I must start this article with big fat congratulations. An intake is the single most important upgrade you can get for your vehicle, period.
Your Ford truck will certainly benefit from the added airflow, which guarantees an improvement in horsepower. That’s not to say that your engine is bad. It’s just that it is capable of outputting far more HP.
On this list, I have highlighted some of the best cold air intake for the 7.3 Powerstroke, which you will surely love. I have even included an FAQ at the end of this article to answer some commonly asked questions.
Without any further ado, let’s get straight into it.
1.S&B Filters 75-5062D Cold Air Intake
I am not going to deny that the 7.3 Powerstroke is an old engine at this point. Pushing close to 20 years, it may have started to show signs of aging. But, when brands like S&B are around, you can forget about all that. The company has regularly been earning the top spot on my articles.
Its products are unparalleled in performance and efficiency, and this 75-5062D Cold Air Intake is no exception.
Designed for the 1998 to 2003 models of the Powerstroke, this engine will most probably be compatible with most of you guys’ trucks. It allows the engine to receive 51.43% more airflow alongside a 99.68% efficiency rating.
This is seriously impressive. You are getting a product that has negligible wastage, which automatically transforms to improved horsepower.
The air box and the filter both are big. They have been designed so that you can get maximum airflow. Plus, the filter has been designed to be easily removed. This makes owning the product very convenient. It can be cleaned and reused too. S&B is an experienced brand.
They have been making stellar quality products for quite some time now. The engineers behind the company work hard to make sure the consumers won’t have any issues.
They have designed the intake so that you won’t have check engine lights. Yes, that is a thing and is more common than you would think in the intake market.
Well, you don’t have to worry about that anymore. Perhaps the mostly asked thing is the legality of the product. Well, S&B blows the competition out of the water with this release.
It is completely legal in all 50 states of the USA, which means you won’t get into any issues with the authorities wherever you take your truck with this bad boy installed.
- 50% better airflow
- Legal in all 50 USA states
- No check engine lights
- Reusable filter
Before we continue with other products in this article, I tell you that nothing can defeat this beastly intake system. If it is compatible with your truck, then it is the best you can buy on the market.
2. K&N Cold Air Intake Kit
If you are one of those that are tough to please, then let me present to you this One by K&N. This is yet another brand that always earns the first or second spot in my articles. Let’s see what makes it impressive. This intake system is compatible with Powerstroke engines which were released during 1999 and 2003.
This is a year less than the S&B product, but hey, there is a reason it earned the first spot. The previous brand boasted their airflow improvement, but what about horsepower? Well, you can expect around a 15 HP boost, 14.88 to be exact. That is excellent.
You will notice not only improved mpg but also improved throttle response and acceleration. This must be great news for some of you guys who use their trucks for towing and racing. The tubing on this intake is made up of HDPE, which is also known as high-density polyethylene.
K&N is the only brand that uses this material, and frankly, more should use it. It is durable and improves airflow. The included heat shield protects the intake from the scorching temperatures of the engine. One important aspect that you should look for in an aftermarket part is ease of use and convenience.
Well, how does 100000 between servicing sound to you? Yes, you read that right. This intake needs servicing every 100000 miles, which can be close to two years for some of you who don’t use their vehicles that aggressively.
The number may vary depending on the usage scenario, but you can expect a value around this number. Talking about convenience, this intake is very easy to install. It can be installed in a maximum of 90 minutes. This means that you will be ready to go within a maximum of two hours.
- 15HP boost
- Improved throttle response and acceleration
- 100000 between filter cleaning
- Included heat shield
- Difficult installation process
K&N is the only brand that comes close to S&B filters in terms of performance. This intake is an excellent product, and if it managed to impress me, you would surely be more than content with it.
3. aFe Power Magnum Force Cold Air Intake
Coming in third place is a Product by aFe Power, a brand that occasionally popup on my articles and gives tough competition to other brands. This intake is compatible with the 1999 to 2003 Ford F250 and the 2000 to 2003 F350. You will be delighted with its performance, and let’s see what it offers.
If you want to risk it a bit and try products from new brands to this market, then aFe is a brand where you should start with. Although the company has been making automotive parts for quite some time, their intakes are not that famous.
The brand guarantees a 12 HP and 43 pounds per foot of improvement with this one. This is certainly impressive. This is possible, thanks to the improved airflow of this product.
The non-oiled filter provides the perfect balance between performance and protection. The filter plays a single but major role in keeping all dust and contaminants away from the engine. These contaminants decrease the engine life and also affect the combustion process. Now, we don’t want that, don’t we?
The included heat shield is an 18 gauge powder coated shield that also has a patented design. It, as the name says, shields the intake from the high engine temperature.
The design is patented, meaning that you are getting a completely exclusive product. It is extremely effective at protecting the intake, which on its own cannot survive such conditions.
If you are asking about the product’s legality, don’t worry, as this intake system is legally cleared to be used in all 50 states of the USA. So, you can drive anywhere you want, with the peace of mind that local authorities won’t cause any issues for you.
- 12 HP and 43 pounds torque improvement
- Non-oiled filter
- 18 gauge powdered heat shield
- Legal in all USA states
- May cause mpg issues
Unless you receive a faulty unit, which is highly unlikely, you won’t have any issues with this otherwise fantastic product. You will surely love its performance.
4. Volant 19873 Cold Air Intake Kit
If you want to risk it a little bit more and go for an unknown brand, then I have got just the thing for you.
Volant is a brand I have never heard of before, but judging by the limited ratings of the buyers, it is a decent product. This 19873 Cold Air Intake Kit, yet again, is compatible with the 1999 to 2003 models of the 7.3 Powerstroke.
It has some unique offerings which you will not find in products from other brands. For example, the venturi filter adapter allows air to pass through the MAF sensor and into the intake tube. This greatly improves airflow, which is vital for horsepower gains.
There will be a clear day and night differences after you swap your factory tubing and resonator box.
Believe me; you will love this product. Thanks to its larger size, the intake takes in a larger amount of cold air. Even the filter is high quality and reusable too. It can be rewashed. This adds to the convenience factor, which most of you love.
If you want to know about the material, the intake is made up of cross-link polyethylene. It is extremely durable and can survive high temperatures. The insulated lid is made up of aluminum, which has been properly polished, or carbon fiber. The choice is yours.
Both materials are extremely durable and will insulate the intake from the engine. No matter where you take your truck, you can be at complete peace of mind that the intake can take any sort of beating.
Whether you go off-road or use your truck for racing, this intake will be with you along the way to provide you with HP and torque gains while boosting the sound of your vehicle too. Yes, that’s right. You won’t only feel but hear the performance gains too.
- Made from polyethylene
- Aluminum or carbon fiber insulated lid
- Rewashable filter
- Fewer ratings
- Missing parts
This is what happens when you buy from an unknown brand; their service is unreliable. Some buyers were satisfied, and it does perform as advertised. As long as you receive all the parts, you will be more than content with your purchase.
5. Airaid Cold Air Intake System
Finally, arriving in the fifth and final place is a Product by Airaid. The manufacturer has come up on my radar for the second time, making more than decent products. This intake system has been designed for the 1999 to 2003 F250 and F350. Let’s see how good it is.
This Airaid product has the least number of ratings out of all other intakes on this list. This does not mean that it is bad, but it has not been tested extensively to ensure its performance.
Regardless, the brand guarantees an improvement in horsepower and torque. These improvements have been dyno tested, so these are not empty claims. The brand claims to have done an extensive research to ensure the product will hold up in real-world environments.
This one is designed to replace the stock air box, tubing, and filter. It fits on the factory mounts but is far more capable than the original one. The inlet is an open-element one, meaning your engine will never have to burn fuel incompletely.
The engine will always receive a steady flow of cool air, which contains more oxygen. The brand calls the filter a premium one. It is not only reusable but is also washable. This adds to the product’s convenience.
The intake is also very easy to install. The same cannot be said for other intakes on the market. They have complex routing. But the engineers at Airaid have made sure that you won’t have any issues with the product.
You can install it with basic hand tools. This makes it an extremely convenient product to buy. You will be ready to go within a maximum of two hours.
- Open-element inlet
- Dyno proven horsepower improvement
- Reusable filter
- Easy to install
- Fewer ratings
On paper, Airaid has created a decent product. It checks all the boxes you would expect from an intake system. But it does not do anything special or out of the ordinary. That is why I would advise that you buy from other brands such as S&B or K&N. If you really want to risk it, then I suggest that you go ahead.
This is the FAQ that I promised you guys. I have handpicked these questions from online forums, which were asked by 7.3 Powerstroke owners like you. These questions were chosen based on how important they are. I hope that this guide will alleviate some of your confusion.
What Is The Best Cold Air Intake For The 7.3 Powerstroke?
It looks like you skipped the whole article and jumped directly to this buying guide. If you scroll a few paragraphs back, I have labeled the S&B filters Cold Air Intake as my number one recommendation for you guys.
It is a clear winner. It has excellent performance, the highest number of ratings, and is even legal in all USA states. That is a big advantage. The brand itself is an experienced one and has earned the top spot on many of my articles.
Are K&N intakes Bad For My 7.3 Powerstroke?
This is yet another commonly asked question K&N is a very highly regarded brand. It creates high-quality products which are loved by most people. If it is something that has a high probability of damaging your engine, then I definitely would not have included it on this list.
K&N is a veteran brand in the intake category, and its products have never been associated with something that would damage a vehicle. So, if you are thinking of buying it, then you can do so with complete peace of mind.
Which S&B Filter Is Better, Oiled Or Dry?
They come very close in performance. I would not choose one intake over the other just because of the difference in the type of filter. But the performance may differ in different areas.
If you go off-roading frequently, then a dry filter will definitely be of more advantage to you. An oily one will get dirty rather quickly in dust-filled scenarios. Otherwise, both are identical in performance.
How Much More HP Can I Expect On My 7.3 Powerstroke With A New Intake?
Although the difference is not massive, you can expect Horsepower gains to be anywhere from 10HP to 20HP. You may think that the difference is not that big; in reality, it is.
You can experience better acceleration, throttle response, and even improved fuel economy with this horsepower upgrade. This little HP gain can give you quite a decent improvement in performance.
There you have it, guys, and my take on the best cold air intake for 7.3 Powerstroke. Each and every single one of these products has been designed to work and fit perfectly with your engine.
You will truly be in for a treat, no matter the product you choose. As for my recommendation, I choose the S&B filters Cold Air Intake as my recommendation for all of you guys.
It clearly has the best offerings and does not even have any drawbacks. You can buy it with complete peace of mind and won’t have to worry about anything.