Comparing Air Filters: Normal vs Electrically-Charged

Air quality within homes and buildings is crucial for health and comfort, making the choice of furnace air filters an important decision. There are two primary categories of air filters: normal furnace air filters and electronically charged filters, such as the Air Ranger and Air Scrubber. Understanding the differences between these types can help homeowners and building managers make informed decisions about indoor air quality management.

Normal Furnace Air Filters

Normal furnace air filters, also known as mechanical filters, are the most common type used in residential and commercial HVAC systems. These filters work by trapping particles as air passes through a fibrous material, usually made of paper, polyester, or fiberglass.

Key Features:

  1. Material: Made from various fibers that capture particles of different sizes.
  2. Efficiency: The efficiency is measured by the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating, ranging from 1 to 16. Higher MERV ratings correspond to better filtration efficiency, capturing smaller particles.
  3. Cost: Generally affordable and widely available. The cost varies based on the MERV rating and materials used.
  4. Maintenance: Requires regular replacement, typically every 1-3 months, depending on usage and air quality.


  • Simple and cost-effective.
  • Widely available in various sizes and ratings.
  • Does not require electricity to operate.


  • Higher MERV-rated filters can restrict airflow if the HVAC system is not designed to accommodate them.
  • Regular maintenance and replacement are necessary to maintain efficiency.
  • Less effective at capturing very small particles, such as bacteria and viruses.

Electronically Charged Filters

Electronically charged filters, such as the Air Ranger and Air Scrubber, represent a more advanced approach to air filtration. These systems use a combination of traditional filter media and electronic charges to enhance their effectiveness.

Key Features:

  1. Electronic Charge: These filters use an electric charge to attract and capture particles. The charged particles adhere more effectively to the filter media.
  2. Multi-Stage Filtration: Often includes multiple stages of filtration, such as pre-filters, main filters, and post-filters, sometimes combined with UV lights or other technologies to kill or neutralize microorganisms.
  3. Efficiency: Capable of capturing a broader range of particles, including very fine particles like bacteria, viruses, and smoke. Some systems also reduce odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  4. Maintenance: Requires less frequent replacement compared to normal filters, but may involve other maintenance tasks, such as cleaning or replacing electronic components.


  • Higher filtration efficiency, especially for smaller particles.
  • Can improve overall indoor air quality by reducing allergens, pollutants, and microorganisms.
  • Some systems provide additional air purification features, such as UV light to kill bacteria and viruses.


  • Higher initial cost compared to normal filters.
  • Requires electricity to operate, leading to slightly higher energy consumption.
  • May require professional installation and maintenance, adding to the overall cost.


  • Air Ranger: Utilizes a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter combined with an electrostatic charge to capture and retain more particles than standard filters. It often includes a carbon layer to reduce odors and VOCs.
  • Air Scrubber: Employs ActivePure® Technology, which combines UV light with a catalytic process to create oxidizing molecules that neutralize contaminants in the air and on surfaces. This technology not only filters but also actively purifies the air.


Both normal furnace air filters and electronically charged filters like the Air Ranger and Air Scrubber have their unique advantages and are suitable for different needs. Normal filters are cost-effective and simple to maintain, making them suitable for routine use in homes and buildings. Electronically charged filters offer superior filtration efficiency and additional air purification benefits, making them ideal for those with specific air quality concerns or health issues. When choosing an air filter, consider the specific requirements of your environment, the desired level of air purity, and your budget to make the best decision for your indoor air quality.