Best Air Purifier Consumer Reports

Best Air Purifier Consumer Reports, Tips, Reviews, Ratings, and Guides in 2022

If you’re like most people, you spend a good portion of your time indoors. And if you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the air quality inside your home. But what if we told you that the air inside your home could be making you sick? Polluted indoor air has been linked to a variety of health problems, including asthma, allergies, and even cancer.

That’s why it’s important to invest in an air purifier. Not all air purifiers are created equal, though. So how do you know which one is right for you? In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most important things to consider when shopping for an air purifier.

What is an air purifier?

Before we get into the shopping tips, it’s important to first understand what an air purifier is. An air purifier is a device that removes pollutants from indoor air. It typically contains some type of filter that traps particles down to very small sizes (less than one micrometer) and then expels cleaner, healthier air back into the room.

Not only do these devices help remove common household odors, but they can also significantly improve your health by removing airborne allergens like dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and tobacco smoke. They can even reduce pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. Some high-end purifiers have technologies that can remove harmful gases, heavy metals, bacteria, and even airborne viruses.

Most Common Types of air purifier:

The most common types of air purifier are the following:

HEPA filter: HEPA is short for “high-efficiency particulate arrestance,” which refers to a specific type of filter technology that can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. This means it’s great at removing pollutants from the air, including dust, dirt, animal dander, pollen, mold spores, and even smoke particles. It should be noted that a HEPA filter alone does not typically remove gases or odors from the air, so you will probably still need an additional device (like an ozone generator) if you want to target these contaminants.

Carbon filter: These devices use activated carbon or other chemical absorbents to remove pollutants from the air. They are particularly effective at removing household odors, chemicals, and gases like formaldehyde. Since carbon filters can also remove some HEPA particles, it’s okay for an air purifier to contain both technologies.

UV-C light: A UV-C light works by bombarding the surface of airborne particles with ultraviolet radiation. This causes chemical changes that kill or neutralize bacteria, viruses, mold spores, and other harmful microorganisms. Keep in mind that these devices typically work best at killing germs after they have already been captured on a filter. You’ll find this technology primarily in cold plasma purifiers, which use no moving parts and thus tend be more reliable than mechanical air purifiers.

Ozone generator: Ozone generators use ultraviolet light to produce the same type of ozone found in nature (yes, the stuff that makes your hair stand up and gives you a sore throat if you breathe too much of it) and then pump this ozone into your home’s air supply. This does a good job at killing germs and purifying the air, but one major drawback is that it can trigger or worsen respiratory problems like asthma. So, they’re best used sparingly and only during the actual flu season. If you do opt for an ozone generator, be sure to keep it at least 15 feet away from where people are living or working.

What should you know about air purifier?

Room size: Be sure to choose an air purifier that’s suitable for the square footage of the room you want to put it in. This is especially important if you have pets, since some models can clean a smaller space more quickly than others. If your pet sheds heavily or has dander-related allergies, then consider choosing a multi-stage model that features both a HEPA filter and carbon pre-filter. For rooms with severe odors, look for devices with activated carbon filters. It should be noted that most air purifiers are not designed to work as stand-alone solutions; many require at least one wall outlet nearby or must be permanently installed near an existing floor or window fan.

Filters: Ideally, you should choose an air purifier with a HEPA filter and activated carbon pre-filter.  If the device also has a carbon post-filter or cold plasma technology, so much the better. You can also look for a model that comes with a UV light to kill germs without ozone. Just keep in mind that most germicidal technologies will work best at killing germs after they have been trapped on a filter, so it’s not typically necessary to have both HEPA and UV germicidal filters in one unit.

Noise Level: In general, the lower the decibel rating, the better. If you have a small bedroom or work from home, opt for a purifier with a rotating intake grill design. These models tend to be much quieter than those with a stationary intake grill. Also keep in mind that fans and motors will generate noise whether they are on or off, so many modern air purifiers now come equipped with sound-reducing technology such as rubberized feet, specially designed housings, and acoustic insulation between moving parts . In addition, some units can automatically adjust their fan speed depending on how dusty or smelly the air is at any given time. Others use special quiet mode settings that reduce overall noise levels without disrupting airflow too much.

Fortunately, today’s best air purifiers are far less noisy than older models, sporting advanced sound-reduction technology to minimize noise disruption. Even so, it’s recommended that you check each model’s decibel rating before buying. Most units can be configured to run quietly at around 25 dB or lower. However, if you plan on using your device in a baby room or office setting, you might want to look for a unit with sound dampening capabilities.

Power Source: Ideally, you should choose an air purifier with a long-lasting replaceable battery, in case the power goes out. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s replacement recommendations (ideally, at least once annually) and determine how long it takes to fully charge these types of batteries when they are completely drained. If the rechargeable battery is built-in, look for devices that come with solar panels or AC adapters so you can still use them during blackouts. Also keep in mind that most air purifiers do not always filter 100% of the air; many models will automatically stop filtering when their filter cartridges become too dirty or clogged to function properly. It may be necessary to replace the filter cartridge every 3 to 12 months, depending on your needs.

Maintenance: For most standard filters, you should be able to use a simple brush attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean HEPA filter material. Some air purifier models also come with self-cleaning, or sensor activated features that can work as a secondary cleaning method. If the unit has an ionizer feature, just be sure the device is unplugged before attempting to remove it for cleaning purposes. A few units may require water maintenance, so make sure you read through any included instructions carefully.

Price: Although it is important to find a high-quality air purifier at an affordable price point, keep in mind that most well-known brands come with higher price tags than generic products. This does not necessarily mean they are better designed or more effective, so you will have to do your research before buying a product.

Keep in mind that some filters and germicidal technologies will need to be replaced more frequently than others, which could impact how much money you spend over time. In addition, most units will require at least one replacement filter cartridge per year, and some may need a new filter every few months. If that’s the case, you might want to look for an air purifier with an indicator light or audible alarm. It should also be noted that HEPA filters will require regular cleaning and seal replacement, so if you can find a device with self-cleaning features or automatic sensor features, so much the better. Finally, understand that all UV germicidal bulbs need to be replaced about once every year or two, so this should be taken into consideration when deciding on a particular model.

Design: Sometimes, it’s all about the design. When you’re looking at air purifiers, keep in mind that some units store easily, some are mounted on walls or can be tacked to stand upright on tabletop surfaces, and others come equipped with built-in carrying handles. A few even sports hinged doors that allow you to safely remove HEPA filter cartridges without making a mess. Also consider how big an area each unit is meant to clean; many of today’s best air purifier models feature advanced technologies such as True HEPA filters and carbon pre-filters; these will require more space than standard filters.

Accessories: Even if your budget is extremely limited, there are still plenty of options available for those who want clean air throughout their entire home or office. Most units can be configured to work as a tower fan, whole-room fan, desktop fan, personal air purifier, nightlight, humidifier, and/or deodorizer. The bottom line is that you should carefully evaluate each model’s functions before making your final purchasing decision.

Filter replacement: If you are purchasing an ionizer air purifier, keep in mind that these machines require specialized filter replacement parts, usually due to the extremely high voltage applied during the cleaning process. Before buying one of these devices, make sure you speak with a representative from the manufacturer to determine how much replacement material costs. Keep in mind that some manufacturers will offer discounted filter prices if you buy multi-packs or bundles. You may also want to shop around for the best deals on Ultraviolet germicidal bulbs, which are usually sold in strips of 6, 12, or 24 units.

Disinfectant properties: Although most people use their air purifiers to remove pet dander, dust, pollen, and other irritants from the air, some units also come with a germicidal feature. These machines will emit an ultra-violet light that kills bacteria and viruses on contact. Of course, you should keep in mind that this does not mean your air purifier can replace a standard HEPA filter or carbon pre-filter.

Area coverage: It’s extremely important to know how many square feet each unit can clean at a time, as this information will be available directly on the product box or literature. For those who want to cover larger spaces with fewer units, some models come equipped with built-in fans that operate in a “push and pull” motion that increases airflow and improves coverage efficiency.

Airflow capabilities: When shopping for an air purifier, most people assume they need a device with a strong airflow. Keep in mind, however, that many units will also come equipped with oscillating fan blades and/or adjustable speeds. If you’re planning on using your purifier for more than just removing allergens from the home or office, you might want to consider looking for models that offer variable speeds; these can be adjusted according to individual needs.

Timer: Some units come equipped with built-in timers that allow you to program the unit to turn on and off at specific times of the day. These can be especially helpful if you plan on using your purifier as a nightlight or deodorizer, but keep in mind this feature may not be available on all models.

CADR ratings: Another way to determine how much cleaning power a particular unit has is by studying its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) score. Be forewarned that this number changes according to fan speed and overall airflow capabilities; therefore, it may not always reflect the actual performance of individual units on store shelves. This information can typically be found on the product box or literature.

Extra features: Look for models that are built with additional options such as ionizer air purifiers, HEPA filters, pre-filters, multiple fan speeds, timers, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, nightlights, and LED displays. Many well-known brands come equipped with remote controls which allow you to control the machine from across the room. Keep in mind, however, that many of these features will increase your overall cost.

Warranty: When shopping for an air purifier, it’s important to note the length of warranty coverage offered by various manufacturers. Some brands will offer one-year warranties with parts and labor, while others may only provide a service agreement that covers certain parts over a two-year period. If you plan on using your machine for years or decades, look for one that provides comprehensive warranty protection; this is especially true if you decide to purchase an electrostatic filter cleaner.

Style: You should consider when shopping for an air purifier is the machine’s design, which includes its overall dimensions and weight. For example, some models are specifically designed to fit on tabletop surfaces while others must be wall mounted. The overall size of your machine will depend on the room you intend to use it in; keep in mind that even the smallest unit will cover approximately 300 square feet or more.

Scent options: Most air purifiers will remove unpleasant odors from the home or office, which is especially helpful if you have pets. They also provide a fresh scent to keep your environment smelling clean and fresh. Many models come with pre-filled liquid or gel scents that emit a pleasant fragrance throughout a room, while others may require you to add your own liquid fragrances, potpourri oils, etc.

Humidifying options: If you live in dry areas of the country, it’s important to shop for an air purifier that doubles as a humidifier. These types of machines can add moisture into the atmosphere during times of dryness by filling the home or office with steam vapor. Some brands even come equipped with waterless tanks which allow you to add distilled water as needed.

Weight: This is especially important if you plan on wall-mounting your purifier. If this is the case, then check out the machine’s weight and overall size before making a purchase. Keep in mind that many units can weigh anywhere from 20 to 30 pounds, which may cause serious structural damage should they fall off your wall.

Material: Today’s air purifiers are made from a variety of materials such as plastic, metal, and more. Before purchasing one, be sure to decide which material you prefer. For example, some consumers find that plastic units tend to warp after several years of use. On the other hand, metal components generally provide higher levels of durability and offer more airflow. Many models come with allergen-resistant filtration systems that trap 99% of pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, pollen, etc.

Durability: If you decide to purchase an air purifier, it’s important to note the machine’s overall durability. The components should be well-assembled so that they require minimal maintenance over the life of the product. Look for units made from steel, aluminum, and other high-quality material; these types provide greater longevity than cheaper plastic models.

Accessories: Air purifiers with higher price tags generally come with several accessories that are beneficial to your overall health. For example, some machines with UV lights or ionizers can destroy bacteria that is present in the air. An activated carbon filter helps eliminate unpleasant odors, while an electrostatic air filter traps dust particles and other allergens.

The Pros and Cons of air purifier:

Pros:

Keeps indoor air clean and free of contaminants

Reduces illnesses such as the common cold and flu

Allergy relief for people who suffer from asthma, hay fever and other allergies

Cons: 

Some purifiers can be heavy to wall mount or move around

High energy usage costs when compared to standard HVAC systems. This is especially true in places like Northern climates during winter months.

FAQs:

How do you find the right air purifier for your home?

Finding the best air purifier depends on several different factors. For example, if you live in a small apartment, a medium unit with an active carbon filter should work perfectly fine. However, larger homes should consider investing in heavy-duty models that feature multiple filtration systems.

Can all purifiers remove smoke and odors from the room?

Most machines can eliminate unpleasant smells such as cigarette smoke, pets (urine, feces), paint fumes, cooking scents, etc. Depending on which type of machine you choose, some may be more effective at removing certain odors than others. Keep in mind that most odor-causing particles are quite small, which makes them difficult for purifiers to trap.

How do air purifier work?

The components of a purifier work together to trap pollutants and allergens from the air. Some common filters include HEPA, ionizers, ultraviolet light systems, fans, activated carbon filters, etc.

What are some air purifiers for allergies?

Several options are available for people who suffer from seasonal allergies. For example, larger units with multiple filtration systems can be used to reduce high pollen counts that cause hay fever symptoms. Other models provide relief by removing 99% of allergen particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter. Allergy sufferers may also benefit from using an allergy relief machine that contains an active carbon filter along with unique technologies such as UV bulbs or negative ions.

What is an ionizer air?

An ionizer is an integral part of many purification systems because it can help reduce the number of airborne particles in your home. Some models use a positive ion generator, which emits additional oxygen ions into the air. This type is beneficial for people who suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma or bronchitis. Negative ion generators can also be used to remove pollutants and allergens, but they should never be used near people with these types of health issues.

Do air purifiers cause any harmful side effects?

Most devices are safe to use on a regular basis, especially if you follow all directions provided by the manufacturer. It’s important to check the manual thoroughly before using any allergy relief machine that contains UV bulbs or negative ion generators because these may cause certain side effects.

What are some air purifiers that fight viruses?

Some germicidal (UV) lights emit ultraviolet light that provides the same benefits as staying out in direct sunlight over long periods of time. This type of machine can kill most viruses, bacteria, spores and molds found in the home without emitting harmful ozone levels.

Do air purifiers reduce dust?

Most filtering systems can reduce airborne dirt particles, but some models may be better suited for homes with high amounts of dust. For example, HEPA filters remove 99% of allergen particles down to 0.3 microns in size while ionizers emit extra ions into the air. This combination is beneficial because the charged particles attract tiny pollutants, which allows them to remove more effectively.

What does HEPA stand for?

HEPA is short for High Efficiency Particulate Air, which refers to the types of filters used by most modern purifiers. HEPA filters are effective at trapping harmful particles while remaining silent during operation.

Can I put a HEPA filter in my AC?

No, you should never use a HEPA filter inside an HVAC system. Their powerful filtration capabilities are designed to remove particles that are up to 0.3 microns in size. Using them inside your HVAC system can trap pollutants in the coils or restrict airflow, which can cause damage.

Do purifiers work on cigarette smoke?

Most filters can remove small amounts of cigarette smoke from the air, but they often do not provide adequate filtration when it comes to heavy cigarette odors. Large units that contain multiple filtration systems are more capable at neutralizing strong scents caused by smoking, cooking or pets.

How long do filters last?

There are many variables that determine how long a filter will last, including the type of system being used. Some models have indicator lights for when filters need to be replaced, but others may have to be manually checked over time.

How often do they need changed?

It’s best to check your owner’s manual for specific requirements. It’s typically recommended that filters are replaced every 6-12 months, but this can vary depending on air quality and usage.

Conclusion: 

The effectiveness of air purifiers will vary greatly depending on the model and type of filtration system used. Allergy relief machines with additional features such as HEPA filters, ionizers or UV bulbs can be beneficial for asthma patients, but they should not be confused with medical devices. The best way to decide which one is right for your home is to read up on customer reviews before making a purchase.

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