How to choose an air purifier: 5 things to look for and 1 thing to avoid

Here’s what you need to know about finding a home air purifier that suits your needs.

If you’re shopping for an air purifier for your home, there are several factors to consider when choosing and setting up an air purifier in your room, whether it’s reducing smoke pollution, reducing the risk of viral transmission, or improving seasonal allergies. Consideration must be given to the type of filter, cost, user experience, the size of the room or space in which the air purifier is located, the price and ease of maintenance of the device, and the ongoing cost of replacing the filter. Choosing the right features is the most important for a device that will handle the air you breathe into your lungs, so we’ll rank them in order of importance.

1.Type of filtration, including stages

Many air purifiers boast fancy filtration systems to remove maximum air particles. You only need to look for a true HEPA filter, also known as a high-efficiency particulate air filter, as these filters can capture 99.97% of particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns. Everything else is sugar-coated.
Avoid: I caution you not to buy air purifiers that use UV light or ionization, as these produce ozone, a lung irritant that has been shown to reduce lung function and inflame lung tissue.
Stages are popular in air purification systems. Stages are the layers of filters that the air purifier passes through during the cleaning process. These devices usually have at least one washable fabric filter and then a replaceable filter, which should always be a HEPA filter. This will be a two-stage system. Some systems have three stages, with the third layer being an activated carbon filter that removes odors and gases from the air.

2.The size of the room you want to purify

First, measure the size of your room.
Air purifiers are optimized for cleaning a room of a specific size because their power is measured by how often they can exchange all the air in the room, called air changes per hour (ACH). The higher the ACH, the more powerful the air purifier is. An ACH of 4 means it can exchange all the air in the room four times in an hour, so it only takes 15 minutes to purify the air in the room. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently introduced new guidelines recommending changing the air five times an hour to reduce airborne viruses.

3.Cost, including maintenance

Cost is another key factor when choosing an air purifier.
After you consider the room size and initial budget for your air purifier, you need to consider maintenance costs and factor this into your long-term budget. Air purifiers require filter replacement every few months, whether every 3, 6 or 12 months, depending on the filter and usage.
Some air purifiers cost less upfront but require frequent, more expensive filter replacements, so check how often you need to replace the filters and how much they cost before settling on a model.

4.Noise level, depends on where you place it

I don’t mind the hum of my bedside air purifier, which acts as a source of white noise and lulls me to sleep with clean, fresh air. However, I don’t always want to hear a fan when I’m at work and my dog is in the office, triggering my allergies, so I knew I needed a quiet fan in that room.
Noise levels are often listed on an air purifier’s spec sheet, so take a look at that if you’re sensitive to noise or looking for a quiet device.
There are many low-pitched air purifiers on the market, ranging from 24-30 decibels. For reference, a refrigerator hums around 40 decibels, while a vacuum cleaner ranges around 60-70 decibels.

5.Extra functions

Other additional features include air quality indicators, schedules, timers and filter replacement indicators. These features add convenience for consumers, but they may increase the initial cost of the device, so consider which ones are worth your expense.

common problem

How does an air purifier work?

An air purifier is an air filtration system for enclosed spaces. It’s a case with a fan inside that pulls air out one side and pushes it out the other side. As air is pulled in, it is pushed through layers of filters to remove fine particles, and clean air is released on the other side.

Are there any disadvantages to air purifiers?

Aside from the monetary investment and small energy consumption, there are no real downsides to air purifiers with HEPA filters.
Some air purifiers use ultraviolet light and ionization to neutralize airborne particles, but during operation they produce ozone as a byproduct, which can cause lung irritation, coughing, and even permanent lung damage.
That’s why it’s best to choose an air filtration system with HEPA filters, as these filters can trap fine particles in the air without producing gases.

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