Last updated on October 23rd, 2022
What are you looking for? A specific air purifier or do you need help with something? Search it down below:
What is an Air Purifier
An air purifier is a device that can clean the air inside a room, house or any other area from airborne particles. These particles include but are not limited to bacteria, germs, dust and dust mites, various allergens (pollen, pet allergies), odors (smoke, cooking odors, etc.), VOCs, chemicals and many other irritants. As a result, the air is clean, fresh and breathes better.
When selecting an air purifier it is good to make sure it can cover a selected area: if your cleaner won’t clean the whole space, air quality will be severely downgraded and there is a chance you won’t notice any difference.
Select an area you want to clean:
An area that can be purified is mostly using the value of Clean Air Delivery Rate known as CADR. It defines how much air is cleaned from a given particulate matter and is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM) or cubic meters per hour (m³/h). The higher this rating is, the more particles are removed and the faster the cleaning process is.
Air Purifier Types
There are a lot of air cleaners today and many of them are completely different from one another, each having its purpose and functions. To help you understand what’s what I divided air purifiers into several categories:
- Means of filtration
- Other types that don’t fit into the previous three categories
Let’s explore each category.
By Filtration Technology
The most common division of air purifiers is an air cleaning technology they utilize to filter particles from the air.
HEPA is the most popular mean of air filtration. This abbreviation stands for High Efficiency Particulate Filter and it does what it was is named for – removes particles from the air by trapping them inside a filter. HEPA filters have several standards, the most common is H13 which can capture particles down to 0.03 micron at 99.97% efficiency.
HEPA filters are also divided into washable and non-washable. Most are non-washable, since washing them destroys their ability to effectively capture fine particles.
The lifespan of most HEPA filters ranges from 3 to 6 months, then they need a replacement and won’t provide any meaningful air cleaning. Replacements usually cost from 20 to 35% of the retail price of an air purifier and contribute the majority of operating costs. Washable HEPA filters slightly improve the lifespan, however, they also need to be replaced at least once a year. There are also high-quality HEPA filters that can clean the air for a year, but they are rare and priced accordingly.
Activated Carbon filters provide an additional layer of air cleaning. Charcoal is known for its ability to absorb odors, so the majority of air purifiers employ them in their cleaning process. The effectiveness of Carbon filters is based on their weight (more carbon in a filter is always better!) and quality.
Air purifiers with exclusively carbon filters aren’t available for purchase.
Most air purifiers also use pre-filters which are installed right before a HEPA or Carbon filter. These filters do not filter smoke, dust, bacteria, allergens and other fine particles, but they remove larger particulate matter such as pet hair or pet dander (mostly cats and dogs). In this way, pre-filters help with air cleaning and expand the lifespan of other filters.
As the name suggests, filterless air purifiers do not use any kind of filter to remove air pollution. Instead, they use either ions to clean the air or ultraviolet lamps to remove viruses.
Ionizers produce ions that attach themselves to airborne particles, making them heavier and more prone to falling down to the floor where they can be collected with a vacuum cleaner. However, this technology might release ozone and it may be dangerous for people with asthma or any other breathing conditions if they are exposed to it for too long.
Ionic air purifiers are often used in commercial spaces where people don’t spend their whole day. Some air purifiers also use a built-in ionizer to help them capture air pollution.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) has been used for decades now, mostly in hospitals and laboratories to disinfect the air. It employs one or more UV lamps to kill germs, viruses and bacteria by exposing them to the short-wavelength ultraviolet light and destroying their DNA.
UV air purifiers must use 254nm bulbs to prevent ozone generation in a process.
PECO stands for Photo Electrochemical Oxidation. It was developed only recently and there aren’t many studies that prove its efficiency. It uses photon-based air purification process to remove allergens indoors. Compared to ionizers, HEPA or UV air filtration technologies, this one isn’t used by many air purifiers and needs additional research and testing.
Another means of categorizing air purifiers is by their type of placement. Those are:
Portable air purifiers are the most popular – there is a large selection of them, starting as low as $20-30 up to several hundred or even thousand USD. They can be used everywhere from a room to an office. On the other hand, ceiling mounted air purifiers are often installed in HVAC systems and offer air cleaning for the whole house.
Air purifiers are used in homes, offices, schools and other places and many of them require special filters or settings. To make sure your air purifier
Home air purifiers are very popular nowadays, this has become even more true after the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic has hit the USA and the world. Air purifiers for home use differ quite a lot, as their features and abilities may vary greatly based on the rooms where they are intended to be used. For example, an air purifier for a kitchen has to have good odor elimination capabilities while a bedroom air purifier has to be as quiet as possible unless you like noise very much which helps with sleeping.
Select a room to get the list of best air purifiers:
Air purifiers are not only used at homes – they come in handy in various public and commercial spaces:
Travel air purifiers have to be portable, reliable and quiet to use in a hotel room.
Personal air purifiers are very similar to travel ones. In recent years even more popularity is gained by wearable air cleaners that can be powered up with a common USB.
Air scrubber is a negative air machine that attaches to the ductwork of a HVAC system to clean the air from dust, pollen, smoke, fumes, odors and other particulate matter. Some air scrubbers are also portable and can be used as a usual HEPA home air purifier.
Ozone generators produce ozone to clean the air. There are no limitations on how much ozone is produced in the process, so this type of air purifier is used on construction sites, in factories and other similar places.
If you are concerned with the reliability of reviews you read online and want to have independent testing of specifications provided by an air purifier manufacturer or seller, then you should look for AHAM-Verified air purifiers. AHAM stands for Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers that independently tests air cleaners and based on the results recommend the size of an area they can clean.
Air cleaners that pass through the test also have verified CADR ratings for dust, pollen and smoke.
Combo air purifiers utilize several means of air filtration while others have additional functions, such as dehumidifying the air or deodorizing it. Here are some examples of air purifiers combo:
- Humidifier and air purifier combo
- Dehumidifier and air purifier combo
- Ionizer and air purifier combo
- Air purifier and oil diffuser combo
Whole house air purifiers are mostly installed in a home’s HVAC system. In this way they purify all air that passes through the system supplying the whole house with clean and breathable air.
Down below are useful tools for people who want to get a little bit more information about their future purchase. Click on the name of a tool to get access to it.
Air changes per hour is stands for how many times in one hour an air purifier can clean the whole selected area. Many sellers use unrealistic coverage trying to get you to buy their product. With this calculator you will always be sure to get a unit that can truly purify the area.
CADR is a useful metric that can make it or break it. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers specify it and that’s where you need a special calculator to find it yourself. Produces values both in CFM and cubic m/hr.
This is a simple yet effective calculator that allows you to calculate the amount of electricity that any air purifier or any other appliance uses per day, month or year.
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