Changing or cleaning your HVAC filter every 3 months is an important part of air conditioner maintenance. But just as vital is the air filter’s role in ensuring cleaner air at home. So, how do you choose the best HVAC filter? We’ll discuss the pros and cons of washable and disposable filters so you can make the best choice for your home.

Considerations for Choosing the Best HVAC Filter

HVAC filters range in their ability to screen out certain particles. If someone in your home suffers from asthma or allergies or if you have a pet, certain filters may be better than others. The different washable and disposable filters below take these factors into consideration to help you choose the best HVAC filter.

Washable Air Filters

Washable, or reusable, air filters are highly effective at screening out dust, dirt, and allergens. This also includes pet hair and dander, making it the best HVAC filter for pets. However, these filters need to be cleaned every 3 months to function optimally. Cleaning options include vacuuming with a narrow hose attachment, rinsing the filter under running water or scrubbing it with a damp soapy cloth. Always allow the filter to air dry completely before replacing.

Our top pick for reusable filters is an electrostatic filter. This type of filter uses an electrostatic charge that attracts dust and other particles, preventing them from entering your home. This highly effective method makes this the best HVAC filter for allergies and one of the best air filters for asthma. The following pros and cons can help determine if this filter is right for your home:


  • Saves money over time by not requiring frequent replacement
  • Highly effective at screening out common dust, dirt, allergens and pet hair
  • Reusability can be considered a “green” option


  • Higher initial cost
  • Filter is only effective when cleaned regularly

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Disposable Air Filters

Disposable filters vary in their ability to filter out dust, dirt and particles that can affect asthma and allergy sufferers. However, they do ensure clean air for those without these conditions and adequately protect your HVAC system.

Fiberglass and pleated filters are the two most common types of disposable filters. While fiberglass filters are the least expensive, they generally provide a lower-quality filtering ability. Pleated filters with cotton or polyester folds are considered to be the better disposable option for filtering out dust and allergens. However, fine particles may still escape pleated filters.

A notable exception to the general performance of disposable filters is HEPA filters. These High Efficiency Particulate Filters screen out over 99% of air contaminants, making them the best HVAC filter for cigarette smoke.

This list of pros and cons for disposable filters can help you choose the best HVAC filter option for your needs:


  • Cheaper initial cost
  • Fiberglass option provides a cost effective option for homes without allergies or respiratory conditions
  • Pleated option still provides a low cost choice with adequate performance for asthma and allergy sufferers


  • Regular replacement can increase costs over time
  • Doesn’t provide the highest quality filtering ability for asthma and allergy sufferers
  • Won’t completely filter out the finest particles

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The best HVAC filter is really the one that best meets the needs of those in your home. For the best HVAC service in Atlanta, call Dependable Heating and Air with any question or concern.