Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. At no cost to you, I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins

Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins

If you want to boost your 5.9 Cummins engine’s power and quality, installing a cold air intake might be one of the simplest and most cost-effective upgrades you can make to your vehicle. Cold air intakes can help force cooler and denser air into the engine, resulting in better Torque, fuel economy, and sound characteristics.

But with so many available options, finding the best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins can seem overwhelming. Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! We’ve reviewed some top picks and narrowed them down to help you make an informed decision.

After all, the 5.9 Cummins engine is known for being a beast. But even the mightiest beasts can benefit from minor tweaks to breathe a bit easier. Let’s explore which cold air intakes are best suited for powering up your 5.9 Cummins!

Top 7 Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins

*Note: Score is based on our AI score (Editor’s choice and rating)

1) Banks 42766 Monster Ram Intake System with Boost Tube

The Banks system is a reliable solution to maintain your engine’s top performance. Not only will it decrease smoke and enhance fuel mileage, but the 42766 Monster Ram Intake also efficiently cools down your engine, a must when driving for hours.

In addition to the cooling effect, the turbo spools up faster, eliminating any lag and providing an uninterrupted, adrenaline-filled driving experience. Plus, with a 5-year warranty, you can be confident in your investment.

Key Features: 

  • The Brand is Banks
  • The Item Dimensions LxWxH is 26 x 19 x 14.5 inches
  • The OEM Part Number is 42766


  • It provides excellent cooling effects
  • Extremely durable for long-lasting use
  • Allows the turbo to spool up faster, improving overall engine performance
  • Delivers 56% better airflow than other systems
  • Compliant with CARB regulations for emissions control


  • Plugs and other hardware may be of lower quality
  • Installation may be slightly more difficult compared to other systems
  • Rough castings may affect the overall appearance
  • Not as effective at cooling as some other systems on the market

2) K&N Cold Air Intake Kit

Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins (2)
Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins (2)

Rev up your engine’s performance with the K&N Cold Air Intake Kit! This high-quality system will increase horsepower and Torque for a more powerful driving experience. Our dyno-tested air intake kit provides an estimated 11HP increase and up to 20 ft. lbs. of Torque and includes improved throttle response and greater airflow for better towing performance. Your engine will roar as it should with K&N’s air intake systems, giving you that growl on acceleration without compromising safety or reliability. Plus, featuring K&N’s signature reusable air filter made up of 6 layers of pleated cotton with red filter oil, you can rest assured knowing pollutants are being kept out for up to 100,000 miles under normal highway driving conditions.

Key Features:

  • The Brand is K&N
  • The Item Dimensions LxWxH is 22 x 14 x 12 inches
  • The OEM Part Number is 57-1532


  • Capable of increasing power by 10.96 HP
  • Offers a 100k mile lifespan for long-lasting use
  • Features a washable air filter for easy maintenance
  • It contains HDPE tubing for added durability
  • Compliant with CARB regulations for emissions control
  • Includes a solid heat shield for improved heat management


  • Generates more noise compared to most other systems on the market
  • Designed primarily for use with stock engines

3) aFe Stage 2 Pro-5R Cold Air Intake System Dodge Ram 5.9L/6.7L Cummins 03-08

aFe is a newer company, founded in 1999, that has hit the 20-year mark. In a rare deviation from other reviewed companies, aFe’s main focus isn’t on air and intake products; instead, they aim for the performance market. They offer many aftermarket parts and kits engineered to enhance your vehicle’s power and performance. With a customer-centric approach and dedication to the highest quality, life quickly makes a mark in the industry.

Key Features:

  • The Brand is AFe
  • The Item Dimensions LxWxH is 23 x 16 x 13 inches
  • The OEM Part Number is 54-11342-1


  • Capable of increasing power by 14 H.P.
  • Can add up to 27 lbs of Torque for improved engine performance
  • Increases airflow by 105 percent, providing significant gains
  • Features high-temp silicone couplings for added durability and heat resistance
  • Includes a solid heat shield for improved heat management
  • It comes with a Pro 5R filter for superior filtration


  • Considered a more expensive cold air intake compared to some other options on the market
  • It comes with an oiled filter that requires maintenance

4) K&N Cold Air Intake Kit: Increase Acceleration & Towing Power

The K&N Cold Air Intake Kit gives your car an estimated increase of up to 9HP and 19 ft. lbs. Of Torque so that your engine can perform at its peak efficiency. With this kit, you’ll experience a guaranteed increase in horsepower & Torque with every push of the accelerator, providing improved throttle response and better acceleration when towing uphill. For added convenience, no additional tuning is required after installation.

Experience improved airflow with K&N’s signature reusable air filter, which combines six layers of pleated cotton with red filter oil to absorb dirt and dust particles so that clean air continues flowing into your engine. This air filter only needs cleaning every 100,000 miles under normal highway driving conditions, handling all life’s toughest tasks without frequent maintenance or replacement.

Plus, you’ll hear the growl as your engine comes alive- unleash the power within your vehicle with an aural experience that will have heads turning in admiration. Trust in K&N for reliable dyno testing results with each air intake system sold, optimized for maximum output while remaining safe and reliable for everyday use.

Key Features:

  • The Brand is K&N
  • The Item Dimensions LxWxH is 20 x 12 x 12 inches
  • The OEM Part Number is 57-1525

5) aFe Power Magnum FORCE 51-11342-1 Dodge Diesel Trucks 03-09 L6-5.9/6.7L

Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins (3)
Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins (3)

Experience the ultimate performance with aFe Power Magnum FORCE 51-11342-1 intake system for Dodge Diesel Trucks 03-09 L6-5.9/6.7L. This top-of-the-line performance system will revolutionize your vehicle’s power and give you improved Torque and horsepower. With 105% more airflow than what is supplied by your vehicle’s stock air intake, it’s no wonder why the aFe Power Magnum FORCE 51-11342 Intake System outshines its competitors. Packing 14 additional horsepower and 27 lbs x ft of Torque, this engine upgrade will dramatically increase horsepower and acceleration without putting a dent in your wallet or breaking any laws; it is CARB E.O. number D-550-4 certified for legal use in all 50 states! Furthermore, this system includes an easy-to-install one-piece heat shield that requires little or no assembly and a three-layer nonoiled washable synthetic media for optimal performance protection and convenience.

Key Features:

  • The Brand is AFe Power
  • The Item Type is Air Intake System
  • The Description is AIS PDS; Dodge Dsl Trucks 03-09 L6-5.9/6.7L (td)
  • The U.M. is Each
  • The Item Flag is Performance
  • Manufacturer’s Warranty covers the Warranty
  • The Box Dimension is 23 x 16 x 13 inches.
  • The Box Weight is 18 lbs.

6) Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit

The Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit is the perfect upgrade to your ride. It’s designed to give you up to 50% more airflow than your factory box air filter and intake tube, so you know it means business regarding horsepower and Torque. When you’re out with your crew or on the road for a long weekend of traveling, this kit has your back – providing improved acceleration and performance when towing, thanks to increased throttle response. Plus, no filter cleaning is required for up to 100,000 miles!

But that’s not all – you get improved engine sound under the hood with each drive, too. You’ll be able to enjoy every second of being behind the wheel knowing Spectre protects your engine from harmful debris and increases horsepower even more with its world-class protection. And installing this innovative product won’t take up much of your time either; with basic hand tools, an installation can take less than an hour.

Key Features:

  • The Brand is ‎Spectre
  • The Model is ‎AIR INTAKE KIT; DODGE RAM 1500/2500, V8-5.2/5.9L F/I, 1994-2001
  • The Item Weight is ‎13.3 pounds
  • The Product Dimensions are ‎18.3 x 16 x 12.8 inches
  • The Country of Origin is ‎the USA

7) Banks 42225 RAM Air intake System

The Banks 42225 RAM Air intake system is a superior solution for increased power and improved MPG. This system replaces the flat panel filter on your vehicle with a larger conical lifetime filter to enhance high-flow filtration. The increased airflow provided by this intake boosts performance and fuel efficiency.

The intake tube design uses sophisticated CFD software, allowing maximum volumetric efficiency. The air filter has an extra large inlet which reduces restrictions and provides colder air into your engine, resulting in lower temperatures, less smoke emitted, and improved MPG. You can get added protection from airborne pollutants with the optional pre-filter available when ordering.

This Ram-Air intake system has an impressive 5-year limited warranty that extends its service life and requires fewer upkeeps than other models while still providing maximum longevity and strength. Depending on your preferences, it also comes as either an oiled or dry (black) filter element.

Key Features:

  • The Brand is Banks
  • The Fit Type is Universal Fit
  • The OEM Part Number is 42225
  • The Fit type is Vehicle Specific
  • The Package Dimensions is 29.0 L x 54.6 H x 45.0 W (centimeters)
  • The Made in the United States
  • The Package Weight is 8.3 pounds

Best Cold Air Intake For 5.9 Cummins – Buyer’s Guide

When searching for the perfect cold air intake, navigating through the various types and benefits can be daunting. While technically, there is only one “true” standard model, a few variations exist. Understanding which is best for your truck requires a deeper look.

The three primary types of cold air intake are the standard model, the ram intake, and the short ram intake, each offering unique benefits. Although there’s no universal “best” type, certain trends tend to emerge regardless of your make and model.

Ultimately, choosing the right cold air intake boils down to several key factors that must be considered. By weighing your options against these factors, you’ll land on the perfect fit for your vehicle.

Here’s what you should look out for when selecting the best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins:

-Cold Air Intake

Cold air intakes are the go-to for anyone looking to boost their engine’s performance. Essentially, these intakes take cool air from outside the engine compartment and pump it to your engine. But how do they work exactly?

Firstly, let’s compare them to traditional stock air intakes. The cold air intake differs from the stock version in that the filter is positioned at the front of the inlet. Here, it can filter the air away from the engine and keep its temperature in check. From here, the air follows a pipe or tubing system that feeds directly into the engine.

This is where things get interesting. Because the cold air intake feeds at lower temperatures, the air is denser and has a higher oxygen concentration. In turn, this helps your engine fire better. The benefits of installing a cold air intake go beyond just performance. Many of these systems will position the filter at the very front of the vehicle, as far away from the engine as possible. This way, the air is as cool as can be.

But there’s a risk too. With the filter so exposed, it can be much more susceptible to any nasties that get tossed up on the road. To combat this, some manufacturers include a pre-filter to catch any pesky debris. This ensures the main filter stays in good condition, allowing your cold air intake to work for longer.

So, if you want to breathe new life into your engine or protect your air filter from unwanted contaminants, a cold air intake might be the way to go.

-Ram Intake

The RAM intake system is a popular aftermarket upgrade for engines, but what’s the difference between it and standard cold air intake systems? They’re similar in design, benefits, and issues in many ways. However, one of the main differences lies in the air filter’s position.

The cold air intake kit positions the air filter away from the engine, while the RAM intake system positions it at the back. The tubing arrangement of both systems pulls air from further away from the engine, but the positioning of the filter affects the air temperature. The RAM intake system uses cooler air thanks to its filter placement, whereas the cold air intake heats the air next to the engine.

However, let’s be honest: the temperature of the air doesn’t matter too much. It all depends on your engine and the customizations made to it. Some engines simply run hotter than others, meaning they may not see the full benefits of a RAM intake system.

One thing to note is that a RAM intake system doesn’t provide as cold airflow as a cold air intake system. Plus, they share the same potential issues with inlet openings that can introduce contaminants, including water. Luckily, most RAM intake system manufacturers include pre-filters to mitigate this issue. Not only does this keep out dust and debris, but it also extends the lifespan of your air filter.

-Short Ram Intake

The short ram intake is an essential part of any car enthusiast’s vocabulary as it is one of the three types of air intake. Compared to the ram intake, the short ram intake is similar but with shorter tubing. Although it might not seem significant, the length of the tubing profoundly impacts the intake’s effectiveness.

When swapping from a stock intake to a short ram intake, installation becomes much easier due to its similar positioning. The short ram intake’s compact size makes it suitable for installation in tighter areas, giving you more space to tinker. But while the short ram intake’s proximity to the engine bay provides a shorter path for air to enter the engine, it also has drawbacks.

The air temperature increases with each passing rotation, leaving the air’s oxygen concentration low. As a result, the short ram intake feeds the engine air that’s less cool and dense than cold air intake types. Even so, the short ram intake moderates airflow more than cooling it, making airflow more constant. The short tube allows for more direct airflow than the stock intake, leading to a steadier air flow with fewer twists. The result is a larger air inlet that delivers more total air to the engine.

In addition to providing steadier airflow, short ram intakes are typically less expensive than other aftermarket intake systems. So there you have it. You’ll get what you paid for with a better understanding of the benefits of a short ram intake.

4 Important Cold Air Intake Features

Upgrading your Cummins motor with a cold air intake system can provide many benefits: increased performance, better fuel economy, more power, and even some envy from fellow drivers. But what exactly can you expect from this aftermarket modification? Here are the four main reasons to make the switch.

-An Aggressive Sound

Upgrade to a good CAI system to have your Cummins engine roar like a super beast with a throaty rumble. Elevate your driving experience by adding the Best Cold Air Intake for Aggressive Sound, aFe Power Magnum FORCE 51-11342-1.

-Increased Power

Installing a cold air intake system can boost your Cummins engine’s horsepower by 5-20 units! The factory’s intake system is designed to produce the bare minimum acceleration and horsepower, as cost is the determining factor. However, with the aFe Stage 2 Pro-5R, you can increase power like never before. Get ready for better performance and an all-around, more satisfying ride!

-Fuel Economy

Given the soaring gas prices, fuel mileage has become a paramount concern, particularly when it comes to diesel fuel. Hence, even a modest improvement in MPG can significantly offset costs incurred for installing a cold air intake system. As a result of enhancing your diesel engine’s breathing capacity, you’ll easily upsurge fuel economy. To that end, consider the aFe Stage 2 Pro-5R: it’s the best cold air intake system that optimizes fuel economy for your vehicle.

-Less Maintenance

Cold air intake systems with integrated filters are commonly recommended for efficient engine performance as they prevent harmful particulates that can cause damage. The K&N 57-1532 or 57-1525 are among the best cold air intake systems, requiring fewer and further spaced cleanings or replacements (ideally between 50,000 and 100,000 miles). These filters can serve you longer, save time, and reduce maintenance costs.

5.9 Cummins Cold Air Intake Performance Benefits

The advantages of installing an upgraded intake for the 5.9 Cummins extend beyond increased horsepower and Torque. A cold air intake helps enhance airflow by a whopping 30-50% over the stock intake, drastically benefiting turbo spool time and throttle response. And if that’s not remarkable enough, installing a more advanced intake can even lead to a 1-2mpg boost in gas mileage. You’ll experience increased power, efficiency, and overall engine performance with an intake system upgrade.

Benefits of adding a cold air intake to the 5.9 Cummins include:

  • Increased horsepower gains of 5-10whp+
  • Increased torque gains of 10-20wtq+
  • Airflow increases by 30%-50%, improving overall engine performance
  • Better throttle response for improved acceleration
  • Faster turbo spooling, enhancing power delivery
  • Improved fuel efficiency with potential 1-2mpg increases
  • Cool turbo and intake noises add to the overall driving experience.

Improving engine power and performance is crucial to owning a 5.9 Cummins. But what about the impact of a cold air intake system on power gains? Well, the answer is not straightforward.

Power gains from a cold air intake can vary as it depends on what other mods you have. Hence, a completely stock 5.9 Cummins will likely see power gains on the low end of both ranges.

However, a tuned engine will experience power gains more towards the top end of the range as upgraded intakes increase the volume of air to the turbo. This is where the stock intake can become restrictive, and power gains can be better on tuned engines.

That’s not all; upgraded intakes increase horsepower and Torque at low-end power curves. Although we quoted power numbers for peak power gains, the gains are prevalent throughout the power curve, even though a stock 5.9 Cummins might show zero peak power gains.

-5.9 Cummins Cold Air Intakes vs. Other Intakes

Cold air intakes are the go-to name for upgraded intake systems, particularly among 5.9 Cummins enthusiasts. Yet, it’s not entirely accurate regarding upgraded systems for this particular engine. Typically, cold air intakes redirect the intake filter to a colder area within the engine bay, usually found at the lower front bumper area. This clever configuration aims to bring in fresher air and boost engine performance.

But wait, there’s more. Other terms used are ram air systems or performance intake systems, and the list goes on. Notably, virtually every 5.9 Cummins intake system is technically a ram air intake. Rather than focusing mainly on cooler air, ram air intakes aim to decrease restrictions and improve the flow of air, maintaining the stock air filter location.

The type or name of the intake is not as critical as the type of system – open or closed intake. Now you’re up-to-speed on intake systems for 5.9 Cummins engines and ready for informed and confident decision-making.

Open vs. Closed Intakes

When choosing an intake for your 5.9 Cummins, your decision comes down to the type: open or closed. An open intake exposes the air filter to the engine bay, while a closed intake houses the filter in a box. Even “open” intakes use heat shields to protect the air filter from engine heat.

While closed intakes pull in slightly cooler air since they aren’t directly exposed to engine heat, it doesn’t matter much. Turbo engines aren’t affected by intake air temps since the intercooler effectively cools the air before it enters the combustion chamber.

The big difference? Open intakes will increase airflow to your engine by around 20% compared to closed intakes. This translates to better performance and power gains. But bear in mind that open intakes can be noisy, with more turbo and intake induction noises than most closed intakes.

Some people opt for heat shields to shield their air filters from engine heat, but we don’t think they are necessary. While the shield might make your engine feel slightly cooler, it doesn’t make any difference.

If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, choose an open intake. We love the additional airflow and added power they provide. But, if you prefer a quieter ride, a closed intake might be a better choice.

FAQs About Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins

Does a cold air intake give more power?

Upgrading to a cold air intake can increase engine power and Torque by up to 10whp/wtq. It also enhances throttle response for improved acceleration.

Does a cold air intake improve fuel economy?

Yes, it can. Properly installed intakes reduce restrictions and improve airflow, leading to better fuel economy with potential 1-2mpg increases.

Are closed intakes or open intakes better?

Open intakes will increase airflow by around 20%, resulting in better performance and power gains. Closed intakes are quieter but do not necessarily provide the same level of improvement.

What type of filter should I buy for my 5.9 Cummins intake?

We recommend using a dry filter for your 5.9 Cummins intake, as it’s the most effective in filtration and airflow. Oiled filters are also available, but they can be difficult to clean and require regular maintenance.

Do I need a heat shield for my open intake?

No, you don’t need a heat shield for your open intake. While the shield might make your engine feel a bit cooler, it ultimately doesn’t make any difference in terms of power or performance gains.

Should I upgrade my Cummins 5.9 Intake?

We highly recommend upgrading your 5.9 Cummins intake for improved power and performance. With an upgraded intake, you’ll experience better throttle response, faster turbo spooling, enhanced power delivery, and improved fuel efficiency. Plus, you’ll enjoy the bonus of cool turbo and intake noises.

Summing It All Up Best cold air intake for 5.9 Cummins

If you’re looking to boost the power of your 5.9 Cummins engine, a cold air intake system is one of the best mods you can make. While open intakes generally yield higher performance gains, closed intakes are perfect for those who value a quiet ride.

We’ve researched and narrowed down the top cold air intake systems for your 5.9 Cummins engine. If you’re after high-quality materials, excellent airflow, and top-notch efficiency, look no further than the S&B Filters. For a big power boost, go with the aFe Stage 2. If cost is your main concern, Specter Performance delivers an excellent balance of performance and affordability. Looking for long-term value? The K&N is your best bet. And for those wanting a trusted product from a well-known company, look no further than Banks.

Although these trucks offered solid performance from the factory, today’s standards demand much more power; however, the good news is that it’s easy to extract with the right upgrades, like a cold air intake system. You’ll get improved power at the low end of the curve, increased turbo spool and throttle response, and a livelier engine overall. Modded and tuned 5.9 Cummins can see power gains above 10whp and 20wtq depending on the mods.

One big advantage of adding a cold air intake system is improved gas mileage, meaning your investment will pay for itself over time. Plus, regardless of any peak power gains, your Dodge will feel more alive, accelerate faster, tow more easily, and sound fantastic.

We’ve got you covered if you’re wondering which 5.9 Cummins intake system to choose. Let us know if you have any questions below.

Leave a Comment