Best Fuel Filters: Fuelish Behavior

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Top 8 Best Fuel Filters

best fuel filters fuelish behavior

This is a slightly difficult list since virtually every vehicle on the road takes a different type of fuel filter. Unless you’re driving a GM product from the ’90s; experience shows they all used roughly the same one from about 1990 until about 2008. Also, know that there typically aren’t service intervals for the replacement of these things – generally, when they go bad, you know.

Still, they’re an important part of your hooptie’s fuel delivery system, especially if your whip is particularly knackered. A terrible Crown Vic that darkened your author’s driveway had a fuel tank so rusty I moved the fuel pickup much higher than any location approved by Ford. This was in an attempt to stave off the sucking up of iron oxide filings which would plug the – you guessed it – fuel filter. This repair (and I use that term loosely) resulted in an unexpected complication: the Vic would quit when the gas gauge still read three-quarters.

Anyway, enough storytime. The options on today’s list are grouped as apples-to-apples options for a car representative of the typical daily beater. Others exist, so make sure you check your specific application before mashing the Buy Now button.

Table of Contents

1. Editor's Choice: Genuine Honda Fuel Filter Set

We're breaking from tradition with this list and arranging our selections from most to least expensive. While it is true these types of parts do sometimes have different internal gubbins that affect their performance, a lot of people simply buy on price. Use your discretion.

This is listed as a factory OEM part from Honda, partially explaining its price which is two or three times the cost of others on this list. The seller asserts this is not an aftermarket part and the reviews seem to bear that out in terms of OE fitment. Back in the day, Honda used to have an advertising tagline that read "Don't open your hood to strangers." which totally wouldn't fly today.

Pros

  • OE Honda part

Cons

  • Pricey

Bottom Line

  • Built by the people who built the car (not really but you get the point)

We're breaking from tradition with this list and arranging our selections from most to least expensive. While it is true these types of parts do sometimes have different internal gubbins that affect their performance, a lot of people simply buy on price. Use your discretion.

This is listed as a factory OEM part from Honda, partially explaining its price which is two or three times the cost of others on this list. The seller asserts this is not an aftermarket part and the reviews seem to bear that out in terms of OE fitment. Back in the day, Honda used to have an advertising tagline that read "Don't open your hood to strangers." which totally wouldn't fly today.

2. K&N Fuel Filter

Priced at about two-thirds the cost of the OE Honda filter, this K&N option has been reviewed by more customers yet retains roughly the same overall star rating. The ad says this filter's cellulose glass media traps contaminants such as rust, dirt, and other crap.

Real-world feedback says that, in some applications, the u-groove into which this thing sits (basically its mounting bracket on the car) doesn't fit snugly. The best advice is to gently file down the bracket instead of manhandling the filter into place.

Pros

  • Great brand name

Cons

  • Fitment complaints

Bottom Line

  • Cost vs convenience

Priced at about two-thirds the cost of the OE Honda filter, this K&N option has been reviewed by more customers yet retains roughly the same overall star rating. The ad says this filter's cellulose glass media traps contaminants such as rust, dirt, and other crap.

Real-world feedback says that, in some applications, the u-groove into which this thing sits (basically its mounting bracket on the car) doesn't fit snugly. The best advice is to gently file down the bracket instead of manhandling the filter into place.

3. Beck Arnley Fuel Filter

Reviews of this filter are fair to middling, despite is being far from the cheapest option presented here (for that filter, scroll down to the bottom of this post). As always, it pays to read the feedback - something we hope separates our commerce lists from those of other sites.

A couple of respondents reported foreign material in the filter upon arrival and were content to ship it back for another one. Two others said the product didn't come with those all-important crush washers that are shown in the ad. Some, meanwhile, had no problems at all.

Pros

  • Easy to find, free returns

Cons

  • Reports of quality issues

Bottom Line

  • Read the reviews

Reviews of this filter are fair to middling, despite is being far from the cheapest option presented here (for that filter, scroll down to the bottom of this post). As always, it pays to read the feedback - something we hope separates our commerce lists from those of other sites.

A couple of respondents reported foreign material in the filter upon arrival and were content to ship it back for another one. Two others said the product didn't come with those all-important crush washers that are shown in the ad. Some, meanwhile, had no problems at all.

4. FRAM In-Line Fuel Filter

This brand sometimes gets a bad rap, with more than a few urban legends about poor build quality floating around garages in this country. Your author thinks this may be due to the sheer number of Fram products purchased by DIYers, given their wide availability at big box stores.

However, going by our own experience - which is positive - and that of people who bothered to leave reviews on Amazon - also positive - it seems most of those stories are just that; stories. A 4.8 out of 5-star rating is stellar, even if it is only from a small sample size.

Pros

  • Popular brand, readily available

Cons

  • Reports of damaged packaging

Bottom Line

  • There are tons of these in use today

This brand sometimes gets a bad rap, with more than a few urban legends about poor build quality floating around garages in this country. Your author thinks this may be due to the sheer number of Fram products purchased by DIYers, given their wide availability at big box stores.

However, going by our own experience - which is positive - and that of people who bothered to leave reviews on Amazon - also positive - it seems most of those stories are just that; stories. A 4.8 out of 5-star rating is stellar, even if it is only from a small sample size.

5. GKI Fuel Filter

GK-who? GKI, apparently. There isn't much to go on with this ad, since the seller only describes this filter as "OE quality media for high engine protection." Dimensions are provided for the unit itself but not for the fuel line outlets.

The mix of feedback is odd, swinging on a wild pendulum between fulsome praise and outright indignation. Some say it doesn't fit the vehicle for which it is listed, while others complained about it arriving in destroyed packaging. When installed on a car on which it does fit, however, comments were positive.

Pros

  • Good reviews when it fits the car

Cons

  • Bad reviews when it doesn't

Bottom Line

  • Know what you're buying

GK-who? GKI, apparently. There isn't much to go on with this ad, since the seller only describes this filter as "OE quality media for high engine protection." Dimensions are provided for the unit itself but not for the fuel line outlets.

The mix of feedback is odd, swinging on a wild pendulum between fulsome praise and outright indignation. Some say it doesn't fit the vehicle for which it is listed, while others complained about it arriving in destroyed packaging. When installed on a car on which it does fit, however, comments were positive.

6. Premium Guard Fuel Filter

With plenty of pictures to accompany the ad, there's no little excuse for buying this and then finding out your car has an in-tank filter. Seriously; that's some of the complaints about this product. Failing to do a bit of research is hardly the filter company's fault.

Still, there is a point to be made about cars being listed for which this filter does not fit, so those clueless DIYers may have a bit of a point. Your author is still of the opinion that a quick Google search will confirm the basic shape of your car's specific filter.

Pros

  • Ample pictures of the product

Cons

  • Ad is light on description

Bottom Line

  • Using "tryna" in your feedback nullifies it immediately

With plenty of pictures to accompany the ad, there's no little excuse for buying this and then finding out your car has an in-tank filter. Seriously; that's some of the complaints about this product. Failing to do a bit of research is hardly the filter company's fault.

Still, there is a point to be made about cars being listed for which this filter does not fit, so those clueless DIYers may have a bit of a point. Your author is still of the opinion that a quick Google search will confirm the basic shape of your car's specific filter.

7. ECOGARD Fuel Filter

The intentional misspelling of the word 'guard' notwithstanding (yay marketing!), this seems to be a very popular product. it's sub-$10 price probably has a lot to do with that, though its lengthy product description doesn't hurt, either.

This is one of the few filters on this list that purport to have been tested by its manufacturer, save for the OE unit at the top of the page, and a couple of other big-name brands. The inclusion of exotic supercars in these ads is always hilarious, especially when the part is for a beater Honda.

Pros

  • Great price, many excellent reviews

Cons

  • Scattered report of poor bracket fitment

Bottom Line

  • Break out the file or rasp just in case

The intentional misspelling of the word 'guard' notwithstanding (yay marketing!), this seems to be a very popular product. it's sub-$10 price probably has a lot to do with that, though its lengthy product description doesn't hurt, either.

This is one of the few filters on this list that purport to have been tested by its manufacturer, save for the OE unit at the top of the page, and a couple of other big-name brands. The inclusion of exotic supercars in these ads is always hilarious, especially when the part is for a beater Honda.

8. Purolator Fuel Filter

Despite bearing a well-known brand name and collecting a near-as-makes-no-difference perfect 5 out of 5-star rating, this is the cheapest filter on this list. That might be due to its slightly different construction (fits older Hondas than some of the other filters listed today) but equally cheap options exist for other models that have under-car instead of under-hood fuel filters.

Praise ranges from "no reason not to buy this" to "fit well and price was reasonable". The ease of installation was also mentioned by several DIYers. Yes, there are only ten reviews, which is an exceptionally small number.

Pros

  • Fawning praise by real-world buyers

Cons

  • Make sure to check the shipping cost

Bottom Line

  • Seems to be a good deal

Despite bearing a well-known brand name and collecting a near-as-makes-no-difference perfect 5 out of 5-star rating, this is the cheapest filter on this list. That might be due to its slightly different construction (fits older Hondas than some of the other filters listed today) but equally cheap options exist for other models that have under-car instead of under-hood fuel filters.

Praise ranges from "no reason not to buy this" to "fit well and price was reasonable". The ease of installation was also mentioned by several DIYers. Yes, there are only ten reviews, which is an exceptionally small number.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our [s]‘90s sedan shopping habits[/s] operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Rental Reviews, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Main Photo Credit: Doug McLean/Shutterstock.com. Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Comments
Join the conversation
 2 comments
  • Detlump Detlump on Oct 02, 2020

    With that pic I was expecting general in-line fuel filters. I see these cheap plastic fuel filters on a lot of classic cars. Cars that are clearly worth well over $50K or more, and there's that stupid filter. At many swap meets (in olden times) there are guys selling them by the milk crate - an even riskier purchase in my mind. Maybe for your lawnmower but not something like a classic car. I don't trust them versus a traditional metal fuel filter. Why risk an engine fire over a few bucks for a better filter?

    • See 1 previous
    • Jthorner Jthorner on Oct 04, 2020

      I've used plastic fuel filters a number of times not because of cost, but because it is very helpful to be able to see what is going on inside the filter without cutting it open. Obviously not something to use in a high-heat location, but they have their uses. I have one on my TO35 tractor right now because I can glance at it to monitor fuel flow. This old tractor doesn't have a fuel gauge, and being able to have a glance lets me know when the tank is getting low but before it is dry. That has saved me from having to walk from the orchard back to the house for a fuel can :).

  • Notapreppie Notapreppie on Oct 02, 2020

    We get it: you need revenue. But you don't have to lie and put 1% effort into making it look like a review. It's just insulting.

    • See 1 previous
    • Jthorner Jthorner on Oct 04, 2020

      A "review" which is nothing other than a summary of existing Amazon reviews????? Yep, desperate.

Next