(Looking for a quick answer as to which air purifier is best for you?? Click here to take our quiz!) Want to do your own research? Read on…
My name is Jordan and I’ve put my very thorough air purifier research on this website for everyone to take advantage of. Use the Table of Contents or search function in your browser to find something specific. Please feel free to click through on any particular topic to a page that goes more in depth. For other information, feel free to use the menu at the top of this page, or if you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. Let’s jump in!
(Note. Ignore websites that say Best Air Purifier 2017/18, etc. The best air purifier is contextual for what is in your air, how it should be treated, and the size of (and amount of air in) your room.)
Navigate this Page
- 1 What is an Air Purifier?
- 1.1 Parts
- 1.2 Do Air Purifiers Work?
- 1.3 What Air Purifiers don’t Do:
- 1.4 Combos
- 1.5 Alternatives to Air Purifiers
- 1.6 Which is Best for You?
- 1.6.1 Energy Use
- 1.6.2 Brands
- 1.6.3 Air Purifier Pricing
- 1.6.4 Air Purifier and Square Footage
- 1.6.5 Unit Size
- 1.6.6 Purpose
- 22.214.171.124 Allergies
- 126.96.36.199 Asbestos
- 188.8.131.52 Asthma
- 184.108.40.206 Babies/Newborns/Nurseries
- 220.127.116.11 Basements
- 18.104.22.168 Candles
- 22.214.171.124 Cars
- 126.96.36.199 Cat Hair/ Dog Hair / Pet Hair / Pet Dander and other pet air purity issues
- 188.8.131.52 Dust Mites
- 184.108.40.206 Dust Removal
- 220.127.116.11 Essential Oils and Diffusers
- 18.104.22.168 Formaldehyde
- 22.214.171.124 Furnaces
- 126.96.36.199 Garage
- 188.8.131.52 Germs and Viruses
- 184.108.40.206 Grow Rooms
- 220.127.116.11 Guinea Pigs
- 18.104.22.168 Iguanas
- 22.214.171.124 Kitchens and Kitchen Smells
- 126.96.36.199 Lead Dust
- 188.8.131.52 Litter Box
- 184.108.40.206 Mold and Mildew
- 220.127.116.11 Radon
- 18.104.22.168 Smell and Odor Elimination
- 22.214.171.124 Office
- 126.96.36.199 Oils (not essential oils)
- 188.8.131.52 Smoke (Cigar smoke, cigarette smoke, Marijuana and Other Smokers issues)
- 184.108.40.206 Vaping
- 220.127.116.11 Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- 18.104.22.168 Woodwork
- 2 Conclusion
What is an Air Purifier?
An air purifier is a device that filters pollutants from the air. Personal use air purifiers are commonly used in homes, cars, offices, restaurants and other commercial and industrial spaces. Some refer to air purifiers as air “cleaners” or “filters” – both are accurate, but some air purifiers don’t use filters.
For most personal uses, a TrueHEPA filter, which we’ll talk more about below, will be enough to filter the air in your home. HEPA filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. Some people who are more sensitive to pollutants require a filter that can capture particles as small as 0.01 microns. If you live in a big city where the outdoor air is polluted with fine particulate matter 2.5 (also known as pm 2.5), an air purifier can help filter some of the particles that make it into your indoor space. For more information on pm 2.5, visit the New York Department of Health.
To give you a better understanding of you an air purifier works, we’re going to run through some of its common parts, and if you’re shopping for an air purifier, then these are the parts you’ll want to know the most about before making your decision on which air purifier you should buy.
A filter is one of the most common tools that air purifiers use to clean the air. There are many different kinds of filters, and even each kind of filter can have many different types, so we’ve attempted to explain all of the options below. Have a read through, and where applicable, you can click through for more information.
The most common type of filter is known as HEPA. HEPA filtration is effective for removing certain kinds of pollutants like dust, pollen, mold and other micro-organisms; however, HEPA is not effective in cleaning the air of odors, smoke, fumes, or chemicals, which is why a HEPA filter is often paired with an activated carbon filter. If a HEPA filter has been certified to collect 99.97% of particles larger than 0.03 microns, it will be certified as TrueHEPA. Marketing terminology from non-certified models will attempt to confuse whether a HEPA filter is TrueHEPA, (e.g. RealHEPA, etc.) so don’t be confused by the terminology. If a HEPA filter is not TrueHEPA filter, it might still be able to help with your air purification needs, but I would guess that it is less effective at collecting pollutants from the air. For more information about HEPA filters, click here.
HEPA is often paired with an activated carbon filter, and for a good reason. Carbon is effective in filtering out some things that a HEPA filter does not catch, like odors, chemicals and gases. The carbon is a porous material that traps pollutants in its pores. Once all the pores are filled, it’s necessary to replaces the filter. Some air purifiers use zeolite, which is similar to carbon, but also closely related to asbestos, which can be toxic. While zeolite in air purifiers has been deemed relatively safe by the FDA, it is a concern for some people. If this includes you, make sure your activated carbon is zeolite free.
There are several kinds of non-HEPA filters. These are uncommon for personal use, so rather than run through them, we created a separate page for more information. Please feel free to check it out here.
UV rays can destroy the DNA of organic matter like bacteria, mold spores, fungi, mildew and viruses. You will often see ultraviolet filters used in public institutions, like hospitals and schools. They emit UV-C radiation. They are not recommended, however, for most other air purification needs.
Ionizers aren’t filters, although they are usually put in the same category as them. Air purifiers with only ionizers have no filter on them. Ionizers release ionic charges into the air to join forces with the pollutants, this is sometimes referred to as an ionic breeze. When the charged ion meets a pollutant, it bonds, creating a larger and heavier particle. Often times, this new particle will fall to the surface, which will create a dust-like film.
If you don’t have a HEPA filter, or you don’t other wiseclean, then this will create a bit of a mess, which you don’t want. This is one downside of ionizers. The second major downside is that ionizers have been shown to release trace amounts of ozone, which can hazardous for humans. While most ionizers are deemed generally safe for use, the risk for youth, elderly, and anyone with existing respiratory problems is preventable.
While an ionizer can make your HEPA filter more effective by making particles larger and easier to catch, the downsides are such that you’ll want ot ensure you are able to turn off the ionizer. For more information on ionizers, click here.
Can filters be re-used?
Some filters are permanent, and reusable but need to be washed every so often, and some are temporary and replaceable. Over the long run, it is of course less expensive to wash filters than to buy replacements. You’ll want to factor this into the cost of operating your air purifier at peak efficiency. As always, follow your instruction manual for best practices when it comes to cleaning and replacing your filter.
Air purifiers that use filters also use fans to cycle air through the machine. A good hack is to use is to use a fan you already own to improve the circulation. This will increase the amount of air passing through your filters. Most air purifier models come with a minimum of three speed settings on the fan. Newer models often have more options than that. The only thing to note about fans, other than the speed settings, is that it is the source of noise in most air purifiers. People tend to prefer quiet, and complain about loud air purifiers. Especially if you use it during sleep, make sure the noise won’t bother you.
Some people, on the other hand, prefer a little white noise, and see this as a benefit. It saves them from buying a separate machine to help them sleep. Mostly this is not the case, so be sure to ask what decibel level the fan settings operate at, and know if that will bother you when you decide to use it.
Air Purifier that Uses Water
There are many cheap models of air purifiers on the market that use water to filter the air. These are often referred to as diffusers, and are mostly ineffective in comparison to HEPA filters. Additionally, the humidity captured can cause mold (just ask parents who have neglected their humidifiers). If you’re careful about changing the water so that mold doesn’t form, and you’re also on a budget, or don’t have serious needs for air purity, then this could be a good peace-of-mind purchase, but ultimately, we recommend going with a model that has a TrueHEPA filter and activated carbon.
Do Air Purifiers Work?
Air purifiers work, according to many people who use them, but there is no objective guarantee as to whether a given model will work for you, even if used properly. What we can say with certainty is that they have been shown to be effective for many people across a wide range of uses to filter a wide range of pollutants from the air. People use them in their nurseries for newborns, for their children, for elderly people, to get rid of smoke, smells, germs, mold, dust, and many other uses, as we will delve into below. So you can see that they have many potential benefits.
People ask us, are air purifiers good or bad? They are neither, they either help you or they don’t. So make sure to select the best model for your needs, and use it properly. See our full post here –> Do Air Purifiers Work?
What Air Purifiers don’t Do:
There is a lot of confusion about what an air purifier does and doesn’t do. People often confuse the terminology, so here is a list of terms to explain everything.
Air Purifier vs Air Filter
These are essentially the same, but, as discussed above, an air filter is a part found in most air purifiers, and most of these filters are of the HEPA variety, which are good at filtering dust, pollen and mold from the air. There are many different kinds of filters, and they usually are combined with each other and other air purification methods in a personal use air purifier.
Air Purifier vs Air Cleaner
These are synonymous.
Air Purifier vs Dehumidifier
In a humid space, the air contains a higher degree of moisture. That moisture can lead to the growth of mold and mildew, among other things. While an air purifier can filter the mold and mildew from the air, it can’t take the moisture out of the air (at least not as effectively as a dehumidifier, which literally collects the moisture in a compartment that you have to empty every so often, depending on its size. Similarly, a dehumidifier can’t remove pollutants from the air, only moisture.
Air Purifier vs Humidifier
Opposite to a dehumidifier, a very dry space has very low humidity in the air. People often use a humidifier because the dry air leads to discomfort. You might experience dry, itchy noses, eyes, mouths, etc. Humidifiers are machines that you fill with water. The machine releases that water as a mist into the air over a certain period of time. It is often good to run an air purifier alongside a humidifier because excess moisture in the air can lead to mold.
Air Purifier vs Diffuser
An air diffuser is essentially a humidifier that sprays mist into the air; however, instead of water, people put in fragrant essential oils. Manufacturers of these devices often tout health benefits, though none have been proven in large and reputable scientific research studies. It is essentially spraying perfume (less many chemicals) into the air, which some people find soothing. Other people put flower pedals or cucumbers in water, and then diffuse that fragrant water. Although these are fairly common devices, some essential oils have also not been specifically studied and might pose toxicity risks, so a diffuser can effectively counteract an air purifier by spraying certain particles into the air, and increase humidity.
Air Purifier vs Ionizer
As discussed above, an ionizer releases charged ions into the air to make pollutant particles larger and heavier, and causing them to fall out of the air and onto the surface. If your ionizer has a HEPA filter, these larger particles are more likely to be caught, but if it doesn’t, the particles will sit on the surface and you will likely notice and unwanted layer of film. Ionizers also release trace amounts of ozone (sometimes more).
Air Purifier vs Plants
Clearly, plants are not air purification “devices” but many indoor plants have known air purification benefits. See the Alternatives section, below.
Air Purifier vs Ozone Machine
An ozone machine creates ozone, which is a powerful disinfectant and also effectively masks odors. However, it poses a demonstrable risk to human health, and is therefore not recommended for personal use. Ionizers release some ozone. Although it is generally regarded as safe, we don’t recommend using them without exercising extreme caution.
Air Purifier vs Heaters and Coolers
Air purifiers won’t noticeably affect the temperature of your air. Certain models that use a lot of energy can run hot, and create some heat. Otherwise, the device itself is not intended to heat or cool your air.
Now that we know about what an air purifier won’t do, we can discuss why it is often effective to run an air purifier alongside another air treatment device. You sometimes hear about air purifier 2 packs, 3 in 1, or even 4 in 1. When it comes to air treatment, it makes sense to try to control all aspects of your air with one machine; however, units with combined functions don’t exist, and if you find one, then there is a chance that the purifier part of it is not of a high standard. Two packs often refer to filter replacements that you purchase in bulk. 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 usually refer to air purifier devices that combine 3 or 4 methods of air purification (e.g, HEPA + activated carbon + ionizer + UV).
There are a few exceptions to the no combo rule, which are as follows:
- Diffusers will often market themselves as humidifiers and air purifiers, but their filtering capabilities are not as effective as HEPA filters.
- Air purifiers and ionizers are frequently combined.
- Air purifiers that run hot can in fact have an accidental heating effect on the air.
- There are a select few air purifier and humidifier combo devices that do both with decent results; however, the price of these units may not be competitive with buying two separate devices, although you may save some space. See our reviews of these devices here. For healthy air
- Air purifiers with heaters and coolers generally don’t exist unless you buy a Dyson.
Alternatives to Air Purifiers
People often ask if they can use plants can place of an air purifier. The short answer is no. Plants are inexpensive, and add some flair to homes and offices. Are plants a natural way to clean the air? Scientific studies have shown that indoor plants are probably not as effective as a personal use air purifier, although they point to the need for further research. A NASA study has indicated that certain plants CAN have some effect on air quality.
But as to whether plants are generally effective as indoor filters, and at what scale, they aren’t reliable substitutes for an air purifier. On the negative side, plants do require a little more care and attention. Although if you were looking for a reason to move around your house, then the watering and maintenance schedule is a good excuse. Different plants have different needs in terms of lighting and water, so keep a schedule for proper maintenance.
The most effective air purifying plants that are common in households and other indoor spaces include: aloe vera, chrysanthemums, ficus trees, bamboo palms and peace lilies. Ultimately, most plants can’t do much harm to the air, and likely have a positive impact, and if you can use plants and an air purifier, your air will be all the better, and your space will get a green boost!
Essential Oils and Diffusers
Essential oils and scented waters have been used for centuries to create alluring fragrances. These can have a calming effect in the same way that burning incense uses the olfactory sense to create calm. If you’ve used diffusers before, and they work for you, that is the most important factor. They may not be effective relative to HEPA filters and other filtration methods but people still swear by them. If you enjoy the serene effect of a light mist, especially in a dry environment, maybe you will too. The mist can often be heated or cooled with the right unit.
Ionizers and Ozone
We have already discussed ionizers and ozone quite a bit, but to reiterate, ozone can be dangerous to your health, and you should not use ozone generating machines for personal use except in the most dire of circumstances. If you do use one, you should be sure to follow the manual very closely, and even consult a professional. Because ionizers emit small amounts of ozone, they are also losing a lot of support in the air purification community, especially if they are going to be used around newborns, children, elderly people or people with respiratory problems.
In general, it is best to create an ozone free environment. Zero ozone can be difficult to achieve given that ozone occurs naturally in the environment, but you can certainly not contribute to the ozone problem by opting for different air purification methods. For more information about ozone, see what the Environmental Protection Agency has to say.
Which is Best for You?
There are many considerations that will determine which air purifier is best for you, and we’ve outlined these factors below. Also check out our quiz for a quick and easy answer.
When deciding on an air purifier based on price, you’ll want to give some thought to the lifetime cost of the unit you plan to buy. Start by measuring 3 primary costs. #1, the upfront cost of the unit, #2 the cost of replacement filters, and how often it is suggested by the manufacturers that you replace the filters (e.g. once per year with a new filter costing $100), and the energy use of the unit, which will add to your electricity bills.
If you keep the air purifier for many years, the upfront cost will be small compared to the filter replacements. However, by selecting an air purifier with permanent and washable filters, you can reduce this cost significantly. Using an Energy Star certified air purifier will keep energy usage relatively low. Run it only when needed. Many models come with features that allow you turn put the machine on timer or turn it on when pollutant levels reach a certain point (as detected by the machine’s sensors).
There are too many brands and models for us to chart out, but once you have decided on your top 3 or 4 choices, you can make a table with the following headings:
Models / Upfront Cost / Filter Replacement Cost per Year / Energy Usage / Total Annual Cost
The first two columns are easy to plug in. The filter replacement cost per year, you might needs to adjust if it is recommended to replace the filters more often than once a year. For example, if it is recommended to replace your filter twice a year, then the cost per year will be equal to the cost of two replacement filters. The cost of electricity will depend on your jurisdiction, but you can easily multiply the energy usage against the average price you pay for electricity (most jurisdictions charge different amounts based on the time of day, so you’ll need to average it). Even if you run the air purifier around the clock, the monthly charge shouldn’t be excessive.
There are countless air purifier brands and models available. We’re fortunate enough to have been able to work with and review at least one model from each brand. A lot of people are loyal to specific brands. If you are making your determination on that basis, no problem. Still, we’d like to note that several quality air purifier manufacturers don’t manufacture other devices, so it might be worthwhile to read some of the reviews. If there’s a model we haven’t reviewed that you have questions about, please feel free to email us with any questions.
- Advanced PureAir Newport 9000
- AirPod 9000
- BlueAir 403, 450, 650e
- Citra 7 oz.
- Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link 3-in-1
- EdenPure 6
- Guardian Technologies/GermGuardian
- Hamilton Beach 04163
- Hitachi 7000
- Hoover 600
- Honeywell HHT-011, 50150, 50250, 50255, 83332, 90200
- Holmes 706, Egg
- Kenmore 85150, 85250, 85254, 85264, 85500, 88300
- LG Signature Air Purifier
- LivingAir 880
- Novita 611
- Oreck 7 (use zapping sounds)
- Panasonic 70
- Phillips 1215, 4014, 4025, 4072, GoPure SlimLine
- RabbitAir Minus A2
- Rainbow Rainmate
- Sharp 7000, 80, 930
- True Air 04383
- Whirlpool Whispure 450
- Winix 5500, 6300, 9500
Air Purifier Pricing
Here are our recommendations for best air purifiers by their upfront price. You’ll need (and want) to take these suggestions with a grain of salt because, as we mentioned earlier, the best air purifier is the one that is suited to your specific needs, and your specific space. Additionally, the upfront cost is not the only factor in the price of your air purifier. Also mentioned above is how the energy use and filter replacement costs can lead to a higher lifetime cost base for your air purifier. Sometimes it’s worth investing a little extra upfront to reduce your costs later. With those caveats, we’ve looked at what we think are the best personal use air purifiers in each cost bracket. The best air purifiers aren’t cheap, but you can find them on sale, especially during events like Black Friday when there are many deals.
Air Purifier and Square Footage
Room size (or the square footage of your space if it is not a room) is an important consideration when deciding what air purifier to purchase because air purifiers are designed to a maximum square footage effectiveness. Maybe you’re in a 150 square foot office, a 200 square foot perfume shop, an 800 square foot apartment or condo unit, a 2000 square foot home or a 4000 square foot commercial or industrial space – you’ll want to find an air purifier powerful enough for your needs.
A small room of 100 square feet or less
A medium size room between 100 square feet and 250 square feet
A large-ish room of 300 square feet to 450 square feet
An even bigger space of 500 Square Feet to 600 Square Feet
700 Square Feet and above
An air purifier used in spaces larger than those in the above categories is typically called a whole house air purifier, which is not the portable kind we mostly discuss here. Whole house air purifiers are usually installed directly into your home’s HVAC system, which ordinarily is with the furnace. You see a lot of website not understanding this description of a “whole home” air purifier, and the description is obviously problematic owing to the fact that homes can be 900 square feet or 5000 square feet or more, and layouts can vary dramatically, e.g. a 3000 square foot bungalow with good air flow, or a 1000 square foot alley home with several small floors.
The size and layout are less important if your home has a filter in its HVAC system. Maybe you’re in a 1500 square foot office setting that has many walls, and it won’t matter, if there is a filter in the greater HVAC system, but if you don’t have that luxury then you’ll want to think carefully about how and where you place your air purifier, and what coverage area you need.
When deciding on which air purifier to buy, think about placement and how it fits into your space. The optimal placement for most devices in the center of a room, but people tend not to put them there. Especially in homes, air purifiers can be an eyesore. Even if it’s nicely designed, it will stick out, and leave wires across the floor. The Coway is a good example of a device that is effective even when not in the center of a room, but if it’s placed beside furniture or other large objects, air flow will be an issue, as it would with any particular device.
Air purifiers come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. You can buy mini-air purifier devices, but frankly their size is correlated to their strength and effectiveness. Egg shaped mini-air purifiers are popular in terms of design, as they can sit on a desktop and look like any sort of device that belongs on a desk in a home or office. They are good also because they are very portable, compared to tower-shaped air purifiers that can be put on the floor, and sometimes the table, depending on the size, are sometimes portable and sometimes not, depending on the unit.
There are even USB powered air purifiers, which we have looked at a little bit, but recommend you buy larger air purifier unless your plan is to use this in the trunk of a car or other small space.
One of the most important factors in selecting your air purifier is what you intend to use it for. Removing dust, mold or smoke from the air are very common uses, but you’ll need to dig in a little bit to see which model is best for you. There are many potential purposes you may have to use an air purifier, and we’ve attempted to be thorough and cover them all.
People have allergies and sensitivities to all kinds of atmospheric matter in the air, so knowing your trigger will be a big help in using an air purifier to ease your symptoms.
If you have an asbestos issue, you’ll want to engage an asbestos service professional to help you with removal. In the interim, if you are worried about asbestos particles in the air, your best air purifier option is to use a TrueHEPA filter.
There are many airborne irritants that can trigger asthma, and we therefore recommend an air purifier that can handle the widest array of potential triggers, unless you know specifically what will cause a reaction. The best kind of air purifier for asthma is one with both a TrueHEPA filter and also an activated carbon filter.
There are those who will say that it is best to expose your baby to whatever is in the environment to help build its immunity, and there are those who will take the opposite approach and try to filter potentially harmful things from the air. If you are in the latter camp, you’ll want to use a simple TrueHEPA filter in your nursery, and be sure not to use an ionizer.
Basements are common spaces for air purifiers. Raw materials are often exposed, and there tend to be more humidity issues. If you have mold, the best air purifier will have a TrueHEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. If you have other air purity issues, then you will still likely be covered by this filtering combination, but you can see if any of other other uses below apply, and which kind of air purifier is recommended.
Candles give off smoke and present odors. Some studies have suggested that Paraffin-based candles emit toxic chemicals like toluene and benzene, but if you are worried about that, then you can find non-paraffin-based candles to burn, or you can run an air purifier with a TrueHEPA filter and activated carbon filter.
Cars can retain funky smells. Service professionals often use ozone to fix it, but because of the health risks associated with ozone, we recommend exhausting all other options first. Obviously, you can open the windows, but we presume that won’t do the trick, you can also have the interior professionally cleaned. Air purifiers designed to operate in cars are smaller and less powerful. They also tend to use ionization, which we don’t recommend, especially if you’re going to use it while driving. We prefer the HEPA options, even if they are not TrueHEPA. Read our full post on best car air purifiers here.
Cat Hair/ Dog Hair / Pet Hair / Pet Dander and other pet air purity issues
If you own a pet you know. If you are pet sitting, you will see. Hair and dander goes everywhere. Best to run a TrueHEPA air purifier with activated carbon to filter out all of the pet residue that will move into your space.
Note that using an air purifier may not treat the source of your dust mite problem. Use a TrueHEPA air purifier against dust mites while the problem persists.
Eliminating dust from your home or office is a universal problem! Death, taxes and dust… Your best option is a TrueHEPA filter air purifier against dust.
Essential Oils and Diffusers
Essential oils are used in making fragrances, and people often put them into diffusers, which spray mist into the air. Often times, this is found to be relaxing and pleasant, but some people also have bad reactions to certain essential oils (there are probably hundreds of varieties). An activated carbon filter would be best to counteract essential oils if you are reacting to essential oils in your air. Conversely, if you’d prefer to have them in your air, there are dozens of diffusers you could choose from.
Air purifiers for furnaces are typically part of a larger HVAC system for your home. If you have this, then you likely won’t need a portable air purifier, except for very specific situations.
Lots of toxicity from the exhaust etc. is released in the garage. As garages aren’t typically well sealed, the air inside is often not too different for outside air, so running an air purifier is maybe not necessary unless you are doing so while undertaking a specific hobby that would give rise to air purity issues, like woodworking, or working with oils or paints discussed below. Gas appliances also release pollutants into the air, so best to find out what specific pollutants you may be dealing with and pick an air purifier accordingly.
Germs and Viruses
Many germs, bacteria and viruses can be killed using an air purifier that uses heat or radiation, such as a UV-C air purifier or thermodynamic air purifier.
So you’re serious about your business? You’ll probably have the latest filters in the largest HVAC scheme you can afford, in that case. If your operation is “niche” or contained, you’ll do fine with an activated carbon filter for the smell. For more serious concerns about humidity and mold, you’ll want to make sure you have a TrueHEPA filter also. If there are concerns about your plant health, and germs infesting your crop, you can consider a UV-C filter also.
So, if you keep guinea pigs around, there will be smells, which is the case with most pets. You’ll want an air purifier with an activated carbon filter to address these smells. It should also have a TrueHEPA filter to capture larger pollutants that may be released into the air.
Like most pets, iguanas need fresh air, and an air purifier is an excellent way to deliver it. People also use fans to improve circulation for your iguana’s habitat. But remember to make sure your iguana can’t touch it! You also need to make sure there is not too much air flow that will dry out the habitat. Your iguana needs to remain humid! You don’t necessarily need to buy an air purifier as long as there is moisture in the air.
Kitchens and Kitchen Smells
Lots of great smells come out of the kitchen, but sometimes you also cook seafood, which leaves a smell that is less desirable! You’ll want to use an activated carbon filter to remove kitchen odors from the air. If you need or want to use other smells to mask whatever smell you’re trying to eliminate then that can be effective too (see diffusers/essential oils).
Lead dust can be given off by paints containing lead, and children’s toys (though they are no longer manufactured with lead). The best air purifier to deal with lead dust will have a TrueHEPA filter, but you’ll want to take additional measures such as thoroughly vacuuming your space to ensure there is no trace of lead dust, as it is highly toxic.
As you probably know, a lot of nasty things can happen in the litter box. A dirty litter box is a health hazard for the cat and everyone else in the house. It smells bad and is difficult to clean. An air purifier can’t fix an unclean source causing air impurity, but it can filter the air while the source is cleaned by other means. This will also be the case with cat urine on fabrics and furniture.
Mold and Mildew
An air purifier cannot kill mold or mildew, but it can filter it out of the air. Your best bet is an air purifier with a TrueHEPA filter, as most mold and mildew particles are 1 micron or bigger.
Radon is a radioactive gas that you cannot smell, and which occurs naturally in the breakdown of uranium in soils and rock throughout North America. Unfortunately, it is toxic and can enter homes through cracks in your foundation and by other means. It is known to be a leading cause of lung cancer, especially among non-smokers.
Activated carbon is your best bet to get rid of radon in your air; BUT if you have radon present in your air you FIRST need to eliminate the source, as the filter will not prevent the radon from occurring. An activated carbon air purifier is purely a small additional measure you can take to ensure that radon will be removed from the air (up to the capacity of your filter), but it will not stop the radon from being present, and it will not decrease the toxicity levels. The following guide produced by the U.S. EPA offers some useful information on reducing the amount of radon entering your home: Consumer’s Guide to Radon Reduction.
Smell and Odor Elimination
If not for the health hazard, ozone machines would work wonders in removing smells and odors from the air. Unfortunately, the health hazard is real, and so the next best treatment option available is widely considered to be an activated carbon filter. If you need or want to use other smells to mask whatever smell you’re trying to eliminate then that can be effective too (see diffusers/essential oils).
Offices have moved from traditionally small rooms with a desk, to large open areas. So it’s important to determine if you’re buying an air purifier for your personal use or for a large space. If you’re in a large space, it’s more likely that the building you’re in will have an air purifier incorporated into the HVAC system, but maybe you’ll want a small device near your station for extra coverage, even a USB device.
Oils (not essential oils)
Truthfully, whether the oils are essential oils or other chemical compounds described as oils, you’ll want to use an activated carbon filter air purifier that can absorb the oil particles out of the air. Make sure you are changing the carbon filter as frequently as suggested by the manufacturer.
Smoke (Cigar smoke, cigarette smoke, Marijuana and Other Smokers issues)
Eliminating smoke is among the most common uses for an air purifier. These devices should include both a TrueHEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. We only recommend units that combine those filters, so have a look at our Room Size categories above and see which units makes most sense for you and your budget.
We’ve written a full length post about the issues presented with regards to vaping and air purity.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
These are typically of carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate in to the air. While the presence of VOCs is often obvious because they can emit a smell, some VOCs are odorless. Whether or not you can smell it, or how strong the smell is, is not an indication of risk, though too much VOC in the air can be risky. Examples of VOCs include formaldehyde, compounds in paints and other construction materials, and common chemicals that are known to carry some health risk, such as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, and xylene.
If you frequently use a power sander, for example, you know that wood dust quickly fills the air. You probably wear a mask. You may even have a woodworking vacuum to catch most of the dust as it is released, so that it mostly never enters the air in the first place. It’s never a bad idea to add an air purifier to the mix to catch the smaller particles, and if you are working with paints and other materials that may also contain VOCs, you’ll want an air purifier with a TrueHEPA filter and an activated carbon filter.
So are air purifiers worth it? Yes or no? Take our quiz and find out!