No oil filter is perfect. Everyone will need to determine which one is worthy of being called the best oil filter. The best filter for you, may differ from others. That’s fine, the vehicle you drive may not be the same, your needs will be different from others, and so on. People make decisions differently than others. If we choose our best filter as an educated consumer, we will be satisfied with the end results.
All oil filters should have passed what is called a SAE test. SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers. These tests prove the capability to filter out particles of certain sizes. These particles are usually referenced in a size called microns. What is a micron you ask? It is a unit of measure in the metric system equal to one millionth of a meter. To give you an idea of size relation, one of the hairs on your head is roughly 50 microns thick.
The oil filter’s only purpose is filtering out foreign particles in motor oil. Dirt comes in all sorts and sizes and you want a filter that traps as much as possible. Oil filters are usually not going to catch 100% of the foreign particles in oil. So when you see manufacturers advertising 95% filtration efficiency, what does that really mean? If you look close enough, most of those statements will always have a little asterisk or symbol at the end. Look for the fine print that matches and you will usually find what they are basing that rating on. Take FRAM’s Extra Guard oil filter for example. They claim it to be 95% efficient and the fine print for that fact is as follows:
FRAM Group testing of average filter efficiency of PH8A, 3387A and 4967 or equivalent FRAM TG or XG models under ISO 4548-12 for particles greater than 20 microns.
FRAM is listing the testing details and the micron size for that rating. In this case, they can catch 95% of any particle 20 microns or larger. Meaning we don’t know the efficiency of how well it traps dirt that is smaller than 20 microns.
Any manufacturer that doesn’t share at least some details as to the efficiency rating on their filters leaves us looking elsewhere. Did they test their filter? Are the results that bad they don’t want to share? Too many unknowns for us.
What makes a good oil filter?
With so many brands available today, it can be a challenge to find the best oil filter. We will take a look at a number of brands available today to help you choose what will be your best. A manufacturer may actually make different brands of oil filters, all with different brand labels. For example, Champion Laboratories, Inc. is a private label supplier for over 30 different automotive and heavy duty filter lines. Several years ago it was stated that they manufacture oil filters for OEM Motorcraft, OEM GM on some applications, AC, Valvoline, AutoZone and the Mobil 1 filter.
So which is best? Take a look at some of our reviews to help you decide.