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Fiberglass Air Filters vs. Pleated Air Filters

Fiberglass Air Filters vs. Pleated Air Filters

We all know the quality of our filters makes a difference in the air we breathe.

But have you ever considered what makes up that quality?

Things like the configuration of your filter, its MERV rating, or in this case, the materials your filters are made from.

One of the decisions you’ll need to make when finding the right filter for your home HVAC system is whether you should get a pleated filter or a fiberglass filter.

Because we care about your air, we only sell the best. In this case, that means pleated filters. (Click here to find a pleated filter that fits your home.)

And while we at Filter King recommend pleated filters, we want to give you the full picture. Here are the pros and cons of both fiberglass filters and pleated filters.

Fiberglass Air Filters vs Pleated Air Filters: Pros and Cons

Fiberglass Air Filters vs Pleated Air Filters: Pros and Cons

Pleated Air Filters


  • Pleated filters last longer, so you replace them less and your dollar goes further.
  • Pleated filters are made from a sustainable fabric, which is biodegradable and good for the environment!
  • The surface area of pleated filters is greater, so it traps more particulates in the air than other filter designs (making the air you breathe cleaner).


  • The unit cost of pleated filters can be a little bit higher than fiberglass. But considering the longer life of pleated filters and that they’re biodegradable, this isn’t much of a con.

Fiberglass Air Filters


  • Fiberglass tends to allow greater airflow, which puts less strain on weaker HVAC units.
  • Per unit, fiberglass filters tend to be cheaper than pleated filters.


  • Fiberglass filters are often see-through. If you hold them up, you can test this. And this allows large particles to pass into your evaporator coils, which will lead to costly repairs.
  • Fiberglass filters need to be replaced more often than other types, which brings up the total cost (as well, the added inconvenience).
  • Discarded fiberglass is not biodegradable, which means these filters aren’t eco-friendly.
  • Because fiberglass allows greater airflow, it also allows a greater number of particulates to pass back into your home.

Two Other Factors to Consider

Air Quality Effectiveness

No matter which filters you go with, it needs to be able to trap particles like dust, smoke, and pet dander.

Depending on different factors like, the number of children in your home, whether or not you do have pets, or if you smoke inside, 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.

And then, to ensure your filter continues to keep out the bad stuff, follow a replacement schedule of every three months for a pleated air filter (and about twice as often for fiberglass filters).


With all other things being equal, the higher the MERV rating, the more expensive your filter will be.

But not all homes require a MERV rating of 13. And you should never use a MERV rating above 13 for a residential AC unit.

(We talk more about MERV rating here.)

When it comes to cost, fiberglass filters per unit do tend to be cheaper.

But, as they say, you get what you pay for.

Additionally, because fiberglass filters need to be replaced more frequently (often as much as twice as frequently as pleated filters) you will often end up paying more for fiberglass over the course of a year.

So, which is right for you?

Our Verdict: Pleated

Due to their efficiency, sustainability, and cost-effectiveness, pleated filters beat fiberglass filters in almost every category.

However, if you happen to be shopping at a store that only sells fiberglass filters, and if you’re desperate and need one right away, then go with the fiberglass filter. It’s still an air filter.

But, on the other hand, if you’re looking for superior air quality, long-term savings, and the convenience of changing your filter less often, then let Filter King help you get the right air filter.

What next?

Getting started with the right filter is easy.

Just take our super-short survey.

We’ll walk you through everything you need to know. And then you’ll be on your way to having clean and healthy air in your home.



…and to sweeten the deal, we’ve got a $5 off coupon for you.

Because, who doesn't love $5 off coupons, right?

Just use 5off when you checkout.

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