Intro to HEPA filters

Air purity is essential in our modern world filled with pollutants and impurities. When we can not control the air quality outside, the next best thing is to purify the air we breathe inside. The standard for filtering circulated air is the HEPA filter which stands for high-efficiency particulate air” filter.

Illustration of HEPA filter trapping air contaminents

What’s the Difference?

There are two main types of HEPA filters – HEPA 11 and HEPA 13. Both are considered medical grade and designed to remove 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size from the air, but there are some key differences between the two grades.

HEPA 11 filters are typically used in residential settings, while HEPA 13 filters are designed for more industrial or commercial applications. HEPA 13 filters are able to capture a higher percentage of smaller particles than HEPA 11 filters, making them more effective at removing pollutants from the air.

Another difference between HEPA 11 and HEPA 13 filters is that HEPA 13 filters can be washed and reused, while HEPA 11 filters must be replaced when they become dirty.

Which should you choose?

Choosing between HEPA 11 and 13 is an important consideration. The majority of households are safe choosing HEPA 11 because they have no need for filtration of ultrafine particles. However, in rare cases, consumers may be sensitive or medically endangered by the few ultrafine particulates not filtered by HEPA 11, HEPA 13. In these cases, HEPA 13 is necessary and can be paired with a UV light to kill microbes trapped in the filter.

HEPA 13 is more common in industrial cases. HEPA 13 is highly utilized in sterile medical environments such as operating rooms where there is no margin for error. Additionally, it is commonly used in R&D and production of microchips which require ultraclean rooms free of any contaminants because of their ultrasensitive nature.

HEPA Filter Leak Test of Technician Cleanroom


Overall, HEPA 13 filters are more effective than HEPA 11 filters at removing pollutants and contaminants from the air. However, HEPA 11 filters are sufficient for most households and applications. When choosing between the two grades, it is important to consider your specific needs and requirements.