Air Purifiers are a necessity to safeguard the health of the family members as long-term exposure to high particle levels is linked to bronchitis, reduced lung function, and premature death.
Pollutants such as smoke from tobacco, wood burning, and cooking; gases from cleaning products and building materials; dust mites; mold; and pet dander all contribute to an unhealthy indoor environment that have ill effects on human health.
Fine particles 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller, including those found in dust and smoke, are especially a concern because they can find their way deep into the lungs. Breathing in particles for just hours or days is enough to aggravate lungs and cause asthma attacks, and has been linked to heart attacks in people with heart disease.
Volatile organic compounds are released into the air from adhesives, paints, and cleaning products can cause nose, throat, and eye irritation; headaches; nausea; and damage to the liver, kidney, and nervous system. Some gases, such as radon, cause lung cancer and death.
Best Air Purifiers for Home
The best ways to improve indoor air are to remove the pollutant sources and ventilate with clean outdoor air. Portable air purifiers can help when those methods are insufficient or not possible. Also known as air sanitizers, air purifiers are designed to filter the air in a single room, not the entire house, like an HVAC system does. And while they do help to reduce indoor pollution, there are limits to what they can do.
You can find many options readily available online.
The Coway AP-1512HH Mighty can reduce heavy smoke pollution in a 135-square-foot within 30 minutes. It functioned equally well in a 200-square-foot, 1,600-cubic-City bedroom in past tests. And during ongoing smoke conditions in a big city conference room of almost 10,000 cubic feet—more than twice as large as the big house specs would seemingly allow—it cut particulate pollution by nearly 70% in an hour. It’s a fantastic value, at an up-front price often descending than $200. The Mighty’s compact form, quiet operation, and capacity to shut off its display lights make it especially well suited to bedrooms. It performs like new even with filters used continuously for a year or longer in long-term use.
Levoit Core 400S
Levoit’s Core 400S presented a solid performance by removing 99.1% of smoke particles in 30 minutes on high and 96.3% on its third of four paces—the highest at which it produces less than 50 decibels of noise. Imagine you want an essential intelligent air purifier. In that case, it’s an attractive option, as it connects with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for voice control, in addition to holding its app. But it’s typically more costly than Coway Mighty upfront.
Blueair Blue Pure 211+
The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ is the choice among air purifiers for large spaces of up to 650 square feet, primarily when the area affects open floor programs or high ceilings. With the capability to filter more air per hour, the Coway Mighty performs faster to achieve and maintain low particulate levels in such hard rooms. The up-front price and operating costs of the Blue Pure 211+ are much higher, but that’s comparable to the merits of most other large-space purifiers. It is an exceptional performer, and it’s quiet and attractive to boot. All that said, unless you need to clean a vast space, the slower, smaller, and more inexpensive Coway Mighty is usually a more reasonable option.
The Coway Airmega 200M is created by the identical company as the AP-1512HH Mighty and is virtually similar to that model in every significant respect, namely the controls, noise, and performance. Their filters and even their faceplates are exchangeable. And like the Mighty, the Airmega 200M has a display-shutoff element that lets you darken its lights, something you will treasure favorably for bedroom use. The Airmega 200M has a square grille rather than a rounded one—but that’s the only notable physical difference.
Levoit Core 300
If you require to clean the air in the space of around 200 square feet, the Levoit Core 300 is a dependable and inexpensive cleaner. Running it 24/7 on medium depletes about $300 of electricity over five years. However, seven new filters in that period cost $180, making this model slightly more costly than the Coway Mighty over the long term. And it doesn’t keep speed with the Mighty or the Blue Pure 211+ in larger rooms.
The Winix 5500-2 is an outstanding performer on particulates, capturing 99.9% of the smoke in just 30 minutes on heightened and 97.2% on its medium-high setting, where it radiates an easy-to-live-with 40 decibels. However, in practice, the differences are insignificant: When used continuously as they are in most homes, both machines will drop particulates to near zero in under an hour—and keep them there. Of course, you will prefer the Mighty for its lower energy consumption, more diminutive visual footprint, display-shutoff feature, and more appealing look, but it’s a close race.
Honeywell Home HPA300
The Honeywell Home’s aesthetic stands as a favorite, but you get appropriate control for setting timers and reviewing whether the prefilter or filter requires replacing. If you’re examining excellent essential performance for a low price, you can’t beat this Honeywell HPA300. Honeywell’s air purifier is slightly more expensive than the HEPA models, but it can cover a more extensive space than almost any other purifier: 465 square feet. Despite its clunky design, the Honeywell Home is one of the quieter models.
Another Winix, the AM90, used the same HEPA filter as the 5500-2 and delivered a virtually identical performance. However, it has a more contemporary design that many people will find more attractive. It adds Wi-Fi capability and a rudimentary app, and it generally costs a few bucks more than the 5500-2. The almost exact Winix AM80 lacks the AM90’s Wi-Fi credentials and comes only in dark gray.
Blueair Blue Pure 411
The Blue Pure has various colored prefilter sleeves for the device’s exterior to fit into almost any color palette, and its single-button interface is as automatic as it gets. The device is also light, with a middle-of-the-road noise presentation. Besides the noise, the only real downside of the Blue Pure is the lack of extra goodies, like timer buttons. Instead, the Blueair Blue Pure 411 is a straightforward, detailed purifier with intelligent design and solid bang for your buck. In addition, you get particle and carbon filtration (the activated carbon filter removes pet dander, odors, airborne allergens, and airborne gaseous pollutants) that will work well in a 160-square-foot room.
The Blueair Blue Pure 311 Auto reduced smoke levels by 99.9% in 30 minutes on high and 94.2% on medium. Its auto function monitors your room’s air quality and modifies the fan speed accordingly. And it has other components we like, including notably quiet performance, incredible energy efficiency, and a control panel that automatically dims after changing the settings. This model is also beautiful, with a tweed-like, washable cover available in several muted colors. Two minor setbacks against it: The air-quality indicator lamp, a bright blue LED, shuts off only when the unit is on its quietest setting, and Blueair implies replacing the filters every six months.
Coway Airmega 400
The Airmega comes with many perks: You get a real-time air quality indicator an assortment of fan speed settings (the most elevated of which is surprisingly quiet). These smart settings change fan speed according to air quality and a range of timers. It’s also larger than multiple competitors, weighing almost 25 pounds. Most homes will be better suited with one or two smaller Coway or Honeywell air purifiers, but if you have a specific requirement for a lot of coverage, the Airmega might be a good call for you.
- What Air Purifiers Do Well: The air purifiers that do well in our tests are proved in our labs to be good at filtering dust, smoke, and pollen from the air. Multiple studies of portable air purifiers show that using HEPA filters results in reductions of 50 percent or higher in particulate matter.
- What Air Purifiers Don’t Do: An air purifier can remove allergens only while they’re floating in the air. Larger, heavier allergens, such as mites, mold, and pollen, settle to the ground so quickly that the air purifier can’t capture them in time.
- What We Don’t Yet Know: Radon is another blind spot for air purifiers and other air cleaners as the studies are inconclusive on air purifiers’ ability to tackle this dangerous gas. And in fact, there is insufficient research on air purifiers that address gaseous pollutants as a group, so it’s unclear how effective air purifiers are.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are several technologies air purifiers employ for tackling indoor pollution. Some work better than others. Some can actually be bad for your health.
|Mechanical filters||Air purifiers with pleated filters use fans to force air through a dense web of fine fibers that traps particles. Filters with very fine mesh are HEPA filters—those certified to collect 99.97 percent of particles of a certain size (0.3 microns in diameter—smoke and paint pigments, for example).|
|HEPA filters||HEPA can remove larger particles, too, including dust, pollen, and some mold spores while they’re suspended in the air. Note that some filters labeled “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like” have not been certified to meet the requirements of a true HEPA filter but may still perform adequately in our tests.|
|Activated carbon filters||Rather than catch particles like mechanical filters, sorbent filters use activated carbon that can adsorb some odor-causing molecules from the air. They may also tackle some gases, but they’re not particularly effective against formaldehyde, ammonia, or nitrogen oxide. Because they don’t combat particles, many air purifiers will include both an activated carbon filter and a pleated filter for catching particles.|
|Ozone generators||These machines produce ozone, a molecule that can react with certain pollutants to alter their chemical composition. Ozone has been linked to decreases in lung function and increased risks of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, and lung tissue inflammation. Ozone might also worsen asthma, emphysema, and bronchitis.|
|Electronic air purifiers||Electrostatic precipitators and ionizers charge particles in the air, so they stick to plates on the machine or to nearby surfaces by a magnetic-like attraction.|
|Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI)||Manufacturers claim their air purifiers kill airborne viruses, bacteria, and fungal spores with UV lamps but still some bacteria and mold spores are resistant to UV radiation. To work, the UV light must be powerful enough and the exposure must last long enough—minutes to hours rather than the few seconds typical of most portable UVGI air purifiers—to be effective.|
Points to Consider Before Buying Air Purifier
|Cost of replacement filters||As a general rule, you should replace filters (or clean those that can be cleaned) every six to 12 months for pleated filters and every three months for activated carbon filters.|
|Certifications||Air purifiers must run around-the-clock to be effective, and you should factor in the energy cost when you shop. Energy Star certified purifiers are 40 percent more energy-efficient than standard models.|
|Room size||Most of the models that are suitable for large rooms (350 square feet and up) still work well at lower (quieter) speeds, which is nice for when you’re watching TV or sleeping.|
|Noise||As machines should always be running, so ideally they should also be quiet. Run the unit on the high setting when you’re not in the room and turn it down to low when you’re nearby. Or buy an air purifier certified for a larger area so that even at a low speed, it filters more air.|
Air Purifier Features to Look For
Below are several features worth looking for on your next air purifier.
- Washable Prefilters: The reusable filters collect large particles before they reach the primary filter, potentially extending its life and saving you money on filters.
- Air Purifier Features to Avoid: An air purifier label that states the model is ARB certified. An air purifier’s activated carbon filter. An air purifier’s UV button that activates its UV lamp.
Anything That Emits Ozone. If a unit has an ionizer (which attracts particles via an effect like static electricity), it may produce ozone.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Air Purifiers
|Clean or replace filters regularly||As a general rule, you should replace them (or clean those that can be vacuumed) every six to 12 months for pleated filters and every three months for carbon filters.|
|Place it wisely||If you have just one unit, place it in the room where you spend the most time. For most people, that’s the bedroom. These machines can be heavy and clunky to move around, so if you want an air purifier in multiple rooms, you may want to buy a unit for each room.|
|No Obstruction||Place the air purifier at a spot where airflow is not obstructed —away from curtains.|
|Keep your purifier running 24/7||While it’s in use, keep doors and windows closed. Running the unit on the high when nobody in the room and turning it down to low when you’re nearby. While it’s in use, keep doors and windows closed. Running the unit on the high when nobody in the room and turning it down to low when you’re nearby.|
|Vacuum regularly||As no air purifiers can remove the larger allergens—dust mites and pet hair, you must use HEPA-certified filtration vacuum a once or twice a week to clean floors and furniture.|
|Ventilate||Open windows to let in clean and dry air from outdoor. If pollen or related allergies does not allow you to open windows, run air conditioner or forced-air cooling system with air filter.|
|Some more Precautions||* Use an exhaust fan for kitchen, bathrooms and laundry rooms.|
* Do not smoke indoors and also do not burn candles and wood fires.
* Reduce chemical and heavy cleaning products, and don’t store paint, glues, or insecticides near your living quarters.