Breathe easier! Find the Best Air Purifier for your home with our 2020 reviews and buying guide for top-selling models
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!
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
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:
- Pollen and dust
- 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.
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.
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.More
Best-Rated Air Purifiers That Really Work – 2020 Reviews, Ratings, and Comparisons
What’s the Best Way to Improve Your Indoor Air
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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:
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Purge the air of nasty microorganisms, viruses, pollutants, and other particles that can destroy your health.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Your air purifier should only be as noisy as what you can tolerate.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.