MERV 11 Vs. MERV 12: Get Your Air Filter With Right Rating

Looking for the right air filter for your home? Can’t decide between MERV 11 and MERV 12?

Do not worry; you have come to the right place. We understand how important choosing the right air filter with the right MERV rating can be.

Today we will guide you through this process by helping you understand what you need from the air filter.

This discussion on MERV 11 vs. MERV 12 will give you the insights to choose the right air filter for your home. So, read on!

Differences Between MERV 11 And MERV 12 Rating

The difference between MERV 11 and MERV 12 is negligible. But for your better understanding and insight, we would like to talk about them in detail.

MERV 11 Rating


MERV 11 air filters trap 79% of 1 to 3-micron size particles and 85% of 3 to 10-micron size particles.

So, the MERV 11 air filter traps a high percentage of particles and provides clean air for people who have pets and people who suffer from diseases like mild allergies or asthma.

It also helps to maintain the efficiency of your HVAC system. MERV 11 filters can trap the following particles:

  • Pollen
  • Dust mites
  • Fine air particles
  • Mold
  • Bacteria
  • Large dust particles
  • Auto emissions
  • Pet dander
  • Lint
  • Smoke
  • Smog

MERV 12 Rating

MERV 12 air filter traps around 89% of 1 to 3-micron size particles and more than 90% of 3 to 10-micron size.

It is almost as effective as HEPA filters. MERV 12 is used in residential areas and sometimes in hospital laboratories.


MERV 12 furnace filters are often compared to HVAC filters with ratings of MPR 1900 and FPR 9.

MERV 12 traps concrete dust, sawdust, legionella, and other contaminants that the MERV 11 traps.

So, if you are wondering why is your house so dusty, you need your air filter to have MERV 12 rating.

These air filters must be changed every 60 days. They are 40 times better than fiberglass air filters.

They can trap contaminants that cause foul odors. So, they are very suitable if someone wants to get rid of odors and pungent smells in the house.

The MERV 11 and MERV 12 are very similar in their functions. The slight difference in their percentage of trapping mechanism is very negligible.

So, you can choose the one that best fulfills your needs.

How to Choose the Right Air Filter for Your Home?

Since you are looking for an air filter for your home, there are a few things you have to consider. Do not just go for the highest rating air filter and call it a day. Take some time and think about the following things:

  • The Budget

The higher the MERV rating, the more expensive the filter is. Air filters have to be replaced every 1-3 months.

MERV with high ratings that collect more dust particles has to be replaced very often.

So, you must consider your budget and the costs for replacement as well.

Air filter replacements are very important to maintain the air system’s performance, proper temperature control, and to ensure proper usage of energy.

  • The Environment of Your Home

You must consider why you need the air filter. For residential purposes, you need a filter that will collect:

  • Pet Dander
  • Milled Flour
  • Dust From Humidifier
  • Dust Mites
  • Mold Spores
  • Lint And Clothing Fibers

When you are considering the environment of your house, you are also taking in the health concerns of your home as a factor.

So, you have to choose the air filter that can collect all of it.

  • The Size of the Air Filter

It is essential to know the size of the air filter and the model that will fit your air system. You have to check your air filter size before you make a purchase.

Air filters come in various sizes in terms of width and height.

  • The Blower Type

If your HVAC has a permanent split capacitor blower, a higher MERV rating air filter will interfere with it and cause lower airflow.

You do not want to compromise the air quality of your home.

  • The Type Of Air Filters

Air filters come in different types. The different types have a difference in their price points and capabilities too.

So, you will find air filters in the below kinds:

  • Pleated
  • Flat- Paneled
  • Washable.
  • Electrostatic
  • High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)

Do You Need a High MERV Rating Filter?

MERV 11 vs. MERV 12

From what you have read so far, you know the higher the MERV Rating, the more efficient the filter is. But this necessarily does not mean you need the highest-rated filter.

The higher-rated filter can end up being a problem for the blower of your HVAC system. Higher MERV filters have higher resistance, which means it has small pores to trap all the particles.

So, this puts more pressure drops on the filter.

Now, the blower of your HVAC can handle a limited amount of pressure drop.

In these circumstances, the blower uses most of the energy to get the air past the filter and doesn’t have enough left to move the air through the system. This decreases the air quality.

So, a high MERV rating filter can:

  • Increase pressure and energy usage of the system.
  • Reduce the airflow.
  • Freeze the coil of the air conditioner.
  • Cause damage to the air compressor.
  • Distribute carbon monoxide to the system.

Although these issues can be tackled, it is not necessary for you to buy the air filter with the highest MERV rating.

Signs to Change Your Air Filter

Air filters must be changed every 2 to 3 months, depending on the MERV value of your filter. Here are some signs to look out for that indicate it is time to replace the air filter.

  • A sudden increase in your electricity bills.
  • Too much dust collecting in your air vents.
  • Air isn’t getting cold enough.
  • The AC unit is getting warm.
  • Sudden Allergy Symptoms.
  • When you put a white sheet on the vent, it gets dirty.

If you notice any of these signs, then your air filter needs to be changed.

You can also mark the date or note it down somewhere as a reminder for the next replacement.

MERV Ratings: A Brief Overview

MERV ratings are measurement scales that indicate the effectiveness of air filters. So, the word MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Rating Value.

And the range of the ratings is from 1 to 16.

The lower the rating is, the lower efficiency the air filter will have. Higher-rated filters have the capability of blocking smaller particles compared to lower-rated ones.

These MERV ratings are divided into four groups. And MERV 9-12 are considered best for residential use because of their high efficiency of trapping minute particles.

Although both MERV 11 and MERV 12 belong in the same group, let us have a comparison between the two.

Final Words

The goal of purchasing a filter is to get clean air in your home free of contaminants. We hope the insights from MERV 11 vs. MERV 12 discussion have cleared your confusion.

As you can see, the differences between them are very negligible. So, consider all your factors and make the decision that is most favorable to you.

Happy Shopping!

About Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top