Many car manufacturers recommend getting a new oil filter every time you change your oil. This can be anywhere from 3,000 to over 15,000 miles. That’s a lot of miles, so it makes sense to get the best oil filter possible.
The problem is, not all oil filters are created equal… some will do a better job and do that job for longer.
Determining the best oil filter for your vehicle whether that be a car or truck, motorcycle or auto-racer, is no small feat. That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you and have reviewed dozens of models to bring you the top ten best oil filters for 2020.
Top 7 Best Oil Filters
1. Royal Purple Extended Life Oil Filter
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Royal Purple is an American manufacturer specializing in lubricants for many different types of vehicles. They’ve been around since 1986, which is pretty short compared to some of the other big players out there. Despite this; they’ve developed a large and loyal fan-base thanks to their high quality products.
In the extended life oil filter, Royal Purple have shown why they continue to be one of the leading manufacturers when it comes to all things auto-care.
All components ooze quality. A nitrile rubber base gasket is used to prevent leaks as well as a silicone anti-drain back valve to prevent dry starts.
The end caps, centre tube and bypass valve are all metal and will provide a lifespan comfortably over 10,000 miles. It’s an impressive number and makes the relatively high cost of this filter well worth it. The shell housing the filtration system is extra thick as well, which will keep the internal components safe from things like road debris.
- Durable design with premium components (including metal backing of silicone media)
- Expect at least 10,000 miles of use before filter change required
- 99% cleaning efficiency at 25 microns
- Brand with a reputation for producing leading products in the auto-motive industry
- Well priced – you get what you pay for
- Nice purple paint job
- Extra thick shell
- Premium oil filter demands a premium price
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2. Purolator PurolatorOne Premium Oil Filter
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Purolator – ‘pure oil later’ – have been around for over 90 years and provide some of the very best oil filters you can get your hands on. We’ll tell you why.
Purolator have provided a ton of value considering the modest asking price. All components are built with premium materials including a silicone anti-drain back valve, metal bypass valve and metal center tube and end caps.
In short, if there is one oil filter that can withstand the rigors of day to day use, this is it.
It’s also worth noting that the media is not wire backed which is supposed to help maintain structural integrity.
As it turns out, the wire backing isn’t needed since synthetic blend media is a lot easier to mold and more stable then its more advanced synthetic counterpart.
Overall, the PurolatorOne is very well received by its customers and provides the best bang for your buck.
Whilst it may not be the number 1 choice for high performance vehicles, if you are looking for something reliable, durable and affordable, then you should definitely have this filter on your wish list.
- All metal and silicone components for increased durability
- Filters at least 99% of dirt
- Decent, higher than the average capacity of 15 g
- Very well priced
- Trusted brand
- Not the best for high-performance vehicles like racers
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4. Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filter
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We don’t think a list of the best oil filters could ever be complete without the mention of at least a couple of German brands. After all, we all know that German engineering is considered a class above the rest.
Bosch has been around since the 19th century and is the world’s largest supplier of automotive components.
When it comes to motor oil filters, they sure know what they are doing.
Even though the blended media isn’t as high-performing as full synthetic media, the extra surface area (71 square inches to be exact) ensures industry-leading filtration efficiency.
The larger media results in about a 14-gram capacity. It’s more than enough, but about half that of Mobil 1 extended performance oil filters.
This oil filter is a fantastic pick for the price and features an all-round premium construction and high-end filtration ability.
It’s a top-quality product that should be on your radar. If you’re budget conscious, then you can’t really go wrong with choosing an oil filter from Bosch or the previously mentioned Purolator PureOne oil filter.
- Durable design with built-in bypass spring
- Well respected German brand
- Lubricated gasket for easy but firm fit
- Fantastic efficiency
- Very affordable
- Uses a blended-media which isn’t as good as synthetic
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5. Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter
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Almost everyone has heard of Mobil. They are a powerhouse in the American oil industry and have been around for over a century. When it comes to all things oil, Mobil is the company many people turn to.
In comes the Mobil 1 extended performance oil filter and it’s no surprise that this is one of the top sellers.
The filter sports a 99.6 efficiency at 25 microns thanks to the synthetic media material. Perhaps the most impressive feat is the class leading media capacity which can hold up to a staggering 28 grams of contaminants – double that of many competing products.
Mobil have stated that this filter should last 15,000 miles (with synthetic oil) before a change, and with that sort of capacity we don’t doubt them.
On top of this, you also get a premium silicone anti-drain back valve which prevents oil from pouring back into the filter when the engine stops.
This ensures no dry starts since you’ll always have oil in the engine. There is also a metal bypass valve which is activated if the medium is clogged and can’t provide adequate flow rate to the engine. It’s a common safety you’ll find in almost any filter.
- Exceptional durability – premium metal and silicone components, and can withstand up to 9 times operating pressure
- Up to 15,000 miles of use when used with synthetic motor oils
- Synthetic media provides 99.6% cleaning efficiency at 25 microns
- Trusted and leading brand in the oil and automotive industry
- Excellent for high performance engines that require a high flow rate
- Industry leading capacity of 28 grams
- Price is slightly bumped up due to Mobil 1 branding
- Silicone media not reinforced with metal backing
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6. WIX Spin-On Lube Filter
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WIX are a well known brand with a specific focus on oil, air and fuel filters. If you need some sort of filter for you car, the boys at WIX probably have something for you.
When it comes to oil filters, they offer 3 types for drivers of regular and light trucks. The one that stands out the most and provides the best value for money is the WIX spin-on lube filter.
The construction is excellent, but the media is also premium quality. It’s made from a synthetic material with an area of 55.5 square inches and provides an efficiency of 99% or more for most particle sizes. Oh, and one more thing, it’s also wired backed which is a sort of ‘scaffolding’ that helps keep the whole thing together.
WIX is a favorite for vehicles with long idle times and lots of highway driving. Think trucking across the country. It makes sense that it is built with the highest quality components to give you the assurance that you won’t be stranded somewhere in no-man’s land. It’s a reliable brand and you can’t do wrong by investing in one of their oil filters.
- Excellent build quality with metal and synthetic components
- Well priced
- Excellent filtration ability with full synthetic media
- Trusted brand
- Good for vehicles with long idle times
- Odd shape will require a specific wrench to screw on
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7. Motorcraft Oil Filter
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The Motorcraft oil filter is the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury model cars. It’s trusted by these popular brands and by the people who drive them.
The reason is simple – this is an affordable, well made and reliable oil filter.
Starting from the construction, the filter features a steel, ‘ironed’ case. Basically, it is thinner where it should be and makes for a more solid fit over some of the other filters out there. It’s also painted to help prevent rust build up and corrosion. The fluted case end design will ensure an easy removal when you’re performing a filter or oil change.
For some, this feature is enough to choose a Motorcraft oil filter over any other. However; since a clogging event is so rare, most manufacturers don’t build such a valve and the majority of consumers simply don’t care for such a feature.
Despite the somewhat lackluster filtration, Motorocraft oil filters are some of the most affordable on the market. Considering the quality brand label and build, we highly recommend this product for fans of Motorcraft and those looking to save some money.
- Durable design with stamped steal bypass valve built into end cap
- Extremely affordable
- Trusted OEM for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury model cars
- Threaded bypass valve for better performance in the event of a clogged media
- Lower filtration efficiency due to cellulose media
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8. K&N Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter
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The K & N Pro Series oil filters are designed for high performance vehicles that demand a high oil flow rate.
K & N have even designed their filter for high speed situations. You’ll find a 1 inch nut on one of the end caps which ensures an easy fit. The nut also contains a hole where you can fit a safety wire that will ensure the filter stays put during bumps.
When it comes to the construction materials, there is a silicone anti-drain back valve and a spring metal bypass valve. The end caps and center tube are also metal. These are premium materials and will outperform similar oil filters that use plastic and cardboard for their components.
Overall, this oil filter has been specifically built for high performance engines and you’d be doing yourself a disservice for not considering it if you drive a vehicle that requires a high oil flow rate. The filter will accommodate and perform well on blended or conventional oil, though we doubt you’ll be using it with anything but synthetic oil.
- High flow rate for high performance engines
- Very affordable
- Designed for easy installation and removal
- Suitable for all oil types
- Good efficiency rating
- Excellent build quality with safety wire feature
- Media isn’t wired back (though this may increase oil flow rate)
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Oil Filters – Buyer’s Guide
Now that we’ve listed our picks for the best oil filters, let’s take a look at the things you should look out for before buying your next one.
What makes a good oil filter?
If you were to rip the outer shell off an oil filter, it’ll look something like this:
Media: This is the paper looking bit of the filter that works to clean your vehicle’s oil and remove contaminants. There are three types – cellulose, synthetic and a blend of both.
Generally synthetic media (can be made from nylon, glass or polyester) is the most efficient because the fibers can be manufactured at a much smaller scale than the large plant based fibers of cellulose.
The fibers are tightly ‘criss-crossed’ and can pick up smaller dirt particles, whilst allowing for higher oil flow rates and greater capacity and durability. Seems all good right? Well the only downside is that synthetic media is more expensive to make and will bump up the price of an oil filter.
The media type, its surface area and how many pleats it has helps determine the filtration efficiency of an oil filter.
Capacity: An oil filter’s capacity is its ability to hold the contaminants from the oil that passes through and is determined by the build and type of media. Theoretically, a larger capacity means a longer mileage change interval.
If capacity is reached, then the bypass valve will come into effect to allow unfiltered oil to continue to pass through. Virtually all oil filters offer more than enough capacity (at least 10 grams). As long as you follow the recommended filter changes you shouldn’t have any issues.
Oil Filter Construction: A good oil filter is made of metal end caps and center tube. You’ll find cheaper oil filter to make these components out of plastic or even cardboard.
- The bypass valve is a component which activates when the capacity of the filter is exceeded. It allows oil (not filtered) to continue passing through to the engine. You usually want this to be made from stamped steel or a metal spring. This is far more durable than something made from plastic.
- The anti-drain back valve works to prevent oil from draining back into the oil filter when the vehicle’s engine is off. This feature prevents dry starts. The anti-drain back valve should be silicone as opposed to rubber. Silicone is superior because it can better hold its structure under very low or high temperatures.
- Lastly, some oil filters feature a wire backing for their media. This is sort of like ‘scaffolding’ and holds the media in place. You’ll usually find this accompanying synthetic or blended media which cannot be treated and molded as easy as cellulose media.
When is it a good idea to buy an oil filter?
In many cases, it’s good enough to use whatever oil filter came with your vehicle.
However; if you are looking to squeeze the most performance (and mileage) out of your car, then buying a premium oil filter is the way to go.
This goes hand in hand with also using a premium fully synthetic motor oil.
Synthetic motor oil lasts a lot longer than conventional motor oil, so it makes sense to get an oil filter that will last just as long.
That way, you can easily get at least 10,000 – 15,000 miles of use before changing the oil or the filter. It may be a bit more expensive upfront, but you’ll help minimize potential engine problems in the future.
Of course; buying a good oil filter is also recommended if your vehicle is used for specific purposes like auto-racing, trucking or off-road driving.
Choosing the Right Oil Filter
Oil filters come in different shapes and sizes and must be sized correctly before being attached to your vehicles’ engine. Luckily their are online resources you can use to help you find a compatible filter.
- Go to the oil filter section of the Autozone website.
- Select the year, make, model and engine of your vehicle and then hit ‘Add Vehicle’.
- Next, select ‘oil filter’.
- You should see a screen listing the compatible oil filters.
- Take a note of the brand and part number that you are interested in purchasing. At this point, it’s a good idea to take a look at our top ten list to figure out which brand is best for you. Select the brand from our list and you’ll be taken to Amazon. Now you just need to find the filter with the correct part number.