Do you want to find the best washable furnace filter for your home?
Reusable furnace filters are great way to filter dust and dander out of your HVAC system --- and save you a lot of money at the same time.
In this product review, I will go over...
- My #1 top pick for the best washable furnace filter you can buy today
- How washable furnace filters work
- Why cleaning reusable filters each month is important
Let's get started with this guide!
My Overall #1 Rated Pick
My overall top pick for the best washable filter goes to the Trophy Air washable furnace filter. This 6 stage filter has four layers of aluminum mesh and two layers of electrostatic media --- it is rugged and high quality.
All you have to do is hose it down once a month for a fresh and clean filter --- without spending cash. It is also multi-directional so it can be installed in any orientation. Trophy Air has over 15 different sizes for a custom fit.
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My Top 5 Picks For Best Washable Furnace Filters
Are you short on time? To skip the details, and see my top picks, check out my list below.
*If you want more information and their pros and cons, keep scrolling.
What Are Washable HVAC Filters?
Washable furnace filters are a special type of filter that can be cleaned periodically and reused.
These electrostatic furnace filters are almost all made from synthetic materials as compared to the typical disposable filter that is made from cotton blends.
Washable furnace filters usually last from 3-5 years with monthly cleaning, but some filters are rated for up to 10 years.
Read Also: What Are The Best Filters For Dust Control?
What Are The Benefits of Washable AC Filters?
The main benefit of washable filters is that they last a number of years, so you won't have to replace it monthly (and I find most people forget).
If you add up the cost of buying a disposable filter, it can be sizable. For a washable filter, it is only a one time cost.
Of course, the downside is that you have to clean and dry the filter every month --- but at least you won't have to drive to the Big Box store and buy a new one.
Washable filters also are much sturdier and rugged than the average disposable filters.
Disposable filters usually have a cheap paper frame (compared to metal) that will bend easily. Many times I have seen disposable filters that have warped and literally sucked into the duct system.
Read Also: How To Clean Air Conditioner Filters?
How To Pick The Best Washable HVAC Filter?
This may seem like an obvious point, but you want to buy the right filter size for your system. You can pull out the disposable filter and look at the dimensions. The most common filter size is 16" x 20" x 1".
One of the most common complaints when it comes to washable filters is a poor fitting filter. If the filter doesn't fit properly into the furnace such as being undersized, then it may rattle and make noise when the HVAC system is on.
Besides the sound annoyance, this will also allow air to flow around the filter defeating the entire purpose of buying a washable filter.
Of course, this problem also applies to disposable filters. I have been on many home inspections where the disposable filter was allow air to flow around the filter.
In addition to air flowing around the filter, you also want to make sure that the filter slot or opening is fully sealed. The most common way to seal the filter slot is with a metal cover or sleeve --- though removable tape can work in a pinch.
High MERV Rating
The main rating for furnace filters is the MERV rating (minimum efficiency reporting value) which basically means how well the furnace traps particles.
The higher the MERV rating means that the filter is better at trapping particles (but also lessens the HVAC air flow).
There have been numerous studies that say residential homes should aim for a filter with a MERV rating from 7-13. A filter in the 7-8 MERV range is considered average, while 9-11 is high.
Just remember, studies have shown that MERV ratings higher than 13 in general do not outperform the lower MERV ratings --- and may even damage your HVAC system by causing it to run harder.
Pleated filters is when there are ridges or folds within the filter which gives it an accordion-like look to it.
These folds give the filter more surface area. If you stretched out a pleated filter, it will be much longer than the actual size of the finished filter.
When a filter has more surface area, this means it will be better at catching particles. This is why in general pleated filters are better than non-pleated.
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When someone buys a washable filter, they want it to last a long time --- maybe even years.
During my home inspections, coming across a warped or damaged filter is extremely common.
This is because the disposable filters have a paper frame, which can easily bend when the force of the HVAC air flow is applied against it (especially if it isn't installed tightly).
If the filter doesn't last, then all of the potential savings over a disposable filter is never realized.
Reusable filters with rugged metal frames are definitely preferred over cheap plastic framing.
Read Also: How Often To Change A 1-Inch Furnace Filter?
The air flow of an HVAC system can produce a significant amount of force on a filter.
Another way to add rigidity to a washable filter is by including a metal or mesh screen that sandwiches the filter media.
If you buy a washable furnace filter with a metal screen, this will help prevent it from bending or warping over the years.
How To Clean A Washable Furnace Filter?
To clean a washable HVAC filter, simply follow the manufacturer recommendations. The most common way to clean a washable filter is to take it outside, and spray it with a garden hose. If a hose is not practical such as during winter, you can also simply wash it under a kitchen or utility sink.
If the filter is very dirty, it is a good idea to soak the filter in a bin with some mild dish detergent.
After cleaning, you always want the filter to air dry before reinstalling into the furnace.
With washable filters, it doesn't really matter what direction you install the filter, but some brands do include an arrow just so you can consistently install it the same way.
Read Also: What Are The Best Furnace Filters For Odors?
Where To Buy The Best Washable HVAC Filters?
There are various online and offline stores where you can purchase washable HVAC filters. However, it is essential that you are sure of the quality of the filters they sell.
Also, for the sake of your own convenience, Amazon sells washable filters that have good customer reviews from reputable manufacturers. Shipping is frequently fast and free.
Read Also: Where Is My Furnace Filter Located?
What Is The Best Washable Furnace Filter?
Here are my top picks of the best washable furnace filters and all of their pros and cons...
My number one top pick for the best washable furnace filter goes to Trophy Air.
This 6-stage filter features four layers of aluminum mesh and two layers of electrostatic media --- filtering out dust and allergens.
This rugged filter is custom made with over 15 different sizes.
It is also a budget friendly price and will save a lot of money compared to disposable filters.
- Washable and reusable furnace filter
- 4 layers of high quality aluminum and 2 layers of filter media
- Multi-directional (install with either side first)
- Outer aluminum mesh may catch on the duct sheet metal (when pulling out)
- No MERV rating
The Carter Washable Filter is another premium filter that is made in the USA.
This is one of the few washable filters that has actually attained a MERV rating so you can be assured of performance.
This filter can hold up to 165 grams of dust, and is made of a gold anodized aluminum frame.
The interior includes an anti-microbial electrostatic fibers to catch dust and minimize mold growth.
- MERV 8 washable filter that can hold 165 grams of dust
- Gold anodized aluminum frame and stainless steel mesh support
- Anti-microbial material to resist mold growth
- More expensive
The K&N Washable Filter is a great choice for your home to catch dust, debris, and allergens.
This filter is rated at MERV 11 and made by a leading auto parts manufacturer --- so you can expect high quality.
The frame is made from extruded ABS polymer and the filter media is synthetic so you can clean it as often as needed for proper air flow.
- MERV 11
- Synthetic filter media
- Brand name manufacturer
- Complaints that filter is undersized
- Requires K&N cleaner spray (an ongoing cost)
The Air-Care Silver Washable Filter is a premium reusable filter so you can stop spending money on disposables.
The Air-Care filters are made from 5 layers of material that has been certified by a third party.
This filter will catch up to 88% of dust and allergens to give you a healthy home environment.
No special cleaner required, just hose off, let it dry, and re-install.
- Reusable and washable (just hose off and dry)
- 5 layers of filter media so it will catch up to 88% of dust and allergens
- No MERV rating
- Metal screen may rattle
The Web Eco Washable Furnace Filter is a budget friendly choice when it comes to buying a reusable filter.
This MERV 8 rated filter will dust, dander, and other allergens.
It is rated for use up to 10 years which will save a lot of money compared to disposable filters.
Cleaning the filter monthly is recommended by manufacturer and to ensure the most air flow in your HVAC system.
- Budget friendly price
- Rated for 10 years of use
- MERV 8 efficiency
- Not a metal frame (more easily bent or damaged)
- Adjustable filter (no custom sizes)
My #1 Top Pick: Trophy Air Electrostatic Pleated Washable Furnace Filter
My overall top pick for the best washable filter goes to Trophy Air. Here's why...
1. Easy Cleaning
With the trophy air filter, just simply hose it off once a month and allow it to dry. No special cleaner or having to take it apart is needed.
2. Six Layers
The Trophy Air has two layers of aluminum mesh and 4 layers of synthetic filter media --- so it will catch almost all of the dust and allergens in your home.
3. Metal Frame
The rugged metal frame will last a long time compared to plastic frames, saving you even more money over the years as opposed to disposable filters.
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