LAST UPDATED: June 22, 2019
Best Oil Drain Pans: A Great Tool for Keeping Oil Changes Clean
Avoid messy spills and ruined floors when changing your car’s oil
The Review Team
How We Decided
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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 drain pans available to help you decide which pan can best serve you.
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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 drain container 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 of the best oil 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 pour 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 pour spout.
The average car engine holds anywhere from 5-8 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 2020
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 that 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.
This deep drain tub is capable of holding 6 quarts of liquid. The deep sides help it to prevent spills. It’s an affordable price, and it comes as either a single tub or a pair of drain tubs. This makes it ideal for working on all of your vehicles. There’s a notched pour spout to help prevent spills when transferring the liquid.
What’s nice about this tub is that it’s great for working on smaller vehicles. The plastic construction makes it durable, slightly flexible, and easy to clean. The small diameter makes it ideal for cramped working conditions.
Unfortunately, once the tub is full, it can be a challenge to move it without spilling. The liquid can slosh out if you move it too quickly. There’s no baffling on the edge to prevent this. The spout can also allow for over-pouring, so you’ll need to be careful.
This large, 30-quart drain tub helps with the collection and disposal of vehicle liquids. This includes draining radiators, crankcases, and transmissions. The dimensions of the tub are 33 inches long, 22 inches wide, and 8 inches deep. There’s a notch on the tub for spill-free pouring.
What’s nice about this drain tub is the large apron on one side. This gives you a flat surface for washing or draining smaller parts. The pan is made from hard plastic, which gives it stability and prevents flexing while moving. This helps to prevent possible sloshing and spillage. It also helps the tub to support the full weight of the liquid when full.
The downside of this tub is that its large size makes storing it a challenge when not in use. The drain spout is rounded, which makes it difficult to pour into smaller-mouthed containers.
This large, open pan is ideal for sliding under your vehicle to catch anything from liquids to parts. You can even put it under your parked car to prevent drips from staining your garage floor. It measures 40.25 by 28.25 by 5 inches and can hold up to 71 quarts.
What’s nice about this pan is that it’s built from durable and chemical-resistant polyethylene. This prevents it from bending or warping while carrying or pouring. You can also stack multiple pans together for compact storage.
Unfortunately, there are diagonal ridges in the bottom of the pan that make it harder to clean. It also lacks a specific pour notch or spout, which makes pouring from the corner a challenge. You may need two people to pour from it when it’s full.
If you have a low-profile vehicle or motorcycle, this low-to-the-ground drain pan is great for collecting oil and other fluids. It’s made from durable ABS plastic and measures 26.8 by 15.7 by 2.8 inches. It’s designed to hold the oil from multiple drains before needing to be emptied.
What’s nice about this pan is that it’s long enough to cover the entire length under your motorcycle. This ensures all oil is caught. It also has a large carrying handle to make moving it around easier.
The pan can get heavy and awkward to move when full. The plugs are also not threaded or sealed, which can allow for leaking. If your oil is too thick, it may not flow properly to the center and into the drain. The pour drain on the corner is also awkward to use.
You have your choice of bright green or black for this easy-to-clean, easy-to-carry drain tub. It has a maximum capacity of 4.5 gallons (16 liters) of liquid. It’s constructed of a durable and easy-to-care-for polyethylene. If you buy multiple tubs, you can easily stack them, so they nest and require less storage space.
This drain tub stands out because it has a molded handle that makes moving and pouring easier. It also has a molded lip around the edge to prevent spilling. It has a 1-inch pour spout for quick but precise pouring.
Unfortunately, some users say the plastic this tub is made out of feels thin. This can reduce its long-term durability when sliding across your garage floor. This tub is also very large, so it isn’t ideal for small cars and motorcycles.
Make moving your full drain tub easier with a large metal handle. The tub is made from a tough polyethylene material and is safe for collecting gasoline, oil, and antifreeze. It can hold up to 5 gallons of liquid and measures 18 inches in diameter and 6 inches tall. The tub’s outer rim has an inner lip to prevent sloshing and spillage while you move the tub when it’s full.
You’ll like using this tub because of the drain spout. The tub has a built-in spout that’s on the side. The mouth of the tub has a flat guard to prevent over-pouring. When you’re done pouring, put the included cap on the spout to prevent drips.
The downside of this tub is that the cap isn’t threaded or sealed, so the oil can still leak out when it’s closed. The cap is also tethered to the spout, so it can flop into the oil that’s pouring out of the spout, which makes a mess.
Keep your garage clean while maintaining your bike with this motorcycle oil and fluid drain pan. It can hold a total of 2 liters. It’s made of a durable and chemical-resistant plastic. The shape is rectangular with a low-profile design to fit under a variety of motorcycles and scooters.
What’s nice about this pan is the channeled pour spout. This helps to prevent spills while transferring the fluid to a container. The plastic material used in the construction helps to give the pan stability for easier maneuvering.
The downside of this pan is that it doesn’t hold very much fluid. If you have a larger motorcycle, it may not be big enough. The drain spout also takes some practice to get used to. If you use the wrong technique, it’ll pour over the edge before it comes out of the spout.
This clear drain tub comes with a built-in level scale to help you measure the volume of fluid collected. The tub measures 13.8 by 12.6 by 4.3 inches. It has a total liquid capacity of 4.5 liters. You can use it for smaller vehicles to drain oil, transmission, or radiator fluid.
What’s nice about this tub is that it’s clear, which makes it easy to see the exact volume inside. The measurements on the side are accurate and helpful for indicating the exact amount of fluid removed.
Unfortunately, when it’s filled to maximum volume, there’s barely any tub wall height left to prevent sloshing or spillage. This makes moving it while full difficult. The measurement marks on the side could be larger and easier to read when the tub is full.
- 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 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 Custom Accessories Oil Drain Pan is a great value option for working on smaller vehicles or in cramped conditions.