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10 Best Oil Filters [Buying Guide]

Keep Your Engine Running Smoothly With The Best Oil Filters

Best Overall Choice
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Mobil 1 M1-110A Extended Performance Oil Filter

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Best Premium Choice
best oil filters

Royal Purple 341777 Extended Life Filter

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Best Budget Choice
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FRAM PH7317 Extra Guard Spin-On Filter

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best oil filters

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

best oil filters

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

best oil filters

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.

Best Overall Choice

1. Mobil 1 M1-110A Extended Performance Oil Filter

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Mobil 1 is always a safe bet if you are looking for one of the best oil filters on the market. This extended performance oil filter features an advanced synthetic fiber construction that removes contaminants at a 99.6% efficiency rating.

The aluminum canister is sturdy and holds up under 615 PSI worth of pressure. There’s also an anti-drain back valve that prevents dry starts. When compared to many other filters, this one holds 28 grams of capacity, which is about double most other oil filters’ capacities.

Best Premium Choice

2. Royal Purple 341777 Extended Life Filter

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This Royal Purple filter is the cream of the crop in terms of oil filters, providing superior protection for performance engines. This extended life filter uses micro-glass which removes debris down to 25 microns. It’s rated at 99% efficiency, so you know your engine is safe.

The aluminum shell is extra thick to add durability. In addition, it comes with an anti-drain back-valve that’s made with silicone and helps to prevent dry starts. We especially like the metal end-caps which provide a positive seal plus the heavy-gauge steel back that offers added strength.

Best Budget Choice

3. FRAM PH7317 Extra Guard Spin-On Filter

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Offering some of the lowest prices on the market for the best oil filters, FRAM is a great option for people that want to stick to their budget and protect their engine. You can pick up one of these filters for about half the price of a Royal Purple or Mobil 1 filter.

And don’t let the price fool you. These filters are efficient enough to trap 95% of the dirt in your oil, an efficiency rating on par with most other filters on the market. If you plan to change your oil filter every 5,000 miles, you should be able to use these filters without an issue, and they won’t break the bank.

4. ACDelco PF2232 Professional Engine Oil Filter

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If you want a reasonably priced oil filter option that protects your engine with an efficiency rating of up to 98%, the ACDelco line is a great place to start.

This filter is effective at removing debris as tiny as 30 microns. While the aluminum shell isn’t quite as durable as some others, it should be beefy enough for your daily driver. It also has a thermosetting adhesive seal to prevent leaks.

ACDelco Professional is compatible with 97% of vehicles, so you should have no trouble getting an oil filter that fits your needs. ACDelco is used by many professional shops, so you know you’re getting a high-quality filter.

5. Motorcraft FL820S Silicone Valve Oil Filter

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Here’s another budget-friendly option to consider when looking for the best oil filters. This Motorcraft filter will reduce dirt and debris in standard engines.

Even though it has a small price tag, it still comes with plenty of premium features like the silicone anti-drain back valve to protect against dry starts. The filter also has a pressure relief valve to prevent oil from circulating back, which is helpful in cooler weather.

The filter comes with a steel case designed to be durable and give you a  precise fit. It will hold up to 12 grams, which should be sufficient for your 5,000-mile oil change schedule.

6. WIX 51348 Spin-On Lube Filter

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This spin-on filter utilizes a pleated paper construction to filter out debris and dirt from the oil. What most people like about this style of filter is the ease of installation.

This filter doesn’t require much maintenance. While not as cheap as a Fram filter, it is on the inexpensive side, while still scoring high customer ratings.

The filter comes with a mounting plate, gasket, inner element tube, and center tube. The best part about this filter may just be that you don’t even need an oil filter wrench for installation or removal.

7. Purolator PL14610 PurolatorONE Filter

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While these filters are priced comparably to other lower-priced filters, they have something extra going for them. This is a top-ranked filter when evaluating based on the SAE filtration test. They last for 10,000 miles and promise 99% dirt removal.

The filter has a silicone anti-drainback valve which lasts longer compared to a conventional nitrile valve. This protects your engine from oil leaks and dry starts. This design also features metal end caps for added durability. The long-lasting, PTFE-coated housing is also easy to remove and install.

8. Bosch 3330 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter

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Bosch manufactures almost every engine component you could ever need, so it makes sense to trust them with your oil filter. This filter uses Bosch’s patented FILTECH screen for top-notch efficiency. The aluminum shell paired with a steel base plate prevents warping from high pressure or heat.

The silicone anti-drain back valve helps to protect against dry starts as well. The company recommends using Castrol motor oil in conjunction with this filter for the best results. You can expect easy removal and installation even with the filter’s high lubricity gasket design which provides a tighter seal.

9. K&N HP-1008 Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter

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If you need the best oil filters for your SUV, truck, or car, K&N is another fabulous option. These oil filters fall in the middle of the price range and feature many high-performance components. The heavy-duty construction withstands even the most extreme conditions and is designed to trap 99% of contaminants.

With the 1-inch nut, filter removal is simple. The filter also has an anti-drain back valve which eliminates any dry starts. This K&N oil filter is the perfect solution for drivers who need to stick to a budget but still want a high-quality filter.

10. Mann-Filter HU 816 X Metal-Free Oil Filter

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If you need an oil filter for your BMW, Mann is a good option that you know will fit. This oil filter comes with everything you need and contains a specially designed pleat-formation for additional filtering. Because of the design, this filter is also recyclable, which makes it ideal for anyone who cares about the environment.

The downside is that these oil filters are a little more complicated to install than most filters. That isn’t because of the filter’s construction, but mainly just because of the BMW engine setup. If you aren’t sure how to get one of these on properly, it’s best to consult with a trained mechanic or take your car to your local shop.



Choosing the Best Oil Filter for Your Vehicle

When you set out to purchase the best oil filter, it helps if you know what to look for. Below are some key features to consider when finding the best oil filter for your car.

Type of Filter

You need to know what kind of filter your vehicle runs. If you choose the wrong kind, it might not install properly which could lead to oil leaks or other issues. Turn to your owner’s manual or local parts store to figure out what type of filter to purchase.

Material

Oil filters feature different filtration media. Most of them come with either synthetic materials, micro-glass, or cellulose. Cellulose filters suspend contaminants that are 8 to 10 microns in size. These need to be replaced most often.

Most high-quality oil filters use synthetic media. This filter media can remove 50% of particles ranging from 20 to 40 microns in size plus 24% of the microns ranging from 8 to 10 microns. You don’t need a special oil filter to use synthetic oil though!

Micro glass, on the other hand, is the preferred media for the top-of-the-line oil filters. Micro glass filter media produce less oil flow restriction and you won’t need to change them that often.

Capacity

An oil filter’s capacity refers to its ability to hold contaminants. This number is determined by the media used combined with the quality of the build. The higher the capacity, the longer you can between filter changes, which can save you money and time.

Most oil filters have capacities that hold at least 10 grams. Once your oil filter reaches capacity, the unfiltered oil passes through seamlessly which is why you will need to replace them as recommended.

Durability

You want a replacement oil filter constructed from the best materials to ensure it holds up to high pressure and normal wear and tear. The best oil filters are made from aluminum or steel instead of plastic.

Easy to Install

You want to be able to replace your filter by yourself. This is true whether you’re a seasoned mechanic or a first-time oil changer. With that being said, not every design of oil filter is easy to install. Look at the housing design, weight, and size of the filter when making your purchase. Even exact fit parts can be tricky to install.

If you find yourself with a stuck oil filter, try out one of our 3 ways to get an oil filter unstuck.



Frequently Asked Questions

How tight should an oil filter be?

You may have heard before that oil filters should not be over tightened but, then, what is the right level of tightness and how can you be sure that you haven’t overdone it? It’s simple.

Use your strong hand to spin the filter slowly until the gasket makes contact with the engine block. Then, tighten it by giving it no more than half a turn from this point. This will ensure that the filter is securely fitted but not too tight.

Avoid using any type of tool to screw the filter in as this can cause damage, for example, a crease or a dent that can lead to a crack. Using a key can also overtighten the filter. Such tools should only be used to remove an old filter and not install a new one.

What is a synthetic oil filter?

A synthetic oil filter is a filter that is made using synthetic materials. When combined with synthetic oil, these types of filters are better at filtering small contaminants and will last longer, which should translate to fewer visits to the mechanic over the course of your vehicle’s life.

Synthetic oils are proven to be more resistant to extreme temperatures and to help the engine run smoother. However, they are more expensive than common motor oils.

If you choose to use a synthetic oil lubricant for your engine, keep in mind that you don’t necessarily need to couple it with a synthetic oil filter. Any good quality automotive filter with maximum mile protection and high efficiency will do the job perfectly.

How often should I replace the oil filter?

This is a common question that doesn’t have a straightforward answer. Just like your oil needs to be changed regularly, the oil filter must be maintained regularly as well.

Most people change their filter every time they perform an oil change. Most of the time, this will be every three to six months. Just keep in mind that how frequently you change your oil will depend on your vehicle and the type of oil you use.

How do I know if my oil filter is failing?

Most times you can’t tell that your filter is failing until your engine starts acting up. Many filters have a safety feature that will allow the unfiltered oil to circulate when the filter reaches capacity. That’s because having contaminated oil is better than having no oil.

Hopefully, you are routinely replacing or cleaning your filter before issues arise. However, there are some clear symptoms that might indicate the oil filter needs to be changed.

  • Your engine light might turn on
  • Oil leaks
  • The engine starts to overheat
  • Low oil pressure
  • Dirty exhaust

Can I change oil without changing filter?

Yes, you can. However, we recommend making replacing the oil filter part of your oil change process to make sure that you have a working filter and a happy engine.



Brian Jones
About Brian Jones

Brian Jones spent over 30-years at various dealerships as an ASE Certified Master Tech. These days he works with those dealerships to create quality automotive content while spending more time with his family near Dallas, TX. In his spare time, you'll still find him playing with tools, cars, and many other "manly" gadgets. Brian's passions include traveling, pickup trucks, and anything related to motorsports.