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The Replacement of ISO 16890 Standard in the Air Filtration Industry

Replacing the EN779:2012 Standard with ISO 16890

With the development of new technologies, old standards become less relevant. This also applies to the air filtration industry. Changes in the requirements for clean air control and the emergence of new-generation products require more appropriate standards. That is why the ISO 16890 standard was born, gradually replacing the EN779 standard.

1. EN779:2012 Standard

EN779 is considered one of the most popular standards in the world. EN779 provides a uniform method for testing and classifying air filters according to their filtering efficiency. First introduced in 1993, revised in 2002, and updated in 2012.

These standards are used to describe filtering efficiency and classify from G1 to F9. Two criteria are used to evaluate: the average dust retention level and the average efficiency for dust with a diameter of 0.4 µm.


However, with the current need to measure air quality due to increased pollution factors, especially fine dust, the EN779:2012 standard is becoming less relevant. ISO experts believe that a new standard is needed, more appropriate to the current air filtration situation.

2. ISO 16890 Standard

ISO 16890 is the new standard for air filtration products, replacing the EN779:2012 standard. The standard was introduced in 2016 and is being adopted globally. ISO 16890 provides a uniform method for testing and classifying air filters according to their filtering efficiency.

The new standard provides a more appropriate evaluation of the efficiency of air filters in terms of fine dust and other particles that affect air quality. Unlike EN779, which only evaluates the efficiency of filters for dust with a diameter of 0.4 µm, ISO 16890 evaluates the efficiency of filters for different particle sizes, including fine dust.


These indicators are used in many health and toxicity studies. Helps to classify particles according to their danger:

  • Particles larger than 10 μm in diameter will be trapped in the nose and throat.

  • Particles less than 10 μm in diameter (PM) can enter the bronchi.

  • Particles less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM can penetrate the lungs.

  • Particles less than 1 μm in diameter (PM) can penetrate the tympanic membrane barrier.

3. Why use ISO 16890

As mentioned, EN 779 describes filtration based on filtration efficiency with particles of size 0.4μm. Meanwhile, the new standard considers the whole spectral range of particles. This means that EN 779 allows users to compare different air filters. However, it is difficult to assess its impact on air quality.


To better understand this, let's look at the dust with different diameters. Due to the different particle sizes, the ability to penetrate the human body is also different. Thus, dividing the gas filter by particle spectral band will tell us how small the filter is capable of holding dust particles and how efficient it will be.

Benefits for users - Aim towards a common standard.

The adoption of this new standard could result in worldwide harmonization of the method for determining the efficiency of filters. Two standard systems prevail in the field of air filtration:

  • In Europe, the EN 779:2012 method prevails and is widely used

  • In North America, the ASHRAE 52.2 method is dominant and widely used.

  • In Asia, the European and American systems coexist.

In conclusion, the ISO 16890 standard is a significant improvement over the EN779:2012 standard and is essential for ensuring the efficiency of air filtration products in today's environment.



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