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When was the last time you changed your home’s furnace filters? Most pros recommend changing HVAC filters at least every three months to achieve the cleanest air possible in your home. But you might want to do so about once per month if you have allergies. While the frequency of changing your furnace filters matters, so does the quality of the filter itself. We’ve gathered the best furnace filters for long-term, effective use in your home, as well as some guidance on picking the right one for you.
Quality furnace filters eliminate allergens like dust, dirt, pet dander and mold from the air. Upgrading the filters in your home might keep your sneezing in check. However, it’s important to do your research before committing to a product, and there are a few important things to consider before purchasing a furnace filter.
What to Consider Before Buying a Furnace Filter
When looking at potential furnace filters, one of the most important details to check is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV), which represents the overall effectiveness of the filter on a scale of one to 16. Most household filters have a MERV between one and 13.
You should also check the micro-particle performing rating (MPR), which can range from 300 to 1,900 in most households. A filter with a higher MPR will capture more particles like dust and dander.
You might assume that the obvious choice is to pick up the option with the most protection. Instead, you should think about what needs you actually have. A higher MERV-rated filter traps more particles, which can potentially inhibit the airflow and performance of your system. This will also mean you might have to change the filter more often.
How We Chose the Best Furnace Filters
When researching the best furnace filters, we looked for ones that were easy to install, built for longevity and had a high enough MERV rating to make a meaningful difference in the air quality in your home.
We also took into account the reviews a certain product has, as well as features like multiple layers of filtration, or the ability to wash and reuse. We’ve gathered a variety of filters at a range of price points below, so you can find the right one for you.
Now that you know the technical specs to look for, here are some of the best furnace air filters to consider for your home.
1. 3M Filtrete AC Furnace Filter
This disposable 3M Filtrete AC Furnace Filter has a 300 MPRS and MERV 5, which filters out particles without restricting airflow. Customers can select between two sizes to fit their furnace or air conditioning unit. The electrostatic filter material traps dirt, smoke, dust and pet dander, preventing these particles from circulating in your home. After buying, you can join the Filtrete 365 Program and receive reminders to change the filter every 90 days. Customers will receive six filters with each purchase, so the pack may last over a year. We also like that the filters are easy to install.
2. Nordic Pure Pleated Furnace Filter
AC & FURNACE FILTER
The Nordic Pure Pleated AC Furnace Filter includes an antimicrobial and hypoallergenic electrostatic material to help purify the air in the home coming from your furnace or AC unit. Customers can select from several MERV ratings, as the filter is available up to MERV 13. At MERV 8, this one is made to purify the air of pet dander, allergens, viruses and other common household irritants. Their air filters are also made to combat odors that can linger in homes, filtering them out as the air moves. All of Nordic Pure’s air filters are made with recycled beverage board paper, so they’re gentler on the environment as well.
3. FilterBuy Pleated Air Filter
FilterBuy’s product is compatible with both furnaces and air conditioning units. The MERV 8 technology traps 90% of particles while keeping airflow steady. This product is made of beverage board, which can withstand temperatures up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and high humidity. Customers will need to change this filter about every three months to keep their heating and cooling system running smoothly. The filters are available in a wide variety of sizes, which are rounded to the nearest inch. We also like that customers can select a three-month auto-delivery option when buying from FilterBuy.
4. Honeywell Media Air Filter (MERV 11)
The Honeywell Media Air Filter includes a cardboard frame and polypropylene filter and has a long lifespan that makes it attractive to homeowners who don’t want to change their filter on a monthly basis. The electrostatic fibers capture most household particles without restricting airflow. This filter is 16 x 25 x 4 inches, so make sure you check the measurements of your unit before purchasing. In normal household conditions, this product can last up to a year. The Honeywell MERV 11 filters are a solid option for most homes.
5. AIRx ALLERGY Pleated Air Filter
MADE IN THE US
The word “allergy” is printed right on the packaging, which is why it’s no surprise that this is a good option for trapping mold, pollen, dust mites, and other common allergens that customers might encounter in their homes. The AIRx features MERV 11 protection, effectively trapping particles as small as 1.0 to 3.0 microns. It’s available in almost a dozen sizes to fit your needs, and six filters are included with each order. We also like that the AIRx is made in the US.
6. Aerostar Home Max Pleated Air Filter
If you need strong protection from allergens and other irritants, then this filter from Aerostar is a good option. The pleated filter features MERV 13 filtration, effectively blocking everything from mold to tobacco dust to virus particles. The filter comes in a wide range of sizes to suit individual customer’s needs, and it’s compatible with either a central unit or a wall unit. Each order includes six filters, and the price shown is for the 16 x 25-inch size.
7. AIRx DUST Pleated Air Filter
AirX conveniently makes filters that are clearly labeled for their intended use. These particular filters feature MERV 8 filtration, effectively trapping dust, pollen and mold spores. It’s available in a variety of sizes; this particular option is the 16 x 25-inch size. Each order consists of six filters and can last up to 90 days under regular conditions. A good option for trapping dust, the AirX Dust offer long-lasting protection.
8. K&N HVAC Air Filter
BEST REUSABLE FILTER
K&N’s MERV 11 air filters are available in a selection of sizes, and customers can easily install this product in their furnace or air conditioning unit. This product is reusable, and the synthetic filter material is easy to wash. The company has a special cleaning spray available and according to K&N, the filter can last a lifetime when washed regularly. Reusing the filter will save you money over time.
9. CARTER Lifetime HVAC & Furnace Air Filter
EASY TO WASH
If you want to cut down on waste and save money, this washable filter from Carter is a good option. It provides MERV 8 filtration thanks to the two layers of anti-microbial polypropylene. The filter is designed to be fairly easy to wash; the manufacturer recommends simply running water in the opposite direction of airflow and then rinsing off the other side. This makes it reusable, thus saving you money in the long run.
10. Filtrete Micro Allergen Defense
EXCELLENT FOR ALLERGIES
If allergies are wreaking havoc on your sinuses, check your air filtration system. During months when allergies are at their worst, customers may want to switch to Filtrete’s Mirco Allergen Defense filters. The filters claim to outperform fiberglass and washable filters when it comes to attracting and capturing smog, cigarette smoke, pet dander, pollen and dust from the air. Made with 3M technology, the filters trap unwanted air while allowing clean air the pass through. Featuring a MERV 11 and 1000 MPR rating, the Micro Allergen Defense filters are an excellent option for homeowners who are sick of feeling sick.
11. Amazon Basics Merv 8 AC Furnace Air Filter
Some furnace systems work best with filters that are changed on a monthly basis, especially for homes in hot and dusty climates. For customers who need an affordable option that still provides excellent filtration, there’s the Amazon Basics Merv 8 AC Furnace Air Filter. The affordable filters are sold in a wide range of common size options and the MERV 8 rating helps to capture common allergens like lint, dust, mold spores, pollen, and dust mites between 3 to 10 microns in size. Made with a beverage board frame and wire mesh support, the filters can last up to 90 days but should be changed more frequently during warm months when AC units are running continuously.
12. Aprilaire Replacement Air Filter for Whole Home Air Purifiers
HELPS REDUCE PET DANDER
For homes with pets, the air indoors can quickly become thick with dander, allergens and pet hair. The Aprilaire Replacement Air Filter for Whole Home Air Purifiers has a MERV 13 rating and is designed to clean air of common pollutants, including pet dander, dust mites, pollen, mold spores and bacteria. An excellent option for pet owners and allergy sufferers, the Aprilaire filters can last up to one year, drastically cutting down the time and effort it takes to replace monthly filters. The filters are specifically designed to work with Aprilaire HVAC systems but can be used with some other heating and cooling systems as well.
13. NaturalAire with Baking Soda
If you have an HVAC vent near your kitchen or a bathroom, you may want to invest in NaturalAire with Baking Soda filters. The filters are made with baking soda media, which helps to control, absorb and remove unpleasant odors from the air. The V-pleat design in the filters provides a low airflow resistance and each of the four filters in the pack can be used for up to 90 days. The filters have a MERV 8 rating and help to reduce dust and allergens in the air.
14. Lennox Media Air Cleaner
The highly-rated Lennox Media Air Cleaner has an impressive MERV 16 rating to help keep the air inside the home clean and safe for humans and pets. A healthy climate and carbon clean filter, the Lennox Media Air filter can help to remove unpleasant odors using a coconut-activated and carbon-coated fiber matrix. The filter is 95% effective in removing dust particles that are as small as 3 microns. The Lennox comes in at a high price point, but it only needs to be replaced every 12 months and customers will likely notice a reduction in dust soon after installing the filter.
15. Vega AC Furnace Cut to Fit Furnace Filters
BEST CUT-TO-FIT FILTERS
These AC furnace filters come in a two-pack, ready to be cut to fit your exact furnace specifications. They’re washable, and the density of the filter is designed to remove harmful particles and reduce electricity use as well. Since they’re cut-to-fit, you won’t waste money on large filters you can’t use or don’t need, and can instead customize the filter to your exact space.