What is the Perfect MERV Rating for Your Home?

The Minimum Efficiency Value (MERV) rating is a scale from 1 to 16 that is used to measure how well an air filter can prevent dust and other contaminants from entering the air stream. A low MERV rating means that the filter is not as effective in trapping particles, while a high MERV rating indicates that more particulate matter will be removed from the air. Filters with a MERV rating of 1-6 are the lowest range, but they still capture pollen, dust mites, cockroach residues, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, and carpet fibers.

MERV 5-8

filters provide good filtration and remove most pollen, mold spores, and dust mites.

MERV 10-12 air filters can trap particles down to 1 micron, such as car exhaust, pollen, and mold spores. Although the scores do not exceed those of MERV 16, high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters trap the smallest particles at a speed even higher than that of MERV 16 and are generally used in surgical operating rooms, clean rooms, and other contexts that require absolute cleaning. Filters with a MERV rating of 17 to 20 are almost never necessary in a residential home. Once you understand how the MERV leaderboard works, you'll be able to choose the MERV-rated air filters that are right for you.

Darryl Coste
Darryl Coste

Friendly web scholar. Devoted student. Wannabe pizza fanatic. Subtly charming bacon fan. General entrepreneur. Infuriatingly humble troublemaker.

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