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What is an Air Purifier?

An air purifier, by the nature of its name, sounds like a pretty important tool for your home, though name alone is not sufficient to make an investment. So, what are the major air purifier benefits? Are they robust enough to warrant the purchase of an air purifier for your home space?

In this blog, we will provide you with the following information:

  • What is an air purifier?
  • What are the major air purifier benefits?
  • What are the types of air purifiers?
  • How do you choose the best air purifier for your space?

What is an Air Purifier?

An air purifier is a device designed to reduce the presence of harmful airborne particles and foul odors in a particular space. These harmful particles can range from mold spores to pet dander and airborne viruses. 

Air purifiers draw in air from the surrounding space and push it through a built-in filtration system, which captures the particles and releases purified air back into the room. 

Air Purifier Benefits

Air purifier benefits are ample; you would be hard-pressed to find a household that would not benefit from regular use of an air purifier. While many of the benefits of air purification are widely applicable to all households, an air purifier can alleviate specific pain points in your home like allergy-triggering pet dander or high levels of carbon monoxide from proximity to a high traffic street. 

The following list of top air purifier benefits are top line and apply to most households regardless of location and lifestyle:

  • Improves the quality of your indoor air

  • Reduces unpleasant odors lurking in your home (think: wet dog, mold, and Diaper Genies)

  • Eliminates the presence of airborne diseases (i.e. cold and flu) in your home

  • Alleviates asthma symptoms triggered by airborne pollutants

  • Improves allergy symptoms triggered by common household pollutants

  • Improves skin health and reduces the signs of skin aging

  • Reduces the volume of dust in your home

  • Reduces static electricity (ionic air purifiers, specifically)

Types of Air Purifiers

Air purifiers come in all shapes and sizes, but there are only three types of air purifiers that are widely accepted as safe for regular household use: HEPA filters, carbon filters, and ionizers. 

HEPA Filters

The true HEPA filter is the gold standard for air purification. HEPA filters remove up to 99.7% of airborne Particulate Matter (PM) with a diameter of 0.3 micrometers. For reference, the human eye can only detect PM within 50 to 60 microns. 

The high efficacy of HEPA filters is a result of the mechanical filtration design composed of multiple layers of dense fiberglass threads (thinner than a strand of hair!) that captures PM as it flows through the filter. 

Carbon Filters

While HEPA filters are intended for use on ultra fine particulate matter, they are not effective at removing gaseous pollutants (Volatile Organic Compounds) and bothersome odors from the air.  

The carbon filter is designed with activated charcoal, which causes gaseous pollutants to stick to the lattice structure of the filter. Unfortunately, while the carbon filter can trap harmful and foul-smelling gaseous pollutants, particulate matter virtually passes right through the holes of the filter design. 

Ionizers

HEPA and carbon filters are physical filters that manually filter particles and gases, respectively, from the air. Ionizers, on the other hand, operate using an electrical current. The electrical current produced by the ionizer charges the particles in the air creating ions. These ions attract oppositely charged particles until the particle cluster becomes so heavy that it falls to the ground or a nearby surface. 

While the ionizers remove particles from the air, they merely drop them onto various surfaces. An open window or a bustle of foot traffic can kick up the dormant particles on the floor. 

How to Choose an Air Purifier

When choosing an air purifier for your bedroom, nursery, or office, there are a few prominent factors to consider, which will influence the type of humidifier that is best for your space. These factors include: room placement, filter type, filter maintenance, and portability. 

Consider Room Placement

Where do you intend to place your air purifier? The best humidifier for your space is largely dependent on the room in which you intend to place your air purifier

Consider the square footage of the room you would like to purify. If you have a 600 square foot bedroom, you will need an air purifier that can effectively purify 600 square feet or more to reap the full air purifier benefits

In addition to square footage considerations, the type of room you intend to purify will influence the best air purifier for your space. If you plan to purify your infant’s nursery or a small child’s room, noise should be a consideration. Most air purifiers produce sound ranging from 35 to 70 decibels, which is disruptive at the higher decibel range. An air purifier with effective air purification at its lowest setting, or an air purifier with a lower noise output is best for an infant or small child’s bedroom. 

Consider Filter Type

When choosing the best air purifier for your home space, filter type is a major consideration. We reviewed the wide-ranging benefits of air purifiers at large and honed in on the specific benefits of each type of air purifier in the previous section. 

The best air purifier filter for your home should remove pollutants that are specific to your home environment. If you are more concerned about gaseous pollutants and foul odors, a carbon filter or a HEPA filter with activated carbon filters would best suit your space. 

Consider Filter Maintenance

Regular filter maintenance is required to ensure maximum air purifier benefits. Filter maintenance includes either replacing disposable filters or cleaning reusable filters in your air purifying device. 

When choosing the best air purifier for your home, it is imperative to factor in the cost of replacement filters and the filter replacement schedule. HEPA filters on average, need to be replaced every 3 to 4 months for maximum efficacy; if you choose a device with both HEPA and activated charcoal filters, you will need to replace both filters every 3 to 4 months, which could end up costly. 

Consider Portability

Lastly, but certainly not least, is portability or air purifier size

If you intend to move your air purifier from room to room as needed, you will need a compact design that will allow you to easily move the device from room to room. On the other hand, if you plan to keep your air purifier in one room, portability is not particularly concerning, but you may want a design that blends with your room aesthetic.