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The Difference Between MERV, MPR, and FPR Air Filter Ratings

There are three popular filter rating systems that are used to rate the filtration capacity of home and commercial air filters: MERV, MPR, and FPR.

These three acronyms can make the air filter shopping experience much more difficult than it really needs to be.

If looking to buy a good replacement air filter and you’re trying to make sense of how MERV, MPR, and FPR ratings compare, we have put together a simple guide below.

shop MERV 13 air filters at Filterbuy

Why Are Air Filters Rated?

The quality of an air filter is assessed by its rating, which tells you what capacity the filter has in blocking our particulates in the air. The higher the rating (for MERV, FPR, and MPR), the smaller the air and dust particles your home ac air filter can capture.

Without a standardized air filter rating method, homeowners and other HVAC enthusiasts are left in the dark on how well their air filter works against a wide range of airborne particles, including:

When it comes to assessing air filter filtration capacity, we use a term “micron” which allows us to know how the smallest size of particle that an air filter can block.

Micron sizes can range anywhere from microscopic to visible to the human eye. Here’s a handy chart to give you an idea of the range of micron sizes:

different micron sizes for air particulates - filterbuy

It’s important to note that anything in the size range between .001 microns and 10 microns can reach deep into the lungs by being inhaled. Any particulates under around 100 microns can actually be inhaled into the nose.

The MERV, MPR, and FPR rating systems each consist of a range of numbers that represent the filtration effectiveness based on the micron size that it can filter out. Below, we’ll break down where the rating systems come from and how to use them when shopping for your next filter.

MERV Air Filter Ratings

MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Rating Value.”

Every air or furnace filter in the US carries a MERV rating, which is the only nationally regulated rating system for air filters. Established by the ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers), the MERV rating system specifies a filter’s ability to capture air particles and pollutants.

   MERV 8 BadgeMERV 11 BadgeMERV 13 Badge Selected
Looking ForPollenPollen   
Dust MitesDust mites   
MoldMold   
Dust ParticlesLarge dust particles like pudding mix   
Auto EmissionsAuto emissions and large particles like milled flower   
SneezeSneezes   
BacteriaAll bacteria   
Use WhereBasic HomesBasic residential use   
Standard ResedentialStandard residential and commercial use   
Superior ResedentialSuperior residential and commercial use   
Smoking LoungesSmoking lounges   

MERV ratings run on a 1-20 scale that designates the effectiveness of filters to capture certain particle sizes. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles it captures.

If the MERV rating is too high (above MERV 13), however, it can increase system backpressure and block air flow through your central air system, worsening the effectiveness of your HVAC system.

Why We Stock MERV 8, MERV 11, MERV 13 Air Filters

Filterbuy offers MERV 8, MERV 11, and MERV 13 air and furnace filters, which covers the normal range of needs for a home in providing clean air while also protecting HVAC equipment. MERV 8 filters can generally filter out 90% of airborne particles, MERV 11 can remove around 95%, and MERV 13 can block approximately 98%.

To get more details on which MERV filter is right for your specific situation, click here.

MPR Air Filter Ratings - Microparticle Performance Rating

MPR stands for “Microparticle Performance Rating.”

Created by 3M, only filters designed by the 3M/Filtrete brand carry an MPR rating, which rates the filter’s ability to trap air particles smaller than 1 micron. MPR ratings range from 300 MPR (Basic) to 2800 MPR (Premium).

Below is a chart showing the MPR rating system:

MPR10030060010001000 D1200+150015501500 Smart19001900 Smart22002200 Smart2800
LintXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Household DustXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Dust Mite Debris XXXXXXXXXXXXX
Mold Spores  XXXXXXXXXXXX
Pollen  XXXXXXXXXXXX
Pet Dander   XXXXXXXXXXX
Smoke   XXXXXXXXXXX
Smog   XXXXXXXXXXX
Cough and Sneeze Particles     XXXXXXXXX
Bacteria      XXXXXXXX
Virus      XXXXXXXX
Candle Soot         XXXXX
PM 2.5 Air Pollution         XXXXX
Exhaust Particles           XXX
Ultrafine Particles             X

FPR Air Filter Ratings

FPR stands for “Filter Performance Rating.”

Created by The Home Depot for brands only sold in Home Depot stores, including popular Honeywell filters. This rating system was established to provide a unified ranking system but lacks specific figures for comparison and simplicity.

The FPR rating system features a number scale from 4-10 and color code is used to rate the filter’s quality and ability to trap certain particles.

Below is a breakdown showing the FPR rating system:

FPR Rating 4-5 (Good)

FPR Rating 6-7 (Better)

FPR Rating 8-9 (Best)

FPR Rating 10 (Premium)

Which Air Filter Rating System Should I Follow?

So which rating system should you use in buying your next air filter?

Each air filter rating system has its own unique advantages, but sometimes it’s hard to compare the ratings systems apples-to-apples. For an approximate comparison of the different MERV levels offered by Filterbuy with MPR and FPR, refer to the table below.

MERV RatingMERV 6MERV 6MERV 8MERV 8MERV 11MERV 11MERV 11MERV 13MERV 13MERV 13
FPR RatingFPR 4 - 5FPR 4 - 5FPR 4 - 5FPR 6 - 7FPR 6 - 7FPR 8 - 9FPR 8 - 9FPR 10FPR 10FPR 10
MPR RatingMPR 100MPR 300MPR 600MPR 1000MPR 1200+MPR 1500MPR 1550MPR 1900MPR 2200MPR 2800
LintXXXXXXXXXX
Household DustXXXXXXXXXX
Dust Mite Debris XXXXXXXXX
Mold Spores  XXXXXXXX
Pollen  XXXXXXXX
Pet Dander   XXXXXXX
Smoke   XXXXXXX
Smog   XXXXXXX
Cough and Sneeze Particles    XXXXXX
Bacteria     XXXXX
Virus     XXXXX
Candle Soot       XXX
PM 2.5 Air Pollution       XXX
Exhaust Particles        XX
Ultrafine Particles         X

While it may be hard to decide between systems to follow, MERV is considered the industry standard when it comes to air filter ratings and is generally the most used system.

The more niche rating systems like MPR and FPR originated mostly from certain companies wanting to have their own separate system that would make them appear unique to customers.

With MERV-rated air filters, you get the comfort of knowing that your filter’s ratings are widely understood and trusted.

Shop over 600 sizes of high-quality air filters on the Filterbuy website

FPR vs. MERV Air Filter Ratings

Deciding between FPR and MERV rated air filters? Here’s a good way to compare FPR vs. MERV air filter ratings and capabilities.

MPR vs. MERV Air Filter Ratings

If you’re looking at air filters rated for MPR compared to air filters rated by the MERV filter rating system, you can reference this chart below:

Have more questions about MERV, MPR, and FPR ratings? Our filter experts can help you. Contact us today! Or you can search for your next replacement air filters by MERV rating below.

FPR, MPR, and MERV Air Filter Rating FAQs

What does MERV stand for in air filter ratings?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Rating Value, and it is an industry-wide rating system used to determine how effective an air filter is at removing particles in the air. The system is based on the size of micron that is able to pass through the filter.

What does FPR stand for in air filter ratings?

FPR stands for Filter Performance Rating, and it is a proprietary rating system for branded air filters sold by Home Depot in an effort to make their air filters seem unique. While the FPR rating has no bearing on the overall efficacy of the air filter itself, the rating system isn’t as thorough as the MERV rating system, so it’s difficult to know exactly how efficacious an FPR-rated air filter is.

What does MPR stand for in air filter ratings?

MPR stands for Microparticle Performance Rating, and it is a proprietary air filter ratings system created by 3M in order to make their air filters seem like they have a unique rating and filtration ability. The MPR rating system goes from 100 up to 2200 and can cover a wide range of filtration capabilities. The rating system is generally comparable to the MERV rating system.

How does FPR compare to MERV ratings?

Here are the filtration comparisons between FPR and MERV:

How does MPR compare to MERV ratings?

Here are the filtration comparisons between MPR and MERV-rated air filters:

What is the best MERV rating filter for home AC system?

We recommend utilizing a MERV 13 rated air filter for maximum filtration capabilities without taxing your central air system’s air flow capabilities. At a certain point, the MERV rating can get too high and cause your central air system to work much harder to push air through the filter.