What’s MERV? All About A Rating System That Helps Consumers Select Air Filters

MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value Rating.”  This rating system for filters was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers.  It’s based upon the type of filter, how efficient it is and what pollutants it captures.


Almost all of the air purifier corporations in existence today use this rating as a way of evaluating the capability of their air purifiers. Since it is an air purifier’s job to reduce the size of the particles in the air as they pass through the filter, you will want to be sure to take a look at this rating.

The majority of MERV ratings range from 1 to 16.  It is important to understand what these ratings stand for:

  • 1 through 4 include disposable fiberglass filters, permanent metal filters and panel filters. They are 20 percent efficient in catching dust from fabric, carpet, dust mites moss and pollen.
  • 5 through 7 include pleated panel filters, ring panels and synthetic media filters.  They are up to 30 percent efficient with dust.
  • 8 through 11 include extended-surface pocket filters.  They are up to 60 percent efficient with mold, lead, coal and harmful fumes.
  • 12 through 14 include HEPA filters.  They are up to 90 percent efficient with dust and smoke.
  • 15 and 16 include rigid cell and extended surface pocket filters.  They are up to 95 percent efficient in trapping bacteria and smoke.


As a consumer, you should purchase an air purifier with the highest possible rating as this will assure you of its optimal performance and will also tell you that this filter is more efficient. So, whenever you are purchasing a new air purifier, you should look for this rating, which is printed somewhere on the box.  If the rating is 6 or above you can rest assured that this is a high quality product that will meet your needs.

Are you still confused about MERV? Do you have more questions that you would like to have answered about this topic? Home Comfort Experts would be more than happy to answer these questions and provide you with further information.

Home Comfort services the Mishawaka/South Bend areas of Indiana.


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