The new iso 16890 filter test norm

A revolution of filter classes


16890EN779_for sale

Ambition and reality

The fine dust pollution of the outdoor air has been measured at the measuring stations of the federal states and the Federal Environment Agency, as well as at the public measurement stations of the other EU countries for many years. Up-to-date values for the particle fractions PM10 and PM2.5 are published on the respective web sites of the Federal Environment Agencies. Besides, the Federal Environment Agency annually provides analyses of these particle fractions. The fraction PM1 is respirable dust and is also considered, but not explicitly measured everywhere. If the evaluation of air quality is performed based on the concentrations of the previously mentioned particle fractions, it seems logical that filters for air purification are evaluated using the same criteria.

Together with Filtration&Separation, we have published an article on that topic. The article "The new ISO 16890 Testing of Air Filters" is available here. F&S Edition 29 (2015) No. 6

The old testing standard requires changes

The EN779:2002 has remained unchanged for ten years and was updated in 2012. Intensive discussions within the European technical associations finally led to a substantial extension of the test norm. For the very first time a minimum efficiency for discharged filter medium was defined and became a compulsory part of the new test procedure. Additionally, it was possible to compare energy consumption on the basis of EUROVENT 4/21.

Filter class
Maximum allowed prssure drop [Pa]
Average Filtration [%] Mean degree of efficiency for particle size 0.4 μm [%] Minimum degree of efficiency for particle size 0.4 μm [%]
 G1  250  min. 50    
 G2  250  min. 65    
 G3  250  min. 80    
 G4  250  min. 90    
 M5  450    min. 40  
 M6  450    min. 60  
 F7  450    min. 80
 F8  450    min. 90  55
 F9  450    min. 95  70

This DIN EN779:2012 will be globally replaced by the ISO 16890 in 2017, which revolutionizes the assessment and classification of air filters. Although the ISO 16890 is widely welcomed by the scientific community , at the same time it imposes great challenges to the test labs, the filter manufacturers as well as the filter trading companies.

New dust and new classes

The ISO 16890 will replace the well known filter classifications M5 -F9 by the introduction of ePM classes. The ePM classes no longer measure the filter efficiency of one single particle size. The new filter classes contain the definition of filtration efficiency of various particle ranges (ePM1 0.3 – 1 µm, ePM2.5 0.3 – 2.5 µm, ePM 10 0.3µm - 10µm).

 Group name Emin(PM1)

E(PM1) Emin(PM2.5) E(PM2.5) E(PM10)  Class type
 ISO coarse          <50%  Filtration


         >50%  E(PM10)

 ISO PM2.5

     >50%  >50%    E(PM2.5)


 >50%  >50%        E(PM1)

The test bench is upgraded

The measurement is still perfomed with DEHS up to a particle size of 1 µm. In areas of particle sizes > 1 µm, KCl is used as test aerosol.

The discharging method, which became compulsory in 2012 as part of the main body of the norm called DIN EN 779, contains the discharge of small filter media flat sheet samples. Up to now these local minimum efficiencies were considered sufficient to induce conclusions for a fully assembled filter unit. The introduction of the ISO 16890 will make it necessary to discharge entire filter units.

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DencoHappel UK Ltd.

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United Kingdom
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Positive aspects:
  • Harmonized type of testing dust according to 1210 3 PT1. A2 Fine
  • Changed to consider recommendations of WHO on the limit values for fine-duct pollution
  • Testing in conditions of complete discharge of media
  • Better tailoring of HVAC equipment to requirements in design and layout stage

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