Top 5 Best Furnace Filters For Odors (2021 Review)

Do you want to find the best furnace filter for odors?

HVAC filters designed to remove odors actually contain activated carbon that neutralizes bad smells.

In this product review guide, I will go over...

  • My #1 top pick for the best filter for odors
  • How to choose the best deodorizing furnace filter
  • The pros and cons of my top picks

Let's get started with this guide!

top best rated furnace filter for odors review

My Overall #1 Rated Pick

top best rated furnace filter for odors reviews
  • Made with an activated carbon layer to capture odors like smoke, food, and pets
  • Made by renowned 3M for Filtrete brand
  • MPR Rating of 1200 to capture fine particle like dust and allegens

My overall top pick for the best furnace filter for odors goes to the Filtrete Odor Reduction air filter. This deodorizing furnace filter was made with a thin layer of activated carbon or charcoal so it will capture smelly odor molecules from pets, cooking, mildew, and smoke. It is also rated at MPR 1200 so it will capture micro particles of allergens and dust.

  • Activated Carbon
  • Renowed 3M
  • MPR 1200
  • Activated Carbon
  • Renowed 3M
  • MPR 1200
View on Amazon
Arm & Hammer
  • Carbon Granules
  • Includes Baking Soda
  • remove
  • Carbon Granules
  • Includes Baking Soda
  • remove
View on Amazon
Nordic Pure
  • Activated Carbon
  • Less Pricey
  • remove
  • Activated Carbon
  • Less Pricey
  • remove
View on Amazon
  • MERV 8 For Max Air Flow
  • Made in USA
  • remove
  • MERV 8 For Max Air Flow
  • Made in USA
  • remove
View on Amazon
Pure Carbon
  • Activated Carbon
  • Coconut Shell
  • MERV 8
  • Activated Carbon
  • Coconut Shell
  • MERV 8
View on Amazon

My Top 5 Picks For The Best HVAC Filters For Odors

Are you short on time?  Here is a quick look at my list of top rated odor eliminating furnace filters. For more information, keep scrolling.

  1. Filtrete Furnace Filter For Odor Reduction (My #1 Top Pick)
  2. Arm & Hammer Max Allergen & Odor Reduction HVAC Filter (A Close Second)
  3. Nordic Pure Pleated Carbon Furnace Air Filter (Best Budget)
  4. FilterBuy Odor Eliminator AC Furnace Filter
  5. Nordic Pure Furnace Filter For Odors Pure Carbon

What Is An Odor Eliminating Furnace Filter?

A deodorizing furnace filter is a special type of filter that contains ingredients to fight unwanted smells.

Some of the most common odors that homeowners want to remove are from pets, cooking, smoke, and cleaning chemicals.

The most prevalent ingredient that is within these air conditioner filters is activated carbon (or charcoal). With activated carbon, the smelly gases adsorb onto the high surface area media. 

Read Also: What Are The Best Washable & Reusable Furnace Filters?

How Does Activated Carbon Work For Odor Removal?

It works like this: the charcoal is treated with oxygen, and it creates millions of tiny pores --- making it activated.

The charcoal has an extraordinary high surface area. In fact, one pound of activated carbon will have the surface area of 100 acres.

So when there are foul smell molecules wafting through this filter, it will get trapped in one of the many pores of the activated carbon. And no more smell. Of course, it isn't 100%, but it should greatly reduce unwanted indoor smells.

These AC filters are usually a little more expensive than your standard filter which makes sense because there are more ingredients and more manufacturing involved.

Read Also: How Often To Change 1 Inch Furnace Filters?

top best rated furnace filter for odors review (2)

What Is The Best Way To Install A Furnace Filter For Odors?

When you install one of these deodorizing furnace filters, it is also important that is installed correctly. The most important thing is the correct direction.

The air conditioner filter will have an arrow on the side, and it should point in the direction of the air flow. If it is installed at the furnace, the arrow should point towards the blower fan and coil. If the filter is installed in a ceiling or wall return vent, then the arrow should point into the wall cavity.

It's also important to make sure that it is properly sealed and that there isn't air leakage.

I can't even tell you how many homes I have inspected where the furnace filter was bent out of shape --- with air flowing around the filter. Make sure it is a snug fit.

Read Also: What Are The Best Furnace Filters For Allergies?

How To Pick The Best AC Filter For Odor Removal?

So you have found several filters that contain a layer of activated carbon.

How should I pick the right filter? Well, the biggest factor will be the correct size of the filter --- and it's filtration rating.

The most common rating is known as MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) and this is a rating for small and large particulates. Basically, the higher the number, the more the filter will absorb particles.

Most filters are rated from MERV 3 and all the way up to MERV 15. The most common MERV rating is probably 8.

Read Also: How To Clean And Maintain Furnace Filters?

Home Depot and 3M Filtrete also have their own ratings. Home Depot has it's FPR rating system and 3M uses the MPR system. 

Personally, I like to compare FPR and MPR to the universally recognized MERV rating.

Regardless, it is important to realize that the higher the MERV rating, the less air flow will be going through the furnace. You also may have to change the filter more frequently, though a minimum is every 3 months.

If you can't find a manufacturer recommendation for the MERV rating, you may just have to experiment with different filter ratings. If your furnace ever short cycles (turns on & off frequently), then your filter is obstructing too much air flow.

Read Also: What Are The Best Filters For Dust Control?

What Are The Best Furnace Filters For Odors?

Here are my top picks for the best HVAC filters to reduce odors with their pros and cons...

This Filtrete AC filter was designed specifically with eliminating odors in mind.

It is coated with an active carbon layer to help get rid of smelly smoke, pets, food, mildew, and chemicals.

This MPR 1200 rated filter will reduce odors but at the same time capture dust and allergens.

It comes with 3-in-1 technology that helps attract unwanted particles while allowing clean air to flow through.

  • Active carbon layer to remove foul odors
  • MPR 1200 rating to capture dust and allergens
  • Quality made by renowed 3M Filtrete brand
  • More expensive
  • The carbon granules may come off filter

The Arm & Hammer filter is a great furnace filter to remove unwanted odors from your home.

This air conditioner filter includes carbon granules inside the filter material to reduce odors.

It also includes Oguard II which is a proprietary odor reducing ingredient as well as baking soda.

This MERV 11 filter is pleated for maximum surface area, features a metal grid for strength, and can last for up to 3 months.

  • Carbon granules throughout the filter to remove odors
  • Includes baking soda & Oguard II for extra odor fighting power
  • MERV 11 and pleated
  • Complaints of flimsy frame
  • Complaints of damage from shipping

The Nordic Pure is a budget friendly pleated AC filter designed to reduce household odors.

This deodorizing furnace filter has a fused activated carbon that will reduce unwanted odors such as smoke, food, chemicals, and mildew.

It is pleated which  increases the surface area so it will still be great at capturing dust and indoor allergens.

This filter is rated at MERV 12 and features a metal mesh grid to give the filter rigidity and strength.

  • Includes activated carbon fused to the filter
  • Remove indoor odors like smoke, food, chemicals, and mildew
  • Less expensive
  • Lower quality manufacturing compared to Filtrete
  • Complaints of missing labeling

This filter by FilterBuy is a great option for a furnace filter if you want to control odors.

The FilterBuy Odor Eliminator is rated at MERV 8 and it is coated with activated carbon granules to capture unwanted pet smells, cooking odors, and chemicals.

It is pleated for maximum surface area and will also capture dust and allergens while allowing clean air to pass through.

All of the FilterBuy filters are made in Alabama, USA.

  • Coated with activated carbon to remove unwanted odors
  • All filters made in the USA
  • MERV 8 for maximum air flow
  • May greatly reduce air flow of A/C
  • Complaints of filter sizing incorrect

The Pure Carbon filter by Nordic Pure is a great odor eliminating furnace filter.

This filter is rated at MERV 8 so it will give more air flow but will remove nasty odors.

The Pure Carbon filters not only have a carbon layer but it also includes coconut shell material which strengthen the odor removing properties of the filter.

If you are worried about buying a carbon filter with enough air flow for your furnace, then this MERV 8 filter by Nordic Pure may be your best bet.

  • Activated carbon to remove odors
  • Coconut shell ingredient to strengthen odor fighting properties
  • MERV 8 for increased furnace air flow
  • Lower MERV rating so it will remove less allergens

My Top Pick: Filtrete Furnace Filter For Odor Reduction

My top pick goes to the Filtrete brand by 3M specifically for odor control. Here's why...

#1. Activated Carbon

This Filtrete filter has a thin layer of activated carbon which will capture foul odors on a molecular level. It will help reduce smells from smoke, cooking, mildew, and even chemicals like VOCs.

#2. Made By 3M

I think you can be confident that this filter will be high quality because it is made by the renowned 3M. And the Filtrete brand of filters is one of the highest selling filters in America.

#3. MPR 1200

Rated at a high MPR 1200, this filter will also capture allergens, dust, and mold.

Read Also: Where Is My Furnace Filter Located?

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Arie Van Tuijl

Arie Van Tuijl

I am a licensed home inspector in two U.S. states and the founder of Home Inspector Secrets. After performing hundreds of inspections, and seeing thousands of house defects, I realized people would love to have an online resource dedicated to home maintenance. I write detailed home guides and product reviews sprinkled with inspection tips. You can read my bio here.

About Home Inspector Secrets

Home Inspector Secrets is an online resource for owners, buyers, and sellers to understand all aspects of home maintenance. We have detailed home guides, product reviews, inspection advice, and much more.

Other Home Guides

Looking to learn more about home maintenance? Check out our other informative home product reviews and guides!