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Quick facts about air purifiers
- When choosing an air purifier, the most important factor to consider is the type of filter (or filters).
- Prices range from around $70 for small, basic purifiers to $1,500 or more for models that purify large spaces.
- You'll also need to factor in the cost of replacement filters as you'll need to replace them regularly to keep your air purifier working effectively.
Compare air purifiers
What is an air purifier?
Air purifiers use filters to remove common pollutants and allergens from the air. They are commonly used by those with allergies and asthma to help reduce the number of irritants in the air.
What can an air purifier do?
- Remove allergens, including pollen and dust
- Help those with asthma breathe more clearly by removing irritants
- Get rid of odour and contaminants from smoke
- Decrease allergic reactions to pet dander and fur
Types of filters
Air purifiers can come with several types of filters and many models include multiple filter types. Not all filters are created equal.
- HEPA filters. High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting (HEPA) filters are considered to be the most effective filters at targeting common allergens. HEPA filters remove at least 99.95% of allergens and pollutants.
- Activated carbon filters. These filters use activated charcoal to clear smoke, chemicals and odours from the air. However, they don't filter allergens and bacteria and need to be replaced frequently.
- Ozone filters. This filters can help remove odours, including the smell of smoke, but they don't remove allergens or pollutants.
- Ionic filters. Ionic filters use an electrical field to remove pollutants from large areas. While they are somewhat effective, they produce ozone, a type of pollutant, and release it into the air.
- Ultraviolet (UV) filters. UV filters can kill bacteria. However, in order to work, most bacteria need to be exposed for an extended period of time – much longer than most purifiers allow.
How to compare air purifiers
When choosing an air purifier, consider the following factors:
If the purifier is too large for your room, your energy bill will be unnecessarily high. If it's too small, it will be ineffective. Look for one that matches the footprint of the rooms you want to use it in. If you have a large, open space, you might need to get multiple purifiers and place them on opposite ends of the space.
An air purifier that can automatically check the air quality of the room and adjust settings accordingly will allow you to set it and forget it. Otherwise, you'll have to manually adjust the settings throughout the day.
You'll need to replate the filters regularly. Activated carbon filters need to be replaced more often than other filter types (typically around once every three months). Filter prices can range from around $20 up to $200 or more. Consider buying replacement filters when you buy the purifier to avoid additional shipping costs.
Filter replacement indicator
Some models include an indicator or light that tells you when you need to replace your filter and can help you avoid using your air purifier while it's not working.
If you plan to keep the air purifier in your bedroom, look for a model with a sleep setting that shuts off any lights and maintains a quiet fan setting while you sleep.
A sensor light can tell you what the air quality is as soon as you enter a room.
Antimicrobial agents can stop mould from growing within the air purifier and extend the life of the filters.
Look for a purifier with multiple, adjustable fan speeds to save energy and avoid unnecessary noise.
Three tips for air purifier maintenance
Check out our top tips to get the most out of your air purifier:
- Replace the filters regularly. While replacement filters add significantly to the lifetime cost of the air purifier, a purifier without working filters is effectively useless. Make sure to replace the filters at the recommended times, which is between three to twelve months for most filter types.
- Consider where to put it. If you work from home or spend most of your time at home, a purifier in your office or living space can make a lot of difference. If you're out of the house a lot, a unit in your bedroom will have a more significant impact. It might be more convenient to move the purifier from room to room, so look for one that's light enough to carry. Alternatively, consider getting multiple units – one for each room.
- Keep it running. In order to be the most effective, the purifier should be turned on as much as possible – with all windows and doors closed.
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