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High MERV Filters vs. COVID-19: Who Wins?

2020 has certainly been a year of learning and growth. No one could have expected in January that the novel coronavirus would have the immense effect on life that it’s had.


In some ways, coronavirus has been a good thing. It’s forced outdated systems to improve. It’s tested our healthcare systems and given us a lot of data from which to learn and grow.

At the end of the day, life doesn’t stop moving for anything. The immeasurable suffering that COVID-19 has caused is tragic. But without growth, we submit to it and let it conquer us.

The only alternative is to fight. Adapt. Create new technologies and new strategies to cope with the new reality.

This is manifested in many things. Video conferences, contactless delivery, and online schooling, to name a few.

Another improvement that coronavirus has yanked out of us is in air filtration. Masks are the most noticeable change in this aspect, but that’s not the only filter we use on a daily basis.

Your AC system has an air filter that catching dust and particles as air is circulate around your home or office.

That filter is what keeps the air in your house or office as clean as possible. Can we help stop the spread of COVID-19 by using better filters? Let’s find out.

What does MERV mean?

MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. It’s a number that is assigned according to how efficiently the filter picks up particles and dust. They range from 1 to 20, with 1 being the least effective and 20 being the most effective.


MERV 1 is categorized as a filter that can only pick up less than 20% of particles smaller than 10 microns wide. MERV 20 can pick up over 99% of particles smaller than 10 microns wide.

A micron is pretty small. Its official definition is one one-millionth of a meter. A human hair is 75 microns wide.

Air filters are extremely good at their job. The fact that we can filter out particles only a few microns across without blocking air flow is truly remarkable.

Many filters can even block bacteria. But what about the COVID-19 virus? Let’s find out.

Can a high MERV filter block COVID-19?

The COVID-19 virus is tiny. Really tiny. At approximately 0.1 microns across, you can fit hundreds of them inside a red blood cell.

That’s one of the reasons it’s so contagious. Smaller particles can slide through most fabrics, including masks. They get flung farther during a cough or sneeze. They wedge themselves in your pores and make it difficult to get rid of it with regular handwashing. This makes exposure vastly more likely.

So, how high does your filter’s MERV need to be in order to block the coronavirus?

The good news is that the COVID-19 virus doesn’t appear to travel on its own through air. It must be attached to other particles (surfaces, droplets, dust, etc.) in order to travel.


That means your filter does not need to be some extreme, custom MERV-monster in order to block it. It just needs to be able block the particles that contain the virus.

For this, the CDC recommends a MERV of 13 or higher. This is more than enough to block droplets and dust that are at least a few microns across.

Where should I use COVID-19-blocking filters?

Using a filter for your house to block the COVID-19 virus is only as effective as your other countermeasures. Your air being free of COVID-19 can help, but only if your surfaces are too. Remember to disinfect all surfaces as often as possible.

Overall, if you share a household with someone who has COVID-19, you can probably expect to get it as well.

In an office, however, a high MERV filter can certainly reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. This is because an office is a unique area in which people often share the same air, but not the same surfaces.


Everyone has their own desk, computer, stapler, and coffee mug. The only thing they share is their breath. Therefore, using a high MERV filter to purify the air of COVID-19 can certainly help reduce the spread in on office setting.

Where can I get high MERV filters?

The best filters can be somewhat hard to find. It seems like many companies only offer the cheap, low MERV stuff that doesn’t work too well.

Filter King is not one of those companies. We offer any filter you could possibly need, at any size you could possibly need, all at a price that makes your bank account happy.

Here’s a cheap, high MERV filter that you can order right now, and it’ll be on your doorstep in a few days. You can even set up a subscription to have replacements delivered whenever they’re needed (every three months.)

Filter King is committed to providing the best air quality at an affordable price and with the most convenience possible. And we do that pretty well. Check out our online store to see our selection of filters and sizes for your home or office.