Air Purifier Icon Breathe easier! Find the Best Air Purifier for your home with our 2020 reviews and buying guide for top-selling models

updated: November 19, 2020

Do Air Purifiers Really Work ?

To maintain vibrant health, you should buy the best air purifier on the market so that you have an abundant supply of clean air. In our reviews of the top-of-the-line models, we’ll help you do just that!

Coway Airmega 400 in the corner of the room.
Cleaner air leads to better health

Every year, researchers amass an ever-increasing body of evidence that the air inside your home is way more contaminated than the air inside. Considering that you’re likely to spend up to 90% of your life indoors, lots of harmful impurities could end up in your lungs.

If you make your indoor air as breathable as it can be, your lungs will be healthier. Purchasing a high-quality air purifier is one of the best ways to do this. Air purifiers filter out allergens, toxins, tobacco and wildfire smoke, and other pollutants.

Studies suggest that air purifiers can vastly improve your cardiovascular health and help you to stop suffering from allergies.

However, the scientific community is loath to link air purifiers to human health benefits because there have been few long-term studies.

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filtration

Filters in the typical air purifier.

Manufacturers make HEPA filters from multi-layered, ultrafine fiberglass threads that create a barrier.

Particles are removed as air moves through the filter, rendering your indoor air so much cleaner.

For allergy and asthma sufferers, the best air purifiers are ones equipped with true HEPA filtration.

True HEPA filters are required by law to remove at least 99.7% of particulate matter with a diameter of at least 0.3 microns.

HEPA filters do a bang-up job of quickly screening out the most common airborne allergens, including:

    An art illustrating allergens effectively filtered out by air purifiers.
  • Pollen and dust
  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Fungal spores
  • Pet dander
  • Dust mites
  • Automobile exhaust
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Marijuana smoke
  • Wildfire smoke

HEPA purifiers also capture many airborne pathogens, including most bacteria and viruses.

What is the best air purifier on the market

The best air purifier money can buy is the Coway Airmega 400.

It’s perfect for rooms up to 1,560 square feet and can cycle through a room’s volume of air twice each hour.

A man sleeping on a couch and a Airmega 400 standing nearby.
Airmega 400 combines ultimate air filtration and a whisper quiet operation.

It combines a true HEPA filter with an activated carbon filter for the ultimate in filtration. So, it not only removes particles from the air—it eliminates odors such as tobacco too! But even more impressive, it reduces more than 99% of volatile organic compounds and reduces fumes such as NH3 and CH3CHO.

It’s also whisper quiet.

What is CADR, CFM, and ACH

CADR is an acronym meaning “Clean Air Delivery Rate”. It’s a metric invented to measure residential air purifier performance. The higher the CADR, the faster and more efficient the air purifier is.

Three types of particles are tested to create a CADR rating: smoke, pollen, and dust. These represent small, medium, and large-sized particles. The advantage of the CADR rating is it gives customers a way to compare air purifiers.

Air changes per hour.

CFM simply means “cubic feet per minute” and is the amount of air passing through your purifier at a given point. The higher the CFM, the more air your unit can clean. This number means nothing unless you know how big the room is you want to purify.

An excellent rule of thumb is you need about 100 CFM for every 250 square feet of space. The right CFM value is essential so that there is proper airflow in the room and an ideal turnover of air.

ACH is an acronym meaning the number of air changes per hour. (ACH). This number shows how many times per hour the entire air volume of a room will be filtered.

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Best-Rated Air Purifiers That Really Work – 2020 Reviews, Ratings, and Comparisons


1Most technologically advanced air purifier
Dual HEPA and activated carbon filters for more filtration power.

For years, Coway has been the go-to air purifier brand for 24-hour Korean spas and gyms. These are facilities that depend on exceptional air filtration to keep their customers safe and healthy. The Airmega 400 is the crown jewel of the entire Coway line.

It’s perfect for allergy and asthma sufferers, those afflicted by noxious wildfire smoke, and people who want a machine to capture suspended particles so they don’t have to dust as much.

Max CFM: 410. CADR (pollen, dust, smoke): 350.

ProsThe Good

This is one powerful machine!

You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how deliciously fresh the air feels after running it for a few short hours. It even comes with cutting-edge real-time air monitoring technology. This means that fan speeds automatically adjust based on the current condition of the air.

When the air quality remains clean for ten minutes or more, the unit turns the fan off to conserve energy.

Over time, this saves you tons of cash!

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The filters are somewhat on the pricey side. Within a few years, you might even spend as much on the filters as the machine costs. The buttons could be more durable and have been known to break over time.

The HEPA and carbon activated filters are one unit. This seems like a significant design screw up to me. What if one filter needs to be changed more often than the other?

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Some customers raved about the easy-to-clean pre-filter that captures large particles like fur, hair, and dust in its micromesh. This allows the dual HEPA filter to function much more effectively.

Other customers love the visually attractive LED ring that let you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is.

Some adore the mobile app. With it, you can monitor indoor air quality, check the filter status, set the timer, and activate the air purifier remotely when connected to Wi-Fi.

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2Most customizable
Combines jaw-dropping aesthetics and functionality in one sleek package.

With the Rabbit Air, you get four incredible layers of high-efficiency filtration: pre-filter, HEPA, custom filter, carbon filter, and ionizer. The pre-filter works by capturing large-sized particles such as dust, lint, and pet hair. The HEPA filter is the BioGS type, which means it prevents the growth of nasty microorganisms.

This way, your machine won’t be making you sick instead of what it should be doing, which is boosting your health!

CADR: 171 pollen; 173 dust; 166 smoke.

ProsThe Good

What’s more, you can personalize your filtration capability to your exact needs by choosing between one of four customization options. This is a feature that few other air purifiers on the market have.

You can select from the following:

  • Germ defense filter: annihilates bacteria and mold spores.
  • Toxin absorber filter: gets rid of VOCs and other chemicals.
  • Pet allergy filter: captures pet allergens and dander.
  • Odor removal filter: traps odors from mildew, cigarettes, and pets.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

It takes way too much effort to push the buttons to get the machine to work. The controls need to be a little more responsive so you don’t wear out your fingers every time you want to adjust the settings.

Some users report that after using the unit for a few years, a high-pitched noise started coming from the motor—which can be irritating.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers are ecstatic that they can change out a plain panel for an artistically rendered one. So, if you want to invigorate your room décor, you can put up a painting by Van Gogh, Monet, or various other artists. This means your machine is much more than merely another useful appliance—it also makes a bold artistic statement!

Some buyers appreciate that the charcoal filter is made of high-grade granular activated carbon. This makes it much more effective than filters in many other machines coated with a thin and inferior grade of carbon.

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3Most Advanced Sensors
Elegantly designed machine that’s a godsend for allergy sufferers.

If you’re an allergy sufferer, the Alen BreatheSmart is a high-end, top-of-line air purifier that’s just what the doctor ordered. With this machine, you might not even need rescue inhalers or antihistamines anymore. That’s because it’s exceptional at filtering out allergens and other unhealthy particles from your breathing space.

In fact, it does such a fantastic job at sucking pollutants out of your indoor air, you won’t have to dust nearly as much.

Max CFM: 286. CADR (pollen, dust, smoke): 300.

ProsThe Good

It boasts advanced particle sensor technology that lets you immediately know the air quality by showing you brightly colored LED rings. The technology is so sensitive that two cats roughhousing will trigger the device to turn on the fan because of higher feline fur levels in the air.

Unlike some other air purifiers, which can be on the loud side, this machine produces soothing pink noise on all power settings. So, it’s like a sleep machine that cleans your air too.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The unit feels a little flimsy and probably should have been manufactured from more durable materials. The LED lights can be too bright. If your eyes are especially sensitive to light, you might have to throw a cloth over it just to get some shuteye.

The filters are exorbitantly expensive—much more so than comparable models.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Some users are pleasantly surprised at how lightweight and easy the unit is to move. Others love that it has physical push buttons to change the settings instead of touch-sensitive ones that are impossible to see or feel at night.

Nearly every customer is ecstatic that the machine comes with your choice of filter, so you can personalize the way you use it to best suit your needs.

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4Best at merging form and function
With its sleek design, it’s the Apple of air purifiers.

Suppose you want to make your indoor air crisp and clean as a spring afternoon. Furthermore, you desire to eliminate unpleasant food smells and possibly even reduce your risk of contracting the coronavirus. In that case, the Bissell Air320 is the unit for you. It efficiently monitors air quality readings in real-time and adjusts the fan speed accordingly.

That way, you save money on electricity.

CFM of 136 cubic feet per minute. CADR (Pollen): 241, CADR (Smoke): 198, and CADR (Dust): 206.

ProsThe Good

The Bissell Air320’s design is a perfect melding of form and function. It does an excellent job of purifying your air of wildfire smoke, allergens, and other unhealthy contaminants. Yet, with its retro design and mid-century look, it looks like beautifully rendered high-end furniture.

One outstanding feature of this exquisite machine is its automatic night mode. This means when it gets dark, the digital display and air feedback lights will switch off, leaving only the calming white noise of the fan to lull you to sleep.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Unfortunately, the Bissell Air320 is whisper quiet only on the lowest setting. There’s a whistling sound at higher speeds that can be quite irritating, depending on your ability to tolerate such noises.

It’s also somewhat difficult to move from one room to another because there’s no handle.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love that the air320’s filters are easily accessible from the front. This means that you can put it right against a wall so that it’s out of the way.

Others like that there’s rear cord storage, so that excess cord won’t be dangling on the ground where it poses a tripping hazard. Some buyers appreciate that they can count on the device to purge their breathing space of unhealthy pollutants produced by raging wildfires.

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5Best at eliminating dust
A commercial quality air purifier with breathtaking visual style.

Has your indoor air been plagued with nasty contaminants from raging wildfires? If so, you’ll be over the moon to know that the Blue Pure 211 can purge your breathing space of all that nasty stuff.

It filters your breathing space at a rate of five times an hour (or about once every 12 minutes) in a 540 square foot room. It does such a good job that users have likened the experience to breathing pure O2 out of an oxygen tank.

Yes—the difference is that noticeable!

CADR (pollen, dust, smoke): 350 cfm.

ProsThe Good

The Blue Pure 211’s power lies in its 360-degree air intake that sucks up air from all sides. This makes it so much more efficient than comparable models.

It uses less energy than a lightbulb and is quieter than rustling leaves. The unit’s power needs range from 30 to 61 watts. This is quite low for a unit of this size, so the Energy Star rating is well deserved.

Plus, with one-touch operation, you won’t have any overly complicated controls to fiddle with!

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The Blue Pure 211 doesn’t have true HEPA filters—only “HEPA-like.” The holes in the top of the unit can be a child hazard because kids have been known to get their fingers stuck in them.

Some units have had nasty chemical smells emanating from them. Sometimes, devices develop an irritating low oscillating whining sound—like the sound of a faraway jet engine starting up.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

One customer living in the super dusty conditions of southern Arizona used to painstakingly dust her furniture several times a day. And now, having bought this device only has to dust once or twice a week.

This is proof that the unit is doing its job!

Other customers love the unit’s aesthetically pleasing appearance.

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6Best for smaller rooms
Sleek, unobtrusive design provides maximum bang for the buck.

If you’re an allergy sufferer, the Levoit LV-H133 will provide you with exquisite relief from painful symptoms. That’s because the ultra-dense H13 HEPA filters capture more contaminants than the filters in comparable models.

What’s more, the cylindrical design of the Levoit LV-H133 takes up less space than its competitors while more efficiently drawing in air.

CADR: 287 cfm for pollen, smoke, and dust.

ProsThe Good

The filter occupies more than half the volume of the unit. This means its capacity to clean is maximized for its size. So, as you can see, this air purifier has been engineered for maximum efficiency.

It boasts a sleek, high-tech, futuristic design that’s so discreet, visitors to your home might not even realize it’s an air purifier.

At its lowest speed, it generates a unique, somewhat musical, whistling sound. This isn’t the monotonous and mechanical fan noise typical of other brands. So, not only will it purge every health-destroying contaminant from your home—it’ll lull you to sleep.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Some people have had the unfortunate experience of getting a unit that makes a ticking noise at the lowest speed. This doesn’t happen to everyone, but it has happened enough that it should be something you should be aware of.

Another potential drawback is you need at least a fifteen-inch clearance around the unit for it to work well. This could end up making it difficult to position your device in a room.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

One user had a neighbor who chain-smokes every morning, noon, and night. Every time he walked into his own apartment, it was as if he was sucking down an entire carton of Lucky Strikes (one of the unhealthiest brands of cigarettes ever manufactured).

After running the Levoit LV-H133 for a mere 20 minutes, the foul odor completely dissipated!

Other users love the fact that they don’t have to dust so much. For the first time in a long time, they no longer see dust motes wafting in sunlight—a beautiful sight indeed!

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • LEVOIT Core P350
    LEVOIT Core P350
    Price: Low

    There are several differences between the Levoit Core P350 and the LV H-133. For example, the LV H-133 has a higher CADR rating and covers a larger area. If you need to purify the breathing space in a large room, the LV H-133 would be the much better choice.

    The LV H-133 costs a little bit more than the Levoit Core P350.

    The filter surface of the Levoit Core P350 is only one-third that of the larger model. Lastly, there’s no automatic mode or indicator ring like there is with the LV H-133 model.

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7Best at eradicating disease-causing microorganisms
This exceptional purifier makes your living room livable again.

The contemporary vibe the PureZone Elite gives off will add a dash of understated grandeur to your home décor. Its aesthetics are very pleasing—it looks more like a super cool speaker than a utilitarian device.

More importantly, the commercial-grade purification abilities of this first-rate machine will render your breathing space as crisp and clean as the most pristine spring air.

It’ll make your home go from smelling like an industrial waste dump to smelling like the air after a gentle summer downpour!

CADR: 120 cfm.

ProsThe Good

Winter’s coming, so be ready!

This means the second wave of COVID-19 and the regular flu season will soon be on us. Buy one to help the immune-compromised people who live in your household stay healthy.

If you have asthmatic family members, the PureZone can be a lifesaver with its four-stage air purification. However, the built-in UV C light adds a deeper level of air sanitation by destroying illness-causing microorganisms.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The lights on the unit can’t be turned off. This makes it less than ideal for bedroom use. On low settings, it can sound like an airplane in flight with a steady humming sound.

People have been having a difficult time finding replacement filters. Hopefully, the COVID-19 crisis will run its course, and this situation will improve in time.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

One customer doubted the power of the device until she put powder on her feet. The fan automatically turned from low to high as it sensed the powder in the air.

To her, this was a dramatic demonstration that the unit worked as advertised.

Office workers suffering from musty working conditions love that they can run the unit for an hour a day, and their cubicles will be nice and fresh again.

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1
    Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1
    Price: Low

    There are a few important differences between the Pure Enrichment 3-in-1 and the 4-in-1.

    However, the main difference is the Pure Enrichment 3-in-1 doesn’t have an ionizer and the 4-in-1 does.

    This is a device that traps particles suspended in your breathing space, which boosts the power of the filtration system in an air purifier.

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8Most Advanced Activated Charcoal Layer
Boasts an advanced activated charcoal filter that annihilates odors.

The Winix is an affordable air purifier that uses a three-stage filtration system. It consists of a layer of activated carbon, a true HEPA filter, and what the manufacturer calls a “Plasmawave System.” This means something called hydroxyls are released into the filtered air.

Hydroxyls occur naturally in the atmosphere and help obliterate odors by attacking viruses, bacteria, and VOCs. Almost every air purifier on the planet uses an activated charcoal layer. However, the one in the Winix is light years ahead of all the others.

Max CFM: 240.14. CADR: 246 pollen, 243 dust, 232 smoke.

ProsThe Good

The activated charcoal filter in the Winnix is a dense honeycomb between two mesh sheets. Embedded within the honeycombs are thousands of beads made from pure activated carbon.

After foul smells are absorbed by the activated charcoal filter, the air enters the HEPA filter, which traps 90% of contaminants. The hydroxyls that are released in the third stage of the process obliterate whatever is left.

This includes things like bacteria, VOCs, and gases.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The manufacturer says the unit doesn’t release ozone. However, it releases trace amounts of this substance. Government agencies say this shouldn’t be harmful to humans. In any event, you can turn off the Plasmawave ionizer that produces the ozone if you want.

The unit plays a little jingle when you turn it on or off that some people find annoying.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Lots of customers who value their sleep love that when they turn off the lights in their bedrooms, the unit senses this and automatically activates sleep mode. The fan lowers its speed, and the lights on the machine grow dim.

This creates an ambiance conducive to sleep.

When the unit detects light, it’s business as usual again. It turns its sensor lights back on while ramping up the fan speed.

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9Best for filtering allergens and dust
Impressive dust and allergen filtering abilities blow away the competition.

Honeywell is a Fortune 500 company known worldwide for manufacturing excellent products. Their air purifiers are no exception. The HPA 300 features a sleek console design housing a two-stage filtration system that’ll make quick work of airborne contaminants.

The HPA 300 has an impressive ability to filter allergens from your breathing space. In fact, by using this machine, you might even be able to ditch your expensive allergy medications!

CADR: 300 cfm pollen, 320 cfm dust, 300 cfm smoke.

ProsThe Good

The HPA boasts an innovative design that helps you to better integrate the unit into your existing décor.

The air is pulled from the front of the unit, where it goes through both filters. Then, it comes out through an air grate at the unit’s top behind the control panel. This makes it a fantastic space saver that can even be positioned against a wall.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Some customers complain of a horrible chemical odor that’s there even when the unit is turned off. Hopefully, you won’t suffer from this potentially annoying problem.

Some units are plagued with a mechanical defect where the fan only runs on “Turbo,” the highest speed setting. Since this setting is the noisiest of the four settings, this can make for an unpleasant experience.

There’s also no air quality sensors or automatic sleep mode.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Some customers love that they can dim the control lights. This means that in the living room, they get to keep the lights on the standard-setting. In the bedroom, they can dim the lights low. They still get the same outstanding performance, but without a bright blue light burning out their eyes.

Other buyers appreciate the peace of mind the unit gives them by creating a healthier environment for family members who have medical issues, such as those who are immunocompromised.

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10Most impressive suction and airflow
Affordable unit that’s your sleek and silent sentinel against contaminants.

Every year, an increasing number of mega-fires devastate our forests. When this happens, millions of metric tons of contaminants are released into the atmosphere.

Some of these free-floating contaminants will invade the sanctity of your home, irritating your respiratory system and making it more challenging for you to breathe. The Airthearal APH260 can protect you from wildfire smoke, filtering out the pollutants that can destroy your health.

CADR: 152 cfm pollen, 152 cfm dust, 152 cfm smoke.

ProsThe Good

The APH260 has all the air purifier functions you need, and then some. For example, it automatically measures the air quality to choose the most effective and cost-efficient fan speed. Sleep mode ensures the machine is whisper quiet when you’re trying to get some shuteye.

It has strong suction and airflow, so particulate pollutants won’t remain in your breathing space for long. There’s also an extra-long timer that ranges from zero all the way up to 12 hours. That way, you can establish an air purification regimen that makes the best sense for you.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Some users report the machine is super noisy—even on the lowest setting. One user even inexplicably discovered white dust building up within the innards of the device.

Other buyers complain about a poorly worded instruction manual that doesn’t adequately explain the various features.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Lots of satisfied customers of this unit love how it helps them get through the spring, summer, and fall with as few allergy symptoms as possible. When allergy season commences, these same users notice how the unit will kick into overdrive on its own. This is after it senses the invasion of potentially-dangerous contaminants into the sanctity of their living space.

Others are impressed at how well it works without it being a gigantic eyesore that detracts from their home’s aesthetics.

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11Perfect for Cold and Flu Season
Simple touch-screen operation, good germ filtration, and easy-to-change filters.

Say you live in an older house with funky smells you can’t get rid of, no matter how much air freshener and room deodorizer you use. In that case, the Aeramax 300 might be like manna from heaven. This state-of-the-art machine auto detects nasty impurities in your home biosphere. It then gets busy eradicating every one of them.

CADR (Pollen): 188, CADR (Smoke): 191, and CADR (Dust): 196.

ProsThe Good

One customer who bought three of these units and strategically placed them throughout her house hardly has to dust anymore.

Another customer’s power consumption dropped by 30 KwH after using the unit for a short while. That’s because the heat pump filters were sucking in too much dust—a problem easily rectified by the AeraMax 300.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Some users notice the unit makes a high-pitched whining noise, which is created by the ionizer. The ionizer also produces trace amounts of ozone. It can be turned off by holding down the bottom blue button with the star on it.

However, the light cannot be turned off. It shines forth from the buttons and shines out the sides of the device through the intake vents. This could be a problem when you’re trying to get some sleep.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

One user remarked that he didn’t need to take allergy medication for the first time in months before hitting the hay because he was using the Aeramax 300 daily. Another buyer loves how the vent that blows out clean air is at the top.

This means it can be tilted and directed to where you want it. You can aim it to blow right in your face if you want to breathe in clean air while watching television.

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What’s the Best Way to Improve Your Indoor Air

Woman vacuuming a carpet.

An air purifier can only remove contaminants if they’re suspended in the air. Heavier allergens such as mold and pollen settle to the ground so quickly that the air purifier cannot capture them in time.

The best way to improve your breathable air inside your home is to remove contaminants that have settled on surfaces. You do this by doing regular cleaning such as vacuuming, dusting, and disinfecting.

Without doing this first, your air purifier will be ineffective.

Why Should I Use an Air Purifier

Whether you believe it or not, decent indoor air quality is essential to your health.

There’s growing evidence that the air inside your home can be more polluted than the air outside. Incredibly, the concentration of some pollutants is often two to five times higher indoors than outdoors.

Considering that the average American spends 90% of their lives inside their homes, that could mean breathing a whole lot of contaminated air!

The Damage Caused by Indoor Pollution

Fine particles ten micrometers in diameter or smaller (including those found in dust and smoke) are a concern. That’s because they work their way into your lungs, where they can cause all kinds of damage. According to the EPA, long-term exposure to high particulate pollution levels is linked to bronchitis, reduced lung function, and premature death.

Doctor looking at the x-Ray photo of lungs.

Air pollution from automobile exhaust in the US results in over 200,000 deaths each year. Some of these contaminants find their way into homes. Many of these deaths might have been prevented had an air purifier been used.

Studies have shown a strong link between pollution and degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. An air purifier can help lower the risk of these afflictions.

The Solution

You can get an air purifier to significantly decrease the number of pollutants in your home, helping you breathe better and reduce your risk of debilitating diseases.

Air purifiers can even improve your cardiovascular health because they help your heart and lungs work better.

The Danger is Coming from Inside the Home

There are not only dangers from sources of pollution outside the home—there are internal sources too.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde released into the air from adhesives, paints, and cleaning products, can cause nose, throat, and eye irritation.

Chemical Air Pollutants.

They can also cause headaches, nausea, damage to the liver, kidney, and nervous system.

While air purifiers can remove many pollutants, they can’t remove gases—like those given off by paint and cleaning products. Some gases (such as radon) can cause lung cancer and death.

What Can I Do To Ensure My Air Purifier Is Doing Its Job

Family members sitting and standing in the room with an air purifier.

These machines can be cumbersome and hard to move around. So, if you need purification in more than one room, you might want to think about purchasing more than one model.

If you only have sufficient money in your budget to buy one machine, put it in the room where you spend the most time. Place your device in a spot where its airflow won’t be obstructed.

You also need to regularly replace the filter. For most models, that period is approximately once every six to twelve months. Usually, there’s a filter indicator light that lets you know when your filter needs to be replaced.

Energy Star and the AHAM Seal

You need to factor in total energy costs when shopping for your air sanitation device. If you want your machine to be as energy-efficient as possible, look for the Energy Star logo.

Energy Star Logo.

Energy Star is a collaborative venture between the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The program’s goal is to help customers save money by using energy-efficient products.

An Energy Star certification means that an appliance uses less energy than other models. For air purifiers, this means they’re 40% more energy efficient than your average air purifier.

There’s also the AHAM seal, which means that the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers has tested the model. While it’s voluntary, many air purifiers have undergone the certification program.

Suppose an air purifier proudly displays an AHAM Verified Seal. In that case, you can trust that the unit is sufficient for the listed room size.

More About HEPA Filters

HEPA filters capture particles in these ways:

HEPA filter concept art.
  • Direct Impact: large particles crash into the first layer of fibers, where they are neutralized.
  • Interception: mid-sized particles touch a filter fiber and are captured.
  • Diffusion: ultra-fine particles zig-zag back and forth until they eventually stick to a filter fiber.

If you have severe allergies or asthma, your best bet is to buy a model with true HEPA filtration.

How to Maintain Your Air Purifier

By properly maintaining your air purifier, you’ll ensure it enjoys the longevity it deserves. You’ll also prevent the fan from getting overloaded, so it doesn’t start to make irritating noises.

Make sure the area around the unit is clean and free of debris. Too much dirt accumulation means your device is going to be overworked—shortening its life. Clean the grilles and panels, so dust doesn’t build up in the innards of your machine.

Woman replaces air filter in the air purifier.
Clean or replace air filter during maintenance

Use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly wipe away all filth.

If you have a washable filter rather than a disposable one, make sure you regularly clean it. Take care to not touch the filter material when washing the filter. The material is fragile and can easily get damaged when it’s wet.

Dry out the filter before reinstalling it in the purifier.

Can Air Purifiers Get Rid of Wildfire Smoke

According to the EPA, wildfire smoke consists of fine particles in the 0.4-to-0.7-micron range. True HEPA filters are fantastic at capturing particles of that size.

Allergies and Air Purifiers

Pollen and other allergens are particulates that can be trapped by a true HEPA air filter. This will diminish your symptoms to the point where you don’t need allergy medication anymore.

Tobacco Smoke and Air Purifiers

Any air purifier worth its salt can capture tobacco smoke particles with its HEPA filter and smoke odor with its activated charcoal filter.

Dog lying near the air purifier.
Air purifier can help to eradicate pet odors.

Pets and Air Purifiers

When you own a pet, pet odors come with the territory. An air purifier can help to eradicate these smells from a room, which is vastly preferable to trying to cover them up with air fresheners or room deodorizers.

Mold and Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are particularly adept at sucking mold spores from the air.

These devices circulate room air several times each hour. Each time this happens, all the particles suspended in the air get trapped in one of the device’s filters—including mold spores.

Operating Costs

Air purifiers can be somewhat expensive. If you’re in the market for one, plan on paying between $200 and $900 bucks. Replacement filters can be pricey too, costing between $20 and $200.

However, when you factor in the wonderful health benefits you get from them, this is a small price to pay.

Home office with an air purifier.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Do Air Purifiers Do?

Purge the air of nasty microorganisms, viruses, pollutants, and other particles that can destroy your health.

What Should I Look for When Buying an Air Purifier?

Judge an air purifier not just on how well it performs but also by how well you’ll be able to live with it.

These machines are always running, so they need to be quiet. One tip is to run the unit on the high setting when you’re not in the room and on a low setting when you’re nearby. Or buy an air purifier certified for a larger room so that it filters more air even at a low speed.

Filtration schema with a pre-filter shown.
What Do Pre-Filters Do?

Many purifiers come with pre-filters that capture large particles in the air before they clog the primary filtration system. Washable filters might be better to buy than disposable filters because you’ll save money over the long run.

Regular maintenance of the pre-filter involves monthly cleaning and replacing it if it gets damaged.

What are Ionizers?

Ionizers work by emitting negatively charged ions. These attract positively charged ions. When they combine, they become much too heavy to waft through the air.

So, they fall to the floor and other flat surfaces, where they can be swept or vacuumed away.

Ionizers can reduce dangerous mold spores and bacteria and are especially helpful in high-risk places like hospitals and clinics.

Why Are Air Purifiers Bad for You?

If an air purifier comes with an ionizer, it may produce ozone. This can be bad for you.

Ozone is terrific at removing odors—particularly cigarette smoke and other stubborn smells. Hotels love to use them to eradicate cigarette smoke odors from their rooms.

Chemical formula of ozone.

However, ozone is a lung irritant.

Almost any air purifier that has an ionizer will produce trace amounts of ozone. These trace amounts are well within federal and state health standards.

Most people won’t be affected by this at all. Many appliances produce trace amounts of ozone, so you’re regularly exposed to this gas.

You should steer clear of ozone generators—machines specifically manufactured to generate massive amounts of ozone.

It would be wise for those with severe asthma or other respiratory conditions to avoid ozone generators altogether and turn off the ionizer feature in their air purifier.

What Are the Benefits of an Air Purifier?

There are a dizzying array of benefits that will come your way by using a high-quality air filter. These include cutting down on time spent sick and making your house smell clean when company comes over.

They also include ensuring no objectionable odors seep outside your walls to invade your neighbors’ nostrils.

Should You Run an Air Purifier All Day?

You should run your air purifier all day long to ensure that it does its job of keeping your air breathable and clean. For best results, run it for a couple hours at high speed followed by a few hours at a lower speed.

How Quiet Should My Air Purifier Be?

Your air purifier should only be as noisy as what you can tolerate.

Sleeping woman and an air purifier nearby.

Most air purifiers operate at around 60 decibels, which is about the same level as a conversation between friends. Whisper quiet air purifiers run at a noise level below 55 decibels.

How Often Should I Replace the Filter?

Filters need to be changed periodically, so it’s helpful to have an indicator light on your unit that reminds you when it’s time for a change.

A filter service indicator light flashes when it’s time to replace or clean the filter.

What Do Activated Carbon Filters Do?

Activated carbon filters capture odors that can slip right through a HEPA filter.

Because activated carbon filters cannot capture particles, many air purifiers will include both a carbon filter and a HEPA filter to do this job. Activated carbon gets saturated faster than a pleated filter. It requires more frequent replacement—every three months instead of every six to 12 months for pleated filters.

Most consumer air purifiers don’t contain enough activated carbon to be an effective odor filter for more than a short time.

What’s the Air Quality Index?

The Air Quality Indicator (AQI) is a system used by the EPA to measure and report air quality.

AQI is affected by the five major pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act:

  • Particle pollution
  • Ground-level ozone
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Sulfur dioxide

Air Quality Index description chart.

An air purifier can vastly improve the AQI inside your house. AQI ranges from 0 to 500. The higher the value, the more polluted the air is.

Excellent air quality falls within the 0 to 50 range

Unhealthy quality starts at 100, which means the air is somewhat of a concern for vulnerable groups, including people with respiratory disease, heart problems, senior citizens, and kids.

If the AQI number is higher than 151, air quality is terrible for everyone.

If you live in an area with higher pollution levels, such as a factory tow or chemical facilities, awareness of AQI is essential.

Author
Philip Owens. a respected air pollution expert, discovered his love of science at the young age of 8 during a class field trip to COSI. The demonstrations he saw that day ignited a passion and set him on the path of using science to help solve everyday problems.
image description Comments
Espinoza
February 8, 2020 at 2:15 am

Our whole family suffers from allergies, so we’ve considering an air purifier. Is it expensive to use one, like in terms of filters, electricity…?

Kevin (Cleanup.Expert Team)
February 10, 2020 at 8:11 am

There are a wide range of air purifiers on the market. Your main cost concerns will be the electricity needed and replacement filters. The most cost effective are those that are Energy Star certified that have washable or affordable replacement filters.

Your typical HEPA air purifier (which is best for allergies) will use around 50 – 200 watts of electricity, while a table lamp uses about 60 watts, and a computer around 365 watts. So it’s not a huge energy consumer. If you invest in one that automatically detects the air quality, it will only turn on when it’s needed rather than running all the time.

So we’d say it’s best to spend more upfront with the purchase to have those options, so that you’ll be spending less overall through the life of the machine.

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