What’s the right MERV Rating for my Dust Collector?

Quick Summary

In this article we explore how MERV rating can impact your dust collector’s performance and why should it be important to you. Includes topics such as what is a MERV rating, it’s role in a dust collection system, and how to choose the right MERV rating.

You’ve heard the term MERV rating before, but what is it exactly and how does it affect your dust collector?

What is a MERV Rating?

The term MERV is actually an acronym and stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value”. To put in in simpler terms it’s asking the question “How effective is your filter?”. MERV ratings are assigned numerical values based on the how efficient they are at capturing dust particles. The numerical values are typically rated between 1-16.

MERV & Dust Collector Performance

Now how does MERV rating impact your dust collector’s performance and why should it be important to you? To relate how we use MERV ratings in an everyday life scenario, you can simply think of it like a car rating on the website Kelly Blue Book. Kelly Blue Book is a website that allows you to check the rating and value of new and used cars based on their performance, price, mileage, and other factors that may be important to you as a consumer. When you go shopping for a new car you end up choosing one that’s going to have the characteristics to match your personal wants and needs. So how does this all relate to MERV ratings and your dust collector? Well, when it comes down to choosing the right filters for your dust collector you are going through the same process; you choose your filters based on the characteristics that most suit your facility’s needs. You’re going into the process knowing that you need to get the most optimal performance out of your filters.

Choosing the Right MERV Rating

Choosing the right filter and MERV rating for your dust collector is based on your application and the dust particles you need to capture. Higher MERV ratings are suited best for very fine particulate filtration applications.  For example, if you operate a dust collector in a woodworking shop and your dust particles are larger, a higher MERV rating isn’t important. However, if you operate a dust collector in a plant that has a plasma cutter which emits smoke and very fine dust particles, your application would benefit from filters with a higher MERV rating. You would see a performance difference because a filter with a higher MERV rating is more efficient at capturing small fine dust.

Tips & Tricks

One tip to avoid blinding your bags and causing your dust collector to work inefficiently is to change your filters frequently.  Don’t make your filters or the dust collector equipment work even harder than necessary, just because you are operating on an inefficient MERV rating.  Some other tips and tricks to avoid this and a baghouse emergency can be found in our related posts below.  You can also get our helpful MERV rating application chart if you are looking at a specific industry’s rating.

Related Resources:

How to Get the Right Dust Collector for your Application

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