HEPA vs True HEPA: A Glimpse of 6 Types and their Differences

What is the difference between Hepa vs true HEPA filters? An air purifier is a simple and affordable way to create a healthier environment for your home, office, or retail store. That’s the reason the right filter choice is so essential.

Let’s take a look at the major categories to make an informed decision!

Quick Air Filters Comparison: What’s the Difference

These two kinds of filters are used to freshen the environment, but they do it differently. Here’s how:

  • HEPA Filter removes dust and allergens from the home environment. It’s designed to remove airborne particles as small as 0.2 microns, the size of a virus.
  • True HEPA is designed to capture much smaller microscopic molecules and allergens such as ashes, insects, and pollen as small as 0.3 microns in size.

In this article, we will discuss in detail the major differences between air purifiers and how these devices work. We will also address some of the essential factors to consider when choosing between the filters.

Air Purifiers Filter Comparison Chart

True HEPA Filte

HEPA-Type Filter


99.97% of harmful particles as small as 0.3 microns

Around 95% of substances of 0.2 microns in size

Allergen Suitability:



Particles Captured:

microscopic particles and allergens dirt, mites pollen

larger particles like dirt and some allergens

MERV Rating:

Around 17 - 20

Around 13 - 16

Maintenance Requirements:

Regular replacement 6–12 months

More frequent replacement required


Generally more expensive

More affordable

What Makes a Filter True HEPA?

It is a filter that’s been designed to trap 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in diameter or larger. This is exactly the size range for bacteria, mold spores, and other microbes.

What Makes a Filter True HEPA

  • These particles can be tiny enough to evade your lungs but are large enough to be a threat to your health.
  • This is why it’s important to have a filter that’s certified by the EPA as being full-sized and able to trap such small particles.
  • The acronym HEPA filter stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air.
  • HEPA filters don’t just capture more particles than conventional filters–they do it with 99.97% efficiency rated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

How do HEPA Filters Work?

Here’s what you need to know about HEPA-type filters:

How do HEPA Filters Work

  • These allow the most penetrating particle sizes to pass through into the next chamber.
  • HEPA-designated filter systems work by trapping larger particles in their chambers.
  • There they can be captured with a different clean air intake system or simply blown out an exhaust port. It works like a vacuum cleaner.
  • They work by trapping bacteria, viruses, mold spores, pet dander, dust mites, pollen, tobacco smoke, and other types of toxic airborne particles before they get into your lungs.
  • HEPA filtration also helps to reduce odors in your home or office space.

Particle Size Matters: Understanding the Filters’ Efficiency

Let’s check out some more details:

HEPA filter utilizes a collection of pleated paper media with a porous surface area that captures microscopic air pollutants before they have the chance to penetrate deeper layers of your indoor environment, such as your home.

Understanding the Filters’ Efficiency

  • Effectiveness: This type of filter is often used within HVAC systems due to its high efficiency in removing contaminants from the air.
  • Particle Trapping: Air filters not only capture larger particles but also effectively trap smaller dust particles, such as bacteria and mold spores, resulting in cleaner air.
  • Purpose: HEPA-type filters are various air strainers that have been around for decades and are still used today in many commercial cleaning environments.

True HEPA filter is made from high-quality material.

True HEPA filter material

  • Better Air Quality: They have a larger surface area than normal filters.
  • Better Efficiency: This signifies they can hold more dust particles up to 0.3 microns before needing to be replaced or cleaned.
  • More Expensive: True HEPA filter is generally more expensive than their HEPA-type counterparts, but they’re worth it because they’re designed to remove allergens, odors, and other particulate matter from the air that enters your home.

Understanding Particles Size Differences in HEPA vs True HEPA Standard:

The two types of mechanical filters do pretty much the same thing:

  • They capture particles that would otherwise get into your lungs and cause harm, but True HEPA filter tends to trap more particles than HEPA does.

So what’s the difference between them?

Understanding Particles Size Differences in HEPA vs True HEPA Standard

The True one captures much smaller, finer, and minute particles that are 0.3 microns in size. In contrast, the HEPA filter captures larger, coarser, and larger particles that are 0.2 to 0.5 microns in size.

The difference between these two is so great that they can be used at different places, with different people depending on what you need them for.

Do you Know the Types of HEPA Filter Out There?

HEPA filters are utilized in air purifiers to trap and remove contaminants. These filters can be made of synthetic materials like cellulose, activated carbon, or even a combination of both.

There are several types of filters:

HEPA Type filter & HEPA Like

You may have heard of HEPA-type and HEPA-like filter, which doesn’t meet HEPA standards and are not as effective as true HEPA filter.

The TRUE one is expensive but provides better filtration than cheaper alternatives. If you need a high level of air filtration against air contaminants, it’s important to look for a true HEPA filter rather than HEPA-type or HEPA-like filters.

HEPA Type filter & HEPA Like

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The less effective type of filter. True genuine HEPA filters give proper air filtration.
  • Capture larger particles such as dust and pollen, and smaller particles such as pet dander.
  • For years, companies have been installing HEPA-like air strainers in their factories and warehouses because they can gather airborne particles in a safe, powerful, and affordable system.
Types of HEPA filters

1. UltraHEPA

These are the newest type of air filter.

  • The manufacturers of this HEPA-type filter assert that they are capable of capturing particles as tiny as 0.03 microns, which is significantly smaller than what other filters can capture.
  • However, there is currently no industry standard for UltraHEPA filters, so it’s important to do your research before investing in one.

2. Permanent HEPA

This HEPA filter can be washed and reused, which means you’ll have to replace them less often than disposable HEPA-type filters.

Permanent HEPA filter

Nevertheless, reusable air filters may not work as effectively as disposable ones, and they may need to be cleaned more frequently.

3. HEPA Silent

This particular HEPA-type filter is commonly utilized in air purifiers and is reputed to be efficient in eliminating particles.

It can be quiet when in operation because it uses mechanical and electrostatic filtration techniques to capture a wide range of airborne pollutants.

4. True HEPA

This type of air purifier will provide you with maximum indoor air quality. We have already explained them in detail in the above sections. For more insight, check out this video.

YouTube video

5. Absolute HEPA

These are a type of true HEPA air purifier that claims to be even more efficient at capturing particles than standard HEPA air strainers.

  • Absolute HEPA filter typically has a higher MERV rating, which measures the air filter efficacy.
  • They may be more expensive than standard HEPA filters.

Is a HEPA-type Air Purifier the Optimum Choice:

HEPA air cleaners are promoted as an alternative to a True HEPA filter, but it should be noted that they are not the same.

The HEPA-type filter is less efficient in removing particles from the air.

For example: In terms of efficiency, a true HEPA filter will clean the air 10 times better. A standard one will only clean air twice as effectively as a standard air filter.
Is a HEPA-type Air Purifier the Optimum Choice

This is because many other factors affect how well an air purifier removes these small particles. These include:

  • Size: The size of the particle being removed (including what it is made of).
  • Space: How much space there is between particles in your room.
  • Type: The type of particle being removed (which can be determined by looking at what’s on the label).

Final Verdict

True HEPA purifiers are the best choice among the options provided. They provide excellent filtration for a wide range of pollutants and are reliable, effective, and affordable. Here’s the final breakdown:

  • HEPA and HEPA-like filters don’t work as well as true HEPA filters
  • UltraHEPA and Absolute HEPA provide superior filtration but are more expensive.
  • Permanent HEPA filters are a cost-effective solution for people who live in smaller homes or apartments where space is limited


Is True HEPA the same as HEPA 13?

No, the True HEPA is the same as HEPA 10 – 12.

Do I need a True HEPA filter?

You need a true HEPA filter for better-purified air.

Is HEPA 12 True HEPA?

True HEPA filters are HEPA 11 or HEPA 12 filters.

Is HEPA or HEPA 13 better?

HEPA 13 is better than HEPA-type filters because they have fewer odor-causing bacteria than charcoal filters, which means that they are more effective at keeping odors out of your home.


Both filters help in reducing the presence of harmful pollutants and toxins such as cigarette smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and mold spores.

But, if you’re looking for an easy way to clean up your air quality and reduce allergens in the home or working space, then maybe consider investing in an air purifier having a true HEPA filter instead.

Which one of these options are you going for? We’d love to hear what worked best for you. Let us know in the comments below!