Although it is somewhat hidden in the shadows, your furnace filter does quite a lot. It is simple, but at the same time, an essential element of a furnace. So why should you consider looking for the best furnace filters?
As you know, these days, the most common problem is contaminated air. For this reason, you should not underestimate this so insignificant and yet so significant part of your furnace. Despite its simplicity, you need to know some subtleties about its maintenance and correct working. But don’t worry! With our reviews on furnace filters, you will find the most suitable product in no time.
Things to Consider When Buying a Furnace Filter
Therefore, we made sure that you knew all the details before purchasing a furnace filter. Here are some things to consider when choosing your model:
You need a filter that fits comfortably into the system for obvious reasons. Most furnace filter sizes are indicated along the edge of the device or in the manual.
While the best choice for filtering out pollutants is the HEPA filter, not all residential systems can handle it. Not using the right filter for your current HVAC unit will drive your energy efficiency down and even damage the system. To get the correct specifications to take a look at the manufacturer’s instructions.
A filter’s MERV rating determines its efficiency in filtering out dust and contaminants. The higher the rating, the more it eliminates contaminants and dust mites. Choose a filter with the greatest MERV your HVAC unit can accommodate for the freshest air and best overall comfort.
Humid weather is very likely to cause mildew and mold issues. Living in a hot or cold area can also mean you are using your HVAC unit more than somebody who is in a temperate region. Such conditions may require that you replace your air filter more often.
If somebody in your family suffers from asthma or allergies, you might need a filter that provides the highest performance. People with breathing problems deserve clean air more than anybody else.
Presence of pets
If you have pets, you could consider purchasing a furnace filter specifically designed to eliminate pet dander and hair. Since pet allergies are some of the most common, you could also find an additional top purifier for pets in your bedroom for a night of better and healthier sleep. Luckily, we have an exclusive article all about such units. Check it out!
Buying a high-quality filter could save you money over time. Low-cost filters capture only big particles and require a replacement now and then. In the long term, these replacements will add up to the initial cost.
Best Furnace Filters Comparison Chart
Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter
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Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter Ultra Allergen
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Aprilaire 213 Air Filter
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FilterBuy Furnace Air Filter
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Aerostar Air Filter
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Nordic Pure Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter
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Best Furnace Filter Reviews – Updated List
Here we will show you a sum-up of the most qualitative products offered on the market these days. Because each stands out with different specificity, they are not placed in a specific order. Let’s get started!
1. Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter
Here we have a sturdy product for reducing allergens in your home by Filtrete. This unit comes with a cardboard frame which will ease the installation process. Moreover, the flexible borders will fit even challenging to reach ACs’, furnace, or HVAC systems. As for its purifying and protective qualities, this air filter is designed to attract and hold a wide variety of polluting substances.
You will really like how well this product deals with dust, lint, and even smoke and pet dander. This way, you can feel safe and protected in your own home without worrying about the circulating air. The existing technology of Filtrete’s air filters is based on the fact that they are electrostatically charged to pull in and then trap dust mite debris, for example, so that they do not spread in your house or office. However, if there is a coughing person in the room, the product will not prevent infectious diseases from circulating in the rooms.
- MERV 11
- Lasts up to 3 months
- 2 units per pack
- No protection against bacteria or viruses
- Does not stop cough and sneeze particles
2. Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter Ultra Allergen
Here we have another product which will be of great help to people with allergies. Filtrete’s ultra allergen furnace air filter comes with a MERV 12 rating and has exceptionally high performance when it comes to catching unwanted particles. It is even considered 4 times better in holding impurities less than 1 micron. This fact comes in handy when dealing with allergens like dust, mold, cough and sneeze particles, smoke, bacteria, and viruses.
It is also recommended to change the unit every 3 months or less in case your home is exposed to lots of dust. Another advantage of Filtrete’s unit is the price – a fact not to be underestimated. Since it is not expensive, compared to other products in the same category, you can easily change the product more often than 3 months. This way, you will prevent any contaminated impure air from bypassing the filter and causing allergic reactions to you or your family.
- MPR 1500
- MERV 12
- 2 units in the package
- Great for people with allergies
- Not washable
- Does not capture exhaust particles
3. Aprilaire 213 Air Filter
If you need an air filter to protect your family and hence improve the indoor air quality, then Aprilaire’s product is just what you have been looking for. The package contains 2 units which may be enough for more than a year. But take into account that it all depends on the dirt and dust in your house, so some of you may need to change the product more regularly.
Nevertheless, the 213 Air Filter will surely remove 93% of the most widely spread particles between 3.0 and 10 microns that are said to cause allergic reactions. You will notice that the unit’s capability is not limited to mere dust and mold spores, but also harmful bacteria and pollen. Moreover, this product uses a self-seal technology which actually stops all unwanted particles and ensures cleaner air at home. Also, this highly efficient air filter is easily installed and can fit all Aprilaire models as well as any furnace or AC with the same measurements.
- MERV 13
- 10-year clean-coil commitment
- Made in the USA
- Protection against bacteria and pollen
- Cannot be washed or reused
- A bit expensive
4. FilterBuy Furnace Air Filter
Quality, quantity, and price – these are some of the real benefits of buying FilterBuy’s furnace air filters. You will get a package of 4 units that will last up to 3 months each. Also, the AFB silver will increase the filtration and prevent 90% of polluted air from circulating in your house. This means that the product can trap lint, dust, pollen, or mold spores thanks to the 12 pleats per foot. And with so many creases, the process of filtration and the indoor air will surely be of higher quality.
Moreover, this unit has 350 CFM air flow capacity and is MERV 8 rated. However, make sure to check the measurements beforehand as this air filter is slightly smaller. You may end up either finding a way to seal the frame to your furnace with extra weather stripping foam or let it rattle while the air is flowing through the filter. Nevertheless, this is a great product that does not cost a lot and will surely prevent microscopic airborne parts from spreading around the house.
- Lasts up to 3 months
- Reasonably priced
- MERV 8
- 12 pleats per foot
- Slightly smaller than the given measurements
- May fit loose
5. Aerostar Air Filter
If you are a pet owner and look for the most convenient way to keep pet dander away, then Aerostar’s air filters are your solution. This product comes with 6 filters in the package with dimensions of 12 x 12 x 1, and it is specially designed for furnaces. Also, thanks to its MERV 11 rating and MPR 1000, this unit will even stop and keep away smoke, smog as well as cough and sneeze particles. It can catch impurities ranging from 1 to 10 microns in size.
This filtration product is made of fiberglass and has 13 pleats per foot. Hence, it will not only make your indoor air clean and healthy but also it will improve the efficiency of your furnace. And you will wear the smile of a satisfied air filter customer when you get your electricity bill as this unit will positively influence the cost of the power consumption. Also, the product can be used to replace your old disposable panel filters. So, make sure to change it every 60 to 90 days.
- MERV 11
- Made in the USA
- Great for pet owners
- Electrostatically charged
- Smaller than the indicated size
6. Nordic Pure Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter
Allergies can be extremely annoying, especially when you have to experience the symptoms at home. But with this product, you can stop all physical symptoms and enjoy a comfortable atmosphere and clean air. Nordic Pure’s furnace air filter is made of synthetic material which will not allow mold and bacteria to grow.
What is more, the unit is hypoallergenic and has antimicrobial properties thanks to its structure. That means that this air filter can hold more than 90% of the indoor air particles, including those which cause coughing, sneezing, and watery eyes. And thanks to MERV 12 and FPR 9, this furnace filter will be able to capture smoke, candle sooth or viruses. However, odors might not be filtered that well. The reason for this is perhaps the material inside, which does not seem to be that much. Still, this is a great product to clean the air in your home and sustain a healthy environment.
- Box of 6 filters
- Will work on older furnaces
- MERV 12
- Made of synthetic materials
- Slightly smaller than the manufacturer’s measurements
- Does not filter most odors
7. Lennox X6673 Filter Media
This product comes from Lennox and has a large synthetic media. The X6673 air filter is electrostatically charged to stop and hold unwanted particles down to 0.3 microns. Therefore, household dust, pollen, or even pet dander will be captured in the filter, letting you breathe clean air at home. The synthetic media of this product is large enough, and thanks to its dirt holding capacities, the unit can operate with minimum air resistance.
You should change the air filter every 6 months as the manufacturer suggests, but if you have pets at home, make sure to do it sooner. And despite the product’s proved efficacy, you may still have to deal with some issues. The air filter does not come with foam strips on the edges. This means that if the unit is smaller than your furnace, you will have to find a way to ensure a tight fit to your furnace. Also, the frame seems to be thicker than standard air filters.
- MERV 11
- 2 filters in the package
- UL 900
- 26 x 20 x 5 inches
- May not fit all furnaces as it is thicker
- No foam strips included
Furnace Filter Buying Guide
The furnace filter is an essential part of your household. One cannot simply overlook the fact that it has a crucial role in keeping the members of the family healthy. This device that purifies the air in the entire house alleviates allergy and asthma symptoms but only as long as it is a quality product. In our buying guide, we have gone through all you need to know about furnace filters.
6 Most Common Furnace Filter Types
Diversity of types allows you to find the perfect fit for your needs and possibilities. However, it can also throw you into confusion. Going into a shop without much knowledge, you can almost feel the regrets you will have in the future because you may not have made the right choice. We are here to help you not get swamped in models and show you how to choose the right type of furnace filter.
These furnace filters are disposable and cheap. The protection they provide is minimal because they cannot capture small particles under 3 microns. What they do well is prevent larger particles from clogging your HVAC system.
Pros: Cheap, suitable for people without allergies or asthma.
Cons: Low efficiency, inability to filter small particles.
More efficient than the fiberglass filter because it captures between 80% and 95% of contaminants of 5 microns or larger, while the former perform at these levels when it encounters particles of 50 microns.
Pros: An idea more efficient than the fiberglass filter.
Cons: Noticeably more expensive, yet not very powerful.
Disposable Pleated Filter
A pleated filter offers high-efficiency results by trapping particulates 0.3 microns in sizes, such as bacteria and viruses. It is a durable, yet still relatively inexpensive option.
Pros: Good price; could be environment-friendly; blocks some small particles.
Cons: Adds some resistance to the airflow.
Disposable Electrostatic Filter
Contains self-charging electrostatic cotton or paper fibers that trap small particles.
Pros: Affordable standard size; higher-level performance suitable for homes with pets and children.
Cons: Expensive custom sizes; cost increases over time due to regular replacement of filters.
Washable Electrostatic Filter
Also contains self-charging fibers, but lasts considerably longer than the disposable version. The removable filter can last from six to eight with regular maintenance. Use soap and water to wash the filter, then let it dry thoroughly.
Pros: Long life; efficiency higher than that of the pleated filter.
Cons: Custom sizes are expensive.
Made from 4-5″ pleated cotton, attached to a metal plate which prevents leaks and fluttering. Provides high-end filtration by trapping up to 99% of particles 0.3 microns or larger.
Pros: The most suitable option for people with respiratory problems; captures almost all small particles.
Cons: Expensive; consumes vast amounts of energy; not all systems can support it.
Now you can see that there is an excellent variety of furnace filters, but you also know that there are apparent differences between them. You can make a choice based on your budget and the needs of your family. However, since the hesitation is usually between an electrostatic filter and a HEPA filter, there are still more features that need to be taken into deeper consideration. Of course, we are always here to help. Follow us!
The Battle of the Filters – Electrostatic vs. HEPA
It has indeed been a long-lasting battle between the two most common types of furnace filters. Each side has shown some valuable characteristics and certain weaknesses as well. In this section, we will list the specifications of both electrostatic and HEPA filters with explanations of their purpose and efficiency.
The Electrostatic Filter
As already mentioned, the electrostatic filter works with static electricity to charge particles inside the filter. The particles thus stick to the internal filtration system. The electrostatic filter is known for performing on a high level and for trapping 90% of the particles, which are 0.3 microns or larger.
A permanent electrostatic filter does not include a changeable filter in its system. As an owner, you would have the responsibility to rinse the internal filtration system every four to six weeks. If your house contains a considerable amount of harmful particles, dust, and dander, then your furnace might need even more frequent washing. Maintenance is something that any appliance requires. If you read some of our other guides about the most distinguished heating and cooling systems, you will find out that we at Homeair care deeply about proper maintenance.
Unfortunately, electrostatic filters’ performance decreases over time, and it could fall to even 60%. The other detail about this type of filter’s efficiency is that it does capture a big deal of contaminants. However, once it becomes clogged, it cannot do a second round of trapping the particles.
The electrostatic filter also may release dust mites and dirt when you are cleaning it, which additionally unlocks allergies. When you perform maintenance, you will be left without an air purifier for some time because the filter needs to dry before you start using it again entirely.
However, because of the washable feature of a permanent electrostatic filter, this option is more eco-friendly. Although there are biodegradable HEPA filters, the electrostatic system is durable and good for the environment at a lower price.
The HEPA Filter
The public opinion is that HEPA air purifiers are more efficient than electrostatic air purifiers, but why is that? Here, we will not spare you any information – we will give you an objective overview of both the great qualities and the drawbacks of a HEPA filter.
A good HEPA filter captures the airborne particles in a fine mesh material. Their performance needs to be outstanding because one would expect it, knowing the definition of the name – High-Efficiency Particle Arresting. This type of filter removes 99.7% of particles, which are 0.3 microns or larger. It does this removal not only once, but maintains the same capabilities over time.
The HEPA filter captures particles faster. It holds them in so when you change the filter, they do not return in the air. Note that this type of air purifier requires a change of filter every six to eight months. You could change the filter less often to save money, but the device would be more efficient with regular replacements. Thus, the price of the HEPA air purifier increases over time. The amount of filters used also makes the device less environment-friendly. However, you could spend some more money on a biodegradable unit and cover that issue.
With this type of filtration system, the air in your house will be cleaner and healthier. The chance for allergies to emerge is lower as the comfort in your home improves. The no maintenance removal rate is a tempting prospect for the buyer, but it comes at a higher cost.
Check out or AC filter reviews, too!
Tips on Replacing a Furnace Filter
The installation process might scare a fair amount of people who have not had any experience with furnace systems. Therefore, we can turn these fears into a strong desire to learn how to perform replacements yourself.
As you have discovered by now, the replacement of a furnace filter frequency depends on the type of system you have, on the usage rate, and some household factors, such as the presence of pets, smokers, and people with allergies. It also depends on the inches of your filter. The more the inches, the less often you need to change the filter.
Thus, a 1″ furnace filter will require a replacement every three months, while a 6″ filter – every year.
Other criteria that can help you are checking the filter every month to see if it is clogged. If the furnace filter is gray and covered in dust and hair build-up, then you should most certainly change it. The need to replace the filter becomes apparent when you start noticing the dust in your home. Also, your heating and cooling systems will give out indications as they start lagging because of the dust. You could check out our other product guides to find a powerful high-end efficient space heater that will be able to withstand harsh conditions.
Once you identify the moment when a replacement should take place, you will discover that it is not that difficult to do it. Here are the steps of furnace filter replacing:
3 Steps to Replace Furnace Filters
- The filter is located in a chamber between the return air and the supply air units of your furnace system.
- Remove the filter compartment door.
- Take the old filter out and dispose of it.
- Unwrap your new furnace filter. There should be direction arrows on the plastic frame of the filter.
- Slide the filter into the chamber according to the indicators. They should be pointing towards the furnace to make sure the airflow is going in the right direction.
- Open up the chamber now and then to check the condition of the current filter.
Rating the Furnace Filter – MERV vs. MPR vs. FPR
To clear all confusion, we would like to finish this guide with a definition of the three different rating systems. The biggest difference is that they were created by three organizations – the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning; 3M; Home Depot.
MERV pertains to the domestic and international industry-standard rating system established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers. Thus, it is the most common rating system you will find. It rates the ability of a filter to capture and hold particles.
A furnace filter comes in four MERV rating options:
- MERV 6 (Home Basic) – removes dust and pollen.
- MERV 8 (Home Select) – dust, pollen, dust mites, mold.
- MERV 11 (Home Plus) – dust, pollen, dust mites, mold, pet dander, smoke, smog, cough, and sneeze.
- MERV 13 (Home Ultimate) – all of the above + virus and bacteria.
MPR, or Micro-particle Performance Rating, is a rating system developed by 3M. It has been designed specifically for airborne particles smaller than 1 micron, and it rates the manufacturer’s filters in their ability to remove them.
FPR, or Filter Performance Rating, is a rating system developed by The Home Depot for brands sold through their stores, including Honeywell. To understand the FPR rating system, you will need to check their color schemes which relate to a scale of numbers from 4 to 10. This rating resembles MERV.
Bravo, dear friends! You have read our buying guide devoted to finding the best furnace filters. Now you know that as you are sitting right now, most likely in front of a computer or on the phone, in your house if you have not checked your filter soon, maybe it is about time to do so. If it has not been changed soon, God knows how many bacteria are flying in the air right now. Do not neglect your health!
There are many components to think about when choosing a furnace filter, and that’s why our crew hopes that our article was useful for you. If your choice now is made easier thanks to our reviews of the available furnace filters and you have learned many new and valuable things, we can say that our mission is completed. Share this piece to others, and write us an email or leave us a comment if there should be anything, you would like to tell us. Thanks for reading, and as always- stay put!