If you have a home with a central furnace, then you know that keeping it in proper condition can make your life a lot easier. One of the essential components of any furnace is the filter, which keeps your air clean and the machine working correctly.
Because your best furnace filters is a necessary part of your home’s HVAC system, I want to show you the best furnace air filters you can find. I also want to provide you with all of the information you need to make the right choice for your system.
Let’s see what these best-rated air filters have to offer.
Filtrete Clean Living Basic Dust AC Furnace Air Filter
20.4 x 6.4 x 10.9 inches
Honeywell FC100A1037 Ultra Efficiency Air Cleaning Filter
24.5 x 20 x 4.5 inches
FilterBuy AFB Silver MERV 8 20x20x1 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter
29.5 x 19.8 x 27 inches
Nordic Pure 20x25x1 AC Furnace Air Filters
20 x 1 x 25 inches
X6672 Lennox Healthy Climate 16x25x5 Merv 16 Filter
25 x 5 x 16 inches
Starting off our list is this six-pack of filters from 3M. This brand is well known for making some of the best consumer products on the market, and they create some of the top furnace filters as well. In fact, 3M is so good at making these items that they have come up with their own filtration rating, called MPR.
MPR stands for micro particle performance rating, and the higher the number, the better it is at scrubbing the air. This is different than a MERV rating, which I’ll get into later on in the article. In this case, these filters have an MPR of 300. This is on the lower end of the scale, which means that they are ideal for trapping particles like dust and pollen.
What I like about these filters is that they come in a variety of sizes, thus ensuring that you can find one that fits your HVAC system. When looking for the best air filter for home furnaces, it’s critical that you get the proper size.
Another benefit of these filters is that they are electrostatically charged. For the most part, getting charged filters means that you can trap more particles in the air, so these are much more efficient than standard models.
These filters will last for up to three months, so it helps that you get a pack of six so that you can be prepared for the long term.
#2. Honeywell FC100A1037 Furnace Air Filters
Like 3M, Honeywell is another brand that makes some of the best furnace air filters. This particular model is rated for both efficiency and performance, which makes it an ideal choice for both consumer and commercial practices.
When picking out the best furnace filter, the one component you have to monitor the most is the MERV rating. MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value, and it’s the industry standard for measuring how well a filter can trap various elements in the air.
In this case, the FC100A has a MERV rating of 11, which makes it one of the better options out there. Compared to the filters above, you can expect this model to contain almost everything bad that could be in the air, including mold spores, dust, pollen, and pet dander.
One of the downsides of this particular unit is that it only works with other Honeywell products. Thus, if you don’t have the right HVAC system, it won’t fit. Nonetheless, you can check to make sure that it’s compatible so that you don’t run into that problem.
You can get this filter individually, or you can buy a pack of two or five. They are rated to last for several months, so you may want to be prepared for the long term. Each one is made of polypropylene, which ensures that they don’t break down as quickly as other models.
#3. FilterBuy AFB Silver MERV 8 20x20x1 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter
As I mentioned above, the MERV rating is going to be one of the critical components of any furnace filter you buy. However, there are several other features you have to consider if you want to make sure that you have the best air filter for a home furnace.
One other element to pay attention to is the material of which it’s constructed. As we saw with the Honeywell unit above, polypropylene is an adequate option because it’s both lightweight and durable. In this case, however, each filter is made of beverage board, which allows them to withstand up to 200 degrees without breaking down.
No matter what kind of furnace you have, it’s imperative that you have sufficient heat ratings for your filters so that they can last as long as possible. These are built to stay in good condition for up to three months before you have to change them.
Another feature you should look at is the number of pleats that come with the filter. Overall, the more surface area you have, the better it will be for trapping particles. In this case, the screen has 12 pleats, which makes it more efficient than most other filters of its kind. It can also work for HVAC systems that generate up to 350 CFM airflow, which is ideal for most homes.
Overall, this filter is an excellent choice, thanks to its decent MERV rating and quality construction. It also comes in almost any size you could need, so you shouldn’t have any problems making it fit into your furnace.
#4 Nordic Pure AC Furnace Air Filter
When picking out the best HVAC air filters, one thing that you should understand is that those with a higher MERV rating are not going to last as long as those with lower numbers. The reason for this is that the filter is so good at trapping particles that it will get dirty much faster, so you have to replace them more often.
This filter from Nordic Pure has a MERV rating of 12, which makes it ideal for both homes and businesses. It can trap allergens, mold, pollen, dust mites, and most other materials with ease. Although 12 is not the highest you can get, it’s a quality option that will keep your HVAC system running smoothly.
Because you have to change this about every one or two months, it helps that the filter comes in a pack of six. If it’s for the home, you can probably get a new pack every year. Businesses, however, should change filters more frequently, so one package will last about six to eight months overall.
What I like about this particular filter is that it’s also hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. These features help ensure that you get better air quality. It’s also electrostatically charged to add even more efficiency and performance.
Finally, this filter is made of recycled material, making it an environmentally friendly option as well. No matter what your needs are, this filter will help you get the most out of your furnace.
#5. X6672 Lennox Healthy Climate furnace filter
The last filter on the list is also the best. This model from Lennox has the highest MERV rating we’ve seen, which is 16. This number is perfect for trapping almost every particle you can imagine, from dust to pollen to smoke and mold.
The secret to the high performance of this filter is the fact that it has many more pleats than lower MERV models. They are tightly packed to create much more surface area, and they can trap particles down to 0.3 microns. Simply put, your air will be about as clean as possible when you install this furnace filter.
As with the Nordic Pure model, this filter is also hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. It’s electrostatic-ally charged to ensure that it offers ultra high efficiency, making it ideal for both homes and businesses. If you suffer from allergies, then this is the best-rated air filter you can find.
First and foremost, you have to make sure that any furnace filter you purchase is compatible with your HVAC system. Most models out there are available in a variety of sizes, which can help ensure that you don’t run into any problems when installing them.
Some of the most common sizes for these filters are 20 x 21, 20 x 22, or 20 x 25 and more filters. You can also get a variety of thicknesses, which range from either one to three inches. When picking out the best furnace filter for home, you can simply check the specs of the model that you currently have installed. This should offer a precise measurement so that you don’t have to do much research to find the right option.
Disposable vs. Washable
For the most part, furnace filters are not meant to be used more than once. Many models are disposable, which is why you have to replace them every few months or less. Usually, those that are made of cheap materials (like fiberglass) should be thrown away, but filters that are built of stronger stuff (like plastic) can be washable.
But which one is better? Here’s a breakdown of the benefits and downsides of each.
These filters are often much more cost-effective because the materials are cheap. However, cheap parts usually translate to lower MERV ratings, so the air quality can drop as a result. Overall, disposable units are going to be easy to maintain, and they require little maintenance beyond replacing them as they expire.
At first glance, you may think that having a washable furnace filter would be better than getting those that have to be tossed. While it can be better for the environment to create less waste, the maintenance and upkeep required could be too much for some people.
One issue that can occur with these types of filters is that you may not clean them well enough. If that happens, you could be spreading mold and pollen back into the air once you reinstall it, so you have to make sure that you are thorough with every cleaning.
Overall, if you don’t have a problem with doing this, then a washable filter may be the way to go. Otherwise, it could be more trouble than it’s worth.
As I’ve mentioned already, the minimum efficiency reporting value is going to tell you the quality of the furnace filter you’re buying. Those with a higher MERV number are going to trap more particles and scrub the air much more thoroughly. Here is an overview of the best numbers to get for your needs.
1-8 - most homes will be just fine with filters that have a lower rating. The reason for this is that you don’t have to worry as much about air quality because you control what comes into your house. Unlike a commercial business, it’s just you and your family (and any guests that come over) who are going to be breathing the air, so it doesn’t have to be as clean as possible.
That being said, you can do better by getting a higher number. As I mentioned, lower numbers last longer because they don’t trap as many particles, but that could create issues, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
9-13 - if you’re really worried about how your air is filtered, then you may prefer a model with one of these numbers. Also, most businesses will want to get a filter with a MERV rating of at least nine or 10 because you have to consider how it will affect your customers. With more people coming into the building, you have to worry more about what’s being tracked in.
14-20 - generally speaking, only places that have to maintain strict air quality should worry about MERV ratings this high. Hospitals are a perfect example because they have to make sure that germs and other pathogens are sufficiently trapped in the filters to contain them.
I discussed the fact that 3M has a proprietary rating system for their furnace filters. However, you want to make sure that you understand how to compare them. MERV is industry-wide, while MPR is only for the one company. Here is a conversion table for your convenience.
300 MPR = 6 MERV
600 = 8
1000-1200 = 11
1500-2200 = 12
Here are a few other features that can help you make sure that you’re getting the right filter for your needs.
Pleat Number: more surface area means that you can trap more particles, and the best way to increase the surface is by having a higher number of pleats. High-efficiency models will have tightly packed pleats, whereas cheaper versions will be flatter.
Electrostatically Charged: when the material is treated this way, the electrons help trap particles more efficiently. The static acts like a magnet, drawing things like dust and pollen to the fibers in the filter.
Antimicrobial: germs and mold travel through the air, and they get trapped in the filter.
However, to ensure that they don’t take hold and start emitting spores or anything, you want to get material that is antimicrobial. This means that it will kill the organisms so that they don’t spread.
Although I’ve talked a lot about the various elements included in furnace filters, I also understand that you may have a lot of questions about how they work and how you can be sure that you’re using them correctly. Here are some of the common issues that people encounter when searching for the right furnace filter.
Are thicker filters better than thin ones?
Really, the performance of a filter is based on the material of which it’s made. However, buying one with a higher thickness (i.e., two inches instead of one) should enable you to use the filter longer before having to replace them.
How often do I have to change my filter?
When buying the product, the manufacturer should have a recommended schedule to follow. I would suggest sticking to this recommendation, but you should check the filter regularly to be sure.
In some cases, you may have to change it sooner because it gets dirty, while in other situations your air quality may be better already, so you don’t have to replace the filter as often.
Do I need a pleated filter?
Models that aren’t pleated will usually have a lower MERV rating. If you aren’t too concerned with air quality (or your air is already pretty clean), then it shouldn’t matter. However, be aware that non-pleated filters can only go so high on the MERV scale.
Do I have to use the same brand as my HVAC system?
No, as long as the size fits, you should be able to use any furnace filter in your HVAC. For example, you may want something with a higher MERV rating to ensure that you’re scrubbing your air more efficiently.
In rare cases, the HVAC system may have a proprietary housing unit for the filters, so you may have to reuse it if you buy a different brand.
If I have a high-efficiency furnace, do I need a high-efficiency filter?
Not necessarily. The efficiency rating of your furnace doesn’t refer to the air quality, but how well it generates heat or cold. Thus, the kind of filter you use won’t affect that. However, if you get a lower quality model, the air won’t be as clean, so do keep that in mind.
How do I know if my filter has to be changed?
If you’re not sure how long the filter has been in the HVAC, then a visual inspection may be all you need to determine if it has to be replaced. If the material looks gray or black, then you have to change it immediately. If it’s mostly white, then you can go a little longer before replacing it.
Why do I have to change my furnace filter?
There are two primary reasons. First, it will help your HVAC work better. When you have a clogged filter, air can’t pass through very well, which means that your system has to work harder to get the same results.
The second reason to change your filter is that your air quality will drop dramatically as the material gets dirty. Over time, you can feel the effects in the form of allergies or coughing fits. The health and safety of your family are important, so change your filters regularly.
I care a lot about the Best Furnace Filters for my home, which is why I like to have high-efficiency filters in my furnace. If you are the same way, then you will love either the Nordic Pure or the Lennox Healthy Climate filters. Both of these models have superb MERV ratings, and they are built to offer the best performance possible. I would highly recommend them to anyone, whether you need them for your home or business.