Air Purifier Trends for 2022
We look at the top trends and technological developments in air purifiers in 2022
With wildfires, air pollution and the Covid-19 pandemic, clean air has become top of mind for most Americans. For that reason, household air purifiers have become a big seller in the U.S. But are they worth the investment? Do they work? And how are the companies that make them using technology to improve the air we breathe? Here are the top trends and the best air purifiers in 2022.
Forms of Air Purification
Most air purifiers these days work with a filter system. That’s because True HEPA filtration has been proven to be the most effective way to purify the air in your home. The technology has become very common and affordable in air purification. It has been around since the 1940s and there are two types to look for when buying a purifier – Grade H12 can pull 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants out of the air or 0.3 microns. Grade H13 pulls 99.99 percent of the smallest airborne irritants out of the air or 0.1 microns. (To give you some perspective, our eyes generally can’t see anything smaller than 40 microns.)
Aside from HEPA filtration, there are new technologies emerging and you can expect to see them on the market when looking for an air purifier for your home.
- Activated carbon is becoming popular in air purification. It works by absorbing odors, gases and chemicals in the air and neutralizing them. Activated carbon will not get rid of airborne particles so it has to work in conjunction with a HEPA filter.
- Ultraviolet light (UVC) isn’t a stand-alone form of air purification either. Air purifiers that use HEPA filters for particle contamination, may also be equipped with UV lamps to kill bacteria, viruses and fungal spores floating in the air. For UV light to be effective, it has to target the bacteria, viruses and fungal spores for a significant amount of time or it won’t kill them. If the air purifiers move the air through too quickly, the UV light won’t be able to do its job.
- Bipolar ionization creates positive and negative charged particles to rid the air of viruses and bacteria. This is still a relatively new technology and the EPA says there is very little research to show whether it works.
Air Purifiers with App-Integration
Everything these days seems to come with an app, and air purifiers are no different. Many air purifier brands make models that will connect to Wi-Fi and can be controlled through the company’s app or even Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. Air purifier apps are important to provide feedback on the air quality in your home and ensure the unit is working as it should.
What the app will allow you to do depends on the make and model you buy. But most will allow you to turn the air purifier on and off, set up scheduled times for the purifier to run, tell you the current quality of your air inside, let you know when the filter(s) needs to be replaced, and order replacement filters from the company. Some apps integrate technology that will tell you the air quality outside, as well.
Wearable Air Purifiers
Much like many products, air purifiers are becoming more personalized. There are a couple of companies offering air purifier technology that you can wear and introduced their products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2022.
Covid-19 brought mask-wearing to the forefront for all Americans. LG has developed a wearable air purifier with HEPA filters. It looks like a mask and is worn over the nose and mouth. It has a respiratory sensor to detect your breathing and works harder when it needs to. For those who wear glasses – no need to worry. It’s also designed to keep your glasses from fogging up.
Taiwan-based Ible has introduced headphones you wear around your neck that also double as an air purifier. You can listen to music and purify the air around you for up to 8 hours. If you use just the device as an air purifier, it will last up to 30 hours before needing to be recharged. One thing to keep in mind, this technology uses ionization which can produce unhealthy ozone.
Japanese manufacturer Kaltech is also making personal air purifiers. They have one that can hang around your neck, one that can clip to your car’s sun visor and one small enough to go inside a light bulb mount. Kaltech’s personal air purifier products work by using photocatalytic oxidation.
Wearable air purifiers are a new, emerging technology. So, how well they work remains to be seen.
Mountable Air Purifiers
If you live in a home with not much square footage, an air purifier can take up precious floor space. Many companies are taking that into consideration and now making more compact, lightweight units that can mount to the wall. Aura Air, RabbitAir, Germ Guardian and Medify are among the companies now offering mountable air purifiers.
New Features on Air Purifiers
Air purifiers have come a long way from the days where there may have only been an on/off switch. Lots of companies are adding new features to make life easier and attract new buyers.
- If you’re going to use an air purifier, it’s important to know if it’s doing its job. Many air purifiers come equipped with a built-in air quality monitor that will determine how dirty your air is at any given time. The purifier will then adjust to clean the air in the room, as needed.
- Using essential oils has become a popular way to help improve physical and mental health. Many oils claim to help boost your mood, improve your sleep, relieve headaches or reduce nausea. Makers of air purifiers have taken notice and some companies, like Levoit and Intelable, are adding an aromatherapy chamber where you can add essential oils to your air purifier.
- In addition to being water and stain repellent, Coway’s Icon and IconS air purifier can serve as an extra charging station for your smartphone or tablet.
- Air purifiers are generally stationary units. Some will have wheels to make them easier to move, but for the most part they don’t rotate. Companies are now starting to develop artificial intelligence (AI) technology to detect air pollution levels within a room and have the air purifier rotate to target the areas with more contamination. LG PuriCare is a new purifier that takes the AI a step further and has a pet mode that adds an extra boost to pull pet dander out of the air.
- LG has also developed an air purifier that will rotate 360 degrees to maximize the purification process in any room. It also incorporates a fan to help cool you off and a heat blast mode that will help warm up a room on a chilly day.
- One of the main things to consider when buying an air purifier is room size. Each purifier has a maximum amount of square footage it will clean and purify – so you don’t want to buy one that can’t cover the room you’re putting it in. Many of them will cover several hundred feet, but VeSync has now introduced an air purifier that will cover up to 3,000 square feet in as little as an hour. So, for a few hundred dollars you may be able to purify your entire home.
How Do I Know It Works?
Air purifiers can be a significant investment. Many of them cost several hundred dollars, so you want to make sure you’re not wasting your money and the unit does what it says it does. Since HEPA filtration has been around quite a while and has proven time and again to be effective in purifying the air – you can be assured an air purifier that works with a HEPA filter will clean the air in your home.
An easy way to know if an air purifier is working is to look at the filter. The filters are designed to trap all the allergy triggers floating around in your home. If the filter looks dirty, then you can easily determine the purifier is pulling impurities out of your home and making it easier for you to breathe.
Many purifiers will come with color-coded sensors to let you know the particle level in your home. The unit will then automatically adjust to clean the air. But if the one you have or buy doesn’t come equipped with this technology, you may want to consider investing in an indoor air quality monitor (IAQ) for your home. IAQs will alert you to unsafe levels of air in your home and help you determine when to switch on the air purifier, if you don’t run it continuously.
Taiwan-based Ible has introduced headphones you wear around your neck that also double as an air purifier.
Best Air Purifier of 2022 – Living Room
All the choices on the market can make it a little overwhelming when buying an air purifier. If you’re looking for a solid performer for your living room, the Alen BreatheSmart 75i is a great choice. It costs between $700 and $800, but it uses true HEPA filtration to clean the air in your home. It will cover up to 1,300 square feet, is whisper quiet and is equipped with technology that will let you know the pollution level in your home and adjust to give you the level of purification you need.
Best Air Purifier of 2022 – Bedroom
If you’ve decided the bedroom is the best place for your air purifier, then you might want to consider the Honeywell Insight HEPA Air Purifier HPA5300B. It has a top rating from Consumer Reports and will cover up to 465 square feet of space. The unit costs between $200 and $300, uses HEPA filtration and activated carbon and will monitor the air quality in your home and clean appropriately.
Recommended for rooms of 500 sf
Activated carbon pre-filter helps capture large airborne particles and reduces odors/VOCs
Lower cost than many other comparable units
Does not have an ionizer
Not as quiet as other units
About the Author: Mark Vander Berg
Mark Vander Berg is the Chief Product Expert at AirPurifiers.com. Mark has decades of experience in air purifier engineering. In addition to engineering and product design, he has also done extensive research and testing of many air purifiers and continues to do so for AirPurifiers.com.