With all the brands and styles of purifiers on the market, it can be hard to know which one is best for you. While there is a wide range of features available, you can narrow down your search by looking at a just a few main factors.
What are you trying to remove from the air?
Most purifiers focus on two types of filters: A particle filter for removing physical particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores from the air; and a carbon filter for removing smoke, gases, odors, and chemicals from the air. The best units use both in some combination to thoroughly purify your air.
Particles in your air include common allergens such as dust, pollen, pet dander and fur, mold spores and mildew. They also include bacteria and viruses. For basic allergy symptoms, you should focus on HEPA or HEPA-type filters to captures these particles. For asthma and other respiratory issues, make sure you choose True HEPA filters, rather than HEPA-like filters, to capture the finest particles that can exacerbate these issues.
Gases, Chemicals and Odors:
To remove these contaminants, choose a machine with a carbon filter. Many units feature a carbon pre-filter to capture gases and odors, as well as larger particles before the airflow travels through the main particle filter. If you are dealing with basic household odors, these carbon pre-filters should address the issue. For more intense gas and chemical sensitivities, look for a machine that has its own full-sized activated carbon filter. The larger and more densely packed that carbon filter is, the better it will address gases and chemicals in your house.
Because smoke contains both particle and chemical components make sure that you pick a unit that features both.
What size room are you trying to clean?
Whether you are looking to clean your whole house or a single room, room size is an important factor. A single unit will only work in open space, that is: a single room or rooms that merge into each other without walls or door ways, such as a living room/dining room set up. It is important to know the square foot area of a room to pick the appropriate unit. To get the area of the room, measure the length and width of a room and multiply them. For example, a room that is 20 feet long by 10 feet wide would be 200 square feet. Virtually all purifiers have a designated area associated with them. This room size is usually based on a ceiling height of 8-9 feet. If you have higher ceilings, consider a unit rated for a larger area. For rooms that are smaller than that unit's recommended room size, the purifier will cycle the air in the room more times every hour, cleaning it more quickly. Our purifiers are broken down by room size, so you can find the appropriate unit for your space. A unit will only work in whatever room it is currently in and will not work in areas separated by door ways or walls. If you need purification in multiple rooms, consider a whole house system, which is installed in your HVAC system and cleans the air going into every room.
What is your price range?
Price is an important consideration for most customers. Be aware that a unit with more features and capabilities or a unit for a larger room will often cost more. In addition to the initial price of the unit, keep in mind the cost of replacement filters. While some units feature permanent, cleanable filters, most units will need their filters replaced at regular intervals. Pre-filters usually have a shorter life, needing to be replaced every 6-18 months, while the main filters last any where from 6 months to five years. Typically, the purchase price of a six month filter will be less than that of a 5-year filter, but the longer lasting filters tend to save money in the long run. Decide what you can afford now and throughout the life of your unit.
Do you need any special features?
If you need to further narrow down your selection, check to see what features set the units apart. For some, sound level is very important. Some purifiers run much more quietly than others. Check decibel ratings or consumer reviews to see what will best fit your needs. For others, being able to move a unit from room to room is required. You can compare the weight of units and also compare whether or not they have casters (wheels) for easy transport. For other users multiple speeds, a remote control or presence of digital versus manual controls will be important. All of these features should be spelled out on the product pages or use our Compare feature to see which units stand out.