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I'm looking for a HEPA filter for my vacuum. In this case a Dyson V8. There are lots of generic filters in the market place that claim to be HEPA (see here). But I understand that HEPA filters do not generally have to be certified.

The Dyson spare part looks very similar to the generic filters that claim to be HEPA, but Dyson does not claim it to be HEPA (here). That said, the generic filters seem to be qualitatively different from the original Dyson non-HEPA filter, which seems to be just a foam pad (here).

This made me wonder if there is a way to find out whether a filter is HEPA based on its appearance, or are there basic tests that could be performed in order to find out?

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    Interestingly, Dyson claim the V6 had a HEPA filter, but the 7 & 8 don't mention it. Some 7s just have a basic sponge filter, others have what looks very much like the HEPA on the 6, but just no mention of it qualifying. I wouldn't believe anything on Amazon or eBay as regards HEPA certification. i.sstatic.net/u7bTR.png You could always ring Dyson & ask them. Their customer service is very good. BTW, the V6 filter has no certification on the unit itself, only on the web site.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 14:39
  • If you can't find a true HEPA filter, you could also broaden your search to include MERV-rated filters, and see if that helps: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_efficiency_reporting_value Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 18:01

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If it isn't labelled as a HEPA filter it almost certainly isn't one. There's no advantage to the company in not being able to label it that way if it meets the standards.

Per Wikipedia,

Common standards require that a HEPA air filter must remove—from the air that passes through—at least 99.95% (ISO, European Standard) or 99.97% (ASME, U.S. DOE) of particles whose diameter is equal to 0.3 μm, with the filtration efficiency increasing for particle diameters both less than and greater than 0.3 μm.

("Less than" surprises me, but that's what Wp claims.)

Yes, you may have to replace a vacuum if you want HEPA level filtering and can't find a HEPA filter that fits. Heck, I have trouble finding any filter to fit my old shop vac and have resorted to preseparation and prefiltering to keep it in operation...

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If you really want a Hepa filter, my suggestions are

  • Don't buy it unless it has certification
  • Look at the Manufacturers website to see if they have certification

Also note that if the vaccuum cleaner has not been designed for a HEPA filter, you may overload its motor as it tries to suck through extra density, meshed foam. Or its speed may go down drastically.

So, it may be best to upgrade to a vaccuum cleaner that supports a HEPA filter.

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  • Thanks - Are you aware of any HEPA certification schemes?
    – sba222
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 12:05
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    While every one of these are good suggestions, none of this addresses the question of "How do I identify a HEPA filter?".
    – FreeMan
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 12:42
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An real HEPA filter has a printed indication of the filter class and the relevant norm.

Either

  • "EN 1822 HX", where X is either 13 or 14 (European norm).
  • or "ISO 29463 XH", where X is >=35 (international norm).

There exist also filter classes above HEPA, that would be ULPA (U15-U17, or ISO 55U-75U), but I assume you don't run a lab or semiconductor factory. Certified filters are expensive, so better ignore the 5$ ISO 75U filters from alibaba.

Should you work with dangerous dusts then, at least in Europe, you also need a matching vacuum: They are classified in the dust class L, M or H.

  • L for simple dusts with limits 1mg>m³ (home cleaning and softwoods)
  • M for all woods, paint, quartz dust and others.
  • H for cancerous materials, perhaps even asbestos and mold remediation.
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  • Thanks, really helpful. Though I just checked on an blue chip OEM HEPA filter at hand, and there is no mention of compliance with the norm.
    – sba222
    Commented Aug 11, 2023 at 15:27

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