by | Mar 26, 2021 | Home Comfort, Z

Last Updated: Oct 18, 2021 @ 11:20 am.

What's the best furnace filter? If you need a filter that's 16x25x1, then you've landed on the right article. We surveyed our parent readers for their favorites. Then we poured over third-party research, looking at which filters did the best job at filtering out dust, pollen and pet dander. And yes, we also purchased several of these brands (with our own funds) to test them out with our own furnace. Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. To keep things independent, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review! Our work is 100% reader-supported!


Buying A Furnace Filter: Tips & Advice

Changing your furnace filter every 90 days helps ensure your furnace runs most efficiently—and it helps with indoor air quality.

But which furnace filter is best for your home? What’s the difference between less expensive and more pricey brands?

Here’s a quick rundown on furnace buying tips and advice:

• Furnace filters have a MERV rating which measures how well it removes particulates from the air. (MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value).

• The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at removing smaller particles that contribute to bad air quality (like pollen and pet dander). MERV values range between 1-20.

• After interviewing several HVAC experts, we believe a MERV value between 7 and 13 is best for most residences. 

• The lower the MERV rating, the lower the price (in most cases). A filter with a MERV rating of 1-6 may only remove the largest particles in the air—for example, pet hair (but not dander).

• MERV ratings in the middle (7 to 13) remove fine particles like smoke and bacteria. What about higher rated MERV filters? Those are for medical care facilities or commercial installations where you need to remove even finer particles.

• While 90 days is the general rule, you may want to replace your filter more often in special circumstances. Have a pet that is shedding its fur? Or a wildfire nearby that sent smoke in your backyard? In that case, changing out the filter more often makes sense.

After pouring over third-party research and trying out several brands ourselves, here are our top picks for furnace filters:

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best Budget-Friendly

More airflow than others
Loved these quality filters that are easy to use and great at removing dust and mold (MERV rating of 5). If you don't have pets, these should work fine.
$44.45 ($7.41 / Count)

Check on Amazon

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best for Pollen

Made in the USA
Excellent pleated filter with a MERV rating of 8 is easy to install. Great at reducing dust, as well as lint, mold and pollen. Caveat: not individually wrapped.
$40.72 ($6.79 / Count)

Check on Amazon

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best For Pet Lovers

Also good for smoggy areas
With a MERV rating of 11, these filters are excellent at removing pet dander and fine dust. We thought they were easy to install. Made in the USA.
$57.99 ($9.66 / Count)

Check on Amazon

Buy Now
Buy Now

Best Premium Filter

Pricey but worth it
Yes, this one pretty much removes it all: pollen, smoke and a plethora of indoor allergens. With a MERV rating of 12, it is great for areas with smog or air pollution.
$49.54 ($8.26 / Count)

Check on Amazon

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

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!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet

BabyBargains.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.