A compact continuously varactor-tuned low-pass filter using microstrip stepped-impedance hairpin resonators is proposed in this paper. A detailed theoretical analysis for the performance tuning mechanism is illustrated by using equivalent circuit models. The experiment results are provided to validate the proposed filter. From the measured results, it is found that five varactor diodes with two applied bias voltages used in the proposed design work well as a flexible tuning network, which not only provide a wide frequency tuning range of 46% from 1.60 to 2.94 GHz, but also offer an ability of selectivity controlling by using different applied voltages. Furthermore, the proposed filter using multiple cascaded hairpin resonators provides a very sharp cutoff frequency response with low insertion loss in each state, together with a wide and deep stopband with a rejection level greater than 20 dB. Good agreement between the measured and simulated results can be observed finally.