Band – This type has a firm metal band that is attached at both ends to a handle. The looped band is placed around the filter and the handle is turned counter-clockwise, which puts tension on the band, causing it to grip the filter.

This oil filter wrench is basically a metal band with a pivoting adjustment hinge and a handle. One type of band wrench also has an additional hinge for the handle. This type is preffered since it allows for better positioning in tigh spaces.

There is even a four-in-one band oil filter wrench that has a single swivel handle assembly and four interchangeable bands that can be swapped out to accommodate filter sizes from 2-3/8 to 4-3/8″.

Socket (End Cap) – Another common type of wrench utilizes a metal or plastic socket-shaped cup. The cup is placed on the end of the filter, which engages the knurling. A socket type oil filter tool is used with a socket wrench and ratchet just like a regular socket. The socket type has a tendency to get stuck on the filter and usually takes a whack to loosen it. Use the socket type tool if you don’t have enough clearance around the oil filter to use a band, strap, chain or pliers type.

Strap – A strap oil filter wrench has a nylon belt that is attached to a metal bar. A 1/2″ square drive tool is used to turn the bar which tightens the strap as you turn. The strap wrench offers the largest range of filter diameters of up to 6’’ (152mm).

Chain – The chain wrench is similar to the strap wrench but uses a chain instead of a nylon strap. The loop of chain is placed around the filter, and a hexagonal bar is turned counter-clockwise by hand until the chain is snug around the filter. A socket wrench is then used to turn the bar and tighten the chain, which bites into the metal filter housing preventing slippage. This wrench also has a large range of filter sizes.

Pliers – Pliers have long dual handles which allow for better leverage to remove extra-tight filters. Most pliers are made from forged steel for extra strength and have handles which are plastisol-coated for a firm grip. They come in regular (non-adjustable jaws) and adjustable jaws.

  • Regular Oil Filter Wrench Pliers provides leverage for difficult filters. They come in different sizes including a 3-5/8″ jaw which handles a range of filters between 2-15/16 to 3-5/8″ (75 to 92mm) and a 3-1/8 jaw which is good for 2-3/4 to 3-1/8″ (70 to 79mm) diameter filters. Another size works with filters from 3-1/8 through 3-5/8″. Large filter pliers remove oil filters from 4-1/2 through 5-3/4″.
  • Adjustable Oil Filter Wrench Pliers cover a complete range of filter removal from 2″ to 5″ (50mm to 125mm) in diameter. A ratchet and lock mechanism allow for multiple settings for sure fit, eliminating slippage. They have serrated jaws to hold the filter better.

Spider (Claw, Jaw) – Finally, there is a class of adjustable gear-driven wrench that has three geared metal prongs, dual jaw plates, two clamping legs or a similar configuration that is used with a 3/8″ ratchet driver. As the driver is turned counter-clockwise the prongs, jaws or legs clench the filter body greater.

Filter diameters from 2-1/2 to 3-3/4″ are usually accommodated in two wrench sizes. This type is very effective on tight filters and can be used in more confined spaces like a socket type with the added feature of fitting different filter sizes.