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What is a True HEPA Filter?

It has become crucial for families to be aware of the air quality in their homes. If you live in a populated area nearby construction sites or a busy road, then you may be surprised to learn that the air inside of your home can be several times more polluted than the air outside.

What is a True HEPA Filter?
True HEPA Filter

One of the most effective ways of dealing with polluted indoor air is by investing in an air purifier—specifically, one that comes with a True HEPA Filter.

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So, what exactly is a True HEPA Filter? Are all HEPA filters the same? How can a True HEPA Filter help improve your health? We’ll address all of these questions in this brief informational guide.

What is a True HEPA Filter?

True HEPA Filters mainly consist of dense paper fibers sized between 0.3 and 2 microns and are woven in a random pattern. They meet the highest standard set by the US Department of Energy for airborne contaminant filtration by removing microscopic particles down to 0.3 microns and larger with 99.97% effectiveness.

What Is True HEPA Filter?
True HEPA Filter

To put this in perspective, the human eye can see particles between 50 and 60 microns, and anything 10 microns and smaller are considered respirable or become hazardous to our respiratory health. True HEPA Filters are best known for trapping mold spores, pet dander, soot, dust mites and their waste, and certain bacteria.

HEPA Differences

In your search for the best air purifier, you may have come across models with HEPA-style, HEPA-grade, or just plain HEPA filters. These are inferior to True HEPA Filters by having a reduced effectiveness of trapping 0.3-micon particles and larger.

True HEPA Filter
True HEPA Filter

HEPA filters are divided into different classes following the MERV or European Standard. A True HEPA Filter has a HEPA class of at least H13 or a MERV rating of at 16 or higher. Lower ratings are classed as either low-quality filters or medium filters.

That’s not to say HEPA-style filters aren’t worth the investment. For instance, if you do not suffer from seasonal (pollen) or pet (dander) allergies, then a True HEPA Filter can actually be overkill, although you never know what microscopic organisms are floating around.

The safest thing you can do for your home and family is by ensuring your air purifier is equipped with a True HEPA Filter.

Facts About True HEPA Filtration
True HEPA Filter

Pros and Cons of a True HEPA Filter

Here is a brief list of the pros and cons of True HEPA Filters.


• Captures most common respirable contaminants, including pollen, dander, soot, and certain bacteria
• Particles trapped in the True HEPA Filter have no chance of escape
• Does not produce ozone like certain ionizers and UV-C lights
• Has long lifespan of up to 5 years depending on size, usage, and maintenance
• Some True HEPA Filters are washable


• Higher replacement costs
• Does not remove odors
• Washing a True HEPA Filter can ruin the structural integrity of the filter
• Can negatively affect air purifier’s CADR by inhibiting airflow

What Are the Differences Between a HEPA & a True HEPA
True HEPA Filter

Other Filter Types

Air purifiers typically use a multi-level filtration system with the True HEPA Filter being just one part of it. Here is a list of other common filter types and systems found in air purifiers.
Activated Carbon Filter
UV-C light

Air Recommended Air Purifiers

Our Pick Perfect for bedrooms, playrooms, and living rooms, the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH is one of the best-performing, most durable, and most economical purifiers we’ve tested.

Most Popular The Levoit Core 300 air purifier has some strong suits, but in our opinion it falls short of carving out a meaningful niche for itself. Its ideal use would be in a small bedroom occupied by someone who is sensitive to noise.

Also Great With high end air cleaning performance and a whisper quiet fan, the Winix 5500-2 is the perfect combination of power and finesse. It cleared airborne particulates out of our smokey testing room faster than any other model.

Best of the Best If you have a large space you want to remove irritants from, We recommend the Airmega 400S. All of Coway air purifiers do an excellent job of attacking indoor pollutants, and we highly recommend any of them. The 400S is designed to accommodate large room sizes.

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If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!

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About the author

Hi I’m Alex, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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