Will a MERV 11 Filter Remove Smoke?

A MERV 11 filter is an effective way to remove smoke, pet dander, smog, and air from coughs and sneezes from your home. It is the perfect balance between cost and performance, as it filters out many of the most common air pollutants and irritants. For everyday use, we recommend a MERV 11 filter for our customers. It is important to remember that the MERV rating of an air filter denotes its lowest possible capacity, meaning the minimum percentage of impurities it can effectively filter.

Most ovens and HVAC systems can accommodate a MERV 13 filter without any issues, as long as it is replaced regularly. A MERV 11 filter must achieve at least 20% efficiency for 0.3—1 µm particles, while MERV 13 and higher require at least 50% efficiency for 0.3—1 µm particles. Using an oven filter with a MERV rating higher than necessary can have negative effects. During wildfire season, choose a MERV 13 or higher filter with activated carbon for residential use.

The thickness of the filter material in a MERV 11 filter is greater than that of a MERV 8 filter, meaning that a lower rating will retain a lower percentage of debris and impurities compared to a higher rating. A MERV 12 filter can trap 80 to 89 percent of 1.0 to 3.0 micron average particles, with an average particle size efficiency of 90 percent or better. By using an air filter with a MERV 6, 8, or 11 rating in your heating and cooling system, you can breathe fresh, clean air because the filter will trap mold particles in the air and there will be less air in your home. Only MERV 11 and above filters are specifically tested for their ability to remove the smallest particles (0.3—1 µm).

A MERV 9 will trap less than 50% of particles with a size of 1.0-3.0 microns, the MERV 10 will stop at 64%, the MERV 11 will get up to 79%, and the MERV 12 is capable of trapping up to 89%. Therefore, the MERV rating system provides a standard for comparing different oven filters from different manufacturers.