Can money buy happiness?  Which furnace filter is best?  Cheaper or expensive?  One of the biggest differences is longevity.  Cheap air filters are typically made from lower-quality materials, like cardboard and paper, that don’t last as long as their more expensive counterparts.  This means that you’ll have to replace them more often, which can end up costing you more in the long run.  Fiberglass, polyester, washable, pleated and electrostatic filters each offer different air filtering capabilities.  Electrostatic filters provide the highest level of filtration for small particles.


Filter Type: Polyester or Fiberglass Air Filters

Polyester filters are made using the highest quality materials available and are median-sized.  They trap and eliminate 80% to 95% of particles 5 microns or larger.  A polyester filter costs four times more than the average fiberglass/synthetic filter, but it offers more protection against pollutants that cause health issues.

Fiberglass or synthetic filters are a cheap and disposable option for your furnace.  They catch up to 80% of particles 50 microns and larger and 25% of particles between 3 to 10 microns.  Considered minimum protection, fiberglass/synthetic filters prevent dust and dirt from building up on heat exchangers, fan motors, and other surfaces.  The larger particles are trapped and eliminated, so your furnace components remain clean.  They allow your system to have maximum airflow but don’t filter harmful contaminants affecting your health.

  • Inexpensive
  • Disposable
  • Good for capturing large particles like lint and dust


Filter Type: Washable Air Filters

These filters offer a minimum amount of protection as they are primarily designed to assist the cleanliness of the HVAC units by filtering out particles that can damage the coils and harm the efficiency of the unit.  They remove pollen, dust mites, and other harmful fibers.  With 20% dust spot efficiency, these filters are the best option where budget is a concern and health issues are minimal.

  • Can be cleaned and reused
  • Require replacement only every few years
  • Protect furnace motor and trap larger particle


Filter Type: Pleated Air Filters

A pleated filter offers high-efficiency results by trapping particulates 0.3 micron in size, such as bacteria and viruses.  Pleated filters are more efficient and last longer compared to fiberglass/synthetic filters.  They eliminate more pollutants from your air without sacrificing airflow within your system.

  • Disposable
  • Larger surface area captures more particles


Filter Type: Electrostatic Air Filters

Electrostatic filters use self-charging fibers to attract particles out of your air.  You can purchase disposable or washable electrostatic filters depending on the requirements of your furnace.  Washable versions offer a MERV rating between 4 and 10 and last considerably longer than the average filter.  Maintenance on a washable filter requires soap and water to wash the filter and letting it completely dry before reinstalling it.  If you install it before it completely dries, you run the risk of mildew and mold growth.

  • Disposable or reusable options available
  • Charged fibers help to capture small and large particles
  • Larger surface area captures more particles



While most filters are disposable, some may be cleaned with water or by vacuum.  One advantage of using disposable filters is that you’re not exposed to trapped contaminants during cleaning.  Furnace air filters need to be changed on a regular basis because they become clogged with pollutants over time. Failing to change your filter will result in airflow obstructions, stressing your system and leaving your home without the desired heating and cooling.


Contact us

If you have furnace maintenance for your office or home, join hands with a licensed and insured contractor at East Coast Mechanical.   Email: ecmcecmc@aol.com  Address: 5133 W Hurley Pond Rd Suite A, Wall Township, NJ 07727 Hours: Monday to Friday 8 AM to 5 PM and Closed Saturday and Sunday.

Phone:  800-300-ECMC or 732-751-8877