Updated: November 2017
Furnace Filter Reviews:Your home furnace should not only be energy efficient but you also want it to filter out as much of the air contaminents as possible as the air circulates throughout your house. The standard, disposable furnace filters found in many houses are ok in terms of filtering out allergens, dust, and pollens but the newer permanent electrostatic filters are much better. A step further are the electronic furnace filters that have particle efficiency of up to 99% at 1 micron and 70% at less than 1 micron. The electronic filters plug into a 110 volt outlet in your wall and you replace the pads every few months.
The electronic furnace filters are the costliest of the bunch with prices topping $350 while the washable, non-electric, electrostatic filters are much more reasonable at $75-$180. We found that allergy product sites tend to mark up prices on air filters and furnace filters more than almost any other sites. It seems that they are preying upon those of us with allergies to pollens and household dust. If you shop around you should be able to find a decent price on furnace filters that help alleviate allergy symptoms. My wife is terribly allergic to dust, which is prevalent in most households, so we own an electostatic filter that we clean every few months and we also get our air ducts cleaned once a year to keep things as irritant free as possible.
Buying Guide - If you are going to get your air ducts cleaned, expect to spend about $250 to $500 depending on how many ducts you have around your house. When the duct cleaning guys are there, they will replace your filter and show you how if you want. Keep in mind if they supply the furnace filter it will be marked up about 25% - so you are better off buying your own filter if you know what you want. There are different sizes like 10 x 10, 16 x 20, 20 x 20, 20 x 25, etc. Many of the cheaper replacement filters are only about $15 to $20 and you can buy them in a 6 or 12 pack so you always have them around to change. They come as pleated, electrostatic or panel types and the materials are polyester or fiberglass. Some of the top brands are Honeywell, American Air Filter, 3M Filtrete, Airguard, Trion, and Carrier. The reason why I bought the electrostatic filter is because for $90 I can clean it every few months and it will outlast the cheaper models. The lifetime warranty on the electrostatic furnace filter (from Natlallergy.com) is another reason to buy it. Just wash and reuse it - I've had mine now for 2 years and it seems to be the job just fine. I do clean the filter by running it through warm water every 3 or 4 months and it does get dirty, but a few rinses later and it's good as new. The 3-stage filtration reduces our indoor pollutants by 91% and hopefully cuts down on household dust. We have hardwood floors in our house to help keep dust a minimum (better than carpets), we still find dust but just not as much as before. If you have pets then these filters are even better for filtering out animal hair and dander. Another option is to get vent filters which stop even more contaminents once they get through your initial furnace filter. You can get paranoid about indoor dust and pollen, but you can do your best to stop the vast majority of it from circulating throughout your home. Getting rid of carpets is a big step in reducing dust and not having pets should help with animal hair and other pollutants. The pricey electronic furnace filter systems are not necessary for most of us and so we say start with the electrostatic ones first to see if you get any relief from dust and pollens. I think the biggest thing is to remember to clean or replace filters in your house. Many people just forget and overtime they will lose their efficiency if they become dirty or clogged with debris. Furnacefilters.com and Furnacefilterwarehouse.com are two excellent websites to find filter replacements online or at least learn about sizing options and brands. You can find furnace filters in home improvement stores like Home Depot or Lowes or Sears. RECOMMENDED - You can browse the best selling furnace filters online here.