What is a HEPA filter?

If you’re researching buying a vacuum, you may have heard of the term ‘HEPA’, referring to a common filter type.

But what exactly is a HEPA filter? Does a vacuum need one? And what are the benefits of vacuums with HEPA filters?

We’re answering all those questions in this article, uncovering everything you need to know about HEPA filters to help you make an informed decision when buying a new vacuum.

So, first things first – what does HEPA actually mean?

What does HEPA stand for?

‘HEPA’ is an acronym for ‘high-efficiency particle air’ (filter).

The term HEPA is commonly used in home cleaning, referring to vacuums with high-efficiency filters. You may also occasionally see the acronym used in hospitals and healthcare establishments, where HEPA filters can protect patients from harmful particles and biological contamination.

What is a HEPA filter?

In cleaning, the HEPA acronym refers to the efficiency standard of the air filter. To meet HEPA standards in Europe, the air filter needs to meet certain requirements, namely that it must remove at least 99.95% of particles with a diameter equal to 0.3 μm. For particles larger or smaller than this, the efficiency of a HEPA filter should be even greater.

What does a HEPA filter do in a vacuum cleaner?

A HEPA filter removes over 99% of dust, mould, pollen, bacteria and particles from the air. Even if you dust before vacuuming, particles will remain and can be picked up and moved around by your vacuum.

In a vacuum, the HEPA filter acts as a highly efficient filter, capturing minute particles that may not be caught by the vacuum bag. The HEPA filter in a vacuum obstructs the airstream, meaning everything you vacuum has to pass through it.

The fine mesh of the HEPA filters captures particles, ensuring they aren’t airborne during cleaning.

Without a HEPA filter, this air may be recirculated, as dirt is picked up by the vacuum but is then simply moved around rather than trapped and removed completely.

Put simply, a HEPA filter in your vacuum means cleaner air overall.

What are the benefits of as HEPA filter in a vacuum cleaner?

Opting for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter ensures dirty air is passed through the filter and is trapped and removed, rather than just being displaced.

There are multiple benefits to a HEPA filter – as well as the air (and home!) being cleaner, a HEPA filter can also offer health benefits. The particles a HEPA filter removes are minute and may not even be visible to the human eye. These small particles can make their way past the throat and into the lungs, which can pose a health risk.

A HEPA filter offers exceptional benefits for:

  • Allergy sufferers. HEPA filters help your vacuum remove small particles and allergens, purifying the air inside your home.
  • Pet owners. A HEPA filter removes dander from pets from the air – again helping eliminate irritation for allergy sufferers.
  • Smokers. When combined with a carbon filter, a HEPA filter can remove smoke fumes and help purify the air.

How often do HEPA filters need replacing?

HEPA filters are an excellent way of keeping your home and air as clean as possible – but they do require regular cleaning and/or replacement to keep them performing at their best.

You’ll generally find two different types of HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners: washable and replaceable.

Replaceable HEPA filters should be replaced every six months to a year. However, this can be more or less frequent depending on how often you vacuum, your overall environment and the air quality in your home.

Many of Hoover’s vacuums come with washable allergy care HEPA filters, helping them remain efficient even longer with regular cleaning. Cleaning filters once a month helps ensure they’re fully clean – but remember to always let them fully dry before you put them back into your vacuum, as moisture can affect their efficiency.

It’s important to note that overwashing can affect a HEPA filter, and washable filters should also be replaced around once per year to ensure they work effectively.

Where can I buy a HEPA filter vacuum?

Are you looking for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter?

Luckily, HEPA filter vacuums are widely available – in fact, many of our vacuums at Hoover come with HEPA filters!

Explore our cylinder vacuums and upright Hoovers collections to find a HEPA filter vacuum, and ensure your home is completely dust, dirt and allergen free!