Replacing your AC filters is as important as any other maintenance task. After all, your air conditioner’s filter will trap allergens, dust, contaminants, and other particles that can cause respiratory problems. For this part, you should use the best air filter for home AC to ensure topnotch efficiency and airflow.
In this post, I reviewed three of my recommended air filters you can get for a low price. I also included a guide at the bottom, so you’ll know which one suits your AC.
|AC FILTER||BRAND||EXPERT RATING||CHECK PRICE|
| Our Top Pick! |
Filtrete MPR 2200
|Nordic Pure MERV |
13 AC Filter
|Amazon Basics MERV |
8-11 AC Filter
Best Air Filter For Home – Top 3 Picks!
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Filtrete MPR 2200 AC Filter
Product Name: Filtrete MPR 2200 AC Filter
Product Description: When it comes to the best air filter for home AC, you’ll never go wrong with the Filtrete MPR 2200 AC Filter. This is a 6-pack set available in various sizes to suit your AC unit. You can also get this in 2-pack versions to save money. Moreover, this has an MPR 2200 filtration rating that features a 3-in-1 technology from 3M. It can filter tiny air particles while ensuring excellent airflow. This has a MERV 13 rating, which is the gold standard for most home air conditioning units. It can remove smoke, bacteria, pet dander, viruses, and more from the air. Overall, it has a 60% particle capture certified to be allergy and asthma-friendly.
Offer price: $$$
Value for Money
Aside from that, this filter will improve the performance of your heating and cooling systems. Just make sure that you change the filters every 90 days for the 1-inch thick version. Meanwhile, the 4 and 5-inch thick versions can last for up to a whole year. My Filtrete MPR 2200 AC Filters were put to the test when wildfires occurred near our place. It helped a lot in removing smoke and soot from the air, which saved my family from respiratory problems. However, these filters are in the expensive range, but it’s truly worth the money if you want clean air. Also, I don’t recommend using the thick ones in summer because it can make your AC overheat.
- MERV 13 rating
- Available in various thicknesses and sizes
- 3-in-1 technology by 3M
- Certified to be asthma and allergy-friendly
- Effective for pet dander and smoke
- It’s slightly pricey
- I don’t recommend the thick versions in summer.
Nordic Pure MERV 13 AC Filter
Another filter set I recommend is the Nordic Pure MERV 13. You can also get this in various MERV ratings and versions with added carbon for better filtration. Overall, this is available in MERV 10 to 15 to suit your air conditioning unit.
This is suitable for residential and commercial use, which is comparable to the MPR rating of around 2200. It’s also hypoallergenic and uses pleated electrostatic technology for topnotch efficiency.
Moreover, this filter is effective in neutralizing household odors, pet dander, allergens, and viruses. I also like that the filter uses a recycled frame made from used beverage board paper. So while you’re cleaning your home, you’re also doing your part of cleaning up landfills.
Overall, this is a great solid filter perfect for allergy sufferers. Installation is also a no-brainer, even if you’re not much of a handyman.
Still, I like that there’s no assembly needed for this filter. It also fits my AC unit quite well without too much effort. It also holds its shape for long, which is quite surprising for a filter with recycled materials.
However, I highly suggest that you look for the actual size of the filter. Don’t trust the ‘normal size’ on the listing, as it can be quite misleading. Other than that, these filters are right on the money, especially for homes located in highly polluted areas.
Amazon Basics MERV 8-11 AC Filter
My last pick for this roundup is the Amazon Basics AC Filter. This is available in MERV 8 and 11 ratings, both of which are offered at a lower cost than the two listed here.
Aside from that, the MERV 11 version has a rating comparable to that of MPR 1000 to 1200 or FPR 7. This is already a champ when it comes to removing pollen, lint, dust, and other 3 to 10 microns of particles in the air. It’s also helpful for allergy sufferers.
Moreover, this air filter uses recycled beverage board frames complete with wire mesh support. It also has electrostatically charged material for optimal performance.
For the best results, you need to change these filters every 60 to 90 days. For this price range, that’s more than reasonable in my opinion. It’s an excellent choice for homeowners on a budget.
The only thing I noticed is that these air filters are a bit flimsy, so you should practice extra care during installation. The consolation here is that these Amazon Basics filters don’t restrict airflow.
How to choose the best air filter for home AC
There are many air filters in the market, but not all of them fit your air conditioning unit. To ensure that you’ll get the right option, here are some points to keep in mind:
❄️Read the manufacturer’s guidelines
The first thing you should do is check your AC’s manual. This will indicate the filter type, filter size, and other configurations for the filter.
Take note that using the wrong type of filter can cause damages to your AC unit. Also, it won’t efficiently filter out particles.
❄️Washable vs. disposable AC filters
Many homeowners are torn between getting washable and disposable air filters. Take note that the option here goes beyond convenience.
Washable filters are economical, however, they are only efficient in filtering out larger particles like dust, pet fur, and the likes. It’s not the best option if you want to get rid of allergens, smoke, viruses, and bacteria. And if you fail to wash it regularly, the filtered dirt will recirculate in your home.
On the other hand, disposable filters cost more, but they will serve their purpose. This AC filter is effective in removing smaller particles in the air, which is much better for those who have respiratory problems.
In the end, it’s all about your preference and what fits your budget well.
The filter size is a make-or-break part because if it doesn’t fit, you can’t use it even if it has topnotch filtration. Most of the time, this is indicated on your unit’s manual.
But if you can find it, you can simply measure your existing filter. You have to get the length, width, and depth of the filter you currently have in your AC by inches. These are the three numbers you’ll often see on filter replacement packs (ex. 20x20x1).
However, if one of the measurements is fractioned, just round up to the nearest size.
Aside from the size, it’s also important to know the air filter rating you can get. Here are the most common you’ll find on the market:
HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Matter is widely used in AC units and furnaces because of its topnotch filtration. It can reduce dust and allergens at home, which is beneficial for those with asthma and other respiratory problems.
Smaller AC units are best fitted with HEPA filters instead of standard MERV 13. HEPA filters usually have a rating of MERV 17. This can trap up to 99.97% of air particles, which is also proven to capture bacterial and viruses.
Overall, HEPA filters are an excellent option for homes since it offers a higher level of safety. It also comes in medical-grade types for more efficient filtering.
MERV or Minimum Efficiency Value is developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). This rating indicates the ability of a filter to trap larger particles ranging from 0.3 to 10 microns. Basically, the higher the MERV rating is, the better.
Standard filters have a rating of MERV 13. This works by filtering less than 75% of all air particles with a size ranging from 0.3 to 1 micron.
My rule of thumb is to get air filters with a minimum rating of MERV 10. However, higher MERV ratings will also cost more.
MPR stands for Microparticle Performance Rating, which was developed by the brand 3M. This air filter has a rating that ranges from 600 to 2800.
Most MPR 600 filters are enough for small air conditioning units. However, if you want better filtration, I suggest that you get one with at least 800 to 1200 MPR Rating. This is already enough to filter out mold spores, dust, lint, pollen, pet dander, and similar particles.
However, if you’re keen to maintain topnotch air quality, you should consider an MPR rating of 1500 to 2800. These are pricey, but this is the best solution to capture allergens and pathogens.
Lastly, there are also FPRs which is a system by Home Depot. This stands for Filter Performance Rating and is a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest.
❄️Value for money
Lastly, always consider the value for money of the air filter. Never cut back on the efficiency of the filter, as this will greatly impact your family’s health.
Still, you don’t have to spend a fortune just to get a decent air filter. My three picks here are suitable for a wide range of budgets.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should I replace my AC air filters?
A: It’s advisable to clean or replace your air filters every 30 days. However, this depends on how often you use your AC and the pollution level in your home. Aside from that, there are pleated AC filters that can last for up to 6 months, which saves you from additional expenses.
Q: Do better air filters restrict my AC’s airflow?
A: High-end air filters have smaller holes so that they will restrict airflow to some level. But if you change it periodically, it will not damage your AC, and you won’t notice the airflow difference at all. Besides, a minor difference in airflow is nothing compared to the added safety you’ll enjoy.
Q: How long do air conditioner filters last?
A: Air conditioning filters can last between 30 days to 12 months. It depends on the type, quality, and pollution level in the installation area. However, you should know that long-lasting air filters will have a much higher price tag than ones that need frequent replacements.
Q: What happens if you put the AC filter backward?
A: When you wrongfully install an AC filter backward, the air will have a harder time passing through. This will lead the AC to compensate for the poor airflow. It will potentially increase your energy bill. Also, it will cause unnecessary wear and tear on your air conditioner.
Q: Are pricier filters worth it?
A: Pricier filters often have a higher efficiency rating. It can also filter other particles that standard types can’t sift. Just make sure that it’s the right match on your AC unit. You should also check the quality of the filter to ensure that it will last long and five the best value for your money.
Changing your air filters periodically is crucial to maintaining healthy indoor air quality. You should get the best air filter for home AC with top-notch filtration efficiency to eliminate as many air contaminants as possible. Above all, the filter should match the size of your AC as well as your budget. Overall, it’s still best to invest in air filters with proven quality.
What do you think of these air filters? Share your thoughts below!
Home Air Quality is founded by Bernard K to provide information on Indoor Air Quality in Homes and enlighten people about what they need to know about creating and maintaining a comfortable and healthy home environment.
We believe that “Quality air brings a healthy life.”