What is the Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Air Filters?

Learn about the difference between cheap and expensive air filters, including materials used, efficiency ratings, and types of air purifiers.

What is the Difference Between Cheap and Expensive Air Filters?

When it comes to air filters, there is a clear distinction between cheap and expensive models. Cheap air filters are usually made of materials such as cardboard or paper, which are not as effective at trapping dust and pollen as more expensive materials like fiberglass. Generic, inexpensive filters may cost only a few dollars, but they typically last only a month and are not very efficient at trapping contaminants. Medium-efficiency and more expensive air filters cost more, but they are designed to trap up to 50% of contaminants.

Blocked filters can cause problems with airflow, leading to increased energy production and higher bills at the end of the month. Newer filters allow air to pass through with minimal airflow required, helping to reduce energy costs. Air filters also come in different types, such as electrostatic air filters which are washable and use static electricity to capture particles. It is important to replace air filters regularly, as clogged filters can cause airflow problems that increase utility costs and decrease blower life in the central air unit.

More expensive air cleaners usually have better components such as stronger fans or top-notch HEPA filters. It is also worth looking for online retailers that offer discounts for setting up recurring air cleaner shipments. All air filters have a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Report Value) rating which indicates how efficient they are at removing particles. Pleated air filters are more efficient than non-pleated counterparts.

The Clean Air Supply Rate (CADR) is an industry standard rating based on laboratory testing that describes the air cleaning effectiveness of an air purifier for particles from 0.10 to 11 microns in size based on the volume of air moving while cleaning. Finally, it is important to replace air filters with no moisture in the HVAC system to avoid mold growth which can circulate in the air you breathe. Choosing an air purifier with a higher CADR rating will help you select one that is right for your room size, air quality problem, and budget.