If you thought the cartridge oil filters are going extinct, well, you thought wrong. The spin-on oil filters somehow eclipsed the cartridge filters, but there has been an exciting twist recently. Due to environmental concerns, the cartridge oil resurfaced as an eco-friendly filter.
That was mainly because of the recyclable filter casing and safe disposal of the used element, unlike the spin-on filters. They resurfaced as a top choice filter and tagged along with better improvements to match the spin-on high-efficiency standards.
The need for cartridge oil filters has seen the top mark brands embrace making quality versions of them. That brings about a competitive base amongst themselves, and like every competition, there are winners and losers. Here is a review of the cartridge filters brands that are on top of their game.
Top 10 Best Cartridge Oil Filters
1. Bosch Workshop Oil Filter
Making it to the top of the list is this Bosch brand oil filter. The Bosch workshop has almost all the features and specs of other Bosch filters. What makes this filter preferably better than its cousins is the filtration media.
The filter media comes within a blend of synthetic and cellulose. The materials are durable enough to withstand intense pressure from the oil without collapsing or tearing up. That is not all; the uniform spacing between the media pleats gives it a 97% filtration efficiency.
The high graded efficiency rating means the filter is capable of trapping particles of up to 20 microns. Such particles are impossible to spot with naked eyes. The filtering efficiency is reason enough why the Bosch workshop features among the crème de la crème of cartridge filters.
A synthetic anti-back valve in the filter gives your car protection from dry starts. The valve holds some oil back from draining back the filter when you turn off your car. Therefore, once you start your vehicle, the engine will have a little oil to kick it off.
The bottom part of the filter has a steel-made baseplate that has about eight inlet holes. The baseplate is durable to withstand hot oil temperatures. The baseplate attaches to the engine motor with the aid of a nitrile rubber gasket.
- Synthetic anti-back valve.
- Synthetic and cellulose made filter media
- 97% filtration efficiency
- Steel made baseplate
2. FRAM Ultra Synthetic Oil Filter
It doesn't come a surprise to see a FRAM filter appearing here. For the car enthusiast, they can attest that FRAM filters are worth the recognition. The ultra-synthetic is particularly unique in its brand line. Compared to other FRAM filters, it has the best dirt holding capability.
It has a 99% filtration efficiency that can trap contaminants of up to 20 microns. That means your engine will receive clean and screened out oil, free from harmful impurities. That gives your engine up to 20,000-mile protection. The filter gets its high-efficiency rating majorly from the filter media.
A uniformly pleated synthetic paper filter makes up the core center of the filter. The make-up design of the filter has a pinch of extra reinforcement added to it. A metal-screen reinforces the synthetic media to withstand intense pressure from the oil.
To spice up the exciting feature of the filter media is that it is less restrictive to the oil flow channel. Your engine will not be subject to oil starvation due to the slow filtration rate when this filter is in place. The silicon anti-back valve protects a dry start.
A well-lubricated nitrite filter secures the filter's baseplate on the motor. The nitrite rubber gasket is suitably chosen for this filter because it withstands hot temperatures from the oil.
The ultra-synthetic filter falls in line with its trademark signature when it comes to installation. The canister features a Sure-Grip design that makes it easy to screw in and install on the engine motor.
- 99% filtration efficiency.
- Synthetic media reinforced with a metal screen.
- Super Grip installation feature.
- Silicon anti back valve
- Nitrite rubber gasket
3. K&N Premium Oil Filter
Pointing out this filter from the rest is quite easy. Its filter housing portrays a unique trademark design. The top part of the canister has a one-inch nut mounted. The reason behind the nut is for easy installation and removal using a wrench.
The nut part also has a provision for attaching a safety wire on the filter. This is mostly convenient for bikers. In case the filter blows out, the safety wire keeps it held onto the bike. That way, you won't lose it on the tracks.
The filter has cellulose made media with top-notch spacing between the pleats. The cellulose material gives the synthetic filter media a run for their money. The truth in that it comes when you compare the flow rate between the two materials. Cellulose has the upper hand to the synthetic.
The filter features a silicon anti-back valve. The valve portrays its resilience in withstanding high oil temperature. Typical of the anti-back valve function, the silicon valve does an excellent job in protecting your car from dry starts resulting from the total oil drain at the filter.
Another distinctive feature is the filter has a coil spring at the bottom, unlike the stamped steel standard in many filters. The baseplate has a six in-let hole model with a high-quality rubber gasket securing the filter in place at the engine. The filter guarantees 10,000-mile protection to your engine.
- One-inch nut mounted on the canister
- Cellulose made media
- Silicon anti back valve
- Coil spring at the bottom
4. FRAM Tough Guard Oil Filter
The tough guard filter is an upgrade of the FRAM extra guard oil filer. It has the same outlook but better quality materials and filtration efficiency to the Extra guard. The filter design sets to give your engine premium protection over a long mileage and cold weather.
The silicon anti-back valve holds back some oil when your engine is off. In cold weather, the oil becomes very viscous, so draining it all back to the filter means you'll face a dry start.
By holding back some oil, the valve ensures your engine has some oil supply to start it off. Moreover, over a long mileage, making regular stops along the way shouldn't send jitters and worries, the silicon valve's got you sorted.
The filter employs a top-quality synthetic media that has high dirt-trapping efficiency of 99%. The efficiency guarantees you 10,000-mile dirt and particle holding capacity. The best thing about this media is that it is compatible with all types of synthetic oil.
Just like the other FRAM filters, the casing has the Sure-Grip feature added to it. That makes installation and removal of the filter quick and easy.
The internally lubricated base gasket does the icing on the cake. It makes it easy to remove your filter equally as much as it secures it in place.
- Silicon anti-back valve
- Synthetic Filter media
- 99% filtration efficiency
- Sure-Grip texture
5. Genuine Mazda Oil Filter
The genuine Mazda is an original OEM factory oil filter. However, there are aftermarket versions of it that emerged in the market. For that reason, it is sometimes hard to tell apart an original from an aftermarket.
Despite that, we already know that oil filters draw some differences from their designs. That is precisely how you can tell apart the Genuine Mazda from the aftermarket ones.
The genuine Mazda has inlet openings that have a bigger diameter at the baseplate than the aftermarket filter. The baseplate design offers provision for a quick and less resistant oil flow channel. The silicon anti-back valve is 3X resilient to hot oil than a rubber valve.
Contrary to the aftermarket filter, it has more uniformly spaced pleats. The aftermarket filter pleats have varying widths and thicknesses. A non-uniform media pleats are unreliable in screening the engine oil. Some particles might find their way through to the engine.
Aftermarket Mazda oil indicates that they are from Japan. The original genuine Mazda oil filters are from Thailand. That is another way that you can point out the original filter from a sea of aftermarket filters.
- Silicon anti-back valve
- Made in Thailand
- Uniformly spaced pleats
- Large inlet openings
6. Eco Gard Premium Oil Filter
The Eco Gard premium is one of the filters that meet the OEM requirements. That alone is enough proof that this filter delivers class and reliability to your engine oil. The filter is compatible with both conventional and synthetic oil types. While most oil filters rely on one line of oil type, the Eco Gard premium gives you two options to choose from.
Additionally, the mileage coverage of the filter is another reason why it matches up among the best cartridge oil filters in this review. It provides you with 10,000-mile engine protection between oil changes.
The filter element has its engineered design from a synthetic blend. The filter media has a 99% filtration efficiency rating that screens out the tiniest contaminants present in your oil. The filtration media has a 2x better filtration efficiency than any other competitor brand. As far as filtration goes, the filter brings a competitive edge to the market.
Like all quality filters, it features a silicon made anti-back valve. The silicon is durable by being 3X hot oil resilient than the typical rubber valves used in low-quality oil filters.
The valve withstands extreme oil temperatures but stills stay in shape. When it comes to protecting the engine from a dry start, you can place all your faith in the silicon valve.
- Meets OEM requirements
- 99% efficiency rating
- 10,000-mile engine protection
- A synthetic blend filter element
- Silicon anti-back valve
- 2x better filtration efficiency than other brands
7. Mobil 1 Oil Filter
When you are seeking recommendations for buying a quality oil filter, there are high chances this filter name will pop up. Mobil 1 filter has made its mark on the field as a class and service delivery engine piece. We'll jump into its features and design from where it draws its fame.
The well-spaced synthetic and cellulose blend media pleats give the filter a 99.6% efficiency rating. The 30-micron particle capture ability juices up the efficiency rating.
The filter keeps your engine protected up to 15,000 miles from the efficiency rating and the micron rating. The new model of the filter gives your engine up to 20,000-mile protection.
The silicon anti-back valve can withstand oil temperatures of up to 400 Fahrenheit. On protecting your engine from dry starts, there's no debate about that. The bottom part of the filter hosts a stamped steel bypass spring.
The spring keeps all the components in the filter compact. Moreover, the bypass plays a safety role by activating itself when the filter media gets clogged up. The compact nature of the filter stands a better chance of withstanding heavy oil pressure.
The Mobil 1 filter has a one-year or 20,000-mile coverage warranty offered. However, the offer comes with a condition. You have to use specific synthetic oil types recommended by the brand.
- Synthetic and cellulose blend filter media
- 99.6% filtration efficiency
- Silicon anti-back valve
- Stamped steel bypass spring
8. Purolator One Oil Filter
Of course, the list can't be complete without Purolator one filter featuring in it. The filter has a bragging basis from its premium quality materials. The make-up material is durable and very reliable when it comes to withstanding pressure. That is just a teaser; there's more to that.
The filter section differs from other brands as it features a high-density Fiber and synthetic media blend. The media gets a boost from the metal end piece, which is resistant to wear. The media however, doesn't have wire backing. Therefore, the reason behind the high-density media material is to cover up for missing the wire back reinforcement.
The filter has a 99% efficiency rating, which compliments the 10,000-mile engine life advancement. Additionally, the filter is compatible with full synthetic oil types.
The center tube is helical in style. The helical style seam is more durable and desirable than the typical axial style used in other filter brands.
A silicon anti-back valve measures up to the high oil temperatures and remains intact. The valve keeps your engine supplied with oil when you make stops along the way.
The gasket on the baseplate incorporates a silicon gasket for the same reason as the valve; which is to withstand high temperatures. The baseplate is heavy duty with an eight inlet hole pattern.
- High-density synthetic blend media
- 99% efficiency rating
- Silicon anti-back valve
- Silicon gasket to withstand high temperatures
- Helical style center tube
Factors to Consider When Buying a Cartridge Oil Filter
The primary factor that you should put abreast before purchasing a cartridge filter should be durability. How long is it going to last? To seek answers to that, you need to pay keen attention to some of the filters' detailed specifications. One way is by checking out the mile coverage capability detail on the filter.
Average oil filters have a mile coverage of 5,000 and below. For a long-lasting filter, its mile coverage should start from 10,000 to as far as 20,000.
The anti-back valve is another factor that gauges the durability aspect of the filter. Silicon anti-back valves are preferably thrice as much better than rubber anti-back valves. That is mainly because of the silicon's thermal resilience trait.
The filtration medium is the heart of the oil filter. Before you purchase an oil filter, you need to do some homework on the quality of material used in various filter media. Common materials used to make filtration media are cellulose, synthetic, and a blend of synthetic with another element.
Cellulose is useful when it comes to oil flow. It is less restrictive to the oil, allowing the volume filtering of oil. However, it is not so sturdy, making it prone to tear. The synthetic blend filter is the best option for filter media material. It is both stiff and less restrictive.
Synthetic on itself is reliable, especially if a metal screen reinforces it like with the FRAM ultra-thin filter. Wiring back also contributes to the structural support of the media.
Center tube design can be put into consideration too, though most filters outdo themselves on this. But either way, a helical style tube is better than the axial style center tube.
Engine oil type varies from one car model to another. Some use full synthetic; others use conventional while another party goes well with both.
Therefore, when shopping for an oil filter, you need to know your engine oil type. You can get the guide about your engine oil type from the manufacturers' manual.
Oil filters have designs that make them compatible with a specific oil type. For instance, the FRAM tough guard filter is compatible with both conventional and synthetic oil types. The Purolator One is only compatible with full synthetic oil.
Paying keen attention to such detail is vital for the well-being of your engine. If you use the wrong filter, be sure you won't get the best result.
The incompatibility between the filter and the oil can result in inefficiency of the filter media. If that happens, the contaminants get to your engine and cause damage and wearing out.
Most oil filters include their efficiency ratings on their description. This information goes hand in hand with the particle capture capability known as the micron rating. The filtration media build-up highly determines the efficiency rating of a filter.
For the top oil filter brands, their ratings go as high as 99.9%. In terms of particle capture ability, the best filters can trap 20-micron sized impurities. A filter with both 99% and 20-micron rating efficiency are best suitable for your engine oil.
That is because they can screen out the tiniest details in your oil like rust, carbon, and dirt. Some of these contaminants are abrasive, and it is best if they don't reach the engine.
Compatibility and Installation
You first have to ensure an oil filter can fit in with your car's engine design. The best way to establish that is by using the manufacturers' manual. It has the details on the preferred type of oil filter you can install on your engine motor.
Ease of installation should factor in, especially if you don't want to part with a few bucks to get a mechanic to do the job for you. Most quality filters bring this consideration to life by providing installation features on the can.
The Purolator One has a non-slip texture on the canister. The FRAM filters, on the other hand, have a Sure-Grip feel. Such installation features make mounting the filter on the engine an uncomplicated errand.
1. What Is a Cartridge Oil Filter?
The cartridge oil filter has a canister designed outlook—the casing of the filter shelters a filter element on the inside. Also known as the Eco filter, the cartridge oil filter is eco-friendly. Unlike the spin-on filter, only the filter element gets disposed of.
The structural body of the element is mostly cellulose, synthetic, or both materials disposal through incineration. The retained filter casing shelters the new element replacement.
2. Are All Oil Filters the Same Quality?
All oil filters carry out a similar function, but they are not the same. The differences come in their designs and oil compatibility. There are specific oil filters made for semi-synthetic, fully synthetic, and conventional oil types.
Design-wise, Filter media vary from one filter to another. Media designs for various filters come in cellulose, synthetic, and blends of synthetic with cellulose or fiber designs.
The in-let hole patterns and their diameters at the baseplate is another varying feature for oil filters. They range from five to eight in-let hole patterns depending on the brand.
3. Does It Matter What Oil Filter You Use?
Yes, it matters big time. You can't go for any type of oil filter and fix it on your engine. Some considerations should guide your choice. The basic one is compatibility. You need to pick out an oil filter that works well with your car engine.
Choosing a compatible oil filter for your car gives you a maximum oil filtration efficiency. The user manual has a detailed guide on the best suitable filters that work best in your vehicle. Oil filters are not the same when it comes to mileage.
If you choose an oil filter with a high mileage capability, it will last you longer than a low mile cover filter.
4. Are More Expensive Oil Filters Better?
Cheap is expensive. When you are scouting for an oil filter, do not mind going an extra on your budget to get the best. Inferior oil filters have cheap materials too that are not durable.
Comparing a cheap 5,000-mile engine protection filter and a 20,000 shows you the difference. By the time the 20,000-mile filter is getting worn out, you'll have replaced the 5,000-mile filter four times, which is more expensive.
For your engine to have a smooth run, it needs to be supplied by a clean stream of engine oil. A quality oil filter design aims for the very purpose of offering maximum filtration efficiency for the oil. Therefore, knowledge of the right type of filter to seek after is crucial.
Understanding the basics of a cartridge oil filter will help you choose the best filter for your car's convenience. The review features the best oil cartridges in the market and also the buying guide to consider. So there you have it, you can now place orders with your preferred retailer and get yourself one of these cartridge filters.