When it comes to buying air purifiers and other appliances that use filters such as HVAC systems, you will typically come across terms like “true HEPA” and “HEPA”. These terms indicate the kind of filter the unit uses, and for an inexperienced person, it is easy to overlook them and assume they mean the same things.
However, this is not true as these filters will differ in various aspects, from their filtration efficiency to cost. Therefore, it is vital to understand these differences to ensure you know what will work best for your appliance or situation.
True HEPA Filter
True HEPA Filter
HEPA vs. True HEPA Filter
1. Efficiency: True HEPA is as Efficient as Filters Get
The efficiency of a filter is one of the crucial factors to consider when deciding what to buy, and it is also what sets the true HEPA and HEPA filters apart.
With a true HEPA filter, you get a filtration efficiency of up to an impressive 99.97%, making this filter type one of the most efficient options out there.
Additionally, the true HEPA is more effective at capturing smaller particles. The filter can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, meaning there is hardly any contaminant that can go through it, no matter how small. True HEPA filters effectively remove pet dander, pollen, dust mites, and even bacteria and viruses from your air.
On the other hand, the HEPA filters have an efficiency rate of 99%, but some inexpensive modes can have an efficiency that is as low as 90%. Also, unlike the true HEPA filters, these can only filter out particles as small as 2 microns.
Given the relatively lower efficiency, HEPA filters are often best for removing things like dirt and dust. However, finer particles like bacteria and germs can sneak past these filters.
2. MERV: True HEPA Still Outperforms HEPA
MERV rating measures a filter’s effectiveness at capturing particles larger than 0.3 microns but smaller than 50 microns. The scale runs from 1 to 16, and the higher the number, the better the filter’s efficiency.
That said, a true HEPA filter still performs better than HEPA when using the MERV rating for comparison. True HEPA filters typically have a MERV rating of 17 to 20 depending on the model you are buying or brand, while the rating for HEPA is between 13 and 16.
Given the MERV rating, a true HEPA filter can remove over 95% of particles that are between 0.3 and 10 microns in size from your air. On the other hand, HEPA filters remove under 50% of particles between 0.3 and 1 microns in size and 90% of the larger 1 and 10 microns particles.
3. Filter Density: High vs. Medium Density
The filter density measures the volume of particles or air contaminants a filter can hold before you have to replace or wash it if it is washable. Here, true HEPA filters are designed with high-density fibers, meaning they can hold much more before you have to replace them. HEPA filters are medium density, and so they can still hold quite a lot but still not as much as true HEPA.
4. Price: The Efficiency of a True HEPA Comes with a Higher Cost
Given how efficient true HEPA filters are at cleaning the air, it should be obvious that this comes at a cost. You can expect to pay at least $80 for a basic one on average. However, many models retail for up to $300 or even more.
HEPA filters are relatively more affordable given that they are also more common and have been in the market much longer. You will typically need to part with between $30 and $100 to get one, but there are still a few options that are relatively more affordable than this.
True HEPA and HEPA filters are some of the most efficient filters you can get out there. However, they differ in different aspects, such as efficiency level, density, and cost. These factors should help you decide which one works best for you. That said, the true HEPA filter is the best if you want the most efficient option, while HEPA is an ideal choice for those looking for a more affordable option.
- What is a HEPA filter? – EPA
- High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter – ScienceDirect
- True HEPA Filter: What It Is and What It Isn’t – Molekule
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