Best Oil Filter Wrenches: Top Tools To Make The Job A Breeze
These top oil filter wrenches will streamline the oil change process
The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.Read more.
PUBLISHED ON June 12, 2019
Oil filters clean out impurities in engine oil such as dirt and debris. It's necessary to change the filter on a regular basis, and the best oil filter wrench can help you do the job more efficiently, particularly if you encounter a filter that’s jammed. Check out our reviews to find the best oil filter wrench on the market.
- Best OverallMotivx Tools Small Adjustable Oil Filter WrenchSummarySummaryThis universal fit oil filter tool removes small, traditional spin-off style oil filters. The oil filter contact surface has a tooth-style design for a better grip and less slip.ProsProsIt works great on tight, hard-to-reach filters, and its spring-loaded claw design digs into the filter. It's well-made, does exactly what it says it can do and is reasonably priced.ConsConsIt's too small for some filters, and it may not securely lock onto a 3/8-inch socket drive handle. It may be challenging to get the teeth to bite down.
- Best ValueTEKTON 12-Inch Oil Filter PliersSummarySummaryThese pliers fit filters up to 4-1/2 inches in diameter. They are adjustable and have right-angle teeth for grip and long handles that help you reach into tight spaces.ProsProsThese pliers are sturdy, powerful, and have a lot of traction. The teeth sink in nicely, and the pliers twist without slippage. They are perfect for removing common-sized oil filters.ConsConsThe pliers can distort or puncture the filter, which may cause the oil to leak. It may also be difficult to get these pliers to work if the filter is recessed.
- Honorable MentionCHANNELLOCK 9" Oil Filter & PVC PlierSummarySummaryThis tool works on most common-sized vehicle and small-engine filters, such as motorcycles. It fits PVC, conduit, and fittings. Also, the PermaLock fastener eliminates nut and bolt failure..ProsProsThese pliers work well on older cars and have a nice finish and a good grip. They work well in tight spaces due to their size, and the teeth do not slip.ConsConsThe handle is small, thin, and short, which can hinder gripping ability. The pliers won't work well on some newer cars and may not be suitable for filters in hard-to-reach spots.
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, and practical experience with each product we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Oil Filter Wrenches
- Avoid the mechanic. If you are technically inclined, it's much more convenient to change your oil at home than by setting up an appointment and visiting your local garage. With the right tools, including a professional oil filter wrench, you can do the job yourself.
- Avoid frustration. One of the worst things that can happen when you're changing the oil is discovering that the oil filter is stuck, and you don't have the right tool to remove it. The best oil filter removal tool will help you extract any type of filter by giving you a strong grip.
- Save money. Once you purchase an oil filter removal kit, you'll have it in your toolbox for years. The only expense you will have is the oil filter and oil itself. You will no longer have to pay a professional for their time.
- Prevent damage. Don't be that person who uses whatever tool is handy to change an oil filter. The right oil filter removal wrench will help with particularly greasy and jammed filters. If you don't use the proper tool, you risk damaging your vehicle.
Types of Oil Filter Wrenches
These wrenches have adjustable gears. They feature two clamping legs, twin jaw plates, and three geared metal prongs. You can use a spider wrench with a 3/8-inch ratchet driver to remove the oil filter. There are two types of spider wrenches, claw, and jaw, and they grab the filter slightly differently. Spider wrenches are useful for filters tucked away in confined areas.
Socket wrenches have metal or plastic socket-shaped cups and attach to the bottom of an oil filter casing. They typically have a 3/8-inch ratchet handle, but they come in several sizes. They're useful if you have little clearance around the oil filter or have a recessed oil filter. Some models of vehicles require socket wrenches.
If you have an SUV, pickup truck, or other big vehicles, a strap wrench is useful because the oil filters tend to be larger (up to 6 inches in diameter). You’ll need a 1/2-inch square drive tool to turn the bar that tightens the strap that firmly holds the filter. A strap wrench is great at removing jammed oil filters on larger engines.
Chain Loop and Metal Band Wrenches
These tools look more like nooses than traditional wrenches. They have a handle for turning and either a chain or metal strap that loops around the cap. Their unique design makes them very useful for oil filters, but they're not intended for other projects, which makes them less practical than claw and socket-style wrenches. Metal band wrenches with hinges on the handle are great for older vehicles because they help you get to hard-to-reach areas. Chain loop wrenches work well with very greasy and slippery oil filters.
The best oil filter pliers have extended dual handles, are made of durable steel and have plastisol-coated handles to enable a strong grip. They have adjustable jaws and can be very powerful when it comes to removing tricky filters. A 3-5/8-inch-size tool can remove filters of various sizes from 2-15/16 to 3-5/8 inches. There are also larger filter pliers for bigger oil filters.
Craftsman was founded in 1927 and produces professional-grade tools for carpentry, automotive, electrical, and plumbing. The brand was owned by Sears but is now controlled by Stanley Black & Decker. One top product is the Craftsman 2-Piece, 16-Inch Rubber Strap Wrench Set.
Blacksmith George B. DeArment, from Evansburg, Pa., began hand-forging farrier's tools in 1886 and created the Champion Bolt & Clipper Company. It was renamed Channellock in 1963, 30 years after it created its popular multi-position, tongue and groove, slip-joint style pliers of the same name. One top product is the CHANNELLOCK 9" Oil Filter & PVC Plier.
Lisle was founded in 1903 in Clarinda, Iowa, and initially produced horse-powered water well drilling machines. The company started making automotive products in the 1920s. Today, it's known for its specialty automotive tools, mechanic's creepers, and lubrication & tire products. One popular item is the Lisle 63600 Oil Filter Tool.
Oil Filter Wrench Pricing
- Under $10: You can find a basic but decent oil filter wrench in this price range. They typically don't have many features but can work very well to get the job done.
- $10 and up: Higher-priced oil filter wrenches are usually named brands and have added features and superior grip. They typically cost less than $20, and they're worth investing in because they'll last a long time.
Oil Filter Size
You may require an oil filter wrench for small filters or one for larger filters. After you determine what type of filter you have, then you can determine the proper wrench for the job. One way to find out the size of your filter is by checking the owner's manual. You should also check where the filter is located and whether it's in a cramped space.
The best oil filter wrench should have teeth with a solid grip. With a stronghold, it shouldn't be too hard for you to remove the oil filter cap. Conversely, if the grip is slippery, it will take a lot more effort to complete the task, and it will make your job much more frustrating.
- Quality: Choose a wrench that's made of high-quality materials. One of the worst things that can happen is breaking a wrench while changing the oil filter. If a wrench fails with very little pressure, it's probably made of low-quality components. The best oil filter wrench should be able to withstand your arm strength and also be able to loosen a tight oil filter.
- Ease of Use: Changing an oil filter is not difficult if you have an oil filter wrench that is easy to use. The best oil filter remover will not slip and will have a solid grip. It should have the ability to remove extremely tight oil filters with little effort. Complicated oil filter wrenches will make the job tougher.
- Fit and Adjustability: Oil filters have various diameters. Many brands of oil filter wrenches can be used on nearly all oil filters regardless of size. The best universal oil filter wrench will work on filters whether they’re big or small. This is particularly useful if you have several vehicles with filters of various dimensions.
- Wrench Size: Some wrenches are larger than others. The bigger ones have longer handles and grips and can help you get to areas in which the oil filter is hard to reach. Some may be too big to function properly if the filter is in a really tight spot.
- Corrosion-Resistant Finish: It's common for metal tools to corrode or rust over time, especially if they're stored in areas that are prone to getting damp, such as a carport. A wrench with an anodized finish or coating will be less likely to rust. A rusty tool is harder to use and may not function properly.
Best Oil Filter Wrench Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Motivx Tools Small Adjustable Oil Filter Wrench
This universal-fit oil filter tool removes small 2.5- to 3.25-inch-diameter traditional spin-off style oil filters. It has a .050-inch captured spring, and the oil filter contact surface has a tooth style design for a better grip and less slip. The jaws are made of nickel-plated 4130 chromoly steel and are attached to a 3/8-inch thick solid steel top plate.
The Motivx Tools oil filter wrench works great on tight, hard-to-reach filters, making removal quite easy and effortless. In small spaces, it slips on and instantly grips with the aid of a ratchet and extension. The tool is well-made, does exactly what it says it can do, is reasonably priced, and does a superior job compared to your fingers or pliers.
One problem is the tool may be too small for some vehicle filters; however, the company does have a separate product for larger filters. There have also been some reports that it doesn't securely lock onto a 3/8-inch socket drive handle, and you must hold your drive handle firmly on the tool as you're turning the wrench on the filter. It may also take a bit of work to get the teeth to bite down onto the filter.
Best Value: TEKTON 12-Inch Oil Filter Pliers
These pliers fit oil filters up to 4-1/2 inches in diameter. The three-position slip joint design quickly adjusts to size, and the right-angle teeth grip while turning in either direction. The tool’s long handles help you to reach into tight spaces, and the soft, comfortable grips control slipping.
The tool has a long reach and a lot of traction. It sinks in nicely and twists without slippage. There's no need to squeeze super tight on the pliers because the teeth don't shift when they are correctly positioned on the filter. They are sturdy, powerful, and work well when used on an angle. In addition, the metal feels solid, and the pliers are more than big enough to remove common-sized oil filters because they adjust rather easily.
The biggest complaint is that the pliers can distort or puncture the filter. Because it can be hard to turn the pliers without crimping the filter, the oil may leak, and you may need to remove the filter in pieces. It may also be challenging to get these pliers to work if the filter is recessed.
Honorable Mention: CHANNELLOCK 9" Oil Filter & PVC Plier
This tool is made in the United States and works on most common-sized vehicle and small-engine filters, such as motorcycles. It fits PVC, conduit, and fittings. The PermaLock fastener eliminates nut and bolt failure, and the handle is designed for comfort.
These pliers work well on older cars, are well-made, and have a nice finish and good grip. The teeth grab and do not slip. They bite in the direction you are turning them, and you don't have to crush the filter to get the pliers to turn. They do the work of cheaper, bigger pliers with less effort. They also work well in tight spaces due to their small, slim, and low profile.
The biggest complaint is that the handle is too small, thin, and short, which can hinder gripping ability. Another issue is that this tool won't work well on some newer cars, especially European models, due to its size. The pliers may also not be suitable for filters located in hard-to-reach spots.
- Only use a filter wrench to loosen an oil filter cap, not to tighten it. To avoid permanently damaging the casing, tighten the cap by hand instead of with a wrench.
- Changing an oil filter can be messy, and it's possible to accidentally puncture the oil filter case in the process. Avoid staining your garage floor by putting cardboard on the ground to soak up any drips.
- Some vehicles, such as newer BMWs and MINI Coopers, require special tools because the oil filter is enclosed. However, most vehicles have regular screws and can be changed with a universal wrench.
- In addition to an oil filter wrench, you will probably need a traditional wrench or other tools to remove the oil filter. Make sure you have all the necessary devices before starting the task.
Q: Do I need an oil filter wrench?
A: When you drive your vehicle, the filter cap naturally tightens because it’s exposed to hot and cold temperatures. Filters also get dirty and greasy, making them challenging to remove. It's possible to do the job with your hands, but it's much easier to change an oil filter using a wrench.
Q: What’s the best type of oil filter wrench?
A: It depends on the size of the filter, how tight the filter is, and how much space is in the area surrounding the filter. The best oil filter wrench for tight spaces is a socket or spider wrench. If space is not a problem, a band or pliers wrench will work just fine. It may take a bit of trial and error to find the right tool.
Q: How do I use an oil filter wrench?
A: The method varies depending on the type of wrench you use. First, make sure to work on a vehicle after it's been sitting for about an hour and use a drain pan to catch drips. If you're using a socket wrench, attach it to the bottom of the casing and use a 3/8-inch ratchet to help loosen the casing. Then remove the filter by hand. The process is different for other types of wrenches.
Our pick for the top oil filter wrench is the Motivx Tools Small Adjustable Oil Filter Wrench. It's a universal wrench that works in small spaces with hard-to-reach filters. The spring-loaded claw design also prevents it from slipping or digging into the filter.
For a less expensive option, consider the TEKTON 12-Inch Oil Filter Pliers.