Simply slipping a better filter into your home's forced-air heating/cooling system is one of the most effective, least expensive ways to clean the air, experts say -- in fact, you may find you don't need a pricey portable air purifier at all. 3M Filtrete filters (made of pleated, electrostatically-charged fiber) are inexpensive, disposable and easy to find at discount and home improvement stores, and the better grades do a very good job of trapping dust and pollen, in one expert test. The top-of-the-line 3M Filtrete 2200 Elite Allergen Reduction Filter proves best in that test, doing an outstanding job of removing dust and pollen and a good job of removing cigarette smoke, too. Anecdotally, users report that they dust less, sneeze less and need less allergy medicine after they installed the 3M Filtrete 2200 in their home heating/cooling systems.
All of the Filtrete filters allow very good airflow to the furnace, according to one expert test, but you should change the filter every three months to keep it from clogging up. If you've tried a better furnace filter and common-sense air quality measures (such as no pets in the bedroom and no smoking indoors), and it's still not enough, experts say you may want to consider a professionally installed whole-house filter system or a portable HEPA-filter air purifier such as the Honeywell Enviracaire 50250-N (Est. $200), Austin Air HealthMate ($540) or IQAir HealthPro Plus (Est. $900).
ConsumerReports.org includes the 3M Filtrete 2200 Elite Allergen Reduction Filter in its latest air purifier tests, comparing it to several cheaper furnace filters. AllergyBuyersClub.com doesn't test the 3M Filtrete 2200, but it publishes the most thorough, helpful description we found of how this filter works and why it's good. Amazon.com posts the most user reviews for this filter, and Drugstore.com adds a few, as well.
ConsumerReports.org tests six do-it-yourself whole-house air filters -- including the 3M Filtrete 2200 Elite Allergen Reduction Filter and three cheaper Filtrete filters -- and ranks them from best to worst. Each is rated for dust/pollen removal, smoke removal and airflow resistance. Editors also rate professionally installed whole-house air filter systems, as well as room-size air purifiers.
Review: Air Purifiers, Editors of ConsumerReports.org
With a 4-star score, the 3M Filtrete 2200 Elite Allergen Reduction Filter is one of the best-rated disposable furnace filters here. This website sells and rates a huge number of air purifying products.
Review: 3M Filtrete Allergen Reduction Pleated 1" Disposable Furnace Filters, Editors of AllergyBuyersClub.com
This furnace filter gets positive reviews from more than 20 customers here. Reviewers say the 3M Filtrete 2200 cuts down on house dust, as well as allergy symptoms.
Review: 3M Filtrete 2200 MPR, 6-Pack, Elite Allergen Reduction Filter, 16x25x1, Contributors to Amazon.com
Drugstore.com lists reviews separately for each available size of this filter, with four reviews posted in all. Reviews say it cuts down on pet dander and dust in the house.
Review: Filtrete Elite Allergen Reduction Filter, 2200 MPR, 16x25x1, Contributors to Drugstore.com