MERV 16 Filters Review: How Much do They Affect Your Health?

MERV 16 Filters Review

MERV 16 Filters Overview

The MERV rating on an air or furnace filter refers to how effectively it prevents potentially harmful particles from circulating. MERV means Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and they go from 1 to 20. The higher the number, the more efficient the filter. Most homes only need a filter within the 8 to 13 range. Anything higher can restrict the airflow and strain the HVAC system, resulting in higher energy costs.

A filter with a MERV 16 rating is very advanced and suitable mainly for specialized locations like food processing plants or hospitals. They will filter out 95% of harmful particulate matter including viruses and bacteria. There are some MERV 16 filters made for the home, but even severely allergic, asthmatic, or immunocompromised individuals do not necessarily need a MERV 16 filter. These kinds of filters are better suited for special locations that need the extra filtration.

Key Features of MERV 16 Filters

MERV 16 air filters should be able to filter out over 90% of harmful particulates, including the following:

  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Exhaust fumes
  • Milled flour
  • Smoke
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Droplet nuclei (the droplets from a sneeze or a cough)
  • Bacteria
  • Legionella (the cause of Legionnaires’ Disease and Pontiac Fever)
  • The better MERV 16 filters can also lower the ozone level inside of a house or building by converting it to oxygen. They are also very good at removing unpleasant odors from the environment.

Performance of MERV 16 Filters

MERV 16 filters should be able to provide a high indoor air quality to hospitals, as well as food processing plants and pharmaceutical plants. They are also the superior choice for the effective filtration of the enclosed cabs of mobile mining equipment. They are not appropriate for the home because of their expense. They are very expensive and they restrict the airflow of the HVAC system resulting in higher energy bills.

Recommended Locations for MERV 16 Filters


The indoor air quality (IAQ) can have a direct impact on the health and recovery process of patients so it needs to be as clean as possible. The IAQ can also have an effect on the productivity and morale of the doctors, nurses, and other staff working in the hospital. A MERV 16 filter will remove the pollutants found in the outdoor air when recirculating it throughout the hospital, providing a clean environment for everyone inside.

Food Processing Plants

The IAQ needs to be very high in food processing plants to prevent the contamination of the food being handled in these facilities. MERV 16 filters will protect the integrity of the other equipment in the plant by removing excess moisture from the air and preparing the air for the handling of the food in the facility. The air filters in a food processing plant must also maintain a low-pressure drop to prevent the airflow in the building from becoming compromised.

MERV 16 Filters Review: Conclusion

A MERV 16 filter will provide highly-effective filtration for specialized facilities that need to maintain a very high indoor air quality standard for safety purposes. Hospitals and food processing plants benefit greatly from the ability of MERV 16 filters to remove bacteria and contaminants from the air.

In the case of hospitals, this can prevent the spread of bacteria from within and prevent pollutants from outside from infiltrating the building. Food processing plants benefit from MERV 16 filters because that level of filtration prevents the spread of bacteria and helps to prevent the food being processed from becoming contaminated. MERV 16 filters are too much for most homes but they have vital applications that are important to maintaining the health and safety of the public.