If you are going to buy an air purifier, you should know how they work, why you need to have one and what model will suit all your requirements.
How to choose an air purifier
The first thing that might turn the process of choosing a perfect air purifier into a nightmare is an immense number of various models available in the market, which makes it absolutely unclear which one will answer all your requirements and bring the expected results.
Air Purifier Purpose
The very first question you need to ask yourself, desirably at the beginning of your search of the best air purifier, is “What functions do I want my air purifier to fulfil?” It is essential to have a clear answer to this question since the choice of various air purifiers you can see on the market is simply astounding.
Now, take a minute to think well about what you really expect from your air purifier, and what is the initial reason for you buying one? Are you someone susceptible to allergies that may be easily triggered by different particles floating in the air? Is it hair or pet dander that are causing you so much trouble? Are the airborne bacteria and virulent viruses that have made you look for a powerful air purifier? Would you like to completely get rid of the tough smoke seeping into the walls of your house? Are you dreaming about removing all the unpleasant odors that appear in your dwelling for whatever reasons? Or maybe you are simply looking for a way to boost the level of overall health in your family and reduce the risks of various unpleasant diseases?
Air Purifier Filter Type
After you have decided for yourself what functions you want your future air purifier to perform, you can use this knowledge for choosing the air filter technology that would suit your needs and solve your specific problems.
It is not hard to guess that there exist different air filtering systems dedicated to purifying the air from particular kinds of air pollutants more efficiently than the others.
True HEPA Filter
This is a physical-type filter characterized by high efficiency of performance. If you have come across a really good air purifier, it most likely contains this type of filtering technology.
What you need to be especially careful about is whether the characteristics of a certain air purifier include the phrase “true HEPA”, which means an authentic HEPA filtering system, instead of the “HEPA-type”. An authentic, or true HEPA filter has a certificate proving its capability to eliminate 99.7% of all contaminative particles having the size of up to 0.3 microns. In comparison, filtering systems positioned as “HEPA-type filters” can get rid of the polluting particles as small as 2—3 microns. For you to understand this difference more vividly, look at your hair — it is around 2 microns thick.
Effectively eliminates different types of allergens including dust particles and dust mites, mold spores, pollen grains, etc.
The pollutants cannot escape back in the air that has been purified with this device
Cannot fight various smells and odors, smoke, and chemical fumes
Not capable of getting rid of the viruses, the size of which is considerably smaller than 0.3 microns
Ionic Purifier (Ionizer)
In fact, an ionic purification system cannot be called a filter by definition since it does not take the air in. What it does instead is produce electrical charges that make the contaminative particles stick together in masses that become too heavy to continue floating in the air.
Capable of getting rid of extremely small particles measuring 0.01 microns
Gets rid of viruses, bacteria, smoke and toxic fumes particles, thus completely sterilizing the air
Purifies air but does not eliminate the contaminative particles. Since they are left in the room, there is a certain chance they might end up floating in the air once again
Cannot get rid of unpleasant smells and odors
Ultra Violet (UV) Light System
This specific air purification system is a perfect choice for the aim of removing various kinds of airborne pathogens from the room. Bacteria and even the tiniest viruses stand no chance since this system destroys their DNA molecular bonds by exposing them to its ultraviolet electromagnetic radiation. At the same time, this specific type of air purification has no influence on allergens or dust particles, which makes it a truly good choice only in combination with other filters.
Effectively destroys bacteria, germs, and viruses — potentially hazardous pathogens
Reduces the risks of catching a disease
Cannot get rid of dust particles, as well as various allergens
Cannot purify air from gases, chemical fumes, smokes, and their odors
Owing to countless tiny pores pf activated carbon, this filter type effectively catches and retains a number of different contaminative particles. Those include the small particles that make up gases and chemical fumes, various smokes and odors. However, carbon filters cannot get rid of all types of pollutants, which is why there are usually used in combination with filter of other types.
Has the highest absorption power among all other filter types
Easily gets rid of chemical fumes, gases, different smokes, smells, and odors
Retains the absorbed pollutants inside preventing them from getting back into the air
Not capable of eliminating allergens, including dust partciles
Not capable of catching airborne bacteria and viruses
Air Purifier Power
The next important criterion for your choice of a perfect air purifier for your specific needs is its power indicator, which is reflected in the space coverage of the device. A super-powerful model covering more space than you need is obviously a waste of money, just as a purifier that fails to purify all the air in the room.
When taking a closer look at different models that are now available on the market, you will notice that they are designed for a range of space sizes. As a rule, you will find specific indications explaining the purifying power of the device with phrases like “Room Size” or “Average Coverage” and a figure in square feet. While a less powerful machine will do a good job in a room of up to 150 square feet, other models will offer twice or thrice as much power.
What you need to do at this stage of your search is to calculate the square footage of the room where you would like to use your future air purifier.
Air Changes Per Hour (ACH) Rate
ACH rate is indicated by every air purifier model you can find. It shows the number of times per hour that the whole volume of air from the room goes through the purifier. For instance, if you see the ACH rate of five, it means that when used in a space it is designed for, the air purifier filters the air in the room five times in one hour.
It is highly recommended not to purchase models with an ACH rate of less than four. It is especially important if the main reason you are looking for an air purifier is to improve the quality of life when suffering from asthma or allergies.
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)
This characteristic is essential since it describes the effectiveness of air purification that the specific device can provide in three main categories: pollen, dust, and tobacco smoke. The strategy is simple: the higher the indicators are, the better air purification results you can expect.
Air purifier maintenance cost
When choosing an effective air purifier for either home or business, the majority of buyers take into account the price tag only. However, there is another important characteristic — cost of ownership — that considerably influences the final expenditures you will have to face. The cost of ownerships is largely contingent upon the specific air purification technology and filter type (or types), which in their turn determine the energy consumption of the air purification device.
If you are thinking about opting for an air purifier with a carbon filter or true HEPA technology, you should be perfectly aware of the real cost and frequency of filter replacement. The latter might vary from few months to few years, which substantially changes the cost of maintenance. To have a clear picture of all the costs you will deal with after you buy the desired air purifier, take some time to calculate the expected energy consumption and the maintenance expenditures within a year.