If you have been shopping around for a top-rated air purifier, vacuum, or related home-cleaning device, you may have encountered the terms “true HEPA filter” or “genuine HEPA filter.” What is a true HEPA filter? Read on to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air filter and is more a set of quality standards than an actual product.
  • A true HEPA filter must be able to trap and remove 99.97 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns in size.
  • HEPA filters can be found in air purifiers, vacuums, air conditioning systems, heating systems, and more.

True HEPA Filter Defined

When you see something advertised as having a true HEPA filter, this means that the filter has been manufactured adhering to strict guidelines and standards. HEPA actually stands for high efficiency particulate air filter. To be considered a true or genuine HEPA filter, it has to meet certain requirements, such as the ability to trap 99.97 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns in size.

True HEPA filters are different from HEPA-type filters, the latter not generally adhering to any sort of quality standard. Additionally, HEPA-type filters only boast a 99 percent efficiency rating for particles that are at a minimum of 2 microns in size. Any company can advertise a “HEPA-type” filter, but only those who have gone through a standardization process can advertise a true HEPA filter.

Insider Tip

HEPA actually stands for high efficiency particulate air filter.

How Do True HEPA Filters Work?

True HEPA filters work by capturing and trapping undesired particles of a certain size. There is a reason the standard has been set at 0.3 microns in size, as that is the smallest particle that can get into your lungs. Generally speaking, true HEPA filters feature a pleated design and a large number of layers or tiers. Because HEPA filters merely trap particles and do not destroy them, one must replace the filter when it has become fully clogged. Failure to do this will lead to it malfunctioning, a decrease in efficiency, or a high electricity bill.

There are six types of HEPA filters, A,B,C,D,E, and F. Each of these types are extremely similar when it comes to design and functionality, but differ slightly when it comes to efficiency and preferred particle size.

Benefits of Choosing a True HEPA Filter

There is a reason HEPA filters are so popular, especially when it comes to air purifiers. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a purifier that has been outfitted with a genuine HEPA filter.

Reduction in Bad Smells

True HEPA filters shine when it comes to reducing foul odors from your living area. This is due to the nature of the design, as the particles that cause these smells get trapped in the filter itself. The process may take a few days, as the air in the room circulates, but eventually, you will notice a marked decrease in certain smells like smoke, mold, and more. If eliminating foul odors is of paramount importance, choose an air purifier that is equipped with a true HEPA filter and an odor diffuser.

Insider Tip

Generally speaking, true HEPA filters feature a pleated design and a large number of layers or tiers.

Removes Common Allergens

Common household allergens are also typically trapped by a genuine HEPA filter. If you have a sensitivity to pet dander, mold, pollen, dust spores, and more, you should try out an air purifier that has been outfitted with a HEPA filter. You may be surprised at how quickly your allergy-related symptoms reduce in severity. Depending on the size of your room and the efficiency of your purifier, however, it could take a few days for the air in the room to cycle through. Remember to change your filters regularly or the purifier won’t be much effective. You can find out what happens if you dont change air filter in a purifier.

Traps Bacteria and Virus Particles

HEPA filters can also successfully trap bacteria and virus particles, providing they are no smaller than 0.3 microns. These filters have even been proven to be successful at trapping, though not killing, the COVID-19 virus. It is for this reason that true HEPA filters have become a medical-grade go-to for hospitals, clinics, governmental centers, and other locations where public health is a high priority.

It is easy to find out if you need to replace your HEPA air filters. This is what a red light means on air purifier.

F.A.Q.S

What kind of air pollutants can true HEPA filters trap?

True HEPA filters excel at trapping a wide array of air pollutants, including cigarette smoke, mold spores, bacteria, car emissions, certain virus particles, and much more.


How many types of HEPA filters are out there?

As stated by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology (IEST), there are 6 types of HEPA filters from A, B, C, D, E & F. Each of these types boast their own traits and benefits.


What are the differences between HEPA and True HEPA?

It all comes down to efficiency and particle size. A regular HEPA-type filter tends to have a 99% efficiency rate of capturing particles as small as 2 microns. A true HEPA filter features a 99.97% efficiency rate at particles as small as 0.3 microns.



STAT: A True HEPA filter needs to remove 99.97% of all particles that have a size greater than or equal to 0.3 microns, as defined by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). (source)

Warning

Any company can advertise a “HEPA-type” filter, but only those who have gone through a standardization process can advertise a true HEPA filter.

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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