Air Filters Buying Guide

Determine which replacement air filter fits your HVAC system and improves air quality

High-efficiency air filters are a cost-effective way to help improve indoor air quality, which may be beneficial to family members sensitive to allergens and other particles in the air.

This guide will help you understand The Home Depot’s Air Filter Performance Rating system so you can easily choose the air filter that best fits your needs.

Tip: Air filters help keep your furnace’s coils and heat exchangers clean, which may prolong furnace life and keep it running efficiently.

The Home Depot Air Filter Performance Rating (FPR) System

The Home Depot Air Filter FPR ranks all brands of filters we sell by measuring their ability to capture large and small particles, and weight gain over the filter’s lifetime.

The Home Depot Air Filter Performance Rating System creates a weighted average for each filter, which is then ranked on a 1-10 scale: 1 being the lowest performance, and 10 being the highest performance air filter.

Filters are rated using the following weighted scale:

  • Large Particle Capture: 60 percent
  • Small Particle Capture: 30 percent
  • Weight Gain/Lifetime: 10 percent


Premium Air Filters

Large particles like household dust, lint, dust mites, pollen and pet dander
Small particles like bacteria and mold spores
Smoke, smog, microscopic allergens plus particles that can carry viruses
Particles that carry odors

Best Air Filters

Large particles like household dust, lint, dust mites, pollen and pet dander
Small particles like bacteria and mold spores
Smoke, smog, microscopic allergens plus particles that can carry viruses

Better Air Filters

Large particles like household dust, lint, dust mites, pollen and pet dander
Small particles like bacteria and mold spores

Good Air Filters

 Large particles like household dust, lint, dust mites, pollen and pet dander


Common Airborne ContaminantsCommon Airborne Contaminants
FPR 10, FPR 9, FPR 7, FPR 4

Filtered by Premium (10), Best (8), Better (6) and Good (4) filters

Homedepot Image
FPR 10, FPR 9, FPR 7

Filtered by Premium (10), Best (8), Better (6) filters

Dust/Lint, Pet dander, Dust mite, Pollen Contaminants
FPR 10, FPR 9

Filtered by Premium (10) and Best (8) filters

Bacteria, Mold Contaminants. Filters are Electrostatically charged
FPR 10

Filtered by Premium (10) and Best (8) filters

Microscopic allergens, Smog, Smoke, Virus carriers Contaminants. Filters are Electrostatically charged
Electrostatically charged

Electrostatically charged filters provide the highest level of filtration for small particles

Filter Types

Fiberglass, polyester, washable, pleated and electrostatic filters each offer different air filtering capabilities.

Tip: While most filters are disposable, some may be cleaned with water or by vacuum. An advantage of disposable filters is you’re not exposed to the trapped contaminants during cleaning.

Filter Type Benefits

Fiberglass or Polyester

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

Washable/Reusable

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

Pleated

  • Disposable
  • Larger surface area captures more particles

Electrostatic*

  • Disposable or reusable options
  • Charged fibers help to capture small and large particle

Size and Installation

Filters are sized in two ways: nominal and actual. Nominal is the approximate size of the filter, rounded up to the nearest inch. Actual is the filter’s exact size.

  • Air filters vary by thickness. They can be less than 1-inch thick, or up to 6-inches thick.
  • The filter should fit snugly in the chamber; loose filters may let air pass around the filter instead of through it.
  • Make sure your filter is sturdy. The frame should be strong enough to withstand pressure caused by the air that moves through it. Check the frame after installation to see if it is intact and that the joints are secure.