Best Furnace Filter Consumer Reports

10 Best Furnace Filter Consumer Reports of 2022 – Reviews By An Expert!

If you change your furnace’s air filter once every three months, you’ll improve your home’s air quality, use less energy, and save money. Seasonal maintenance, such as changing your filter, prevents the filter from being clogged with dust, pet hair, and other airborne particles, preserving your furnace’s performance.

Read on to find out why we think the replacement filters we’ve listed below are some of the best options for most homeowners’ furnaces and to learn more about what to look for when shopping for a furnace filter. These top picks were chosen after extensive research and testing of available options in the market.

Top 10 Furnace Filter Consumer Reports: Editor Recommended

The 10 Best Furnace Filter Consumer Reports Review:

1. Filtrete 16x20x1, AC Furnace Air Filter

AC Furnace Air Filter
  • OUTPERFORMS FIBERGLASS, WASHABLE AND NON-ELECTROSTATIC 3-month pleated 1 in....
  • DESIGNED WITH EXCLUSIVE Filtrete Brand 3-in-1 technology from 3M to trap...
  • ATTRACTS AND CAPTURES particles such as lint, pollen, dust, pet dander, smoke...
  • 1000 MPR has a rating of MERV 11
  • The higher the MPR, the more microparticles--such as pollen, pet dander, smoke,...

The famous Filtrete Allergen Defense is an excellent option for a furnace filter since it effectively reduces dust, allergies, and other airborne particles. The MERV 11 rating of this furnace filter indicates that it removes more than 90% of particles between 1 and 3 microns in size. (A MERV 11 filter would be classified as “Superior Residential” under ASHRAE standards.) It filters smoke and smog and is greatest at capturing dust, pollen, and pet dander.

The filter is simple to install, ideal for use in a central or wall unit, and electrostatic, meaning the fibers inside the filter cartridge have been “charged” to attract and hold onto dust and other particles. It should be changed, like many 1-inch furnace filters, every one to three months. You may monitor this with the Filtrete Smart app. Simply scan the package’s barcode, choose how frequently you want the filter to be replaced, and you’ll get a notification when that time comes.

Pros:

  • MPR 1,000 rating
  • Receive app replacement reminders

Cons:

  • 30-day replacement schedule

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2. 3M Filtrete 20x20x1 AC Furnace Air Filter MPR 300

Sale
AC Furnace Air Filter
  • OUTPERFORMS FIBERGLASS, WASHABLE AND NON-ELECTROSTATIC 3-month pleated 1 in. air...
  • DESIGNED WITH EXCLUSIVE Filtrete Brand 3-in-1 technology from 3M to trap...
  • ATTRACTS AND CAPTURES large particles such as lint, household dust and dust mite...
  • MPR 300 has a rating of MERV 5
  • The higher the MPR, the more microparticles - such as pollen, pet dander and...

Filters in your furnace prevent material from entering the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which could cause damaged components, soiled ductwork, and poor indoor air quality. Even if it’s only a cheap, disposable furnace filter like the Filtrete Basic Dust and Lint Air Filter, you should always have one installed in your home.

This furnace filter collects particles between 3 and 10 microns in size and is designed to be swiftly installed and readily disposed of after its 90-day usage. The Filtrete Basic Dust and Lint Air Filter is ideal for minimizing common household allergens including dust, lint, and dust mite detritus, as the name suggests. Its MPR 300 rating is not as high as that of more sophisticated furnace filters, therefore it won’t be able to trap as many microparticles. However, compared to the most inexpensive furnace filters, this one is a definite upgrade thanks to its MERV 5 rating.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Quick installation

Cons:

  • Limited MPR 300 rating

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3. Filtrete 16x25x1 AC Furnace Air Filter MPR 1900

AC Furnace Air Filter MPR 1900
  • OUTPERFORMS FIBERGLASS, WASHABLE AND NON-ELECTROSTATIC 3-month pleated 1 in....
  • DESIGNED WITH EXCLUSIVE Filtrete Brand 3-in-1 technology from 3M to trap...
  • ATTRACTS AND CAPTURES microscopic particles such as smoke, cough and sneeze...
  • 1900 MPR has a rating of MERV 13
  • The higher the MPR, the more microparticles--such as pollen, pet dander, smoke,...

Those who suffer from allergies may find some respite from their symptoms if they install a high-quality furnace filter made to filter tiny particles. With a MERV rating of 13, the Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen filter is among the most efficient at removing allergens with a particle size of 0.30 to 1 micron.

Authenticated by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America,2 This air purifier filter is effective in removing larger particles like dust, pollen, and dander, as well as smaller ones like smoke, germs, and the mucus from a cough or sneeze. When looking for a furnace filter, the MPR rating is an important consideration if you suffer from allergies. Increases in the number indicate that the filter is able to collect more particles. There is an MPR of 1,900 for the Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen filter.

Pros:

  • Certified for allergen reduction
  • MPR 1,900 rating

Cons:

  • Expensive

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4. K&N 20x25x1 Air Filter Merv 11 Washable Air Filter

Merv 11 Washable Air Filter
  • The LAST AIR FILTER YOU WILL EVER BUY: Washable furnace filter for long-term...
  • SAVE MONEY: Save $30 annually with reusable air filter compared to disposable,...
  • INCREASE HVAC EFFICIENCY: Excellent airflow to help maintain HVAC system...
  • GUARNATEED QUALITY: Premium design and construction for excellent air filtration
  • DIRECT REPLACEMENT: Designed to fit directly into your filter register

One of the biggest headaches of HVAC maintenance is keeping up with replacing filters. The K&N brand is well-known in the automobile air filter industry, and now that knowledge is being applied to residential HVAC systems with this lifetime furnace filter. As it is constructed with synthetic polymer filtration media, it will not deteriorate or break down even after prolonged use.

This filter has a MERV 11 rating, making it suitable for use in almost any home. It is effective in removing debris no bigger than three microns in size. For optimal performance and extended filter life, periodic cleaning is recommended. Cleaning your air filter with K&N’s recommended solution and a low-pressure hose is highly encouraged.

Pros:

  • Rinses clean
  • Lasts for years

Cons:

  • Recommended to use K&N filter cleaning solution

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5. Arm & Hammer Max Allergen & Odor Reduction 14x25x1 Air and Furnace Filter

14x25x1 Air and Furnace Filter
  • Maximum odor reduction unscented pleated air filter
  • Allergen air filter plus enhanced odor reduction
  • Built in carbon granules have large capacity for absorbing odors
  • MERV 11 rating allergen reduction performance
  • Lasts up to 90 days

Your HVAC system will benefit from using a furnace filter, but your nose will especially appreciate an odor-reducing one, such as this one from Arm & Hammer. Dust, pollen, mold spores, and pet dander are all eliminated by the Enhanced Allergen and Odor Control furnace filter, which has a MERV 8 rating and an FPR of 6.

This filter is great for any home because it eliminates aromas from cooking, smog, and more, but it is especially useful for those with pets. This unscented furnace filter captures particles in pleated filtration media, so improving air quality without masking odors with fragrance. An individual disposable filter has a 90-day lifespan.

Pros:

  • Unscented odor-fighting design
  • Lasts up to 90 days

Cons:

  • Doesn’t provide filtration for smoke

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6. Honeywell Home AC Furnace Media Air Filter

Long-life furnace filters, also referred to as annual furnace filters, have larger surface area to prolong the intervals between filter replacements. A 4-inch furnace filter, like the Honeywell Home Pleated Air Filter, can last up to a year, unlike many 1-inch filters that need to be replaced every 90 days or so.

The filtration medium used to create this pleated furnace filter is polypropylene. It has a MERV 8 rating and is electrostatically charged to attract and catch microscopic particles like mold, smoke, and other odor-causing particles as well as larger particles like dust and pollen.

Pros:

  • Lasts up to 12 months
  • Pleated design

Cons:

  • May not offer enough filtration for allergies

7. Filtrete 20x25x1, AC Furnace Air Filter MPR 1500 Healthy Living Ultra Allergen

Healthy Living Ultra Allergen
  • OUTPERFORMS FIBERGLASS, WASHABLE AND NON-ELECTROSTATIC 3-month pleated 1 in....
  • DESIGNED WITH EXCLUSIVE Filtrete Brand 3-in-1 technology from 3M to trap...
  • ATTRACTS AND CAPTURES microscopic particles such as smoke, cough and sneeze...
  • 1500 MPR has a rating of MERV 12
  • The higher the MPR, the more microparticles--such as pollen, pet dander, smoke,...

The Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter, which is available in over a dozen different sizes, is our top pick for best replacement filter for your furnace. Its MERV-12 efficiency rating makes it a top pick for households looking to minimize the infiltration of dust and other airborne allergens.

Filtrete’s 3-in-1 technology prevents the buildup of dust, dander, soot, pollen, and mold spores in the filtered air while still allowing for the free flow of clean air. The 1-inch-thick AC furnace filter can be placed in several slide-in filter holders on the furnace itself, as well as in standard wall registers. So that you receive the correct size filter, it is recommended that you first measure your current one.

Pros:

  • Comes in many sizes
  • 3-in-1 technology; traps lint, dust, pet dander, soot, pollen, and mold
  • Compatible with multiple wall registers

Cons:

  • Does not filter exhaust particles

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8. Nordic Pure 16x16x1 MERV 12 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filters 6 Pack

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12 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filters
  • Nominal Size: 16 x 16 x 1, Actual Size: 15 3/4 x 15 3/4 x 3/4 (15.75 x 15.75 x...
  • Measure your air filter for the exact size and compare it to our actual size to...
  • Ideal for high efficiency air filtration and will help those with moderate...
  • Nordic Pure MERV 12 is equivalent to MPR 1500-1900
  • Made in the USA

Nordic Pure MERV 12 Pleated AC Furnace Filters are easy to install and change, and they keep your furnace and air ducts free of dust and other airborne pollutants. The electrostatic fibers in these disposable pleated filters attract impurities and the filters themselves are hypoallergenic and mildew and mold resistant.

There is a wide range of sizes available for these AC furnace filters, and each is a full inch thick. These filters may clog more fast than others due to their high MERV rating of 12. You may need to replace them more frequently than once every three months if you run your furnace frequently.

Pros:

  • Hypoallergenic design
  • Electrostatic particles included; mold and mildew-resistant
  • Comes in multiple sizes

Cons:

  • May clog faster than comparable options; frequent replacement may be required
  • Pricey

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9. Filtrete 12x12x1, Smart Replenishable AC Furnace Air Filter

The Filtrete Smart AC Furnace Air Filter is a leading option for a furnace replacement filter since it is available in dozens of sizes and uses Bluetooth technology to track how often the filter is changed. Users may rest easy knowing when it’s time to replace their filter thanks to a custom algorithm that monitors airflow to record filter wear and tear.

This air conditioning furnace filter is highly effective, with a MERV-12 rating, making it a great option for homeowners that value filtration efficiency. Filtrete’s exclusive 3-in-1 technology effectively captures a wide variety of filter media, including lint, dust, pet hair, soot, pollen, and mold spores. The 1-inch-thick filter can be used with most slide-in filter holders and in wall registers of standard width. To track the condition of your filter and get timely notifications, install the Filtrete app.

Pros:

  • Comes in many size options
  • Bluetooth-enabled; monitoring through Filtrete app
  • Traps lint, dust, pet dander, soot, pollen, and mold spores

Cons:

  • Does not filter ultrafine particles
  • Pricey

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10. AIRx ALLERGY 16x20x1 MERV 11 Pleated Air Filter

MERV 11 Pleated Air Filter
  • MERV Rated Replacement Air Filter: AIRx Filters 16x20x1 (Actual: 15.50 x 19.50 x...
  • Contaminant Reducing Replacement Air Filter: AIRx Filters 16x20x1 air filter...
  • High Quality Air Filter Replacement Material: AIRx Filters 16x20x1 (Actual:...
  • Superior Air Filter Replacement Construction And Specs: AIRx Filters 16x20x1 air...
  • Multi-Pack OEM Air Filter Replacement Compatible: AIRx Filters 16x20x1 MERV 11...

The disposable, pleated, AIRx ALLERGY MERV 11 Pleated Air Filter is available in a variety of sizes and thicknesses (1 inch thick) and is built with increased density to trap airborne allergens that might trigger allergy symptoms. It also effectively prevents the passage of smoke and unpleasant odors.

You may rest assured that the MERV 11 filter will do its part to prevent allergens from recirculating through your home’s ductwork. Use this filter in conjunction with a HEPA-filtered vacuum and an air purifier to effectively eliminate airborne allergens.

Pros:

  • Comes in multiple sizes
  • Suitable for those with allergies
  • Built-in HEPA filtration and air purifier
  • Comes with 6 pleated furnace filters

Cons:

  • Does not filter smoke or virus carriers
  • Expensive price point

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Buying Guide: What to Things When Choose a Furnace Filter 

a) Air Filter Type

Both temporary and permanent furnace filters are readily available in a wide variety of configurations. The normal lifespan of a disposable filter is 30–90 days, while there are longer-lasting variants available (up to 6–12 months). Most inexpensive disposable furnace filters are constructed of fiberglass and can only filter out bigger dust and dirt particles. Synthetic filter media, which has a higher capacity to catch air pollutants, is another option.

When properly cared for, permanent furnace filters can serve you for many years. Filters for heating systems of this type require extensive washing and rinsing to remove debris and pollutants.

It is possible to install an electrostatic filter on either a disposable or a permanent furnace filter. To capture dust and other particles, these filters use material that is permanently charged (often cotton or paper).

b) MERV Rating

The ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) created the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating system so that consumers could easily evaluate the filtration efficiency of different brands of air cleaners.

The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) for furnace filters is 1. Filters with a MERV rating of 1 are the least efficient, filtering out particles as large as 10 microns, while filters with a MERV rating of 16 can collect particles as fine as 0.30 to 1 micron.

A filter with a MERV value of 1 to 4 could be enough for most standard household needs. However, a MERV 5 to MERV 8 filter is the superior option for most houses. It’s recommended that you get a filter with a MERV 9 rating or above if you want to improve air quality and cut down on allergies.

c) Filter Performance Rating

The Home Depot has created its own ranking system called the Filter Performance Rating (FPR). It takes into account the filter’s lifetime, its capacity to trap large and tiny particles separately, and any weight gain due to particle capture. To help customers select the best furnace filter, it ranks filters from decent to better to best to premium and gives each a score out of 10.

d) Filter Material

Filter media for heating appliances can be made from a variety of materials, such as fiberglass, cotton, polyester, or synthetic fibers. It’s common knowledge that fiberglass furnace filters are the most budget-friendly disposable option. While their low air resistance makes them easier for HVAC systems, their inability to trap smaller particles means that only larger debris is removed. Pleated furnace filters, whether they’re comprised of cotton paper or synthetic fibers, have the advantage of a higher filtration rate but may reduce airflow. The filters used in heating systems can be removed and washed if they are made of cotton or synthetic fibers.

FAQs

It’s only normal to have questions regarding the best furnace filter for your home, given the wide selection of filters available, each of which claims to do an excellent job of filtering the air and capturing dust and other airborne particles.

i) What is the best MERV rating for furnace filters?

While the highest MERV rating is 20, the highest quality filters are typically only installed in hospitals and universities. In the case of home heating systems, a rating of 12 is optimal.

ii) Do higher MERV ratings decrease airflow?

As the MERV rating increases, airflow restriction typically follows. However, the limitations have little to no effect when applied in a domestic context.

iii) Is a thicker furnace filter better than a thinner one?

The opposite is not always true. Denser, thicker filters are better at trapping dust and other particles, but they may make your heating system work more to draw in air. Be sure to only use filters of the type and thickness suggested by the furnace’s maker.

iv) What is the best type of furnace filter for viruses?

Most home furnaces cannot pull air through a dense HEPA filter, but according to a CNN report, HEPA filters with MERV ratings of 17 to 20 are optimal for preventing the transmission of viruses.

v) How often should you change your furnace filter?

Filters for heating systems often come in packs of four to six since they need to be swapped out every two to three months. Some alternatives, however, can go nine to twelve months without being replaced.

Conclusion

The Filtrete Allergen Defense is the best furnace filter available, in our opinion. The MERV 11 rating indicates that this air filter captures particles more effectively than others. Being an electrostatically charged filter, it draws in and traps particles of dust and the like. However, if you’re merely looking to extend the life of your HVAC system by catching big particles, the Rheem Indoor Air Filter is a great cost-effective option. These filters typically come in packs of three or more and have a MERV 8 rating.

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