Do you want to find the best A/C filter to reduce allergens in your home?
The most common allergens such as dust mites, pet fur, flower pollen and mold spores can be greatly reduced if you choose the right filter.
In this guide, I will go over...
- My #1 top pick for the best HVAC filter to reduce allergies
- How to pick the best filter for allergens
- Tips to know that the filter is installed correctly
Let's get started with this guide!
Filtrete Ultra Allergen
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Filtrete Micro Allergen
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Arm & Hammer
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My Overall #1 Rated Pick
Filtrete Ultra Allergen Air Conditioner Filter
Updated On January 4, 2023
My overall top pick for the best air conditioning filter for allergies goes to the Ultra Allergen Filtrete HVAC filter. This filter has many pleats (ridges) for an extremely large surface area to capture the smallest & largest allergens like pollen, dust, dust mite debris, and mold spores. It is rated at a very high 1500 MPR or around MERV 12. These filters use 3M 3-in-1 technology to capture debris while maintaining maximum air flow.
Top 4 Air Conditioner Filters For Allergies
Are you in a hurry? Check out our top 4 air conditioner filters for allergies below! Keep reading to see the details of each pick and to read our buyer's guide.
What Is An Air Conditioning Filter For Allergies?
HVAC filters for allergies are designed to capture and reduce indoor air allergens --- things like dust mites, mold spores, plant pollen, and pet dander.
These filters are usually highly pleated (accordian texture) which increases their surface area so they capture more allergens.
The last thing you want to do is purchase the flat-style or see through fiberglass filters because it will remove only very few of these tiny allergens that pose health risks.
Typically, allergens are microscopic in nature, and can't be seen with the visible eye.
Allergies are also highly genetic in nature.
If one parent has allergies, then their child has a 50% chance of having allergies as well. If both parents have allergies, then their child has a whopping 80% chance of having allergies too.
Read Also: How Often To Change A One Inch HVAC Filter?
How To Pick The Best HVAC Filter For Allergies?
There are a few key things that you want to focus on when choosing the best filter to reduce allergies.
One of the most important is the efficiency rating which tells you how well the filter captures tiny particles.
The MERV Rating
The most recognized rating is the MERV rating. Most MERV ratings range from a low of around 8 and all the way up to a high of 13-15.
MERV stands for minimum efficiency reporting value and it is a measurement of how well the A/C filter captures particles in the 0.3 to 10 micrometer (micron) range.
Read Also: What Are The Best Furnace Filters For Dust Control?
For scale, the ubiquitous ragweed pollen is about 5 microns in size, which would be a medium-sized particle in the MERV scale. In my opinion, if you want to buy a filter to reduce allergies, you should look for an AC filter with a MERV rating of at least 11.
The other thing to consider is that the higher the MERV rating, it also increases the likelihood of an HVAC pressure drop --- which means less air flow.
If you have a high or medium efficiency HVAC system, you may need to replace the filter more often than the 3 month recommendation in order to avoid damage to your system. During my home inspections, I usually recommend changing the filter every 30 days.
In addition to the MERV rating, there is also a second rating called MPR which was created by the company 3M. This rating is largely used in the filtrete filters.
MPR stands for microparticle performance rating and it is designed to rate the filters ability to capture small particles.
MPR rates HVAC filters ability to capture particles in the 0.3 to 1 micrometer range --- so it only measures smaller particles up to 10% of the particle size of the MERV system. For comparison, a MERV 11 is comparable to an MPR 1000-1200.
Read Also: What Are The Best Washable Air Conditioning Filters?
How To Properly Install A Filter For Allergies?
I have seen so many improperly installed filters during home inspections; it would make your head spin.
In order for an A/C filter to work in catching allergens, it has to fit snugly in the filter slot. If the filter isn't snug, and air is moving around the filter, this is a big problem.
Sometimes when I open up an indoor air handler, the filter is warped and halfway into the blower fan. In addition, the arrow on the AC filter needs to point in the direction of air flow.
What Are The Most Common Home Allergens?
Some of the most common allergens found in homes include...
#1. Dust Mites
Dust mites are a type of tiny insect that lives in association with house dust.
Mites are frequently found in our beds because it is a warm and humid place which dust mites love. In addition to a quality HVAC filter (and frequent filter changes), washing your bedding weekly with hot water is a known way to kill or reduce dust mites --- and their associated allergies.
In addition to beds, dust mites also tend to live in carpets and curtains. If you can't live without carpet, cleaning the carpet frequently with a HEPA vacuum is recommended.
Pets are one of the biggest causes of adult allergies. Animals such as dogs and cats shed their fur frequently, and this is known as pet dander.
Many people are aware of pet dander, but not many are aware that pet saliva can also be highly allergic to sensitive people. When pet saliva dries, it can be sent into the air, and breathed into your nose.
Read Also: Where Is My Furnace Filter Located?
It is estimated that up to 30% of humans worldwide suffer from seasonal allergies --- and pollen is a major culprit.
Pollen grains are microscopic granules sent into the air by flowering plants. Pollen is required for reproduction of flowering plants --- they are basically male sex cells.
The most common type of pollen that humans inhale is extremely lightweight and distributed great distances by air currents.
One of these plants that causes grief to many Americans is called Ragweed. Around half of all the cases of allergic rhinitis in the United States is caused by the flowering Ragweed plant.
Read Also: What Are The Best HVAC Filters For Odors?
What Are The Best Rated Air Conditioner Filters For Allergies?
Here are my picks for the best filters to reduce indoor allergens with all of their pros and cons. Check it out below...
The Ultra Allergen six filter pack is the premium home filter to catch airborne allergens --- made by renowned 3M.
Rated at a high MERV 12 (1500 MPR), this special filter by Filtrete includes 3-in-1 technology that is like a magnet for microscopic allergens such as pollen.
These filtrete filters are treated with an electrostatic charge so that they capture more particles than competing filters.
The Ultra Allergen filter will also keep a high airflow through your HVAC while maximizing allergen capture --- can last up to 3 months before changing required.
- High 1500 MERV rating to capture small & large allergens
- Filter is treated with an electrostatic charge to capture more pollen
- Highly pleated filter for more surface area
- May cause short cycling of HVAC due to high filtration (lower air flow)
The Filtrete Micro Allergen Defense is a premium 3M filter that it is highly pleated and electrostatically charged to capture all sorts of indoor air allergens.
It's time to turn your HVAC system into an indoor air purifier with the Allergen Defense premium filters.
The patented 3-in-1 technology by Filtrete captures unwanted microscopic particles while allowing in maximum flow of clean air.
This filtrete filter is rated at MERV 11 or 1000 MPR.
- High MERV 11 rating to capture pollen, pet dander, and other allergens
- Half as expensive compared to other Filtrete filters for allergies
- Electrostatic charge to capture allergens
- Complaints of shipping damage
- Flimsier material than more expensive filters
This 6-pack by Aerostar is a nice budget filter pack that can reduce allergens in your home such as pollen, pet dander, and mold spores --- and is a great price.
Rated at a high MERV 13 (equivalent to MPR 1500), the Aerostar filter is pleated for a high surface area to capture fine allergens.
This filtrete filter is also treated with an electrostatic charge so it can capture small and large allergens while minimizing air flow losses.
- High MERV 13 rating to capture allergens
- Electrostatically charged synthetic filter to attract allergens
- Comes in many filter sizes
- Complaints of being smaller in size and fitting poorly
- Lower quality materials
The Arm & Hammer Max Allergen air conditioning filter is designed to filter out indoor air allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and common dust.
This electrostatically charged filter is rated at MERV 11 for maximum allergen reduction and can last up to 3 months.
The Arm & Hammer Max Allergen filters also have built-in odor reducing materials such as Arm & Hammer baking soda and carbon granules.
Reduce allergies and reduce indoor house odors at the same time.
- Reduce indoor air allergens with this MERV 11 pleated filter
- Reduce odors at the same time
- Electrostatically charged & pleated
- No wire reinforcement
- Not the highest MERV rating
My Top Pick: Filtrete Ultra Allergen Air Conditioner Filter
My top pick for the best furnace or air conditioning filter for allergies goes to the Filtrete Ultra Allergen filter made by 3M. Here's why...
#1. High Particle Capture
These filters are rated at 1500 MPR or around MERV 12 which is a very high rating for filtration. It will capture some of the smallest and largest allergens in your home's air.
#2. Renowned 3M
These filters are made with high quality materials and manufactured by world-renowned 3M. I doubt there are higher quality A/C filters on the market.
#3. Surface Area
If you look at the pleats or ridges on these filters, it is extremely dense. The more pleats means that the filter has more surface area and it will catch more allergens; it's that simple.
#4. Electrostatic Charge
3M has treated these filters with an electrostatic charge so it will attract microscopic particles like a magnet --- while maintaining the maximum air flow possible.