Are Merv 11 Filters Effective at Removing Allergens from the Air?

Learn how Merv 11 filters can help remove allergens from your home's air and improve indoor air quality.

Are Merv 11 Filters Effective at Removing Allergens from the Air?

The most cost-effective way to remove allergens from the air is to use a disposable filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) rating of 11 to 13. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter will be at trapping particles such as pollen, pet allergens, and mold, without hindering air flow. Air filtration is often recommended as part of environmental control practices for people with allergic respiratory diseases, and studies have shown that multiple interventions, including air filtration, can improve outcomes in the treatment of these conditions. Whole Home Filtration (WHF) can be achieved through the home HVAC system, Portable Room Air Cleaners (PRAC), or a combination of both. Apparatus have also been developed to filter the Sleeping Breathing Zone (SBZ).

However, air conditioning systems can create a reservoir for triggers if they are not properly maintained. Low-efficiency HVAC filters don't offer better particulate removal than no filter at all. WHF with high-efficiency HVAC filtration has been demonstrated to be more effective in reducing particulate matter than individual PRAC HEPA filters. A study that combined air conditioning maintenance with a high-efficiency disposable MERV 12 HVAC filter has shown clinical benefits in asthma.

A study on PRAC HEPA showed a tendency to obtain clinical benefits, but their effectiveness is limited to a single room and not to the entire home. Several PRAC HEPA filters need to be placed in several rooms to take advantage of the high-efficiency WHF. Ionic electrostatic air purifiers for rooms offer little or no benefit compared to PRAC, WHF, or HEPA filters. Ionic devices produce ozone, a respiratory irritant, and in one study they caused an increase in submicron particles.

SBZ filtration was shown to be effective in three clinical studies. The best approach may be to consider “combined filtration” with high-efficiency WHF with PRAC or filtration of breathing zones in the bedroom.


is effective in controlling dust, pollen, mites, and pet dander. It is applicable in most commercial buildings, residences, industrial workplaces and paint booths.

Filter King offers a hassle-free MERV 11 air filter subscription service so you never forget to replace your air filters. MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and is the scale designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to determine the effectiveness of an air filter. The MERV 11 will increase indoor air quality by eliminating 85% of air pollutants the size of a micron, thus maintaining the efficiency of the HVAC unit. It blocks at least 65% to 79% of airborne particulates in the 1.0 to 3.0 micron size range.

A high MERV filter also means that the air conditioning system has to work harder because there are more elements that block air flow. The MERV 8 oven filter and air filter worked better, unless the HEPA room air filter was used in the same room as the fountain (for example, if it was used in a room exposed to cats). The MERV 11 filter is best for pet owners and people living with certain health conditions such as mild allergies and mild asthma. If you or a family member has asthma, installing filters with higher MERV rates in your home could be a solution.

If you're not a pet owner or don't have any health problems that affect your breathing, you can get by with a lower-quality MERV 8 filter. The higher the MERV rating, the more airborne pollutants the air filter can remove before entering your home. The increase in filter efficiency above 65% to 85% of ASHRAE (MERV 11—1) compared to a HEPA filter did not significantly reduce indoor concentrations. Filters with higher MERV ratings are the best at trapping environmental triggers for asthma and allergies.

The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter will be at preventing dust particles and other contaminants from entering your home. Interventions included using a high-efficiency furnace filter (MERV 1) (72.3%) and an air conditioning service (78.2%) for homes with problems (HVAC), such as dirty or contaminated air exchange units or poorly installed filters.