Finding the Perfect Air Filter for Your Home or Business

When it comes to keeping your home or business comfortable and healthy, the right air filter is essential. Air filters are labeled with dimensions that you can find on the sides or on the filter frame, making it easy to find the size you need. Dirty and clogged HVAC filters can impede air flow, making your home less comfortable and damaging your HVAC equipment. HVAC filter sizes are determined by their thickness (depth), height, and length.

Most DIY stores sell air conditioning filters ranging from MERV 1 to MERV 13, with some models as good as MERV 16. Thicker air filters with larger pleats don't need to be changed as often, and are usually 1 inch thick for common systems and 5 inches thick for larger HVAC systems. Air filters come in a variety of standard sizes, and some can be adapted to fit different-sized filter boxes or air return openings.


filters are designed with pleated material (a non-woven material composed of glass, paper, polyester and plastic fibers) and can capture pollen, mold spores and many types of household dust. The highest rating you'll find on most residential HVAC filter sizes is MERV 13, which stops bacteria, smoke, and other microscopic particles.

Once you've determined the exact dimensions that best suit your needs, ask for the filter size with the exact fraction or decimal of your preferred measurements. If you're looking for a store near you that sells custom-sized air filters, you might be out of luck. The best way to find out what size filter you need is to remove the existing filter from your HVAC system and check its dimensions on the filter frame. If you can't take a measurement, experts sometimes recommend opting for a MERV 8 pleated filter as a safe option.

Simon Genz
Simon Genz

Infuriatingly humble social media practitioner. Incurable communicator. Friendly internet trailblazer. Zombie fan. Lifelong foodaholic.