If you have asthma, allergies, or other respiratory conditions, you likely know how helpful an air purifier can be in ensuring the air your family breathes is clean.
A good air purifier improves indoor air quality by removing contaminants from the air and reducing or even eliminating things like second-hand tobacco smoke.
But now, in cold and flu season and with Covid-19, an air purifier might be an essential item for your home.
Air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses in your home.
Along with frequent handwashing, air purifiers are a great addition to your family’s strategy to stay healthy and safe.
Air purifiers today provide a good combination of utility and leading technology to keep you healthy.
- 1 Things to Look Out For
- 2 What are Some of the Latest Air Purifier Technologies?
- 3 Do Air Purifiers Help With Pet Hair?
- 4 1: NuWave OxyPure – Best Overall
- 5 2: Shark HP102PET: Best Budget Air Purifier
- 6 3: MOOKA True HEPA+ – Best Value
- 7 4: Alen BreatheSmart – Our High-End Pick
- 8 5: Coway Airmega 300 Smart – Widest Coverage
- 9 FAQ
- 10 Wrapping Up
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Things to Look Out For
So let’s look at our top 5 picks for air purifiers that help remove viruses (like covid, flu, and cold viruses), bacteria, mold spores, pollen, and even smoke.
Air Purifiers are relatively simple devices. Dirty air comes in. Clean air comes out. Right?
However, like other air-conditioning-related units, such as dehumidifiers and AC units, there are some essential things to look out for under the hood.
Here are some of the most important ones:
- Noise: Air Purifiers are meant to be used 24/7. Ideally, you want something as quiet as possible so it won’t annoy you.
- Power consumption: Nobody likes raising their power bill any more than necessary. So, maybe keep an eye on the power consumption of each pick.
- Filters: There are various types of filters with different materials and implementations. But, the one thing you should keep an eye on is its efficiency standard. HEPA filters are some of the best and are graded from H10 up to H14
- Square-foot coverage: The larger the house or room you want to purify, the larger the coverage that the Air Purifier needs to provide. Just keep in mind that larger Purifiers don’t necessarily offer more coverage. So, keep an eye on the specs.
- AHAM Clean Air Delivery Rate: AHAM-certified Purifiers come with CADR ratings that tell you how fast the unit can clean the air from Tobacco smoke, dust, and pollen. Higher values are better.
- Maintenance: All Purifiers need to be cleaned. The easier that you can do it, the better. Some are easier to take care of than others, as they come equipped with clips for the filters.
- Time to purify/power/efficiency: Some Purifiers work faster than others. An AHAM certification is a good starting point to judge how fast a Purifier can work–but also check out real reviews of the product before buying it–to be safe.
What are Some of the Latest Air Purifier Technologies?
There used to be a time when Air Purifiers were relatively simple devices. But, nowadays, they use all sorts of advanced technologies.
Whether some are useful is up to debate by experts and users. So, we are just going to mention some of the latest technologies, and you can draw your conclusions on whether you need some of them or not:
- HEPA filters: HEPA is not a material but a sort of rating that stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. HEPA-certified filters can use all kinds of materials – but they need to remove at least 99.97% of all particles with a size of .3 microns and above.
- Activated Carbon: Activated Carbon filters are known as one of the best picks as far as filters are concerned and, thus, they are often HEPA certified as well
- Ozone Generators: Some (Usually pricey) Air Purifiers often come with Ozone Generators. Ozone may be beneficial in fighting certain odors and gasses. But it can also be harmful to your body. That’s why health experts recommend we trust ozone cleaning to certified professionals.
- Ionizers: Ionizers use an electric charge to attract air particles and remove them from the air. However, they can also create ozone which, as mentioned above, can harm your body. But whether these low ozone levels are enough to cause harm or not is still controversial.
- UV light: Ultraviolet light can be used to kill certain toxic bacteria like mold spores and other organic matter that can prove to be a health hazard. This category of air purifiers is often called air sanitizers.
- Absorbent Air Purifiers: Absorbent Air Purifiers use a sort of adsorbent material or materials that can collect
Air Purifying stages
- Pre-filters trap large particles like dust, lint, and pet fur.
- HEPA filters capture smaller particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander.
- Activated carbon filters neutralize smoke, odors, and fumes.
Are all these air purifier technologies safe for everyone in my household?
Most air purifiers are safe–except for ozone generators.
When inhaled, ozone can cause coughing, a sore and irritated throat, shortness of breath, and other health issues. This is especially true for people with asthma or breathing problems, the elderly, and anyone with lung issues.
That’s why we recommend sticking to Air purifiers that use HEPA or activated carbon filters, absorbent materials, UV light, or ionizers.
What about removing viruses like covid or cold and flu?
The key to removing viruses like covid and cold viruses is to run your air purifier system over a long period of time rather than in short bursts.
The longer you run your air purifier, the more likely it traps (filter-based like HEPA) or kills (UV light) airborne and aerosol viruses and bacteria.
Do Air Purifiers Help With Pet Hair?
Yes. Air Purifiers can trap all pet hair in their filters. But only when they are airborne.
When hair gets attached to clothes or rags, an Air Purifier won’t be able to do anything about it. In such cases, you can still rely on good-old vacuums.
And this is most likely because Air Purifiers are mostly made with things much smaller in mind. Things like bacteria, gasses, and tiny air molecules.
But, again, they can still trap pet hair into their filters. Just clean them regularly as you are usually required to do so anyway.
Can an Air Purifier Help with Breathing-Related Problems?
Yes. The best Air Purifiers can eliminate at least 99.7% of air particles – most of which are harmful.
This is a deep breath of relief, pun intended, to those suffering from asthma or allergies triggered by certain air particles. And the same goes for other complications such as bronchitis.
So let’s take a look at our five best air purifier picks!
1: NuWave OxyPure – Best Overall
It may be the most expensive, but the NuWave OxyPure is also the most efficient. It has four filters that handle everything from pet hair down to viruses. These filters are the following:
- Pre-filter: Collects larger particles such as pet hair
- Bio-guard: Eliminates organic material such as viruses and bacteria with Electrostatic Precipitation (Look at “Ionizers” for more info)
- Ozone filter: Eliminates harmful ozone from the air
- HEPA certified carbon filter: Captures at least 99.7% of all particles whose diameter is equal to or larger than 0.3 microns (And down to 0.09, according to NuWave)
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All of them have an estimated lifespan of 20 years, with the carbon filter being the sole exception as it’s only expected to last for a year. After that, you get three more filters to replace for free.
Filters aside, there’s also noise to consider. Like all Air Purifiers, the NuWave OxyPure can be rather noisy at full speed. However, there are both fan-speed controls and Sleep Mode – which makes it ultra-quiet to improve sleeping conditions.
Not to mention Eco Mode that, you can use to keep the Purifier at the lowest fan speeds and energy consumption. And once it detects the air is dirty, it temporarily switches to full speed until everything is clean again.
You probably won’t have to worry about house coverage since it can clean up to 1,200 square feet. But, of course, the smaller the room, the faster the unit can clean the air. At a house of 1200 square feet, the OxyPure needed an average of 6 hours in the high setting to clean the air effectively.
Last but not least, you can also control the Air Purifier remotely.
- It has plenty of filters to clean everything from pet hairs to bacteria.
- Very large coverage
- Adjustable fan speed with eco mode
- Can automatically track air pollution and adjust the fan speed accordingly
- Three carbon replacement filters for free
- A bit big and heavy
Nuwave also has a great and affordable portable air purifier, the NuWave OxyPure Portable Air Purifier, that’s travel-friendly and energy-star certified. It’s so small it can even fit into your carry-on bag!
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2: Shark HP102PET: Best Budget Air Purifier
As we already saw, the best Air Purifiers can easily cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars. But that doesn’t always have to be the case. A budget pick will do just fine if you need something that offers the basic stuff – precisely what the Shark HP102 is!
- Pre-filter: Collects pet hair and other things like that
- Nano filter: For smaller particles
- Exceeds HEPA standards: Kills anything with a size of 0.1 microns and above with at least 99.98% efficiency
- Auto adjust: Clean Sense IQ tracks air quality and constantly adjusts power to maintain clean air in your home.
- Lightweight: Just 6 pounds!
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The Shark may not have all the fancy features you can find in pricier Purifiers. But it still has an activated carbon filter with its Anti-Allergen Nanoseal HEPA Filter, captures more micropollutants than HEPA standards require, and handles at least 99.98% of air pollutants. Just keep in mind that there’s not much protection against organic materials.
In terms of room size, you can easily use this one for houses up to 500 square feet without any issues.
Not to mention it’s also very small and lightweight – which can be helpful if you want to change rooms now and then. And the fact that it doesn’t take up a lot of space is also a plus. And it’s quiet!
If you like using voice assistants and/or smart home products, another thing to keep in mind is that this Air Purifier is compatible with both Google Assistant and Alexa!
- Great at removing pet dander and odors
- Relatively cheap
- Small and lightweight
- Not as drastic/effective against organic materials as pricier alternatives
- Filters need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months
3: MOOKA True HEPA+ – Best Value
Regarding technology, most products get much better up to a particular price tag. After that, you start diminishing returns, meaning you have to spend much more to get something a little better. When it comes to Air Purifiers, the MOOKA True Hepa+ is where you can get the most value for your money before spending much more to get something a little better.
- Pre-filter: For larger things like dust, pet hair, etc
- HEPA filter with another activated carbon filter: The main filters that are used to eliminate at least 99.7% of all particles and kill
- Ultraviolet Sterilizer: Eliminates organic materials such as viruses and different kinds of airborne bacteria
- Negative ion generator: Kills/traps everything that passes through it
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One of its biggest pros compared to our best-budget Air Purifier is that it offers protection against organic materials with its ultraviolet sterilizer. And it also provides coverage for a slightly larger room/apartment of 540 square feet.
That aside, you can expect to find most of the standard stuff: remote controls, an air quality sensor, sleep mode, and fan speed controls.
One small downside is that there is no app for controlling the Purifier. Instead, you get an old-fashioned remote control. And while it gets the job done, we can probably all agree that smartphones are more convenient.
Since this Air Purifier does not rely a lot on smart technologies, it’s also a good fit for those who prefer a more “traditional approach.” But at the same time, it’s bound to disappoint people accustomed to controlling everything through their phones.
- Great value
- It comes with UV lighting at a relatively affordable price
- Small and lightweight
- It only comes with a “traditional” remote controller. No support for smart technologies such as Wi-Fi control or home/voice assistants
4: Alen BreatheSmart – Our High-End Pick
If you are looking for a high-end option without going all out, we’d say the Alen BreathSmart is a solid pick. This is a medical-grade cleaner for allergens and dust, and you don’t need to change your filter frequently–one a year should do it for most people.
It traps airborne particles as tiny as 0.1 microns!
You can choose between different variants:
- Allergies: The cheapest option that takes care of allergens, dust, mold, germs, and bacteria
- Allergies and Odors: Same thing but also with action against coking odor, smoke, and VOCs
- Allergies, Odors:, and Smoke: Comes with more activated carbon to absorb heavy smoke and other chemicals
With a coverage of 1300 square feet, this is also the second-strongest Air Purifier on this list. It’s worth a place as one of the best Air Purifiers, if only for that.
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There are controls for various fan speeds, filters, timers, speed, and lock a turbofan setting that is pretty self-explanatory, sleep mode, and filters that are expected to last upwards of a year before needing replacement.
Overall, there’s also an app to control many of the purifier’s smart functions! This is one of the best high-end Air Purifiers you can get your hands on.
- Particularly good with heavy smoke
- Cleans large spaces
5: Coway Airmega 300 Smart – Widest Coverage
As far as coverage is concerned, nothing on this list can compete with the Coway Airmega 300 Smart. It’s undoubtedly one of the best, if not the best, Air purifiers in that aspect.
- Pre-filter: For large particles
- HEPA-certified filter: For eliminating up to 99.97% of all particles
- Activated carbon: For volatile organic compounds
- [Coverage] Designed to clean spaces up to 1,256 sq. ft. in 30 minutes.
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This particular version also comes with smart compatibility. So, you can fully use it via a smartphone that’s connected to the same Wi-Fi. There’s also the same Purifier without any smart features for a lower price.
And you can expect to get all the features that the rest of our picks offer. Things like an air pollution tracker, five fan speed modes, and a smart mode that automatically adjusts the intensity depending on the pollution level.
One unusual feature that’s a welcome addition is the filter indicators that can indicate when your filters need to be cleaned or replaced.
The only thing we can think of when it comes to downsides is its size, weight, and price. Cause if you are after the smart version, this is undoubtedly the most expensive Air Purifier on this list.
- Extremely large coverage
- It can be used via an app
- Can Purify the air from almost everything that an Air Purifier can do as of now
- Large and heavy
Can Air Purifiers Protect Us from Viruses?
In a way, yes. While even the best Air Purifiers cannot do anything after you get infected, Purifiers with UV lighting can eliminate organic matter–including the typical viruses and bacteria – which scientists say can remain in the air as an aerosol for up to three hours.
What are Air Purifiers Good For?
Air Purifiers are used to remove contaminants from the air. And that includes anything from bacteria and viruses to tobacco smoke, allergens, pet hair, and other things that can linger in the air.
And while they can primarily help people with breathing conditions like asthma or those who live near highly polluted areas, ordinary folk can also use them to eliminate odors and toxic materials.
Are Air Purifiers Bad for You?
Air Purifiers that produce a lot of Ozone can potentially harm the human body. However, most Air Purifiers nowadays make little to no Ozone, while some even eliminate it.
Do I need an Air Purifier for Each Room?
It depends. Some cleaners can cover your whole home or a floor of a house. At the same time, others are limited to how much square footage they can handle. So, check the air purifier coverage to determine how many you would need in your home.
Of course, the more you need, the more expensive it is. So you might consider getting a portable air purifier that allows you to carry it from room to room easily.
Keep an air purifier in a room with the door closed if someone in your household is sick.
If someone in your household is sick with a cold, the flu, covid, or any other illness that transmits through the air, then you should keep an air purifier in that room and close the door.
Even if you have a whole home cleaner, it makes sense to have a single air purifier in that sick room to prevent the virus from spreading to others in your home.
Can I leave my Air Purifier On 24/7?
Yes. Most Air Purifiers are made to work non-stop.
The only exceptions that we can think of are those that produce Ozone. But, as we’ve already mentioned, health experts suggest that we should leave those to the professionals anyway.
Can an Air Purifier Make Allergies Worse?
Quite the opposite. These devices are made to trap and/or eliminate allergens and other potentially harmful particles that linger in the air. So, they should only be able to help you for the better.
These are our top picks for now. Feel free to go through them and choose whatever fits you best.
If you have any more questions or anything to point out, feel free to let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section below!
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SOURCES: CLEVELANDCLINIC, ORANSI, MOLEKULE, MD ANDERSON
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