Filters, Filters, Filters – Which ones are best?

Filters, Filters, FiltersThere are a variety of air filters on the market that can significantly improve the air quality of your home. These are an efficient way to manage pollutants and improve your comfort and well-being. Indoor air pollution is associated with many health problems such as allergies, sinus conditions, and more serious illnesses. Air filters can help protect you and your family from harmful contaminants.

Types of Air Filters

You can buy dedicated air filters that purify the air in a room. However, the first place to look when it comes to air quality is your HVAC system. It’s essential to have a quality filter to clean the hot or cool air blowing into your rooms. There are several types of HVAC air filters. One way to measure their effectiveness is by looking at the MERV or minimum efficiency reporting value, a standard created by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers. MERV ratings are from 1 to 20. Let’s look at some of the most common types of air filters as well as the pros and cons of each.


Flat panel fiberglass filters are disposable filters and the most common variety in commercial HVAC systems. Fiberglass reinforced by metal filters particles.

  • Pros – Inexpensive, durable, efficient for protecting HVAC system.
  • Cons – MERV rating is 1-4, which is lower than other filter types.


Made with polyester or other pleated media, these filters look similar to fiberglass filters but are more efficient.

  • Pros – MERV rating of 5 to 13 keeps out more dust particles than fiberglass filters. There are also high-efficiency filters with MERV ratings of up to 16.
  • Cons – Like fiberglass filters, ones made from pleated media are not effective at filtering very small particles.


Electrostatic filters last longer than fiberglass or pleated filters. They are mainly used to filter coarse dust particles. These types of filters are more commonly used in commercial facilities than residences.

  • Pros – Durable and long-lasting.
  • Cons – MERV rating of between 1 and 4 is about the same as fiberglass and not effective at filtering finer particles. Must be cleaned.


High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance or HEPA filters are able to filter even very fine particles.

  • Pros – Extremely efficient, catching more than 99 percent of all particles. MERV ratings of 17 to 20. Meet Department of Energy standards and are recognized by OSHA and the EPA.
  • Cons – More expensive than fiberglass or pleated filters. Mainly for commercial use as they are too large for most residential systems.

When considering the best air filter solution you have to consider cost, effectiveness and the type of HVAC system you have. Keep in mind that air quality can make a big difference to your comfort and health. Most people spend a great deal of time inside their homes so you want to ensure that you and your family are breathing clean air.

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