Choosing the Right Air Filter for Home Use: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to selecting the ideal air filter for your home, there are three main factors to consider: size, MERV rating, and material. Unless you have a properly sized household air filter, you won't be able to reap the full benefits of your system and filter. The demand for air purifiers has skyrocketed since the pandemic and more people are working from home than ever before. Air purifiers can filter out pollutants such as smoke, pollen, and dust, and some are even capable of capturing particles that carry the coronavirus COVID-19. If your goal is to improve overall air quality, look for a purifier like the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty that works well in all areas.

If you're buying an air purifier to clean the air of someone sick with COVID-19, Consumer Reports recommends one with a CADR of 240 or more for the recommended room size. To put it in perspective, the smallest objects that the average human eye can see are around 70 microns in size. Human eyes can distinguish particles suspended in the air that scatter light and that are only 10 microns in size. The Coway AP-1512HH Mighty has an ionizer that can be turned off. The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ and the Blueair Blue Pure 411 have ionizers integrated into their patented HEPAsilent filters, but their manufacturer claims that they produce very little ozone.

Pure Enrichment's PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA air purifier has a UV light. Small air purifiers like the Levoit LV-H132 generally use less energy than larger ones, but they clean much smaller spaces. You can usually find the estimated energy usage of your air purifier in the product specifications. We have seen devices that supposedly consume as little as 1.5 watts in low conditions, as well as others that consume a lot of energy and consume more than 200 watts in high conditions. You may not even notice the impact of the former on your electricity bill, but the latter could add up.

Our best selection of air purifiers, the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty, includes several of these nice features and is reasonably priced. But in general, we recommend that you prioritize other factors if you're concerned about your budget. Most home improvement stores sell HVAC filters ranging from MERV 1 to MERV 13, although Consumer Reports has tried models as tall as MERV 16. Before you start choosing a specific type of filter, you need to know both the size of the filter that fits your air system and its model. In general, filters will be 1 inch thick for common systems and 4 inches thick for larger HVAC systems. When in doubt, check the appropriate dimensions of the filter in your equipment's owner's manual or contact the manufacturer. Pleated filters slightly improve your home's air quality and are a reasonably priced option for people concerned about indoor air quality.

However, a filter that is too dense for your setup can make it difficult to effectively and efficiently heat and cool your home. You can set a reminder on your calendar to change the filter based on your air purifier's maintenance schedule so you don't need to rely on a filter replacement light. The MERV standard is used primarily to measure the performance of filters designed for forced air HVAC systems. In addition, there are many aftermarket filters that are manufactured to fit specific models and when you look at a wide variety of filters you need to know which filters fit which models. Disposable fiberglass filters are one of the best types of air conditioning filters because they're cost-effective and protect air conditioners and ovens from dirt. One potential danger of UV filters is that they can transform oxygen into ozone which can be hazardous to health.

While these filters have a low MERV rating they are an excellent long-term investment for someone who doesn't have a strong preference for HVAC filter types and doesn't need any special filters. Any pleated HVAC filter can improve your home's indoor air quality by trapping dust, pollen, and other small particles like a quieter more passive vacuum. You may need to replace the filter more often if you have some very furry pets or if you live in an area with a lot of air pollution such as from wildfires. UV filters are great for killing microorganisms that could be hazardous to health including mold spores.

Ashleigh Yballe
Ashleigh Yballe

Amateur internet ninja. Hipster-friendly tv fanatic. General pop culture buff. Subtly charming beer buff. Wannabe burrito evangelist. Award-winning internet practitioner.