What does an air purifier do?
In the modern world, things like exhaust fumes, mold and other undesirable particles float around freely everywhere you go — air purifiers serve to cleanse the air of these pollutants.
Some purifiers clean the air in rooms as large as 800 feet or more, while others filter out pollutants in spaces as small as your car. No matter what kind of setting you need to cleanse, after researching what kind of devices are out there and how they work, you’ll be in a better position to decide which one is best for you.
How do air purifiers work?
Some air purifiers attract particles and then bond the dust and allergens with negative ions. Once the positively attracted particles bond with the negative ions, they become too heavy to float and fall to the floor to be swept up later.
Most air purifiers have a filter that air passes through before being cycled back into the room. As the air passes through the filter, contaminants are trapped inside.
Many air purifiers are equipped with specialized high-efficiency particulate air filters that remove particles as small as 0.003 micrometers (µm) in size. Some air purifiers have filters other than HEPA filters, but they’re only guaranteed to cleanse foul odors from the air, potentially leaving other contaminants to circulate freely.
Air purifier FAQ
Q. Can I use an ozone generator as an air purifier?
A. Many ozone generator manufacturers market their devices as air cleaners. Still, per the Environmental Protection Agency, these types of devices are not approved for use in occupied spaces, as they’re unquestionably harmful to your lungs.
Q. Do HEPA filter air purifiers fight viruses?
A. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “when used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, in a home or confined space.”
HEPA filters remove contaminants as small as 0.003 µm. Droplets of spit and other respiratory material that can carry viruses typically range between 0.1-0.5 µm, meaning the HEPA filter will prevent all of it from circulating the room.
Q. Do I have to replace the air purifier filter?
A. Yes, your air purifier will likely have at least one filter that’ll need to be replaced regularly. Some air purifiers have two or three filters that you’ll need to replace, but in some cases, pre-filters are washable, which can save you some money.
Best air purifier
Best air purifier for home
The AirDoctor Professional Air Purifier has an UltraHEPA filter that can filter out contaminants as tiny as 0.003 µm. This machine’s auto mode can sense the air quality of the space and adjust its filtration accordingly. The AirDoctor is also equipped with a carbon/gas trap/volatile organic compound filter that removes gas, odors and dangerous compounds like formaldehyde from the air. Sold by AirDoctor and Best Buy
The Bissell Air400 Professional Air Purifier is equipped with a pre-filter, activated carbon filter and HEPA filter. This device’s CirQulate technology recognizes changes in your air quality and adjusts its fans accordingly, maximizing filter life. Sold by Wayfair, Amazon and Best Buy
The affordable Blueair Blue Pure 411 treats up to 185 square feet of space for less than $150. If you want something simple and inexpensive for a small office or similar setting, the Blueair’s HEPA filter and quiet operation make it an ideal choice. Sold by Amazon and Best Buy
The Samsung CUBESmart Air Purifier removes contaminants as small as 0.3 µm with its three-stage True HEPA filtration system. This advanced purifier is also WiFi capable and can be controlled with Alexa, Bixby or Google Assistant. Sold by Best Buy and Amazon
Best air purifier under $100
The Veva 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier contains four activated carbon pre-filters along with an impressively capable HEPA filter. Veva’s inexpensive purifier is quiet and effective. This lightweight machine covers up to 325 square feet. Sold by Amazon
The hOmeLabs Ionic Air Purifier uses a dual HEPA filtration and ionization approach to keep your air fresh. This lightweight option only treats rooms up to 80 square feet, but the low price and small size make it an attractive option for many. Sold by Amazon
The Pure Enrichment Pure Zone Air Purifier has a UV-C light to kill germs, along with an activated carbon filter and HEPA filter. Still, some customers didn’t feel that this model’s airflow was adequate, and the UV-C light isn’t easy to replace. Sold by Kohl’s and Amazon
The Hamilton Beach Compact Air Purifier has exceptional odor-trapping ability thanks to its two carbon zeolite filters and HEPA filter. This option has an effective area of 140 square feet for less than $80. Sold by Best Buy and Amazon
The Febreze HEPA-Type Air Purifier has a HEPA style filter that removes up to 99% of contaminants from a small room’s air. Febreze’s air cleaner gives you the option to use scent cartridges to give your room a fresh scent, although it doesn’t have a strong fragrance. Sold by Amazon
Best air purifier for your car
The IQAir Atem Portable Air Purifier is equipped with a HEPA filter that filters out contaminants down to 0.003 µm. The Atem is pretty expensive compared to other air purifiers, but you likely won’t find another model this size with as much air purifying power. This high-tech portable purifier is also compatible with the Atem mobile app and comes with a convenient car mount. Sold by Amazon
The Queenty HEPA Car Air Purifier has a three-stage filtration system that’s effective against fighting odors, such as cigarette smoke. This inexpensive model filters out particles as small as 0.3 µm and doubles as an oil diffuser. Sold by Amazon
The Purggo Car Air Freshener is made of sustainable hemp and bamboo and contains no plastic, fragrance or chemicals. The option is a simple activated-charcoal freshener with no cords and no electricity. Sold by Amazon
Cody Stewart is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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