by | Apr 4, 2022 | For Dad, Z

Last Updated: Jun 8, 2022 @ 11:13 am.

What's the best cabin air filter for your vehicle? If you park your vehicle outside or live in an area with air quality issues (think wildfire smoke), you may want to replace your cabin air filter on a frequent basis. We ask our parent readers for their experiences with cabin air filters to find which ones were the best bets. We also tried out a couple brands ourselves, replacing the filters in our own vehicles. Here are the ones we recommend.


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Best Budget-Friendly

Easy to install
Excellent quality here—loved the charcoal layer and baking soda for odor control. Pro tip: measure your existing filter first before ordering to make sure it fits!

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Best Budget-Friendly: Amazon Basics Cabin Air Filter

Let’s talk the best cabin air filters!

Most vehicle makers recommend replacing the air filter in your vehicle’s cabin every 15,000 to 30,000 miles. 

However, with increasing air quality issues (think wildfire smoke), more folks are replacing their cabin filters on a more frequent basis.

Parking your vehicle outside also exposes it to more pollen, leaves, dirt and debris—and that often ends up in a cabin air filter that should be replaced. 

We replaced the cabin air filters in our two vehicles and the process was surprisingly easy (follow your vehicle maker instructions and check for videos online for simple how-to steps). 

Another bonus: replacing your own cabin air filter will most likely be much less expensive than having a dealer do it!

Speaking of cost, we found the Amazon Basics Cabin Air Filter to be an excellent quality filter at a price that didn’t break the bank. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Easy to install.

• Activated charcoal layer is a nice upgrade.

• Baking soda to trap odors.

• Lasts for about a year.

• Affordable two-pack.

What Needs Work

• Be sure to measure your vehicle filter before ordering to make sure this is the correct size. This is true for all cabin air filters, of course. 

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Best Tried & True Brand

Good protection
Great filter with design that filters out 98% of dust and pollen. Also nice: includes baking soda and activated charcoal. Easy to install . . . how-to videos are most helpful.
$15.03

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Best Tried & True Brand: FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter

If you prefer a name brand replacement for your cabin air filter, we think this one by FRAM is an excellent bet. It features baking soda and activated charcoal that works well in the real world, say our parent readers.

Probably the biggest complaint with this filter is that it did not fit a specific vehicle—this is a common issue with many cabin replacement filters, not just this brand. 

To help, FRAM has detailed info on compatibility, which should be checked before ordering. And it doesn’t hurt to measure your existing filter’s dimensions before ordering just in case! 

What We Liked

 Easy to install.

• Works well.

• Detailed compatibility info is available from manufacturer.

What Needs Work

• Pricey for a single pack.

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Best Value

Simple to swap in
Loved this single pack filter—great if you just want to replace one filter and not have another one hanging around for later use (and inevitably getting lost).
$10.97

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Best Value: EPAuto CP285 (CF10285) Premium Cabin Air Filter

If you just need one filter and want a good bang for the buck, EPAuto’s CP285 is the filter we think would do a good job. It has much the same  features as the other filters we recommended above (charcoal and baking soda), just a price that is more economical.

What We Liked

• Easy to install.

• Good fit.

• Affordable.

• Detailed compatibility info.

What Needs Work

• Fewer pleats than other brands. Some folks think this means the filter will have to be replaced more often. We’re not sure we agree with this assessment.

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Best Extra Pleats

Fits well, filters out pollen and dirt
We liked this filter's extra pleats, which the maker claims will last 25% longer than other brands. Impressive overall quality, even if the price is a bit more than others we researched.
$10.97

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Best Extra Pleats: Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter

There are two camps of cabin air filter enthusiasts: some folks prefer filters with more pleats. Their belief: more pleats equals better air filtration. 

The second camp doesn’t see a problem with a filter with fewer pleats—they’re not convinced it makes much of a difference, as long as the filter is changed regularly. 

We don’t have a dog in this fight. After talking with experts on vehicle maintenance, we think it is a toss up as to which is better.

If you prefer a filter with more pleats, we think the Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter is the best of the bunch. We liked the overall quality here. Yes, it costs a bit more than those filters with fewer pleats, but if you live in an urban environment with poor air quality, it may be worth the extra investment.

What We Liked

• Activated charcoal made from coconut shells helps eliminate odors.

• Easy to install.

• Fits well.

• Extra pleats.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability. When we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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