Oil filters are a crucial component of your engine and replacing your oil filter should be part of your routine vehicle maintenance. The oil filters help your engine run smooth and reliable. If you perform your own oil changes, you’ll want to pick one of the best oil filters to finish the job right. We’ve done the research for you, and this is our list of the best oil filter options on the market today.
What is an Oil Filter?
Oil filters are one of the essential components of your engine’s lubrication system. An oil filter essentially strains out any contaminants and small particles that might be in the engine oil, preventing these contaminants from circling through the system. Your oil filter operates much like your kidneys — filtering out harmful debris and unwanted material that you don’t want circulating in your engine.
The oil filter contains several key parts including the filter medium, tapping plate, pleats center, anti-drain back valve, relief valve, steel tub, retainer, and end disc. The primary filter media captures particles as small as 25 to 30 microns. Then, the secondary media prevents particles as little as 5 to 10 microns from passing into the engine.
Like air filters, fuel filters, and cabin air filters, oil filters need to be changed regularly if you want the best performance from your vehicle. If your oil filtration system is dirty or worn out, you could cause damage to your engine.
Types of Oil Filters
There are several different types of oil filters; it’s crucial you pick the best oil filter for your vehicle. Below, we’ve briefly outlined the types of oil filters on the market as well as how to choose the best one for you.
Mechanical Oil Filter
Mechanical oil filters use materials such as pleated cotton or filter paper to catch and hold dirt and debris. waste. As the dirt gets filtered out of the oil, it is trapped on the filter. Eventually, as the filter gets dirtier, the oil flow will slow down due to the build-up of substances in the filter. Due to this, mechanical filters will need to be replaced often.
Spin-On and Cartridge Oil Filter
Originally, all oil filters featured a cartridge construction with permanent housings and replaceable media. Then, the spin-on assembly was unveiled. This oil filter design features a self-contained housing with a replaceable filter component. Similar to mechanical filters, the filtering media is often made from paper, cotton, or even cardboard. The spin-on design makes it easy to change your filter without having to replace the entire cartridge.
Magnetic Oil Filter
Magnetic oil filters use electromagnets to suspend metal contaminants separate from the oil flow. These suspended particles do not block the flow of oil through the filter, though you will need to remember to clean the magnet regularly.
Sedimentation Oil Filter
Also known as gravity bed oil filters, sedimentation oil filters utilize gravity to separate out contaminants that are heavier than oil. These suspended contaminants sink to the bottom of the container.
Centrifugal Oil Filter
These filters operate similarly to sedimentation oil filters but use centrifugal force instead of gravity. The oil flows through the filter housing into a drum rotor. This drum rotor features two nozzles that allow the oil to enter. This drum spins allowing the oil to easily passes through the filter housing to the motor, but the contaminants get stuck in the housing wall. Because of the design, you will need to clean a centrifugal oil filter regularly to ensure it continues to work properly.
HE (High-Efficiency) Oil Filter
HE oil filters work like a bypass filter specifically designed to provide your engine with an extended oil drain interval. Because of the small pore size and extended drain intervals, HE filters can capture very small particles, down to 3 micrometers in size, ensuring the wear on your engine is reduced.
Best Oil Filter Brands
You always want to purchase your oil filter from brands that are reputable. We favor five brands in particular if you want to know who’s trustworthy. Mobil 1 has been around longer than most automotive companies. They are known for their affordable oil filters, and their filters average an efficiency of 99.6%, which is plenty for most daily drivers. Also, they utilize an aluminum canister for added durability.
Fram is another trustworthy brand if you’re operating on a budget looking for some of the cheapest, yet still reliable filters on the market. The efficiency rating of these runs about 95%. A popular brand among performance enthusiasts is Royal Purple. These old filters are similar in design to the Mobil 1 but feature a thicker shell for maximum durability and high pressures. The efficiency is 99%, and they should filter out particles as tiny as 25 microns.
Motorcraft oil filters use an innovative design that utilizes multi-pass efficiency. This filters out dust, metal bits, abrasives, and carbon. The filters have pressure relief valves to ensure that the oil supply is uniform even during colder temperatures. And they feature a steel casing construction to prevent rust and corrosion.
ACDelco oil filters have an efficiency rating of 98% and collect particles as small as 25 to 30 microns due to their filtering nets. With their aluminum shell and thermosetting seal, these have a high tolerance and offer superior performance no matter the temperature.
Other quality brands you can trust include WIX, K&N, Purolator, Bosch, and Mann.
10 Best Oil Filters on The Market
Here are our picks for the 10 best oil filters. Remember to make sure you purchase an oil filter that fits your car’s engine.