MERV 11 air filters have a particle arrest rate of around 90%, while MERV 13 HVAC filters boast a particle arrest rate of around 98%. This makes the latter significantly more efficient. The main benefit of a Merv 11 filter compared to MERV 13 is that the latter offers stronger protection against airborne bacteria and viruses that spread through airborne droplets. Additionally, MERV 13 air filters provide additional filtration power against fine particles compared to MERV 11 filters.
These filters are also capable of filtering smoke, airborne viruses, and smog, making them particularly useful in heavily polluted areas, areas affected by wildfires, or to help prevent the spread of disease. When it comes to cost and airflow resistance, there is an associated price difference when increasing the MERV level. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is the primary rating system used for air filtration. A MERV 11 filter traps all of that, plus pet dander, smoke, smog, and air from coughs and sneezes.
This makes them ideal for homes with smokers or pets, as they better eliminate odors. 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. Although MERV 11 filters are slightly more expensive at a cost of a few dollars, they can improve indoor air quality to help relieve people with respiratory problems.
ASHRAE recommends MERV 13 and 14 for optimal filtration; however, it's best to select a filter with the highest possible MERV rating for your specific HVAC system. MERV 11 air filters are a bit more expensive than a standard filter; however, paying a few dollars more per filter is generally worth the extra efficiency. Based on the above-mentioned characteristics, a MERV 8 is considered superior filtration compared to air filters with a lower MERV rating.