How to Choose the Best Furnace Filter [2023 Edition]

So you've finally decided to invest in a higher-quality furnace filter, but you have run into one problem - where do you even begin? With the various types of air filters on the market today, it can be hard to decipher what to look for and how to gauge what constitutes a high-quality air filter. In today’s article, we will discuss the different factors to consider when purchasing a new furnace filter.

Why is Air Quality So Important?

In the past, air quality was a topic that was often overlooked and not taken very seriously; however, in recent years, this topic has received an increasing amount of attention. This is because people are becoming more aware of the health implications caused by poor air quality. While we do not have direct control over our outdoor air quality, we have a lot of control over our indoor air quality. 

This is especially important since, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.” 

sources of indoor air pollution

The EPA explains that many negative health implications come along with poor indoor air quality. These include (but are not limited to):

  • Irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat
  • Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue
  • Respiratory diseases, heart disease, and cancer

So, how can you improve your indoor air quality to prevent these adverse health effects? By utilizing a high-efficiency furnace filter. Fortunately, a wide selection of furnace air filters are available in the market, giving you plenty of options to consider. Unfortunately, not all furnace filters are created equal.

Let's dive into the different factors to consider (and why they are essential) when looking for your new AC filter.

Size Matters 

The most common problem people face with their furnace filters is that they often don't fit in their AC unit correctly. This is because they don’t require a standard-size air filter; they actually need an odd, custom-sized one. The big-box stores like Walmart, Home Depot, and Amazon typically carry the standard nominal filter sizes, but lack inventory in the odd in-between sizes. Because of this, homeowners are forced to purchase filters that don’t fit their AC units, and must maneuver them to fit the best they can. 

The issue with using the wrong size air filter is that it causes a hindrance to your furnace’s overall performance. This means two things - First, the air you are breathing will not be adequately filtered, leaving you to breathe dirty, unfiltered air in your home. Second, because the air being circulated is unfiltered and dirty, this will then cause your air conditioner coils to collect residue and become filthy as well. 

dirty ac coils

This doesn’t do anyone any good and can cost you your health, time, and a lot of money in the long run. What is the solution? Look for a furnace filter company that offers custom-sized air filter options. This will ensure that your air filter fits perfectly every time, leaving you to breathe clean, healthy air.

What Are You Made Of?

Having a furnace filter that fits correctly is a great first step, but it is also crucial to pick the best air filter material based on your needs. The effectiveness of your furnace filter relies heavily on the material it is made of, so this step cannot be overlooked. 

There are plenty of air filter materials available, some of which include:

  • Paper
  • Foam
  • Polyester
  • Cardboard
  • Carbon
  • Aluminum
  • Steel
  • Fiberglass
  • Plastic

Every material is different and offers a specific level of filtration to address homeowners’ various needs. offers four main filter media types - BioSponge, BioSponge Plus, BioPleat, and MicroSponge - all made of a unique polyester blend. Although all four media types are effective, they have different filtering capabilities. 

For example, the BioSponge filter is best for filtering out lint, dust, debris, pollen, mold, pet dander, mildew, and bacteria, while the MicroSponge is effective against all of the above plus filtering out smoke as well.

Another thing to look out for is the MERV rating of your material. The air filters that most people use in their homes range anywhere from MERV 7 to MERV 14. Anything higher than that may restrict your airflow, which can hurt your AC system and cause breakdowns over time.

Your current situation will determine the type of filter material you will need to utilize.

Is Your Health Worth It? Let’s Talk Budget

furnace filter cost

We know that money plays a massive role in determining the air filter you choose. With all the costs associated with homeownership, the last thing you want is another costly and unnecessary expense. This is why it is crucial to choose an air filter that is both effective and also fits within your current budget. Lucky for you, there are filters available at every price point. This makes purchasing a new air filter accessible for everyone.

Regardless of your budget, choosing the cheapest furnace filter tends to be the most popular choice; however, try to avoid compromising your air filter quality for cost. For example, if you select a very inexpensive and low-quality filter, you will most likely pay for the damages your AC unit will endure over time. On the other hand, if you choose a more expensive air filter that is very high quality, this may become quite costly and not a very maintainable option either. 

Please be sure to weigh both sides to determine what works best for your situation and your wallet.


With so many different types of air filters available, it can be challenging to determine which one is best for you and your family. As you are doing your own research, please make sure you are considering factors such as air filter size, air filter material, and overall cost. This decision impacts your health and wellbeing, so please take your time to ensure your next filter checks all of these boxes. This will help keep your home happy and healthy for years to come.

Healthy people

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