Air Purifier Buyers Guide
Air Purifier Overview
Air purifiers are an essential weapon in reducing and eliminating harmful allergens in the form of either particulates like dust and pollen or noxious gases such as smoke. Since there is now a dizzying excess of air purifiers on the market, it has become difficult to ascertain whether a particular brand is reliable and can positively impact your health. At AllergyBuyersClub, we have tested numerous air purifier brands and stand behind our recommendations.
There are two things you need to bear in mind: you get what you pay for, and there is no silver bullet. You will need to make a good number of changes to your home environment, in addition to possibly buying some other types of products and an air purifier. But an air purifier is where you should start first.
Do I Need an Air Purifier?
If you live in or near a city and/or if you have any uncomfortable allergy symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, itchy eyes, sinus pain, or asthma symptoms, chances are that an air purifier could be really helpful. In addition to checking your own symptoms, the most accurate way to check the level of pollution in your home is with a particulate meter or specific intelligent devices that can monitor the level of pollution inside and outside your home on a continuous basis.
How do Air Purifiers Work?
The best way to understand how air purifiers work is to envision air being drawn into a machine, that air being passed through several filters, and then purified air being forced back out into the room. There are some nuances to the process, such as the number and types of filters, as well as some other germ-killing processes. In the rare case of an air sterilizer, no filters are used. However, the gold standard in air purification is HEPA filtration, which is a tightly woven filter. Some filters are “HEPA-like,” but they let more air through the filter and are less efficient.
How do I select the right Air Purifier?
- Coverage: always choose an air purifier that covers a larger area than you need, so you can turn it down low (to control noise) and still have it be effective.
- Brand: choose an air purifier brand that has been around a while and has garnered good customer reviews. The better-known manufacturers know what they are doing and are less interested in bells and whistles than they are in results. They are also less likely to go out of business, leaving you with a machine and no replacement filters.
- Energy Efficient: look for Energy Star Rated. This can make a very significant difference in terms of energy consumption.
- Check filter price: estimate the cost of replacement filters over the years. Do not choose a brand where you cannot afford its upkeep. Frequency of filter change, not just the filter cost itself, is equally as important. Some filters may be more expensive but last a long time compared to less expensive ones you need to change more frequently. It is imperative to change filters at the manufacturer’s suggested time frame for maximum performance and air quality.
- Air Purifier problem: decide as to how serious the problem that you are trying to tackle. The more serious the issue, such as noxious gases, the more likely it will cost more money to mitigate it. For example, a smaller HEPA air purifier might do the trick if you have lighter seasonal allergies.
How to Use an Air Purifier?
To get the most benefit, you should keep your air purifier running continuously at low speed and crank it up for a couple of hours before bedtime. Then turn it back down low or put it on “night mode.” Some newer air purifiers with advanced features will continuously monitor the air for you in “auto mode,” potentially saving you electricity. If you are purifying a bedroom, you must shut the door and the windows to get the best results. If your house has ducts, you’ll face constant decontamination through forced air ducts.
Areas to Purify
The first place you select to purify the air is in the bedroom because most people use their bedroom for eight plus hours a day. Then take the next most used room, the living or family room. Later on, if the portable air purifiers work well for you, you might consider a central or whole home air purification.
Air Purifier Features
The air purifier features we think are the most important are the following:
AHAM ratings, which give you a true and independently certified number of Air Changes per Hour (ACH.) We recommend 4-6 air changes for allergy sufferers. This has a lot to do with the power of the fan. Air changes are a function of CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) and square footage. In a 12′ x 12′ bedroom, you can get 5 ACH with a 100 CFM. That same unit in a larger living space, say 20′ x 20′ would only give you 2 ACH.
- A large surface area HEPA filter that is tightly and consistently manufactured.
- A HEPA efficiency rating of over 90 is very good. A good air cleaner filter should be H class rated.
- An indicator light, which tells you when to change the filters with each filter independently monitored.
- Separate Pre, HEPA, and gas filters. Other specialized filters are optional.
- Either continuous adjustment knob for fan speed or multiple fan speeds in order to monitor noise level.
- The air purifier needs to be effective on low speeds since most people do not like to hear fan noise. In an inexpensive air purifier (think low-cost fan,) if you are not careful you could end up only purifying the area of a small room.
- If you want an air purifier to filter out noxious odors and gases, you will need one with a filter with granulated carbon. More is better.
- Always look for an air purifier which is warranted to last 5 years or more.
- A nice extra feature is one which constantly measures your air quality and adjusts the fan speed accordingly.
See our Top-Rated Air Purifiers here!