I’ve decided to do a “high end” oil filter comparison for automotive type filters. High end meaning filters with a synthetic filter media. The contenders are:
-Fleetguard with Stratapore media;
I’ve also included two “standard, off the shelf” filters:
-Fram Xtra Guard.
Starting with the standard filters, the Mobil1 is a high quality filter using metal end caps and nice looking pleats. The media joint is glued together, a minus in oil filters. It has a can thickness of .0230 inch.
The Fram Xtra Guard has cardboard end caps. For this one reason alone is why most Fram filters should be avoided. The pleats are few and not evenly spaced. It does have a steel crimp to join the media ends. The can thickness is .0170 inch.
Standard filters were included to show what’s out there in the “normal” auto parts store. The Mobil1 Extended is similar to a K&N, WIX (non-XP), Hastings, Bosch, etc, or most of the higher priced filters. Many of these will do you just fine. The Fram is the bottom of the barrel, similar to store brands, STP, Penzoil, no name brands and some ACDelco filters. Many of these filters have a plastic center tube. It’s best to steer away from any of these filters.
Moving onto the high end filters:
Amsoil: It has two layers of filter media, the inner one is a thinner but tough sheet. The outer is a fluffy material. Under it all is metal screening. The media ends are glued together. The can thickness is .0250 inch. Stamped steel bypass spring.
Fram Ultra: A single layer of filter media with a reinforcing screen is used here. Steel crimped media ends. The can thickness is .0180 inch. Stamped steel bypass spring.
Royal Purple: It has two layers of filter media, the inner is a thinner sheet. The outer is a fluffy material. Underneath is metal screening. Glued media ends. Can thickness is .0210 inch. Stamped steel bypass spring.
Wix XP: Two layers of filter media, they're both pretty tough but the same. Metal screening backs it up. .0140 inch can thickness. Coil spring bypass spring.
Fleetguard: It has two layers of filter media, the inner one is a thinner but tough sheet. The outer is a fluffy material. Under it all is metal screening. Steel crimped media ends. The can thickness is .0360 inch. Coil spring bypass spring.
Conclusion: Any of these high end synthetic media filters are plenty better than a regular filter. All will serve you well, even the Fram. Out of the bunch, I rate the Fleetguard King of the Hill-it has the best features throughout: Top shelf media, crimped media ends, the thickest can. It’s hard to find and not all applications are available with the Stratapore media. I’d rate the WIX XP next and the Royal Purple third with the Amsoil & Fram behind. But it’s a tight race, all are very good. The WIX XP is very close to the Amsoil (with the exception of the bypass spring) and identical to the NAPA Platinum-WIX makes all three filters.
Buyer beware! There are counterfeits out there, usually found online. The Fram Ultra is stocked at Walmart. The lesser non-Stratapore Fleetguard filters can be pretty poor, some built like the cardboard Fram filters.