What are MERV ratings for air filters?
What should I buy?

What is a MERV rating?

MERV is a measure of air filtration effectiveness. It's an industry standard rating system, provided by air filter manufacturers, designed to help choose which efficiency works best for your household. A MERV rating is a numerical value ranging from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 16 (highest efficiency) and tells the consumer how well the filter captures and holds dirt and dust.

What are the MERV ratings of the filters carried by Sears PartsDirect?

Best

MERV ratings: 13-16

The most efficient filtration, suitable for hospitals and healthcare facilities. Eliminates 95% or more airborne contaminants 0.3 microns or larger, ranging from bacteria to tobacco smoke to proplet nuclei (sneeze). Filter life is typically up to 90 days.

Percentage of particles trapped
85% or better of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
90% or better of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns

MERV 13: Less than 75% of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns
MERV 14: 75% - 84% of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns
MERV 15: 85% - 94% of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns
MERV 16: 95% or better of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns

Better

MERV ratings: 9-12

A very high level of filtration, good for homes prone to allergies or asthma. Removes up to 89% of airborne contaminants one micron or larger, ranging from humidifier and lead dust to auto emissions and milled flour. Filter life is typically up to 90 days.

Percentage of particles trapped
85% or better of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns

MERV 9: Less than 50% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns
MERV 10: 50% - 64% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns
MERV 11: 65% - 79% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns
MERV 12: 80% - 89% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns

Good

MERV ratings: 5-8

Efficient air filtration for homes on a budget, good for homes with minor allergy sufferers looking to eliminate mold spores, hair spray, fabric protector or cement dust from the air. Removes up to 80% of airborne contaminants three microns or larger. Filter life is typically up to 90 days.

Percentage of particles trapped
MERV 5: 20% - 34% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
MERV 6: 35% - 49% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
MERV 7: 50% - 69% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
MERV 8: 70% - 80% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Rating Value. It’s an industry standard rating system, provided by air filter manufacturers, designed to help choose which efficiency works best for your household. A MERV rating is a numerical value ranging from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 16 (highest efficiency) and tells the consumer how well the filter captures and holds dirt and dust.

Best
MERV ratings: 13-16

The most efficient filtration, suitable for hospitals and healthcare facilities. Eliminates 95% or more airborne contaminants 0.3 microns or larger, ranging from bacteria to tobacco smoke to proplet nuclei (sneeze). Filter life is typically up to 90 days.

Percentage of particles trapped
85% or better of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
90% or better of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns

MERV 13: Less than 75% of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns
MERV 14: 75% - 84% of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns
MERV 15: 85% - 94% of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns
MERV 16: 95% or better of particles 0.3 - 1.0 microns

Better
MERV ratings: 9-12

A very high level of filtration, good for homes prone to allergies or asthma. Removes up to 89% of airborne contaminants one micron or larger, ranging from humidifier and lead dust to auto emissions and milled flour. Filter life is typically up to 90 days.

Percentage of particles trapped
85% or better of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns

MERV 9: Less than 50% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns
MERV 10: 50% - 64% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns
MERV 11: 65% - 79% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns
MERV 12: 80% - 89% of particles 1.0 - 3.0 microns

Good
MERV ratings: 5-8

Efficient air filtration for homes on a budget, good for homes with minor allergy sufferers looking to eliminate mold spores, hair spray, fabric protector or cement dust from the air. Removes up to 80% of airborne contaminants three microns or larger. Filter life is typically up to 90 days.

Percentage of particles trapped

MERV 5: 20% - 34% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
MERV 6: 35% - 49% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
MERV 7: 50% - 69% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns
MERV 8: 70% - 80% of particles 3.0 - 10.0 microns