12-050-01 vs. 52-050-02: Which oil filter is the perfect choice for your Lawnmower?

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Oil filters found on smaller machines like Lawnmowers greatly improve the overall performance of the engine.

An oil filter filtrates harmful chemicals and contaminants before transferring the oil to different critical parts of the engine for lubrication.

Since there were no oil filters in earlier machines, they were pretty much prone to vulnerabilities. But modern machines are much more efficient and powerful with these smaller oil filters.

When it comes to choosing a perfect fit oil filter for a Kohler Lawnmower, the numbering system of their oil filters can arise confusion.

Kohler 12-050-01 and 52-050-02 are two such oil filters.

Although the primary difference between 12-050-01 and 52-050-02 is the length and filtration capacity, there are many other things worth pondering.

Let’s breakdown each of the two types of oil filters to remove all your confusion-

12-050-01 vs. 52-050-02

12-050-01 vs 52-050-02











3-1/8 inches

2-5/8 inches




Oil capacity

Contains more oil

Contains less oil

Filtering life

Longer filtering life

Optimum filtering life

Filter number



Dirt holding capacity







Specific fit

Universal fit


More durable



Easier installation

Easier installation

The primary difference between 12-050-01 and 52-050-02 is the length

An oil filter does nothing but filtrate the oil that you pour inside the engine compartment of your machine.

Depending on the size of your Lawnmower, you may want to have a larger or smaller oil filter to be installed.

52-050-02 Kohler oil filter tends to be a little longer compared to 12-050-01.

If you are using a larger mower that consumes more oil, 52-050-02 should bring a wholesome experience.

On the other hand, 12-050-01 will be a perfect choice for most entry-level mowers.

52-050-02 has a yellow finishing, whereas the 12-050-01 has black

Another ideal characteristic that will help you to differentiate one product from the other is the color finishing.

52-050-02, the larger one from Kohler, comes with a yellowish paint finishing. 12-050-01, on the other hand, has a black finishing.

Therefore, if you ever feel confused with all these complicated numbers, remember that the yellowish oil filter indicates the larger size, whereas the black oil filter from Kohler indicates the smaller size.

52-050-02 oil filter contains more oil than the 12-050-01 oil filter

Because of its better length, 52-050-02 is better capable of holding more oil than its other counterpart 12-050-01. Therefore, the yellow one from Kohler will be a better choice when you have a bigger engine.

On the other hand, 12-050-01 will hold a little less oil compared to 52-050-02.

Therefore, Choose 12-050-01 when you have a small-sized mower from Kohler.

Presumably, the 52-050-02 oil filter will ensure a longer filtering life

The discussion mentioned here is only my preference rather than the manufacturer's specification. Therefore, you always have the authenticity to showcase your own opinion regardless of whether you believe my opinion or not.

But after talking with a large number of users, it is arguably mentionable that the yellow oil filter from Kohler does provide a little longer filtering life.

Even the manufacturer as well remarks that 52-050-02 is a premium filter that delivers a little bit more leverage than the other one.

As a result, if you are looking for an alternative to the black one, you may consider this one as a great choice.

The presence of plastic does not make these oil filters inferior

One of the prevailing fusses you will notice regarding Kohler oil filters is that some of the internal properties of the filter are made of plastic.

It is indeed true, but such construction never makes these filters inferior to the others.

In reality, plastic is less susceptible to gathering rust and corrosion. Therefore, getting longer filtering life becomes easier and more relevant.

52-050-02 oil filter is more expensive than 12-050-01

Due to its longer size and higher efficiency rate, Kohler 52-050-02 oil filter is a  bit more expensive than the 12-050-01 oil filter.

Unless you require frequent replacement of your machine’s oil filter, Oil filters are never an expensive investment.

The price of a single unit of Kohler 12-050-01 and 52-050-02 oil filters are $8 and $10 respectively.

That means we are seeing not a major difference between the price ranges of these two oil filters.

At max, you will notice $2 to $3 differences between these two oil filters.

12-050-01 is a universal-fit oil filter, whereas 52-050-02 comes for specific models

Compatibility is a major issue when it comes to installing the oil filter to a specific machine. 

The Kohler 52-050-02 oil filter comes for specific models. Therefore, ensure that you are choosing the right oil filter for your specific machine. Otherwise, compatibility can be an issue. 

The Kohler 12-050-01 is a universal oil filter that should comply with most Kohler Lawnmowers.

If you have a plan to purchase the filter for some other machines, ensure that the filter matches the oil filter compartment.

Longer size allows 52-050-02 oil filter to hold more dirt than 12-050-01 oil filter

Another plus point of choosing the 52-050-02 oil filter over 12-050-01 is that the former can hold more dirt than the latter one.

As a result, the 52-050-02 will bring more efficiency than the 12-050-01  oil filter.

The capacity to hold dirt defines the filtration quality. Oil filters that can hold more dirt are actually capable of delivering better filtration experiences.

52-050-02 remains ahead in terms of durability as well

By durability, we are defining the longevity of the products. 

As 52-050-02 lasts longer than 12-050-01, we are defining it as more durable.

One will have to replace the yellow oil filter less frequently than the black one.  

The installation process is almost similar for both 52-050-02 and 12-050-01

No matter whether you choose the 52-050-02 or the 12-050-01 oil filter for your preferred application, the installation process is quite similar for both items. 

The 52-050-02 may take a little longer time depending on the mower that you have.

But both items will get an equivalent mark when it comes to installing the filters. 

Pros and cons of 52-050-02


52-050-02 offers better filtration and durability

Having one single filter requires less cleaning

52-050-02 also brings value for the money


52-050-02 comes for specific models.

52-050-02 is a bit more expensive 

Pros and Cons of 12-050-01


12-050-01 is a universal oil filter

Smaller machines will do great with this filter

12-050-01 is cost-efficient


12-050-01 is smaller in size

Frequent oil filter replacement will be necessary with the 12-050-01 oil filter 

Which one should be your pick?

The important distinction here to make is the item that would fit your preferred requirement. While choosing an oil filter between these two, consider these two factors-

  1. The compatibility of the filters
  2. The size and oil requirement of your machine

Compatibility of the filter

The first notable factor worth considering while choosing an oil filter for your Kohler engine is whether the filter will fit the machine or not. Kohler does specify the type and size of oil filter a user should use according to the engine size and power. Therefore, double-check whether you should go with the black one or the yellow one to get better convenience. Even if your machine comes with a stock black oil filter, it is still possible installing the premium yellow one without dampening the performance even a little.

The size and oil requirement of your machine

The next important factor to consider while choosing between these two oil filters is the size and oil requirement of your machine.

If you have a mower that consumes more oil and requires change frequently, the 52-050-02 (yellow) oil filter should bring the most convenient experience.

On the other hand, if your Kohler engine is average and does the thing without showing any signs of turbulence, you can always get away with the 12-050-01 (black) oil filter as well.

Final summary

The filter installed inside of an oil filter protects the engine of the modern machines by giving less exposure to harmful chemicals. Kohler does bring some quality oil filters for the Kohler engines. If your lawnmower or other heavy-duty machine uses a Kohler engine, you may choose these oil filters to get a better experience with the engine performance.

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