In many cases, a MERV 8 air filter is more than enough to provide adequate air filtration. However, if you're worried about outdoor air pollution, family members with respiratory issues, or the presence of pets in the home, then opting for a higher MERV rating might be a good idea. It's a common misconception that the MERV 11 is too high for most people, but this isn't necessarily true. The MERV 11 air filter is suitable for those with multiple pets or mild respiratory illnesses, as well as those living in areas with smog.
The higher the filter rating, the smaller the particles it will capture and the higher the percentage of particles it will trap. Low-efficiency filters are generally found within the MERV 1-4 range, and high-efficiency filters are MERV 13 and higher. Keep in mind that as the MERV rating increases, the filter becomes more restrictive and more pressure and energy will be needed to get air through. Many people think that it's best to invest in a MERV 20 filter because it's capable of capturing all the contaminants in your home.
However, if you're filtering a residential or commercial space, you definitely won't need a filter superior to the MERV 17. So, whether you choose the MERV 8 or the MERV 11, the important thing is that you choose one that fits all your air quality needs. Air filters with a MERV 13 or higher certification are recommended for those who prioritize air quality and may have to deal with asthma, severe allergies, and other similar circumstances. HVAC unit technology has advanced since then, and most modern units in recent years should be able to equip at least one MERV 8 filter. In most homes and commercial buildings, filters with a MERV rating between 8 and 13 will sufficiently filter the air.
While a MERV 8 filter is perfect for most domestic applications, it usually doesn't work in most commercial buildings.