Air purifiers can kill allergens floating in the air and make your home a healthier, and more comfortable, place to live. Not all air purifiers are created equal, however. Some are better than others at killing certain allergens. Others may offer other benefits. Learn how to choose the best air purifier in our guide.
It's surprising how many pollutants can actually fill your home. They're pushed through the air due to an unfiltered HVAC system, they come in our clothes, and they can be tracked in through our pets. An air purifier kills those pollutants, as well as allergens, which can make your home a healthier place to be.
Choosing an air purifier isn't always easy. There are a lot of considerations that first need to be made to ensure you're buying the right one. Otherwise, you could buy one and not notice any real effect.
Here's what you need to know in order to buy the air purifier best for your needs.
Air purifiers are only designed to clear a certain size of a room. Affordable air purifiers are usually only good for a single room. More expensive purifiers clear larger-sized rooms.
It's important to know the size of the room that you intend to use the purifier in because you could be wasting your money otherwise. If you purchase an air purifier that is designed for use in a small room, then place it in a large room, then you're not going to get much out of it. The immediate area around the purifier might be cleared of allergens, but the entire room will not.
The purifier will also be working beyond full capacity. It may wear down faster.
A similar problem is encountered when you buy a large air purifier for a small room. While it will likely easily keep the room clean, it's also doing more than the room needs. You could have wasted your money based on the kind of service that you're receiving.
Calculate the size of your room, then look for air purifiers that are capable of purifying that size of a room. That purifier is one to consider.
However, there are a few other variables to consider before making your final choice.
You shouldn't expect an air purifier to completely purify your room. That's because air purifiers only clean what's in the air. It can't clean allergens that are settled on surfaces. Those allergens have to be disturbed and carried back through the air in order for the purifier to kill them.
With that in mind, you need to pay attention to the CADR of a purifier. CADR stands for clean air delivery rate. The higher the rate is, the cleaner the room is in a shorter amount of time. Each air purifier is classified by its CADR.
The EPA gives the following examples to help you understand the minimum CADR rating you should look for in your air purifier.
A 100 square foot room should have a minimum of a 65-rated CADR air purifier.
A 300 square foot room should have a minimum of a 195-rated CADR air purifier.
A 600 square foot room should have a minimum of a 390-rated CADR ar purifier.
Anything less than the minimum means your room won't be purified efficiently.
If you have a room smaller or larger than those estimates, then you'll find plenty of calculators online that help you determine the minimum CADR that you need for the room.
Allergens come in two main categories. They're either particulates or gases. Knowing which allergens you primarily want to kill can help you choose the right kind of purifier. Each one uses a filter that is particularly effective again certain allergens. Some may be able to filter both. However, you need to know what kind of filter you need in the air purifier to get the most out of it.
Particulates cover allergens like pollen, pet dander, dust, and other large debris. These are the allergens that can be seen, though usually with a microscope. If you have a problem with dust in your area, then you may want to choose an air purifier that is specifically designed to filter out dust.
If you're allergic to pets but have pets, then you may want to use an air purifier that specifically removes pet dander from the air.
You'll want to choose a purifier that has a high CADR number and a fan speed. These variables can remove allergens from the air faster than those with a slower CADR number or a slow fan speed.
Most manufacturers will list in their description whether or not the purifier uses a filter specifically designed for a particulate.
Gases are another allergen that homeowners don't always think about. Fresh paint is one of the most obvious allergens. If you recently painted a room, a project, or you work as a painter, then the gas of the paint could mess with your allergies. An air purifier specifically designed for the removal of the gas around fresh paint can be extremely helpful.
Gases can be potentially toxic and harmful. You may find yourself sneezing in their presence, they may also be doing other serious damage to your body if you remain exposed to them for a long time.
One concern is older construction materials. As they grow older and start to degrade, they can give off formaldehyde. Inhaling too much of that gas can be seriously problematic. An air purifier can remove the gas from your home, keeping you and your family safe.
Even certain plastics in your home may give off toxic gases over time. Those that are used in furniture, countertops, and even certain coverings can start to give off a gas that can cause you harm.
An air purifier that is designed for the removal of gases can effectively keep your home safe from toxic fumes. It can decrease the allergies you experience in their presence and keep the rest of your body safe, too.
As with air purifiers made for particulates, you'll want to check the filter for those meant for gases. CADR is especially important for gas allergens because you want to eliminate them as much as possible.
In most cases, you'll find that an air purifier that uses an activated charcoal filter is one of the most effective for both particulates and gases. It absorbs and holds both toxic gases and larger debris like particulates. If you want the most out of your air purifier, then an activated charcoal filter should be combined with a HEPA filter.
You may find that other filters work better for you. However, a combination of HEPA and activated charcoal is usually effective in most cases.
Besides how well the air purifier works, you also need to consider the noise level. No one likes a noisy machine. Your air purifier will likely be working day and night. If it's loud, then it may impact how well you sleep. This is especially true if you intend to use the air purifier in your bedroom.
Most manufacturers will include a noise level rating on their products. Don't trust a manufacturer that simply states that their purifier is quiet. It's a relative term. What may be quiet for them may not be quiet for you.
Instead, you'll want to look for something around 50 decibels. This is widely held as the appropriate noise level for a device indoors. Anything smaller than 50 decibels will be incredibly quiet. Anything louder than 50 decibels may be louder than you appreciate.
Noise pollution should be a serious concern. It can quickly drive you crazy if it's loud enough. You may never want to use the air purifier because it's so loud. A quiet air purifier can keep your room sanitized without so much as a whisper.
Some air purifiers carry a large price tag. It's important to know that buying a purifier means you're likely going to face more costs down the road. You need to make sure that you're prepared to make the investment. One of the costs you'll face is an increase in your utility bills.
Air purifiers need to run all of the time in order to keep the room free of allergens and toxins. That means it'll constantly be taking energy from your house. To ensure your utility bill doesn't skyrocket, you'll want to choose an air purifier that has a high energy star rating.
Not every air purifier is rated for its energy cost. You'll want to investigate those that are if you're concerned about saving money on your energy bill. Energy star rates devices based on how energy-efficient they are. You'll want to look for an Energy Star on the purifier. This means that it meets with the energy-efficiency standards held by the EPA.
Another cost to consider is that of filters. Like anything else that uses a filter, you're going to need to change the filter inside of the air purifier eventually. Some filters can be extremely expensive. They may be even more expensive than the actual air purifier. You need to determine whether that's a cost you can afford.
This is also where the lifespan of the filter is important. You may be able to afford a $50 filter that lasts every six months, but can you afford a $50 filter that lasts only for a single month?
Because there are several different types of air purifiers on the market, you may be able to find some that don't use a filter. This can save you a lot of money in terms of maintenance.
Others may use a different way of keeping themselves clean. It's important that you understand how the air purifier works and what you're expected to replace to ensure you have the budget for it.
You may also find some air purifiers that offer additional features. One of the most popular is an air purifier that also acts as either a humidifier or a dehumidifier. These can be effective devices that keep your room at the perfect humidity level and purity.
However, you'll need to put a little extra maintenance in them. Humidifiers and dehumidifiers require water to be either added to them or removed from them. Without cleaning those units, you could end up growing mold in them. That might make the air purifier have difficulty in purifying the rest of the room.
Some air purifiers that come with humidifiers may do so at the expense of the quality of the purifier. You may need to determine which is more important to you. Do you want purer air or a more humid room?
While additional features can give you more bang for your buck, you want to make sure that you're not buying something that ultimately defeats your original purpose.
There are a few air purifiers that you should absolutely avoid. The first is those that produce ozone. These are purifiers that often use ionizers, electrostatic precipitators, or UV light to purify the air. As a result, they can also produce ozone that you breathe in. This can result in lung cancer or other types of lung disease.
You'll also want to check that the air purifier has a UIL listing. If it doesn't, then these air purifiers are not safe. They can start an electrical fire.
Finally, you'll want to check that the air purifier has a CADR rating. All purifiers that were tested in a lab have the rating. Those that don't should be met with a skeptical eye.
Choosing an air purifier can be difficult thanks to the several variables you need to consider before choosing one. This guide can help organize your thoughts and make you aware of your needs. That can make choosing your air purifier an easier decision. Check out our air purifier reviews to make finding your purifier even easier.