Which MERV Rating is Better: 8 or 10?

When it comes to air filtration, the question of which MERV rating is better - 8 or 10 - is a common one. While it's true that 10 is a greater number than 8, and MERV-10 filters can capture more particles than MERV-8 filters, the question remains: how much more?Filters in the 5-8 MERV range can trap particles with a size of 3.0-10.0 microns, but are more efficient in doing so. A MERV 5 filter will trap up to 34%, the MERV 6 will stop 35-49%, the MERV 7 will prevent up to 69%, and the Merv 8 will trap up to 85% of particles. These filters are slightly more restrictive than MERV 1-4 filters and have the ability to capture mold and pet dander spores along with dust and pollen. The American Society of Heating, Cooling and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) suggests using a MERV 13 filter, but this may not be the most efficient option for some residential HVAC systems.

Air filters with higher Merv ratings can filter more, but the thickness of the filter material can restrict airflow. Another factor driving the popularity of Merv 8 filters is that they are inexpensive and easy to maintain. MERV 5 - Merv 8 filters provide good filtration and will remove most pollen, mold spores and dust mites.The MERV rating system was created by ASHRAE as part of its ongoing process to update its filter testing standard that was initially published in 1968. It sets the minimum amount of particles a filter must capture to obtain a specific MERV rating. The table below shows the different MERV classifications and their typical uses, as well as the typical material and shape with which they are made. Using an air filter with a higher Merv rating than recommended by the manufacturer of your oven or air conditioner can affect its performance.

While MERV 8 is known to be effective at filtering contaminants such as pollen, dust mites, sawdust, mold spores, and lint from the air, higher MERV ratings will clean the air even more. With the Filter King filter selection tool, you can mark exactly the size, thickness and MERV rating you're looking for. The worst percentage of the six tests is selected as the official measure used to determine the MERV rating of a filter. If you're worried about the effects of breathing in fine air particles, that's another reason to choose a MERV 11 air filter instead of a Merv 8 air filter. Basically, the higher the MERV rating, the greater the air filtration capabilities of a particular filter. A MERV 8 air filter is efficient at trapping most indoor particles that could weaken people with asthma and allergies, or even cause long-term respiratory problems.

It provides good filtration and will remove most pollen, mold spores and dust mites from your home's air supply. However, if you're looking for maximum protection from airborne contaminants, then a higher rated filter may be necessary.

Clara Staino
Clara Staino

Hardcore beer nerd. Typical internet specialist. Devoted zombie buff. Total twitter scholar. Freelance social media practitioner. Infuriatingly humble travel buff.

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