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The Best Home Air Filters for Clean Air

man removing a ceiling air filter
Serenethos/Shutterstock

Regardless of the presence of COVID-19 or other viruses in our lives, we need clean air. Home air filters are one of the key steps toward protecting your family from a range of pollutants. They vary in terms of Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV). Even the lowest MERV filters take care of mold, pet dander, and dust mites; the highest MERV filters remove bacteria and viruses. Some filters available on the market are only compatible with certain HVAC brands, while others can be used in any filtration system. Here are some great options for air filters to use in your home.

What to Consider in Air Filters

Here are some things to consider:

  • HVAC Appliance: Purchase a filter compatible with your appliance. Check your appliance manual first, then search for the appropriate filter. Another important matter: make sure you have the correct measurements! Filters come in a range of sizes, so do your research before you purchase.
  • Filtration Goals: Even the most basic filter will take care of key pollutants. But as you move up the MERV scale, things change. You’ll find hospital-grade ones that remove viruses and bacteria. Some remove odor; others target smoke.
  • Material: Electrostatically-charged synthetic pleated media is used in many filters to provide high initial and high sustained efficiency throughout the life of a filter. There are also cotton filters and those with added carbon. Every material type has its purpose.

For Asthma & Allergies: Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter

Woman installing new air filter

This MERV 13 filter catches 62% of the microscopic particles floating around in the air! These include particles from coughing and sneezing droplets, bacteria, and viruses. Most notably, the Filtrate filter is certified by the Advanced Scientific Computing Research (ASCR) as asthma and allergy-friendly.

For Asthma & Allergies

Best Variety: Nordic Pure Air Filters

White pleated filter media

Nordic Pure filters are composed of electrostatically charged synthetic pleated material. As your HVAC system pulls air through the filter, the media ionizes it, eliminating airborne particles. Nordic Pure carries filters with varying degrees of carbon added, an element that adds an extra degree of protection. Choose from Pure Carbon, Pleated PLUS Carbon, Pleated AC and Furnace filters, and more.

Best Variety

Nordic Pure 20x25x1 MERV 12 Pleated AC Furnace Air Filters 3 Pack

Get pleated filters with carbon, filters with more carbon, and filters that iodize air in this pack.

Best Goals: Aprilaire Replacement Filters

Air replacement filter standing vertically

Aprilaire is a partner with the American Lung Association, so you know they take air quality seriously. The company targets four levels of protection to choose from: Clean Air, Healthy Home, Healthy Home + Odor Reduction, and Allergy, Asthma, & Virus. The corresponding MERV levels are 11, 13, 13, and 16, respectively.

Best Goals

Best Hospital-Grade: FilterBuy Air Filter MERV 13 Platinum

White air filter with lattice-patterned construction

Suitable for hospitals and homes, this Air FilterBuy model comprises synthetic, electrostatically charged, pleated media and is made to last three months. The MERV 13 media traps 98% of airborne particles. Its target users are those with respiratory illnesses, but the filter works for healthy individuals, too, of course. Who wants to breathe in bacteria, debris, mold, and lint?

Best Hospital-Grade

Best Design Options: Aerostar Home MERV 13 Air Filter

White filter with lattice-patterned design

This 100% synthetic electrostatic pleated air filter works with high efficiency, allowing for low airflow resistance. With MERV degrees 6, 8,11, and 13, plus an enormous filter size range, there’s little doubt that you’ll have trouble finding the model you need. It is best to change the filter every 30 days when your HVAC system is working to its max. For less frequent use, changing the filter every 60 to 90 days will work well.

Best Design Options

Aerostar 20x25x1 MERV 13 Pleated Air Filter, AC Furnace Air Filter, 6 Pack (Actual Size: 19 3/4"x 24 3/4" x 3/4")

With MERV 6, 8, 11, and 13, plus tons of filter range sizes, these filters have you covered.

Britta Kallevang Britta Kallevang
Britta is a professional writing tutor and freelance writer that is trained in journalistic, technical, and creative copywriting. At LifeSavvy, she researches products, writes about the items, and shares what she's uncovered with readers. Her writing is comprehensive and sometimes a bit silly. Read Full Bio »

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