Cooling is something that most people need during the hot, summer months. But to make that possible, you need an AC. The AC will give you cold air and prevent you from feeling like you’re about to melt. However, the filter can get dirty quite often. It will restrict airflow, preventing air from circulating as it should, which can even lead to the AC’s breakdown.
But did you know that the best AC filter can be the hero of the day? If you want your AC to always work properly, you certainly have to look for the right filter to replace the old one. As such, you will always maintain the good functioning of your cooling unit.
Below, you are going to read a few AC filter reviews and you’ll see the main characteristics to look for when buying such an item. Let’s get right to it!
What Is an AC Filter and What Purpose Does It Serve?
An air conditioning filter is an item that is placed on the return air of your air conditioning system. It works to ensure that air with contaminants doesn’t pass through your unit. Instead, the air will be cleared of any allergens and contaminants, and so you’ll have only clean, fresh air discharged into the atmosphere.
Air conditioning filters are effective against contaminants like dust, smoke, pollen, grease, pet dander and hair, and many others. If someone in the house suffers from allergies, then an AC filter is a must, as it will make sure no symptom will be triggered and the person suffering from allergies will live in peace.
What Makes AC Filters so Important?
These AC filters are more important than you think. First of all, they are able to maintain the air in your household and keep it clean at all times, until it’s time to replace your filter. As mentioned, this will make sure potential asthma or allergy sufferer won’t deal with severe symptoms, as it would happen if they came in contact with various particles.
But AC filters are important due to another ability that they possess. Usually, the air conditioning coil has some fins that are spaced and pressed on refrigerant tubes. They tend to collect a lot of dirt over time, as well as dust. This is what happens when there is no air filtration in place. But once an AC filter is installed, there will be no dirt and dust accumulating on them – thus, they will be kept clean and will not require additional maintenance too often.
This is important because it can increase the lifespan of the AC. If the coils were dirty, they would make it harder for the AC system to work properly. The AC would try harder to give you the cold air you are seeking, and due to forcing itself to work, the system may break down.
Best AC Filters Comparison Chart
Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter
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Filtrete Smart AC Air Filter
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MervFilters Air Filter
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Filtrete AOR03-2PK-6E AC Furnace Air Filter
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Aerostar Pleated Air Filter
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Best AC Filters – (Newest Models)
1. Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter
If you want something truly effective, then you should go for this AC filter from Filtrete. This filter has the ability to capture larger particles that may affect your AC, such as household dust, lint, and dust mite debris, as well as mold spores. This product is only suitable for residential use, something worth keeping in mind.
What we found fascinating about this filter is how it has a better performance than fiberglass. Not to mention that it is quite a durable air filter, because it’s washable – so, it’s easy to maintain it. It is very effective in trapping bad air particles and letting cleaner airflow through your home.
With a higher MPR, the product is able to trap more microparticles, like pet dander, pollen, and bacteria, but it can also trap smoke.
- Washable filter
- Can trap a large variety of particles
- Great for residential use
- It improves air quality
- May have to be replaced after a few weeks
2. Filtrete Smart AC Air Filter
We loved this AC air filter thanks to its Bluetooth control. It is Bluetooth enabled, meaning that you can easily track the “life” of the filter. Therefore, you will never have to worry about leaving your air filter inside for too long after it becomes damaged. You will know exactly when it needs to be changed.
The filter can trap a lot of particles to make sure that your house’s air is always fresh. It is suitable for residential use only. In addition, this filter is compatible with the Filtrete Smart App that can be used on both iOS and Android. The Filtrete Smart Air filters will also be able to detect any air pressure changes. This will happen as filter life is calculated through a 3M algorithm, which balances optimal airflow and particle capture.
- Amazing for residential use
- Compatible with Bluetooth
- Easy to monitor filter life
- Makes house air fresher
- Some people may not know how to use the Smart Technology
3. MervFilters Air Filter
If you’re going to purchase an AC filter, you might as well look for one that’s durable and won’t get ruined easily. This MervFilters product is fitting for this. Made in the U.S.A., it has a premium construction, and it features many quality components. This will not only ensure durability but will also make the filter more effective overall.
Not to mention that each filter can be used for about 3 months. Add that to the fact that it’s very easy to replace the filters. These are also pleated filters that will do a great job of adding more coverage so that more air is being filtered. They will only extend the life of the AC while keeping you healthy.
- Universally compatible with a lot of ACs
- Strong construction
- Advanced plated technology
- Easy to replace
- Will purify the air in your home
- Some customers have received their filters with purple chemical stains
4. Filtrete AOR03-2PK-6E AC Furnace Air Filter
It’s important to have AC filters that are effective, and not settle for those that are low-quality and won’t make a difference. This AC filter from Filtrete is a good product. It is 25 times more efficient in eliminating odors, compared to other national retail home air filters. Basically, it is able to trap unwanted air particles so that only clean air will be able to circulate freely throughout your home.
We really liked the fact that this product has a high MPR, respectively 1200 MPR. The higher the MPR, the more microparticles it will be able to trap. It will trap smoke, pet dander, pollen, bacteria, and many others. The filter will also last for about 90 days, after which it can be replaced with ease. For residential use, it does a great job.
- Very high PR
- Great for residential use
- Will be 25 times more effective in trapping particles
- Easy to replace
- Will only last for about 90 days
5. Aerostar Pleated Air Filter
A high-performing filter for your AC is ideal, which is why we recommend this Honeywell product. This filter has 100% synthetic electrostatic media so that there’s better efficiency, while low airflow resistance is guaranteed too. All you have to do is change the filters every 60 to 90 days so that the product can always operate properly.
We really liked how much this product can help make a healthier home environment. It will work to ensure your house is particle-free and the air is always fresh and free of allergens. Aside from that, the filters are also easy to install, so you’ll get to enjoy the benefits soon after installing them. Pollen, dust mites, lint, pet dander, dust and mold spores will have no chance.
- MERV 8 filter
- Highly efficient
- Easy to install
- Will keep the environment healthy
- Not too robust
- It can get flimsy as time goes by
6. Nordic Pure AC Furnace Air Filters
This AC air filter can be a true blessing for you. Basically, it will allow you to choose your filtration level so you can increase the efficiency of the product. That being said, this particular model can offer between MERV 7 and MERV 15 filtration. The latter is the largest filtration level available. If you think your home would need better filtration, then this is even better for you.
Also, what we loved is the fact that pet dander is being filtered too, so if someone in the house suffers from allergies, it won’t be a problem anymore. Furthermore, the filter itself is able to remove allergens such as dust mites, mold, tobacco smoke, pollen and anything of the sort. The filters also need to be changed once every 1-3 months.
- Can filter a variety of particles such as pet dander and other allergens
- Doesn’t need to be replaced too quickly
- Adjustable filtration level
- Some people received an unmarked product
- A few customers didn’t receive filters with the stated size
7. Honeywell FC100A1037 Ultra Efficiency Air Cleaning Filter
Efficiency is something that this Honeywell AC filter will provide to you if you end up purchasing this product. It was made in such a way that will trap a high percentage of household airborne particles. Even particles that you can’t see with your eyes will be captured by this amazing filter.
One thing we were impressed with is its ability to get rid of pet dander and hair. If you have pets and you don’t want to have your allergies triggered, then you will love this filter. Although the filter needs to be changed about once every 3 months, it will perform greatly until you need to replace it.
With a MERV 12 rating, it is 60 times more efficient than your typical 1’ fiberglass filter.
- Great for collecting particles that can’t be seen
- High MERV rating of 12
- Will get rid of pet dander and hair, as well as pollen and dust
- Reasonable price
- According to some customers, the material of the filter is lighter than it seems
How to Buy the Right AC Filter
If you’re looking to purchase an AC filter, we suggest you inform yourself properly about the features a good filter should have. Not doing so puts you at risk of wasting money on something flimsy that will not work as advertised. For guaranteed good results, here are the features to take into account when looking for an AC filter to increase your home air quality:
Have you looked up some AC filters by now? If you have, then you must have seen that many of them specify a certain “MERV rating”. Well, you should be aware that it’s one of the essential things to consider when looking for an AC filter. Basically, the MERV rating will tell you how efficient the product is in filtering various particles.
The rating can be higher or lower, but the higher it is, the better. A high rating shows that the product is able to eliminate more contaminants. This is why you need to pick one that has a good rating.
The highest MERV rating is between 14 and 20, but those from 8 to 13 will also be excellent in removing particles.
You shouldn’t overlook the filter size. It’s essential to choose the right one so you know it fits your AC system. If the filter doesn’t fit, then it won’t be able to work properly for its intended purpose.
In general, furnace filter sizes will be mentioned in the manual or along the device’s edge, so make sure you look for the right sizing.
The price can’t be overlooked. You will see a lot of products, some of them being very cheap, while others will be quite expensive. It’s best to avoid those that are too cheap because they often tend to be the worst ones. Sure, they will collect bigger particles, but may still let smaller ones escape and they will still give you a hard time if you suffer from allergies.
Look for decently priced AC filters. These will work as intended and will not be a nuisance over time as you will need to regularly replace your filters.
Being careful when buying an AC filter will save you from potentially causing damage to your AC system. HEPA filters are a common choice, but the problem is that they are not always suitable for residential systems, due to the fact that these can’t handle HEPA filtration. For this reason, you need to purchase a type of filter that can be used with residential units.
If you choose the wrong filter, it will drive down the energy efficiency of the AC, which will cause the system to damage over time. This is why you should pay attention to the instructions before you buy a product.
Do you have pets? If you do and you want to live happily with your four-legged friends, then a filter directed towards filtering pet dander and hair is needed. There are many people suffering from pet allergies, so coming in contact with pet hair or dander will not have a happy ending. However, even with allergies, people love their pets and don’t want to give up on them. If that’s the case for you, an AC filter that properly traps pet dander and hair will improve your life for the better and let you have a good time with your beloved pets.
Depending on where you live, you may want to look for stronger filters that will last for longer in various climates. Basically, there are areas where the weather is humid, which will cause an AC filter to develop mold or mildew as time goes by. This means that the filter will have to be replaced more frequently. So, look for air filters that have a longer lifespan for such situations, and you will prevent spending a lot of cash on replacements.
AC Filters – Checking the Advantages and Disadvantages
Everything in this life has pros and cons, and if you want to end up buying the right AC filter that will change your life for the better, then you need to know the good and the bad. Without further ado, let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of AC filters:
One of the advantages of purchasing AC filters is that they are not too expensive. Although they need to be replaced often and you will have to keep getting new ones, buying them in bulk is usually better. This way, you will spend less on filters and you’ll make sure you have good air quality for a long time.
Less Effort and Time
Another great advantage is that AC filters are easy to install, meaning there will be less time and effort spent when replacing them. It only takes a few minutes. Depending on whether you pick disposable or permanent filters, they will need either replacement or cleaning, but whichever it is, you will still not have to spend too much time on the process.
Obviously, one of the benefits is the AC filter’s ability to reduce various health problems. Some individuals are dealing with asthma, allergies, or other related issues. Since you spend a lot of time indoors, you need better air quality, which is possible if you install a good, effective filter.
If your air conditioner got clogged, it will have to use more energy to keep working depending on the settings you’ve made. Since clogging will be in the way of the air, it only makes sense that the system will start working harder to ensure you will get the air that you need. But this would only end up harming the environment. So, an air conditioning filter will keep the unit clean and make sure it always functions properly, without using excess energy.
Without filtration, the AC would get clogged and use up more energy. Given it would force itself to provide you with cooler air, it risks getting damaged. An AC filter will prevent that from happening.
In some cases, air filters may attract mold, usually if you live in an area with humid weather and you use the AC a lot. The same could happen if you clean your AC filter and reinstall it before it’s fully dry. This is why you need to be careful with your filters and pay attention to them at all times.
Electrostatic Filters Are a Little Pricey
Compared to one-time filters, electrostatic ones are washable, which means they are reusable. But because of this, they are also a little more expensive than disposable filters.
Understanding the Different Types of AC Filters
Whether you have a small air conditioner or a portable air conditioner, you should know that there are different types of AC filters that can be used for them. More precisely, there are four different types of filters:
- Washable Air Filters – Washable air filters can be used more than once because, as their name suggests, they are washable. You can wash and reuse them several times. However, they are not so common nowadays, unless used in industrial facilities.
- Polyester – Pleated polyester filters are another type of AC filters that you may stumble upon. These are usually more robust, but they are also disposable.
- Fiberglass – Fiberglass AC filters are the ones you will see the most when shopping around. They have a supportive metal frame and they are disposable. However, they do a good job of trapping contaminants.
- HEPA – HEPA filters are a good choice for homes where you need to reduce the level of allergens. This system is known for trapping a lot of particles, including very small ones, and it’s very popular because of that.
Tips for Changing Your AC Filter?
If you want an efficient AC, then you need to know how to change your filter when needed. Luckily, it’s not difficult to do so. Here are the steps to go through when doing this.
- Make sure to turn off the system first. You want to operate in safe conditions, without the AC being connected to electricity.
- Take a vacuum or broom and clean the area near the filter.
- Remove the panel door.
- Take the filter out of the air conditioning unit.
- If you are using disposable filters, simply throw the old one away and put a new one in place. If you have a permanent one, take it out of the AC and clean it properly with a hose, and wipe away any remaining residue. Allow it some time to dry before putting it back inside the AC system.
In case you are also interested in buying good air conditioner unit pads for the proper installation of your AC unit, please visit our related reviews.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about AC filters:
1. How often do I need to replace my AC filter?
This all depends on the particular product that you own. Certain AC filters tend to last longer than others. What you should do is check the product specifications, as they will usually tell you when you need to replace the old filter.
2. How do I know that I need to change the filter?
It’s easy – all you have to do is look inside the AC, where the filter is placed. If you notice that there is a lot of accumulated dirt and dust, then it shows it’s time to replace your AC filter. Especially if you see signs of damage like wrinkled areas, holes or tears, you need to change the filter immediately.
3. Do dirty air filters prevent air conditioners from cooling?
Yes, they do. When air filters get dirty, they have the disadvantage of restricting the cold airflow, and the air will build up inside the unit instead.
4. Is there any risk in letting my AC run without a filter for one night?
Leaving your AC to run without filter even for one night will expose it to dirt, dust, and other contaminants. If they accumulate on the coils, you risk preventing the unit from working properly. You should always run the AC with the filter.
Choosing the best AC filter will make sure that your AC won’t stop functioning properly too early. In fact, the filter will last for quite a while and won’t accumulate dirt too quickly. This is why you need to make a wise choice and not settle for a filter of poor quality. Now that you have gone through our AC filter reviews and buying guide, your decision should be much easier to take.