Most car owners tend to focus more on the type of oil and the engine itself, and usually disregard an essential component in the vehicle’s lubrication system—the oil filter. This habit results in higher maintenance costs and inconveniences on the road.
The oil filter is probably one of the most underrated parts inside the car. Its main role is to trap all sorts of contaminants in the moving engine oil. This restores the oil’s lubrication properties and prevents harmful particles from entering the engine.
Note that the dirt in unfiltered oil weakens cleaning and lubrication processes in the engine. This increases the risk of permanently damaging your engine, not to mention the road safety concerns and associated monetary losses. Thus, it’s important that you go for the best oil filter brand to avoid problems.
Why Do I Need the Best Oil Filter?
You need the best oil filter to deal with specific performance issues in your engine. Needless to say, choosing the right oil filter for your car is as important as a routine oil change.
While oil filter brands in the market offer similar filtration solutions, some are designed to deal with additional concerns in particular driving situations. Leading brands focus on certain core areas like filtration efficiency, long-term durability, and the ability to handle extreme operations, among other capabilities.
These are the best oil filter brands to consider if you are concerned about that added layer of efficiency and safety.
Best Oil Filter Brands in the Market
Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filters
Bosch Premium FILTECH oil filters are designed with top-of-the-range filtration and engine protection capabilities. This superiority is inspired by the manufacturer’s efforts to integrate unique construction designs and oil filtering technology into its products.
The company has a long-standing reputation for blending natural and synthetic materials to develop OEM-standard oil filters. The perfect blend of cellulose and glass media enables Bosch filters to trap particles as small as 20 microns.
Also, with a 99.9-percent filtration efficiency, the brand is undoubtedly one of the leading performers in the industry.
The make’s physical design is 42% larger and 30% thicker than similar competitors in the market. So, besides holding as much as 14 grams of contaminants, this increased surface area has been a gamechanger in the company’s mission to add more functional features to its products. That is why Bosch was able to build the spring into the end cap as opposed to the detachable bypass spring method used by nearly all oil filter developers in the market.
Overall, Bosch oil filters provide premium construction features and high-end filtration efficiency at very affordable rates. Even so, the choice of blended media reduces the brand’s overall appeal. Statistics show that motorists prefer oil filters with synthetic media to those that are blended.
Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filters
Mobil 1 has been a darling to American oil users for over a century. This popularity comes from the brand’s consistency around two core areas: durability and great performance. That is why their extended performance filters are preferred by motorists who have to make do with longer oil change intervals.
The brand’s extended performance filters can achieve as high as 99.6% filtration efficiency. This efficiency is compounded by the media’s ability to filter particle sizes of up to 25 microns.
Furthermore, their filters are designed with 28-gram filtration space, double the capacity of other filters in the market. With this holding capacity, Mobil 1 can keep the promise of extended usability—its filters can do up to 15,000 miles on synthetic oil.
Notably, Mobil 1 filters come with a premium silicone anti-drain back valve, which prevents oil from pouring back into the filtering media when the engine stops. This feature is highly convenient for motorists since it retains an appropriate amount of oil in the engine, thus preventing undesired dry start situations.
Overall, Mobil 1’s oil filters are ideal for high-performance engines with a high rate of oil flow. Besides holding a significantly large amount of contaminants, the huge filtration capacity means that the filters can withstand higher pressure. In fact, the extended performance filters can endure nearly nine times higher operating pressure than the usual filters.
K&N Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filters
The K&N Pro Series filters are perfect for high-performance engines with a high rate of oil flow to maintain the required lubrication. Because of this, K&N is a top seller in the racing and trucking automobile subsectors.
Notably, K&N chose the impregnated cellulose media as a compromise to deliver the promise of a higher rate of oil flow. This aspect appeals more to the users of heavier oils than the ordinary motorists who would prefer filtration efficiency to oil flow rate.
Even so, the manufacturer adopted a large media surface area (94 square inches) to compensate for the lost filtration efficiency. This raises the product’s filtration efficiency to nearly 99% while simultaneously preserving K&N’s promise of a higher flow rate.
K&N’s distinctive performance features include a silicone anti-drain back valve, a spring metal bypass valve, metallic end caps, and a metallic center tube. These engineering components outperform similar competitor offers, thus increasing the uptake of K&N oil filters in the market.
To top it all, these filters are designed for high-speed conditions, hence they can endure both the immediate performance pressure and long-term use strain. This superiority comes from the engineering creativity that allowed the integration of various quality components in a single unit.
Royal Purple Extended Life Oil Filters
In the last four decades of its existence since 1986, the Royal Purple has developed nothing but high-quality auto-care products. Their extended life oil filter addresses the most pressing filtration concerns in the industry.
The extended life filter is capable of a 99-percent filtration efficiency at 25 microns. This efficiency rating is enabled through the brand’s adoption of 100 percent synthetic micro-glass media.
Despite a fairly higher cost of production, the use of synthetic fibers assures preventing nearly all forms of contaminants from accessing your engine.
The brand also uses quality-engineered materials for its products. For instance, the combination of a nitrile rubber base gasket and a silicone anti-drain back valve produces near-perfect leakage prevention.
On top of these features, the filter’s filtration system is covered in an extra thick shell housing. This way, you are almost guaranteed that the filter will endure extended driving requirements without suffering detrimental physical damage. The manufacturer has cited a lifespan of over 10,000 miles.
Purolator One Premium Oil Filters
With Purolator One Premium, you get a reliable filter designed with a century-old oil filtering and auto-care experience. The company has reinvested extensive industry know-how to bring highly effective oil filters to the market.
It’s also important to note that the manufacturer has consistently improved the filter’s high-density synthetic blend media to produce an over 99-percent filtration efficiency. This filtration efficiency is equivalent to 10,000 miles coverage when lubricated with 100% synthetic oil.
You also get extended oil and filter change intervals as the product is designed with a filtration endurance of at least 5,000 miles.
Purolator’s filters are constructed with premium materials: a silicone anti-drain back valve, a metallic center tube and end caps, and a metallic bypass valve.
Also, you get a reliably assembled product as the company deliberately avoided the process of wire-backing the media. Although it is necessary for certain filtering media, wire-backing the media disrupts the oil filter’s structural integrity.
Nonetheless, this model is likely to malfunction if used in high-performance engines. The high-density filtration media cannot keep up with intensified oil flow rate demands in high-performance driving conditions like racing or trucking.
Even so, the use of metallic and silicone materials increases the filter’s resilience and long-term endurance.
Overall, the Purolator One Premium provides the highest filtration performance at a significantly low price. Its higher-than-average holding capacity of 15 grams is decent enough for an average driver.
ACDelco Professional Oil Filters
ACDelco manufactures oil filters for some of the well-known automobile brands in North America, including Buick, Cadillac, GMC, and Chevrolet.
The brand is wholly owned by General Motors (GM), which prides itself as a provider of reliable automobile units for consumers worldwide. So, ACDelco’s filters incorporate cumulative auto-care expertise of nearly two centuries. Each of the two companies—ACDelco and GM—has over 100 years of experience in automobile design.
Their professional filter impresses with a 98-percent filtration efficiency. And although it uses not-so-good wired-backed cellulose as a filtration media, these units are carefully engineered to trap particles as small as 25-30 microns.
These filters are made of high-quality components: a silicone anti-drain back valve, metallic end caps, and metallic center tube. Thus, you are assured of a super durable product, capable of at least 12,000 miles filtration range.
What makes ACDelco filters unique is the presence of a thermosetting adhesive seal inside the filter housing. This seal holds the filter media in a fixed position as the engine temperatures rise. As a result, you get a dependable filter that can withstand 5 times more engine oil pressures than the ordinary makes.
So, ACDelco filters conveniently address the mechanical and safety complications caused by uncertain pressure spikes, especially in extremely hot or cold conditions.
WIX Spin-ON Lube Filters
WIX’s intention to address specific auto-care concerns frees up resources to focus on the core areas: oil, filters, and air. So, if you are ever in need of a modified filter, this manufacturer will almost always have a solution.
Their filters are capable of a whopping 99-percent filtration efficiency. This outcome is due to the use of high-quality synthetic media with an ample surface area of 55.5 square inches.
What’s more, the WIX Spin-On lube comes with a nitrile sealing gasket, which is hydrogenated to increase endurance in extreme temperature conditions. This resilience is compounded by the silicone-coated anti-drain back valve.
Silicone valves make dependable filters as they are strong enough to withstand temperature and pressure spikes in extreme driving conditions. The silicone coating also increases the filter’s ability to handle complications from high-performance driving such as long idle times.
So, if you are trucking across the country or towing massive loads, WIX’s Spin-On lube is a perfect filter for you. With its high-quality build components, you are guaranteed uninterrupted driving even in extreme operating conditions.
By focusing on a few auto-care areas, i.e., air, filters, and oil, the company manages to work on more efficient filtering technologies. That is why it was able to combine the nitrile sealing gasket and silicone coated valves to develop one of the most resilient filters in the high-performance automobile subsector.
AMSOIL Ea Oil Filters
AMSOIL is an industry leader in terms of premium oil filters. The brand is well-known for its consistency in applying high-end materials to develop high-quality filters.
From metallic and silicone components to wire-backed synthetic media, this brand does not take chances when it comes to providing the best filtration solutions for exclusive consumer groups.
Its Ea filters can go as high as 98.7 percent in filtration efficiency. The 100 percent synthetic media can trap very minute oil contaminants as small as 20 microns.
AMSOIL filters are also designed to address the critical auto-care concerns of the “busy” middle and high-class professionals. So, you get at least 1 year or 15,000 miles of uninterrupted driving before replacement.
Some filter models such as the EaO can extend up to 25,000 miles before replacement. You’ll agree that this allowance perfectly caters to the demanding lifestyles of wealthy users.
Overall, AMSOIL’s culture of utilizing only the best components is a sufficient guarantee that its filters meet the highest industry standards. Although you will have to pay premium prices for these filters, you are assured of steady and safe driving throughout the specified 15,000 miles before getting a new filter.
One major downside to AMSOIL filters is they’re hard to find since they are sold through selected vendors only. Even so, you can conveniently make an order through AMSOIL’s official website.
Oil Filter Brands To Avoid
Just as there are the best oil filters for your car, there are also the worst brands with proven chances of malfunction in one way or another. A major issue with these filters is that they let unfiltered oil into the engine, thus causing irreversible damage to the delicate components such as cylinders and pistons.
The undesired labeling of these brands as “worst” is based on the presence of consistent data suggesting the same. Reliable information on the issue can be sourced from the online community reviews, both thorough and unbiased.
Here are the oil filter brands to avoid and why they qualify to be on this “shame” list.
FRAM Oil Filters
FRAM filters, which are manufactured by Honeywell, are well-known for affordability and availability in nearly all types of auto stores in the region. Even so, this convenience comes with a significant cost. These filters are incapable of providing the most basic oil filtering protection, i.e., preventing the flow back of oil into the purification media.
This flow back leads to the undesired dry start effect, which causes unnecessary delays as well as weakens the engine’s long-term well-being. The root cause of this malfunction is the use of cheap stamped metal to make the drain-back valve. You should note that with such substandard materials, your filter cannot withstand even the slightest form of strain.
Furthermore, unfiltered oil finds its way into the engine due to the absence of a metal clip that is essential to prevent the seam from opening in extreme pressure conditions.
The list of reported malfunctions in FRAM’s filters is fairly long. To top it all, these concerns have been confirmed by the firm’s former employee, who worked as a production line engineer. So, it would be in your best interest if you disregarded this brand when shopping for an oil filter.
Pentius Premium Line Spin-On Oil Filters
Pentius Premium Line filter was initially designed to target the latest model car users. As a matter of fact, the manufacturer uses the “latest model car suitability” as the primary slogan for marketing their oil filters.
On the contrary, their oil filters have registered a significantly high rate of failures on newer automobile models. Funny enough, these filters do not seem to have much of the issues with the older model vehicles like GM and Ford. The rate of malfunctions in late-model cars is reported to be slightly lower than in newer makes.
First of all, this twisting of facts by a reputable company like Pentius is a red flag. It indicates the presence of toxic internal culture. This means their filters are products of guesswork that are hurriedly offered in the market for profitability purposes. You definitely can’t entrust your auto-care problems to this kind of partner.
In the technical performance areas, these filters come with a weakened rubber gasket and valve. So, at the very least, the two components cannot withstand even the slightest temperature strain.
Other reasons why you should avoid Pentius’ filters are:
- The weak coil spring, i.e., they don’t have the kind of robustness that is offered in the standard leaf spring.
- The filter’s bypass is made of plastic material, so they are incapable of holding the heavy cold oil flow for long or in extreme operating conditions.
Oil Filter Brands Buyer’s Guide
What Makes the Worst Oil Filter?
Poor quality oil filters are defined by substandard features in the core performance and physical areas. So, identify signs of product inferiority using the following elements: filter media, anti-drain back valve, and quality of build materials.
Filter media: A low-quality oil filter will probably have a shorter and less efficient filtering media. A limited surface area means that the media will fill in no time. As a result, it will allow the circulation of unfiltered oil inside the engine.
Anti-drain back valve: If an anti-drain back valve is missing in a filter, it means that the product is incapable of addressing the primary filtration concerns in the first place. With this, you are likely to suffer the inconveniences of dry starts and associated engine complications.
Quality of build materials: Manufacturers of substandard filters don’t value the use of high-quality materials to assemble reliable products. They will use cheap materials to minimize the cost of production. So, you should look out for cheap build components, including:
- Blended media as opposed to 100% natural or synthetic materials
- Cardboard end caps
- Thinner outer wall media than the other filter
- No metal clips on the seam of the media
- Cheap stamped metal for the drain-back valve instead of a spring
- Thin and short filter media in the filtering canister
Decide Which Type of Oil Filter Works for You
It is one thing to need a new oil filter, and another to know the type that works for you. So, as a car owner, you should understand the primary filtration solutions offered in different filter brands and models. This way, you will choose a filter based on your actual driving concerns rather than moving with the dominant market waves.
Remember that you should pick a filter based on your vehicle’s specific purpose. For example, auto-racing, off-road driving, and trucking vehicles will require tailor-made filters such as the K&N Performance Wrench-Off.
Also, you should evaluate your driving patterns, general lifestyle, and career/family demands to know the type of filter to purchase. For instance, if you are a middle-aged professional with demanding family and career demands, you should go with premium filters like AMSOIL Ea since they will last you at least 15,000 miles to replace.
So, don’t get any filter type just to satisfy the general oil purification need or because it is time for a replacement. Instead, try to match your unique motoring concerns with the specific solutions offered by different brands. This way, you avoid the immediate and long-term auto-care complications that come with inadequate engine care.
With dozens of oil filter products to choose from, deciding on the best oil filter brand can be confusing even to the most experienced motorists. With the list above, we hope you know better which oil filter to choose for your vehicle.