Best Oil Filters

Updated September 2020
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Bottom Line
Updated September 2020
Written by Devangana Authors 's image

Buying guide for best oil filters

If you like to take care of your vehicles yourself, you know that even basic products like the oil and oil filter play an important role in engine performance and longevity. Just as you don’t want to ignore recommended oil change procedures and schedules, you also don’t want to skimp on the quality of your oil filter.

Fortunately, oil filters aren’t expensive, which means you can easily afford one when it’s time for your scheduled oil change. However, there are lots of different filters to choose from.

At BestReviews, we can help you find the best oil filter for your needs. It’s our mission to provide useful, honest information to make your shopping easier. Read our shopping guide to find out more about oil filters. When you’re ready to buy, check out our top oil filter picks in the product list above.

If you don’t remember to change your oil as regularly as your vehicle manufacturer suggests, a high performance filter can keep your oil cleaner between changes.

How do oil filters work?

The name nicely explains an oil filter’s job inside your vehicle: it filters the oil.

The oil in your vehicle’s engine lubricates the various parts to keep the engine running smoothly. Any debris in the oil could eventually cause engine problems. The oil filter captures any contaminants and particles that may be in the oil so they don’t reach the engine. Periodically, the filter becomes too dirty to remove any more particles and must be replaced.

Finding the right oil filter for your vehicle means considering a couple factors: size and materials.


You want an oil filter that properly fits your vehicle and engine. Depending on the make and model, you might find anywhere from a few to a couple dozen options.


Look at the materials used in the oil filter’s construction.

  • Steel

Filters should have some steel in the frame to resist bursting under pressure.

  • Cellulose

Some filters consist of an inexpensive cellulose wood pulp material that easily captures larger particles. If you always change your oil on time and don’t drive in harsh conditions very often, a cheaper oil filter should work just fine for you.

  • Synthetic fiber

High-performance oil filters use synthetic fibers (glass or glass and cellulose together) to capture small particles. These filters are more effective than cellulose filters, as well as more expensive.

For your safety
If you notice your vehicle has an oil leak, make sure the oil filter is tightly in place and hasn’t popped loose.

Oil filter prices

Considering all the parts and accessories that you need for your vehicle, the oil filter is one of the least expensive. You can expect to pay between $5 and $20 for an oil filter, depending on brand and materials. If you’re looking to save a few dollars, you may be able to purchase a multi-pack of several filters. Because you’ll use several oil filters over a period of 12 to 24 months, a multi-pack can be a smart investment if you know you’ll be keeping the vehicle for a while.

  • Basic

Most of the available basic oil filters will do the job nicely for you. These typically cost $5 to $10 apiece, although you can find a few that are just outside this price range on both ends.

  • High performance

These oil filters will usually last longer than basic filters, giving you good value even though they cost a bit more up front. These filters cost from $10 to $20.


  • Any oil filter you pick must fit your model of vehicle and engine and be made for the type of oil the automaker recommends that you use. The wrong oil filter might fit, but it won’t work properly.

  • Most car mechanics recommend that you change the oil filter when you change the oil, usually every three months or every 3,000 to 5,000 miles of driving.

  • If you change your oil and oil filter yourself, figure that you may need to buy four to six filters per year, depending on how much you drive.

Don’t select a filter size bigger than what your vehicle maker recommends. Larger filters won’t protect your engine better if they aren’t recommended for your vehicle.


Q. How often should I change the oil filter?

A. Finding a specific recommendation on when to change the oil filter can be difficult. However, the easiest option is to change the filter every time you change the oil. Following this pattern means you won’t have to remember when to change the filter separately from the oil change.

Q. My vehicle maker recommends an oil filter change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Are there situations in which it should happen more frequently?

A. Those who commonly drive in high temperatures or in dusty areas may want to change the oil filter more frequently than recommended. Additionally, those who drive older vehicles in stop-and-go city traffic may want to change the filter more often.

Q. Does the type of oil I use in my vehicle affect the type of filter I should select?

A. Certain filters do work better with oil of a certain thickness, or viscosity. Mechanics say that you should first select the type of oil your vehicle manufacturer recommends. Then look for an oil filter that works best with the viscosity of the oil you’re using. While the type of oil filter you use is important, the oil itself is more important to your engine’s performance.

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