Tips on How to Find an Air Purifier
- Decide out where you want to place your air purifier so you can choose the right size for your device.
- Look for an air purifier that’s good at filtering out pollutants specific to your home or health needs (removing pet dander or cigarette smoke, for example).
- Compare CADR ratings, which show how effectively an air purifier filters specific pollutants.
- Compare ACH ratings, which show you how many air changes per hour.
- Choose a device that uses a HEPA filter, the gold standard for indoor air purifiers.
- Look at noise levels (listed in decibels) in product specs. Depending on where you’re using your air purifier, you may want a quieter device.
- Calculate the air purifier’s ongoing maintenance and electricity costs so you can budget beyond your initial purchase.
Choosing the best air purifier for your room size
The first step is figuring out how much space you want your device to clean. Desktop devices aren’t sufficient for a large bedroom whereas a larger air purifier isn’t suitable for your kid’s bedroom.
Check out our guide to find out how to measure your room.
Figure out the type of pollutants you want to remove
Different air purifiers are better at filtering out certain types of contaminants than others. If your main concern is pet dander/hair you may need a different device than someone who is worried about tobacco smoke.
Compare CADR ratings
The CADR ratings show how effectively an air purifier filters specific pollutants such as smoke, dust and pollen.
It is safer to buy air purifiers that are labelled with a clean air delivery rate (CADR) from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). This label guarantees that the CADR rating has been validated.
For example the Honeywell HPA 300 air purifier has a CADR of 300 / 320 / 300 means that the air purifier can reduce tobacco smoke concentration by the equivalent of adding 300 cubic feet of fresh air per minute, dust by 320 cubic feet and pollen by 300 cubic feet per minute. It is one of the best air cleaners in the world.
Rule of thumb, the higher the CADR rating, the more particles the air purifier can remove and the larger the room the device can reasonably be expected to clean. Another rating to consider is the ACH.
Compare the ACH Rating
The ACH rating indicates how many air changes per hour an air purifier can exchange air within a room. More fresh air exchange equals better indoor air quality. The higher the number the better.
For example: The Levoit Core 300 air purifier has a 5X ACH meaning that it can exchange air in a room every 12 minutes.
Choose a device that uses a True HEPA filter
There are many types of filters that can found in an air purifier including the pre-filter, charcoal and activated carbon filter which traps gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and odors. Ionizers and UV filters can also be found in devices. They have been said to reduce viruses and bacteria.
However, the most important filter to look for is the True HEPA filter. This is the standard that is recommended by the EPA and the American Lung Association. HEPA filters 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size.
You may find devices that are “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like” that don’t meet the standard. Your best bet is to choose a purifier with the TRUE Hepa filter.
Our recommended air purifiers with a True HEPA Filter include:
- Rabbit Air MinusA2 Air Purifier
- Honeywell HPA300 Air Purifier
- Germ Guardian AC4100 Air Purifier
- Winix Plasmawave 5500-2 Air Purifier
- Coway AIRMEGA 300s Air Purifier
There are two HEPA-type air purifiers that we also recommend:
How much noise does it make?
Most air purifiers work by using internal fans to pull air through the filters. At lower settings the fans will be silent but at higher settings they can be quite loud.
Be mindful of where you are placing your purifier. If you’re using your air purifier in your bedroom or baby room you may want to choose one that is quiet at the higher settings.
You’ll find noise levels measured in decibels.
An air purifier is an investment in your health.
Filter replacement costs vary from machine to machine. In general, more expensive filters last for years, while cheap filters have to be changed frequently. Some of the filters are washable, while the True HEPA filters themselves are disposable and must be entirely replaced.
If the device has a pre-filter then it will prolong the lifespan of the HEPA filter by first removing the larger particles.
Calculate the cost per year to maintain it before you buy an air purifier.
Energy-star certified purifiers are often mentioned because they are more efficient. However, you can find your air purifier’s estimated energy usage in the product specs.
The number here matters as it can have a high cost for your electricity bill.
More Resources on Air Purifiers:
10 of the top manufacturers share their insights on the 3 top benefits of air cleaners. You will find many similar answers throughout from these experts.
Our post is your guide to picking the right sized air purifier for your needs. A few simple measurements and some quick research will help you choose the best device for your home.
ACH is the number of air changes per hour. CADR is the clean air delivery rate. Find out what it means and why the ACH and CADR are the top two specifications you should look for in an air purifier.