Review: Best Oil Filters
Shopping for an oil filter can be confusing with so many different brands to choose from. It’s not uncommon for an identical filter to be sold under a number of different brand names, further adding to the confusion. However, the internal construction and the quality of the filtering element can greatly differ between two brands, and many filters from the most popular brands are of very poor quality.
The following filters were picked for their objective filtering performance based on the quality and surface area of their filtering element where the particles are trapped. The construction of the anti-drain back and bypass valves is also important since they maintain hold oil pressure. Finally, we picked the following best oil filters in 2021 for their overall value since there's no need to purchase an expensive filter in order to have solid, basic performance.
Purolator PureONE Oil Filter
Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter
Purolator Classic Oil Filter
WIX Spin-On Oil Filter
Comparing the Best Oil Filter
The PureONE consistently performs at the top when it comes to filtering capability. The paper/fiber element has more filtering material and surface area than other filters and internal construction is very good. There are some concerns about oil restriction because the filter element is so dense, and if you have a high performance engine you may be better off with the more expensive Mobil 1 oil filters. However, the PureONE’s excellent filtering capability, high quality construction, and affordable price make it a top overall pick.
Pictured is the Purolator PureONE Oil Filter #PL14610.
Mobil 1 oil filters are fairly expensive, but their fully synthetic fiber elements do a much better job filtering small contaminants than the conventional paper elements found in cheaper filters. Despite their excellent filtering capability, these filters still flow well.
The Mobil 1 oil filters are manufactured by Champion Labs and can be purchased at many retail locations. They are virtually identical to the K&N oil filters which feature a welded nut at the end for easier installation and removal, but the K&Ns are harder to find at retail locations. However, if you can find a good deal on them online, the K&Noil filters are equally recommended.
Pictured is the Mobil Extended Performance Oil Filter #M1-102.
If you’re looking for an oil filter that’s cheap and easy to find, the Purolator Classic Oil Filter is an excellent choice. This filter is essentially the same as the old Purolator Premium Plus oil filters, with only very minor changes and a new name. It’s well constructed and the paper element does a good job filtering out small particles. This protects your engine and extends its life, preventing damage from contaminants. You can find these filters just about anywhere and at around $4 the Purolator Classic Oil Filter is an excellent value choice.
Pictured is the Purolator Classic Oil Filter #L14459
WIX filters feature high quality construction and good oil flow, making them easy to recommend. This is a company that’s been around for a long time, which serves as testament to their quality and durability in terms of both design and construction. Even with heavy use these filters don't break down over time while the affordable price tag offers some of the best bang for your buck available. They are readily available at most major retailers and WIX also manufacturers the NAPA Silver and Gold-level filters.
Pictured is the WIX Spin On Oil Filter #57002
Best Oil Filters Buyer's Guide
The oil filter is such a small and straightforward part, but it is an essential part of the vehicle engine. A clean oil filter will help you maintain your vehicle performance and prevent unwanted substances from getting into your vehicle's oil and possibly damaging the whole machinery.
And like any other filter, the oil filter must be replaced regularly to ensure that the oil is getting correctly filtered. Most of the manufacturers suggest getting a new oil filter every time you replace your oil. This can be anywhere from 4,000 to over 13,000 miles. That's a lot of miles, so it makes sense that you buy the best oil filter possible.
While the oil filters are simple, picking one can be difficult since there are various options. There are a variety of brands, and each one has its effectiveness and lifespan. You can narrow down your choices and find the best oil filter for your car with our helpful buying guide.
What Is an Essential Tip on Placing the Oil Filter?
The single most famous tip is never to over-tighten any oil filter. Most of the oil filters are designed to seal for tens of thousands of miles with just good hand-tightening. Remember, always tighten spin-on filters using your hand, or you won't get it back off again without the help of the removal tool (you might damage some of the engine's components). Overtightening a spin-on oil filter may result in oil loss, oil seal failure, and engine damage.
What To Consider When Buying an Oil Filter?
Arguably the most important thing about the oil filters is the type of media used to filter the engine oil. Most of the oil filters come with synthetic or cellulose materials. Cellulose is cardboard and has been used as a filtration media for a pretty long time. Higher-end engine oil filters will apply a synthetic fiber media that is more beneficial at filtering engine oil than cellulose.
The filter capacity refers to its ability to hold the contaminants. Your engine manufacturer will determine how big your engine oil filter should be in order to filter your engine's oil efficiently. The bigger the capacity of the oil filter, the longer you will last with it.
Most of the oil filters will come with a capacity of at least 10 grams. So once that capacity is reached, the unfiltered oil will pass through. And if you don't change the filter in time, it can cause severe engine problems.
You need to look for a replacement oil filter built from only the best materials to guarantee it holds up to high pressure and normal tear and wear. Most of the quality oil filters are constructed from aluminum or steel instead of plastic. So be sure to check this part before buying an oil filter.
Easy to Install
Filters appear in different sizes and shapes, so not every filter will perfectly fit into your car. Be sure that you choose the one that's designed for your car. Also, if you want to change it yourself, be sure that it has an easy-to-install design. But if you don't want to struggle, then just head on to a mechanic.
What Is The Price Range of an Oil Filter?
- Less than $10 – Don't expect too much from an oil filter at this price range. It has low quality and durability. You have to replace this type of filter more often than other alternatives that cost more.
- $10 – $17 – this is the most common price range that most people go for. These products utilize excellent filtration materials, so you don't have to replace them so often;
- Over $17 – An oil filter in this particular price range will likely have all the attractive features. The valves are manufactured from steel or silicone to resist high temperatures and pressures.
What Are The Types of Oil Filters?Mechanical
Mechanical oil filters use common material such as filter paper to prevent unwanted particles from breaking through. But as time goes they reduce oil flow due to dirt and dust in the filtering material.
The magnetic oil filters use electromagnets to suspend the metal contaminants from the oil flow. These dissolved particles do not block the oil flow through the filter, but you will need to remember to clean the magnet every now and then.
Also recognized as gravity bed oil filters, sedimentation oil filters use gravity to depart out contaminants heavier than oil. They suspend the heavier contaminants than the oil itself, dragging them down to the bottom of the oil filter.
These types of oil filters work similarly to sedimentation, but they use centrifugal power instead of gravity. They have multiple rotating components that spin the oil, which pulls out that heavy contaminant. But you will need to clean them regularly to prevent sticking.
They are specifically intended to provide your engine with an extended oil drain interval. And because these types of filters have small pore sizes, they are able to capture even the smallest contaminants. It is proven it can catch articles to 3 micrometers in size. This all ensures that the wear on your engine is significantly reduced.
How Did We Choose Our Selection of Oil Filters?
We have researched the whole oil filter offer and have managed to pick out only the best oil filters that will be the most suitable fit for your car. In performing this research, we have considered a lot of factors such as brand, durability, quality, reviews, etc. Once we had the best oil filters grouped, we tested all the filters, and we managed to list only the ones we were satisfied with.
Today, it is pretty crucial to pick the correct oil filter since there are longer oil service periods and more and more new cars being produced from the company with synthetic oil. So sticking with the genuine or OEM oil filter is a great choice, even if you have to spend a little more coin.
In the end, every oil filter listed in this buying guide has gone through extensive research and testing, so choosing one of them will be a great option.
Oil Filter FAQ
Q: How often should I replace the oil filter?
A: This is a simple question that doesn't have a specific answer. Just like you change your oil regularly, you must maintain your oil filter as well. Most people usually change their oil filter every time they do an oil change. So you would need to change your oil filter every four to eight months.
Q: Why are oil filters used?
A: The oil filter's main job is to keep the oil cleaned and prevent dirt and dust particles from entering the engine through the oil. Therefore, oil filters provide better engine performance and protection.
Q: What will happen if you don't replace the oil filter on time?
A: If you somehow forget to change your oil filter on time, the layers of contaminants on the filter media might block oil flow. That would mean that unfiltered oil will go into the engine. Since this oil would carry contaminants, it will significantly affect the engine's performance and might even cause engine damage.