Best Air Purifier Buying Guide
You may be very conscientious about making sure that your family gets a lot of fresh air. You ventilate your home every day and you make sure that you and your children spend time outdoors. In fact, there’s nothing that makes you happier than some time in the sun, having a grand old time with the family. In a perfect world, the air would always be clean and inviting wherever you go. But these days, you know that it’s just a dream. Pollutants are present in the air no matter where you are – car exhausts, cigarette smoke, carbon emissions, are just a few things that we must worry about outdoors.
But if you think that staying indoors is safer, think again. Experts say that indoor air is actually two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. And ironically, the main contributors to indoor pollution are the chemicals that we use to clean our homes. Additionally, poorly ventilated kitchens send exhaust fumes from gas stoves and disperses it in the air we breathe. It’s no wonder we are seeing much more chronic diseases now than ever before. You may have noticed some negative health effects from being constantly exposed to poor air which includes:
- Chronic runny nose
- Chronic fatigue
- Memory problems
- Respiratory problems
- Sore throat
- Sleep problems
This isn’t to say that poor air quality is the main culprit for all of the above symptoms. Although, where polluted air is the main factor in your family’s ailments, purifying it normally relieves them. Even if your family has no obvious respiratory problems, it does no harm to make sure that your indoor air is free of pollutants.
Room Type vs Whole House Air Purifier
When it comes to air purification, you can choose between types: room type and whole house air purifiers. Both are effective in getting rid of dust, pollen, and allergens from your home. A whole house air purifying system is normally incorporated into your HVAC. One of the main advantages of a whole house filter is that it requires less maintenance. But servicing it and changing filters require more effort. It is the ideal choice if you have more than one allergy sufferer at home. The downside is that it is more expensive and takes longer to set up than the room type air purifier. In addition, homes that do not have centralized heating and air conditioning will not be able to install a whole house filter.
Room type air purifiers are smaller and portable so that you can move them from room to room in your home. They are very easy to maintain, but because they are smaller in size, you will have to clean them more often due to their smaller capacity – especially when compared to big whole house models. They are very simple to operate and as long as you purchase models that have the capacity to treat the room you put it in, there is no reason why just a few units cannot service a small family living in a moderately sized home. Another advantage is that they are relatively cheap and simple to set up if you require air purification in a hurry. Just plug it in and go.
This buying guide will concentrate on room type air purifiers. They are usually preferred by those who are in a rush to have an indoor air purification solution in their homes and it is also the more flexible system for those who are on a budget. So if you think we have described you and your situation, read on about the features of a good room type air purifier.
What are the features to look for in an Air Purifier?
Knowing how vital air is to our lives and to our health, it is a good thing that technology can help us ensure that we have the best quality air possible in our indoor spaces. That technology comes in the form of air purifiers. When you go out and choose a unit to bring home, you will want to look at the following features.
● CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate)
CADR is a measurement that determines the maximum square footage an air purifier can filter air. It shows how efficiently an air purifier can process dust, pollen, and smoke. In general, a higher CADR means that the machine can get rid of indoor pollutants faster.
HEPA is a filter that traps very small particles of dust, pollen, and smoke. More importantly, this highly efficient filter prevents the harmful particles from getting reintroduced to the air once it is captured. This is very important because they are the most common physical allergens present in your home. It is also the filter used in vacuum cleaners to keep your home clean and dust-free.
● Asthma and Allergy Friendly
“Asthma and Allergy Friendly” is a new distinction in the game of air purifier manufacturing. It is awarded by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation to air purifier models that really capture allergens from the air without sending them back out and re-dispersing them. While this certification is not really necessary for an air purifier to work, it might make you feel more confident in the model you choose, especially if the reason you are buying is to help relieve the asthma symptoms of a family member.
There are a lot of air purifiers out there that do not have a fan, but none of them work as well as those models that do have one. Maybe technology will catch up one day and there will be a fan-less air purifier that is effective. For now, though, you should select a unit that uses one. You will also want an air purifier that has multiple fan speeds that you can adjust it depending on how much dust is in the air.
● Service Indicator
Because you are dealing with an appliance that is supposed to clean the air, it will definitely need some cleaning out and servicing of its own. Not doing so will cause your air purifier to be ineffective and in the end, you will just be wasting a lot of energy. So a great feature to have on your model is a service indicator light. It tells you when your unit needs to be serviced and will take away the guess work from your end.
As we have mentioned earlier, this guide will focus on room type air purifiers that can be transferred wherever it is needed. And this is where the convenience of portability come into play. Even if you don’t intend to move your unit from room to room, it doesn’t hurt to get a unit that is portable so that you can take it around with you when you travel to a hotel room or if the kids are sleeping over at grandma’s house. Look for a room-type unit that is light weight and that has a handle for easy carrying. On the other hand, if you purchase a large and heavy air purifier, choose one that has casters or wheels so that you can safely and easily move it around.
If for any reason you don’t want to keep your air purifier on for the whole night, a timer is a good feature to have so that you won’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to turn it off. Just set the timer and the unit will just shut off when the time is up. Alternatively, you can set up the timer to turn on your air purifier a few minutes before your family gets home. This way, you can save on energy by not having your unit on all day, but it can start treating the air and purify it only when you need it to.
● Non-Ozone Producing
Some air purifiers that use an ionizer release ozone in the air to make it smell better. You want to avoid models that do this because ozone is a known lung irritant. This is especially important if there is an asthma sufferer in the household.
● Remote Control
A remote control is not really a necessity, but it sure is nice to have so that you won’t need to go to the air purifier console to adjust the fan.
● Washable Filter
While a service indicator light can let you know when your unit needs to be professionally maintained, you can do your share of maintaining your air purifier by cleaning some of the parts yourself. Choose a model that has a washable filter so you can make sure that your air purifier will be in tip top shape in between services.
● Dirt Sensor
If you are the sort who likes fully automated stuff, you will want to get an air purifier with a dirt sensor. It detects how much dust is in the air and adjusts fan speed accordingly. That makes it one intelligent appliance.
Other Tips for Choosing an Air Purifier
- Pick an air purifier model with easily replaceable filters at a reasonable price. You also want to make sure that replacement filters are widely available in your area. This is because you want to maintain clean air for your family, but that doesn’t really mean that it should be difficult, expensive, hard to find.
- There are air purifiers that are more expensive to operate than others. Considering that you may have to change your filters three to four times per year, you might not like it if it costs an arm and a leg in your electricity bill. So find a unit that has the Energy Star qualification on it so that you are sure that it is energy efficient.
- Chances are that you will use your air purifier in rooms where you sleep and where your children study. So you will want to pick a model that is as quiet as it can be so that you do not trade air pollution for noise pollution when you use your unit.
Tips for Keeping Your Indoor Air Clean
Even if you have an air purifier, there are still some things you can do to prevent your indoor air from getting too polluted. Doing so is a healthy habit and will help you save on air purifying costs. Here are some things you can do:
- If you live in a cool climate, avoid using wood burning fire places. They release carbon and soot in the air which are very irritating to the respiratory system. And while you are getting rid of those fireplaces, ban tobacco smoking in the house as well. Second hand smoke is a known health hazard and has no place in the air you breathe.
- Minimize the use of chemicals in your household cleaning products. A lot of the chemicals released by artificial cleaning products trigger allergies and asthma. You might want to look at natural cleaning methods and products online to help you get started.
- If you have a pet, it might be useful to vacuum often to get rid of pet hairs floating about in the air.
- While we are on the subject of air quality, you might also want to check the humidity in your home. Molds and mildew thrive in high humidity places and are a cause of allergies and disease. You want to keep the humidity level in your home between 35% and 50% for good air quality.
We recognize your need for healthy clean air. This is the reason why we at ParentsNeed HQ went out and tested different air purifiers to see what’s hot and what’s not. After considering a lot of varying options, we have come up with these Top 5 Best Air Purifiers for your home. They each differ in terms of style and size, but they are all top notch units that we are certain you will be pleased with. Of the five, the Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier is our favorite. We love how you get the most bang out of your buck with this large air purifier. Learn more here.