What MERV Rating Should I use?

Who knew there were so many options for an everyday air filter? One of the most important considerations is the MERV rating because it signifies filtration efficiency. And everyone wants cleaner air in their home or business, right?

But determining which MERV rating will work best isn’t a matter of picking the highest-rated filter and calling it a day. There are a few other related factors that affect performance in surprising ways.

Let’s take a closer look and find your best MERV rating match!

What is MERV?

MERV stands for minimum efficiency rating value. It’s a nationally recognized measurement system that’s used to rate every air filter. The rating is based on the filter’s ability to catch particles of a specific size.

The MERV rating range is 1-20, with 1 being the lowest and 20 being the highest.

Read More: All About MERV Ratings

MERV Rating Pros and Cons

One of the best ways to determine what MERV rating you should use is to compare the options side-by-side. Below is a quick rundown with details on some of the most common MERV ratings for air filters.

What MERV Rating is Best for Home Use?

The best MERV rating for residential use depends on a few things:

  • The local environment
  • How often do you use the HVAC system
  • If anyone in the home has respiratory problems
  • Whether there are pets or smokers in the home
  • Your air filter budget

Generally, a MERV rating between 6-13 meets the needs of most residences. 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 needing to be replaced.

The best MERV rating for residential use is the one that adequately cleans the air in your home without decreasing the airflow and straining your HVAC equipment.

shop MERV 11 rated air filters with Filterbuy

MERV Rating and Air Flow

MERV ratings and airflow go hand-in-hand as they do with air quality. Air filters with the highest MERV ratings are constructed to catch the smallest of particles and tend to be thicker. The denser and more tightly woven the fibers of an air filter are, the harder it is to push air through them. That means the HVAC system must work harder to move air when a filter with a high MERV rating is used. Some systems are equipped to handle this, but if not, the result will be reduced energy efficiency, increased utility bills, and decreased longevity of your HVAC equipment.

With 1,000s of air filter options, you’re sure to find what you need with Filterbuy!

What MERV Rating Should I Use - View of infographic on various types of rating on an air filter MERV Rating Chart

Frequently Asked Questions

Is MERV 11 Too High for Home?

MERV 11 is not too high for a home, but it may not be necessary for all households. It can trap common allergens and particles but might be excessive unless you have specific air quality issues or allergies.

What Is the Best MERV Rating to Use?

The best MERV rating to use depends on your specific needs. A MERV rating between 8 and 13 is generally sufficient for most homes, balancing air quality control and energy efficiency.

Does MERV 11 Restrict Airflow?

Yes, a MERV 11 filter can restrict airflow more than filters with lower ratings. This isn't necessarily a problem, but it can put extra strain on your HVAC system if it's not designed to handle it.

How Do I Choose My MERV Rating?

When choosing a MERV rating, consider the air quality in your home, any specific allergies, and the capacity of your HVAC system. Higher ratings filter more particles but can reduce airflow and efficiency.

Does Merv 11 Hurt HVAC?

MERV 11 can potentially harm your HVAC system if it isn't designed to handle filters of this level. It's important to check your system's maximum recommended MERV rating.

Do I Need MERV 11 Filter?

You may not need a MERV 11 filter unless you have specific air quality issues or allergies. A MERV 8 is usually sufficient for general household use.

What Is the Best MERV Rating for a Residential Home?

The best MERV rating for a residential home generally falls between 8 and 13. This provides a balance between air filtration and system efficiency.

Do Higher MERV Filters Restrict Airflow?

Yes, higher MERV filters do restrict airflow more than lower-rated ones. This can potentially make your HVAC system work harder and reduce its efficiency.

What Is Better MERV 8 or 11?

Whether MERV 8 or 11 is better depends on your needs. MERV 11 filters out more particles but can restrict airflow more than MERV 8.

Can An Old Furnace Handle MERV 11?

An old furnace may struggle to handle a MERV 11 filter. It's essential to check your system's specifications before installing a high MERV filter.

How Often Do You Change MERV 11 Filters?

The frequency for changing MERV 11 filters depends on your home's air quality and your HVAC system usage, but generally, you should change them every 3-4 months.

Does A Higher MERV Make the AC Work Harder?

Yes, a higher MERV rating can make your AC work harder as the filter is denser and the system has to work harder to push air through it. This can potentially reduce its lifespan and efficiency.