The 10 Best Car Cabin Air Filters to Buy 2020

The 10 Best Car Cabin Air Filters to Buy 2020

You’ve heard of a car cabin air filter. It’s mentioned every time you stop by your local mechanic for an oil change. But what is it, and why is it so important? You might also be wondering how often you should change it, and how to choose the best cabin air filter for your car. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Keep reading to learn more about cabin air filters and see our top picks for 2020.

How to Choose the Best Car Cabin Air Filter

Before jumping into our picks for cabin air filters, let’s talk about the different types to choose from and what key factors to consider when buying a new cabin air filter.

Types of Cabin Air Filters

You know that it’s the time to invest in a new cabin air filter for your trusty four-door, but how do you know which type of filter is best? While each type of cabin air filter is designed to handle dust and odors, not all do so in the same way.

Charcoal Cabin Air Filters

Charcoal cabin air filters catch dust and debris while also absorbing nasty fumes and unpleasant odors. For the best results, charcoal cabin air filters should be changed once per year or every 15,000 miles.

Activated Carbon Cabin Air Filters

Activated carbon filters work the same way as charcoal cabin air filters but use activated carbon to absorb airborne contaminants that pass through your vehicle’s ventilation system.

Particle Cabin Air Filters

Particle cabin filters trap tiny particles before they enter your car. These filters are ideal for filtering out pollen, dust, smoke, mold spores, and other small particles.

Electrostatic Cabin Air Filters

Each layer of an electrostatic cabin air filter is electrostatically charged so that the filter can trap ultra-fine particles, including cigarette smoke, exhaust fumes, mold spores, bacteria, and diesel carbon.

HEPA Cabin Air Filters

HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. These filters provide a filtration efficiency rate of 99.7% at 0.3 microns, blocking out allergens like pollen and dust. However, they’re not as good when it comes to filtering out harmful odors.

Key Features to Look for in a Car Cabin Air Filter

Much like anything, there are a few key features to look out for when buying a car cabin air filter:

Compatability

Each model of car requires a specifically-sized air filter. While a brand may claim to have a universal fit, that’s not necessarily true. Before you commit to buying a cabin air filter, check if it’s compatible with your car.

Protection

Cabin air filters are designed to block out dust and dirt particles. Some are also able to take on foul odors. If you’d like a cabin air filter that can protect against even finer particulates and more pungent odors, be sure to buy a filter like the K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter.

Longevity

While some cabin air filters need to be changed after one year or 12,000 miles, others can last for even longer.

Driving Conditions

Do you live in an urban environment plagued by pollution? Then consider a HEPA-rated filter like the Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter. If you don’t, an air filter like the Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter may fit the bill better.

We have sorted through the bestsellers and forever favorites to find the best car cabin air filters of 2020. Check out our top picks below!

Top 10 Best Car Cabin Air Filters 2020

1. Best Overall Pick: Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter

Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter


Why we like it: The Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter uses three layers of filtration to protect against dust, allergens, and fumes. It also lasts longer than most other cabin air filters.

Editor’s Rating:

The Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter is an excellent buy if you’re in the market for a reasonably priced cabin air filter that uses activated carbon to protect against dust and odors. Unlike other cabin filters, the Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter also features honeycombed charcoal weaves engineered to last up to 25% longer than other filters.

Compatability

This filter works with a range of vehicles. Whether you’re the proud owner of a Dodge Ram pickup or have a Subaru Forester sitting in your driveway, this cabin air filter will be sure to please.

Protection

The Spearhead Premium Breathe Easy Cabin Filter boasts three layers of filtration: one for dust, an antimicrobial filter to block allergens, and an adsorption filter to soak up some foul odors. It’s also densely packed with activated carbon and uses industrial strength electrostatic media to trap even the smallest particles.

Longevity

If you want an air filter that will last longer than the standard 12,000 miles, this air filter is an excellent choice because it uses honeycombed charcoal weaves to last up to 15,000 miles.

Driving Conditions

If you live in a highly polluted area, this air filter will do just fine. If you’re trying to combat smells, though, this air filter may not be the pick for you. While it does feature a layer specifically designed to soak up odors, it cannot soak up stronger scents like diesel fumes or passing fast food smells.

Pros

  • Uses activated carbon
  • Multiple filtration levels
  • Lasts 25% longer

Cons

  • Doesn't offer strong odor protection

2. Best Budget Pick: EPAuto CP134 Premium Cabin Air Filter

EPAuto CP134 Premium Cabin Air Filter


Why we like it: If you're hoping to get the most bang for your buck, look no further than the EPAuto CP134 Premium Cabin Air Filter and its wallet-friendly price tag.

Editor’s Rating:

The EPAuto CP134 Premium Cabin Air Filter uses activated carbon to provide cleaner airflow. It’s also straightforward to install and is able to improve HVAC performance.

Compatability

This cabin air filter works with nearly every vehicle on the market, making it an easy pick if you’re looking for a cheap cabin air filter.

Protection

Using activated carbon, the EPAuto CP134 Premium Cabin Air Filter is able to prevent dust and debris from entering your car’s interior. It’s also able to stop foul odors, though not altogether.

Longevity

While the EPAuto CP134 Premium Cabin Air Filter should last a year, you’ll probably have to replace it before then. Fortunately, because it’s priced so low, purchasing more than one in a year isn’t too costly.

Driving Conditions

You can expect this cabin air filter to handle most driving conditions. While it’ll undoubtedly provide cleaner airflow, it won’t necessarily stop bad smells altogether.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Improves HVAC performance
  • Prevents dust and debris in cabin

Cons

  • Won't stop odors altogether
  • May not last a year

3. Best Premium Pick: K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter

K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter


Why we like it: The K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter is the best of the best. Though it does cost a pretty penny, it's well worth the investment.

Editor’s Rating:

There’s a reason the K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter is the first on our list. This cabin air filter is designed to protect against just about everything. From dust to mold, this air filter has got you covered. Of course, several other features are worth mentioning when it comes to this premium car cabin air filter.

Compatability

The K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter is compatible with a number of vehicles, including Toyota, Subaru, Land Rover, Jaguar, Lexus, and Scion models. If you own a car made by another manufacturer, K&N does offer additional cabin air filters to choose from.

Protection

This air filter uses state-of-the-art filtration technology and an electrostatic charge to protect against mold, dust, mildew, fungi, germs, and other pollutants. Equip your vehicle with this cabin air filter, and you’ll experience a noticeable difference in smells.

Longevity

Unlike other cabin air filters, the K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter is washable. That’s right, you heard it here. This cabin air filter can be washed and reused multiple times, making it extremely eco-friendly.

Driving Conditions

This electrostatic cabin air filter will do fine in just about any driving situation. Whether you’re in a polluted city or a rural area, you can count on this filter to protect your vehicle from particles and odors.

Pros

  • Uses advanced technology
  • Is washable, re-usable
  • Protects against smells

Cons

  • Expensive

4. Best for Allergies: Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter

Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter


Why we like it: This car cabin filter is HEPA-rated and is designed to trap even the smallest of microscopic pollutants.

Editor’s Rating:

Pollutants are no match for this HEPA-rated cabin air filter. Opt for the Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter, and be confident that you’re protecting your car’s interior. Though, do keep in mind that this air filter did impact airflow for some customers, making it a poor choice for city slickers in the summer months.

Compatability

The Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter works with many different vehicles, Toyota and Lexus, included. If you don’t see your vehicle listed, check out the Bosch Automotive Store to find a compatible cabin air filter.

Protection

This filter comprises three layers and provides the cleanest air possible with 99.97% efficiency at 0.3 microns. Its support layer supports and protects the surface of the filter while the HEPA layer traps microscopic pollutants like pollen, mold, and other common allergens. Its last layer, a static cotton layer, is designed to improve particle-holding capacity and prolong the filter’s life.

Longevity

Bosch recommends replacing your cabin air filter every 12,000 miles or per your vehicle owner’s manual for maximum efficiency.

Driving Conditions

As we mentioned earlier, if you live in a polluted area, opting for a HEPA-rated filter makes for a great choice. Unlike other filters on the list, the Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter is remarkably efficient at providing you with the cleanest of clean air.

Pros

  • HEPA-rated
  • Protects against common allergens
  • Remarkably efficient

Cons

  • Can restrict airflow

5. Best Two-Pack: Puroma Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon

Puroma Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon


Why we like it: The Puroma Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon comes with not one but two air filters. Buy ahead and save both time and money.

Editor’s Rating:

For less than $15, you’ll get two cabin air filters when choosing the Puroma Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon. Enjoy enhanced HVAC performance and easy installation. Do be aware that the filter might smell the first few times of use. Don’t worry, though, the factory-fresh odor will wear off.

Compatability

This filter works with most Toyota model years, along with many other vehicles. To be sure it’s a match for your car, though, make sure to check your trusty owner’s manual.

Protection

The Puroma Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon features an activated charcoal layer that efficiently removes dust and particles, keeping them well entering your vehicle’s interior. The car cabin air filter also features advanced filter technology to provide you and your passengers with a healthier in-car environment.

Longevity

While these filters are meant to last 12,000 miles, they can stop working efficiently before that. Fortunately, with two in the pack, that’s not much of an issue.

Driving Conditions

Pairing an activated charcoal layer with advanced filter technology makes this filter a good choice for areas where fine particles or debris might be a problem. It should have no problem combatting smells, either.

Pros

  • Includes two cabin air filters
  • Used advanced filter technology
  • Works with most Toyota models
  • Features an activated charcoal layer

Cons

  • Odd smell first few times of use
  • May need to be replaced before 12,000 miles

6. Best Activated Carbon: Kootek Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon

Kootek Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon


Why we like it: The Kootek Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon is well priced, comes with two cabin air filters, and uses activated carbon to combat smells.

Editor’s Rating:

The Kootek Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon is a do it all kind of cabin air filter. It doesn’t come with an outrageous price tag, features two cabin air filters, and uses a slew of technology to ensure that it actually does what it’s supposed to. One of its only potential downfalls? This filter can slow down airflow on a hot summer day.

Compatability

The Kootek Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon is compatible with most vehicles. Before purchasing, we do recommend confirming this.

Protection

The Kootek Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon is made up of 24 layers. Each layer is densely packed with baking soda and activated carbon to trap particles and prevent bad smells. Too much pollution can impact the efficacy of this cabin air filter, though.

Longevity

While the Kootek Cabin Air Filter with Activated Carbon is meant to last a year, the more polluted an area you live in, the less likely it is to reach that 12-month mark as trapping larger particles will impact the filter’s longevity.

Driving Conditions

If you live in a polluted area, this is not the best car cabin air filter for satisfying your needs. The more pollution this cabin air filter faces, the less likely it is to last for a full year. In hotter weather, this cabin air filter can also slow down airflow, which is not what you want to hear when getting behind the wheel on a hot summer day.

Pros

  • Comes with two air filters
  • Uses activated carbon
  • Protects against pollution

Cons

  • May not last a year
  • Can slow airflow

7. Best Against Pollen: Mann-Filter CUK 2939 Cabin Filter

Mann-Filter CUK 2939 Cabin Filter


Why we like it: For allergy sufferers, we would like to introduce you to the Mann-Filter CUK 2939 Cabin Filter. Unlike other cabin filters listed, this one uses consistent filtration to take on everyday allergens.

Editor’s Rating:

The Mann-Filter CUK 2939 Cabin Filter is designed to filter out pollen, spores, dust, and harmful gases. For allergy sufferers, its consistent filtration performance is worth rejoicing over. Unfortunately, shipping problems have been reported when ordering this filter. For some, while it arrived on time and in good condition, it didn’t come adequately wrapped inside of the box.

Compatability

This filter was made to fit most Volkswagen and Audi models. Though it is possible, it might work in your car. To confirm, check your owner’s manual.

Protection

The Mann-Filter CUK 2939 Cabin Filter uses activated carbon from MANN-FILTER to prevent almost 100% of particles from entering your car. Whether it’s pollen or soot, count on the premium activated carbon layer to protect you and your passengers from tiny particles, and even harmful gases and unpleasant odors.

Longevity

To ensure optimal performance, you should change this filter every year. Fortunately, it’s easy to install and doesn’t require a mechanic’s touch.

Driving Conditions

With its well-equipped carbon layers, this cabin air filter will work well even in polluted environments. It’s even able to take on the foulest of smells, making it a safe city dweller option during summer.

Pros

  • Uses activated carbon
  • Prevents allergens from getting in your car
  • Easy to install

Cons

  • Shipped without a bag

8. Easiest to Install: ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter

ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter


Why we like it: The ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter is a suitable pick for Honda owners because of its modest price and its ability to prevent 99. 5% of all dust, pollen, air pollution, allergens, pet dander, and other airborne contaminants from getting into your car.

Editor’s Rating:

This cabin air filter means business. Whether it’s dust or air pollution, the ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter is no match for it. Unfortunately, however, this cabin air filter isn’t as good as stopping unpleasant odors.

Compatability

The ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter works with all Honda models. Remember, though, this is always worth confirming before pressing the buy button.

Protection

When it comes to dust or other air contaminants, the ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter has what it takes to stop them. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for smells. Whether it’s smoke or diesel fumes, this cabin air filter likely isn’t capable of stopping it.

Longevity

The ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter will last a full year or 12,000 miles. For the best results, make sure to change it on time.

Driving Conditions

For polluted areas, the ECOGARD XC36080 Premium Cabin Air Filter is a good pick. If you live in an area that doesn’t always smell like a bed of fresh flowers, though, this might not be the cabin air filter for you.

Pros

  • Protects against air contaminants
  • Isn't expensive to buy
  • Works in most Honda models

Cons

  • Doesn't protect against odors

9. Best for Odors: EPAuto CP285 Premium Cabin Air Filter

EPAuto CP285 Premium Cabin Air Filter


Why we like it: This cabin air filter uses both baking soda and carbon to make sure it keeps the air in your vehicle clean.

Editor’s Rating:

The EPAuto CP285 Premium Cabin Air Filter fits in several different kinds of cars, is modestly priced, and uses baking soda and carbon to prevent particles and smells from entering your car’s cabin.

Compatability

Whether you drive a Toyota or a Subaru, this car cabin air filter is likely to do just fine in your car. Also worth mentioning? The EPAuto CP285 Premium Cabin Air Filter is very easy to install, meaning there’s no reason to stop at the local mechanic next time you need a new cabin air filter.

Protection

The EPAuto CP285 Premium Cabin Air Filter uses carbon and baking soda to trap particles and prevent smells. While it does a great job of preventing particles from entering the vehicle’s cabin, it’s no match for more potent fumes.

Longevity

Like other cabin filters on the list, the EPAuto CP285 Premium Cabin Air Filter should be changed yearly.

Driving Conditions

For polluted areas, the EPAuto CP285 Premium Cabin Air Filter is an okay choice, though you could certainly do better by opting for a HEPA-rated filter like the Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter.

Pros

  • Will put a stop to particles entering your car
  • Uses baking soda and carbon
  • Easy to install
  • Cheap price

Cons

  • Doesn't offer strong odor protection

10. Best for Air Flow: FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter

FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter


Why we like it: The FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter filters up to 98% of dust particles and is used in 80% of all vehicles built since the 2000 model year.

Editor’s Rating:

The FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter is a champ when it comes to combatting debris, preventing odors, and improving airflow. Not to mention, it comes accompanied by a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Compatability

This cabin air filter can be used in 80% of all vehicles built since the 2000 model year, meaning there’s a good chance it will work in your car. To be sure, take a gander at your owner’s manual before purchasing. If your vehicle is older than that, this cabin air filter simply won’t work.

Protection

This cabin air filter uses Arm & Hammer baking soda combined with carbon to clean the air flowing through your car’s ventilation system. In doing so, it more airflow for better performance while also preventing musty odors from taking residence inside the vehicle.

Longevity

The FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter is easy to install and, unlike other cabin air filters on the list, should be changed every 15,000 miles.

Driving Conditions

This cabin air filter is able to remove 98% of dirt, dust, and airborne allergens from the air passing through your car’s ventilation system. Whether you’re in a densely populated city with bumper to bumper traffic or find yourself winding along a scenic road, you can breathe easy knowing the FRAM Fresh Breeze Cabin Air Filter was designed to reduce your exposure to airborne contaminants.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Lasts longer than other cabin air filters
  • Uses baking soda
  • Works in 80% of vehicles

Cons

  • Only works in 2000 model years or newer

Your Guide to Buying the Best Car Cabin Air Filter

In this section, we’ll take a deep dive into the different features you should consider when choosing the best car cabin air filter for your car.

What to Look for in a Cabin Air Filter

If your vehicle is a 2000 model year or new, it likely came standard with a car cabin air filter. However, there’s little to no chance that the salesperson who sold your car explained what it does, when to replace it, and what to look for in your next car cabin air filter. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.

When it comes to buying a new car cabin air filter, you need to consider what features are most important to you. For some drivers, a filter that catches dust and allergens is all they need. For others, combatting musty odors is an absolute must. You also need to consider the air quality of where you live. If you live in an area with poor air quality, you might want to invest in a cabin air filter that’s better able to catch dust, dirt, and other tiny particles before they even enter your car’s cabin.

With four different types of car cabin air filters available, you will have plenty to choose from. Fortunately, with cabin air filters like Bosch 6055C HEPA Cabin Air Filter and the K&N Premium Cabin Air Filter on the market, there is no shortage of right products to choose from.

Benefits of Car Cabin Air Filters

There are more reasons than one to keep your car outfitted with a clean cabin air filter. Not only will it improve your car’s airflow, but it will also help put a stop to allergens invading your interior. If you’re looking to protect your engine from dust and other particles, you should make sure to check out our list of the best engine air filters.

Increase HVAC Performance

Can you remember the last time you replaced your cabin air filter? If you’ve never replaced it, chances are it’s a mess. Unfortunately for you, that mess can negatively impact HVAC performance by not supplying enough air to your car’s interior. To increase HVAC performance, regularly change your car’s cabin air filter. Not sure how often that should be? Not to worry, we’ll get there below

Say Goodbye to Foul Odors

If you’re met with a musty smell every time you get behind the wheel, it’s time to get a cabin air filter replacement. To say goodbye to foul odors behind the wheel of your car, opt for a filter replacement that has activated carbon or charcoal to absorb foul odors.

Breathe Easy

Allergy sufferers can attest that being hit with a coughing or sneezing fit is never fun, especially when on a long drive. Consider a carbon air filter designed to trap dust, pollen, and other allergens to help you breathe easier next time you take the wheel.

Car Cabin Air Filter FAQ

Unsure of what a cabin air filter does? How often your car’s cabin air filter should be replaced? In this brief FAQ, we’ll answer the most commonly asked questions about cabin air filters.

What Does a Cabin Air Filter Do?

Your car’s cabin air filter cleans the air that comes through your car’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning system and is designed to catch dust, pollen, and other airborne material. Some cabin air filters, like the Mann-Filter CUK 2939 Cabin Filter also prevent foul odors.

Do All Cars Have a Cabin Air Filter?

A majority of cars come standard with a cabin air filter. If you’re unsure if your vehicle has a cabin air filter, check your owner’s manual.

How Often Should I Change the Cabin Air Filter in My Car?

If you still have that owner’s manual handy, finding the answer to this question should be easy. Typically, though, manufacturers recommend changing the cabin air filter in your car every 12,000 or 15,000 miles.

Does a Mechanic Have to Change the Cabin Air Filter?

Sure, a mechanic might tell you otherwise, but you don’t need one to change the cabin air filter in your car. Changing your cabin air filter yourself can save you both time and money. Rather than waiting at the mechanic and forking over a pretty penny, change the cabin air filter yourself. Do so in as little as 15 minutes, and without having to pay a sizeable fee.

How do I Change the Cabin Air Filter in My Car?

First, figure out where your cabin air filter is. Most are located behind the glove compartment, or beneath the windshield. Changing your car cabin air filter doesn’t require many tools, and can be done quickly. Just check out this video

Does the Cabin Air Filter Affect My Car’s AC?

Of course! That’s why it’s so essential to change your cabin air filter regularly. If your car’s filtration system is clogged, it will lead to a lack of airflow. For maximum airflow and better ventilation, change your cabin air filter regularly.

Keep the Air in Your Car Clean!

Now you have the inside scoop on what a cabin air filter is, why it’s essential, and how often you should be replacing the one in your car. Not only that, but we’ve given you the inside track on some of the best options currently on the market today. With this information in hand, you can be confident when purchasing a new cabin air filter for your car.