Whether you’re suffering from allergies or simply want to enjoy cleaner, fresher air in your home, air purifiers have come a long way. Some air purifiers are small desktop units that give you the ability to enjoy cleaner, filtered air while other air purifiers are full-size units able to clean larger rooms. Air purifiers are essential for anyone who wants to live and work in spaces free of dust, odors, mold, pollen, dander, tobacco smoke, and other irritants. Air purifiers are essential items for anyone suffering from allergies, asthma, or dealing with respiratory ailments.
Tips for Choosing an Air Purifiers
Before investing in a quality air purifier, it is essential that you make a thorough checklist of what you need the air purifier to do. Air purifiers come in a wide variety of models, capabilities, sizes, and styles, so it’s a really good idea to know ahead of time what you’re looking before before narrowing down which model is right for you.
The most important component of any air purifier is its filter. Some models of air purifiers have filters that must be replaced at certain intervals. Other models of air purifiers have filters that can be cleaned, adding longevity to the device at the price of requiring more maintenance.
Many air purifiers use a HEPA filter, an ultra-dense screen of overlapping fibers that capture small particles in the air. Other techniques for purifying air include ion generators that capture particles using electrostatic techniques and UV filtration that irradiate and render sterile bacteria.
Some air purifiers even use a combination of different filtration technologies to capture and/or render harmless air particles.
Although many of today’s most advanced air purifiers are rated as “whisper quiet”, there is no such thing as a completely silent air purifier. All air purifiers rely on a fan to move air through the filtration system, and this will generate some sound. More powerful air purifiers that clean larger volumes of air more rapidly will necessarily also create more noise, so always take into consideration where and how you plan on using your air purifier and what impact, if any, its operation will have on the people in the room.
Whether you’re planning on using your air purifier in a single room or office or will be moving it around on a regular basis, it’s important to calculate the size of the room to be cleaned before investing in a quality air purifier. Manufacturers of air purifiers will generally list the maximum room size that their model can clean, but this specification refers to the upper range of what the device can clean. It’s generally a good idea to buy an air purifier rated for a room slightly bigger than the space where you plan on using it in order to ensure a steady supply of clean, fresh air.
Causes of Indoor Air Pollution
Although you may disagree with the word “pollution” for what is occurring inside your home or office, air purifier manufacturers design their devices according to what type of particulate matter it can best remove from a given volume of air. Airborne irritants in the home can vary, but are generally categorized as: odors, particles, and gases.
Odors refer to everything from food smells to tobacco smoke that you want to strip from the air. Poor ventilation can also cause a build-up of stale air, sometimes known as “stuffiness”, and a good air purifier will help keep the air smelling fresh by ensuring that your interior space gets enough ventilation.
Particles refer to small physical particulate matter that floats through the air, including dust, dander, pollen, and other natural substances that can aggravate allergies. Gases can include gas produced by an oven/stove, a fireplace, personal hygiene items (like hair sprays) as well as ordinary household items that release gas, including building materials, furniture, carpets, and painted surfaces.
As different models are more efficient at cleaning and filtering different types of irritants, it is essential that you first assess what kind of cleaning you want before deciding on the right model for you.
Important Considerations Before Buying an Air Purifier
Air purifiers come with a sometimes bewildering amount of technical terms and specifications. Here are a few things to look for when choosing your next air purifier:
Otherwise known as the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), this refers to the ability for your air purifier to strip out pollutants like pollen, smoke, dander, and dust. Although not every manufacturer lists their air purifier’s CADR rating, it’s important to remember that a higher number is better.
This refers to the volume of air that can be cleaned by an air purifier, usually expressed in cubic feet per hour. This specification is sometimes known as the “air change per hour”, and depends on the type of filter and the speed of the fan. It’s important to remember that a faster (higher air flow) air purifier is not always necessarily a better one, only that it cleans larger volumes of air in a given amount of time.
Some manufacturers refer to this as the ACH or Air Change per Hour rate. An air purifier with a rating of 5 ACH means that the air in the room will be cleaned five times in an hour, or once every 12 minutes. Remember that these specifications always refer to the air purifier working at top speed, so the ACH will be less at lower fan speeds.
First released on the market in the 1950s, HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters use a web of special fibers to strip out particulate matter, dust, dander, and even mold spores from the air. HEPA filters differ from non-HEPA filters in the way that the fibers of the filter are arranged. A non-HEPA fiber usually has an overlay of fibers that contains symmetrical gaps that allow air to pass through. A true HEPA filter is designed in such a way that the fibers are overlaid irregularly and thus trap, diffuse, and impact particles in the air. HEPA filters are able to trap or deflect particles 0.4 microns in size or larger.
10 Best Air Purifier Reviews
This air purifier comes in a wide variety of color designs to match the decor in your home or office. The Alen Breathesmart can clean up to 1,110 square feet of interior space using an advanced HEPA-silver filtration technology to strip out airborne particles like mold, bacteria, and asthma. The Alen Breathesmart has four different HEPA filter types to select from, and the proprietary SmartSensor automatically adjusts to the room’s environment to generate a steady flow of clean, filtered air. The Alen Breathesmart is an Energy Star Certified device.
The Dyson Pure Cool is an advanced air purifier that is rated to remove particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns from your home or office. The special Intelligent Purification technology automatically adjusts the fan speed and mode to give you an ideal amount of air cleaning. Designed to be paired with the Dyson app, the Pure Cool is fully programmable, including a special night-time mode. The Dyson app allows you to monitor the quality of your indoor air and see a full range of metrics on the performance of the device. The Dyson Pure Cool comes with a quality filter that must be replaced approximately once a year.
From one of the leading manufacturers of air-conditioning and heating devices for the home and office, the Honeywell 50250-S uses a long-life HEPA filter to capture airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. Lasting for up to 5 years before needing a replacement filter, the Honeywell 50250-S has a carbon-activated pre-filter to safely and efficiently remove odors and larger particles from the air. The Honeywell 50250-S comes with a special electronic filter indicator so that you always know when it’s time to clean or change the filter. The Honeywell 50250-S has been AHAM Certified for use in rooms up to 390 square feet in size, and has a CADR rating of 250.
The O-Ion B-1000 is an advanced model that uses a combination of different filtration techniques to provide the most effective way to clean a volume of air. Featuring a sleek black design, the O-Ion B-1000 uses an electrostatic ionizer to attract and trap airborne particulate matter as small as 0.1 microns. The second stage of filtration used by the O-Ion B-1000 is a high-power UV light that zaps bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms. A third layer of carbon and ozone power sanitized and strips the air of noxious odors, including tobacco smoke and cooking smells. The O-Ion B-1000 has a whisper-quiet low-speed mode and gentle night light for round-the-block air purification in your home or office.
Using a slim, 22-inch tall stylish black tower design, the GermGuardian AC4825 contains an advanced HEPA filter capable of stripping indoor pollutants like pet dander, mold spores, and poll as small as 0.3 microns. The GermGuardian AC4825 has a powerful three-stage filtration system, also using activated charcoal to safely eliminate unwanted odors from food, mold, and smoking. The GermGuardian AC4825 also has a UV-C light that works in combination with titanium dioxide to safely neutralize mold spores, microorganisms, viruses, and bacteria from the air. The GermGuardian AC4825 is designed to clean rooms up to 155 square feet in size and has a CADR rating of 100.
This compact air purifier from GermGuardian measures just 3.5 by 3.5 by 7.5 inches in size and weighs just 12 ounces, making it ideal for use in smaller interior spaces like bathrooms, bedrooms, nurseries, and pet areas. The GermGuardian has a special UV-C light that sanitizes airborne germs, fungi, mold, viruses, and other microorganisms from the air while providing a steady stream of fresh, clean air. The GermGuardian is also excellent at removing odors from cooking, mildew, smoke, and pets with no cumbersome filters to clean, replace, or maintain. The GermGuardian is designed to plug into an ordinary wall socket, providing clean air anywhere that you need it.
Able to clean interior spaces up to 200 square feet in size, the Honeywell 17000-S comes with soft-touch controls to easily adjust the power and speed settings for ideal results. The Honeywell 17000-S uses a permanent HEPA filter that can be easily vacuumed clean when needed. The Honeywell 17000-S weighs just 11.5 pounds and measures 16 by 13 by 17 inches, making it portable enough to be used in any room of your office or home. The true HEPA filter is rated to safely eliminate 99.97% of air particles as small as 0.3 microns on the first pass. The Honeywell 17000-S also has uses the advanced IntelliCheck system to let you know the exact condition of the filter.
The Holmes air purifier is an incredibly compact model that is powerful enough to efficiently purify air in rooms up to 109 square feet in size. With a stylish white design, the Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier has three air speeds and uses a carbon filter to strip away and sanitize odors from cooking, mildew, pets, and smoke. With a CADR rating of 70, the Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier also includes a HEPA filter to strip out airborne particulate matter as small as 0.2 microns from the air. The Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier can be placed either horizontally or vertically for added positioning flexibility, and has a convenient indicator light to let you know when it is time to replace the filter.
With an attractively slim white or black design, the AeraMax 300 purifier has a special AeraSmart sensor to automatically adjust to the interior environment of your home or office. The AeraMax 300 comes with a true HEPA filter to safely remove particles such as viruses, dust mites, mold, and germs as small as 0.3 microns from the air. Certified as both asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the AeraMax 300 features a special operating mode during cold and flu season to safely eliminate these contagious microorganisms from the air.
Designed for larger rooms up to 600 square feet in size, the AeraMax 300 also contains a carbon filter to neutralize offensive cooking, pet, and smoke odors from your home or office. The AeraMax 300 also contains plasma true technology that uses an ionizer to capture and render harmless a wide variety of airborne pollutants.
With a futuristic black and silver tower design, the Honeywell HFD-120-Q measures just 11 by 10 by 29 inches. The Honeywell HFD-120-Q comes with a permanent filters that can easily be vacuumed and/or washed when needed. The Honeywell HFD-120-Q is rated to clean interior spaces up to 170 square feet and uses a built-in ionizer to trap airborne particles. The Honeywell HFD-120-Q has a special filter check indicator to alert you when it is time to clean the filter, and the ionizer is ARB certified as being in compliance with all federal ozone emission regulations. The Honeywell HFD-120-Q has three different cleaning levels, and has a CADR rating of 110 for smoke, 132 for pollen, and 100 for dust.