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Is a Filter with a 2″ Depth Better Than a 1″ Filter? Will it Last Twice as Long?

August 5, 2015
Is a Filter with a 2″ Depth Better Than a 1″ Filter? Will it Last Twice as Long?

Anyone looking to buy a new air filter will undoubtedly stumble upon the different depth measurements. Most air filters have a depth of 1”, while some do have a depth of 2”. Some air filters used for commercial uses even range 3”-5” in depth. This brings up another factor that must be considered when purchasing new air filters: how deep do you go?

The Depth Depends on Your System

Fortunately, there’s an easy answer to the question about which depth to select: it’s all dependent on your system. Most HVAC systems will have a few different return points that will require an air filter. Each of them is designed to accept a certain depth of air filter. Trying to squeeze a 2” depth filter into a 1” return point simply won’t work. Conversely, putting a 1” air filter into a 2” depth return point won’t be a snug fit, and it won’t effectively protect the equipment and improve the air quality.

You can determine which depth you require simply by looking at what depth of air filter is presently in the return point. It will list the dimensions on the side upon removal. If for some reason there currently isn’t in an air filter installed, you’ll have to do some research on your HVAC system to see the recommended depth. Alternatively, you can simply measure the depth of the return point. If it’s 1”, you’ll need a 1” filter.

Do Deeper Filters Last Longer?

Typically speaking, a deeper filter will last longer than a shallower filter. Since it has more levels of filtration, it will take longer to become dirty and ineffective. However, systems that require a deeper filter are also processing more air. This means that, depending on the facility in question, they may last just as long as a 1” filter in a residential area.

Regardless of the depth being used, it’s a good rule of thumb to replace the air filter every few months. This helps the air filter thoroughly protect the sensitive HVAC equipment and continue to provide the best air quality possible. Additionally, letting a filter go too long without being replaced will result in a higher energy bill as the system will have to work harder to provide the same results due to air flow blockage.

What Types of Air Filters Have Variable Depth?

Some types of air filters will only come in 1” options. However, there are a few types of air filters that come in a variety of options:


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