MERV 8 VS MERV 11? What’s The Difference?

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When deciding which air filter to go with, it is important to look at the MERV rating. The MERV rating you choose for your filter affects the air quality of your home. 

Higher rated MERV filters prevent more dust, pollen, and animal dander particles from getting through. Lower rated MERV filters also filter out these particles, but they do not clean your air as much. 

This article will explain the difference between MERV 8 and MERV 11 ratings and how to choose the right one for your home.

MERV 8 vs. MERV 11

MERV 8 and MERV 11 air filters are the two most common ratings for air filters. Air filters rated MERV 8 are a good choice for your home if you are looking for a basic air filter to prevent dust and dirt from getting into the air. 

If you need a better filter to prevent more dirt and animal dander from blowing out of your vents, you should go with a MERV 11 rated filter. MERV 11 rated filters pick up much more pollen, animal dander, and bacteria than a MERV 8 filter. 

What is MERV rating?

The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, or MERV, rating of a filter tells you how well the filter will prevent particles from going into the air of your home. A higher rating means the air filter is more efficient at blocking dust, dander, pollen, smoke, bacteria, etc.

A higher-rated MERV filter will catch much smaller particles than a lower-rated MERV filter. The smaller the particles it can catch, the cleaner your air will be.

What are the Different Categories of MERV Ratings?

There are four categories of MERV ratings. The filter category you need depends on what you need to be filtered out of your home’s air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles the filter can prevent.

1. MERV ratings 1-4. A filter with this rating is a decent air filter. It can prevent pollen and dust particles from going through. 

2. MERV ratings 5-8. Air filters with a rating between 5 and 8 are good filters. They can catch smaller particles than filters rated 1-4, such as animal dander and dust mites.

3. MERV ratings 9-12. Air filters rated between 9 and 12 are better at catching tiny particles such as auto emissions and tobacco smoke.

4. MERV ratings 13-16. The highest-rated filters are not typically found in residential homes. They are reserved for places like hospitals because they can catch the tiniest particles, including contaminants in sneezes.

Is a Higher or Lower MERV Rating Better?

A higher MERV rating means the filter works better to prevent unwanted particles in the air. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the particles it can prevent. If you are looking to get the best quality air for your home, a higher MERV rating is better. 

MERV 11 filters are best if you have pets, smoke cigarettes, have allergies, or have asthma. If you are not concerned about these factors, MERV 8 filters will work just fine.


A MERV 8 filter is a basic air filter that will prevent dust, dander, and pollen from blowing through your vents. If you are looking for a cheaper way to filter particles out of your home’s air, the MERV 8 is a good choice. 

While higher-rated filters such as the MERV 11 clean your air more, they are more expensive. The MERV 8 filter will also work for your home and is perfect if you are on a budget.


MERV 11 filters are rated relatively high on the MERV scale. They work better than MERV 8 filters because they can catch smaller particles. MERV 11 filters are the best choice for homes with pets, cigarette smokers, people with allergies, or asthmatics. 

Even if you are not concerned about these things, a MERV 11 filter will clean your air better than a lower-rated filter, such as the MERV 8.

MERV 8 vs. MERV 11 – Which one should you choose?

To decide whether MERV 8 or MERV 11 is right for you, figure out what you need to be filtered out of your air. MERV 8 will work just fine if you are on a budget and you and your family don’t have pets or allergy concerns.

MERV 11, since it has a higher rating, will filter out more particles and prevent smaller particles from going through, such as pet dander. Since this filter cleans your air better, it is also more expensive. 

If someone living in your home has asthma, you need the MERV 11 filter. The MERV 11 filter will pick up smaller particles than the MERV 8, which could prevent an asthma attack.

MERV 8 can be a good option for you and your family’s needs. If you are not worried about tobacco smoke, pollen, or pet dander, MERV 8 will work just fine. If you are looking for a filter that will clean your air the best, MERV 11 is the right choice.

Factors that Affect which MERV Rating you Choose

Some factors that affect which MERV rating you should choose include:

  • If someone in your home has allergies: Higher rated MERV filters catch more pollen and animal dander. Removing these particles from the air can help people with allergies feel more comfortable. 
  • If someone in your home has asthma: You should choose a higher rated MERV filter, such as the MERV 11 if anyone in your family has asthma. Clean air is easier to breathe, so having a higher-rated MERV filter is essential for asthma people.
  • How many pets you have: If you have only one pet, it doesn’t shed that much, and no one in your home has allergies to the pet, you will be fine using a MERV 8 filter. If you have more than one pet, it is recommended to get a better filter, such as the MERV 11, to reduce the amount of animal dander in the air.

 The right air filter can make all the difference in the quality of air in your home. If you can’t decide which MERV filter to go with, there are some factors to consider. Does anyone in your family have allergies? Asthma? Do you have multiple pets? Are you concerned about cigarette smoke or auto emissions? 

The MERV 8 filter is good. It does its job of preventing dust, dirt, and pollen from getting into your home. It is the best filter for you if you want a cheaper option and is not concerned about allergies or animal dander. 

The MERV 11 filter is better. It does a better job of preventing dust, dirt, and pollen from getting into your home while also filtering out smaller particles such as animal dander, cigarette smoke, and bacteria. The MERV 11 filter is the best option for your home if you want the cleanest air.

The MERV 8 and the MERV 11 filter are two popular choices of air filters. Either one will work for your home. If you are looking for a cheaper way to filter out particles, go with the MERV 8 filter. If you are looking to prevent smaller particles and get the cleanest air, go with the MERV 11 filter.