The lack of proper ventilation has made the air quality in my home worse than the outdoor air quality for years. Testing some of the best MERV 13 air filters has helped me improve the quality of the air I breathe. I also discovered that some models increased my unit’s power consumption.
All MERV 13 models I tried delivered remarkable filtering performances, but only a handful of these filters could maintain the same efficiency throughout their lifetime.
Over time, I’ve learned that efficiency is just one of the factors I need to consider when choosing a replacement air filter for my cooling and heating appliances.
In this article, I’ll take you through all aspects you need to take into account while choosing the best MERV 13 air filter and introduce you to several models that can improve air quality in your home.
Bottom Line Up Front
Despite being highly efficient, MERV 13 air filters aren’t a good fit for all cooling and heating units. I don’t recommend buying a replacement model with this MERV rating before checking if it is compatible with your AC, heat pump, or HVAC system.
I think that Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Air Filters or DuPont ProClear Allergen Air Filters are among the best one-inch wide MERV 13 air filters on the market.
My Top Picks At a Glance
|Model||Dimensions||Filter media material||Price range|
|Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Air Filters||20x20x1||Electrostatic synthetic media||$$$|
|AIRx Health Air Filters||16x25x1||Synthetic gradient media||$$|
|BNX Air Filters||14x20x1||Polypropylene media||$$|
|FILTI Healthy Home Elite Series Air Filters||20x30x1||Nanofiber media||$$$|
|DuPont ProClear Allergen Air Filters||16x20x1||Synthetic fiber media||$$|
|Filterbuy Air Filters||20x20x2||Synthetic media||$$$|
|Aerostar Air Filters||12x12x1||Synthetic media||$|
|BestAir HW2025-13R Air Filters||20x25x4||Electrostatic synthetic media||$$$$|
|Trion AirBear 266649-102||20x25x5||Electrostatic synthetic media||$$$$|
What is the MERV rating?
Learning to read different efficiency ratings has enabled me to know which particles a specific model can capture. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) indicates the filter’s ability to retain air pollutants in different sizes on a one to twenty scale.
So, a MERV 13 model can trap 75% of 0.3 to 1-micron particles, 90% of 1 to 3-micron particles, and close to 95% of particles larger than 3 microns.
This is the highest efficiency rating recommended for residential use, and models with MERV 14 or higher ratings are commonly used in hospitals, laboratories, or industrial settings.
3M’s Microparticle Performance Rating evaluates the filter’s ability to retain particles smaller than a micron on a 100 to 2,800 scale. Brand’s filters with 1,900MPR are a MERV 13 equivalent and offer superior residential air filtration.
Check out more Air Filter guides based on MERV ratings:
- Best Merv 8 Air Filters
- Best Merv 11 Air Filters
- Best Merv 13 Air Filters
- Best Merv 14 Air Filters
- Best Merv 16 Air Filters
Understanding the dimensions of MERV 13 air filters
I’ve never understood the logic behind the vent dimensions of cooling and heating systems, as their sizes vary from model to model. Hence, the size of the replacement MERV 13 air filter you need really does depend on the AC, heat pump, or furnace unit you have.
Top tip: Even though most MERV 13 air filters are suitable for multiple cooling and heating units, I still recommend checking if a specific model is recommended for the AC you have.
These appliances are compatible with air filters that can be from one to five inches wide, so besides the filter’s length and height, you also need to take its width into account. To make matters more complicated, all models have nominal and actual dimensions.
- Nominal size – Brands use the filter’s rounded width, length, and height values to market their products. Consequently, you can choose from models with 12x12x1 or 20x25x5 nominal sizes, depending on the dimensions of the unit’s vent.
- Actual size – An air filter is usually 0.25 to 0.5 shorter than its nominal size indicates. That’s why you need to know the old filter’s exact dimensions to find the right replacement for it.
Types of MERV 13 air filters
I felt intimidated by different filter media materials while choosing the first replacement air filter for my HVAC system. Taking the time to find out more about common media materials’ properties has helped me understand that the filter’s efficiency doesn’t depend solely on them.
That’s why I pay close attention to the size of the media’s surface while choosing a new filter. Let’s take a closer look at different types of MERV 13 air filters:
- Synthetic – I used countless air filters with synthetic media material because they really do perform exceptionally well in hot and humid conditions. I prefer models with pleated media design because they have a large media surface that enables them to remove most air pollutants from the air that passes through them.
- Electrostatically charged – These models usually have pleated media made of synthetic, polyester, nanofiber, or polypropylene materials. The electrostatic field helps the media attract microscopic and macroscopic particles.
Continue reading related guides if you’re looking for a specific Air Filter Size:
- Best 14x14x1 Air Filters
- Best 10x30x1 Air Filters
- Best 14x25x1 Air Filters
- Best 16x25x1 Air Filters
- Best 16x25x4 Air Filters
- Best 20x25x4 Air Filters
Key characteristics of MERV 13 air filters
I like to gather as much information as possible about the product I’d like to buy. That’s why I study the product descriptions and spec sheets of all MERV 13 air filters I’m interested in before deciding which model to buy.
One thing I’ve learned from my research is that most air filters on the market have similar features regardless of their efficiency rating. The number of pleats per linear foot is arguably the biggest difference between MERV 13 models and air filters with lower efficiency ratings.
Top tip: I think the sturdiness of the filter’s construction is as important as its efficiency rating, which is why I never use models with flimsy frames.
The filter’s operating temperature range, media backing material, or airflow resistance are some parameters I always check while evaluating the model’s quality. Also, the MERV 13 air filters I use in my home have media with antimicrobial properties that prevent bacteria and mold growth.
Upkeep requirements and replacement frequency
Most manufacturers provide unrealistic lifespan expectancies for their products. According to product descriptions, most one-inch wide MERV 13 air filters last for 90 days, while models with widths spanning three to five inches last up to six months or even a year.
I replace one-inch wide models every month during the summer and winter seasons or every 45 days during the off-season. The four and five-inch wide models I used were more durable, but I still had to change them after three to four months.
Disposable and washable MERV 13 air filters don’t have high upkeep requirements. I recommend checking if the filter is dirty every two to three weeks to determine the right moment to replace it or clean it.
The price of a single disposable MERV 13 air filter can range from $7 to $15, while most reusable models cost around $50.
Even though the model’s efficiency played an important role in the selection process, I couldn’t rely only on the MERV ratings while choosing air filters for this article.
The model’s dimensions, sturdiness, filter media quality, and arrestance rate were some of the parameters I used to select the top performers with this MERV rating. Let’s take a look at more criteria I depended on during the selection process.
- Brand reliability – I only considered models produced by well-known brands with a long history of producing high-quality products.
- Price range – I utilized this parameter to pinpoint the best budget-friendly and expensive MERV 13 air filters.
Top 9 MERV 13 air filters
Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Air Filters
The 3M brand produced some of the best MERV 13 air filters I ever used. Hence, Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Air Filters seemed like an obvious choice that, in my opinion, offers a great balance between price and performance.
This model has an electrostatic media with a large surface, so it’s hardly surprising that it removes cigarette smoke, viruses, and other microscopic air pollutants from the air that passes through it. I recommend checking your unit’s specifications before buying this air filter.
- The frame doesn’t bend in humid conditions
- Media material prevents mold growth
- The filter is allergy-friendly
- It doesn’t have a high airflow resistance
- A low dust-holding capacity
AIRx Health Air Filters
I was impressed with how well AIRx Health Air Filters perform in hot and humid environments. The filter’s operating temperature spans from 180F to 225F, so I wasn’t worried about the media material’s efficiency during hot summer days.
The filter’s frame and media are moisture-resistant and prolonged exposure to humidity doesn’t affect their performance. Most importantly, I could feel the effect these air filters had on the air quality just a few days after installing them on my HVAC system.
- The filter has a galvanized metal backing
- Airflow indicators make the installation process easier
- The filter has a strong electrostatic field
- The filter’s airflow resistance might be too high for some units
BNX Air Filters
Innovative construction, excellent efficiency, and eco-friendly materials are among the BNX Air Filter’s properties that caught my attention. This MERV 13 model has Single-Sided frame technology, diagonal support, and laminated steel backing that ensure its durability.
Despite having a pleated media design, the filter’s airflow resistance is relatively low. Still, I recommend checking if these filters are a good option for your unit. Also, this model doesn’t have a high dust holding capacity, and you’ll have to replace it often during cooling and heating seasons.
- It eliminates almost all pollutants from the air it filters
- Media has a high pleat count
- The filter doesn’t cause pressure drops
- Affordable price
- Filter media doesn’t have antimicrobial properties
FILTI Healthy Home Elite Series Air Filters
The versatile selection of sizes is one of the reasons I consider FILTI Healthy Home Elite Series Air Filters an excellent option for a broad spectrum of cooling and heating units. I also like the model’s three-layer media construction with a melt-blown design that includes the metal backing and composite sections.
The filter’s nanofiber media layer is sandwiched between the composite and metal backing elements that protect it from heat and humidity. This MERV 13 model collects dirt quickly, so I suggest replacing it often to avoid complications caused by clogging.
- The filter is compatible with most cooling and heating units
- It has a sturdy cardboard frame
- This filter is available in 15 sizes
- Media material isn’t electrostatically charged
DuPont ProClear Allergen Air Filters
It didn’t take long to understand that DuPont ProClear Allergen Air Filters provide superior filtration because all my allergy symptoms disappeared shortly after I started using this filter. Its pleated electrostatic media material can absorb odors and VOCs because it contains Oguard ingredient.
The media’s antimicrobial features prevented bacteria and mold growth, even though I used the filter in humid conditions. The cardboard frame and wire backing held up well throughout its lifetime, as I didn’t notice any signs of warping while installing its replacement.
- The filter collects more than 90% of contaminants from the air that passes through it
- Media material has a large surface
- Two-piece frame construction increases the filter’s durability
- It offers excellent value for money
- This filter might be too restrictive for some units
Filterbuy Air Filters
Even though they are two inches wide, Filterbuy Air Filters don’t have a high airflow resistance. Nonetheless, I don’t recommend getting these MERV 13 filters before checking if they’re too restrictive for your cooling or heating system.
Pleated synthetic electrostatic media has twelve pleats per foot, and its surface is larger than the surface of the brand’s one-inch wide models. Media is moisture and heat resistant, but despite this, bacteria or mold can grow on its surface if the filter remains in use for more than three months.
- Cardboard frame withstands exposure to temperatures up to 200F
- Dual wire backing prevents media movement
- The filter is suitable for hot and humid environments
- These air filters are expensive
Aerostar Air Filters
I was skeptical at first when I first discovered Aerostar Air Filters because I found it hard to believe that such a budget-friendly model could trap a high percentage of microscopic particles. I quickly changed my mind about these filters because they collected a significant amount of dirt in just a few days.
Their pleated electrostatic synthetic media didn’t restrict my unit’s airflow, but you must check if they’re suitable for your AC, heat pump, or furnace. This model has a cardboard frame that withstands moderate humidity exposure.
- Wire backing is glued to the media material
- This filter is available in several sizes
- It captures viruses and microscopic allergenic particles efficiently
- These filters are less expensive than most MERV 13 models
- It has a short lifespan
BestAir HW2025-13R Air Filters
I suggest considering BestAir WH2025-13R Air Filters if you’re looking for replacement filters compatible with Honeywell furnaces. This remarkably efficient model has a large media surface that can trap particles smaller than a micron.
Also, this model absorbs cigarette smoke and can neutralize household odors or VOCs. Its estimated lifespan is twelve months, but you may have to change it more frequently if you use your furnace often. It’s also worth adding that the media doesn’t have antimicrobial properties.
- Sturdy and durable design
- Excellent performance at high temperatures
- It prevents dirt accumulation on the furnace’s components
- It’s only compatible with Honeywell furnaces
Trion AirBear 266649-102
I think that the Trion AirBear 266949-102 is one of the best replacement models for HVAC systems compatible with five-inch wide filters. Its moisture-resistant frame and galvanized wire backing keep the electrostatically charged media in place.
I’ve never had a remotely negative experience with a Trion AirBear filter, and this model isn’t an exception.
Its high dust-holding capacity and ability to capture particles smaller than a micron while providing minimal airflow resistance are reasons why I think this model has plenty to offer to homeowners with high air quality expectations.
- A built-in gasket prevents the air from bypassing the filter
- This filter lasts for up to six months
- A budget-friendly price
- It doesn’t fit on all vents compatible with five-inch wide filters
Frequently asked questions
Question: Do I have to hire an HVAC technician to install a MERV 13 air filter?
Answer: You don’t have to hire a professional to install these filters for you, but consulting an HVAC technician can help you determine if your unit is compatible with MERV 13 filters.
Question: Are MERV 13 air filters as efficient as HEPA filters?
Answer: MERV ratings of HEPA filters range from 17 to 20, and they’re more efficient than MERV 13 models.
Question: Can a MERV 13 air filter capture airborne viruses?
Answer: They can, but only if the virus is larger than 0.3 micron.
We’ve reached the end of our journey through the world of MERV 13 air filters, and I hope I’ve helped you find a model that is the right fit for your cooling or heating system. Please read our guide to the best 14x25x1 air filters for more information about models with these nominal dimensions.
My verdict: Which MERV 13 air filter should you choose?
All MERV 13 models deliver superior residential air filtration, and they can assist you in removing harmful particles from the air you breathe. Even so, I don’t think upgrading to a high-efficiency filter before consulting an HVAC technician is a good idea, as you might wear out your unit and shorten its lifespan.
I recommend choosing Filtrete Healthy Living Ultimate Allergen Air Filters or DuPont ProClear Allergen Air Filters if you own a unit compatible with one-inch wide MERV 13 filters. BestAir HW2025-13R Air Filters and Trion AirBear 266649-102 could be the right option for you if you need a four or five-inch wide air filter.