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What is a HEPA filter? And is a HEPA filter useful?

Many current hoovers and hoover robots now have a so-called HEPA filter. What a HEPA filter is and whether a HEPA filter makes sense, you will find out in this article.

If you do a little research before buying a new hoover, you will certainly notice the current hoover models with HEPA filters. A filter always sounds good, but hardly anyone knows what a HEPA filter is actually used for. In addition, there are sometimes serious differences in HEPA filters, so that it is not always obvious to the layman at first glance whether a particular HEPA filter is really good. Consequently, the designation HEPA says little about the actual quality of the filter, but merely signals that it is a certain type of filter, namely the HEPA filter.

What is a HEPA filter?

The first HEPA filters were developed in the middle of the 20th century to filter radioactive particles out of the air quickly and effectively in the event of a nuclear explosion. A HEPA filter uses a different process than ordinary filters. In this case, three different processes are used to achieve optimum filter performance. In detail, these are the inertia effect, the barrier effect and the diffusion effect. The combination of these three processes guarantees optimal filter operation and ensures that only a few small particles can slip through the filter.

Different filter classes

In direct comparison to ordinary dust filters, HEPA filters are many times more effective. HEPA filters can effectively filter particles smaller than 1 micrometre. Germs, viruses, bacteria or even tobacco smoke components can be filtered to a greater or lesser extent depending on the filter class. The filter classes used in modern hoovers are H12 to H14.

These have the following degrees of separation:

  • H12 has a filtration efficiency of 99.5 percent.
  • H13 is characterised by a separation rate of 99.95 percent
  • H14 has a filtration efficiency of 99.995 percent.

The filtration efficiency of a filter is the ratio between the amount of dust absorbed and the amount removed. Most modern hoover models with HEPA filters have the H13 specification. This means that a maximum of 0.05% of the particles sucked in are separated again with the exhaust air.

When does a HEPA filter make sense?

The great advantages of hoovers and hoover robots with HEPA filters only become apparent when asthmatics or allergy sufferers live in the house. Because with such a device, pollen, house dust mildew and other unwanted allergens can be removed effectively. Of course, the filter should not be the only decisive argument when deciding to buy a cordless vacuum cleaners under £100. The hoover must also be specially sealed, otherwise the particles sucked in can escape back into the room.

So if you retrofit a cheap appliance with a powerful HEPA filter, improved hygiene is unfortunately not automatically guaranteed. But even with the best and most powerful hoovers, allergy and asthma sufferers should never vacuum themselves. It is best if sensitive persons leave the rooms while vacuuming and only then return after cleaning and thorough airing.