There are different types of cold air intakes. However, the comparison between open vs closed box air intake has always been a hot topic among car enthusiasts.
Both types of cold air intakes have a unique design that sets them apart. And their work is also different. Open cold air intakes use an exposed air filter that increases airflow to and through the filter.
On the other hand, closed cold air intake systems place a box around the air filter and only let air through tiny slits. This restricts air, but the rest of the box helps keep the entire intake cooler, which draws cooler air into the engine.
There is much debate as to whether an open or closed cold air intake is better. So, in this article, we will explore which is best for you.
We will compare both types of cold air intake from different aspects so that you can easily analyze which one gives you the best result. So let’s get started.
What Is Open Cold Air Intake?
The open-air intake features an air filter that is open to bringing more airflow to the engine. Your air filter does not use closed-form elements such as plastic or metal. Therefore, these types of CAI systems are purchased by performance or sports car owners.
Open intakes make it easier to quickly clean air filters and allow for more turbo noise to be heard from the cabin. Open intake systems are also generally cheaper as they require less hardware to manufacture.
However, it is worth noting that with an open CAI, there is also a risk of water entering the engine in wet conditions, which can cause significant damage.
What Is Closed Cold Air Intake?
A closed air intake features a sealed air box or shell around the air filter. The airbox is used to draw cold air from outside the engine compartment through a breather tube or other duct, while the sealed design helps protect the filter from heat and moisture.
The closed air intake offers excellent fuel economy since air doesn’t escape as easily. In addition, they provide the engine with better filtration than an open-air intake and generate less noise.
6 Top differences Between Open Vs Closed Box Air Intake
As you can see, in some areas, outdoor air intake is better than air intake in a closed box. If you look at the leak, no one is replacing the closed CAI system. So, let’s compare them in detail and show key features with benefits and recommendations.
Due to its open design, the open-air inlet guides warmer air from outside. And take in the less fresh air. As a result, it can be difficult for this CAI system to breathe cooler fresh air indoors.
On the other hand, the closed box cold air system can deliver quite cold air taken from the environment. So when it comes to increasing performance, a closed air intake wins.
With the air intake open, you can count on an increase of up to 5 hp. And with the air intake closed, your vehicle will easily gain up to 10 hp during installation.
2. Air Temperature
The purpose of a cold air intake system is to draw more cold air into the throttle body, the colder and closer to the ambient the better. A CAI in an open box is breathing air that is well above ambient temperature.
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On the other hand, a closed box CAI inhales less high air and is also almost close to room temperature.
In terms of temperature, we can say that an open intake system cannot draw in as much cooler air compared to a closed intake system. Therefore, a closed box air intake satisfies the need for a functionally adequate engine.
One of the main differences between open and closed air intakes is the noise amplification they provide. Open-box air intakes are manufactured to provide a more aggressive engine sound by allowing more air into the engine, which can make a car louder, more pronounced sound.
In contrast, the closed-air intake design reduces engine noise and provides a smoother ride. The air intake system’s sealed box design helps reduce engine noise by limiting the amount of air that can enter the engine and reducing resonance effects.
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If you prefer a booming sound, the closed cold air intake system is definitely for you.
4. Engine Protection
The closed air intake offers more protection for the engine as the filter is enclosed in a box. So there is no risk of inhaling water inside. In addition, if you drive in a sandy area, there is less chance of dirt or dust getting into the engine.
The open-air intake is more prone to hydraulic clogging when you drive the car in the rainy season. Because water easily enters the open air intake, it can damage your vehicle’s engine.
However, if you do a proper outdoor air intake cleaning and don’t drive your car to a depth of 8 inches, the chances of hydraulic lockup or engine failure are reduced.
You can also use hydraulic protection around the air intake to minimize the hydraulic lock situation.
Regarding the installation, the open-air intake is easy to assemble and takes a lot of time. Also, you do not need to make any changes when installing the free air intake. Furthermore, opening this type of CAI system is also easy.
It is very useful when doing the initial installation of an aftermarket product. By contrast, installing a closed air intake requires more time and skill. You may need the help of an expert when installing a closed-air intake.
The open-air intake has an attractive appearance and a great air filter looks. They come in different colors and designs to connect the hose. You can see the beautiful air filter in the open air intake after opening the hood.
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However, some are vertical in shape, some are round and some are rectangular with the lid open. On the other hand, the cold air intake looks a bit boring on the engine when the lid is closed.
But some brands are taking the air intake system to the next level, introducing some with flashy looks.
Open Box Vs Closed Box Cold Air Intake: Which One You Should Choose?
The decision to choose between open and closed-air intake is largely up to you. As you can see from the comparison points, closed box cold air intakes block all the hot air in the engine and only use the cooler air like they are supposed to.
This results in your car getting the performance boost you are looking for. Closed cold air intakes are much better than open ones. Engine protection is also accessible in this CAI system.
However, if you want a real improvement in your car’s engine sound, you should go for an open-air intake. No matter what type of cold air intake you put on your car, you can’t get the real fun of earning miles without optimizing performance.
Top FAQs Related Open Box Vs Closed Box Cold Air IIntake
Is a closed box intake better than an open one?
Yes, a closed intake box is much better than an open intake box. It gives you a power increase of up to 5 to 10 hp. In addition, the closed air intakes are designed in such a way that dust and dirt cannot enter the engine compartment.
This protects the engine from any type of contamination. However, closed intakes may require more frequent maintenance and be more expensive than open intakes.
Does cold air intake types matter?
Yes, the type of cold air intake is very important when you install them to improve performance. There are several types of cold air intakes, including short ram air intakes, ram air intakes, closed air intakes, and open cold air intakes.
Each of them is made with a different design. Similar to the closed air intake, the complete air filter is enclosed in a box. Open air intake and air filters are exposed to the outside environment.
Is a cold air intake better than stock?
Yes. By removing your restrictive stock intake and replacing it with a cold air intake system, you can dramatically increase your engine’s horsepower and torque.
Air intake manufacturers typically quote an increase of up to 10 hp, although this increase may be higher or lower depending on the vehicle and engine. If you want more significant performance gains, then you can use cold air intake with an exhaust system or performance tuner.
How do I install an air intake system?
A cold air intake system is pretty easy to install when you consider everything. The most inexperienced mechanic may need an hour for the entire process and little more than a socket set and a couple of screwdrivers.
You should carefully follow the installation instructions for each individual product as they may vary slightly. But the process usually involves removing your stock intake system and installing your new intake system in those stock mounting positions without the need for drilling or power tools.
Is too much air bad for an engine?
It will not harm the engine if more air gets into the system. It can make the engine run more easily. Just make sure the air is filtered. If not, you’re going to have more problems than you think.
It is also essential to have the engine tuned by a professional to ensure that the air-fuel ratio is set correctly for increased airflow.
Does air intake change the sound?
Yes, a cold air intake will make your vehicle sound more aggressive, louder, and wilder. In terms of volume, however, it can sound a little different.
A cold air intake changes the sound of your vehicle’s engine instead of the noise. Also, the most interesting part is that you will start hearing a very unusual sound from the car engine.
After looking at the comparison table, you may find that the closed box intake system has more advantages than the open one.
The most important are increased power gain and engine protection. It also gives you more airflow as cooler air is drawn into the engine.
However, if you like better looks and the aggressive sound of the intake system, you can opt for an open-air intake.