Which Air Filter Has the Lowest MERV Rating?

A MERV rating of 1 to 6 is the lowest range of MERV ratings, but that doesn't mean you should rule it out. These types of filters have their uses in certain situations. Most aluminum and mesh filters and cheap air filters fall within this range. The Minimum Efficiency Value (MERV) rating for an air filter measures how effectively the filter prevents dust and other contaminants from passing through the filter and into the air stream.MERV indices range from 1 to 16, and filters with higher MERV indices trap small particles more effectively than filters with lower MERV indices.

Generally, a MERV rating between 6 and 13 meets the needs of most homes. This range offers a good balance between air filtration, airflow and affordability. If you select an air filter with a MERV 13 rating, it can last up to six months before you have to replace it.Air filters used in hospitals and homes generally have a MERV rating of 9 to 12. Just make sure your air conditioning system is compatible.

Some air conditioning systems cannot withstand a high rating, which could interrupt air movement. Although the classification does not exceed 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.When it comes to choosing the right air filter for your home, it's important to understand how the MERV ratings work. A MERV 5 filter traps up to 34%, the MERV 6 stops between 35 and 49%, the MERV 7 prevents it up to 69%, and the MERV 8 traps up to 85% of the particles. A MERV 9 traps less than 50% of particles with a size between 1 and 3.0 microns, the MERV 10 stops up to 64%, the MERV 11 captures up to 79% and the MERV 12 is capable of trapping up to 89%.MERV 13 will prevent less than 75% of 0.3-1.0 micron particles from passing through, MERV 14 will reach 84%, MERV 15 up to 94%, and MERV 16 can trap 95% or more of the smallest particles.

Since a high MERV rating means that more particulate matter will be removed from the air, you might think that air filters with the highest MERV rating are the best.When selecting an air filter for your home, it's important to consider your needs as well as your budget. A MERV 5-8 filter provides good filtration and removes most pollen, mold spores, and dust mites. A MERV 10-12 filter is capable of trapping particles down to 1 micron, such as car exhaust, pollen and mold spores. Once you understand how the MERV leaderboard works, you'll be able to choose the right air filter for your home.

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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