Best Air Filter Buying Guide| 6 Things to Consider

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Last Updated on April 16, 2024 by John Patterson

If you’re relatively new to selecting filters, you’re most likely confused by the variety of filters that can be found on the market. There is so much information online regarding the classifications, ratings, and values that it’s hard to comprehend all these details.

There are various types of filters, and the question is whether those that are very pricey are genuinely worth the investment. Every seasoned professional will tell you that you must opt for a high-quality HVAC air filter to avoid issues with the HVAC system.

And after all, you must obtain something that will serve you for many years. Therefore, to help you choose a filter that offers excellent quality, we put together a list of factors that must be considered.

Best Air Filter Buying Guide

Best air filter buying guide

Learning All About MERV And The Types Of Air Filters

To obtain the best filter, you must first familiarise yourself with MERV and the types of air filters. MERV 1 to 4 contains typically spun fiberglass filters. These are disposable and affordable and will seize approximately eighty percent of particles that are fifty microns and more extensive.

MERV 5 to 8 has pleated, disposable media filters. These filters trap approximately eighty to ninety-five percent of debris from 5 microns. They are a lot more expensive when compared with previously mentioned filters but have much better contaminant removal abilities.

Electrostatic filters (MERV 2 to MERV 10) use changed fibers to eliminate particles from the air. Additionally, these filters can last almost eight years and quickly be dried after washing. MERV 11 to 13 are highly effective and come in different configurations. They can eliminate particles that are very small and various bacteria and debris.

Start With The Size

Let’s start with the most crucial factor. First, air filter connoisseurs at want to remind you that home air filters, heating, air conditioning air filters, and ventilation come in different sizes, both in thickness and area. Namely, the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors suggests that filters give their maximum when they have a tight fit.

If by any chance, there is some interspace around the filter’s frame once you’ve installed it, then you probably didn’t select the right size for your system. According to the information found in Consumer Reports, the size of the furnace filter can be seen on the side of the cardboard frame.

In terms of thickness, filters can be anywhere from less than one inch to over four inches; however, a vast majority of households have one-inch space for a filter; hence, it’s crucial to check out your system’s requirements so you can buy the size that fits.

Aftermarket VS Original

It doesn’t matter whether you want to obtain an air filter on the web or you plan to go to the physical shop; you will stumble upon two types of filters: the original ones and aftermarket filters.

What do we know about them? Let’s start by saying that both types are equally effective; however, they come with specific features worth mentioning. Namely, original filters are created by manufacturers of air systems and are part of the same brand as air systems.

When it comes to aftermarket filters are developed by independent manufacturers. Even though they look practically the same as the original version, they are a lot cheaper yet offer the same quality.

What Else Needs To Be Known?

Don’t Forget Your Dimensions

This is an aspect that is frequently overlooked, although it is a factor that is equally as important as every other. That’s why you should look at the owner’s manual to see which filters are most suitable for your unit.

But what will you do if you do not have the manual? If that’s the case, slowly remove the air filter from your cooling/heating unit to see the filter’s dimensions. For instance, the most common length and height dimensions are 20×25 inches and 20×16 inches.

Filter Performance

Every filter is rated based on its performance. Some have a minimum efficiency reporting value rating, while some contain a clean delivery rating. Bear in mind that the higher the filter rating, the better.

What are your options if you’re struggling with allergies? In that case, you should acquire a filter with MERV 8 rating or even higher. But do not forget to check the filter compatibility before opting for anything.

Is Thicker Better?

The answer is yes. The other dimension that you should be focusing on is depth. For instance, 1-inch fiberglass is normally replaced every single month. On the other hand, a 4-inch filter with pleat designs provides a much bigger surface area, so it can efficiently catch more air particles and potentially last for a more extended period.

For instance, a vast majority of replaceable 4-inch filters that come with 11+ MERV ratings can last pretty long, from six to twelve months, based on your home conditions.

Air Quality Needs

When it comes to air quality needs, they vary from one household to another. For example, if your house is very insulated, it traps pollutants. On the other hand, people struggling with breathing or dealing with allergies usually require a first-class filter for the most effective air purification.

According to recent research, people in the United States typically spend ninety percent of their time in their homes. Therefore, it’s important to purchase filters that will provide your household with high-quality air for your breathing needs. You do not want to jeopardize your health because of them.

quality air filters

In Conclusion

Finding the right air filter is essential because you do not want yourself and the people you live with to live in an unhealthy environment. Therefore, go through these tips to pick the best one.

About the author

John Patterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.