Which Air Filter is Right for You: Merv 8, 10 or 13?

Is a Merv 8 filter, a Merv 10 filter, or a Merv 13 filter the best choice for your home? It can be difficult to decide which air filter is right for you, but understanding the MERV rating system can help. The MERV rating system, developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), is used to measure the effectiveness of air filters. It ranges from 1 to 16, with 1 being the lowest level of filtration and 16 being the highest. MERV 8 filters are 90 percent efficient on particles that are 3 to 10 microns in size.

They are commonly used in American homes to remove basic pollutants present in most homes and to protect the performance and efficiency of the air conditioning system. A MERV 8 air filter is efficient at trapping most indoor particles that could weaken people with asthma and allergies, or even cause long-term respiratory problems. MERV 9 to 12 filters are effective for controlling humidifier dust, lead dust, vehicle emissions and welding fumes. They are applicable in residences with superior HVAC systems, hospital laboratories and commercial buildings. MERV 13 to 16 filters are effective in controlling airborne bacteria, most tobacco smoke and pollutants released when sneezing. They are applicable in general operating rooms, smoking rooms and commercial buildings with superior HVAC systems. The most important aspect of how to select an air filter for your home or workplace is knowing the quality of your air.

Therefore, start by evaluating potential components that could affect air quality to determine the contaminants you need to remove. Select an air filter based on these contaminants and then follow the manufacturer's recommendations for replacing or repairing the filter. Using an air filter with a MERV rating higher than recommended by the manufacturer of your oven or air conditioner may impair its performance. Meanwhile, air filters with a MERV 14 rating or higher are designed for commercial HVAC systems that can handle the coarsest filter material. When it comes to choosing between a MERV 8 air filter and a MERV 11 air filter, it's important to remember that MERV 11 air filters can filter a large percentage of fine particles, but a MERV 8 air filter cannot. Once you understand how the MERV leaderboard works, you can choose air filters with the MERV ratings that are right for you.