Best Air Conditioner Filters for Allergies and Pet Dander

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When you have allergies, carving out a safe place in the home can feel like a chore. Even if you keep your pet out of your bedroom, hair and dander have a way of getting everywhere. Whether your allergies are just sniffles or a more serious reaction, you shouldn’t have to get rid of your furry friend to breathe easy.

Fortunately, home air filters offer a solution. There are a variety of filters that can be integrated with a person’s existing HVAC system, air conditioner, or furnace. They help to purify the air that flows through the HVAC system channels, trapping dust and allergens on the way.

Looking for the right option can be daunting, though. People throw around a lot of technical terms, and you might not be sure what they all mean. Here’s a breakdown.

Best HVAC Filters for Allergies and Pet Dander

FeatureNumber in PackAttracts Indoor AllergensWhen to Change Filter
#1. Healthy Living
Our Best Pick

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2Yes90 days
#2. Nordic Pure

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6Yes30 to 90 days
#3. Allergen Defense

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2Yes90 days


Filtrete is the company that created the MPR scale. MPR stands for Microparticle Performance Rating. The scale measures a filter’s capacity to capture increasingly small airborne particles. Since Filtrete pioneered the MPR scale, you’re more likely to find accessible MPR ratings with Filtrete products. The cream of the crop comes in at 2800 MPR, but average ratings tend to be between 300 and 1000 MPR.

The MERV rating system has been created by ASHRAE, otherwise known as the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. These ratings go from 1 to 16. Higher ratings mean more effectiveness at trapping small particles. Any filter that’s rated at a MERV 7 to 13 can reach nearly the same effectiveness as a HEPA filter.

FPR, otherwise known as Filter Performance Rating, is a system of rating that was pioneered by the Home Depot. The scale is comparable to the MERV rating system. 5 FPR is equivalent to about 8 MERV; 7 FPR is equivalent to about 11 MERV; 10 FPR is equivalent to about 13 MERV.

Filtrete makes some of the best filters for allergies on the market, but they can sometimes be a little expensive. Another company that creates high-quality filters is Nordic Pure. This option might be more within your budget if you want a higher-end filtration system that’ll work well on allergens.

#1. Healthy Living Ultrafine Particle Reduction Air Filter from Filtrete

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This air filter option from Filtrete is one of the best choices on the market if you have allergies, are worried about your indoor air quality, or live in a place that requires air purification.

Since the construction is high-quality, it’s also the most expensive option on the list. If you’re choosing these filters, you want to make sure they’re matched to your need. Each filter will need to be replaced every 90 days. That means that you’ll need to continue purchasing replacements, which should factor into how you set your budget. Air filters are an ongoing cost rather than a one-time purchase.

The filters are available in two-packs, though you can also purchase a two-pack with an included air quality monitor. In addition, you have a choice of seven different sizes to choose from, so the filters are compatible with a wide variety of different filtration customizations.

Filtrete is known for making high-quality and durable air filters that outperform the competition. This filter performed better when tested against non-electrostatic, washable, and fiberglass filters that were meant to last the same amount of time. Each filter is designed to suit an HVAC system, air conditioner, or furnace.

Like the majority of other Filtrete products, the Healthy Living filters have 3-in-1 technology that allows them to trap air particles and let the clean air move through. In addition to picking up materials like skin flakes and pet hair, the filter can trap microscopic airborne materials like sneeze and cough debris, smoke, viruses, bacteria, household dust, pollen, and lint.

The thing that sets the Healthy Living filters at the top of the list is their high MPR. MPR stands for Microparticle Performance Rating. The higher the rating, the more particles can be captured by the filter. This filter comes with a rating of 2800 MPR. This is one of the highest ratings available on the market, and it indicates that the filter can trap ultrafine particles that other filters might let slip through.

This filter is rated for use in residential homes only. If you’re looking for a filter for the air conditioner in your home or apartment, this is a great choice. For anyone looking to outfit a commercial HVAC system or industrial habitat with an air filter, though, you’ll want to look for something commercial-grade.

#2. Nordic Pure AC and Furnace Air Filters

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These air filters are designed and tested by Nordic Pure. If you want an option that you can easily buy in bulk, you might want to give these a look. They come in packs of six. Since each filter should be changed every 30 to 90 days, one pack will last you anywhere from six months to eighteen months of use.

The pleated air filters are designed to attract indoor allergens, contaminants, pollen, and dust. In addition, the filter material is made from antimicrobial and hypoallergenic pleating. If you’re a person with skin sensitivities who’s concerned about being irritated by the makeup of a filter, you don’t have to worry with this option.

Unlike the other two options on the list, the Nordic Pure filters are rated for both commercial and residential use. People looking for industrial filters will still probably need to go to a more heavy-duty route, but if you want to give your commercial HVAC system a boost, this is the place to turn.

The furnace filter is rated at MERV 12, which is a standard that’s comparable to HVAC. With that said, it doesn’t quite reach the level of HVAC filtration. The filters reach an MPR of anywhere from 1500 to 1900. Each filter attracts particles through an electrostatic charge. Since there’s no moisture, mold and bacteria won’t grow on the filter, and there’s better trapping powers than with fiberglass filters.

The manufacturer recommends changing the filter every 30 to 90 days. The best replacement schedule for you depends on your home environment. If you have allergies, especially pet allergies, it’s important to change the air filter more frequently. As the filter becomes clogged with debris, it stops functioning as well, leading to potential allergy flareups.

#3. Micro Allergen Defense Air Filter from Filtrete

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This is another option from Filtrete. As such, it has the 3-in-1 defense system that helps to trap particles and promote clean air. But it’s also much more affordable than the previous option.

This is the choice you want if you’re looking for an allergy filter but don’t want to break the bank. It won’t have exactly the same effects as a more advanced filter with layered technology. But for this price point, this is the best filter option because it’s specifically designed with those who have allergies in mind.

There are a number of purchase options available. The two-pack is the cheapest, but you can also buy in bulk packs of four or six. The MPR 1000 rating is the same as a MERV 11 rating. When compared to non-electrostatic, washable, and fiberglass filters, these filters outperformed the competition.

The manufacturer recommends changing the filter every 90 days at the most. If you have serious allergies, you might want to change it sooner than that. Like the other Filtrete option on the list, these filters are only rated for residential use, so they’re not the best choice for people looking for commercial options.

Final Thoughts

The Healthy Living filters are the best of the best if you don’t mind spending a little extra. Each of the filters lasts three months, and they’ve been proven to outperform non-electrostatic, washable, and fiberglass air filters. The layers of technology allow the filters to trap excess allergens that other air filters might leave behind.

If you want a high-quality option that you can purchase in bulk, you don’t have to look further than the Nordic Pure. You can get a six-pack of these filters for relatively little cost. Each filter attracts allergens, pollen, dust, and other contaminants in the air.

For those seeking a good option for a minimal budget, the Allergen Defense filters are a good place to start. These filters are designed to trap and lock in allergens and dust. Though they don’t reach the 2400 MPR rating of the Healthy Living filters, they do get up to an MPR of 1000. These filters are designed exclusively for use in residential homes.

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