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Best Oil Filter – Buying Guide and Top Recommendations for 2019

Are you looking for the best oil filter for your car?

It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you have, every one needs an oil filter. Unless you’re a car enthusiast, it’s hard to know type you need, and how to choose.

That’s why we’re here.

A mechanic holding an oil filter, with a car engine in the backgroundIn this article, we’re going to tell you all about what an oil filter does and why it’s so essential for your vehicle.

We will also go into detail with reliable information that you need to choose the best oil filter that is right for you and your particular vehicle.

We’ll also give you our top recommendations on the best products available today, to help make your purchase even easier.

Let’s get started…

Quick Links to Our Top Recommendations for Best Oil Filter

Note: Clicking the above links will take you to further information, current prices and customer reviews on Amazon.

What is an Oil Filter? What is the Purpose and Benefits?

Before diving into what they are, it’s essential to understand the importance of clean oil for your vehicle. Engine oil is the substance that’s going to lubricate the different parts of the engine under the hood. Whether you use a traditional or synthetic oil, it is a necessary product to keep everything under your hood running smoothly and efficiently.

So, while oil is essential, if unfiltered it can be very damaging for your engine. It could cause significant wear and tear over time. This means that your engine will have a shorter life.

You may end up having to pay out a lot of money to have it repaired, or even replaced.

It’s the job of the filter to clean the engine oil and make sure that this doesn’t happen. It looks like a tin can, filtering the oil and stopping any contaminants from passing through and damaging the engine.

In particular, it stops hard substances from rubbing against parts of the engine. By filtering these out of the oil, it can help your car to run more efficiently on the road. It can also prevent engine wear and problems in the future.

This will extend the life of your engine and may improve your gas mileage over time.

Does Quality Matter?

A lot of car owners think that any oil filter will do. Surely, they all have the same function, which means that the cheapest will do, right?

Wrong.

The truth is that quality does matter and this sometimes comes with a higher price tag.

While oil filters may look the same, they can work very differently on the inside. For example, some work with cellulose fibers to capture the contaminants, while others use non-woven plastic or synthetic fibers. This will, in turn, affect their price.

More details about materials later. The point we’re getting at here is that the best oil filter for your vehicle will likely cost more money.

In general, the more costly ones last longer than cheaper versions. Some of the less expensive ones won’t even last for 3,000 driving miles. Then they let dirty oil back into your engine.

If you choose a more expensive filter made with better materials, it may last up to 10,000 miles, or in some cases more. It’s best never to try to cut corners on when it comes to your oil filter.

What to Look for in the Best Oil Filters

By now we’ve hopefully convinced you to buy with quality in mind. But where are you supposed to start?

We’ve made a summary of some of the key things you need to check out, before buying an oil filter for your vehicle.

Type of Filter

There are quite a few types to choose from. Of course, they all have their advantages and disadvantages.

Let’s look at the six most common ones in turn to learn more about each. The six types are:

  1. Mechanical
  2. Cartridge and spin on
  3. Magnetic
  4. Sedimentation
  5. Centrifugal
  6. High-efficiency.

Mechanical oil filters are the most popular, but they also have to be replaced more frequently. A bulk material is used for filter media, and this will catch the small contaminants passing through.

But over time, these contaminants will build up. This will eventually affect the flow of clean oil and is why mechanical filters need to be replaced more often.

Cartridge and spin-on are the veterans of oil filters. These consist of a permanent structure, as well as a filtering media that is replaceable. There’s also a spin-on that helps to improve the filtering process.

Magnetic oil filters use magnets to attract small metals out of the oil so that it’s clean for the engine. The good thing about this type is that all you have to do is clean it out. Nothing needs to be replaced.

Sedimentation oil filters do a decent job too. But they aren’t going to be the most efficient you can get for capturing all the contaminants. They use gravity to keep contaminants at the bottom of the filter.

Centrifugal oil filters are up next. Instead of gravity, they use centrifugal force to capture contaminants. This is the force that is created from rotating devices, and the contaminants will be trapped to create clean oil. You’ll need to clean out the housing so that contaminants don’t build up and jeopardize the efficiency.

High efficiency oil filters are the final type. These are a good choice for your vehicle because of the way that they operate. They have longer oil drain intervals, which help to prevent excessive engine wear.

Filter Media

The filter media is the part inside that somewhat looks like paper. This is an important part that actually cleans the oil and gets rid of all the contaminants. There are three types of oil filter media that you should be aware of: synthetic, cellulose, and a blend of the two.

Synthetic media can be made using glass, polyester or nylon. This is the most expensive option but it’s also the most efficient. The woven fibers are much tighter than plant-based fibers, which means all the small dirt particles are trapped. It’s going to last longer too.

Next up is cellulose media, which is made of plant-based fibers. A lot of car owners go for this one since it’s cheaper and you can enjoy a high filtration percentage. It performs better with heavy oils.

Last but not least is a blend of synthetic and cellulose media. This combines the best of both worlds and delivers on performance, as well as the price. You can expect high filtration efficiency with this one.

Filtration Efficiency

The filtration efficiency of an oil filter lets you know the amount of contaminants that are removed from the oil. This is conveyed with 2 numbers: a filtration percentage and a number of microns.

The filtration efficiency is going to be different, depending on the media used.

The easiest way to understand this is by remembering that you want a high filtration percentage. At the same time, the smaller the number of microns, the better, because any particles smaller than this number aren’t filtered.

For example, a filtration of 99 percent at 20 microns is going to be better than 99 percent at 50 microns.

Capacity

The capacity refers to the amount of contaminants from the oil that it’s able to hold. This is generally measured in grams, and once again the amount will depend on the type of media that’s used.

The rule of thumb is the larger the capacity, the more miles it can support. You should be looking at 10 grams as a minimum figure. Some of the best models have a capacity of two or three times that amount.

You should go for the highest number possible when it comes to capacity. The last thing you want is for your oil filter to reach capacity and open the bypass value. This will let unfiltered oil move into the engine.

Construction

We find the best oil filters feature metal end caps and center tube, instead of plastic. A lot of cheaper and less durable models won’t have these and will use materials such as cardboard instead. This is definitely not what you want.

Another feature you should look for is a metal bypass valve. Stay away from plastic if you’re looking for durability. The bypass valve will allow oil to get into the engine when the filter is full.

Some of the best oil filters will prevent dry starts from happening. You may want to look out for the anti-drain back valve, which will do just that. Its job is to stop oil draining back into the filter when your car engine has been switched off.

We recommended looking for a silicone anti-drain back valve. This works better in extreme temperatures than rubber.

Some filters will also have a wire backing for their media. This is used for support for synthetic or blended media to help them stay in place. This is definitely a feature that you want to look for.

How to Choose the Right Size Oil Filter for Your Car

There are lots of different sizes out there, and you’ll have to determine the right one you need, otherwise, it won’t fit your car and you’ll have wasted your hard-earned cash.

The best way to do this is to consult your car’s owner manual. This should tell you the filter size and the model number that you’ll want to purchase.

If this doesn’t work, you can use the Amazon guide to help you. When you open the link for many of the oil filters they sell, the guide will be there automatically. You’ll find it on most of the products that we share below.

All you have to do is enter the year your car was manufactured and make and model of your vehicle. This should then bring up the specific size that you need, assuming it’s available for your car.

The size should also be written on your old filter for you to cross-check when you purchase one.

Note: You should also keep in mind that different size filters will require different tools to install or remove. So if you service your own vehciles, you might want to consult our guide to the best oil filter wrenches to make sure you have the right tool for the job

Best Oil Filter – Our Top Choices and Recommendations

There is a vast range of different oil filters out there that you can choose for your vehicle. But the problem is, there aren’t a lot of resources to help you know what’s what.

This means you can end up with one that’s no good for your vehicle, or far from the best you could have bought. Why waste your money?

Don’t worry. We’ve found some of the best products available and give you the ins and outs of each below. We’ve reviewed them, so you don’t have to do the hard work.

Bosch 3330 Premium Filtech Oil Filter

Bosch 3330 Premium FILTECH Oil Filter for Select Audi, Ford, Lexus, Lincoln, Volkswagen + More

Bosch is a well-known brand and one of the biggest suppliers of car parts in the world. They are well trusted and have not disappointed with this product.

This is definitely a premium filter, with fantastic construction for durability and good performance. There’s an anti-drain back valve to put an end to dry starts so that you can start your engine easily. Plus, it’s made from silicone, which is going to work in all temperatures.

Importantly, this product has an amazing 99 percent filtration efficiency at 20 microns. This is one of the highest filtration rates of the products we’ve listed here. It has a cellulose and glass-blended filter media, which keeps the price down.

The oil filter itself is larger and thicker than many others, which means you can benefit from durability. It should last longer and, with a 14-gram capacity, you won’t have to change it too frequently. But when you do, it’s got a high lubricity gasket design, making oil changes easy.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • 99 percent efficiency.
  • 14-gram capacity.
  • OE Fit.

What We Like

  • Affordable price tag.
  • High filtration efficiency to remove contaminants.
  • Prevents dry starts.
  • Premium and durable construction.

What We Don’t Like

  • Blended media isn’t as good as synthetic.

Summary

Overall, this is one of the best oil filters for your vehicle. Bosch is a reputable brand and uses premium materials while keeping the price down. You don’t have to worry about dry starts, regardless of the weather conditions.

You won’t have to change your oil filter for a while with this one either.

The only downside we could find is that it uses a blended media filter. Synthetic is considered the best, but this blended media does mean you can enjoy a reasonable price.

So, if you want the best quality at an affordable price, click here.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Mobil 1 M1-110 Extended Performance Oil Filter

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

Mobil is another leading brand for both engine oil and oil filters. This means you can expect a lot from this one. In particular, this is one of the best when it comes to capacity and the contaminants it holds.

A great feature is the filtration efficiency. It’s going to remove 99.6 percent of contaminants at 25 microns to make way for clean oil to your engine. It uses a synthetic filter media, which we think is the best.

Remember, this means that the fibers are tighter and small contaminants aren’t going to make it through.

This is also the best oil filter from those we reviewed with regard to capacity. You can enjoy a capacity of 28g, which means it won’t need replacing for up to 15,000 miles. You probably won’t have to replace it within at least a year.

We also love that it has a silicone anti-drain back valve. This is going to prevent your engine from dry starting without oil and causing damage. Silicone is much better than rubber and will work well in extreme low or high temperatures.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • 28-gram total capacity.
  • Synthetic media filter.
  • 6 percent filtration efficiency.

What We Like

  • No dry starts.
  • Durable metal bypass valve.

What We Don’t Like

  • No wired backing for media.

Summary

Altogether, we’d say that this Mobil model is one of the finest in our recommendations list. It’s got pretty much everything you’d want; high filtration efficiency, synthetic media filter, and durable construction.

Of course, being a top product means it does come with a higher price tag, if your budget will stretch to the initial cost. But we’d say it’s worth the investment, especially considering it can last up to 15,000 miles. The only thing we don’t like is it doesn’t have a wired backing.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Royal Purple 341777 Extended Life Oil Filter

Royal Purple 10-2835 Extended Life Premium Oil Filter

When people think about the best oil filters, the brand Royal Purple often comes into their heads. Known for durable, efficient oil filters since 1986, this extended life product is an excellent choice for your vehicle.

It features a synthetic micro-glass media, which allows for an excellent 99 percent filtration efficiency at 25 microns. With compacted fibers, it’s sure to capture all of the small contaminants from the oil before they have a chance to enter your engine.

You can also enjoy quality construction, with metal end caps and center tube. There is a metal bypass valve, which is going to help it last longer. This Royal Purple filter lasts as long as 10,000 miles, so you’ll have peace of mind as you drive.

Another great feature we love to see is the silicone anti-drain back valve. Dry starts can really damage your engine, but that won’t be a worry if you choose this product.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • 99 percent filtration efficiency at 25 microns.
  • 100 percent synthetic micro-glass media filter.

What We Like

  • Reliable brand.
  • Lasts for 10,000 miles.
  • Quality construction.
  • Prevents dry starts.
  • 99 percent filtration and synthetic media.

What We Don’t Like

  • Canister is thicker than some and doesn’t fit all vehicles.

Summary

This is definitely a contender for one of the best on the list. It’s strong and thicker construction means it’s durable and long lasting. This is combined with a high filtration efficiency that’s going to last you up to 10,000 miles.

We love that it uses synthetic filter media, with the tightly knit fibers ready to catch the smallest contaminants. Dry starts won’t be a problem either, and you can keep your engine in excellent working condition.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Fram Ph7317 Extra Guard Passenger Car Spin-on Oil Filter

FRAM PH7317 Extra Guard Passenger Car Spin-On Oil Filter

If you’re looking for a cost-effective option, we’d recommend this Fram model. It delivers at an affordable price but still offers a high filtration efficiency.

This product offers a 95 percent filtration efficiency, which is going to remove most contaminants from the oil. This should last around 5,000 miles. It’s good for you if you don’t have to replace your filter often—maybe you don’t drive much, or you have a short daily commute.

This product is going to be suitable for most vehicles to use. The housing material is made of steel, which will provide durability and strength. It also features a blend of fibers and resin media filter, which allows filtration at an affordable price.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • Up to 5,000 miles.
  • Use with conventional oil.
  • Blend of fibers and resin media.

What We Like

  • Affordable price.
  • High filtration efficiency.
  • Suitable for everyday drivers.
  • Easy to remove with lubricated sealing gasket.

What We Don’t Like

  • Blended media.
  • Needs replacing more than other models, every 5,000 miles.
  • Lower efficiency than other models.

Summary

If cost is a major factor in your decision-making, this may be the choice for you. It’s going to provide you with good filtration efficiency for the price you’re paying, and it’s constructed from reliable materials.

However, this oil filter will only last up to 5,000 miles. If you tend to drive a lot of miles, you’ll need to replace it more frequently. In that case you may not actually save money in the long run and a longer-lasting filter would be more economical. But if you don’t clock up the mileage too quickly, it will serve you well.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

K&N Hp01998 Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter

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

If you have a high-performance vehicle, you may require a different oil filter than the ordinary car owner. The ideal product for you may just be this model K&N. This is suitable for racing vehicles as well as trucks.

It features a cellulose filter media, which allows for a higher flow rate, and is better for heavier oils. In addition, it provides 99 percent filtration efficiency to make sure no abrasives get to your engine.

It’s made from quality materials, including metal end caps and center tube, which is much more durable than plastic. There’s even a silicone anti-drain back valve, to prevent dry starts in cold and hot weather.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • 99 percent filtration efficiency.
  • 1-inch exposed nut for easy removal.
  • Cellulose filter media.

What We Like

  • High filtration efficiency.
  • Quality construction.
  • Prevent dry starts.
  • High flow rate.

What We Don’t Like

  • No wire backing for media.

Summary

Whether you’ve got an SUV or a motorcycle, particularly if you venture onto the racetrack occasionally, this may be the best product for you. We love the high filtration efficiency and the fact it’s made from quality materials. The silicone anti-drain back valve is also great for durability and to protect the engine in all temperatures.

We don’t normally like cellulose filter media, and we’d have to say this is the downside to this particular product. In addition, it’s not wire backed. Interestingly, some people claim that not having the media wire backed might improve oil flow rate. And, of course, this is what we strive for in our high-performance vehicles—so the jury’s out on this point.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Acdelco PF2232 Professional Engine Oil Filter

ACDelco PF2232 Professional Engine Oil Filter

If you know anything about oil filters and engine parts, you’ll already have heard of ACDelco. It’s a popular brand that’s often associated with very efficient filters. This is why you’ll find them in Chevrolet, Cadillac and GMC cars.

With this product, you can enjoy 98 percent filtration efficiency at 25-30 microns. This is higher than a lot of models out there, and the cellulose material is wire-backed for stability and durability.

You won’t have to think about changing your oil filter too often. It can last for up to 12,000 miles, which is one of the highest in our recommendations list. Plus, it’s made from durable materials. This includes metal end caps and center tube.

As you know, we prefer silicone for the anti-drain back valve. This is precisely what’s offered on this product.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • 98 percent filtration efficiency at 25-30 microns.
  • Cellulose filter media.

What We Like

  • Value for money.
  • Wire backed.
  • High filtration efficiency.
  • Reputable brand.
  • Made from quality materials.
  • Lasts for up to 12,000 miles.

What We Don’t Like

  • Cellulose material is less efficient.

Summary

This is definitely one we’d recommend for most vehicles. The high filtration efficiency makes it an attractive choice, constructed from quality materials too. You won’t have to think about oil filters again for a while, since it lasts up to 12,000 miles.

We’re not normally fans of cellulose filter media. But the fact that it’s wire backed does help, and it keeps the price of this product down.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Purolator Pl14610 Purolatorone Oil Filter

Purolator PL14610 Blue Single PurolatorONE Advanced Engine Protection Spin On Oil Filter

Purolator is an established brand in the automobile industry, and this oil filter demonstrates that. It’s an affordable price, but you can expect premium materials and construction. This model is the whole package.

This model offers 99 percent filtration efficiency, which will get rid of most contaminants. The synthetic filter media will help to protect your engine from wear and tear, without breaking the bank.

You can get up to 10,000 miles out of this oil filter. You won’t have to worry about clocking up a lot of miles between oil changes.

What’s more, it’s constructed with a metal bypass valve, as well as end caps and center tube. This is going to last a lot longer than some competing products made from plastics. The anti-drain back valve is made from silicone, to prevent dry starts in any weather.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • Up to 10,000 miles between oil changes.
  • 99 percent filtration efficiency.
  • High-density synthetic media.

What We Like

  • Quality construction for durability.
  • High filtration efficiency.
  • Silicone anti-drain back valve.
  • Uses synthetic media.
  • Affordable option.

What We Don’t Like

  • Media is not wire backed.

Summary

This is definitely one we’re happy to recommend. You can protect your engine from dirty oil thanks to the high filtration efficiency and synthetic filter media. Plus, 10,000 miles is a long time for an oil filter to offer assistance on the road.

It’s also constructed to be durable, made from metals rather than plastics or even cardboard. You can expect a long lifespan from this one. Dry starts are also prevented in all weather conditions with the silicone anti-drain back valve.

The one thing we did notice is that once again there’s no wire backing. But as we’ve mentioned, this isn’t always necessary when you’ve got a synthetic media.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

WIX Filters – 51348 Spin-on Lube Filter

WIX Filters - 51348 Spin-On Lube Filter, Pack of 1

While not as well-known as other manufacturers, don’t underestimate what WIX has to offer. We were impressed with this product, due to its high-quality construction and high filtration efficiency.

In particular, it uses a synthetic filter media to capture contaminants, which ensures small metals are caught in the fibers. This delivers 99 percent filtration efficiency, and it’s even wire backed to ensure the media keeps its shape.

Another feature worth highlighting is its excellent construction. Durability is ensured, thanks to the metal end caps and metal center tube. What’s more, the anti-drain back valve works in all temperatures since it’s made from silicone and not rubber.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • 99 percent filtration efficiency.
  • Synthetic filtration media.
  • Metal end caps and center tube.

What We Like

  • It’s wire backed.
  • High filtration efficiency.
  • Uses synthetic material.
  • High-quality construction.
  • Prevents dry starts.

What We Don’t Like

  • Not easy to remove, it has a non-standard size fitting.

Summary

All things considered, we’d say this oil filter is a good one. You’ve got the high filtration efficiency you want to keep your engine healthy. Synthetic material is great for capturing small contaminants from oil.

Nobody wants to experience dry starts. This product is going to make sure they’re a problem of the past. Silicone is miles better than rubber and will work at low and high temperatures.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Motorcraft Fl-910s Oil Filter

Motorcraft FL-910S Oil Filter

Motorcraft is a well-known brand that usually provides durable and efficient oil filters. This is why it’s often used in Ford and Lincoln vehicles. Of course, it can be used on other cars, and it may be a good one for you.

This model is an affordable option that delivers a 95 percent filtration efficiency. The cellulose filter media should capture bits of metal and other abrasives from getting into your engine. The 12-gram capacity of contaminants should last a while too.

An additional feature of this product is that the metal filter is painted. This is going to help with durability and to prevent corrosion.

Manufacturers Specs and Feature List

  • 12-gram capacity.
  • 95 percent filtration efficiency.
  • Cellulose media.

What We Like

  • Quality construction.
  • Long lasting capacity.
  • Flutings for easy removal.

What We Don’t Like

  • Lower efficiency than many others.
  • Cellulose media.

Summary

If you’re looking for an affordable oil filter that’s going to do a good job, take a look at this one. You can get higher-end products, but this one still provides you with a high filtration efficiency that’s going to last a relatively long time.

Usually. we prefer synthetic filter media over a cellulose one, since the fibers are tighter and will catch more contaminants. But for a reasonable price and a reliable reputation, Motorcraft is worth considering.

 

Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

 

Conclusion

I hope you now have a better understanding of the essential role that an oil filter plays in keeping your engine running. They’re going to prevent harmful contaminants causing damage to your vehicle. And quality really does matter.

When you’re choosing an oil filter, these are the main features to consider: filtration efficiency, filter media, capacity, and construction. This is going to tell you everything you need to know about the product before you purchase it.

Have you decided what the best oil filter is likely to be for your vehicle? Do you have a long-time favorite brand? Leave a comment down below and tell us, or feel free to ask any questions.

 

Product image credits: © Amazon.com

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Kyle Palmer

From childhood go karting and motocross, to collecting and obsessing over scalextric, matchbox and radio controlled cars, I've always had an obsession with cars. Learning through manuals, books, trial and error, and more knowledgeable family members, I've also enjoyed tinkering with the mechanics and electronics of any vehicles I've owned. Now, over 3 decades later, I've started this site as a place for me to share my knowledge, to teach others how to care for and maintain their vehicles themselves, at home, so they can get the most of their vehicles and save a pretty penny compared to always seeking out professional help.

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