You can drain oil into any container lying around in your garage. But you are setting yourself up for messes. We are talking about spills that could ruin your garage floor and driveway. Not to mention, disposing oil from a non-specialized container always spells trouble.
The best oil drain pan is designed for the job. If you change oil at home, you may not need the same capacity container as a mechanic who deals with a dozen oil changes every day. The same applies to those who combine car and heavy machinery oil changes.
It’s all down to your needs.
- Features to Consider in Good Oil Drain Pans
- Top 10 Best Oil Drain Pans 2020
- 1. Best for Home Use: Hopkins 42003MI Flo Tool Super Duty Drain Container
- 2. Hopkins 11838 Flo Tool Oil Drain Container
- 3. Best Rated Oil Drain Pan: ATD Tools 5184 Black Drain Pan
- 4. Best Cheap Option: Lisle 17942 4.5-Gallon, Black Oil Drain Pan
- 5. Best Oil Drain Pan with Lid: LUMAX LX-1632 Drainmaster Drain Pan and Oil Storage
- 6. Capri Tools CP21023 Drain Pan for Motor Oil and Antifreeze
- 7. Best for Low-Profile Cars: GarageBOSS GB016 Tear Away Clean Drain Pan
- 8. Best Cheap Large-Capacity Oil Drain Pan: ATD Tools 5183 Heavy-Duty Drain Tub
- 9. Best for Commercial Use: Hopkins 42008MI Flo Tool Super Duty Drain Container
- 10. GoPlus Portable Oil Drain Pan with Pump
- Guide to Buying the Best Oil Drain Pans
Features to Consider in Good Oil Drain Pans
Most people don’t give much thought to the size of a drain pan. But you don’t want to find that it does not fit under your car on a lazy Sunday morning. Drain pans come in different sizes. Some are taller and bulkier than others. If your car is a low-rider, then size is a feature you want to look at.
While drain pans can have a low profile, they don’t have to be small, capacity wise. You’ll want to choose a model that allows you to drain oil two or three times before heading to the recycling center.
Capacity is more important for those dealing with cars that have different oil volumes. Take for example you are working in a professional garage setting. A 16-quart oil drain pan won’t be as effective as a 58-quart model.
Some drain pans use the open catch method while others use the top draining method. The open catch comes with drain pans designed like a bowl. They allow the oil to drain without a chance that it may splash if you don’t direct the waste oil into the drain hole.
Top drain pans, on the other hand, normally have a sealed top with a drain hole. Oil drains onto the top before it is directed to the drain hole and into the container. While this method may cause some splashes, you can place the pan such that the oil drains into the hole first.
Ease of Disposing
Emptying the oil drain pan should come easy. But not all containers make it so. A clearly defined spout is a nice feature compared to those that have a large lip. Also, if your plan is using the top drain method, it will probably have an air vent. You will want to have the air vent open when draining the oil. This way, the oil will not accumulate at the rim making it hard to drain.
Being able to carry the oil without spilling all around your car is super important. If you plan to store oil in the drain pan, you will need one that locks securely. Some units have screw-on lids. And some allow you to pour the oil into a bucket that you screw down. Either way, the result should be to prevent spills when the oil is in the garage and during transit.
The average car engine holds five to eight quarts of oil. When it’s time to carry the drain pan, it means dealing with as much as 100 pounds. Handles make it easy to haul the heavy container.
Oil drain pans are not that expensive. You are likely to find cheaply made models. To avoid disappointments, ensure that the oil drain pan you choose can hold up for a long time. Look for high-grade materials. This way, you don’t end up replacing it because of a broken spout after only a few uses.
Ease of Cleaning
It’s obvious that we transport oil drain pans in our trunks. That is where we also keep other items such as mats, carpets, etc. It’s good to have an oil drain pan that is easy to clean. This way, you won’t be leaving oil marks all over your trunk and on everything the pan touches.
This feature is not a must-have. But if your drain pan has a mesh screen, it is such a convenient addition. The screen will save you when you accidentally drop a drain plug or filter. The screen catches it so you don’t end up rummaging in the oil.
Oil drain pans range in price from as low as $5 to above $50. A low-price tag represents a basic pan that has no extra features. The higher the price, the more professional an oil drain pan. DIYers can make do with a cheap drain pan. But professionals need to invest a considerable amount to get a high-quality, long-lasting, oil drain pan.
Top 10 Best Oil Drain Pans 2020
Wide Catching Area
The Hopkins 42003MI Flo Tool comes in an extended design. It eliminates messes by ensuring it captures the full stream as it exits the oil pan. The top drain basin is deep which ensures that oil does not splash. You don’t need to direct the oil into the drain hole since it will get there by itself.
The 16-quart capacity is enough to do more than one oil change on the average car. That’s why this pan is a nice pick for at-home oil changes. It eliminates the constant worry about disposing of the oil after each oil change.
We like that it doubles as a storage container. With the top-drain design, the used oil can store safely in the container. The heavy-duty caps and seals ensure that oil does not leak during storage or in transit. What’s more, you get ergonomic handles for easy transport.
Thoughtful Storage Design
Ever felt like you want to carry the used oil in a jerry can? With Hopkins 42003MI Flo Tool, it’s possible to store and carry the container upright. It makes it easy to move the container and more so when squeezing it between the stuff in your trunk.
Hopkins 42003MI Flo Tool is a top-performing oil drain pan. It not only makes oil changes effortless but also elegant. It prevents oil spills and leaks thanks to its leakproof design. Its capacity is large enough for multiple oil changes. Hence adding to its convenience.
- Wide drip tray for catching the full stream of oil
- Heavy-duty caps and seals prevent leaks
- Comes with comfortable carry handles
- Stores upright or flat
- The 16-quart capacity allows multiple oil changes
- Oil can splash when used with vehicles with a high profile
Compact, No-Spill Design
Weighing at only 1,1 pounds, the Hopkins 11838 Flo Tool Drain Container is compact. It has a 3,75-gallon capacity so it won’t too much of a hassle to carry. Speaking of carriage, this model features a built-in handle. It ensures you have a firm grip at all times.
With the help of the top drain function, this pan rarely spills oil when draining it from the container. While the large basin design ensures you will rarely experience oil splashes. This oil pan also features a distinct No-Spill-Oil-Spout. It curves to the exterior which allows the oil to exit smoothly.
Easy to Drain
Hopkins 11838 Flo Tool includes a vent plug. It is an important feature when draining the oil. Once you open the vent plug, air does not impede the oil’s exit. You’ll also find the molded grooves handy when draining oil filters.
Hopkins 11838 Flo Tool is both a drain pan and a storage container. From the wide catchment area to the no-spill spout, the pan ensures you have it easy. Everything about it spells premium-quality as it also made of durable materials. You can expect long-term service from this model.
- It can hold multiple oil changes
- Spout allows easy control when draining oil
- Includes a vent plug and molded grooves
- Basin has a large diameter to catch all the oil
- It cannot be stored upright because of the spout design
Forget about top drain pans if changing oil is hard enough for you. With the ATD Tools 5184, it becomes an effortless task of placing the pan under your car’s drain plug and forgetting about it. This pan is 15,25 inches wide and 6 inches deep. It is perhaps the easiest to use.
Another feature that contributes to no splashing is the spout. It is large enough to provide a smooth exit of the oil. Yet it is small enough that oil will not spill over when pouring into a jug or any other storage container.
Handles are important in any oil drain pan. And in this case, you are looking at a molded handle. With its 4,5-gallon capacity, a little help goes a long way when hauling your catch. Since the handle is molded and placed on the side, it gives you a firm grip when moving the used oil.
Made to Last
ATD is keen to give you durable service from their products. With this pan, you’ll enjoy using this model for a decent time. It has a construction from high-grade polyethylene. The material is not only rugged, but it can also resist chemicals.
It’s easy to see why most people prefer the ATD Tools 5184 oil drain pan. It has a large diameter coupled with a deep-basin design. These features make it very efficient to prevent splashes. And, the pan has molded grooves along with a spout to make the emptying process more comfortable.
- Large and deep to prevent splashes
- Right-sized spout eases the emptying process
- Comes with a molded handle
- Large capacity basin holds a considerable amount of used oil
- It is easy to knock over and spill oil since it does not have a lid
Lisle 17942 comes in a simple design. Like the ATD Tools 5184, the pan features a wide diameter opening. No need for accuracy when draining oil. It means that DIYers and beginners will find it effortless as compared to models with a top-drain design.
With the anti-splash lip, you can count on this pan to contain the oil during transport. Coupled with the baffles, they prevent the oil from sloshing around when maneuvering the container.
Convenient Carriage and Emptying
The handles are a nice addition to avoid spills during transport. You’ll, however, want to transport oil when the pan is not overly full since it does not have a lid. Other than that, pouring out the oil should be no problem. The built-in spout is quite large. That said, the spout may not fit in a jug’s opening. It’s better to use a funnel instead of making a mess.
Lisle 17942 is a simple product that gives you full bang for money spent. It achieves ease of use and convenience on a budget. The only thing you won’t enjoy is a lid so be careful not to fill the pan to the brim.
- It comes with an anti-splash lip
- Handles are large for an easy grip
- It can allow multiple oil changes
- Baffles prevent sloshing of oil
- It does not have fluid level marks
- The spout does not have a plug to prevent drips after emptying
Wide Opening with Plastic Grate
LUMAX LX-1632 Drainmaster is all about convenience. It is by no means high-end, but its features are exclusive to this brand. First, this drain pan features an 8-inch opening. It gives you a straightforward way of catching oil, since you won’t miss directing oil into it.
Not only that, the pan has a plastic grate. It is such a lifesaver since you won’t be fishing out a dropped plug or filter from dirty oil. It is a convenience anyone will appreciate.
Secure, Easy Carriage
LUMAX is all in to give you an easy time. When you are ready to haul the 15-quart monster, two handles and wheels are there to ease mobility. The handles and wheels have an E-Z design that makes them super comfortable.
Even better, this pan has a screw-on lid with an O-ring seal. It is that addition we all want in an oil drain pan. The lid prevents any oil from getting to the surface. The pan is complemented by a cap on the drain spout. It saves you from the age-old headache of having to wipe off drips after you empty the dirt oil.
LUMAX LX-1632 Drainmaster is a unique oil drain pan. It covers the basics and even includes some unique features. Its quality is dependable. Every feature shows how reliable it can be. Especially for mechanics who yearn a mess-free oil change every day.
- Screw-on lid with O-ring seal
- E-Z handles and wheels ease mobility
- It has a plastic grate to catch filters and plugs
- The opening is 8 inches wide
- It has a heavy-duty plastic construction
- It is not designed to transport the used oil
Cleaner Oil Changes
The large opening on Capri Tools CP21023 is a sure tell-tale to how clean, oil draining will be. It catches every drop without splashing or missing the mark. At 23 inches wide and 6 inches deep, it is extremely simple to catch oil. We like that it has an anti-splash lip that helps contain the oil when pouring it.
With its 1-inch in diameter spout, emptying oil goes with incidence. You get to work with molded grooves that help keep the liquid from sloshing.
Easy to Carry and Clean
Capri Tools CP21023 has a molded handle. It feels comfortable especially when pouring 4,5 gallons of liquid. Perhaps the best thing is that it is of high-density polyethylene material. It is tough and resistant to solvents and chemicals.
As such cleaning oil and antifreeze is effortless. You will find that because it has a bowl design, you can stack it with other tools in your garage. The pan comes in a space-saving design which we all need in garage essentials.
Capri Tools CP21023 allows proper disposal of motor oil and antifreeze. It has a large opening so that fluid drains directly into it. The pan maintains a clean oil draining experience by reducing spills. It is simple to pour out fluids and store after use. All these features are not without a hefty price tag. It is one of the premium ones.
- Large opening to drain fluids without splashing
- Comes with an anti-splash lid to contain fluids when pouring
- Built from long-lasting polyethylene material
- Easy to carry using a molded handle
- Impressive capacity of 4,5 gallons
- The spout is too wide to fit into the opening of a milk jug
Tear Away Clean Design
If you never want to clean you oil pan after pouring, GarageBOSS GB016 is the model for you. This pan uses a tear-away sheet to catch the oil. After you drain the oil, you can choose to peel it away and use a new sheet in its place. Or, you can wash the sheet and reuse it.
It gives you a choice which is unlike any other drain pan on our list.
Large Tray, Large Capacity
You will notice that this pan has a shallow drain tray. But it is wide so that oil will not miss its landing. And if you are not feeling the large tray, you can also use a funnel to direct the oil directly into the pan. It has an impressive 16-quart capacity. Since the pan is sealed, you can store the oil until you are ready to take it to the recycling center.
GarageBOSS GB016 sits at only 3,5 inches high. It can fit under any vehicle especially the low-riding ones. It has a rectangular design and a built-handle. The handle not only helps during transport. But is important when pulling the pan from under your vehicle.
GarageBOSS GB016 eliminates messes during oil changes. Its tear-away clean design helps a lot. You don’t have to wipe away excess oil. Coupled with its shallow frame and molded handle using this pan is as easy as it gets.
- Tear away sheet eliminates messy cleanups
- Large drain surface prevents splashes
- Low-profile to get under low vehicles
- It offers a funnel-drain option
- Sealed top helps to store oil without the risk of spills
- Tear away sheets have to be bought separately
Drain Fluids from a Variety of Sources
From oil pans to radiators, and transmissions, ATD Tools 5183 is a versatile tool for the job. It has an upper apron that catches fluid before it collects in the reservoir. This stage prevents oil splashes thus making it easy to catch every drop.
It is a straightforward pan that makes it easy to pour out fluids using the lid at the end. The pan is 8 inches deep such that you can work on trucks that have a high profile.
We would have appreciated a handle on this pan. It can be challenging to pull the container from under a vehicle with help from the curved edges only.
Large Apron and Volume
ATD Tools 5183 features a wide apron which helps to sort and clean draining parts. We are talking radiator caps, drain cocks, and plugs that tend to drop when draining fluids. Since their first stop will be the apron, you don’t end up fetching them out of the bottom of dirty fluids.
With a 30-quart capacity, this pan easily qualifies for professional use. Since most systems can carry as much as 18 quarts of coolant, you will appreciate the size of this pan. It allows using the pan at least twice before emptying.
ATD Tools 5183 oil drain pan is a high-capacity container for all-around use. It covers most aspects of maintenance. Mechanics prefer this kind of drain pan. It eliminates the need for multiple containers when handling many tasks on one vehicle.
- Good capacity for lots of fluid collection
- The apron is handy for collecting draining parts
- Deep and wide to contain splashes
- Lip makes it easy to pour out fluids
- The high profile makes it easy to drain oil from trucks
- It does not have any handle to help move the pan when full
At 58 quarts capacity, any mechanic will want to have their hands on the Hopkins 42008MI Flo Tool. It takes care of multiple oil changes without the need to empty it. Its low-profile design makes it easy to access under any car.
When full, this container can easily weigh over 100 pounds. But no worries about transporting it. Hopkins has included a set of smooth-rolling wheels to help you. It glides smoothly on all types of surfaces. Again, the top is sealed to prevent any oil from sloshing and creating a mess.
Hopkins 42008MI Flo Tool follows the top-drain method. It has an elongated basin that helps direct oil into the opening. We find the opening small for its size, but it performs great most of the time. The screw-on cap helps to contain the oil after you are done draining.
Like its other counterparts, Hopkins 42008MI Flo Tool has leak-proof seals and caps. The spout has its heavy-duty cap such that you can store the pan upright or flat without leaks. When it comes to pouring out, you’ll get help from the air vent which keeps the oil moving.
Hopkins 42008MI Flo Tool is a superior model for commercial use. It does not leave anything out considering it is mega-sized. The container includes four handles, wheels, a plug, and cap to make sure every drop gets to the disposing shop.
- Holds up to 14 gallons of oil
- Mess-free top-drain method
- Low-profile to get underneath any car
- Heavy-duty plastic construction improves the longevity of the container
- Comes with wheels and handles for simple mobility
- The spout is small which can be troublesome when emptying without a funnel
Large Volume in a Low-Profile
GoPlus presents us with their large capacity drain pan for commercial applications. It can hold up to 17 gallons of oil standing at only 7,5 inches high. It is suitable for most vehicles. With the help of the T-handle and 4-inch casters, this pan can roll smoothly in an out of vehicles. The handle folds which makes storage convenient too.
You’ll like how practical it is to empty the oil thanks to its 8ft hose. The hose is attached to a hand-crank pump that works efficiently.
Wide Basin with Mesh Grate
It’s pleasing that oil will not splash as it drains into the container. But what’s even more pleasing is that there’s a mesh grate. Imagine fetching a filter out of 17 gallons of used oil. That’s not going to happen with this drain pan.
GoPlus Portable Oil Drain Pan has a tank made from high-impact polypropylene. We like everything about this material. First, it is lightweight, but not soft. A wide range of chemicals do not react readily with it. The tank retains its shape as it can resist bending and torsion. These features are super important considering the garage environment.
GoPlus Portable Oil Drain Pan is for those looking for straightforward multiple oil changes. It eliminates fatigue since not much effort is needed on your side. The wheels and the T-handle all bring convenience to the workplace.
- Made from impact-resistant material
- The hand-crank pump works as designed
- Collects as much as 17 gallons of oil
- Smooth casters roll with no resistance
- Mesh grate catches filters and plugs
- Wheels could be larger to handle rough floors
Guide to Buying the Best Oil Drain Pans
Why Use an Oil Drain Pan?
An oil drain pan is a simple tool that is easy to assume we don’t need. Well, until you need it. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t use an oil container. But here are the benefits of using one.
Easy to Use
Changing oil is not glamorous. As you’ll soon find out, anything can go wrong. But the oil drain pan makes the job easier. You don’t have to buy any more equipment. All you need is having the right size pan and placing it under your car’s oil pan.
Since the average car holds 5-8 quarts of oil, having to clean up such a mess can be daunting. Oil drain pans hold all that liquid. And since they are designed to prevent spills, you are less likely to end up with a mess when using an oil drain pan.
The worst part of knocking over your bucket of oil is having to clean the oil spill. You end up buying cleaning products like microbial cleaners, detergents, and degreasers. And after all your hard work, your driveway may never look the same. Why risk it all when you could have it easy with an inexpensive tool that can save you tons?
Why Dispose of Used Engine Oil Properly
If you change your oil at home, you have to deal with the used fluid. Used engine oil is considered toxic waste. You should never dump the oil in the dustbin or pour it in the drainage. The oil from one oil change can contaminate as much as a million gallons of water. Not only that, it can render soil unproductive.
Used motor oil should be stored in a leakproof container. If you are yet to find a recycling center, it’s important that you store it correctly. The used motor oil should b in a cool dry place. It should also be away from sunlight, pets, and children.
Remember that used motor oil can be recycled when mixed with brake fluid and other liquids. All you have to do is look for a collection center near you. It can be as easy as using earth911.com and use the where to recycle section. Enter your ZIP code and you’ll find motor oil collection centers in your area.
Causes of Engine Oil Leaks
The first thing that alerts you to an oil leak is an oil puddle under your car. It may be the sight of blue smoke exiting your tailpipe, or the smell of burnt oil when your car is running. All these indications mean the same thing. You are dealing with an oil leak.
Don’t leave the oil leak unchecked. Because what’s the worst that could happen?
If you ignore an oil leak, you are leaving your car to operate at low oil levels. Not only that. The leak can get into seals and rubbers hoses which causes them to degrade prematurely. At worst, oil leaks can cause catastrophic engine failure.
Here are some of the major causes of engine oil leaks
Worn Out Oil Filter
When an oil filter wears out, it tends to become loose or get misaligned. This is because it clogs up. The filter should be changed every time you perform an oil change. It should always be checked for proper fitting.
Damaged Engine Gasket
The engine gasket is one of the most common causes of an oil leak. It is any seal that joins two metals parts of an engine. This can be between the engine block and the head. In old vehicles or those that have long mileage, the engine gasket tends to degrade faster. It cannot complete a seal. This causes the oil leak.
If a gasket degrades prematurely, it is likely because your oil has not been changed for some time. It’s important that you change your oil every three months to prolong the life of your engine gasket.
The filler cap covers the engine oil compartment. When it is loose, broken, or missing, it allows the oil to leak out when the engine is turned off.
Damaged Oil Pan
The pan seal is prone to damage, especially in low profile cars. Being close to the ground, it can get scrapes from debris and bumps. Such damage on the pan seal will, therefore, cause leaks.
Damaged Drain Plug
The drain plug sits at the base of the oil pan. When there is an oil leak you will notice fresh oil covering the plug. This is caused by a loose drain plug, worn or misaligned threads.
How to Prevent Oil Leaks
Routine oil changes and regular maintenance are essential in preventing oil leaks. Always ensure that maintenance is done properly, preferably by a professional. Ask your auto shop mechanic to list all the critical areas that can be linked to oil leaks. This way, you can catch the problems before they become a nightmare.
An oil drain pump helps avoid the frustrations that come from messy oil changes. They are easy to use and inexpensive. With the right drain pan, every oil change is a breeze. Remember that changing oil is part of proper vehicle maintenance. It’s only right that you get the right tool for the job.