Best Oil Drain Pans: A Great Tool for Keeping Oil Changes Clean
Avoid messy spills and ruined floors when changing your car’s oil
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PUBLISHED ON June 22, 2019
If you are in the habit of changing your own oil, then you need to use one of the many large drain pans that are available. Not only are engine oil drain pans great for avoiding messy spills in your garage or driveway, but they are also great for transporting used oil to recycling centers. Check out our picks for the best oil pans available to help you decide which pan can best serve you.
- Best OverallATD Tools Drain PanSummarySummaryA high-quality oil drain pan that is constructed from polyurethane and designed to make oil changes both easy and clean.ProsProsLightweight design to easily move the pan around underneath your car. Has a spout to minimize spilling used oil, a large mouth for easy collection, and handles to help with transport.ConsConsThere is no lid which can make transporting used oil tricky. If the drain pan is full some oil can come out through spout if jostled.
- Best ValueBehrens 3-Gallon Seamless Drain/Utility PanSummarySummaryAn all-purpose portable oil drain pan that can be used for oil changes, for antifreeze, as a planter, or to feed your dog.ProsProsIs made from stainless steel that won’t rust or degrade. Has a wide mouth for easy collection. Can be used for many different purposes. Is very inexpensive.ConsConsLacks a spout or lip to aid with pouring. There have been reports of rusting that results from the pan being scratched.
- Honorable MentionHopkins FloTool 58-Quart Super Duty Drain ContainerSummarySummaryThe perfect oil drain pan for larger vehicles with big oil reserves. Has a compact design that helps you get into tight spaces.ProsProsHas wheels to help you move it. There are handles to assist with lifting, a lid to prevent oil from escaping, and a drain plug for easy emptying.ConsConsThe mouth is small so you’ll need a funnel to avoid spills. The basin plug can leak due to plastic threading. Also, the plug location can lead to leaks if upright.
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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 an Oil Drain Pan
- Avoid messy spills. The worst part of any oil change happens precisely at that moment when you accidentally bump into a half-full bucket of oil and watch it tip over. Oil change drain pans are designed specifically to avoid these situations.
- Easy to use. Using a motor oil drain pan is as simple as positioning it underneath your car’s oil pan. There are no fancy attachments or tools necessary to use one.
- Inexpensive. The average cost of an oil drip pan for cars or pickups is on par with some of the higher quality buckets that are available. The cost and the fact that oil catch pans are designed to specifically hold oil make them the better choice of the two.
- Better than oil extractors. Oil extractors are an easy and clean way to remove motor oil from your engine. However, you won’t be able to as thoroughly remove contaminants from the pan as you can by draining the oil.
Based out of Edgerton, Kan., Hopkins is in the business of offering a myriad of automotive accessories at reasonable prices. The product lines that Hopkins controls include well-known brands such as Bell and FloTool, with the latter brand offering popular items such as the Five-Gallon Open Top Drain Pan.
Originally founded in 1903, this Iowa-based company’s first foray into automotive manufacturing came when it developed an after model master vibrator for the Ford Model T engine. Since that time, Lisle has grown massively and is now responsible for producing over 400 automotive tools including the Plastic 4.5-Gallon Drain Pan.
Oil Drain Pan Pricing
- $5-$15: Even if you only have a few extra dollars to spare, you can still get an oil drain pan that will help you get the job done. At this price, pans tend to be disposable and basic in design.
- $15-$50: At the midrange level, you will find some great drain pans that are made from high-quality materials and have extra features like an extendable spout and a cap. For most home-based mechanics, these oil drain pans will make the best choice.
- $50 and up: Moving up in price leads to the professional oil drains like those you will find in a mechanic’s shop. These drain pans are upright, sit on stands, have wheels, and can hold many gallons of used oil.
Size and Shape
Oil drain pans come in a myriad of shapes and sizes in order to accommodate the many different kinds of vehicles there are in the world. The design and location of the oil pan on your car will be the key factor in deciding the dimensions of the drain pan you purchase.
Obviously, you don’t want a product that is inadequate for the amount of oil in your car but you also don’t want a large capacity oil drain pan that holds 15 more quarts than your car does. As a general rule, try to find a drain pan that holds twice the quart capacity as your car.
Not all oil drain pans are created equal, and you certainly don’t want an inferior one that won’t hold up. Make sure the drain pan you purchase is constructed from high-grade materials.
A spout is a really handy feature if you want to pour out oil without having to worry about spilling it. Your full drain pan will have to be emptied at some point, so it only makes sense to find one with a spout.
The average car engine holds anywhere from five to eight quarts of motor oil. That means having to haul around 10 to 16 pounds of oil every change. Handles make this task considerably easier.
- Mesh Screen: Having a mesh screen over your drip pan opening can be a lifesaver if you accidentally drop the drain plug when removing it. This is especially so if you need to use a big oil drain pan for large vehicles.
- Size of Mouth Opening: The sizes and shapes of the opening in available drain pans will vary but a good general rule to go by is that bigger is better.
Best Oil Drain Pan Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: ATD Tools Drain Pan - 4.5-Gallon Capacity
Designed to make oil changes efficient and clean, this black plastic 4.5-gallon drain pan has some great features and a quality design that earns it our top pick overall in this review. This is a large drain pan with a stout shape is perfect for homeowners with limited space for a jack. Check out some of the pros and cons of this great product.
This oil drain container measures 6 inches deep by 15.25 inches in diameter making it great not only for getting into tight spaces but also for collecting quarts of oil without making a mess. It comes with a built-in pour spout, molded handles, and an anti-splash lip that all help make oil changes easy and to avoid oil spills. ATD drain pans are constructed from high-grade Polyethylene material so they will last for a long time.
One drawback to this drain pan is the lack of a lid to cover the mouth. This can make transporting old oil precarious depending on how full it is. If you have to fill this drain pan to capacity, make sure to do it slowly otherwise backflow can come out of the spout and spill on the floor. There have also been some complaints about the size of the anti-spill lip being too small to avoid spills.
Best Value: Behrens 3-Gallon Seamless Drain/Utility Pan
Behrens’ all-purpose drain/utility pan is a great option if you are in the market for an inexpensive product that is extremely durable and will get the job done. This pan lacks many of the features of our other two picks, but it is extremely affordable and can be used for a multitude of purposes. All Behrens products are proudly made in the USA.
It will not rust, is extremely resistant to dents, and is leak-proof. Measuring in at 16 inches wide by 16 inches deep by 4 inches tall, this drain pan is large enough to handle large oil reserves like those found in trucks and SUVs. The pan is lightweight at only 1.5 pounds, so you’ll have no problem moving it around. Finally, these pans are multi-use and can fit a number of needs around the house or shop.
Since this is an all-purpose drain/utility pan, it doesn’t have features like a spout or cap that other drain pans come with. This makes disposing of waste oil tougher and the likelihood of spills higher. There have been some reports of rust forming on the pan after as little as a year of use which come as a result of scratches and other imperfections in the metal.
Honorable Mention: Hopkins FloTool 58-Quart Super Duty Drain Container
If you are looking for a heavy-duty oil drain pan that can handle a large volume, then the FloTool 42003mi drain container is right up your alley. It can hold up to 14 gallons of oil, making it a great choice if you have multiple changes to do. This low-profile oil drain pan is easy to get underneath cars with low clearance and is built to last for years with proper care and upkeep.
This plastic drain pan can hold a lot of oil, which can weigh it down by over 100 pounds when at capacity. To help with this, Hopkins has installed a set of wheels so you can effortlessly roll the pan around your garage. There is a screw top lid to prevent spills when in motion and handles for easy carrying. You can also store this product in an upright position to save on space.
One problem that people can experience with this drain pan is the size of the mouth. It is rather small in relation to the other drain pans we have featured and you’ll need to use a funnel to ensure the oil doesn’t spill. The plastic plug that keeps used oil in the basin can sometimes leak if threading is warped. Also, the plug is located on the bottom making leaks more likely if the pan is being stored in an upright position.
- Lay a piece of linoleum underneath your oil drain pan to catch any spilled oil. You can easily clean up any mess while keeping your garage floor free of stains.
- If you only need a little bit of oil to top off the reserve, don’t fill it from a full bottle. Instead, pour the amount needed into an empty bottle and use that to avoid spills.
- Wear disposable gloves to keep your hands from getting oil on them. Old motor oil can be especially difficult to remove from underneath your fingernails.
- If your oil filter is vertical, keep an open bag underneath it while loosening it. The bag will catch any oil that drips over when the seal is cracked.
Q: Where can I recycle my used oil?
A: You can take used engine oil to an automotive shop to have it recycled. Also, most retail stores that sell motor oil will also recycle it.
Q: What is the best material that oil drain pans are made of?
A: Something lightweight and durable would make the best material for obvious reasons. Among the list would be polyurethane and high-density polyethylene.
Q: How long will an oil drain pan last?
A: If properly maintained and stored, a drain pan will last for years. Like all tools, your oil pan needs to be cleaned and stored in a dry location to maximize its lifespan.
For its durability, quality design, and great features, the ATD Tools Drain Pan gets our top pick in this review.
The Behrens 3-Gallon Seamless Drain/Utility Pan is a great all-purpose pan that will last a long time and is a great value.