The MERV rating is a system developed by the American Society of Heating, Cooling, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to measure the efficiency of air filters in capturing particles of different sizes. This rating determines the type of air pollutants that the filter can trap. A MERV 4 filter can remove 75 to 80 percent of particles, while a MERV 6 filter can remove 85 to 90 percent. A MERV 8 filter is considered superior and can remove up to 95 percent of particles, while a MERV 11 filter can remove up to 99.9 percent.
Comparable ratings include MPR 600 to 800 and FPR 5 to 6.MERV 8 air filters are almost as affordable as the least efficient products, making them a great value for money. However, a MERV 11 air filter may need to be changed more often than a MERV 8 air filter. On the other hand, air filters with a MERV 14 rating or higher are designed for commercial air conditioning systems that can handle the coarser filter material. It is essential to replace your air filter before it completely blocks airflow or causes other issues. In particular, using an air filter with a MERV rating that is too high can damage the compressor, heat exchanger, and air conditioner coil.
You should aim for the cleanest possible air and smell, which means better filtration, even if you have to replace the filter more often.