How to choose Cold Air Intake for your Chevy Silverado

A cold air intake installed in a chevy silverado

An exhaust system directs waste gases away from your Chevy Silverado’s engine. Upgrading exhaust components can boost performance as well.

A Chevy Silverado is a pickup truck designed to do work.

Whether you’re towing or hauling with your pickup, you want as much power as possible available to work with.

That’s why it makes sense to upgrade your truck’s cold air intake system. This is the system that directs air into your truck engine and enables the combustion process that generates power to happen. Increase the quality of your truck’s intake and you’ll bring in more cold air and increase the amount of power generated.

With the right product on your ride, you can see performance boosts of between 5 horsepower and 15 horsepower.

Below is a buyer’s guide designed to help you choose intakes that are meant to work as effectively as possible. Look closely at the different considerations and let them guide your purchase decision for you.

It is true that you will find a ton of products from different brands. But the question is, which is the best Cold Air Intake for your need? It is a tough and time-consuming question to answer.

I made your life easier and listed in the below infographic some key points to keep in mind when selecting a Cold Air Intake.

4 tips for choosing your cold air intake for your checy silverado

You will find later in this post a more detailed explanation of each of them in our buyer’s guide section, as well as some frequently asked questions.

If you are already curious about the models available, I have selected and reviewed for you the 10 best Cold Air Intakes in another article.

Make sure to read it before making your final choice!

Cold Air Intake – Buyer’s Guide

A cold air intake is a powerful performance part that can enhance a Silverado’s air intake systems substantially. These parts must be matched to your vehicle with care and should be selected in order to maximize value and performance. This buyer’s guide attempts to address all those concerns to help you choose a part that’s going to work best for your truck’s air intake systems.

Build Materials

Choosing the best cold air intake for Silverado starts with selecting the right material to use. Intakes are made from aluminum, carbon fiber, and plastics most of the time. Believe it or not, plastic cold air intakes tend to offer the best value and performance. Plastic can be molded into more shapes than aluminum intakes can, which means the most efficient shapes can be produced from plastic. Consider the efficiency rating of any product you’re looking at and use that along with the materials it’s made from to help you choose which to purchase.

Cold Air Intake Style

While searching for air intakes for your Chevy Silverado it’s important to choose a style that’s compatible with your pickup truck. Intakes are offered in three different styles. Select between short ram Silverado 1500 intakes, Ram air intakes, and true cold air intake systems. Verify which style goes with your model truck for the best performance. By looking at the specifications of your truck’s year and model, or the engine in your truck you can quickly determine which style is right for your ride.

Water Protection

Most cold air intakes are exposed to the elements in some way. When choosing Silverado 1500 air intake systems, be careful to get a model that blocks water from entering the system. Look for sealed units or designs meant to keep rain, snow, and other forms of moisture out of the unit, these will perform best and last the longest. Look for units with rubber seals, special housings, or designs to keep water out.

Easy Installation

Always verify that your air intake systems are easy to install before buying one. Some units are made to have an installation process that an auto enthusiast can go through, while other systems require help from a mechanic. Look for an option that will go into your engine bay and on your vehicle with little work. Double-check the installation process to see if any modifications are necessary for the part to install on your ride. The fewer steps in the installation process, the better the part is.


Each of the Chevy Silverado 1500 intakes comes with a built-in filter. Look for the units that come with the most effective filters. It’s also a good idea to search for intakes with washable and reusable filters. These are the most cost-effective over time and will make maintaining your vehicle simpler. You should consider the filter type in the total maintenance costs for your system over the time you own it for as well. Washable filters are more expensive than disposable filters initially, but will save you over time.

A cold air intake offers serious performance gains to your vehicle, but only if you pay attention to things like the material, the efficiency rating, and all the other important details of the item. You’ll likely notice performance gains from the right upgrade as well as potential efficiency improvements too.

Hopefully, with these key factors in mind, you’ll have an easier time selecting the most appropriate Cold Air Intake.

You can now make sure to review my selection of the best Cold Air Intake before making your final choice!

Not ready yet to make a selection? No problem, just keep on reading the Frequently Asked Questions that come next.

Cold Air Intake Frequently Asked Questions

While changing the style of your truck's intake from long to short could potentially make your vehicle louder, maintaining the current style shouldn't alter the sound of your vehicle. If you want to make your truck sound different your best option is a muffler upgrade to your truck's exhaust system.

Intake upgrades along with a quality intake manifold can boost performance by between 5 horsepower and 15 horsepower. That's a substantial gain for such a simple upgrade.

No, a cold air intake will help improve the performance of your truck and shouldn't negatively impact your vehicle. It's important to choose a quality product to put on your vehicle in order to ensure long-term performance for your Chevy Silverado 1500.

Yes, absolutely. A quality intake upgrade will improve the performance of your pickup without affecting the quality of your exhaust emission rates. The right unit can boost power and torque and will offer even more benefits than many car owners will experience.

While it's impossible to say with 100% certainty that one particular intake will give you the leading performance, you should choose a product with a high-efficiency rating, a quality air filter, and a design that maximizes airflow.


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