The Complete Air Purifier Buyer’s Guide

Stop and consider the air around you. Over the years, a few disconcerting facts have become clear: As populations grow and emissions levels rise, air pollution has become a dire issue for city dwellers. In both city and rural communities, airborne allergens can hinder daily life, causing bothersome and debilitating respiratory issues. The health risks associated with chemical, smoke, and other harmful inhalations are undeniable.

Air Purifier

To combat these and other issues, more and more people are turning to air purification systems to help them breathe cleaner, healthier air.

What do air purifiers do?

An air purifier works to remove contaminants from your surrounding air. Whether your biggest concern is eliminating airborne allergens, pollutants, smoke, or odors, there’s an air purification system designed to do just that.

How do air purifiers work?

Depending on the brand and model, air purifiers employ a variety of technologies. The most effective is HEPA filter technology. HEPA filters, or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters, use a complex configuration of fibers to trap 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. If that sounds oddly specific to you, it’s because in order to carry the HEPA name, the filter must be certified to perform at that level. So it’s not a guess, just a fact.

Another technology that is typically used in conjunction with HEPA technology is Activated Carbon. Activated Carbon’s porous structure and absorption properties make it the ideal combatant of odor, chemical, and smoke.

UV technology is rarely used on its own; it’s most commonly used in conjunction with filtration-based systems. As the name suggests, air purifiers that utilize UV technology use ultraviolet rays to kill bacteria and viruses.

Other less effective air purification systems employ Ion and Ozone technologies. Ion air purifiers cause the particulates that pass through it to carry a negative charge and then stick to the nearest surface. This only temporarily keeps the contaminants from circulating in the air. Ozone air purifiers produce ozone to inhibit bacteria. Ozone, however, can be harmful in large concentrations, especially to those who have respiratory issues.

What should I consider when looking for an air purifier?

The main things you should consider when shopping for an air purifier are desired coverage, desired result, and technology used.

Desired Coverage

Air purifiers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are personal and portable air purifiers, which are designed to clean the air only in your immediate area, and there are also whole room and whole house air purifiers that can clean the air in much larger areas.

The largest coverage area of an air purifier is close to 1,200 sq. ft. If you’re looking to purify your entire home and it is larger than that, you’ll want to consider using 2 or more air purifiers in your home. Another option is to consider the square footage of the room you spend the majority of your time in and to look for an air purifier that accommodates that capacity.

Desired Result

When shopping for an air purifier, you’ll also want to think in terms of your desired result. Do you want to find relief from seasonal allergies? Are smoke and odors your biggest concern? Are you looking to rid your baby’s nursery of airborne contaminants? Although most air purifiers are designed for overall air quality improvement, some have a specialized cleaning technology and are designed to target a specific issue. If you have a particular need, shop in those terms.

Technology Used

One of the most important things to consider when looking at air purifiers is technology used. As we outlined before, not all air purifiers work the same. You’ll want to know whether or not you’re going to receive guaranteed results, like those you get from a HEPA and Activated Carbon filtration system, or temporary results, like those from ionizing and ozone-producing systems.

Other Important Factors to Consider

You’ll also want to pay attention to size, filter life, and noise output.

  • Size of the Unit:

    If you have a certain area of your home you want to place the air purifier, pay attention to the size of the unit. Some models are much larger than others, and you’ll want to be sure you have enough space to accommodate your new unit.

  • Filter Life:

    The life of your filter is important to consider for maintenance purposes. If changing out filters frequently seems like a potential issue for you, look for a unit with a long filter life. That way, you’ll minimize costs and manual maintenance.

  • Noise Output:

    Many people plan to use their new air purifier in a nursery or bedroom. If this is the case for you, search for a unit that touts a quiet operation. If not in every mode, look for a model that has a quiet or silent operation option. This will ensure that sleep and tranquility is not sacrificed for clean air.

No matter the concerns you have about your surrounding air, there’s an air purifier that can bring you relief. Although it’s difficult to control the air outside your home, it’ll be comforting to know you have a clean and purified haven to come home to.

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About Author

Sarah is a savvy urbanite with small town roots. As a foodie, wine lover & adventurer, she loves the bustling city and the great outdoors equally. Her motto is that you don’t have to sacrifice comfort, convenience, or fresh air for small-scale urban living.

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