Closed Box Vs Open Box Cold Air Intake- Which One Is Ideal to Have?

Who does not know the benefits of an aftermarket cold air intake to level up the engine MPG? But which one is more beneficial from closed box vs open box cold air intake?

We will discuss here the ins and out of 2 types of CAI (Cold Air Intake) so that you can pick the right one for optimum engine performance.

The significant difference between closed box and open box cold air intake lies in the temperature.  It is slightly higher with an open box style than the closed one.

Oh, why not spend a few minutes and see the entire comparison?

Closed Box Vs Open Box Cold Air Intake Table Comparison

Closed Box Cold Air Intake

Open Box Cold Air Intake

Appearance & Look
Less attractive appearanceComes with a stylish look
Airflow Capacity
Comparatively cleaner and coolerLess clean air than the closed box
Ease of Installation
Comparatively functional to tuneEasier to install and tune than the closed one
Intake Type
Lowest possibleDoes not intake the lowest
Pressure Drop
More pressure drop than the open filterOptimal pressure drop
Stays more protected inside the hoodLess protective as an open box
Sound Difference
Deep tone soundHigher sound as it is open

Let’s compare them in some detail, showcasing significant features with benefits and recommendations as well

Differences in Air Temperature

The most crucial and biggest difference between the open element vs cold air intake system is the inhaled air temperature.

As the purpose of a cold air intake system is to bay cold air inside the throttle body so the cooler and closer to ambient temperature the better.

Having done some tests on these 2 CAIs(Cold Air Intake), we find the following.  An open box CAI inhales air that is significantly higher than the ambient temperature. On the other hand, a closed box CAI inhales less high air and, on top, nearly close to the ambient temperature.

In the case of temperature, we can say that an open intake system can’t bay that much cooler air compared to the closed intake. So, this type of cold air intake can’t meet the goal for the turbocharged car, a rather big waste of your cents.

However, in city driving, the open-air intake system can do the job just fine.

Open or Closed Cold Air Intake

After looking at some of the best cold air intakes, we find the open air intake stylish with a mind-blowing appearance. As the lid is open here, you can get various designs and shapes of the box connecting the tube.

In the open air intake, you can look at the beautiful air filter after opening the hood. However, some come in a perpendicular shape, some kind of round and some rectangular-shaped where the lid is open. Spectre Performance comes with such attractive CAI systems.

On the opposite, the cold air intake with a closed lid seems to be a bit boring engine part. But some brands seem to take the air intake system to the next level by introducing some with an eye-catchy look.

Though it does not make a big deal whether your cold air intake looks aggressive or boring, here, the foremost priority goes for the potentials.

Open Box Vs Closed Box Cold Air Intake Performance Gap

People owning Ford Mustang wish to get cold air intake to make the engine breathe well. But, at the same, you might like to increase the MPG. So, here the bigger clash begins.

In an open cold air intake system, the box’s lid remains open so the surrounding heat can build up inside easily. And so the system inhales less cold air. Contrarily, the cold air system with a close box can provide pretty cold air taken from the environment.

The cold air intake system stays under the front engine hood, so generally, there can be heat all around. So, it can be challenging for the CAI system to inhale pure colder air inside.

That is why when it comes to performance and mileage gain, a closed air intake wins the deal though you must tune the engine to enjoy this power (see also ‘What Does An Intercooler Do?‘). For example, the K & N closed box cold air intake offers 50% more HP gain than the stock.

Then again, the closed box cold air intake can sometimes face a drop in pressure with the closed lid, whereas the open box cold air intake system might not get that much pressure drop.

So, these things affect the cold air intake system and eventually in the gas mileage increase.

Sound Difference of Open Element Vs Cold Air Intake

Another visible difference between open vs closed intake is the sound you get from inside. Well, in that case, the open air intake creates more induction sound as there remains no lid and no pressure dampening inside.

On the contrary, the closed box cold air intake works quieter and gives your engine the desired Hp gain. But the K & N open box cold air intake proves it wrong with its impressive sound.

Is a closed cold air intake better than an open one? If your preference goes for style and sound along with clean breathing to the engine, undoubtedly, the closed cold air intake system is for you.

Cold Air Intake – Open or Closed for a Clean System

When you are installing any aftermarket products, the thing along with the performance you might want is the safe performance. And that is why you may see people go after the sold air intake with a close box.  Do you know why?

The closed box cold air intake keeps the intake system inhales much clean and pure air and keeps the throttle body less polluted.

On the other side, in an open cold air intake system, there always remains a chance of inhaling air with surrounding dust in the duct. And this can help in Carbon buildup inside, assumed by many.

So, if you’re getting an open box cold air intake for your turbocharger, you might replace the air filter sooner than it might be with a close box system.

Which Should You Pick?

The function here in the cold air intake is pretty similar to the human breathing system. We need Oxygen to breathe well; similarly, the engine needs cold air from outside to push out the warmer air and keep the engine cool resulting in Hp and torque gain.

But the difference lies in the closed box vs open box cold air intake system. And according to our research and analysis, a close box type can provide real HP gain along with decent mileage at a specific RPM for the turbocharger.

No matter what type of air cold intake you install in your car, you can’t enjoy the real fun of mileage gain without tuning the performance.


Working at VersusKing as a respective content manager who already won the market with his core experiences in the field of writing. Besides, connected with other projects related to digital marketing.

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