Best Cold Air Intake For 6.0 Powerstrokes – 2020 Ultimate Review

While there are several different ways you can improve and enhance the performance of your vehicle, the most effective and easy way is to replace the factory-installed air intake system. This extremely simple step improves the engine’s airflow, resulting in enhanced torque and horsepower performance. Coupled with a low price tag and an easy install, cold air intakes have become some of the most popular modifications available today.

However, with so many intake systems in the market, choosing one that ideally suits your needs is no walk in the park. To help with your decision, this guide includes reviews of some of the best cold air intakes for 6.0 Powerstroke, how they work and the features to look for, among other things.

So, read on before you finalize your purchase!

Comparison Chart of the Best Cold Air Intakes For 6.0 Powerstroke

PRODUCT
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S&B Filters 75-5070 Cold Air Intake For 2003-2007 Ford Powerstroke 6.0L

  • Clear window enables users to inspect the high-performance air filter easily
  • One-piece box design is equipped with a box seal and boasts a new filter minder location
  • Tested according to the ISO 5011 standard, the S&B 75-5070 is the best overall unit on our list
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AFe Power Magnum FORCE 54-30392Performance Intake System

  • One-piece powder-coated housing uses stock mounting locations
  • Adds up to 39 lbs. x ft. torque, 9 horsepower, and a 31% flow increase
  • With a 98.6% efficiency rate, the aFe Power Magnum is the runner-up on our list
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Black Cold Air Intake Kit For 2003-2007 Ford 6.0L

  • Goes all the way to the turbo, providing the cold air your engine needs
  • CNC mandrel-bent aluminum tubes are engineered to allow maximum airflow
  • 4” aluminum construction makes this Cold Air Intake Kit the best for the money
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Spectre Performance Air Intake Kit

  • Polished aluminum tubing is used for the highest quality
  • Powder-coated heat shield reduces the amount of hot air entering the inlet
  • Comes with robust mounting clamps, a conical air filter, and a metal intake pipe
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SUPERFASTRACING Air Intake Kit

  • 4” conical silicone filter comes with a hose clamp
  • 4” mandrel-bent intake tube is fitted to attach boost gauge
  • Manufactured with CNC machines stainless steel and billet aluminum
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What Does a Cold Air Intake Do?

Vehicles are already fitted with standard intake systems, but these models are often of poor quality and become quickly clogged with debris. Using a factory-installed air intake system is similar to driving your vehicle while it’s suffering from a cold – it's breathing, but has a restricted performance. To enhance vehicle performance, a cold air intake system does the following things:

Provides Uninterrupted Airflow

Intake systems move the air filter to the outside of the engine compartment, resulting in cooler air being sucked into the vehicle’s engine for combustion. The cooler air further consists of more oxygen that increases the power produced by the engine. Since the filter is located near the upper wheel well, it ensures unrestricted airflow to the engine.

Increases Acceleration and Enhances Engine Performance

The right cold air intake system is capable of improving horsepower, adding anywhere from an extra five to twenty horsepower. The engine’s responsiveness is further improved because of the increased amount of cooler air available for combustion.

S&B Filters 75-5070 Cold Air Intake For 2003-2007 Ford Powerstroke 6.0L

Improves Fuel Economy

The increase in oxygen also improves fuel economy. A combination of fuel and oxygen power your vehicle, so the more oxygen available for combustion, the less fuel will be needed. This results in a more fuel-efficient vehicle, significantly reducing your vehicle’s running costs.

Enhances Engine Sound

As cold air is sucked into the engine, it creates a more aggressive and satisfying sound. While this sound is preferred by many car enthusiasts, you can also choose intake systems that muffle this sound if you don’t like it.

What Are the Components of a Cold Air Intake?

To better understand cold air intakes, it’s essential that you know the numerous parts it’s constructed of. Some of these components include:

Air Filter

This is arguably the most important part of every intake system, whether warm or cold air. The air filter protects the combustion chamber from dirt, dust, and other particles, preventing dull engine power, reduced fuel efficiency, and any severe damage that might be caused over time. Most models are equipped with their own specialized filters.

Tubing

The tubing in cold air intake systems suck in cold air and deliver it to the engine. It's usually designed with some of the best materials, including plastic, stainless steel, rubber, and aluminum, and usually runs through the grille of the vehicle.

Mass Flow Sensor

As the name suggests, a mass flow sensor determines the total air mass flowing through the intake system and into the engine. The sensor calculates the air mass and then calibrates the amount of air flowing into the engine to maximize performance. There are two types of mass flow sensors – hot wire and vane meter.

How Do I Choose a Cold Air Intake For a 6.0 Powerstroke?

With so many cold air intake systems available today, choosing the best one can be an extremely technical and daunting task. While these units are relatively inexpensive, there are still some things you should look out for. Some of these features include:

Heat Shield

Quality models are usually designed with a heat shield. This further insulates the intake system from the heat produced by the engine, giving you a bit more boost.

Fender Mount

Some models are innovatively designed and can be mounted to the fender, allowing cooler air into the engine. In short, intakes with a fender mount enable users to fully take advantage of cold air combustion.

Water Ingestion

If water gets inside the intake system, it can negatively affect performance and significantly damage the system. Hence, make sure you choose a model that’s designed with a bypass valve to avoid water from being ingested in the system, especially if you live in areas with regular rainfall.

Some models are also designed with a two-piece system that enables users to convert the system into a short ram intake. Once the lower portion is removed, water will not enter the system at all.

Top 3 Models - Best Cold Air Intakes For 6.0 Powerstroke

Review of the Best 6.0 Powerstroke Cold Air Intakes

As mentioned above, cold air intake systems deliver denser and cooler air into the engine, resulting in increased efficiency, power, and enhanced performance. To help narrow down the search for this bolt-on modification, here are detailed reviews of some of the best cold air intakes for 6.0 Powerstroke. So, read on before you finalize your purchase!

PROS

  • Engineered and designed to prevent check engine lights
  • Having a 99.54% efficiency rating, the unit provides 36.82% more airflow
  • Custom enclosure keeps out unwanted engine heat, providing a less restrictive airflow
  • Included step-by-step instructions make removal, installation, and maintenance extremely easy
  • Premium silicone parts have incredible tear strength, seal better, last longer, and are capable of handling temperatures as high as 400 degrees Fahrenheit

PROS

  • Does not include a grommet for the intake system indicator

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost all buyers loved the S&B and were impressed with its craftsmanship and extreme attention to detail. They stated it was incredibly easy to install and did not require any tweaking or modifications. They also praised its quality build and particularly liked the fact that the filter element could be easily removed and cleaned. However, users were disappointed with the lack of a grommet and breather hose for the intake indicator.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The S&B’s innovative design is what truly sets it apart from its competitors. Featuring a fully enclosed airbox, the filter is protected from dirt and unwanted engine heat. An oversized snorkel further sucks in more cold air, resulting in better engine performance. Moreover, the silicone lid funnel isolates engine heat, while the intake tube extends to the turbo, ensuring maximum airflow.

Who Will Use This Most

The S&B 75-5070 is street-legal in all states of the U.S. and can be used with Ford models F-350, F-250, and Excursions manufactured from 2003 to 2007.

Bottom Line 

Tested according to the ISO 15011 standard, this S&B intake system brings the engine’s airflow to the maximum. Featuring a one-piece box design and reusable and cleanable air filters, the unit is extremely easy to install and ensures an unrestricted airflow. However, the lack of a grommet might be disappointing for some.

PROS

  • 1-piece heat shield does not require any assembly
  • Powder-coated, 16-gauge heat shield keeps the air intake dense and cool
  • 100% polyurethane filter allows multiple cleaning cycles and ensures a longer life
  • 5-layer washable, oiled cotton gauze provides maximum airflow, ensuring maximum power
  • Stock intake tract is replaced with a molded, heat-insulating plastic tube, resulting in increased volumetric efficiency, improved airflow, and enhanced performance

PROS

  • Instructions are not very thorough
  • Boot for the filter is a bit difficult to connect to the intake pipe

What Recent Buyers Report

Almost all users agree that the aFe Power Magnum is an absolute hit! They found it to be easy to clean, easy to install, and noticed an increased throttle response. Buyers loved the difference in fuel mileage it brought, with one user even stating they would definitely purchase it again. While most customers loved the way it made their truck sound, though some found it to be a bit noisy.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The aFe Magnum Force outflows and outperforms the factory intake system. With 16-gauge, one-piece powder-coated heat shield, the unit improved airflow, resulting in increased torque and horsepower. It further uses heat-insulating, precision-designed intake tubes that increase volumetric efficiency for enhanced performance. Moreover, the high-flow conical air filters are washable and can be reused for multiple cleanings.

Who Will Use This Most

Since the aFe Magnum Force increases torque, throttle response, and horsepower, it is perfect for individuals searching for more power. The unit is legal in every U.S. state and is compatible with Ford Diesel Truck Excursion, F-250, F-350, F-450, and F-550 models manufactured in the years 2003 to 2007.

Bottom Line

Increasing overall power and acceleration capacity, the aFe Magnum Force gives your engine just what it needs. The air filters are reusable and cleanable, while the system can be bolted-on for a quick and easy installation. However, it might be a bit difficult to connect the boot to the intake pipe.

PROS

  • Provides excellent value for money
  • Installation is quick and easy, and only requires common tools
  • Superior silicone couplers ensure reliability, longevity, and durability
  • Powder-coated black finish provides a distinctive, clean look under your vehicle’s hood
  • Aluminum construction is capable of handling higher temperatures commonly found in all engine compartments

PROS

  • Hose clamps are of poor quality
  • Does not include any hardware for the bracket

What Recent Buyers Report

The majority of buyers who invested in this cold air intake kit were extremely satisfied with their purchase and found it to be a great upgrade for the price. They stated that it was easy to install and were impressed with the quality and design of the intake pipe. However, some customers were disappointed with the quality of the air filter.

Why it Stands Out to Us

This unit primarily stands out to us because of the excellent value for money it offers. The aluminum construction won’t crack and is able to withstand higher temperatures, ensuring durability and longevity. The bends in the aluminum tubes further maximize airflow, giving your vehicle’s engine the cold, dense air it needs.

Who Will Use This Most

This cold air intake kit by Rudy’s Diesel is designed for Ford 6.0 Powerstroke Diesel trucks, manufactured from 2003 to 2007. However, this unit is not compatible with trucks not equipped with a factory MAF sensor.

Bottom Line 

All in all, Rudy’s Diesel cold air intake kit certainly deserves a place on our list of top picks. Featuring aluminum construction and silicone couplers, the unit is extremely durable, reliable, and will surely last a long time. However, the quality of the hose clamps could be improved.

PROS

  • Provides great filtration and unrestricted airflow
  • Engineered to give the greatest torque and horsepower increase
  • Air filter is washable and reusable, saving you the cost of replacement filters
  • Mass airflow sensor enables users to fine-tune the performance of their engine
  • Air filter grabs particles and molecules on a microscopic level for a clean engine

PROS

  • Can be a bit noisy
  • Is not legal in the state of California
  • Metal box which keeps the air filter in place is a bit loose and cannot be mounted onto anything

What Recent Buyers Report

Most buyers were impressed with the performance of this Spectre model and loved its affordable price. They found it extremely simple and easy to install, with one user even stating that they completed the installation within 20 minutes. They also reported a noticeable increase in power, better MPG, and louder turbo. However, customers were disappointed with the quality of the clamps, while some found it difficult to attach the filter onto the tube.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The Spectre Performance features polished aluminum tubing, a reusable, washable air filter, and a powder-coated heat shield that prevents heated engine air from flowing into the intake inlet. All these parts work intricately to decrease engine heat interference, ensuring faster flow of cooler air into the engine. The included clamps, hardware, and boots further make installation and maintenance a breeze.

Who Will Use This Most

This Spectre Performance model is ideal for those who want to increase their engine’s power while avoiding the higher price tags of some of the other models available in the market. The unit is compatible with Ford Super Duties manufactured from 2003 to 2007, including F250 Harley Davidson and F250 Cutaway.

Bottom Line

Designed to unleash your vehicle’s true potential, this Spectre Performance model includes all the necessary brackets and clamps for a simple and fast installation. The reusable air filter further saves you money and keeps your engine clean. However, it cannot be used in California, which can be troubling for some.

PROS

  • Improved fuel economy helps save fuel costs
  • Pressure tests guarantee the unit will not leak
  • High-quality construction ensures longevity, durability, and reliability
  • Replaces EGR system completely and does not require any additional parts
  • With a 64% better flow, the unit improves torque and increases boost and horsepower

PROS

  • Might be difficult to fit
  • Does not come with instructions and requires professional installation

What Recent Buyers Report

This unit has mixed reviews. Some buyers stated that it worked as advertised and loved its performance. They were also impressed with its design. However, some customers found the MAF hole to be too small, the pipe routing to be all wrong, and stated that it did not fit their vehicle.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The SUPERFASTRACING stands out to us for several different reasons. First, the unit improves fuel economy and torque, while increasing the horsepower and boost at the same time. Secondly, it does not require the removal of the intake manifold, up pipe, or turbo. Lastly, the CNC-machined stainless steel and billet aluminum ensure the product lasts long.

Who Will Use This Most

The SUPERFASTRACING Intake System is designed for off-road use and is compatible with Ford V8 6.0 Powerstroke diesel turbo engines. However, since it does not come with sensors, it cannot be used on trucks that don’t have MAF factory sensors.

Bottom Line

To put it simply, the SUPERFASTRACING Intake System is undoubtedly one of the best cold air intakes for the 6.0 Powerstroke. Featuring a mandrel bent intake tube and a conical silicone filter, the unit boasts 64% better airflow and improved torque and horsepower. However, the MAF hole might be too small.

What Do I Need To Know Before Buying?

Like every other bolt-on modification, the most important thing to consider is the correct application. Before you purchase a cold air intake for your vehicle, make sure you consider the following factors:

Vehicle-Specific Design

Most cold air intakes are designed to be compatible with a specific vehicle and engine type, make, model, and year. Make sure the model you’ve chosen can be used with your specific vehicle.

Material

As mentioned above, cold air intakes reduce accumulated heat, allowing colder and denser air to flow into the engine. Thus, it’s better to choose a system that’s designed with heat-resistant materials.

Style of the Cold Air Intake System

There are two types of cold air intake systems – true cold air intakes and the short ram systems. Short ram systems make it easier to access the air filter and require less fabrication or "plumbing" work.

On the other hand, true cold air intakes move the air filter forward as much as possible, resulting in more cold air flowing into the engine compared to short ram systems.

Intake Tube Flow

Make sure you check the flow of the tubing before you make your purchase. If the model has straight hoses, it will result in a more efficient airflow than one with significantly curved ones.

Conclusion

Cold air intake systems are essential for a vehicle’s engine health. They not only enhance the performance but also improve the longevity and efficiency of the vehicle. However, choosing the right model can be an extremely difficult task. Hopefully, the aforementioned guide cleared any confusion you had and helped you find the right cold air intake system.

Although we found the S&B filters to be the best overall model, make sure you go through all the other products before finalizing your purchase!