intake System

aFe Power Magnum FORCE 51-30392

The Magnum FORCE will increase the factory-designed airflow by 31% and provide a horsepower increase of 9 HP. The heat shield is one piece, 16 gauge powder-coated housing that mounts using the stock mounting locations. The intake tube is constructed of 100% polyurethane for long life performance.

It comes with a 3-layer non-oiled filter or an optional oiled 5-layered filter. The filter is washable synthetic media and is reusable, saving you money on filter replacement.


  • 50 state legal (CARB E.O # D-550-4)
  • Heat insulated plastic intake tube
  • Easy Installation in under one hour


  • Screws for airflow sensor will not tighten completely

Sinister Diesel SINSDCAI160

Sinister Diesel SINSDCAI160

Performance is the name of the game and with this Sinister Diesel cold air intake you will feel an immediate improvement in your 6.0 Powerstroke engine. It has a mandrel bent aluminum, powder-coated Sinister’s Signature Blue with an oversized cotton media filter that is washable and reusable. The Sinister intake will significantly improve throttle response and turbo spool-up.

Many drivers are concerned that a metal intake tube will result in the air being warmed as the metal becomes heated. The fact is that although Sinister’s aluminum tube will conduct heat better because it is metal, it will also dissipate that heat quicker than a plastic tube that takes more time to release built-up heat (known as heat soak). It is an easy install, looks great under the hood, and makes that awesome engine sound you are hoping for.


  • 50-state legal (CARB E. O # D-721-1)
  • Beautiful blue powder-coated tube
  • Easy drop-in installation
  • Improved throttle response and turbo spool-up


  • May require a slight modification to hose connection

Our Choice of the Best CAI System

The Sinister Diesel SINSDCAI160 is our choice of the best cold air intake system for a 6.0L Powerstroke engine. Sinister uses quality construction for long-lasting performance and nothing beats the look of that Sinister blue color under the hood. And the fact that this system is legal in all 50 states makes a great choice no matter what part of the country you live in.