10 Best Oil Filters (Review + Buyers Guide)
Best Oil Filters
One of the first things you learn about car maintenance after being handed the keys from your parents is the oil change. When you sat behind the wheel for the first time, your eyes may have drifted to the corner of the windshield where a sticker was. After asking, you learned that that sticker was informing the driver of when the next oil change will be.
Besides changing your oil, the mechanic probably looked at a number of different things such as your tire pressure, battery life, and the oil filter. Without the oil filter, your vehicle isn’t going to be going very far. Your car won’t be able to run smoothly and your car’s health is going to suffer.
Your oil filter is responsible for keeping grime and other objects away from the oil stream but constant dirt and grime are going to damage parts of your engine if left unchecked.
Making sure you get from Point A to Point B is the goal of any car owner, but you’ve got to take care of your car under the hood to keep it rolling.
Today, we’re going to check out some of the top oil filters out on the market and help you find the best one for you and your vehicle.
Let’s get started!
You’ll find Bosch just about everywhere when it comes to car maintenance. They’re a business that’s been around for quite some time and they know how to keep your car rolling and make sure you stay on the road.
This filter gives your car the strong filtration necessary to keep you rolling. It uses FILTECH technology in order to contain more contaminants and protect your engine. The filtering here is larger than what you might see from other filters.
That’s because 42% of the area is reserved for filtering and is also 30% thicker than the average brand. So you won’t have to worry about anything getting past this filter.
Plus, it has strong steel plates and housing that keep leaks away. Your car is instantly going to be supplied with clean oil that runs through its anti-drain back valve made of silicone. The filter’s gasket is designed with a high level of lubricant to allow a tight seal.
That doesn’t mean removal will be difficult though as we found it to be pretty easy and quick.
Go to just about any mechanic and you’re bound to see this product from Mobil. It makes sense, it’s one of the most popular brands out there and has been around for years.
That’s why you should feel comfortable going with this product as Mobil hasn’t ascended to the top without doing something right all these years. Mobil puts their product to the test, claiming that this filter has the strongest filtering ability of anyone out there.
It uses a spin-on and cartridge filter which guarantees great filtering ability. Besides that, it has a synthetic fiber blend media along with a Multi-Pass Efficiency Rating of 99.6%. Plus, it’s got a larger total contaminant capacity of 28 grams which is a lot more than the majority of other brands.
Lastly, it has pressure protection of up to 615 Pascals per square inch meaning it can survive a lot of system pressure. While it works best with its own Mobil oil, this unit works best with Mobil 1 or other products of its brand.
Typically, you’re going to find that Motorcraft products are designed for vehicles produced by the Ford Motor Company. So if you’ve got a Lincoln, Ford, or Mercury, then you should definitely be looking at a Motorcraft product first before you head down other aisles.
They do a great job of protecting your engine from contaminants such as dirt, sand, metal bits, and more. This filter has pressure-relief valves to prevent any unfiltered oil from circulating around in the engine. It will also make sure your oil supply is well-maintained, especially when the temperatures start dropping.
We like that the out casings were produced with ironed and painted steel to allow a precise fit in the engine and rust-resistant protection. The back valves are made from silicone and help prevent oil from draining when you’ve got the car turned off.
It also does a great job of making sure the engine doesn’t wear out under extremely high temperatures.
Another popular brand that you probably recognize even if you’re not following the latest edition of Oil Filters Magazine (doesn’t actually exist), this oil filter is a fantastic product that is the best Fram has to offer. Its filtering media is dual-layered and can capture up to about 99% of contaminants. This means a happy and healthier engine that’s going to keep running for quite some time.
In addition, the filtering surface is composed of a metal screen to make the filtering process all the smoother and better. It’s best used with synthetic oil so you’ll bg getting a great bargain for what you pay for. Its silicone anti-drain back valve is going to provide quality protection for your engine up to 15,000 miles.
The SureGrip coating is a non-slip texture that makes installation and removal incredibly easy. The gasket is also lubricated which makes the whole process as easy as possible.
Unlike other filters, this filter from Mann is completely metal-free. Just because its metal-free doesn’t mean that it’s not going to provide stellar protection for your engine.
This filter is able to hold a very high capacity of contaminants with a fantastic filtering service. The pleat structures allow the filtering surface to be incredibly efficient throughout the entirety of the process.
We do have to say that removal and installation isn’t quite as easy as other filters, as you’re likely going to have to use wrench removal tools in order to pop it out.
Because the filter is metal-free, it’s not going to produce any ash when it is disposed of later. That makes it one of the cleaner products on this list.
One look at the title and you can easily guess which vehicles work best with this product.
If you’ve got a Toyota vehicle, then this is going to be the product for you. It’s one of the top-rated oil filters out on the market and is an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) part that comes with your vehicle.
When you choose to go with an OEM, you’re going to have the peace of mind knowing that you’re purchasing a good product. You won’t have to worry about the size, whether or not installation will be difficult, or compatibility with this part. You know that it’s going to work instantly and fit right in.
It does a great job with your engine and will keep plenty of contaminants out. It works best with Toyota motor oil but that doesn’t mean that you can’t use other oils as well.
Prince’s favorite oil filter is now available for everyone! While this oil filter, unfortunately, does not come with a CD of Prince’s greatest hits, Royal Purple does claim that this filter is the only high-performance oil filter out on the market.
This oil filter was designed to filter your oil for any contaminants while also extending the life of the oil filter itself. It also is designed to protect your engine from any wear out over time.
The components of this filter are quite unique, as it’s made from 100% synthetic micro-glass which allows optimal suspension of any dirt particles, all the way down to 25 microns. That’s pretty small!
The shell is constructed with an extra-thick material to provide strength and stability while protecting it from any harmful effects of road debris and other substances that could pop up now and then.
When you’re installing or taking the product out, you’ll notice that torque is greatly reduced because the gasket is made with nitrile rubber and a lubricant compound for easy and efficient use. With a silicone anti-drain back valve prevents any oil from draining while the engine is shut off.
Lastly, we found that this filter is suitable for both high and low temperatures and performed well in both regards.
The first thing you may notice while checking out this oil filter is the price. While other oil filters seemed to range in between $8-20, this one is all the way up in the mid-30s. Is that a good or bad thing?
The reason we see this price increase is because of its versatility and adaptability. It can go in just about any vehicle and provide the same performance. It’s also made from extremely high-quality products in order to provide you with the best filtering possible.
ACDelco is used to making high-quality products and you’re not going to be disappointed by their oil filter.
Here, we have another car specific oil filter. Specifically designed for Subaru vehicles, this is also an OEM part. Just like with what we mentioned above, you know you’re going to be getting a high-quality part that fits flawlessly and works perfectly with your vehicle.
You’re not going to have to worry about any compatibility issues and installation should be a breeze, even for those who are maybe not the most experienced when it comes to DIYing their cars.
This filter does a fantastic job making sure that all other unwanted substances stay out of your oil stream and out of the engine. You’ll be guaranteed a smooth ride without any problems for the miles ahead.
As a quick note, this oil filter can work with just about any oil out there, so don’t worry too much about that.
Back to oil filters designed for more than just one make, this K&N oil filter is incredibly durable and keeps working well in even the toughest of conditions. These filter walls are made of heavy-duty materials and prevent any debris from damaging the housing.
It can also withstand higher-than-normal oil pressures without having the filter burst. At the top, you’ll see a hex nut has been welded to the canister meaning you can easily attach and remove the filter with just a wrench.
The anti-drain back valve makes sure that no oil will drain down the back of the engine after it’s been shut off. It’s best used with synthetic motor oil and has been rated as one of the top oil filters out on the market today.
Lastly, if you’re looking for a dependable oil filter for your truck, SUV, or even ATV then this is the oil filter for you. It was made for those rugged times and will make sure you can keep on enjoying your vehicle.
The Oil Filter Buying Guide
We know we just threw a lot of options in your face and you might even be more confused now than when we started. To help clear things up, we decided to make this handy-dandy buying guide that’s going to help answer some questions you may have while giving you some quality information about oil filters.
Just what is an oil filter?
We touched on this briefly above, but thought it might be a good idea to review what exactly an oil filter is.
When it comes to basic car maintenance, an oil filter is one of the most important components in your car. You’re not going to get very far without an oil filter and having a dirty one is going to harm your vehicle’s health over time. If a mechanic says you should replace an oil filter, you need to go ahead and do it.
Some people like to call your oil filter the “kidney” of your car.
The parts of an oil filter are as follows: a tapping plate, filter medium, anti-drain back valve, pleats center, steel tube, end disc, relief valve, and retainer. The whole thing is enclosed in thin metal. Oil is going to pass through the primary and secondary medium types for filtering.
The primary media type is going to filter particles that are between 25-30 microns while the second media type is going to take care of particles in between 5-10 microns.
You want a longer filter because that means more contaminants are going to be filtered along the way. Because of various designs, components, and materials, there are a few different types of oil filters out there.
Types of Oil Filters
Oil filters are not one size fits all, the “right” filter will vary by mileage, purpose and application. To help you decide, we cover the common types you may need.
Mechanical Oil Filter
One of the more common oil filters out there, the filtering media is made of cotton waste or pleated paper designed to suspend any contaminants that might try and enter the car’s engine oil.
With more and more dirt being filtered by the system, the flow of oil is eventually going to be affected because of the build-up of contaminant substances along the filter. Because of this, mechanical filters need to be changed or replaced on a more regular basis. Sometimes, the filtering component can just be changed or the entire filter needs to be changed, depending on the amount of debris that has passed through.
Cartridge and Spin-on Oil Filter
This one wins the award for having the coolest name out there.
Originally, all oil filters were made of cartridge and had permanent housing along with a replaceable filter media. Down the line, filters with a spin-on were introduced and had self-contained housing and a replaceable component.
This change made oil filter replacement much easier and much more convenient. You’ll find these filters in all sorts of different sizes, various designs, and even various construction methods.
Typically, those with synthetic materials are going to last longer than filters that have more “traditional” materials such as cellulose and filter paper.
Magnetic Oil Filter
These oil filters use magnets or electromagnets in order to suspend particles from entering the engine’s oil flow. They’re very easy to clean as all you have to do is clean off the magnet in order to keep the filter maintained and useful.
While these do sound easy to use, they are not often the best as the filtering components can often present some harmful effects to the oil flow.
Sedimentation Oil Filter
You’ll also see these oil filters called “gravity bed oil filters” as they allow the suspension of contaminants that are heavier than your engine’s oil. The contaminants are maintained at the bottom of the container using gravity itself.
Centrifugal Oil Filter
This type of oil filter is another sedimentation media entirely. It filters the oil in a way that your basic centrifuge works, using centrifugal force AKA the force of rotating devices (hope you paid attention in physics class).
During the entirety of this process, the oil goes through the housing and then through a drum rotor fit with jet nozzles. It settles the oil’s flow in the inner housing, causing the drum to rotate. Then, it passes through the housing wall’s bottom where the oil contaminants will be stuck.
That means that you’re going to have to clean the housing unit on a regular basis, much like what you did with the gravity sedimentation oil filter. If not, the pile of contaminants will cause the drum to stop rotating and then your filter will wear out.
High-Efficiency Oil Filter
Not only is your washing machine classified as an HE machine, but now this phenomenon has come to oil filters as well. You can’t stop the HE train!
So the way this filter works is by using a bypass filter that has longer oil drain intervals. The HE filter’s pore sizes are quite small and reduce engine wear from continuous contaminants. They’re more likely to be found in newer vehicles and you might see more and more of them down the line.
How to Choose the Right Oil Filter
Let’s run through some of the steps and things to consider when you ultimately decide to buy an oil filter for your vehicle.
Read Your Manual
In order to find out which oil filter you’re going to need, it’s essential you do some research on what your manufacturer recommends. Every car is different and even the same model but different years may have unique requirements for your oil filter.
Oil filters, unfortunately, are not a one-size-fits-all. Even though most oil filters look the same with their fat, cylindrical look, not all are going to fit in your vehicle.
Each filter has various parts and designs to make them unique. If you get the wrong size, it may not be able to filter the oil properly and you might start to notice your vehicle leaking oil over time.
You can look in your vehicle’s manual or online for the correct info.
Online Oil Finders
Many mechanics, or even places like Amazon, will have an online oil filter finder. You can plug in your vehicle’s details in order to find the best oil filter out there.
Oil Filter Questions
Now that we’ve gone over the basics, we want to answer some other questions that you may have in the back of your mind.
How often should I replace an oil filter?
You know that you need to replace your oil once every three months, but do you also need to replace your oil filter in the same time period?
Ideally, yes, you do. While that’s not always going to be the blanket answer, it’s a good practice to have and easy to remember. When you go get your oil changed, they may go ahead and do it for you or inform you that it’s time to change it out.
What are some signs the oil filter isn’t working?
Thankfully, noticing that your oil filter is failing is pretty easy. While your check engine light could mean a lot of things, it often means that there is some kind of contaminants in your engine that need to be cleaned or check out.
Some vehicles even come with a low-pressure oil light. If you notice one of these lights come on, then it’s probably a good idea to check your oil filter.
The most obvious sign, however, is any leaks. Leaks from your A/C unit or a tiny bit of dripping here and there is nothing to be worried about, but if notice oil leaks on a more regular basis than that is a time to be alarmed.
Leaks happen when the filter has lost its ability to handle temperature changes, causing the system to literally burst. The oil goes back to the oil pan and then it starts leaking over. Yikes.
Lastly, you may notice overheating in your vehicle. Now, this can also be from a lack of coolant or a whole host of other issues but it can also be tied directly to your oil filter beginning to fail.
Have you ever had dust buildup around your computer or laptop? Dust is a computer’s worst enemy because it starts to heat your computer up to unsafe temperatures. The same is going to happen with any debris or contaminants. So much lying around is going to clog up your engine and cause overheating.
Overheating can eventually lead to more and more problems, like complete engine failure.
Don’t panic if you start to notice any of these things, but it means you should be heading to a mechanic right away. This is not one of those issues to delay or hold off on like an interior light not working. Head to the mechanic right away and pay $50 for the filter and maintenance instead of paying 100s later for a complete engine fix.
Choosing an oil filter doesn’t have to be rocket science. As you can see above, many of the oil filters work incredibly well and come with similar features.
We recommend reading through your vehicle’s instruction manual in order to make sure you’re getting the right kind of filter as well as the right size. Not having the right size could mean more issues for your vehicle. Your oil system, just like the fuel system, should be kept clean for maximum performance.
It never hurts to do a bit of extra research online or by simply asking a few questions to your local mechanic or in an auto parts store. Just be sure to do your homework before making the final purchase. Happy shopping!