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The Furnace and Air Conditioner Filters We Would Buy - 2022

homeowner woman changing home air conditioning air filter

We get it, knowing which air filter to buy is way harder then it should be. Luckily we have secured a review and breakdown from a professional refrigeration mechanical engineer. We hit our professional with all the hard hitting HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) air filter questions that you need to know.

Insider Tip #1

You may see an advertisement for your home furnace air filters, or maybe your air conditioner filters, next week you may see a deal for HVAC filters. A tip from our professional; No matter the name, as long as the dimensions and MERV ratings are what you desire, you can purchase them knowing, that they are the same product. 

What are filter MERV ratings?

Things to know before we start

Air filter MERV ratings stand for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” which is a measurement scale designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

MERV filter ratings were designed to show the worst-case performance of an air filter. The higher the MERV rating, the higher amount of particles are removed from the air.

Industry insider recommends Americans to buy air filters with MERV ratings between 7 and 12. Filters above MERV 14 are likely going to cause reduced performance and potentially costly system failures due to the high resistance the place on the fan.

This table was sourced via Wikipedia.org and it provides an easy to follow relationship between MERV filter ratings and their filtration ability.

MERVMinimum particle sizeTypical controlled contaminantTypical application
1–4> 10.0 μmPollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, carpet fibersResidential window A-C units
5–810.0–3.0 μmMold spores, dust mite debris, cat and dog dander, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids, pudding mixBetter residential, general commercial, industrial workspaces
9–123.0–1.0 μmLegionella, humidifier dust, lead dust, milled flour, auto emission particulates, nebulizer dropletsSuperior residential, better commercial, hospital laboratories
13–161.0–0.3 μmBacteria, droplet nuclei (sneeze), cooking oil, most smoke and insecticide dust, most face powder, most paint pigmentsHospital and
general surgery
What to know more about air filter MERV ratings?

For additional information on MERV air filter ratings, please click the below “Detailed Explanation” heading to expand further without leaving this page.

As mentioned above, air filter MERV ratings stand for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” which is a measurement scale designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).

The scale is designed to show the worst case performance of a filter when exposed to particles 0.3 to 10 micrometers in size. The MERV value is from 1 to 20, the higher the MERV rating, the higher amount of particles are removed from the air.

MERV 16 filters capture more than 95% of particles over the full range, but they are not recommend for everyday residential heating systems due to their high pressure drop.

HOW THEY ARE TESTED

An air filter’s performance is determined by measuring the amount of particles that are removed from the air that passes through the filter media.

Particles are measured across six different scales, beginning with a clean filter and then covering five differing levels of standard synthetic ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers) dust loadings and particles sizes. 

Laboratories use aerosol generators to spray particles of set sizes into the air filters air stream for efficiency testing purposes. Overall there are twelve different particle sizes that are dispersed, collected and weighed to complete the test.

A filters performance for each of the twelve particle sizes is logged over a total of six test. Data compiling of a total of 72 results is then filtered for the lowest values across the six tests, this data is then used to determine the Composite Minimum Efficiency Curve. Using the lowest results to determine a filters filtration level removes any confusion or misinterpretation from the completed test data.

THE RESULTS

Twelve size ranges are then allocated to 3 larger groups determined by their overall particle size. The three groups cover E1 (particles 0.3 to 1.0 µm) in size, E2 (particles 1.0 to 3.0 µm) in size and E3 (particles 3.0 to 10.0 µm) in size. The average Composite Minimum Efficiency across the the three groups represents the calculated average PSE (Particle Size Efficiency), a filters PSE across E1, E2 and E3 is used to determine an air filters MERV filtration level.

Comparing apples with apples

Lots of brands use different measurements to market their filters, which is very annoying and difficult to understand. The below table shows the a comparison between the Nordic Pure air filter MERV ratings and FPR / MPR rated air filters. 3M filters are often marketed with a MPR (microparticle performance rating), while the Home Depot use a FPR (filter performance rating).

MERVFPRMPR
75600
86800
1181200
13102400

Learn how to buy air filters by MERV rating

Our filtration experts top choices will help you narrow down the perfect air filter for your home or office. We are going to cover off a range of environments from everyday American homes to allergy suffers, pet owners and budget sensitive consumers in the below list.

Our Picks

  • Best overall air filter in 2022
  • Best air filters for everyday Americans
  • Best air filters for allergy sufferers
  • Best air filters for pet owners
  • Best air filters for cost savings
Product Best Choice Award Badge

Nordic Pure MERV 8 + CARBON

Our top choice for Best Overall Air Filter

Sufficient filtration efficiency for most American families. Reduced running costs, increased performance and added Activated Carbon for odor control.

Best Overall Air Filter 2022

Nordic Pure MERV 8 Plus Activated Carbon furnace air filters were a hands down winner for our professional engineer, and he strongly recommended them for all Americans unless they had a serious reason to upgrade to a higher MERV rating. 

Higher MERV ratings increase the pressure on the furnace, air conditioner or boilers fan, causing it to slow down and reduce the overall performance. A large number of failures and breakdowns can be linked to customers upgrading to a higher MERV rated filter.

Nordic Pure MERV 8 aIR fILTERS

Our top choice for everyday Americans 

Affordable and suitable for most American family homes and businesses. Reduce dust and protect your system at the same time.

Best Air Filters For Everyday Americans

Déjà vu he’s banging on again about how great the Nordic Pure MERV 8 air filters are, this time not recommending the Activated Carbon option, admitting most Americans most likely don’t require this additional premium home odor control option.

The Nordic Pure MERV 8 air filters supplied through Filters2Go, remove between 70 & 85% of particles between 3.0 & 10.0 microns in size from the air within your home, this includes; mold spores, household dust, hair sprays, dust mites, pollen, textile fibers and more.

Fresh you home with Nordic Pure furnace filters

Inside Tip #2

Own pets or just sensitive to smells? Our professional has mentioned that they often use Activated Carbon air filters for odor control with great success.

Activated Carbon works by absorbing odors as air passes through the filter, it’s basically a sponge collecting nasty odor causing chemicals.

Running the fan with Nordic Pure Activated Carbon air filters will gradually collect and reduce the amount of odors in your home or office.

 

Nordic Pure MERV 13 + CARBON

Our top choice for allergy sufferers

High performing, removing more than 90% of the allergy causing pollens and pet dander from the air. Added Activated Carbon for added odor control.

Best Air Filters For Allergy Sufferers

Myself and our professional are both victims to yearly hay fever and random allergies throughout the year. I now know the inside secrete and should be buying MERV 13 rated Nordic Pure filters to help control my debilitating  sneezing and watery eyes on home.

MERV 13 air filters capture more than 90% of particles like vehicle emissions, mold spores, pollen, pet dander and more. Filters rated MERV 13 provide the maximum level of filtration available to most American homes due to the heavy resistance they put on the furnace / air conditioners fan.

Nordic Pure MERV 12 + CARBON

Our top choice for pet owners

MERV 12 + Activated Carbon filters are great for pet owners. Improve indoor air quality by reducing pet dander and odors.

Best Air Filters For Pet Owners

HVAC featured guest owns 2 Golden Labradors named Wendy and Sam.. How adorable and fitting for this question! Our expert advice points us towards MERV 12 Plus Carbon air conditioner air filters. If you own dogs like Labradors, you will know of the doggy stench that can overcome the house. The MERV 12 Plus Activated Carbon filters will reduce odors and filter out pet dander, while offering consumers a balance between filtration and annual replacement costs.

Also depending on the amount of pet shedding within the home, you may need to replace your furnace air filter on a more regular basis. 

A general guide for how often you should change your air filter
  • 1″ and 2″ furnace filters: Every 1 – 3 months
  • 3″ and 4″ furnace filters: Every 6 – 9 months
  • 5″ and 6″ furnace filters: Every 9 – 12 months

As mentioned above, this is a general guide and some air filters will need to be replaced more often. The amount of use, local environment, type and quantity of pets all contribute to slowly blocking your air conditioners filters.

Inside Tip #3

Always write the date that you changes your own or customers filters on the air filter itself. This makes it easy to check in the future and saves double guessing yourself and potentially spending more on filters than you need to. 

Nordic Pure MERV 7 Air Filters

Our top choice for cost savings

Our top choice for cost savings are the MERV 7 air filters through Filters2Go. The low price and free US shipping make these a great budget sensitive choice.

Best Air Filters For Cost Savings

Industry insiders top choice for cost savings and to keep building managers happy, are the Nordic Pure MERV 7 furnace air filters through Filters2Go.com MERV 7 filters provide appliance protection while still filtering out dust and large particles from the air.

Another benefit of MERV 7 air filters is improved overall system performance. With less filter restriction, HVAC (heating, ventilation & air conditioning) systems are able to run more efficiently, if you have a system that struggles during the depths of winter, try using MERV 7 filters for a noticeable difference.

Insider Tip #4

Do as I say not as I do… Don’t listen to those big stores when they talk about the convenience of purchasing a single air filter. Just like the big stores, you should buy your air filters in bulk amounts, often Filters2Go provide quantities of 12 and 24 so customers can lock in great prices. This tip can save you considerable time and hundreds of $ over the lifespan of the air conditioner.

How to replace your air filter

Follow the below video instructions to help guide you through a typical furnace air filter replacement. Having the ability to change your own air filters can save you considerable amounts of money, give you more independence and overall satisfaction knowing your air filters are clean and replaced on time. 

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3 comments

  1. I have been dating my air filters for years and my family say I have OCC lol.
    The carbon filters really do a great job with overall freshness.

  2. I second the carbon filters, really worth the extra couple dollars.

  3. Good read, went with the every day American choice. I will come back and let you know my thoughts after a month of use. Regards Ray

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