The 9 Best AC Filters

Updated February 16, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

9 Best AC Filters
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. One of the easiest ways to save money on your energy bills and prolong the life of your furnace or air conditioning unit is to regularly change their filters. Our selection of AC filters includes options from the inexpensive to the hypoallergenic, and are capable of filtering out pollen, dust, pet dander and even bacteria and viruses. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best ac filter on Amazon.

9. Honeywell CF100A1025 Air Cleaner

The Honeywell CF100A1025 Air Cleaner can keep on working effectively for as long as one year in homes with moderate levels of airborne particles. It is up to 20 times more energy efficient than a typical 1-inch thick fiberglass model.
  • extra thick at 4 and a half inches
  • captures microscopic particles
  • only available in two sizes
Brand Honeywell
Model CF100A1025/U
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

8. Aerostar MERV 8

The American-made Aerostar MERV 8 comes in plenty of sizes, so if you have a hard time finding the right fit for your HVAC unit, this might be the one for you. Its pleated design is reinforced with cross pieces for added rigidity.
  • electrostatic material traps dust
  • comes as a pack of six
  • cardboard frame feels a bit cheap
Brand Aerostar
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

7. Nordic Pure MERV 12 Pleated

The Nordic Pure MERV 12 Pleated is a low-cost, decent quality choice that provides excellent interior air quality as long as you remember to replace it regularly. It come in a pack of six and is available in dozens of sizes, so there should be one to fit your needs.
  • synthetic material rejects mold
  • removes most dust and dander
  • tends to limit airflow
Brand Nordic Pure
Model 20x20x1M12-6
Weight 5.4 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

6. AirX Dust

Available in packs of 6, the 1-inch thick AirX Dust comes in a variety of sizes to fit most applications. Its pleated material is reinforced with a wire mesh and works well for trapping pollen, lint, and other particulates for up to 90 days.
  • good value for the price
  • works well in furnaces
  • some sizes fit a bit loose
Brand AIRx Filters
Model DUST-162501-6
Weight 4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

5. Water Filter Tree Purity

The Water Filter Tree Purity is made of a flexible material that can be cut to size, so it'll fit no matter what. It's a great choice for vents, furnaces, and anywhere else it'd be helpful to have a protective barrier to clean the air you breathe.
  • premium activated carbon
  • helps eliminate unpleasant odors
  • may drastically reduce airflow
Brand Water Filter Tree
Model CECOMINOD035486
Weight 5.6 ounces
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

4. Web Eco Plus

The Web Eco Plus costs about the same as a disposable model, yet can be washed clean and reused for years, making it a good choice for both the environment and your wallet. It is extremely energy efficient and captures airborne pollen, dust and dander.
  • includes a limited lifetime warranty
  • parts made from recycled plastic
  • corner joints are a bit flimsy
Brand WEB
Model WP2030-4PK
Weight 2.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

3. 3M Healthy Living

Though it's on the expensive side, the 3M Healthy Living is an electrostatic option with a remarkably high Microparticle Performance Rating of 2,200. This allows it to capture even the smallest particles to ensure you are breathing the cleanest possible air.
  • great for people with allergies
  • removes smoke and exhaust particles
  • more effective than fiberglass
Brand Filtrete
Model EA00-6PK-2E
Weight 3.9 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

2. Filtrete Micro Allergen Defense MPR 1000

One option to keep your air cleaner is to use cheaper filters and replace them quite frequently, and a 6-pack of Filtrete Micro Allergen Defense MPR 1000 lets you do just that. Despite being low cost, they outperform fiberglass, washable and non-electrostatic options.``
  • good for homes with shedding pets
  • also available in boxes of 2 and 4
  • one pack should last up to 18 months
Brand Filtrete
Model 9801DC-6
Weight 2.6 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. FilterBuy AFB Gold

The FilterBuy AFB Gold carries an excellent MERV rating of 11, and is well suited for multi-person and multi-pet homes. It's also a good choice for smaller businesses or retail locations that have a large volume of people coming and going.
  • made in an american factory
  • available in hundreds of sizes
  • helps keep out auto emissions
Brand FilterBuy
Model AFB24x30x1M11pk4
Weight 3.5 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

The Dangers Of Indoor Air Pollution

It may come as something of a surprise to many to learn that often the air inside your home is much more polluted than the air outside. This can be true even if you live in a crowded city or in an industrial area. Without proper ventilation, circulation, and purification, indoor air can be quite unclean and even unhealthy to breathe.

Indoor air quality, commonly abbreviated as IAQ, is a concern for all of us, but it is a matter of significant importance for the estimated 40 million Americans afflicted with allergies. Indoor air quality is also an issue of heightened sensitivity for the elderly, the very young, or anyone with an immune system compromised by an illness or condition. According to the World Health Organization, as many as 4.3 million people around the world pass away prematurely from exposure to household pollution. It's not a matter to be taken breezily.

The most common indoor air pollutants include microbial contaminants like bacterias and molds, smoke either from tobacco use or from cooking, radon, pet dander, and pollen blown in from the outdoors. It's important to be proactive in both preventing and mitigating indoor pollution problems.

This can be accomplished by regularly cleaning carpets and upholstery that can hold many contaminants easily stirred up into the air. It involves proper ventilation during cooking. When possible, smoking should be avoided indoors (or all together) and any use of flame, as in a fireplace or wood burning stove, must see smoke sent up a chimney and away from living areas.

Ventilation is important, with exposure to fresh outdoor air ideal if you live in a region with clean air. Regardless, indoor air should be circulated and also filtered. If your home has an air conditioning system, it's imperative that you regularly clean and/or replace the AC filters. A clean filter is there difference between you and your family breathing clean air or breathing dirty air that just happens to be a bit cooler.

Choosing The Right AC Filter

When considering the right filter for your home's or business's air conditioning system, first decide whether you want to use disposable or washable air filters. There are, as is to be expected, benefits and drawbacks to both options.

A disposable air filter tends to provide the best possible quality of air flow and filtration when it is first installed. Being brand new and in factory perfect shape, it will permit high volumes of air to pass with ease, meaning minimal strain on your HVAC system and great output from the vents. A brand new disposable filter also catches even the finest particles of mold, dander, pollen, and more. But many disposable filters tend to become laden with contaminants rather quickly. As a filter loads up with the matter it was designed to catch, airflow becomes less and less efficient, and eventually the air passing through the filter can be dirtied by exposure to the build up there. At this point, the filter must be discarded.

Washable air filters will only provide the same high level of air filtration as a brand new disposable air filter at the first use. Thereafter, it will work well each time it is cleaned and put back in place, but it won't provide quite the same level of filtering quality. But a reusable filter can be rinsed off as often as you would like, thus achieving its relatively pristine state over and over. If you are willing to spend the few minutes to wash your reusable air filter regularly, you will enjoy the cleanest indoor air in this manner. Just make sure you follow the cleaning instructions that accompanied your reusable filter carefully so you preserve its proper function, and make sure to replace these reusable units at least annually.

Proper AC Filter Use And Maintenance

It's imperative that you select air filter that fits your air return intake area perfectly. All HVAC systems installed in the past several decades should have one of a handful of opening sizes; take careful measurements and then determine the size of the opening. (It will likely be approximately 20 inches by 30 inches in an average sized residence, for reference.) A filter that does not fit snugly will allow air to pass by it freely, thus defeating the purpose of filtration in the first place.

Most filters are designed with an intended airflow direction, and make sure to install the filter properly so it can perform properly. In most homes, replacing the air filter every two to three months is adequate, but take the time to visually inspect your air filter regularly until you have established your own residential (or business) needs.

Also take into consideration two differing schools of thought. The first approach to air filter use is to choose a top quality filter that costs more but will last longer, performing well for the duration of its use. The other approach is to opt for cheaper filters and replace them more regularly. This second approach is often the better move for homes with multiple pets, because even a high quality filter that catches all sorts of minute particulate pollution can't do its job well when it is loaded up with hair or fur.

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Last updated on February 16, 2018 by Ezra Glenn

Ezra is a writer, photographer, creative producer, designer, and record label-operator from New York City. He's traveled around the world and ended up back where he started, though he's constantly threatening to leave again.

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