Fiberglass Air Filters vs. Pleated Air Filters

Fiberglass Air Filters vs. Pleated Air Filters

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You may never have thought about the quality of your air filter, let alone the details like material, configuration, and MERV rating, but these are all important factors in providing your household with clean, filtered air at a low cost. One of the decisions that you need to make when finding the right filter for your home HVAC system is whether you should get a pleated or fiberglass filters. Filter King wants to give you a little guidance on the pros and cons of each, which will hopefully help you make a solid filter choice. 

Important Factors When Choosing an Air Conditioning Filter

For most people, the only two factors that they consider when buying an air conditioning filter are cost and effectiveness. Let’s examine both:

Air Quality Effectiveness

Your filter needs to be able to trap particles like dust, smoke, and pet dander. Depending on factors like the number of children in your home, whether or not you have pets, et cetera, you will need a filter with a MERV rating that is suitable for your needs. We recommend purchasing filters with a MERV rating of 8, 11, or 13 depending on your living situation with a replacement schedule of every three months for a pleated air filter and about twice as often if you use fiberglass filters. 


With all other things being equal, the higher the MERV rating, the more expensive your filter will be. Not all homes require a MERV rating of 13 and you should never use a higher rating for a residential AC unit. Fiberglass filters tend to be cheaper, but you get what you pay for. Additionally, because they need to be replaced more frequently (sometimes, as much as twice as often) you may end up paying more for fiberglass over the course of a year. 

Fiberglass Air Filters vs Pleated Air Filters: Pros and Cons

Fiberglass Air Filters vs Pleated Air Filters: Pros and Cons

Fiberglass Air Filters


+   The unit cost of fiberglass tends to be cheaper than pleated filters.

+   You dispose of fiberglass air filters by throwing them out.

+   Fiberglass tends to allow greater airflow.


-   Fiberglass filters need to be replaced more often than other types.

-   Discarded fiberglass is not biodegradable, which means that the filters aren’t eco-friendly.

-   Fiberglass allows greater airflow but also allows a greater number of particulates to pass back into your home.

-   Replacing your filter more frequently means greater total costs and added inconvenience.

Pleated Air Filters


+   Pleated filters tend to last longer, which means more value for your dollar.

+   Pleated air filters are made from a sustainable fabric, which biodegrades after a period of time.

+   The surface area of pleated filters is greater, meaning that it will trap more particulates than other filter designs.


-   The unit cost of pleated filters tends to be a little higher than fiberglass.

Recommended Users - Which One is Right For You ?

Our Verdict – Pleated or Fiberglass?

Due to their efficiency, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness, pleated filters beat fiberglass filters in almost every category. If you happen to be shopping at a store that only sells fiberglass filters and you need one right away, you’ll be all right with a fiberglass filter. On the other hand, if you’re looking for superior air quality, long-term savings, and convenience, contact Filter King and subscribe to our delivery service.