Should You Use a Permanent or Disposable AC Filter?

People ask the question, “Should I buy the permanent or disposable filter?” frequently. The short answer is… depends!

Both types of features have benefits and drawbacks. Since each situation is different, you need to evaluate your situation in light of the pros and cons of each filter.

Permanent Filters

Permanent filters do not require replacing on a regular basis. This means that you do not have to drive to the store to get a filter every month. It means that the used filter is not ending up in the local landfill. It does mean that you will spend more money up front. Permanent filters cost more to purchase, but you do not purchase them very often.

Permanent filters require regular cleaning. If you believe that an air filter is “out of sight, out of mind,” then a permanent filter is not for you. A permanent filter that is not cleaned regularly will load up with dust and other particles. It will restrict airflow through your AC system and if you neglect it for too long, your coils will ice up.

Because most permanent filters are washed with water, you have to wait for them to dry. This means either running your unit without a filter or turning the AC off while you wait for it to dry. This might or might not be a big deal to you.

Most permanent filters are electrostatic. They use the friction caused by air moving through the filter to build up an electrostatic charge. This charge will help the filter capture very small particles. This type of filter will capture more of those smaller particles than a disposable filter that is not electrostatic.

 Disposable Filters

Disposable filters require replacement on a regular basis. Most disposable filters last from one month to three months. That means you have to buy filters continually. Each filter costs less than a permanent filter but in the end, you will end up spending more money.

Disposable filters are thrown away. They are not very eco-friendly because they end up in landfills.

Disposable filters can usually be ignored for longer periods of time without restricting airflow. If you are not the type of person that will remember to clean a filter monthly this is a definite advantage. You will not have to worry about your neglected filter causing the coils to ice up.

You do not need to wash a disposable filter. That means no hassling with a hose, shaking the water out of the filter, and waiting for the filter to dry. You just take out the old filter and put the new filter in your AC unit.

Which Is Best?

In making your decision, consider if you are the type of personality that will clean your filter monthly. If so, then give serious consideration to the permanent filter.

If cost is important, consider that the disposable will be less money out of pocket now but cost more over the years to come.

In the end, it comes down to personality. Are you the permanent or disposable type?