When it comes to air filtration, the MERV rating system is the primary rating system used. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and it is used to measure the effectiveness of air filters. The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at trapping airborne particles. A MERV 11 filter has a particle arrest of just over 90%, while a MERV 13 filter has a particle arrest of around 98%.
This means that a MERV 13 filter is significantly more efficient than a MERV 11 filter. In addition to providing better protection against airborne bacteria and viruses, MERV 13 filters also provide additional filtration power against fine particles compared to MERV 11 filters. The benefits of using a MERV 13 filter are especially evident in heavily polluted areas, areas that are often affected by wildfires, or in places where disease is easily spread. However, there is an associated price difference and airflow resistance when increasing the MERV level.
For homes with smokers or pets, MERV 11 filters are better at eliminating odors. A MERV 8 filter is considered superior filtration compared to air filters with a lower MERV rating, as it can filter 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 than standard filters, they can improve indoor air quality and help relieve people with respiratory problems.
A MERV 11 filter traps all of that, plus pet dander, smoke, smog, and air from coughs and sneezes.