OEM Air Filter vs. Knockoffs: What’s a Better Choice?

Posted by Barry Kindt on

Changing the filters in your air filtration or heating and cooling systems is one of the largest components to keeping a safe and clean home or office environment. Especially in today’s world, breathing clean air shouldn’t be taken lightly. Changing your air filters on schedule is particularly significant, but 1 out of every 5 people believe it’s not important to do. 

The damage that can be caused by a lack of regular filter replacement reaches beyond just dirty air, and heavily into your wallet. Your HVAC system can suffer and require costly repairs if it’s frequently trying to operate with dirty air filters, and many people experience health problems due to breathing impure air in their homes or workplace.

It’s not only imperative to replace your filters at the right times and frequencies, but with the right type: OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) filters are a far better option than “knockoff” brands.

The Differences Between OEM and Aftermarket Air Filters

Unfortunately, there are a lot of “knockoff” brand air filters available to homeowners or business owners that claim to be the right match for your respective heating or cooling system and are advertised for a lower price than OEM filters. Why are these typically priced lower? The answer is simple: The quality and reliability of these filters are nowhere close to the ones that come from the manufacturer of the HVAC system altogether. 

Here are a few ways these two categories of filters set themselves apart:


  • Materials: Even though they may look the same, OEM air filters are typically made out of higher-quality materials due to the patents required for the manufacturer to produce their products. These materials are not always available for companies producing aftermarket filters. 
  • Correct Fitting: By getting your replacement air filters from the company that also made the HVAC system they go to, you can be sure it will fit exactly the way it needs to. Without direct access to these systems, there’s a chance that the measurements on the filters from aftermarket filter companies could be incorrect and cause ineffectiveness of the filter. 
  • Efficiency: With the filter company being the ones responsible for installing your heating and cooling system, they want their customers to be satisfied in the long-run with these appliances. Pairing them with low-efficiency filters can increase the cost and decrease the quality of the HVAC’s performance, so they are quick to provide high-efficiency filters that will save you money over time and keep their products running smoothly.
  • Reliable Timeline: With an OEM filter that comes directly from the manufacturer of the HVAC system, you can be assured that the recommended replacement schedule and frequency that comes with the filter is accurate and specific for that specific furnace or air conditioning unit.
  • Trusted Experience: With a brand that manufactures both HVAC systems and their respective filters, they’ve traditionally developed a trusted brand name in the market. A “knockoff” filter company might not have as deep of industry knowledge and experience, combining for an unrecognized and untried brand name.
  • Isn’t “High-Efficiency” Always Best?

    Not necessarily. Some knockoff filters that are labeled as extremely high-efficiency can actually be dangerous to the health of your heating or cooling system. These can create an airflow restriction, leading to hidden damage to your system and premature repair or replacement costs. Again, the best option out there for your replacement filters is the one that comes directly from the manufacturer, as it’s designed to help the overall system perform exactly how it’s promised.

    In a World of Knockoffs, HEPA Filter Sales Emerged

    The growing problem of unqualified replacement filters on the market is actually one of the main reasons HEPA Filter Sales got started in 2006. After hearing horror story upon horror story regarding knockoff filters, we set out to be a trusted supplier of OEM filters for homeowners and business owners. Even though you might find a filter elsewhere that may save you a few dollars initially, the lack of quality and performance will lead to much higher costs in the long run. Our philosophy is that it’s simply not worth the gamble!

    Check out our FIlter Finder services to order your replacements, certified directly from the manufacturer, today!