Air Filter MERV Ratings Explained
Learn the differences between MERV, MPR & FPR to choose the best filter for your needs.
What Is A MERV Rating?
MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, and the MERV rating is the primary rating system used for air filtration. Higher ratings remove a larger percentage and broader range of debris from the air. Watch this video and see the MERV rating chart below to learn more.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MERV, MPR, AND FPR AIR FILTER RATINGS?
The three air filter rating systems differ in ranges and were created by separate organizations. MERV ratings extend from 1 to 16. MPR measures ratings based on sizes 0.3 to 1 microns. FPR ratings are on a scale from 4 through 10. The MERV filter rating is the domestic and international industry standard rating system established by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers. The other two systems were created by "3M" (MPR) and "The Home Depot" (FPR) to differentiate their offerings. However, at the end of the day, the ratings apply to the SAME filters and can be used in your furnace or AC unit!
At Air Filters Delivered, we label our air filters by their MERV filter rating. You may choose from three different options:
Differences Between MERV Levels
Learn more about why to choose a certain MERV level depending on the benefits you’d like to see in your indoor air quality, and the capabilities of your HVAC system.
MERV 8 vs MERV 11
In standard cases, a MERV 8 air filter is considered a more than adequate choice, but it may not be enough filtration when trying to combat heightened outdoor air pollution, pet fur and dander, or asthma and allergy triggers.
In these cases, a MERV 11 air filter can provide additional benefits and capture a wider range of particulate matter that would pass through a MERV 8 filter. A higher MERV rating can mean slightly more restricted air flow, however, most of today’s HVAC systems are capable of handling a MERV 11 air filter without added system stress. Although MERV 11 filters are slightly more expensive, at the cost of a few dollars, you can improve indoor air quality to help provide relief for those with respiratory issues.
MERV 11 vs MERV 13
MERV 13 air filters provide even additional filtration power against fine particle matter compared to MERV 11 filters. Additional benefits of MERV 13 air filters are that they can filter out smoke, airborne viruses, and smog. They’re particularly useful in heavily polluted areas, areas that are often affected by wildfires, or in helping prevent the spread of illness. As with any increase in MERV level, there is an associated price difference and airflow resistance.
WHAT IS MPR (MICRO-PARTICLE PERFORMANCE RATING)?
MPR, or micro-particle performance rating, is a rating system developed by 3M. It rates the manufacturer’s filters and their ability to capture airborne particles smaller than 1 micron. While MERV ratings reflect a filter's ability to trap both microscopic and macroscopic particles, MPR ratings only grade a filter on its capacity to remove particles from 0.3 to 1 microns. For reference, a typical dust particle is between .2 and 8 microns, while pollen starts at 7 microns and can get up to 70 microns in size.
WHAT IS FPR (FILTER PERFORMANCE RATING)?
FPR, or filter performance rating, labels filters based on a number scale from 4 through 10 in addition to a color-coding system. Designed by The Home Depot for brands sold through their stores, including Honeywell, this rating structure is very similar to MERV rating.
MERV Rating Chart
ADVANTAGES OF FREQUENTLY CHANGING AIR FILTERS
FPR, MERV, MPR – it doesn't matter! In order to keep your air clean in your home or business, it is important to install replacements frequently and dispose of your old filters properly.
Here are some of the benefits clean air filters can provide:
When to Replace Your Filter by MERV Rating
What MERV Rating Should I Use?
Trying to decide what MERV rating is right for your unit and home can be tricky. There’s several important questions to ask:
- Are you trying to improve air quality for allergy or asthma sufferers?
- What’s the best air filter if you have pets?
- Are you living in an urban area with heavier pollution or are you rural?
If you’ve answered Yes to any of the above questions or if you simply want to ensure you’re striving towards better indoor air quality, then choosing a higher MERV rating might be the right decision for your situation.
What MERV Rating Can My Furnace Handle?
There is no difference between a furnace and AC air filter and the terms are often used interchangeably. If you’re wondering what MERV rating your unit can handle, there are often some simple steps to take. First, look for the information provided on your unit to see if it’s included in the manufacturer’s recommendation. Newer units shouldn’t have air flow issues with higher MERV ratings although older models may work harder with a MERV 13 filter installed than when they originally had a MERV 6 filter in the air intake.
If you’re really unsure on what MERV rating to use, you can have the professionals make a recommendation during a routine basic HVAC maintenance visit. Most HVAC units can handle different air filter ratings as long as they are the correct size. Learn how to measure your air filter to ensure you purchase the right size to be compatible with your HVAC system.
MERV Ratings Video Transcript
Hi, it's Sam here to help you understand air filter rating. What do those ratings even mean and how awesome of a filter do you actually need?
Ok, MERV: that's basically the industry rating standard. But to add to the confusion, some filters use MPR or FPR instead. We'll talk MERV because that's the most common.
There's four levels of filters you need to know. The entry-level is a MERV 6 filter. This is your economy filter that will trap basic household dust and pollen. Get a MERV 6 if you are on a tight budget, like a college kid-type budget. It's not the best for indoor air quality, but it will keep dust out of your air system.
A MERV 8 filter traps pollen and dust, but also dust mites and mold spores. Spend a little more on a MERV 8 if you thought it was gross just now when I said, "dust mites and mold spores". Seriously though, yes, that stuff actually can float around your house and spread.
A MERV 11 filter traps all that stuff plus pet dander, smoke, smog, and airbornes from coughs and sneezes. A MERV 11 is a must if you have kids or pets. It will filter out a lot of the most common air pollutants and irritants. Allergy sufferers definitely need one of these too.
Lastly, a MERV 13. It is so fine that it traps microscopic viruses and bacteria. A MERV 13 is a great choice if a healthy home is a top priority for you and also a good call if you have respiratory issues like asthma. Homes with the elderly or newborn members should look into a MERV 13 as well.
So, there you go. It's really about you, your lifestyle, and the people living in your house. Now before you forget all that, get over to our website and get the right filter for you. You'll get free shipping and the best prices thanks to our price match guarantee. Air Filters Delivered.