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Air Purifiers Buying Guide

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT AIR PURIFICATION WHAT AIR PURIFIERS DO, HOW THEY WORK AND HOW PURIFIED AIR CAN BENEFIT YOU

Take control of your home’s air quality, and relieve asthma and allergy symptoms by using an air purifier. When pollen, pet dander, and other common airborne allergens are captured and removed from your air with a portable air purification system, you and your family will breathe cleaner air and experience fewer allergy symptoms.

WHAT’S AN AIR PURIFIER?

Its name says it all. An air purifier cleans and purifies indoor air, removing allergens like dust, dander, and pollen so that you and your family will breathe pollution-free air. With fewer airborne particles and allergens in the air, you’ll spend less time suffering from allergy symptoms and more time doing the things you enjoy.

Small and portable, air purifiers can sit on a desk, table, or the floor without taking up much space. Their sizes and power vary, but they are all designed to purify a room’s air.

WHAT AN AIR PURIFIER DOES

A typical air purifier draws in air, processes it through a filter that captures allergens and other airborne particles, and then releases clean, purified air. Purifiers vary in what particles they can remove from the air, how large of a room they can handle, and energy efficiency, but they all do the same fundamental job: cleaning your air.

WHAT AIR PURIFIERS REMOVE

Small but mighty, air filters pack a lot of power. Depending on the device, purifiers can remove a range of pollutants from the air:

  • Dust
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Pollen
  • Smog
  • Smoke
  • Tobacco smoke and order
  • VOCs

Each purifier is different, and the pollutants they can capture vary. When shopping for a purifier, look on the product packaging for a list of pollutants that it’s able to remove. Look for products that specify each type of particle, don’t assume that the mention of “allergens” means it will treat everything.

AIR PURIFIER RATINGS AND EFFECTIVENESS

While forced air heating and cooling systems have very specific and detailed rating systems that tell you exactly what they are capable of doing, air purifiers don’t have a similar measurement tool that is used consistently. Some products are given a “clean-air delivery rate” or CADR, which is a measurement of cleaning speed—CADR 350 or greater is excellent and below 100 is poor—but it’s not used consistently. The one dependable and meaningful rating to look for is high efficiency particulate air or HEPA. When a product receives HEPA certification, the manufacturer will clearly label the packaging.

HEPA explained

For an air purifier to be labeled “HEPA,” it must meet the rigorous guidelines set by the US Department of Energy to remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. When a product is labeled HEPA or true-HEPA, it’s a guarantee that the purifier has been manufactured, tested, certified, and labeled in compliance with these standards.

Manufacturers will sometimes use descriptions like “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like,” but these filters are not the same as a certified HEPA filter. They may use similar materials or remove a high number of particles, but they have not met the HEPA certification requirements and will not perform to the same standard.

BENEFITS OF AN AIR PURIFIER

When you don’t have a forced air heating and cooling system, or you’re living in an apartment or dorm, portable air purifiers give you control over the quality of your air. They’re also a good solution for offices and other spaces where you want to exchange stale polluted air with fresh clean air.

For allergy sufferers, a HEPA air purifier can offer relief during allergy season. Even if your heating and cooling system uses an air filter, a stand-alone air purifier can still improve the quality of your air. Allergy experts recommend putting a purifier in your bedroom or other rooms where you spend the most of your time.

WHEN TO REPLACE YOUR FILTER

The average lifespan of an air-purifying filter is 3 months, but the manufacturer will also provide a recommendation specific to the product. Depending on the air quality and contaminants within your home’s air, the filter may need to be replaced more or less often.

Shop for an air purification system