Best Cold Air Intake for 6.4 PowerStroke Review & Buyer’s Guide
February 15, 2021
10 Min Read
Ford has more than one mighty engine in its lineup. For example, the 6.4-lit PowerStroke was introduced back in 2008 and is still a force to be reckoned with. In a way, it revolutionized the light pickup-truck market with its dual-turbocharger setup. Plus, thanks to the particulate filter, this motor is incredibly effective at handling emissions.
It’s not perfect, though, and the air filtration system is average at best. When pushed really hard, this engine is known to overheat, which can lead to costly repairs. Thankfully, this can all be fixed with the Best cold air intake for 6.4 Powerstroke, and I’ve got just the right picks for you. I spent five weeks testing different intake kits and came up with the following list. Go ahead and check it out!
1. S&B – Best Cold Air Intake for Ford 6.4 PowerStroke
I want to start the list with one of the most affordable air intake systems on the market. Thanks to S&B’s client-oriented policy, this kit is available at a very fair price. Does that mean it’s lagging behind the competition, or not? The answer is no: with this system, you’ll get 23% more airflow and an efficiency rating of up to 100%. Plus, thanks to the silicone parts, both the tube and the filter last for a long time.
By the way, S&B’s air intake kit is legal in all 50 US states, and with it, you’ll be able to avoid the annoying Check Engine light. Sadly, it’s only compatible with the F250 and F350 trucks. So, if you own a super-duty vehicle, this won’t be a good fit. But that’s the only significant con.
5 / 5
Easy to Install
5 / 5
5 / 5
Value for Money
5 / 5
Pros & Cons
Helps to avoid the annoying “Check Engine” lights
100% legal in every single American state
One of the cheapest aftermarket air kits
Only fits the F250 and F350 trucks
Affordable, legal in all US states, and reliable – that’s the S&B intake kit in a nutshell for you. It’s compatible with a limited set of trucks, though.
2. K&N – Best Cold Air Intake System for F250 6.4L Diesel
Moving up with our top-five aftermarket air kits, we’ve got K&N – an obvious leader when it comes to gear for trucks. The first thing that you’ll notice is how “beefed up” the engine’s sound will become once you install it. The second big pro is the incredible filter: it requires very little maintenance and runs perfectly for up to 100K miles or more. Add a generous longevity guarantee, and you’ll see why this product is so popular.
I have to warn you, however, that for some drivers, this air kit might be too noisy for comfort. But if you do a lot of off-roading and don’t mind the extra “oomph”, this will actually be a pro.
4.9 / 5
Easy to Install
4.9 / 5
5 / 5
Value for Money
5 / 5
Pros & Cons
Changes the way the engine sounds – makes it more aggressive
The filter lasts for up to 100K miles without maintenance
Covered by a generous 10-year/million-mile longevity warranty
Can be too noisy for some drivers
Ford truck owners looking for an efficient intake tube, long-lasting filter, and the best warranty deal on the market will find K&N’s offers to be too good to say no to. It makes the engine sound like a beast, and while some folks find that a bit disturbing, most truckers tend to like it.
3. aFe – Best Cold Air Intake for Ford PowerStroke
This right here is another leading manufacturer of air kits for SUVs and trucks. With the aFe cold air intake system, you’ll get one of the easiest and straightforward installation routines. Thanks to the bolt-on design, you’ll be done in one hour tops without any expensive tools. I also want to mention the lovely one-piece housing. It is powder-coated and “sits” into the original mounting locations, which further simplifies the installation process.
And let’s not forget about the five-layer (cotton gauze media) filter that ensures maximum airflow and will only take a couple of minutes to wash and to put back to reuse. As for the downsides, the FORCE air kit isn’t available in California (since it’s not a CARB exempt product).
Fast, user-friendly installation with garage tools
Includes a five-layer cotton gauze media filter
One-piece housing design for an easy fit
Not legal for sale in the state of California
Easy to install, efficient, and powder-coated, the aFe air intake kit is a safe bet for all PowerStroke engines. Just remember that it’s not legally available in California.
4. Airaid – Best Cold Air Intake for Ford 6.4 Diesel
And what does this company have to offer? Will it be a better investment for you, or maybe you should just skip it? Well, if you appreciate aftermarket gear that boosts the mileage (fuel efficiency) Airaid should be on your list of must-haves. Besides, this is a 100% US-made kit. That means it was specifically designed to handle the rough American roads.
Another standout feature is the strong combination of a roto-molded intake tube and air box. Together, they ensure superb volumetric efficiency. My only complaint has to do with the performance gains. While you will get some extra HP and torque, the increase will be very modest.
Roto-molded air box + tube = superb volumetric efficiency
Gives the truck’s fuel efficiency a nice boost
A 100% US-made product
Rather modest gains in performance
Airaid did an excellent job with this MXP series air kit. It boasts premium-quality parts, aids in maximizing fuel efficiency, and is manufactured exclusively in the USA. Sounds like a pretty decent deal, doesn’t it?
5. Banks – Best Cold Air Intake System for Ford PowerStroke
Last, but not least, let’s check out the most expensive cold air intake system on the list. Yes, Banks isn’t cheap, and that’s its biggest downside. But don’t be disappointed yet, because it does compensate for that. This air intake kit features fully enclosed housing – that keeps all the hot air away from the engine. The larger-than-average filter, in turn, ensures high-flow filtration.
Now, before releasing it into the market, Banks puts this system through numerous harsh tests to determine its worth. Plus, it backs it up with a five-year manufacturer’s warranty. So, rest assured that you won’t have any issues with reliability or performance.
Enclosed housing + giant filter for maximum airflow
Extensively tested in harsh conditions
Comes packed with a five-year warranty
Not particularly affordable
If you’re interested in market-leading quality and have a thick enough wallet, Banks has just the right air kit for you. It’s ready for the toughest trails, includes a five-year warranty, and is, overall, incredibly efficient.
What’s the first thing to check when ordering a brand-new air intake kit online or buying it at a physical store? Is it the price-tag, the material quality, or the air filtration efficiency? Should you invest big bucks into an intake system, or maybe you’ll be better off with a budget option? These are some of the most important questions to consider before making a purchase. Join me, and let’s figure out the answers together!
The market of aftermarket parts for trucks is constantly evolving and changing – so do the price-tags. Therefore, you should always keep the market average in mind as that will help you avoid overpriced or suspiciously cheap gear. These days, a proper third-party air intake tube with an efficient filter can be yours for $300+. The actual price will vary depending on many aspects, but three hundred bucks is a solid budget for it.
Anything cheaper than that (I’m talking about $100-150) will be some low-quality Chinese kit that will cause your engine more harm than good. And what about the upper price range, you might ask – is it worth it, or not? The answer is yes, it is, but only if you’re getting real benefits. I’m talking about superb material quality, premium filtration efficiency, and a generous warranty deal. If you don’t see any of that in the specs, I say it won’t be a reasonable investment.
The Intake Tube
Did you know that it’s the intake tube that’s doing all the heavy lifting? That’s right: most aftermarket intake systems come with a plastic or metallic housing that protects the engine and keeps hot air out, but it’s actually the tube that maximizes the airflow. So, what are the most critical things to check before committing? Material quality, for example. For tubes, aluminum is the best the market has to offer.
It is reliable, dependable, and 100% protected against rust. Plastic is the close second – it’s not “afraid” of rust either. Stainless steel is also a decent option. However, if it’s regular steel (not stainless), make sure it’s got powder coating. Without that, the tube (and the entire filtration system) will be taken over by corrosion in no time. Even if it is an aluminum piece, anti-rust coating will still be important for the filter.
Speaking of the filter let me tell you real quick about what it does. The #1 job of an air filter is to keep contaminants (debris, dust, pollen, bugs, tiny rocks, and whatnot) from damaging the engine. The road has many hazards for the motor that can cause significant damage to it. But with a filter, you won’t have to worry about that, as it will serve as a brick wall.
Dry vs. Oiled
Now, there are two types of filters out there: dry and oiled. Dry filters are cheaper and help to maximize the engine’s performance (I’m talking about HP and torque). Plus, they’re more effective against contaminants. An oiled filter, in turn, is a bit pricier, and it has a slightly negative effect on the powertrain. However, it also has a rather big advantage over its counterpart: an oiled filter can be cleaned and reused. That means a lot of money saved in the long run.
Don’t worry: cleaning a filter won’t take much effort (or time). If you’ve got a hose, this can be done in a couple of minutes. Reusable filters last for an extra 20, 30, or even 50 thousand miles before they need to be cleaned again. A quick note: while all five air kits on today’s list come packed with a filter, not every single aftermarket intake system does. Keep this in mind and always check the specs for the filter.
Installation + Fitment
Unless you’re a seasoned pro and know your way around third-party gear, ease of installation will be your number one priority. The good news is – modern-day air kits are specifically built to be an easy bolt-on installation. If you see your truck’s model, year, and engine in the compatibility list, that means you won’t have to spend long hours or use expensive tools. Oh, and don’t forget to check the package: it should include all the necessary installation hardware.
Best Cold Air Intake for 6.4 PowerStroke
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1) S&B 75-5105
– Specifically built to avoid the “Check Engine” lights
– Street legal in all 50 US states
– An affordable purchase with excellent value
Fits: Ford F250, F350 PowerStroke (2008-2010)
Engine Type: 6.4L Diesel
Horse Power & Torque Increase: 5-10% and
23.10% More Airflow & 99.50% Efficiency Rating
With a premium-quality air intake, you’ll protect the engine from contaminants, boost its performance, and – more importantly – keep it cool. I can’t stress enough how important proper air filtration is for a modern-day truck. For today’s list, I specifically chose air kits that fit various Ford vehicles so that owners of different trucks can find the perfect fit. Refer to the comparison table and make sure you buy the right kit for your ride.
And don’t forget to check out the best features, pros, and cons to learn more about each product. For example, if you’re looking for an affordable air intake system, pay extra attention to what S&B has to offer. On the other hand, the fans of top-quality third-party gear will appreciate the Banks kit. Ultimately, it’s all up to you!