Best Cabin Air Filter

To find the best cabin air filter, we researched essential information such as each filter’s longevity, efficiency, vehicle compatibility, and the type of material. Depending upon certain factors such as how often you drive and the conditions in which your vehicle is taken, we selected the best options for your daily commute. Whether you need an air filter that can easily eliminate the odor of pollutants or one that is simply guaranteed to last longer than the competition, we’ve got an option you can choose.

When we concluded our research, we found EPAuto’s CP285 cabin air filter rises quickly to the top based on its overall affordability, efficiency, and odor absorption capabilities. The EPAuto filter is designed to be replaced every 12,000 miles or 12 months, meeting the industry standard, and features a soda and carbon solution to eliminate unwanted odors from polluted environments and other vehicles. EPAuto’s CP285 is an excellent way to keep your passengers safe from pollutants while improving your vehicle’s HVAC performance.

Top 6 Best Cabin Air Filter Reviews

 #1  EPAuto CP285 – Top Pick

WHY WE LIKE IT: EPAuto’s CP 285 cabin air filter delivers reliable performance, combined with excellent odor control, all at a shockingly low price.

Pros
  • Best budget
  • Carbon and soda odor protection
  • Easy installation process
Cons
  • Only supports Toyota, Lexus, Scion, and Subaru

A cabin air filter is essential for both your vehicle and passengers’ health; it ensures that the air being taken into your car is free of pollutants and odors. Additionally, an older clogged air filter can cause your car’s HVAC system to perform poorly. With these considerations in mind, the EPAuto CP285 won our top pick with ease. Featuring a shockingly low price tag, we were surprised at the 12-month reliability and odor filtration, using carbon and soda, that it provides. We don’t see such great performance at this price point typically.

Designed for Toyota, Lexus, Scio, and Subaru vehicles, others will be unable to use this cabin filter in their car. However, if you’re lucky enough to drive one of the aforementioned vehicles, you needn’t look much further for a replacement. We were additionally pleased to discover that the APAuto filter fit perfectly in all specified vehicles and was easy to install. Just as easy to install as the best radar detector in fact.

 #2  ACDelco CF188 – Honorable Mention

WHY WE LIKE IT: The ACDelco CF188 sports top-quality construction and a filtration material that keeps even the smallest airborne particles out of your vehicle – all at a great price.

Pros
  • Best for GM vehicles
  • High-quality filtration material
  • Design increases HVAC performance
Cons
  • Only supports GM vehicles
  • No carbon for odor control

Available for GM vehicles, the ACDelco CF188 is an air cabin filter that brings the quality construction we would expect from the original manufacturer but does so at lower third-party prices. The filter’s high-quality filtration is due to its non-woven compound material that is broken down into three separate layers of filtration. On the outer layer, large particles are caught, while the middle layer handles smaller particles, and the final layer provides added strength to the product itself.

With an official recommendation from GM for the company’s vehicles, drivers know they are in good hands picking up the CF188 from ACDelco. The design of the three-layer filter system also increases overall airflow, improving the overall performance of the HVAC system, meaning you can heat the car up or chill it down with greater efficiency. We do wish the company had included carbon within the filter for odor control, but nonetheless, we highly recommend this quality filter for your cabin. These are the best car accessories to keep the air inside healthy.

 #3  FRAM CF10134 – Best Odor Absorption

WHY WE LIKE IT: FRAM delivers excellent filtration performance, plus stellar odor absorption with the CF10134 thanks to the inclusion of Arm & Hammer baking soda and carbon.

Pros
  • Excellent odor elimination
  • Carbon integrated for odor control
  • Filters up to 98% of dust, pollen, & other contaminants
Cons
  • Only supports Acura and Honda vehicles

Are you looking for a filter that will have you taking a breath and feeling as though you’re amongst the Swiss Alps? We can’t guarantee a trip to the Alps, but we can say that FRAM’s CF10134 Fresh Breeze cabin air filter will make your next road trip just a tad bit more satisfying. During our research, we found that no other air filter has stepped up to deliver the odor-fighting power that FRAM has provided thanks to the integration of both active charcoal and Arm & Hammer baking soda – two substances that help to absorb unpleasant odors.

We were more than thrilled to see that FRAM includes not only installation instructions in every box, but also installation video on their website. As a result, the FRAM CF10134 is exceptionally easy to install in your vehicle and doesn’t leave you scratching your head. Hopefully, you drive an Acura or Honda though, as the CF10134 is only compatible with those two automotive manufacturers. It’s good to have a spare air filter on hand for when you need it. Consider it to be just as important as having the best car battery charger handy.

 #4  SpearHead BE-966 – Longest Lasting

WHY WE LIKE IT: The SpearHead BE-966 goes the extra miles, literally, lasting up to 15,000 miles – an impressive 25% longer than other filters we reviewed.

Pros
  • 3-Stage filtration keeps out pollutants
  • Electrostatic material catches ultrafine particles
  • Money-back guarantee
Cons
  • Only supports Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles

The ultimate value – that is how we can easily summarize SpearHead’s BE-966 cabin filter. Designed to last up to 15,000 miles, the SpearHead will outlast most filters we have tested by a 25% margin thanks to its honeycombed charcoal weave design. Additionally, the filter itself is made from a thick electrostatic material that filters out additional particulate matter such as exhaust fumes, ultrafine particles, and brake dust. Weighing in at twice the weight of a standard filter at .5 lbs, the SpearHead uses its integrated dust, antimicrobial, and absorption filters to keep the occupants inside your vehicle safe and happy.

A longer lasting filter that’s built with extra filtration is enough of a winner in our book, but SpearHead wants you to think the same which is why it offers a money-back guarantee if their filter doesn’t outperform your last. Supporting Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC vehicles, drivers can install this filter easily and forget it – at least for 15,000 miles. Air filter products may not be as exciting as the best car stereo, but the air in your vehicle is important to keep you breathing fresh air.

 #5  ECOGARD XC10622 – Best Filtration

WHY WE LIKE IT: ECOGARD’s electrostatic filter design removes and filters out up to 99.5% of pollutants including dust, pollen, pollution, allergens, and pet dander.

Pros
  • Electrostatic filter design kills allergens
  • Absorbs nearly all air pollutants
  • Delivers performance at a reasonable price
Cons
  • Only supports Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota vehicles
  • No carbon for odor control

ECOGARD delivers a premium option with their XC10622 cabin filter that removes and filters out up to 99.5% percent of all dust, pollen, air pollution, allergens, and pet dander. If you find yourself or your passengers coming down with allergy-like symptoms, the XC10622 might be the perfect option for your vehicle. If you feel intimidated by installing a cabin air filter for the first time, our research found that most customers found the filter as a perfect fit for their vehicle that was easy to replace.

With all of the filtration, we do wish that ECOGARD had gone a step further by adding carbon to filter out odors. The ECOGARD XC10622 is currently supported by later model year Mazda, Subaru, and Toyota vehicles. Again, we recommend you buy extra, just as you should have the best car charger on hand for when you need it.

 #6  K&N VF2000 – Best Reusable & Eco Friendly

WHY WE LIKE IT: K&N’s reusable VF2000 cabin air filter saves you money thanks to its washable design while being easy to install and helping to protect against allergens.

Pros
  • Includes 10 Year Warranty
  • Electrostatic filter design kills allergens
  • Eco Friendly design eliminates waste
Cons
  • Needs to be washed
  • Expensive upfront cost

Unlike more common disposable filters, reusable filters can be installed then simply washed out when needed. While we found the upfront investment cost of our favorite reusable filter, the K&N VF2000, to be about 3x the price of a standard disposable filter, we know that you’ll find a quick return and save money quickly with this option. Engineered with a washable and reusable inner material, K&N is also on its way, helping to create a more eco-friendly solution for passenger vehicles.

The filter material is electrostatically charged, helping it to capture small particulates such as allergens, making it a great companion for those with highly sensitive immune systems. Those who might not fall in love with the K&N include owners who don’t want to deal with the hassle of cleaning out their air filter every 6-12 months. We were extremely impressed, however, with the company’s outstanding 10 year/1000 mile warranty.

How We Decided

There are quite a number of cabin air filters available on the market, but we combed through the mess to find the best options. The air filters we selected all met a minimum requirement in each of our consideration categories, including overall longevity, efficiency, and materials.

All of the filters included in this roundup meet a lifespan of at least 12,000 miles, with some options hitting up to 15,000 miles. As with all filters, these numbers will vary depending on your vehicle and driving conditions, such as clean roadways and off-road trails, which will need to absorb more airborne material.

In addition, all filters needed to meet our efficiency requirements, removing at least 98% of pollutants from the air, allowing for a safe and comfortable ride. As a part of this efficiency requirement, considering different materials was necessary. All materials needed to capture our minimum 98% filtration specification, while we then took time to highlight other materials that featured added benefits such as carbon for additional odor control and washable materials for reusable filters.

Cabin Air Filter Buyer’s Guide

 

Top Features

  1. Longevity: One of the most crucial factors that you should observe when purchasing an air filter is its longevity or the time the air filter would last before needing to be replaced. The industry standard of 12,000 miles is a great place to start, and you should ensure that the filter you have your eye on meets this bare minimum specification. Otherwise, you might be finding yourself disassembling your car’s dashboard to get to the air filter a bit more often than you would care.
  2. Filtration: Due to both the materials and overall design of different filters, the filtration levels can vary from product to product. Added components such as carbon or baking soda can help filter out odors, while different filter media can help to protect against particulate matter of varying size. Check the air filter you are buying to ensure that it can protect against common airborne contaminants such as dust, pollen, allergens, smoke, smog, and bacteria.
  3. Value: Most filters need to be changed every 6-12 months, so it is important to find an air filter that does the job you need, but you can also replace it without needing to break the bank. Reusable filters that can be cleaned out are a great investment, although more expensive upfront.

Cabin Air Filter FAQs

How do I know I need to change my air filter?

Most cabin air filters should be changed every six to twelve months or about every 12,000 miles. A common symptom of an air filter that needs to be changed is a musty or dirty smell coming from the vehicle’s internal air vents.

What is it time to replace my cabin air filter?

Disposable air filters will last around 6-12 months on average, with reusable air filters lasting 5-10 years but requiring cleaning at least once a year. The expectancy can vary depending upon your driving environment.

What are the benefits of an air filter?

Cabin air filters help prevents airborne particulates such as pollen, dust, smoke, mold, and allergens from reaching your inside cabin; they also keep components such as your HVAC system working at top efficiency.

How do you change a cabin air filter?

Many individuals prefer to allow a mechanic to handle the changing of their air filter; however, you can perform the procedure on your own using simple tools. We recommend checking with your car manufacturer’s website for more information on the exact process.

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Michael Archambault

Michael Archambault is a technology writer and digital marketer located in Long Island, New York. For the past decade, Michael has covered the consumer technology space, reporting on the latest industry offerings while crafting comprehensive how-to guides, hands-on-reviews, and opinion-editorials. Michael has worked for Amazon.com's DPReview, Mobile Nations' Windows Central, onMSFT, PetaPixel, Dotdash’s Lifewire, and Digital Trends.

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