True HEPA Vs. HEPA Filter (Battle Of The Filters)

  • Author: Irene Batres
  • Date: May 1, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Hey there! So, you’re looking to get an air purifier? 

Well, you’ve probably heard about True HEPA and HEPA filters.

Basically, they’re filters that catch yucky stuff floating around in the air.

But here’s the thing: some differences between True HEPA and HEPA filters could affect how well they work.  

In this article, I will give you a detailed comparison between True HEPA Vs. HEPA filters so that you can pick the best filter to purify your air. So, let’s dive in, shall we?

True HEPA Vs. HEPA Filter

What Is A HEPA Filter?

HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter. It is one of the best air purification systems. True HEPA filters were developed in WWII to protect soldiers from airborne particles.

They are used in air purifiers, HEPA vacuums, home HVAC systems, and more.

A true HEPA filter can trap 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns or bigger. The best filters can capture 99.99%.

True HEPA filters have small openings that trap even bacteria and viruses. Non-HEPA filters can only capture more significant stuff like pollen and pet dander.

Always choose a “true HEPA” filter for allergies or asthma sufferers to protect against mold spores and dust mites. (1.) (2.)(3.

How Does A HEPA Filter Work?

HEPA filters are a highly effective tool for improving indoor air quality. They work by filtering harmful particles like pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.

The filters consist of a fine mesh made up of randomly arranged polypropylene or fiberglass fibers. These fibers capture almost every particle size, ranging from large to small.

The filtering process works through diffusion, interception, and impaction. Diffusion happens when gas molecules smaller than 0.1 microns collide with each other and get trapped by the fibers in the filter.

An interception occurs when larger particles come into contact with the fibers and become trapped. Impaction happens when larger particles cannot make sharp turns around the fibers and get caught.

In addition to the inner mesh, some HEPA filters use an outer gauze-like sieve to stop more significant bits of dirt from getting near the inner filter.

Benefits Of HEPA Filters

  • Improved overall health and well-being: HEPA filters can improve indoor spaces’ overall health and well-being by providing cleaner air.
  • Protection against mold and mildew: HEPA filters can prevent the growth of mold and mildew by removing spores from the air.
  • Eliminating unpleasant odors: HEPA filters can remove unpleasant odors caused by tobacco smoke, cooking, or pets.
  • Allergy relief: By removing allergens such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites, HEPA filters can provide relief to allergy sufferers.

Drawbacks Of HEPA Filters

  • They can be expensive to purchase and maintain
  • Airflow: HEPA filters can impede airflow and may require more powerful ventilation systems to maintain proper air circulation.
  • It may not be effective against certain types of air pollution, such as gases and odors
  • Won’t remove every particle, such as pollutants smaller than 0.3 microns
Differences Between HEPA And True HEPA?

What Are True HEPA Filters

True HEPA filters are the most efficient type of HEPA filter, capturing 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size or larger. The term “Absolute HEPA” is often used interchangeably with “True HEPA.” 

To be considered a True HEPA filter, it must meet the DOE’s standard for HEPA filtration. 

Other types of “HEPA” filters may not meet these standards or have misleading claims about their effectiveness.

So, It’s important to note that counterfeit HEPA filters are in the market.

To ensure you purchase a genuine, verifiable, and effective HEPA filter, look for certifications issued by reputable organizations such as AHAM.

Also Read: Can You Bring An Personal Air Purifier On A Plane?

How Does True HEPA Filter Work?

True HEPA filters are made of tightly woven fibers, typically fiberglass, that form a maze-like path for air to pass through.

This maze-like path traps particle, preventing them from passing through the filter and into the air. And traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke.

True HEPA filters are commonly used in air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, and other air filtration systems to improve indoor air quality by removing small particles.

Due to their high efficiency and effectiveness, they are widely regarded as one of the best air filters available.

Benefits Of True HEPA Filters

  • They are more durable and long-lasting than regular HEPA filters
  • True HEPA filters also provide wide coverage for a room, processing 400 cubic feet of air per minute. This keeps clean air circulating all day long in an average family room or bedroom.
  • They require less maintenance than regular HEPA filters
  • They are quieter than standard HEPA filters
  • True HEPA filters are the best choice for severe allergies or rooms needing near-sterile air quality (like hospitals). They are much more efficient and cover more than regular HEPA options.

Draw Backs Of True HEPA Filters

  • True HEPA filters create more noise and consume more energy. They also need to be replaced more often due to faster clogging from allergens.
  • They may not fit in all air purifiers, so you need to check compatibility before purchasing

The Differences Between HEPA And True HEPA?

HEPA and True HEPA filters differ in filtration efficiency. True HEPA filters remove 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 microns, rated 17-20 MERV. HEPA-type filters have a 99% efficiency rate capturing particles down to 2 microns, rated 13-16 MERV. Premium air purifiers use True HEPA, and compact ones use HEPA-type. 

Below is an overview of the differences:

FeatureTrue HEPA FilterHEPA Filter
Filtration EfficiencyRemoves at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.Removes at least 99.97% of particles as small as 2 microns..
Certification StandardsTested and certified to meet strict standards set by the United States Department of Energy.Does not have a specific standard set by any government agency.
ConstructionConstructed with dense, closely packed layers of fine mesh material that trap particles as they pass through.Made of different types of materials, including fiberglass, paper, or synthetic materials.
CostIt tends to be more expensive than HEPA filters because they are made with higher-quality materials and must meet stricter standards.Tends to be less expensive than True HEPA filters.
Particle SizeEffective at capturing small particles, including allergens, pet dander, dust mites, pollen, and smoke.Less effective at capturing small particles, with some models only capturing particles as small as 2 microns.
MERV RatingTypically has a MERV rating of 17-20, indicating high filtration efficiency.Typically has a MERV rating of 13-16, indicating medium to high filtration efficiency.
Filter ReplacementNeeds to be replaced every 6-12 months, or 8,760 usable hours depending on usage and air quality.Needs to be replaced every 6-12  months, depending on usage and air quality.
ApplicationIdeal for people with allergies, asthma, or compromised immune systems, as well as anyone concerned with improving indoor air quality.Suitable for general air cleaning needs, but may not be as effective at removing small particles as True HEPA filters.

What Is The Difference Between Medical Grade HEPA Vs. True HEPA Vs. HEPA?

The primary difference between true HEPA medical grade and HEPA-type filters is their filtration efficiency.

HEPA filters remove microscopic particles from the air, and there are three types: classic HEPA, true HEPA, and medical-grade HEPA.

Classic HEPA removes 99% of 2-micron particles, true HEPA captures 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles, and medical-grade HEPA removes up to 99.995% of 0.1-micron particles.

True and medical-grade HEPA filters must be certified by AHAM or ASHRAE.

HEPA-type filters are less efficient and can capture 0.2-micron particles, while true HEPA filters trap fewer particles than medical-grade HEPA filters.

It’s vital to get the highest grade of HEPA filter available because some manufacturers use a lower grade to maximize their CADR score

How Many Types Of HEPA Filters?

HEPA Filter TypeEfficiencyTargeted Particle SizeCharacteristics
H10>85%0.3 micronsBasic HEPA filter with lower efficiency compared to higher grade filters
H11>95%0.3 micronsImproved efficiency compared to H10 filters
H12>99.5%0.3 micronsHigher efficiency compared to H10 and H11 filters
True HEPA>99.97%0.3 micronsThe most commonly used type of HEPA filter with high efficiency
H13 Medical Grade HEPA>99.95%0.1 micronsTargets even smaller particles compared to True HEPA filters
HEPA-like<99.97%Not specifiedFilters marketed as HEPA-like or 99% HEPA may not meet the standard and their performance may not be reliable.

HEPA filters are different based on their efficiency rating or filtration mechanism. You can find H10, H11, and H12 filters.

But the most widely used is the True HEPA filter, which can remove more than 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles. Advanced filters like H13 Medical Grade HEPA are available for even smaller particles.

HEPA filters are made of interlaced glass fibers and typically have about 2,500 layers. The IEST has identified six types of HEPA filters – A to F – each with its performance characteristics.

However, some filters marketed as “HEPA-like” or “99% HEPA” might not meet the standard and could perform poorly.

Conclusion- Which One Should You Buy True HEPA Or HEPA

When it comes to selecting between true HEPA and regular HEPA air filters, it really is up to you.

True HEPA filters are the most powerful option for maximum protection against airborne particles and allergens.

However, they are pricier! If cost is a concern, regular HEPA filters will work fine. Make sure to get replacements regularly when they run out.

In conclusion, your decision is whether you choose true HEPA and HEPA filters. True HEPA filters offer more protection, but they’re also more expensive.

Regular HEPA filters can be effective if used properly. It all depends on your budget and needs.

Also Read: Air purifier Vs. Vacuum Cleaner and you can also check out the Best Air Purifiers For A Game Room to find the best air purifier for your home

Frequently Asked Questions

Is true HEPA the same as HEPA 13?

A: HEPA 13 filters remove 99.995% of particles down to 0.1 microns, while True HEPA filters (H10 to H12) trap fewer particles.

Which is better, True HEPA or HEPA-type air purifiers?

A: True HEPA filters are more effective than HEPA-type filters, so they are generally considered to be better.

Does a HEPA-type filter cost less than a True HEPA filter?

A: HEPA-type filters generally cost less than True HEPA filters.

irene mills author of freshairdevices


Irene Batres is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.