Background. Whole blood donations in Canada are processed by either the red cell filtration (RCF) or whole blood filtration (WBF) methods, where leukoreduction is potentially delayed in WBF. Fresh WBF red blood cells (RBCs) have been associated with increased in-hospital mortality after transfusion. Cell-free DNA (cfDNA) is released by neutrophils prior to leukoreduction, degraded during RBC storage, and is associated with adverse patient outcomes. We explored cfDNA levels in RBCs prepared by RCF and WBF and different storage durations. Methods. Equal numbers of fresh (stored ≤14 days) and older RBCs were sampled. cfDNA was quantified by spectrophotometry and PicoGreen. Separate regression models determined the association with processing method and storage duration and their interaction on cfDNA. Results. cfDNA in 120 RBC units (73 RCF, 47 WBF) were measured. Using PicoGreen, WBF units overall had higher cfDNA than RCF units (); fresh WBF units had higher cfDNA than fresh RCF units (). Using spectrophotometry, fresh RBC units overall had higher cfDNA than older units (); fresh WBF RBCs had higher cfDNA than older RCF RBCs (). Conclusion. Higher cfDNA in fresh WBF was observed compared to older RCF blood. Further study is required for association with patient outcomes.