Imagine this: you insert a new filter into your furnace and stubborn odors in your house that once annoyed you suddenly disappear.
Well, carbon-packed (black appearance) furnace filters can absorb bad smells because the odor molecules get trapped into its tiny pores.
I invite you to check out my list of the best odor-eliminating furnace filters (jam-packed with activated carbon).
You will love these HVAC filters!
In this HomeInspectorSecrets.com guide, you will learn:
- My top pick for the best odor eliminating furnace filter
- How activated carbon works in HVAC filters to capture smells
- How to pick the right furnace filter for odors
- Selecting the correct MERV rating for the furnace filter
Below is a quick list of all our top products. Keep scrolling to learn more about choosing and using the best furnace filter for odors.
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Arm & Hammer
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Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
Updated On January 9, 2023
Our favorite 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 has a high filter rating (MPR 1200) so it will turn your HVAC system into a whole house cleaner and capture micro particles of allergens and dust.
Top 5 Best Odor Eliminating Furnace Filters
Only have a minute? Check out our top 5 odor eliminating furnace filters! Keep reading to get all the details of each top pick.
What Is An A/C Filter For Odors?
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.
How Do Carbon Filters 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 extraordinarily high surface area. In fact, one pound of activated carbon will have a 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?
What Is The Best Way To Install A Carbon Furnace Filter?
When you install one of these deodorizing furnace filters, it is also important that it 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.
How To Pick The Best Furnace Filter For Odor?
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 its 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 its 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?
Our Reviews of the Best Odor Eliminating Furnace Filters
This Filtrete odor eliminating AC filter was designed specifically to remove foul smells from pets, cooking, and cleaning chemicals.
It comes in multiple filter sizes and it is coated with a fine layer of activated carbon to help get rid of smells from pets, food, mildew, and chemicals.
This HVAC filter also has a high filtration rating of MPR 1200 so it will also capture very fine dust and allergens.
It comes with 3-in-1 technology that helps attract unwanted particles while allowing clean air to flow through.
- Activated carbon layer to remove foul odors
- MPR 1200 rating to capture dust and allergens
- Quality made by renowned 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.
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.
Our Top Pick: Filtrete Furnace Filter For Odor Reduction
Our top pick goes to the Filtrete brand by 3M specifically for odor control. And multiple filter sizes are available. Here's why it's #1...
#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?