Review: Best Rated Furnace Filters

hepa air purifier

What is a Media Filter?

When deciding which furnace filter is best, media filters are a filter type you will quickly come across. Medai filters help to improve the indoor air quality of the air in your home by trapping particulates and removing them from your indoor air supply. When these pollutants and allergens are removed, it will reduce respiratory issues and lessen asthma symptoms. Media filters will be installed on a return duct line, which will trap pollutants and particulates when the air returns to be heated or conditioned.

Media air cleaners are contained in a metal cabinet and are designed to trap airborne particles within the filter media, preventing them from entering the air in the home. They come in a wide range of MERV ratings, which will let you know how effective it is at trapping the contaminants that pass through. Lower MERV ratings trap larger particles such as dust mites, pollen, and carpet fibers. Higher ratings trap smaller particulates, such as respiratory droplets, bacteria, and even viruses. Some of the highest-rated filters are strong enough to filter the air in hospitals, but these are not designed for residential settings.

How to Tell if a Media Filter Works Best in Your System

Many homeowners are unsure whether a traditional furnace filter or a media filter will be the best option for their systems. Both filters are designed to trap debris from the air and prevent it from moving into the air supply or your HVAC system components.

The primary difference is that media filters are designed to be more effective with forced air furnaces, such as Goodman systems. They can better prevent particles and allergens from getting into the air, improving your home's indoor air quality. Additionally, media filters are installed directly in your system and don’t require as frequent changes as traditional filters. While traditional filters can improve the air in your home slightly by removing contaminants, their primary function is not to improve the IAQ in your home.

The Benefits of a Media Filter

There are many benefits to choosing media filters to clean the air in your home. Some of the benefits are to the air quality of your home, and others are to your system. Some of the most significant benefits of a media filter include the following:

  • They are easily upgradeable: Media filters can be upgraded to higher MERV ratings without changing the media filter housing unit.
  • They are easy to maintain: Maintaining a media filter is simple. They operate more effectively and efficiently than traditional filters and only need to be replaced once a year instead of monthly or quarterly. Additionally, the process of changing it is simple. You simply open the door to the media housing unit, pull the old one out, put a new one in, and close the door.
  • They offer odor control: Some Media filters are designed with filter material that is carbon coated, which helps to remove smoke, pet, and other odors from the home so that they do not recirculate in the air.

What Furnace Filter Is Best in 2022? 

There are several filters on the market that are highly rated and effective at removing contaminants in your home. Below are just a few of the best furnace filter options on the market in 2022.


The MERV 11 filter is one inch thick and comes in various sizes. They are pleated air filters with a MERV rating of 11 and are disposable. The pleated filter material has an extra density which better traps allergens and blocks odors.

They are suitable for homes with allergy and asthma sufferers and have built-in HEPA filtration and air purifier capabilities to improve your home's air. The only drawback to these filters is that they are not designed to filter smoke or viruses and can be more expensive than other options.

Filtrete AC Furnace Air Filter

The Filtrete AC Furnace air filters come in at least 12 sizes and have a MERV-12 rating. This makes it the ideal choice for those looking for a little more efficiency at trapping smaller particles.

These filters utilize a 3-in-1 technology. This technology allows it to better trap pet dander, lint, soot, and even mold spores as it travels through the filter fibers. They can easily fit into even narrow filter housing units, making them work well with any system. They are also disposable, which allows for easy maintenance. The main con is that they do not filter out exhaust particles.

FilterBuy MERV 8

FilterBuy MERV 8 filters are highly-rated filters, but they only come in a 12”x20”x2” size. These pleated filters are available on Amazon or the Filterbuy store and are designed to work with multiple types of furnace and heat pump systems.

These filters are comparable to MPR 600 and FPR 5 and are designed to catch more than 90% of airborne particles and debris with little to no effect on the airflow. They are electrostatic filters that have a pleated design to trap more harmful types of particles. They also boast a lifespan three times higher than fiberglass options. The main drawback of this option is the cost.

Aerostar Allergen

Aerostar Allergen filters are one of the best-rated filters for homes with pets. They have a MERV 11 rating and are pleated and disposable. They are designed to block a high level of particles, including pet dander and pet fur, through electrostatic material that attracts these particles to them.

They are available in multiple sizes, making them ideal for any size system. This makes them an excellent option for a wide range of furnace types and sizes. They are designed to last up to three months, allowing for less frequent changes. The cons of these filters are that they are not intended to remove bacteria.

Filter King

The Filter King MERV 8 filter is designed to clean the air in your home, primarily if you reside in areas with high humidity. They offer mold protection and are designed to trap small particles, pollutants, and mold spores without restricting the airflow through the system.

The filter is disposable and comes in a 30”x30” size with widths of 1-inch to 2-inches. They are designed for longer use and can go for three months without being changed. They can trap emissions, humidity, dust, and legionella.

The main drawback is that they are not designed to trap and filter out bacteria, smoke, viruses, and microscopic allergens.

How to Tell What Filter You Have

When it comes time to change your filter, you will need to know what type of filter you have and its size. The best way to do this is by removing the filter from the slot in the HVAC system and checking its size and type. This doesn’t mean you can choose a different type of filter or upgrade to a high MERV rating or HEPA filter, but by knowing your current filter, you will be better able to determine which upgrades are possible.

Your Filter Size

The size is one of the most important things to know about your current filter. You will need to find the correct size when it comes time to replace your filter. Otherwise, your system will not work as efficiently as it should. There are a couple of ways you can determine the size of your filter.

Check the Label

If you currently have a filter in your system, the easiest way to determine the size is by removing the current filter and looking at it to find the filter size. The size will be printed along the edge and include the length, width, and thickness. The bolded numbers may be the size of the frame of a filter, which will differ from the actual size. The actual size will be listed in smaller print on the filter.

Measure the Filter

If you can’t locate the size of the filter written on it, you may have to measure it. Use a ruler or measuring tape and measure the length and the width of the filter minus the frame and the thickness.

How to Check Your Furnace Filter

Checking your filter regularly is a vital part of maintaining your HVAC system. When your filter becomes too clogged or dirty, it can block the airflow of your system and reduce its efficiency. In some cases, it can even lead to a breakdown.

Finding Your Air Filter

The first step toward checking and maintaining your air filter is locating it in the system. Most often, you will find the air filter in a compartment close to the air ducts and blower, right before the air handler. This is so that it can remove all debris, dust, and dirt before reaching the HVAC system.

The placement of your air filter will depend on the system's configuration. It could be located:

  • Up top behind a large vent on your ceiling.
  • Lower if you have ductwork in the crawlspace or basement of your home.
  • One the sides next to the closet. You will see a bulky metal part which is the air handler.
  • Very rarely is a filter slot behind your system, but if you cannot locate it, it may be toward the back.

Changing Out Your Filter

Once you have located your filter, it is time to check it for dirt and change it out if necessary. While the process is fairly simple, below are a few simple tips to help you.

  • Some systems that have a furnace and an air conditioner may have two filters or one. Be sure to know how many filters your system has to ensure they are adequately maintained.
  • The cheaper pleated and fiberglass filter options can most likely be picked up from a local hardware store. If you are looking for HEPA filters or more high-quality filtration, you may have to look online or at HVAC supply stores.
  • You might want to consider an upgrade to a HEPA-style filter if you experience allergies or asthma. If you do, you will need to check with your HVAC technician to see if any airflow adjustments need to be made to accommodate them and prevent system damage.
  • Always install the new filter with the arrows pointing toward the blower motor. Putting your filter the wrong way can lead to damage and potential problems with your system.
  • Make sure your filter is changed every one to three months, depending on the manufacturer’s guidelines. But if you check it and it is dirty before the normal time to change, change it anyway. If your home has pets or anyone in the household with respiratory issues, you may want to change it monthly, no matter the type.
  • Mark the date that you change your filter or change it on the same date each month or quarter. That way, you can stay on top of changes and prevent problems with your filter.
  • Vacuum out any dust from the holder when you change it. Dust bunnies and debris from your air filter can easily come loose in the filter slot. Vacuuming it out will prevent the dust and dirt from getting onto the new filter.

Which Furnace Filter is Best: Difference Between a Media Filter and a Pleated Filter (#3)

In most homes, a traditional spun-glass fiber filter is used for removing particulates from the air. While these filters can help keep the ductwork clean, they are ineffective in improving your home's indoor air quality. Media filters, on the other hand, have tightly-woven fibers and a carbon coating, allowing them to trap particulates, allergens, bacteria, and even odors. In fact, they are seven times better at cleaning the air in your home than traditional filter options.

Find Which Furnace Filter Is Best for Your System at Superior Home Supplies

Superior Home Supplies has the filter options you need to keep your HVAC system clean and improve the indoor air quality of your home. We offer a wide range of traditional pleated filters, high-efficiency HEPA filters, and media filters to fit right into your current HVAC system. No matter what your HVAC needs are, Superior Home Supplies can deliver. Contact us today to determine which filter will work best with your system.


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