When it comes to air filtration systems, a MERV 16 rating is one of the highest possible ratings. These filters are designed with fibers that are packed close together, trapping almost as much as a HEPA filter. MERV 16 filters can remove particles from 0.3 to 1 micron in size with ease, and all air furnaces and central air conditioning units can handle them. However, since MERV 16 filters tend to be quite deep compared to traditional filters, the installation of a dedicated aftermarket housing is required, which is not always feasible.MERV 11 air filters may not trap as many tiny particles as a HEPA filter, but they are cost-effective and work with a variety of types of HVAC systems.
Generally speaking, the higher the MERV rating, the better the filter will be at trapping small particles. In most cases, a MERV 16 furnace and an AC filter would offer twice the efficiency of a MERV 13 filter at the submicron level.For settings that require absolute cleanliness, such as operating rooms and cleanrooms, MERV 17 to MERV 20 filters are commonly used.