When it comes to air filtration, the Minimum Efficiency Report Value (MERV) is a standard that rates the overall effectiveness of air filters. MERV 8s are great for homeowners, as they can pick up particles as small as three microns. On the other hand, Merv 13 air filters are one of the best filters on the market, as they can trap all typical airborne contaminants, including several more. These filters specialize in trapping tiny particles such as bacteria in the air and smoke, as well as smoke, smog, and even virus carriers.
In addition to everything the MERV 8 and Merv 11 filters trap, the MERV 13 filters also trap tobacco smoke, fire smoke, contaminants in body fluids released by sneezing and coughing, and bacteria. The difference between MERV 8 and MERV 13 rated filters is reduced to two microns. This means that while a MERV 8 filter can trap dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria, a Merv 13 filter can also filter smoke, smog, and even virus carriers. MERV 11 filters perform better in residential homes with filtration needs than MERV 8 filters, commercial buildings, senior living facilities, and non-surgical hospital areas.
If you're still not sure which MERV filter is best for your home, talk to an HVAC expert who can guide you to the right selection. Overall, the highest MERV rating that is safe for residential use is MERV 13, although such a high rating is rarely needed in a residential home. When selecting the right commercial filter for your oven, air conditioner, or heat pump, it's important to understand the differences between MERV ratings 8, 11, and 13. Filters that are MERV 16 to 20 are generally only found in hospitals, cleanrooms, and nuclear power plants. For most homes and commercial buildings, filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 will sufficiently filter the air. If you are in an area with a lot of construction, factories, or pollution, using a MERV 13 filter will keep your indoor air cleaner.
However, these are the densest filter types discussed here so they should be changed more regularly than types with lower MERV ratings. In conclusion, understanding the differences between Merv 8 and Merv 13 filters is essential when selecting an air filter for your home or business. While Merv 8s are great for homeowners who want an average level of performance for their home's air filtration needs, Merv 13s are ideal for commercial and residential environments that want and need higher air quality.