Which MERV Rating is Best for Your Home: 8 or 12?

When it comes to air filtration, the MERV rating is an important factor to consider. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Report Value, and it is a scale from 1 to 16 that describes the minimum efficiency of an air cleaner. A MERV 8 filter is considered a superior filtration compared to air filters with a lower MERV rating. But is filtration enough? In many cases, a Merv 8 air filter is more than adequate.

However, if you are concerned about outdoor air pollution, family members with respiratory problems, or pets in the house, then a higher MERV rating might be a good idea. ASHRAE recommends MERV 6 or higher, the U. S. Department of Energy recommends MERV 13, and LEED recommends MERV 8 as a minimum.

A Merv 9 will trap less than 50% of particles of size 1.0-3.0 microns, MERV 10 will stop up to 64%, MERV 11 will get up to 79%, and MERV 12 is capable of trapping up to 89%. MERV 13 filters also remove bacteria, tobacco smoke, car fumes, insecticide dust, pet dander, and more. If you're trying to choose between a Merv 8 air filter and a MERV 11 air filter, here's what you need to know. While MERV 8 is known to be effective at filtering contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, sawdust, mold spores, and lint from the air, higher Merv ratings will clean the air even more.

Air filters with higher MERV ratings can filter more, but the thickness of the filter material can restrict airflow. For example, if you have someone in your household who suffers from allergies, you may want a higher MERV rating. If you are susceptible to allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, you may want to use a filter with a MERV rating of approximately 10 to 12. Sometimes particles such as pollen, pet dander, and fine dust can sneak through the filter unless you get one with a higher MERV rating. In conclusion, if you are looking for an air filter for your home that will provide superior filtration and clean the air effectively without restricting airflow too much, then a Merv 8 or Merv 12 filter should be your go-to choice.