MERV 12 filters are highly efficient, trapping 80 to 89 percent of particles with an average size of 1.0 to 3.0 microns. This makes them the highest recommended rating for residential environments. The MERV 12 air filter can capture up to 89% of particles from 1 to 3 microns and more than 90% of sizes from 3 to 10 microns. Filters with a Merv rating between 9 and 12 are ideal for capturing pet dander, car emissions, and other small particles.
Those with a MERV value 13-16 are the most restrictive and can trap the smallest particles, such as bacteria, tobacco smoke, and burnt wood. If your HVAC system uses a coarser filter, it's likely designed specifically for medium efficiency MERV filtration. The Merv 11 air filter is also effective at trapping a high percentage of particles, making it a great choice for people with pets or those suffering from mild allergies or asthma. The worst percentage of the six tests is selected as the official measure used to determine the MERV rating of a filter.
Filters that are MERV 16 to 20 are generally only found in hospitals, cleanrooms, and nuclear power plants. Filter technology has advanced significantly over the years, and Merv ratings help us determine the most effective and efficient air filter options for heating and cooling systems and more. It's best to comply with oven manufacturer's recommendations or consult an HVAC professional to determine exactly which MERV rating is best for your specific system. MERV ratings range from 1 to 20, with 1 being the lowest level of filtration and 20 being the highest.
A MERV 9 will trap less than 50% of particles with a size of 1.0-3.0 microns, the MERV 10 will stop up to 64%, the MERV 11 will get up to 79%, and the MERV 12 is capable of trapping up to 89%.