Do you want to know the best air filters for home so you can stop breathing in dust and dander? How would you like to see improved home air quality?

The best air filters for home on a budget (Breath Easier!)

Do you want to know what the best air filters for home HVAC use is without overspending?

How would you like to breathe high quality air, remove odors, and remove dust and dander from your home?

Finding the right air filter can help you accomplish all that and more.

That’s all it takes!

Luckily for you, today I’m breaking down the best air filters so you can breathe easy without having to read countless reviews.

Here’s what’s inside:

  1. How to install a HVAC filter
  2. What should you look for in a furnace filter?
  3. The best air filters for home

Note: It’s important to note that HVAC filters are sometimes referred to as furnace, ac, or central air filters. Either way, it means the filters in your home’s air system.

Do you want to know the best air filters for home so you can stop breathing in dust and dander? How would you like to see improved home air quality?

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How to install a HVAC filters

Generally, you should replace your furnace filter every 90 days. If you suffer from allergies or experience symptoms of a dirty furnace filter, you may want to replace the filter sooner.

The first step in replacing your filter is determining what size replacement you need. Typically you can find the size by looking at the old filter. If no filter is installed, measure the space the filter should be installed into.

Nordic Pure filter dimensions

Source: Nordic Pure AC and Furnace Air Filters

In the picture above, the air filter size is 20 x 25 x 5. Air filter size is determined by Width x Height x Depth.

Air conditioning units typically come in two different ways. The first style of air conditioner includes a filter inside your home, typically near the air return or thermostat. The second style locates the filter near the central unit, typically located in your garage.

Related: How to install a furnace filter with simple instructions

Replacing an air filter at the return air duct

Expertvillage created a great video showing you how to change an air filter located inside your home, at the return duct.

See it on YouTube

  1. Turn your furnace off – Go to your thermostat and turn your heating and conditioning off. This will make it easier for you to change the filter.
  2. Locate your air filter – Your air filter is located on the return air duct which is usually located by your thermostat.
  3. Open the return louver – Look for little tabs that rotate out which releases the louver (grill cover).
  4. Inspect your filter – I typically change my air filter every 3 to 6 months. Check the amount of dirt on the air filter. A little amount of dirt is ok to brush off and reinstall, but you’ll want to change a dirty filter.
  5. Replace your filter – Install the new filter with the flow indicating arrows towards the duct.
  6. Replace the louver – Put the louver back in place and rotate the tabs back, locking the cover.

Success! You’ve installed a new air filter located inside your home.

Replacing an air filter at your central unit

888 Heating and Air Conditioning put together a video that shows you how to replace a home air filter located at your central unit.

See it on YouTube

  1. Turn your furnace off – Go to your thermostat and turn your heating and conditioning off. This will make it easier for you to change the filter.
  2. Locate your central unit – Typically, your HVAC unit will be located inside of your garage. Ideal installation is suspended above the ground, so you may need a ladder to access the filter box.
  3. Open your filter box
  4. Inspect your filter – I typically change my air filter every 3 to 6 months. Check the amount of dirt on the air filter. A little amount of dirt is ok to brush off and reinstall, but you’ll want to change a dirty filter.
  5. Insert your new filter – Make sure the flow indicator arrows are installed in the correct direction.
  6. Reinstall your filter box cover

Success! You’ve installed a new filter at your central unit.

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What should you look for in a furnace filter?

Filter effectiveness (Filtration rating)

The first step is to look at the filter’s efficiency or performance rating. The filter’s ability to filter is the most important purchasing decision.

Filter effectiveness is measured differently, depending on the manufacturer of the filter. Here are common filter ratings you might find in store.

  • MERV – MERV stands for minimum efficiency rating value. Home use values for MERV typically range from 1 to 13, higher being better filtration. Hospital and industrial values for MERV range from 14-20.
  • FPR – If you shop at Home Depot, you will find filters with a FPR (Filter Performance Rating). FPR is based on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best filtration.
  • MPR – Filters designed and manufactured by 3M will have a Micro-Particle Performance Rating (MPR). Good filters have a MPR of 1,500 to 1,900 MPR.

I know this information sounds cool and all, but how do you compare MERV vs. FPR vs. MPR? Thankfully, Air Filters Delivered put together a handy chart explaining the difference between filter ratings. I’ve summarized the chart below:

MERV vs MPR vs FPR
MERV vs MPR vs FPR

Typically, the lower the filter rating the lower the cost. At the very minimum, I recommend getting a filter with a MERV of 8 or better. However, if you have pets, smoke, live in a large city, or have allergies then a MERV of 11 or better would be best.

Still not sure which MERV rating is best? Check out our guide on selecting a MERV rating for your home.

HEPA or Electrostatic filter

You may want to consider purchasing a HEPA or Electrostatic filter. While not critical to your decision to buy a filter, each type may provide an additional level of filtration.

HEPA stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance.”  Each filter is manufactured and tested to meet specific criteria. HEPA filters are designed with ultra fine glass strands which captures nearly 100% of particles 0.3-micron or greater (really small dust).

Some of the best air filters for home use are HEPA filters, but they can cost more. Choosing a HEPA filter may be more critical if you suffer from allergies or are more sensitive to viruses and bacteria.

Electrostatic filters use electricity to capture dust particles (static electricity). As electrostatic filters dirty, they become less efficient and require cleaning more often. Typically, pleated HEPA filters provide better filtration, but you should consult the manufacturers filtration rating.

Related:

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The best air filters for home

Nordic Pure Pleated

Nordic Pure Pleated MERV 12
Nordic Pure Pleated MERV 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See MERV 12 Nordic Pure Pleated Filter

Nordic Pure is one of the best air filter brands available. It’s my filter of choice and what I use in my home HVAC unit.

The MERV 12 pleated filter is going to handle nearly every single dust, dander, and airborne particle. If you still want a higher MERV rating, Nordic Pure offers pleated filters up to a MERV of 15!

This particular filter is designed with a antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and electrostatic filter media. In other words, this home air filter kicks some serious butt when it comes to home air quality.

The Nordic Pure filter is a popular choice among home owners. The MERV 12 pleated filter is an Amazon best seller and Amazon’s choice.

Nordic Pure Pleated – The good reviews

I’m not the only one that agrees these filters are amazing. R. Martin has a lot of animals and uses a fireplace regularly. The Nordic Pure pleated filters capture loose animal hair and fireplace soot, keeping the air clean.

Nordic Pleated filter review

A common theme among purchasers is these filters are built sturdy. The last thing you want is to install a filter that might get a hole in it during normal HVAC operation.

The price for the Nordic Pure filters is perfect for any family. You can often find these filters from $10-30 and you only need to replace them 2-4 times a year. The cost is simply amazing compared to other filters.

Nordic Pure price comparison
Customer Review for Nordic Pure home air filter

Overall, customer satisfaction is high. At the time of writing this article, one listing shows Nordic Pure MERV 12 air filters with a 4.3 out of 5 rating. 84 percent of reviewers gave the air filters a 4 star or better.

Nordic Pure Pleated – The bad reviews

Allergy and asthma sufferers recommend going with a MERV 13 filter or higher. Most people notice a significant difference when switching from a MERV 12 to a 13.

Nordic Pure MERV 13 allergy sufferer
Nordic Pure MERV 13 allergy sufferer

A common complaint is the filters are undersized from the advertised dimensions. However, I can’t fault Nordic Pure for this because the actual size is clearly labeled in the product description.

Nordic Pure Actual Size
Nordic Pure Actual Size

As you can see, the width and length are 1/2 inch short and the thickness is short by 1/4 inch. This is done so that each filter can fit in all filter boxes approximately 20x25x1.

Having an undersized filter in a filter housing can leave a gap around the filter which air can pass through. Yes, this can be annoying but it can be tough to find the perfect size filter for the right filter housing size. The best thing you can do is to add weather stripping in your filter housing to help seal the filter better.

Nordic Pure Pleated + Carbon filters for odor

Nordic Pure Pleated Carbon MERV 12
Nordic Pure Pleated Carbon MERV 12

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See Nordic Pure Pleated MERV 12 with Carbon

Does your house reek of odor from who knows where?

Maybe your son refuses to clean his room, causing a stench of dirty gym shorts that seeps into your main living space.  Or does your daughter use so much perfume that you’re certain the smell has soaked into the walls.

Either way, using a carbon home air filter will significantly reduce the odor.

How much different is this filter than a standard pleated MERV 12 filter from Nordic Pure? The only major difference is the odor control. You can still get a pleated filter with carbon with a filter rating as high as MERV 15.

Filtrete Smart Air 1900 Furnace Filter

See Filtrete Smart Air 1900 Furnace Filter

The Filtrete Smart Air 1900 filter is the best filter for allergy sufferers who love technology.

Comparable to a MERV 13, this air filter will improve your home’s air quality. The Smart Air 1900 filter is certified allergen and asthma friendly.

Download the smart app to track your filter’s life based on usage, not an arbitrary time frame of 3 to 6 months. With the smart app, you know when it’s time to replace your filter.

The Filtrete Smart Air filter is Amazon Dash Certified. Dash Certification will automatically reorder the filter for you. Typically, Amazon offers a discount when you sign up for the Dash program which can save you money.

The smart technology built into this filter makes it one of the best air filters for home!

Filtrete Smart Air 1900 furnace filter – The good reviews

The 1900 furnace filter is comparable to a MERV 13 filter. Going higher than a MERV 13 may not be recommended for your specific furnace because air flow might become restricted. However, the Smart Air 1900 provides a good balance between air flow and effective filtration.

Filtrete 1900 review

The Smart Air filter tends to be a tight fit air filter. Make sure the size you are ordering will work with your filter housing. A tight fit will reduce the amount of unfiltered air making it through your HVAC unit.

Multiple pet owners notice a significant improvement in air quality when they switch to the Filtrete Smart Air 1900.

Filtrete 1900 Pet review

Filtrete Smart Air 1900 furnace filter – The bad reviews

While the Filtrete Smart Air 1900 is perfect for the techno kids, others seem to struggle with the Smart App idea. Some people reported having problems pairing the Bluetooth to their iOS or Android smart phones.

Other people question if Bluetooth pairing is too much, asking, “Why do we need to ability to monitor filter performance from our smartphone?” Yes, this feature does add a little cost but it can save you from changing your filter prematurely.

Bluetooth pairing is a handy feature when your filter housing is in a hard to access area, such as your attic or crawlspace. Who wants to crawl beneath their house only to find a clean filter?

FilterBuy pleated furnace filter

See it on Amazon

FilterBuy is a good economical choice for your furnace filter with a MERV 8 rating. MERV 8 should be sufficient if you don’t have pets or smoke at home.

Choosing a lower rated filter can help your HVAC system last longer. Some furnaces aren’t designed to use a higher MERV filter and can cause flow restriction which can damage your unit.

Typically, sticking with a MERV 13 or less is acceptable for home use.

Overall FilterBuy review

Overall, Filterbuy provides a great standard filter. People love the price and consider FilterBuy a good option for a family on a budget.

Some people say these filters work just as great, if not better, as the expensive filter brands. The filter is constructed of durable material and lasts about 3 months.

The biggest complaint with the FilterBuy products is people are having problems with the filters being damaged upon delivery. The filters are most likely being damaged in transit, but there are a few instances of this occurring.

Overall the FilterBuy filters receive a positive review, currently sitting at 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

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Summary: The best air filters for home

We’ve covered a lot about replacing your home’s furnace filter, but here’s the basics.

  • Locate your filter – You may have a central unit in your garage or a filter located at the air return.
  • Figure out your filter size – Look at your old filter or measure the filter housing.
  • Determine your MERV rating – The higher the MERV rating, the better the filtration based on a score of 1-13.
  • Purchase a new filter and install – The filters we listed above are some of the best air filters for home available. I recommend Nordic Pure as my personal favorite.

Do you want to save more money for your family? Check out our free budgeting and save money course. The course is full of information to help you find ways to save money.

Do you have any questions about the best air filters for home? Let me know in the comments below!