understanding merv ratings for furnace air filters

Understanding Air Filter Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV) in a Few Minutes

8/9/23 Edward Nichter 

You've probably seen all types of air filter ratings in-store and online and wondered what's the difference? For some of us, we may be new homeowners or starting to take the IAQ (indoor air quality) in our homes more seriously. For me personally, it's been what small steps can I take to improve my health and wellness, filtration at home is one of those steps I have improved on. 

MERV or (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is the industry standard for how effective an air filter is. ASHRAE designed the MERV rating to demonstrate how higher MERV ratings trap small particles more effectively than filters with low MERV ratings.

Generally speaking, the higher the MERV rating, the greater protection and mitigation the filter is going to offer against airborne particulates. Let's take a look at some of the most common MERV rated filters and how they stack up.  

Low Rated MERV filters (1-6)

These are the very thin disposable filters you may have seen before and are often times used as prefilters in commercial applications.  It's 2023, we've been through covid, wildfires and most of us live in urban areas and spend 90% of our time indoors. We can do better than that!

Let's take a look at some better home filtration options below. 

MERV 8 Air Bear Filters

Now we're getting somewhere. MERV 8 filters are a major step up in filtration compared to the fiberglass/polyester disposables. Air Bear MERV 8 can help protect against pollen, carpet fibers, mold spores, dust, lint and dust mites and is recommended for an overall healthier IAQ environment.

MERV 11 Air Bear Filters

MERV 11 filters are an upgrade from MERV 8 and are often recommended to those with allergies. Air Bear MERV 11 offers additional protection against smoke, smog and pet dander. 


MERV 13 Air Bear Filters

MERV 13 filter are often recommended to those with severe allergies, asthma and other medical conditions. Air Bear MERV 13 offers all the protection of MERV 8 and 11 with the addition of virus and bacteria mitigation. ASHRAE recommends a minimum of MERV 13 for virus mitigation.

What Filter Should I Choose?

What rating reporting value you go with is up to you and your individual needs. All Air Bear filters are offered in MERV 8, 11 and 13.

If you have pets, smoke, allergies or live in an urban area near traffic, we recommend buying a higher MERV filter and replace them more often. It's a simple step we can all take to improve our health and wellbeing at home. Be sure to check your HVAC system documentation to see if a certain filter is required. 

Our team is adding additional sizes and more filter options in the very near future.  If you have any questions, we're always here to help, contact our team at support@airbear.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.

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