What is an H13 HEPA Filter? Why Is It More Efficient Than True HEPA?

While looking for air purifiers, if you stumbled across the term H13 and wondered, What is an H13 HEPA filter? And is it superior to others? Then this guide is for you.

HEPA is the most crucial filter in an air purifier as it eliminates harmful pollutants. It is bifurcated into various grades based on efficiency. H13 is one of the best among them. Let’s dive into the details!

Quick Answer

HEPA filters are the most vital in air purification. They eliminate toxic pollutants like mold spores, bacteria, and pet dander.

H13 is a premium-grade HEPA filter. Let’s look at a quick overview:

  • H13 HEPA filters have a top-tier performance with a particle retention rate of 99.95%.
  • They capture microscopic particles of 0.1 microns (μm) or more.
  • Their advanced efficacy awards them the name of medical grade HEPA filters.
  • They are beneficial in alleviating allergies and refining indoor air quality.

I will talk about the H13 air filters in detail. I will also state why it is better than True HEPA filters. Let’s jump into it.

What Is The Role Of An HEPA Air Purifier?

Let’s talk about the origin of the HEPA filters:

  • The first use of HEPA filters was to restrict the outspread of toxic radioactive particles during World War II.
  • Later on, in the 1950s, they were used commercially in several household appliances like air purifiers, vacuum cleaners, and other air filtration systems.
What Is The Role Of An HEPA Air Purifier

HEPA Filter Highlights

Let’s take a look at the highlights of a HEPA filter:

  • HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. The ‘A’ can also refer to Absorbing or Arrestance. 
  • HEPA air purifier has a particle retention rate of 99.95 – 99.995%. 
  • It captures minuscule particles of 0.1 – 0.3 microns in diameter.
  • It removes contaminants like fine dust particles, mold spores, pollen, pet dander, dust mites, bacteria, and virus particles.
  • It classifies into various grades based on particle retention efficiency. 
  • These filters can be True HEPA, H10, H11, H12, H13, and H14 HEPA. The latter two are the most advanced among this lot.
  • There are also HEPA-type filters in the market. Manufacturers name them this due to their similarity in design with the HEPA filter. But they are not tested to meet the HEPA standards. Hence, their efficiency is doubtful.

Which Standards Define The Efficiency Of HEPA Air Purifiers?

HEPA air filtration directly impacts the health of the users. Hence, there are regulatory standards in place to hold their efficiency accountable. They protect the users against the manufacturer’s false marketing claims. Let’s look at the HEPA standards:

What is an H13 HEPA Filter? Which Standards Define The Efficiency Of HEPA Air Purifiers

European Standard

According to the European standard UNE EN 1822-1:2020, HEPA air filtration must have a particle retention rate of 99.95% for contaminants of 0.3 μm in size. It classifies filters based on their retention rates as follows

  • EPA (Efficient Particulate Air) filter has a low retention rate of 85 – 99.5%.
  • HEPA filters capture 99.95 – 99.995% of pollutants.
  • ULPA filter (Ultra Low Penetration Air) traps 99.9995 – 99.999995% of contaminants.

HEPA air filters are the most used among household appliances due to their exceptional performance and reasonable cost.

American Standard

According to the DOE HEPA standard set by ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), HEPA air filtration must have a retention rate of 99.97% for contaminants of 0.3 μm or larger. 

MERV Ratings

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) ratings also determine the quality of HEPA air purification. They are based on the size of particles a filter traps instead of their retention rate.

MERV Ratings

They were devised by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). They are classified into:

  1. MERV 1-4 for toxins of 10 μm.
  2. HEPA-like is MERV 9-12 for capturing 1-3 μm.
  3. HEPA filters are MERV 17 as they trap pollutants of 0.1 – 0.3 μm.

How Do HEPA Filters Trap Harmful Airborne Particles?

HEPA filters have a maze-like structure. They are made of fine fibers of polypropene or fiberglass materials. Their diameter is 0.5 – 2.0 mm wide.

How Do HEPA Filters Trap Harmful Airborne Particles

These fibers are interwoven randomly, like a series of disorganized cobwebs. Let’s look at how HEPA filtration works.

How Do Particles Get Trapped In A HEPA filter?

HEPA filters are crisscrossed close to each other. They have minute spaces between them for only the clean air to flow through. When the air stream flows through them:

  • Bigger particles crash against the fibers and get trapped in their clutches.
  • The smaller particles slide through the microscopic crevices. But the second they are in the radius of one of the fibers, they are pulled towards them and get stuck there.
  • The fibers carry an electrostatic charge. Particles with an opposite charge get magnetically attracted to the fiber and remain confined to them.
How Do Particles Get Trapped In A HEPA filter

With this air filtration mechanism, HEPA ensures no dangerous particle gets out of its trap. Assuredly, only clean air is released into the environment. It does not change the molecular structure of particles. Hence, it does not create any ozone and is completely safe.

How Efficient Is A H13 HEPA Filter At Trapping Viruses?

The attributes of the H13 filter are:

  • H13 is a high-graded HEPA filter. 
  • It confines 99.95% of the airborne particles of 0.1 μm or larger.
  • It captures mold spores, pet dander, pollen, and bacteria. They generally have a size of 0.3 μm
  • Not only this, but it also captures viruses that have a diameter of 0.070 – 0.125 μm. 

Virus particles are ultra-fine and extremely tough to catch. They are also known as the Most Penetrating Particle size (MPPS). H13, with its dense maze-like structure, is designed to capture them. 

How Efficient Is A H13 HEPA Filter At Trapping Viruses

The finer particles usually get attached to the larger particles. Hence, they get trapped alongside the bigger particles. H13 is unquestionably among the top HEPA filters for eliminating airborne viruses.

Is A Medical Grade H13 Filter More Efficient Than A True HEPA Filter?

Let’s compare the H13 filter vs a True Hepa filter:

  • True HEPA filters confine 99.97% of the contaminants measuring 0.3 microns in diameter. They are widely used in air purifiers.
  • The H13 filter captures 99.95% of particulates of 0.1 μm. That means it traps 66.67% finer particles than True HEPA.
  • H13, with its dense fibers, makes sure even the most microscopic viruses cannot make it out. True HEPA filter lacks this ability.

Hence, H13 is more effective than the True HEPA filter.

What Is A Medical Grade HEPA Filter And Why Are They The Most Reliable?

H13 and H14 are termed Medical grade HEPA filters due to their high efficiency at capturing ultra-fine particles.

H13 captures 99.95% of airborne contaminants of 0.1 microns in diameter. H14 HEPA has a particle retention rate of 99.995% for the same pore size of 0.1 μm. H14 has a 0.045% larger particle retention rate.

H13 and H14 air purifiers places

H13 and H14 air purifiers are used in places where sanitization is of utmost importance. These include

  • Hospital wards
  • Clinics
  • Labs
  • Operating theaters
  • Electronic showrooms.

If you suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory diseases, you should get an air purifier with an H13 filter. You will see an improvement in your breathing and sleep patterns once you start using them.


Is H13 better than true HEPA?

Yes, H13 is better than the True HEPA air purifier because it captures particles of 0.1 μm, while True HEPA only captures particles of 0.3 μm.

Is H13 HEPA filter a true HEPA?

No, H13 is different from True HEPA. H13 has a retention rate of 99.95% for 0.1 μm, whereas True HEPA has 99.97% for 0.3 μm.

What is the difference between the HEPA filter and H13?

H13 has a retention rate of 99.95% for 0.1 μm. Whereas, True HEPA has a retention rate of 99.97% for 0.3 μm.

How long do HEPA H13 filters last?

HEPA H13 filters last 12-18 months as per usage.


H13 is a top medical-grade filter with 99.95% efficiency in trapping ultra-fine pollutants and viruses of 0.1μm. It protects you against viral and respiratory diseases better than the True HEPA filter, which only captures particles of 0.3μm.

I hope you got the answers to all your questions. Is there anything else you would like to know about the H13 filter? Please let me know in the comments.