If you’ve been shopping for an air conditioner, air purifier, or similar unit, you have probably noticed that there are a number of different filters out there. However, there are two particular (and not interchangeable) types of filters that you should know about – permanent filters that you don’t throw away, and disposable filters that are designed to be tossed every several months or so. Here are the key differences you should be aware of!
Permanent filters are typically made of metal, tough fibers, or hard plastic meshes. The two common types of physical filtration – which creates spaces too small for particles to pass through like traditional filters – and electrostatic filtration. In electrostatic filtration, the air is charged as it enters the filter, and the charge is released as particles attach to metal fins, leaving the air cleaner.
While permanent filters can last for years, they do need to be regularly cleaned. That means taking the filter out and washing it off with water, often with some scrubbing to remove in-set dirt.
These filters are more expensive up front but save money over time since you don’t have to replace them. You also don’t have to spend so much time remembering your filter size or adding filters to your shopping list, which is always nice. They are also better for the environment than disposable filters!
However, there are some downsides: These filters don’t do much to remove smaller pollens and other particles that may make it by. They also can’t do much about smoke or pet dander. If you are particularly worried about allergies, you probably want a better filter.
Disposable filters are typically made of cardboard and tightly woven fabric. They are less expensive, but you have to replace them every several months or so. However, these filters are widely available, and you don’t have to worry about manually cleaning them out – you can just throw them away!
However, the biggest advantage of disposable filters is that they are much better at filtering out small particles. HEPA filters, for example, need to be replaced even more frequently but they can filter out the smallest particles and are excellent for asthma or allergies. Just make sure you are buying the right size of filter!