Air Purifier Buying Guide

Introduction


Indoor air purifiers are a great way to reduce pollutants within the home. They trap particles that can irritate allergies and cause sickness. These particles range from dust and pollen to particles linked to organisms, including viruses. Some purifiers even eliminate gases and unpleasant odors.

 

Room air purifiers are made to clean air in only one room or area at a time, not the entire house. They often use fans to circulate the air and filters to trap particles. They may use an electrical means of cleaning, like an ion generator, instead of a filter. Certain models may use a filter containing activated carbon to trap gases and odors. Room air purifiers are available in two main sizes. The smaller size is made to fit on a table and the larger size is meant to stand alone. The larger size works better than the smaller size in homes that do not have a forced heating system.

 

Air purifiers can reduce airborne particles that affect allergy sufferers. For indoor allergies, dust mites allergens are the most common cause of allergy attacks and a HEPA air purifier is recommended. Even if your allergies are mild, an air purifier near your bed can help you sleep better.

 

 

Important Features to Consider

 

These are some of the main features you're going to want to look at when deciding which one is best for you. If you are trying to save money, you may only be able to pick one or two of these areas to excel in.

 

  • HEPA Filters: Some of the room purifiers that have filters use high efficiency particle air filters (HEPA) that are made to catch very fine particles. Catching the fine particles is important because they can be inhaled and reach the lungs. The small particles that are not very fine are still inhalable, but they do not completely reach the lungs. These particles can still cause upper-respiratory problems. With an HEPA filter, both particle sizes will be reduced in the air. While the filter performs well, it often needs changing every year and the replacements can be expensive.
  • Permanent Filters: Some air purifiers that have a permanent filter that you can wash and reuse instead of buying expensive filters every 3-12 months depending on usage and type.
  • CADR: Some room air purifiers list the good clean air delivery rates (CADR) for small particles. CADR measures the amount of contaminant-free air the purifier delivers per minute. This amount is expressed in cubic feet per minute. Most models, however, do not have enough power to eliminate larger particles in the air.
  • Ionizing/Ozone Generating: Some room air purifiers use electronic means to purify. These purifiers go through a complex process and use electronic charges to clean the particles out of the air. The processes can produce ozone, which often irritates the lungs. The purifiers that use electronic cleaning processes can also leave dirty spots on the walls.
  • Fans: Many room air purifiers use fans. These fans make them more effective than the room purifiers without fans, but they also make them noisier.
  • Portability: The room air purifiers are made to move between rooms, so they are relatively light and portable. Being able to move the purifier means cleaner air in any room of the home.
  • Hybrids: An important feature to note is a hybrid label. This label means the purifier uses two or more ways of cleaning. One possible combination is a filter and an ion generator.
  • Air Quality Monitor: Some room purifiers monitor the air to automatically adjust the fan speed according to the level of pollutants in the room. This is a convenient feature that makes the purifiers more effective.
  • Indicator Light: Certain room purifiers use an indicator light. Purifiers that use electrical means of cleaning use a light to indicate the filter needs to be changed or cleaned. This feature takes the guess work out of maintenance.

 

See our list of top air purifiers for specific recommendations.