The majority of furnaces, air conditioners, or HVAC systems I ever used had a moderately efficient original air filter. So, the best MERV 8 air filters were the most apparent replacement for my cooling and heating appliances as they maximize their performance while collecting a high percentage of common air pollutants.
These filters are available in various sizes, so the model you choose must have dimensions matching the unit’s grille or register. Moreover, their durability, lifespan, and filtering capabilities vary from model to model, making it difficult to estimate which HVAC air filter offers the most.
In this article, I’ll share the information that will help you determine which MERV 8 air filter is the right fit for your cooling or heating system and recommend several models worth considering.
Bottom Line Up Front
The filtering performance offered by MERV 8 air filters produced by different brands are similar, but their reliability and durability fluctuate depending on the manufacturer.
So, I think that opting for a model produced by an established brand like the Filtrete Clean Living Dust Reduction or AIRx Dust Air Filters is the safest choice for units that utilize standard 1-inch wide air filters. The Trion Air Bear Air Filter is among the best options for furnaces compatible with five-inch wide filters.
What exactly is MERV? Find out here.
My Top Picks At a Glance
|Model||Dimensions||Filter media material||Price range|
|Filtrete Clean Living Dust Reduction||16x25x1 inches||Electrostatically charged synthetic media||$$$|
|Trion Air Bear Air Filter||16x25x5 inches||Pleated synthetic||$$$|
|Nordic Pure Air Filters||20x30x1 inches||Electrostatically charged synthetic media||$$|
|Filterbuy Air Filters||14x14x1 inches||Electrostatic pleated synthetic media||$|
|Aerostar Air Filters||16x24x1 inches||Pleated synthetic electrostatic media||$|
|AIRx Dust Air Filters||20x25x1 inches||Synthetic gradient media||$$|
|JASENG Air Filters||12x12x1 inches||Synthetic electrostatic media||$|
|Bryant-Carrier SpiroHome FILXXFNC0021||19x20x4 inches||Pleated synthetic||$$|
|Anycore Air Filters||12x12x1 inches||Synthetic fiber||$$|
What Is MERV rating?
The easiest way to determine which particles an air filter can capture is to look at its MERV rating. The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value indicates the filter’s ability to capture particles in the 0.3 to 10-micron range.
Testing is conducted in accordance with the ASHARE 52.2 standard, and it rates air filters on a scale from 1 to 20. On average, MERV 8 models trap up to 85% of 3 to 10-micron particles from the air that passes through them, and they’re classified as medium-efficiency filters.
Let’s take a quick look at the key filtering properties of MERV 8 air filters:
- All MERV 8 models can capture dust, mold, and pollen
- Models with filter media enriched with carbon or baking soda can neutralize odors
- Most MERV 8 air filters are designed for residential use
The 3M brand utilizes MERV and Microparticle Performance Rating (MPR) to evaluate the efficiency of its products. So, Filtrete models with MPR 600 are equivalent to MERV 8 air filters produced by other brands.
Understanding the Dimensions of MERV 8 Air Filters
None of the cooling and heating appliances I own has the same vent dimensions, and each requires an air filter compatible with its vent size. MERV 8 filters are available in a wide range of size options, but you must choose the one that fits the vent on your cooling or heating system.
Moreover, the width of these filters varies from one to five inches. Standard models are one inch wide, but some furnaces and HVAC systems are only compatible with four or five-inch wide air filters.
Top tip: Check the size of the unit’s original air filter before throwing it away, and then use that information to find a suitable replacement.
The nominal dimensions show you the model’s rounded width, length, and height, but you should keep in mind that an air filter with 14x14x1 dimensions might not be suitable for a vent of a similar size.
The discrepancy between the model’s nominal and actual dimensions is usually from 0.25 to 0.5 inches, which often causes fitment issues.
Continue reading related Air Filter guides based on their size:
- Best 14x14x1 Air Filters
- Best 14x25x1 Air Filters
- Best 12x20x1 Air Filters
- Best 16x20x1 Air Filters
- Best 16x25x1 Air Filters
- Best 20x20x1 Air Filters
- Best 14x30x1 Air Filters
- Best 16x25x4 Air Filters
Types of MERV 8 Air Filters
The model’s filtering efficiency ratings depend on the design and quality of its media. So, besides the quality of the material, you also have to pay attention to the size of the filter media’s surface.
Compared to MERV 11 or MERV 16 models, air filters with MERV 8 ratings have a significantly smaller surface. All air filters use the following media materials regardless of their MERV rating or media design:
- Fiberglass – You shouldn’t expect high-end performances from air filters with fiberglass media. Even so, fiberglass models are a budget-friendly option for homeowners with low air filtering requirements.
- Pleated synthetic – Most MERV 8 models have synthetic media material. Pleated media design extends its surface and improves the air filter’s efficiency.
- Electrostatically charged – Air filters with electrostatically charged media can capture a high percentage of microscopic particles. These models utilize synthetic or polypropylene media materials that can resist moderate heat and humidity exposure.
See also: The best 14x14x1 air filters
Key Features of MERV 8 Air Filters
You won’t have to worry about a MERV 8 air filter affecting your unit’s cooling or heating performance because these filters don’t cause pressure drops or restrict the airflow. Still, this doesn’t mean that all models with this efficiency rating are a good fit for your furnace, AC, or heat pump.
Models with heat and moisture-resistant media perform well under challenging conditions, as they’re not prone to warping or media sagging.
Synthetic and polypropylene media materials reduce the chances of mold growth, but they can become the breeding ground for the mold spores they capture if they’re not changed frequently.
Top tip: MERV 8 air filters are a safe choice for most heating and cooling systems as they’re unlikely to increase their power consumption.
Frame durability and the quality of the filter’s backing are also among the factors you need to pay attention to while picking a MERV 8 air filter for your unit.
Cost and Upkeep Requirements
MERV 8 air filter’s lifespan doesn’t only depend on how often you’re using a heating or cooling appliance. The model’s width determines how much dirt it can absorb, as a one-inch wide air filter can’t hold more than ten grams of dirt.
Consequently, their maximum lifespan during summer or winter doesn’t exceed sixty days. Four or five-inch wide models can absorb more than a hundred grams of dirt, which is why their average lifespan varies from six to twelve months.
Even though most cooling and heating systems have Filter Replacement reminders, inspecting the filter frequently can help you determine the right moment to install its replacement. Washable MERV 8 air filters usually require monthly cleaning during cooling and heating seasons.
The prices of MERV 8 air filters also depend on their widths, as a single one-inch wide filter costs less than $15, while four or five-inch wide filters cost more than $30.
See also: The best 14x30x1 air filters
Nearly all air filter manufacturers offer models with MERV 8 rating. So, during the selection process, I had to go through the specifications of countless filters with this efficiency rating to identify the best models.
I utilized a broad spectrum of parameters to narrow my options and create a versatile selection of models that fit all budgets. Here are some of the essential criteria that helped me pick the best MERV air filters:
- The quality of the filter’s construction – All models I included in the final selection have sturdy frames that don’t bend when exposed to humidity, heat, or high pressure.
- Brand reliability – I used this criterion to shortlist the models produced by industry-leading brands that vouch for the quality of their products.
Continue reading related Air Filter guides based on MERV ratings:
Top 9 MERV 8 Air Filters
Filtrete Clean Living Dust Reduction
I believe any conversation about the best MERV 8 air filters is incomplete without mentioning at least one of the 3 M’s products. The Filtrete Clean Living Dust Reduction is among the brand’s best models with this efficiency rating, and they’re a good fit for most cooling and heating units.
This air filter is available in three sizes, but each of these options is 1-inch wide, so you won’t be able to install them on vents than require a four or five-inch wide filter.
- Filter media has a strong electrostatic field
- Airflow direction arrows simplify the installation process
- It traps close to 85% of the lint, pollen, dust mites, and similar air pollutants
- The filter has a sturdy frame and backing
- These filters have a short lifespan during cooling and heating seasons
Trion Air Bear Air Filter
You need to ensure that the Trion Air Bear Air Filter is compatible with your unit before you decide to purchase it. For instance, this model isn’t compatible with Lennox furnaces, and you can only install it on vents that support five inches-wide air filters.
Its non-woven pleated media has a large surface, but despite this, it can only trap particles up to 1 micron in size. The filter has a high dirt holding capacity, and you have to replace it every six to twelve months.
- The wire mesh backing is rust-resistant
- The filter maintains the same efficiency level even when it gets dirty
- It performs well in hot and humid conditions
- This filter has a long lifespan
- It’s compatible with a handful of cooling and heating units
Nordic Pure Air Filters
Even though they can’t capture allergenic particles, smog, or pet dander, the Nordic Pure Air Filters can still improve the air quality in your home. Electrostatically charged synthetic pleated media removes dust, lint, and other macroscopic air pollutants with high efficiency.
Filter’s eco-friendly frame made of recycled beverage board paper doesn’t warp when exposed to heat or humidity, while its backing prevents media sagging.
The manufacturer recommends changing these MERV 8 air filters every thirty to ninety days, depending on how often you’re using your cooling or heating system.
- These filters improve the unit’s performance
- A large media surface
- More affordable than most MERV 8 air filters
- The filter’s actual size might cause fitment problems
Filterbuy Air Filters
As one of the least expensive MERV 8 models on the market, the Filterbuy Air Filters are a budget-friendly option for ACs, heat pumps, furnaces, or whole-house HVAC systems. The beverage board frame performs well in adverse conditions and is unaffected by temperatures up to 200F.
The synthetic pleated media is supported by dual-wire backing that prevents it from moving even in humid environments. Its electrostatic field attracts and retains up to 90% of air pollutants larger than 3 microns and prevents dirt accumulation on the unit’s vital components.
- Synthetic media material prevents mold growth
- These filters don’t restrict airflow
- A durable construction
- It improves household’s air quality
- These air filters aren’t suitable for households with pets
Aerostar Air Filters
Finding the option that fits your unit’s vent shouldn’t be too difficult because the Aerostar Air Filters are available in more than twenty sizes.
These MERV 8 filters are suitable for homeowners that don’t struggle with allergies or live in areas with high air pollution levels as they can’t trap 2.5PM particles or smog. However, the pleated media retains a high percentage of common air pollutants like pollen or dust that pass through it.
The average lifespan of these air filters during winter or summer spans 30 to 45 days.
- A low airflow resistance
- The frame and media are heat and moisture resistant
- Installing or removing these filters is easy
- A wide selection of sizes
- The filter’s frame might bend under pressure
AIRx Dust Air Filters
Even though their features aren’t impressive, the AIRx Dust Air Filters can still improve air quality in most residential contexts. Their pleated media has a large surface and an electrostatic field that enables it to trap a high percentage of 3 to 10-micron particles it gets in contact with.
Also, these filters perform well in humid and hot conditions, as their operating temperature range spans 180F to 225F. AIRx Dust Air Filters are available in seven sizes, but all options are one inch wide.
- Pleated filter media is heat and moisture resistant
- A durable double beverage board frame
- These filters are compatible with a wide range of cooling and heating systems
- This AIRx model maintains the unit’s power consumption at the same level
- It can’t neutralize odors
JASENG Air Filters
I recommend buying a two-pack of JASENG Air Filters if you’re unsure they’re a good fit for your unit and then getting a six-pack after testing their filtering capabilities. Pleated synthetic material extends the media’s surface while its electrostatic field attracts the most common air pollutants.
This MERV 8 filter doesn’t have a high air resistance which enables it to enhance the cooling or heating system’s performance. Its aluminum frame isn’t prone to warping even in extreme conditions, while the dual wire backing keeps media firmly in place.
- It is compatible with most cooling and heating systems made by industry-leading brands
- The filter has a rigid frame
- The media is made of high-quality materials
- It can neutralize odors
- The product lasts less than thirty days during the summer months
Bryant-Carrier SpiroHome FILXXFNC0021
You should consider getting the Bryant-Carrier SpiroHome FILXXFNC0021 replacement whole-house air filter if you have a Bryant-Carrier furnace or an HVAC system. This 5-inch wide model has pleated media that traps up to 85% of air pollutants like dust, lint, or hair.
However, the filter can’t hold a lot of dirt, so you’ll have to change it every three to four months. Its performance level decreases slowly as it accumulates more and more dirt, which is why you must perform visual inspections to determine the right moment to replace it.
- It improves air quality
- All parts are made of durable materials
- It performs well in challenging conditions
- It’s only compatible with Bryant-Carrier cooling and heating systems
Anycore Air Filters
Installing the Anycore Air Filters on a furnace, AC, or HVAC system doesn’t take more than a few minutes of your time. Its aluminum frame and dual-wire backing ensure the product remains in perfect condition throughout its lifespan.
The pleated fiber media captures lint, dust, pollen, and hair from the air it filters but also helps neutralize unpleasant smells. In addition, the filter can hold a substantial amount of dust, and you can replace it once every three to six months.
- This filter is moisture-resistant
- It eliminates odors
- A long lifespan
- A budget-friendly price
- It struggles to trap particles smaller than 5 microns
Frequently Asked Questions about MERV 8 Air Filters
Question: What to do if the air is bypassing my MERV 8 air filter?
Answer: Using a filter that is too small for a vent isn’t advisable because it can affect the unit’s efficiency and lower the air quality in your home.
Question: Do I have to replace a MERV 8 air filter every three months?
Answer: A filter might get clogged and possibly cause damage to your cooling or heating unit if you fail to change it for more than three months.
Question: How to store MERV 8 air filters?
Answer: You should keep replacement MERV 8 air filters in a dry space and away from direct sun exposure.
With any luck, reading this article has helped you find a MERV 8 air filter that perfectly matches your cooling or heating unit. Please take a look at our guide to the best 16x20x1 air filters for more information about their performance capabilities.
My Verdict: Choosing the Right MERV 8 Air Filter
Most homeowners don’t need high-efficiency air filters that capture microscopic allergenic particles or viruses. Despite their moderate efficiency, the best MERV 8 air filters can still increase the air quality in your home and even alleviate dust or pollen allergy symptoms.
I think that Filtrete Clean Living Dust Reduction and AIRx Dust Air Filters are among the best models for units with 1-inch wide vents. A model like the Trion Air Bear Air Filter might be the right choice if you need a five-inch wide MERV 8 air filter.