What HEPA Filter Ratings Mean

Posted by Air Health on Aug 24, 2021

High efficiency particular air filters, also known as HEPA air filters, are rated with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV. MERV ratings are derived from a test method developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers, and they use a scale from 1 to 20 to report a filter's ability to capture particles such as dust, pollen, mold and other contaminants. They're particularly helpful when comparing the performance of different filters.

Lady breathing in fresh air

MERV ratings are calculated by comparing the filter's efficiency to the particle size it can trap. The higher the MERV rating, the better a filter is at trapping particles, but that doesn't mean you should always select the highest rating for home air filtration. Here's a rundown on MERV ratings and what they mean:

  • MERV 6-8 rated filters offer the bare minimum in efficiency.
  • MERV 8-10 rated filters capture more of the large particles in an area and at least half of the smaller particles like pollen, mold and mildew spores. These are the most common ratings for filters in residences.
  • MERV 11-13 rated filters are efficient at capturing almost all of the larger particles, plus most of the smaller ones. These filters are best for homes with pets, as they remove the small dander particles that can cause allergic reactions. MERV 13 air filters are considered the highest rating for residential air filters, as they're highly effective at capturing particles and even helping to prevent some viruses from spreading.
  • MERV 14 through 16 rated filters are typically used in hospitals and other commercial settings. They're designed for heavy-duty filtration, but they can also restrict airflow and put too much pressure on a home HVAC system, so they're not recommended for home use.
  • MERV 17 through 20 rated filters are typically used in operating rooms and other settings that require absolute cleanliness.

Keep in mind that, when selecting an air filter for your home, a higher MERV rating is not always the best choice. Using a filter with too high of a MERV rating can hinder your furnace or air conditioner's performance. It may make it less efficient and put a strain on the system's fan.

Girl Looking out Window

The Air Health SKYE Portable Air Filter is rated MERV 13, meaning it removes 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles, down to 0.1 micron. This energy-efficient, high-technology filter works in five steps: 1) prefiltering large particles like dirt, hair and dust; 2) charcoal filter removes gases and odors; 3) true medical-grade HEPA filter removes allergens and irritants; 4) PRO-cell technology breaks down VOCs; and 5) ultraviolet light reduces bacteria, mold and fungi.

You can use an app on your phone to monitor and adjust air quality, so you can control your air purifier no matter where you are. SKYE also integrates with Google Assistant and Alexa for your convenience.

As another benefit, Air+Health also offers free shipping on the SKYE air filter.

Feel free to contact uswith any questions you may have about our portable air filter or our in-duct air purifiers.


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