When it comes to air filters, MERV 8 and MERV 11 are two of the most popular ratings. But what is the difference between them?MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it is a rating system used to measure the effectiveness of air filters. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at capturing particles. Low-efficiency filters are generally within MERV 1-4, while high-efficiency filters are MERV 13 and later. MERV 8 filters are able to capture particles as small as 3 microns in size, while MERV 11 filters can capture particles as small as 1 micron.
This means that MERV 11 filters offer additional protection against pet dander, dust mites, self-emissions, and dust that damages the lungs. This makes them a great option for homes with pets or those looking for even better air quality than what the MERV 8 can provide. Experts recommend changing MERV 8 filters every 2-3 months to keep them operating at full capacity. For most homes and commercial buildings, filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 will sufficiently filter the air. Air filters with MERV 13 or higher are recommended for those who prioritize air quality and may have to manage asthma, severe allergies, and other similar circumstances. The lowest ratings, MERV 1 - 8, are the least efficient at filtering particles, but they do allow the lowest air resistance.
A filter with a MERV rating of around 10 to 12 is sufficient to remove most allergy-causing particles from the air in your home. These filters are slightly more restrictive than MERV 1-4 filters and have the ability to trap mold and pet dander spores along with dust and pollen. Sometimes particles such as pollen, pet dander, and fine dust can sneak through the filter unless you get one with a higher MERV rating. Filters with higher MERV ratings should be changed more frequently (at least every three months) to avoid restricted airflow that can reduce efficiency or even damage the system. In summary, a MERV 5 filter will trap up to 34%, a MERV 6 will stop 35-49%, a MERV 7 will prevent up to 69%, and a MERV 8 will trap up to 85% of the particles. A MERV rating higher than 13 will likely wear out or damage your equipment, and a MERV rating lower than 8 may not effectively remove particles from the air in your home.