Best Furnace Filters of 2020

Updated
Categories Air Purification
Give your furnace the protection it deserves. 

Did you know that most people think the main purpose of a furnace filter is to clean the air you breathe? While this is a great added benefit, the primary function of the best furnace filter is to protect the blower fan. This is because contaminants in the air can cause it to break down.

In this article, we will be comparing how effectively each filter will protect your furnace. Don’t worry, though, we understand that air quality is an important factor for most people, so we will take this into account too.


Why You Need a Furnace Filter

The furnace in your home heats air in a continuous cycle. This means the same air is repeatedly traveling around your home. On its journey, it will inevitably pick up contaminants such as dust and dirt. Unfortunately, these pollutants are then fed back into your furnace and distributed around your home.

A furnace filter will prevent this. It will catch any contaminants before they enter your furnace and prevent it from breaking down. It also ensures the air you breathe is kept free from pollutants and allergens.

Choosing the Right Furnace Filter

When buying your filter, you’ll notice you keep seeing the same acronyms popping up. These are MPR, MERV and FPR. But what do they mean?

MPR

This stands for Microparticle Performance Rating and measures the ability of an air filter to trap particles smaller than 1 micron (1). It was created by 3M to assist consumers and is only used under this brand. Look for filters with an MPR of between 1,500–1,900.

MERV

MERV refers to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s a standardized scale to rate the effectiveness of air filters, taking into account health, costs and energy efficiency.

The higher the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, the finer the filter is, making it more effective. A normal air system at home can remove air pollutants using a filter with a MERV rating of between 6–13 (2).

Usually, the MERV for residential use extends up to 13. Nonetheless, a filter with a value between 8–11 is satisfactory for use in a residential home. All furnace filters on sale in the US feature a MERV rating.

But some people may want to purchase a filter with a value towards the higher end of the scale. This is especially so if the air around you is particularly susceptible to pollutants. For example, if you live in an area with building work nearby or have multiple pets in your home.

FPR

FPR is Filter Performance Rating and is a rating system developed by Home Depot and used to rank filters sold in their stores. This system is similar to the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value rating. However, please keep in mind that the two can’t be accurately compared (3).

How to Choose the Best Furnace Filter

Finding the right furnace filter can be a bit daunting. But with the right information, you’ll be able to select a product that successfully protects your furnace from contamination. You’ll also get peace of mind knowing that the air in your home is healthy and hygienic.

To help you, we’ve made a list of some of the important things to look out for.

Type

You’ll come across a variety of filters, the main ones being:

  • Fiberglass.
  • Polyester.
  • Electrostatic.
  • Pleated.
  • Washable.

Identifying your household’s requirements will allow you to decide on the optimal filter for you. You may require a better quality filter if there are more contaminants present in your home. For instance, if you have pets, smokers or home improvements creating dust.

Or perhaps someone in your household suffers from allergies. This makes it a top priority to keep the air in your home clean and free of allergens.

One of the most important factors is that the product will effectively filter airborne contaminants without significantly reducing airflow. This benefit is twofold. It increases the efficiency of your furnace and also keeps the air you breathe healthy.

Just remember to purchase a filter that’s labeled for residential use. This ensures that it’s suitable for your home.

Size

Your furnace will require a specific size filter so be sure to take note of this. If you buy the wrong size, it won’t fit your furnace properly and this will significantly reduce its ability to work efficiently.

The size will usually be displayed clearly on the product. However, if you are unsure, you can just grab a tape measure to check.

Thickness

The thickness of the filter determines its effectiveness at removing dust and dirt from the air feeding your filter and circulating your home. The most common thicknesses are 1 inch and 4 inches. Take care, though, because if your furnace uses a 1-inch filter, a 4-inch filter won’t fit.

Why Change Your Filter Regularly?

If left for too long, the collected particles may start to cause a blockage and restrict airflow. This means that your furnace begins to overwork as it fights to push the air through. This, in turn, increases your energy costs and may eventually lead to your furnace breaking down (4).

How Often Should You Change Your Filter?

In general, it’s advised to change your filter every 60 days. However, some can last for up to 90 days, depending on the model.

Filters will need to be changed sooner if multiple people live in your home. This is also the case if you have pets or the air around where you live is more polluted. You’ll also need more frequent changing if someone in the household has allergies (5).

Top Tip

Make a note in your calendar to remind you to replace your furnace filters regularly. This helps to achieve maximum cost efficiency and maintain good air quality in your home.

The Best Furnace Filters of 2020

Finding the most suitable product for your needs is important and we want to help you make the best decision. Using information from industry professionals and real user reviews, we’ve researched the best products available on the market today. Here’s our compilation of the best furnace filters.

1. Honeywell Ultra Efficiency Air Cleaning Filter

Most Compatible With Other Brands

Honeywell FC100A1029 16 x 25 x 4 Media Air Filter (MERV 11)
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With over 100 years of experience in this industry, you can rest assured that your Honeywell product is of good caliber.

This filter will not only effectively remove dust before it enters your furnace, but it has the added benefit of capturing microparticles. It will successfully filter more than 90 percent of air particles that flow through its system.

By using premium quality polypropylene and cardboard, Honeywell has ensured a more efficient filter than fiberglass options.

Another great feature is the built-in static pressure drop system. It helps to maintain optimal airflow through your furnace. This product is available in packs ranging from one unit to two units.

PROS:
  • MERV rating of 11.
  • Static pressure drop system.
  • Efficient filtration.
  • Good quality.
CONS:
  • Durability affected in dusty environments.

Additional Specs

Durability90 days
PleatedYes
Available in Different SizesNo
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value11
Number of Units in Each PackOne or two

2. Nordic Pure 4

Best Furnace Filter for Pet Owners

Nordic Pure 16x25x1 MERV 12 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filter, Box of 6
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With an MPR of 1500–1900 and MERV of 12, this filter could be an excellent choice. It works to protect your furnace and keep your air at home clean.

Equipped with an electrostatic filter, it successfully removes a significant amount of harmful air particles. We love that it efficiently targets dust, pollen and allergens.

This filter is also made from hypoallergenic and antimicrobial material. This great feature ensures bacteria and viruses do not find their way into your home.

This product is a go-to filter for homes with pets as it effectively removes particles shed by our furry friends. The frames are produced from recycled materials, making it an environmentally friendly option too.

With this choice, you don’t have to worry about changing it too regularly either. Its ability to deal with heavy-duty conditions such as pet dander increases its life-span.

PROS:
  • Pet-friendly.
  • Eco-friendly.
  • Durable.
CONS:
  • May reduce airflow.

Additional Specs

Durability30–90 days
PleatedYes
Available in Different SizesYes
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value12
Number of Units in Each PackSix

3. Filtrete Healthy Living Ultra Allergen Filter

Best Furnace Filter for Allergy Sufferers

Filtrete Healthy Living Ultra Allergen Reduction AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 1500, 16 x 25 x 1, 6-Pack
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Having earned a MERV of 11 and MPR of 1500, this filter can capture the smallest of particles. Wave goodbye to dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander and smoke. This product may be a great choice for anyone looking for that extra level of protection in their home.

It’s built with an electrostatic charge to ensure an optimum level of filtration. This is a useful feature to attract microscopic particles. The pleated design also increases the surface area, which ultimately makes this filter more efficient.

PROS:
  • Electrostatic-pleated filter.
  • Traps 90 percent of particles.
  • Captures bacteria and virus carriers.
CONS:
  • Durability affected with pet presence.
  • A little pricey.

Additional Specs

Durability90 days
PleatedYes
Available in Different SizesYes
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value12
Number of Units in Each PackSix

4. Filter Clean Living Basic Dust Filter

Most Affordable Furnace Filter

Filtrete 16x20x1, AC Furnace Air Filter, MPR 300, Clean Living Basic Dust, 6-Pack
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Are you looking for an affordable yet high-quality furnace filter to shield your home from dust and allergens? The Filtrete Clean Living air filter offers just that.

Filtrete is a reliable and recognized brand in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry. You can be sure that this filter will protect the longevity of your furnace. What’s more, it will keep the air you breathe at home healthy and hygienic.

Built with an MPR of 300, this filter will actively protect your furnace from debris that could lead to a blockage. The electrostatically charged fibers also help to attract large airborne particles which could cause allergies.

It’s compatible with high-velocity equipment, meaning it won’t compromise the efficiency of your furnace. It can achieve a high level of filtration without reducing the airflow through your system.

PROS:
  • Compatible with high-velocity equipment.
  • Effectively filters dust and grime.
  • Affordable.
CONS:
  • Residential use only.
  • Low MERV/MPR rating.

Additional Specs

Durability90 days
PleatedYes
Available in Different SizesYes
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value5
Number of Units in Each PackSix

5. AIRx Health MERV 13 Furnace Filter

Best All-Around Performance

AIRx HEALTH 16x25x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter - Made in the USA - Box of 6
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The AIRx is on our list, thanks to its all-around excellent performance, not to mention its MERV rating of 13. This is the highest rating available for residential use. This means that it will protect both you and your furnace from the smallest of harmful particles. You’ll even be safe from airborne viruses and bacteria!

It features AIRx’s highest pleat count to date, resulting in enhanced airflow. This reduces energy costs and improves its ability to retain particles.

It’s also equipped with health filters to safeguard you from small particles such as dust, debris, virus carriers and allergens. This can make it a good choice for anyone suffering from allergies.

To top it off, there is an electrostatic filter which helps to capture harmful air particles. This helpful feature will provide your furnace with extra protection from contaminants.

PROS:
  • Increased number of pleats.
  • Health filters.
  • Electrostatic filter.
CONS:
  • Noise.
  • Inaccurate product dimensions.

Additional Specs

Durability90 days
PleatedYes
Available in Different sizesYes
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value13
Number of Units in Each PackSix

6. FilterBuy Silver Furnace Filter

Best Furnace Filter for High-Humidity Areas

FilterBuy 20x20x1, Pleated HVAC AC Furnace Air Filter, MERV 8, AFB Silver, 4-Pack
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Great quality air filtration without breaking the bank is just one of the benefits this filter has to offer. With a MERV of 8, it’s designed to capture dust, dander, mold, smoke and pollen. It will effectively prevent the build-up of dust in your furnace.

The frames are made of beverage board. As a result, they can withstand temperatures of up to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. This could make it an ideal choice for areas with high-humidity.

The Air FilterBuy Silver features an improved level of filtration. It protects you from 90 percent of harmful air that would ordinarily be circulating your home. With up to 14 pleats per foot, its increased surface area means it’s able to attract more particles and last longer.

It has also been classified by Underwriters Laboratories as Class 2. This product is recommended for both residential and commercial use.

PROS:
  • Increased filtration.
  • High quality.
  • Traps 90 percent of particles.
CONS:
  • Inaccurate product dimensions.

Additional Specs

Durability90 days
PleatedYes
Available in Different SizesYes
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value8
Number of Units in Each PackFour

7. AirCare Furnace A/C Filter

Eco-Friendly Furnace Filter

Air-Care 20x24x1 Electrostatic Washable Permanent A/C Furnace Air Filter
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This filter may be a great option if you’re looking for a reusable product. The washable feature means you no longer need to keep replacing your filter. When the time comes, simply remove, rinse, dry and reinstall — as simple as that!

The washable feature also has the added benefit of saving you money. Once you buy it, a quick clean once a month is all there is to it. There will be no need to keep buying replacement filters every few months.

The AirCare Filter will trap up to 88 percent of airborne particles. With five layers of filtration and an electrostatic filter, it ensures harmful air particles don’t find their way into your furnace or your home. The electrostatic charge helps to increase its particle capturing capabilities.

It’s currently available in silver, gold and Flex. The latter option is ideal for tight installation spaces.

PROS:
  • Five layers of filtration.
  • Traps 88 percent of particles.
  • Washable feature.
  • Easy to clean.
CONS:
  • Improper washing can cause damage.
  • Not for all furnaces.

Additional Specs

DurabilityCheck every 30 days
PleatedNo
Available in Different SizesYes
Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value6
Number of Units in Each PackOne

Detailed Comparison Chart

ProductBestDurabilityPleatedAvailable in Different SizesMERVNo. of Units
Honeywell Air Cleaning FilterCompatibility90 daysYesNo111 – 2
Nordic Pure 4Pet Owners30–90 daysYesYes126
Filtrete Healthy Living Allergen FilterAllergy Sufferers90 daysYesYes126
Filter Clean Living Basic Dust FilterBudget Pick90 daysYesYes56
AIRx Health MERV 13 Furnace FilterAll-Around Performance90 daysYesYes136
FilterBuy Silver Furnace FilterHigh-Humidity Areas90 daysYesYes84
AirCare Furnace A/C FilterEco-FriendlyCheck every 30 daysNoYes61
Jump to the Full Furnace Filter Reviews

Identifying the Right Filter

Finding the best furnace filter to suit your everyday needs is no small task. However, when equipped with the right information, you’ll be able to make the best decision. You can then protect your furnace and the air you breathe.

When buying, keep in mind which characteristics are the most important for you and your household requirements. This will ensure you always get the maximum benefit from your purchase.

Just remember to change your filter regularly to keep your furnace well maintained and cost-efficient. We wish you luck with your future filter shopping endeavors!

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About the Author

Matthew Sullivan

As a writer with keen interests in DIY and HVAC, Matthew has always found great pleasure in taking things apart and learning how to put them back together.
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