Short Ram Intake Vs Cold Air Intake: Which One Is Better?


While the factory air intakes aren’t that effective, many people look for aftermarket replacements to improve the engine’s horsepower and torque. There’re various aftermarket air intakes that come in different makes. 

Cold air intake and short ram intake are the two major types of air intakes available on the market. Both types have distinct advantages and disadvantages. 

If you’re searching for an air intake replacement, you’d probably ask the difference between the two types of air intake and which one would be better for you. If so, this article regarding “Short ram intake vs cold air intake” should meet the queries that’d help you get the most suitable one. 

Before we start comparing cold air intakes vs short ram intakes, an introduction is necessary. 

What Is Cold Air Intake?

A cold air intake is designed to draw cool air as the name suggests. The air filter is usually placed far away from the heat of the engine. You’ll see the cold air filters are placed either somewhere behind the engine or under one of the sides of it depending upon the suitability. 

What Is Short Ram Intake?

Short ram intake is the most common air intake type which is simply designed to replace the factory intake by introducing a smooth pipe and an open-element air filter. As the air filter is placed in the same position as the OEM intake system, engine heat is easily carried with the filtered air that goes for the combustion. 

Comparison Between Cold Air Intakes Vs Short Ram Intakes

Many times, I come across the question that which air intake is better than the other. The answer actually depends on some important and practical aspects, for example:

  • Ease of installation 
  • Amount of air delivered
  • Level of performance gains
  • Short ram intake vs cold air intake sound

Let’s dig down some aspects that make a difference that will help you get a clear picture. 

Design & Position

Well, as said already, the cold air intakes suck cold air to deliver to the engine. These filters are placed far away from the engine so that cool air is delivered without getting involved with the heat of the engine. The filters may be placed at different positions depending on the vehicle’s design but the goal remains constant which is ensuring only cold air is drawn to the engine. 

Short ram intakes are designed to replace the factory intake systems themselves and positioned right at that place. 

Ease of Installation

Installing a cold air intake requires more pipes as you need to make a tunnel from the air intake to the engine. The process is more complicated and time-consuming than that of the other type. However, if you follow the instructions from the owner’s manual properly, you shouldn’t find it too hard to install a cold air intake. 

Check this video to see how to install a cold air intake. 

Short ram intake, on the other hand, requires less hassle to install. Because of the simple design and a direct replacement of the stock intake, these intakes are a lot easier to install than cold air intakes. 

Performance

Cold Air Intakes

The primary reason to install a cold air intake is that the cool air is passed into the engine for better engine performance. A cold air intake also helps in reducing fuel consumption. 

However, some people think that pumping cool air into the engine manifold may damage the engine. But that’s not true at all. In fact, the reality is quite opposite to it as cold air intakes result in efficient combustions. 

If you can recall the basic science lessons, you’d know that cold air contains more oxygen molecules than warm air. And as oxygen is the vital element for combustion, the more oxygen will be in the air, the better combustion will occur. Better efficient combustion leads to a boost of horsepower and torque. 

The reason why many people avoid cold air intakes is that the increased sound that they produce. Then again, this is an advantage for many, especially for those who love an engine with strong sounds. If you are one of them, you’d be pleased with the cold air intake certainly. If not, well, an air intake with noise-limiting technology might work for you. 

Short Ram Intakes

Short ram intakes usually perform a lot better than factory air intakes by increasing horsepower and torque. They also improve the fuel-saving capacity of the vehicle. 

However, the short air intakes aren’t as effective as cold air intakes in case of boosting efficiency. This is because of the nature of the air they provide to the engine manifold. 

As a short ram intake is placed in the position of the stock intake system which is close to the engine body, the heat of the engine increases the temperature of the air flowing inside the tube. As a result, the engine manifold gets a bit of warm air that contains less amount of oxygen molecules than a cold air intake would contain. 

With less density of oxygen molecules, the combustion isn’t as efficient as a cold air intake offers. You may get more horsepower than the stock intake but it isn’t comparable to what a cold air intake delivers. Consequently, fuel consumption increases. 

To get rid of the heating issue, you can use a heat shield to place in between the intake and engine bay. This will reduce the influence of heat on the air’s temperature. 

Engine Noise & Air Pressure

The engine’s sound largely depends on the amount of air getting into it. Usually, the more air gets into the engine, the more sound it produces. As you know, the cold air intakes let more free-flowing air pass, the engine sound is improved. So, if you love your engine to roar like a beast, a cold air intake would be a perfect mod for you. 

On the contrary, short rum intakes can’t let as much free-flowing air as cold air intakes do. As a result, they can’t produce loud sounds as cold intakes do. 

Short Ram Intake or Cold Air Intake: Choosing the Right One

Choosing the type of intake for your car depends on your preference. If you want to enhance engine horsepower and torque at the highest level, you may want to install a cold air intake. However, it costs a lot more as compared to a short ram intake and the installation is a bit difficult. 

If you want a moderate performance enhancement at a lower cost, a short ram intake would be suitable for you. You may not get as much horsepower and torque as a cold intake offers but will definitely get better than that of a factory intake does. 

Again, most enthusiasts want a noisy and lively engine. In that case, a cold air intake is the only option. Otherwise, short ram intake is the only savior if you don’t want the engine to be noisy.  

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is cold air intake better than short ram intake?

Cold air intake allows more air to pass into the engine for better combustion. It eventually results in more torque and horsepower. Short ram intake also improves the performance of than factory intake system but isn’t comparable to the cold air intake. So, yes, a cold air intake is better than a short air intake. 

Is a short ram intake worth it?

A short ram intake costs comparatively less and easier to install than other aftermarket air intakes. The simple design easily fits the place of the factory intake system. Again, it enhances engine performance up to a certain level. So, it’s really worth it buying a short ram intake at a low price.  

Does heat shield make any difference?

Yes, it does. A heat shield prevents the heat of the engine increases the temperature of the intake tube. So that the air stays cool and makes efficient combustion. 

Final Words

So, I’ve come to the end of the article regarding short ram intake vs cold air intake. Reading up to this, you may have decided to install a cold air intake in your vehicle. But both the cold and short ram air intakes are good aftermarket replacements for your factory intake system. 

Both the intake systems have a few drawbacks with lots of advantages. You need to decide what you want from the engine in the first place. If you’re willing to spend more money for better horsepower and sound, a cold air intake is recommended. 

However, if you’re on a budget, a short ram intake wouldn’t be a bad choice at all, especially if you get a heat shield for better performance. 

The decision is solely yours to make. If you want me to discuss anything more about aftermarket parts, let me know in the comment section below.  

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