MERV 8 vs. MERV 11: Which Air Filter Should You Choose? 

MERV filters keep harmful particles from entering your home. However, finding the right one for your home can be a difficult task as a higher-rated MERV filter does not always mean it’s the better choice.

What Are MERV Filters?

MERV or the “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” is a rating system designed for air filters. The lower the rating, the fewer particles that the MERV filter can pick up. 

For example, MERV filters one through four can pick up pollen and dust particles. On the other hand, MERV filters 13 through 16 are typically used in hospitals as they can pick up the smallest of particles including particles from sneezes.

Higher-level filters are more expensive and can reduce airflow; so, depending on your needs, a smaller-level filter may be best for your home’s HVAC system.

The Differences Between the MERV 8 and 11 Filter

Typically, a MERV 8 or 11 filter is all you need, but there are some noticeable differences to take into account before choosing one for your home.

MERV 8 air filters are one of the most common air filters used in residential buildings. This filter can block pollen, pet dander, mold, dust, and bacteria and therefore is a great option for most homes.

However, the MERV 8 filter can only trap pet dander for one pet. So, if you happen to have more than one pet, then it will be best to spend a little extra and buy MERV 11 air filters.

MERV 11 air filters can block a wider range of particles such as mold spores, clothing fibers, smog, auto emissions, and more. It can also trap the dander from multiple pets which makes it a good choice for those with more than one pet.

If you find that you live in an area that is more polluted or right by a major highway, then the MERV 11 will work best as it will more effectively filter your air. However, if you live out in the country or in an area with cleaner air, then the MERV 8 will work just fine and is more affordable.

It should also be noted that those with severe allergies or breathing conditions such as asthma should opt for the higher-rated MERV 11 for safety.

Higher-rated air filters can have negative effects on the HVAC system due to restricted airflow. So, the MERV 11 should only be used if needed, or else you risk putting unnecessary strain on your HVAC system.

Final Thoughts

All in all, MERV filters are an important addition to your home’s HVAC system. The MERV 8 is an effective choice for most homes. However, the MERV 11 is necessary for those who need a higher-quality air filter or who have more than one pet in the home.

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