We’re sure you’ve heard some form of the popular saying, ‘running like a well-oiled machine’?
This cannot be truer when it comes to oil and your car. Simply put, if you don’t have oil then you’re car isn’t going to make it from point a to b.
We all know that engine oil is needed to keep your vehicles’ engine ticking over smoothly.
But did you know that an oil filter is a crucial component in this lubrication system?
As oil moves through your engine, it picks of debris, particles of metal and other contaminants. Over time, the oil will get more and more dirtier, and begin to lose its ability to clean and lubricate your engine, eventually causing permanent damage.
Hence, you need an oil filter to clean this oil and get your car purring like it was brand new.
Many 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 2021.
Without further ado, let’s begin!
Best Oil Filters 2021
|1. Royal Purple Extended Life Oil Filter||Synthetic||Check Price|
|2. Purolator PurolatorOne Premium Oil Filter||Blend||Check Price|
|3. AMSOIL Ea Oil Filter||Synthetic||Check Price|
|4. Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filter||Blend||Check Price|
|5. Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter||Synthetic||Check Price|
|6. WIX Spin-On Lube Filter||Synthetic||Check Price|
|7. Motorcraft Oil Filter||Cellulose||Check Price|
|8. K&N Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter||Cellulose||Check Price|
|9. Baldwin Heavy Duty Lube Spin-On Filter||Synthetic||Check Price|
|10. ACDelco Professional Fuel Filter||Cellulose||Check Price|
1. Royal Purple Extended Life Oil Filter – The best oil filter
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.
Let’s get down to the important thing – the numbers. This filter provides 99% efficiency at 25 microns thanks to the 100% synthetic micro-glass media. The synthetic fibers are extremely compact and fine, preventing almost all contaminants from getting through. You can be assured that the dirty oil entering the filter is coming out clean and ready to service your engine.
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.
When it’s all said and done, it’s pretty hard to figure out what truly is the best oil filter. There are just so many variables. If you were to ask 5 people which one they prefer, you’d end up getting 5 different answers.
However; based on all our research and from speaking to customers who’ve purchased this filter, all signs point to a product that may well be the best of its category. We wouldn’t blame you for going with something else a little down this list but we will blame you if you don’t at least consider this excellent oil filter from Royal Purple.
2. Purolator PurolatorOne Premium Oil Filter – Best budget oil filter
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.
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.
Purolator also offer 2 other lines of oil filters, the Purolator Classic and the PurolatorBoss.
- The Purolator Classic is an entry class filter and a couple of dollars cheaper. You’ll get at least 5000 miles out of it but keep in mind that the construction isn’t as good as the PurolatorOne. It uses a rubber anti-drain back valve and cellulose media which results in a lower 96.5% efficiency.
- Purolator’s most premium model, the PurolatorBoss is similar to the PurolatorOne but features a more durable design. It’s also almost double the price. You can expect at least 15,000 miles of use at 99% efficiency. The media is also fully synthetic with a premium silicone anti-drain back valve and full metal construction.
3. AMSOIL Ea Oil Filter – Premium oil filter at a premium price
Since 1972, AMSOIL have been a leading producer of synthetic lubricants and filters. Every industry has a premium standard, and when it comes to oil filters, AMSOIL is it.
You’ll be able to use this thing for at least 15,000 miles or 1 year (whichever comes first) before needing a change. Even more so, if you decide to get the other type of filter which is designated with the product code EaO, then you can expect this number to be pushed up to 25,000 miles. However; this is only guaranteed if you use AMSOIL synthetic oils.
You may be wondering why this filter isn’t out top pick?
If we had to choose one over the other, we’d go for Royal Purple’s filter as you’ll save some money. Having said that, if you’re already a loyal fan of AMSOIL’s products then we wouldn’t blame you for going with this filter – after all, it’s still a fantastic product.
4. Bosch Premium FILTECH Oil Filter – Class leading filtration
We don’t think a list about 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 have been around since the 19th century and are 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 a 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.
5. Mobil 1 Extended Performance Oil Filter – Great for high performance engines with industry leading capacity
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.
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.
Lastly, this unit can withstand up to nine times the usual operating pressure. In numbers, this equates to 615 Pascals per square inch which is higher than pretty much any other filter out there.
Despite these niggling drawbacks, you’ll find a powerful and premium oil filter here. Mobil 1 have provided a massive line-up of oil filters, covering 97% of vehicles in operation today, so you’ll have no issue choosing the right size for you. Whatever vehicle you have, there will be a Mobile 1 oil filter for you.
Overall, this oil filter comes with our recommendation. It is constructed to a very high standard and offers class leading capacity. If you require a filter that can withstand the pressures of a high performance engine, this is it.
6. WIX Spin-On Lube Filter – Great for vehicles with long idle times
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.
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.
7. Motorcraft Oil Filter – The most affordable oil filter
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.
8. K&N Performance Wrench-Off Oil Filter – Great for engines that demand a high oil flow rate
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.
9. Baldwin Heavy Duty Lube Spin-On Filter – Truckers Number 1 choice
Baldwin is known to produce some of the most heavy duty oil filters in the world. So much so that the Baldwin heavy duty lube spin-on filter is a favorite amongst trucking circles.
Apart from this, you get the standard components like a nitrile rubber anti-drain back valve and steel end cap. Interestingly, the media has 44 pleats. This is pretty average amongst many oil filters and we can probably guess it allows the oil to have a high flow rate which meets the demands of larger engines, like those found in trucks.
Despite this, Baldwin remains a favorite amongst many customers, but especially truckers. It’s a highly durable design which will withstand the rigors of any terrain and environment. And hey, the bold red paint job is a pretty nice touch as well.
10. ACDelco Professional Fuel Filter – Durable with a high burst strength
ACDelco have been around for over 100 years and are owned by General Motors. You’ll find automotive brands like Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac all sporting ACDelco factory parts.
In the ACDelco professional fuel filter, we have a capable unit that is built to last.
The filtration media is a wired-backed cellulose and has a 98% filtration efficiency at 25-30 microns. Pretty impressive.
Filtration aside, the most impressive thing about this product is the quality build. It features metal end caps and center tube as well as a silicone anti-drain back valve.
It’s a super durable design and you can expect to get at least 12,000 miles which is covered by the warranty. Considering the relatively low price, it’s a great incentive for those of you who are sitting on the fence.
Oil Filter Buyer’s Guide
Now that we’ve listed our picks for the top ten 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 vehicles oil and remove contaminants. There are three types – cellulose, synthetic and a blend of both.
The media type, its surface area and how many pleats it has helps determine the filtration efficiency of an oil filter.
Warning! Many oil filters will show a filtration at a certain micron level which can be misleading.
So for example, a filtration of 99% at 50 microns is much worse then 99% at 20 microns. Then there are other factors like nominal and absolute ratings as well as the various test methods employed by manufacturers. Suffice to say, it is very hard to find the true ability of an oil filters filtration efficiency. But don’t worry; the oil filters we’ve listed are generally considered the best the industry has to offer and have universally very high filtration ratings as well.
Capacity: An oil filters 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 vehicles 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.
Another option is called ‘My Garage’ from Amazon which allows you to load up your cars data and let Amazon decide if the product is compatible or not. It’s a good idea to use this as a double check.
Over to you
Well that concludes our article dedicated to finding the best oil filters for 2021. We hope you enjoyed reading it. More importantly, we hope that it has pushed you in the right direction in finding that perfect oil filter.
Have any questions or comments? Leave one below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!