Does my Dyson vacuum have a HEPA filter?

Lauren Farrell

HEPA filters are stamped with the capability of trapping a minimum of 99.97% of particles measuring 0.3 microns. If the stamp shows any less than that, it is not a true HEPA filter.

HEPA filters in Dyson vacuums

Some modern Dyson vacuums come equipped with HEPA filtration systems, while others don't. Recent hype, however, has many users wondering whether or not they’re working with a HEPA Dyson vacuum at home. 

When you vacuum, you’re typically trying to banish crumbs, dirt, dust and pet hair from your home's surfaces. However, while vacuums are great at picking up dirt, dust and pet hair, none work quite as well as HEPA filters at keeping them in the vacuum. This means that some vacuums without HEPA filters can unintentionally redistribute dust and dirt into your home's atmosphere while vacuuming. So, how can you tell if your Dyson vacuum has a HEPA filter?

What is a HEPA filter?

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. HEPA systems are highly engineered to stop dust, dirt and large particles from escaping the vacuum back into the atmosphere. The filters were first invented during World War II. American scientists designed the filter to absorb radioactive particles from the atomic bomb. A process for standardizing and certifying HEPA filters was then established in 1983.

Industry standards dictate that 99.7% of particles over 0.3 microns in the air that pass through the filter must be removed. While this might sound extremely scientific, all it means is that HEPA filters keep the miniscule particles that pass through them inside the vacuum without letting them leak out.

While Dyson vacuums are great at keeping dust trapped inside, Dysons with HEPA filters take this trapping to the next level. This level of absorption works amazingly for those who suffer from allergies or asthma or who just love clean air by keeping particles inside the vacuum and not letting them escape and resettle on the surfaces you’ve just vacuumed.

Along with vacuums, you'll often find HEPA filters in your air purifier and in your HVAC system filter.

How do HEPA filters work in Dyson vacuums?

Chances are you’ve thought about the quality of the air you breathe at some point in time. Maintaining healthy air quality is important to help prevent the spread of allergens, germs and other airborne illnesses. 

But while external factors such as car exhaust and other pollutants might be top of mind, it’s also important to keep the air inside your home as clean and fresh as possible.

Many of the pollutants within the home that cause allergy flare-ups are microscopically small, so even a super powerful vacuum that makes the room look visually clean may be leaking microns (particles that measure one-millionth of a meter) of dust and debris back out into the air. 

The most important filter for trapping these microscopic allergens is a HEPA filter located on the vacuum exhaust, where air blows out of the vacuum and back into the room. Dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke and more are all caught by these very high-efficiency filters. HEPA filters are made from tiny interlaced glass fibers that intercept and trap these microscopic particles as they pass through the filter.

Since HEPA filters are available on many upright, canister and stick vacuums, if your family is dust-sensitive, it’s relatively easy to find a model to fit your needs.

How do you know if your Dyson has a HEPA filter?

The easiest and most foolproof way to check if your Dyson (or any brand of vacuum) has a HEPA filter is to look at the filter itself. 

True HEPA filters come equipped with serial numbers to show that they meet the stated particle absorption standards. They’ll also display their test results printed right onto the filter itself. The test results will show the filter is capable of trapping a minimum of 99.97% of particles measuring 0.3 microns. If the results show any less than that, it is not a true HEPA filter. 

Dyson vacuums that use HEPA filters

Sealed HEPA vacuums

While a HEPA filter on a vacuum’s exhaust is a must for trapping irritating particles, it’s only effective if all of the air coming out of the vacuum passes through it. If air seeps out from other cracks and crevices, like around the body or hose connections and bypasses the HEPA filter, you might as well not even have a HEPA vacuum. 

True HEPA filters 

Be wary of vacuums with “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like” filters. They may look like a traditional pleated HEPA filter and will trap some small particles, but they could miss the very microscopic ones that can't escape a true HEPA filter. Vacuums with HEPA filters are generally more expensive. Keep in mind that less expensive vacuums can be sealed and have filters that grab 99% or particles down to 0.5 microns, but only a HEPA filter nabs 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns.

Bagged models 

Vacuums that use bags are generally preferred for allergy sufferers because the dirt stays contained inside, and a bagged vacuum with a high-efficiency, self-sealing filtering bag is best. If you want a bagless model, look for one with dust cups that empty from the bottom. This allows you to hold the container down into a trash can to empty it and avoid the dust cloud that’s created by turning it over to dump it.

Best Dyson vacuums with HEPA filters

Best cordless HEPA Dyson vacuum

Dyson V7 Fluffy Cordless Stick Vacuum: available at Amazon
This Dyson model is great for hardwood floors and any other non-carpeted surfaces. It provides up to 30 minutes of suction when fully charged or 6 minutes of power using the super suction setting for difficult-to-clean areas.

Best Dyson ball vacuum with HEPA filter

Dyson Ball Animal+ Upright Vacuum: available at Amazon
This vacuum was specifically designed for allergy sufferers and pet owners who need a powerful vacuum to tackle dust and pet hair. The HEPA filtration system traps even the tiniest particles to keep the air in your home cleaner. 

Best HEPA Dyson vacuum for multi-surface cleaning

Dyson Ball Multi Floor 2 Upright Vacuum: available at Home Depot
Although this is a bulkier model than Dyson stick vacuums, it’s a slimmed-down version of previous iterations and provides lots of maneuverability. The ball mechanism creates powerful suction to capture dust and dirt across all types of surfaces.

Lauren Farrell is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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