Different Types of Air Filters

Guide to the Most Common Types of Air Filters

One thing that homeowners are concerned about is the quality of indoor air. Air filters help alleviate this concern and keep your home habitable. They do this by removing allergens and pollutants such as dust, mold, pet hair, and more that can cause poor indoor air quality.

Generally, there are various types of air filters on the market. Choosing the right and best one that fits your needs is important. If you do not know what to consider when choosing an air filter, you may end up with an ineffective gadget for your home. 

Understanding the different types of air filters for your home is crucial to achieving the indoor air quality you desire.

Here are the various HVAC filter types with their pros and cons.

1.      High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters

The HEPA filter will remove 99.97 percent of pollutants and allergens found in the air. This includes dust particles of even 0.3 microns. They are mainly used for filtering the air in homes and other living spaces.

Generally, HEPA filters are highly recommended by allergists and doctors because they can remove even the tiniest of pollutants found in the air.

They have a high minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) rating of about 16. This means that they are very effective at filtering your home’s indoor air, subsequently providing the highest level of protection for your residence.


  • High effectiveness: They have high effectiveness in purifying indoor air with a MERV rating of about 16.
  • Able to filter large or small pollutants: They have been designed such that they can also filter large pollutants such as pollen and dander.
  • Cost-effective: They are cost-effective as they only need replacement every few years.


  • Cannot eliminate odors: This type of air filter is not able to eliminate gases, odors, and fumes from indoor air. 
  • Prone to sedimentation: Some pollutants like mold can potentially sediment on the air filter itself, reducing the filter’s effectiveness.

2.      Activated Carbon Filters

These types of filters for HVAC incorporate minute absorbent pores. The pores unite with pollutants found in air through a chemical reaction. The carbon particles form a bond with the pollutants, thereby trapping them.

Activated carbon filters are effective at capturing chemicals, odors, gases, fumes, and smoke. For best results, the filters should be used in conjunction with other filters.


  • Good air filtration: They can capture even the tiniest of pollutants, including smoke, chemicals, fumes, and odors. This will render your indoor air clean and breathable.
  • Efficient operation: They trap the pollutants and do not release them back into the air. The bond between the carbon and pollutants is pretty strong, and it ensures all the micro contaminants are trapped.


  • Cannot filter microorganisms: These HVAC filter types do not filter microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. Microorganisms are harmful and can cause a myriad of diseases to home occupants.
  • Less effective compared to other filters: The filter type does not remove larger-sized allergens such as dust. Dust is among the most common pollutants that should be captured to make sure the indoor air quality is high. It is for this reason the activated carbon filters should be used in conjunction with other types of air filters. 

3.      Electrostatic Filters

Electrostatic filters are among the different types of air filters for HVAC. They produce static magnetism that attracts airborne particles, including dust.

The strong magnetism created holds the airborne particles in place. This enables your home to have clean indoor air free of allergens.

These types of air filters come in two options, including the reusable and disposable types.

You can choose to either get new filters after use or wash and reuse them.


  • Cost-effective: The electrostatic filters are among the most cost-effective types of air filters. Reusable filters will save you money because they eliminate the need to buy replacements every other time.
  • Good air filtration: They do a great job improving the quality of your home’s indoor air because they filter all the smaller pollutants.
  • Efficient operation: The electrostatic air filters have a high MERV rating of 6. This means they operate efficiently.


  • Less effective against large pollutants: It is not very effective in capturing larger pollutants such as mold spores.
  • Not good for people with allergies and asthma: They are not a good option for people with respiratory conditions since they do not capture large-sized pollutants.
  • Monthly maintenance: They need to be removed and cleaned every month to remove trapped pollutants.

4.      Ultra Violet (UV) Air Filters

A UV air filter is one of the most common types of air filters that use ultraviolet rays to kill viruses and bacteria. The ultraviolet lamps in the filters disinfect the air passing through the HVAC system using their powerful germicidal irradiation.

These kinds of filters are excellent in destroying hazardous microorganisms such as mold, yeast, viruses, and bacteria found in the air.

A  UV filter will be good for an air purifier found in environments like labs, kitchens, hospitals, and daycares. When used in your home, the filters are great for controlling mold spores.

However, some UV filters are potentially dangerous because they can transform oxygen into hazardous ozone. 


  • Good air filtration: The ultraviolet radiation used in these filters can destroy tough microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, mold, and yeast.
  • Gives good results: It will give you high indoor air quality that will help prevent respiratory diseases and other illnesses.


  • Costly: They are expensive to install.
  • Less effective:  They do not eliminate common contaminants such as dust and allergens. They are also ineffective against pollutants such as cigarette smoke, odors, and fumes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top