We imagine many of FlatSixes.com’s readers love working on their cars. If you’re one of those enthusiasts, chances are you do oil changes yourself. It’s one of the easier maintenance items you can perform, and while it may not save you time, it can save you money. Besides, sometimes it’s nice to know that the oil change was done properly, with the exact oil and oil filter you want. But to properly do an oil change, you’ll want a quality oil drain pan.
Sure, you could use just about anything to catch all that oil, assuming it’s not hot, but you always want the right tool for the job. Oil drain pans are designed to hold large amounts of oil and good pans are equipped with an easy way to drain it all out. Although this doesn’t apply to most car owners doing their own oil changes who can wait for their engines to cool down, oil drain pans can deal with the high temperatures of engine oil if you’re in a hurry. In some areas, you may have regulations for the transport of waste oil, which likely means an oil-resistant container with a tight sealing lid.
Besides, oil drain pans are relatively affordable and it’s not something you’ll need to replace after a few uses. Shopping for one is relatively straightforward, since there aren’t a ton of features to look out for. Below, you’ll find our recommendations for the best oil drain pans based on our research, user reviews, and discussions on automotive forums.
1. Top pick: Lumax Drainmaster drain pan
Although there aren’t a lot of features to look for when it comes to oil drain pans, there are a few that we find to be a necessity if you’re planning to transport the waste oil somewhere else for disposal. Even if you aren’t, the Lumax Drainmaster is still our top pick. It has a 15-quart capacity and a large 8″ opening with a screw cap. It’s designed so that once you’re done draining your oil from the vehicle, there’s no mess to clean up and you can simply screw on the cap. When you get to your disposal site, simply open up the drain and pour.
The top of the oil drain pan also comes equipped with a large catch-all basket, so you don’t have to go looking for your drain plug or filter if it accidentally fell during the oil changing process. There are even wheels at the bottom for easy mobility.
Owners of this oil drain pan praise its quality construction and well-rounded set of features. Some owners did have complaints about leaks, even when the cap is screwed on tightly.
2. Runner-up: NEIKO oil drain pan
If you don’t need a lid for your oil drain pan, we recommend this one from NEIKO. It can hold up to 8 quarts and features an anti-splash, curled lip edge to help ensure all your oil stays within the pan when you’re moving it around. It’s a deep pan, measuring 5″ by 12.55″ and we particularly like the spout at the end that makes it easy to drain the pan.
It’s constructed from high quality, recyclable polythene plastic that is resistant to corrosion. Flanking the sides of the spout are handles, which you can use to hang the oil drain pan from when it’s not being used.
While it may seem that this is a fairly standard, run-of-the-mill oil drain pan, it is thoughtfully designed to prevent a mess from happening during your oil change and when you’re pouring it out for disposal.
3. Premium pick: Goplus portable oil drain pan with pump
Most car owners doing oil changes at their homes don’t necessarily need this type of oil drain pan. But if you’re working on more than one car and want something that’s really convenient, check out this product from Goplus. It can hold up to 68 quarts of oil and comes with a manual rotary pump for emptying the container.
Equipped with 4″ casters, this oil drain pan is easy to move around with its adjustable handle. It’s an ideal choice for lower vehicles like the Porsche 911 and with its high capacity, great for multiple cars. The tank itself is constructed from polypropylene. Although it’s easy to maneuver around with its casters, the entire assembly weighs about 41 pounds dry, so it’s something to consider if you don’t have an easy way to dispose of all that oil.
Owners mainly complain about the rotary pump, saying it can be difficult to use.
4. Best on a budget: Custom Accessories oil drain pan
Those who are experienced with oil changes and want a basic oil drain pan should consider this option from Custom Accessories. It’s one of the most affordable oil drain pans we ran across, that still comes from a reputable company. This pan holds up to 6 quarts, but it’ll get a little difficult to move around if your motor holds around 5 quarts.
The spout for pouring out the oil is a little narrow, according to users, so you may want to use a funnel. As you can tell, it’s a budget oil drain pan, but it’ll do the job if you don’t need anything fancy and know your way around oil changes.
5. Also consider: ARES square drain pan
Our final recommendation is a bit different than a traditional round oil drain pan. This product from ARES is a square drain pan equipped with a removable mesh shelf in the corner that comes in handy for your tools and old oil filter. It has about a 10.5-quart capacity and there’s a pouring spout in the corner for disposal.
This lightweight drain pan is constructed from polypropylene, like many other oil drain pans. Some users did note that the shelf isn’t too sturdy, so you may want to avoid putting a lot of weight onto it. ARES is fairly well-known for its tools however, and has a good reputation within the automotive community with good customer service and support.
6. Bonus: Drymate Oil Spill Mat
One of the main reasons to get a quality oil drain pan is to prevent a giant mess from occurring when you’re doing your oil change. But accidents do happen, which is why we also recommend purchasing a mat like this one from Drymate. Its absorbent material will contain any accidental leaks or spills and the waterproof backing makes it resistant to sliding around.
Made in the U.S. from recycled polyester fiber, it’s an eco-friendly option and if you do manage to get some oil on it, you simply scrub it with soap and hose it off. It comes in a variety of sizes and is a great way to protect your garage floor or driveway when doing oil changes at home.
What size oil drain pan do I need?
If you’ve gone through our list of recommendations, you can tell that oil drain pans can vary in terms of capacity. At the very least, you’ll want to purchase an oil drain pan that can accommodate more than the amount of oil your motor requires. That leaves you with some room to easily move the drain pan around once it’s filled. Consider getting a larger capacity drain pan if you’re going to do multiple oil changes at once, or won’t be able to dispose of the used oil right away. Check your owner’s manual to see how many quarts of oil your motor needs before checking out with a drain pan.
Why do I need an oil drain pan?
As we mentioned earlier, an oil drain pan is a safe way to collect and store your used motor oil. They are typically designed to prevent spills and gives you an easy way to dispose of your oil into a proper collection container.
Where can I take my old oil so it can be properly disposed?
Most local auto parts stores will take your used motor oil so it can be properly disposed. Before you head there however, it’s recommended to pour your used motor oil into a separate container, like the now-empty bottles you have from your new oil. This way, you can drop it all off and leave, instead of having to wait to get your oil drain pan back. If your local auto parts store doesn’t accept used oil, check online for any hazardous waste disposal or oil recycling facility.