(Last Updated On: May 6, 2023)

What is CFM?

Cubic Feet per Minute is Similar to Horsepower in a Car.

Are you wondering how air purifier air movement works? It’s crucial to understand the inner workings of these machines in order to get the best performance from them. Air purifiers use fans and other technology to move clean air through a room or space. We’ll look at four of the top brands on the market – Alen, IQAir, Shark, and Dyson – so that you can calculate the total CFM for each one and compare them with similar items like fans and air conditioners. Let’s dive in.

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What is CFM?

CFM stands for “Cubic Feet per Minute,” and it’s a measure of the amount of air that an air purifier can move through its filter in one minute. In other words, it’s a measurement of the purifier’s airflow capacity.

For air purifiers, CFM is an important specification as it indicates the purifier’s ability to clean the air in a room. The higher the CFM, the more air the purifier can circulate and clean in a given amount of time. It’s important to choose an air purifier with a CFM rating appropriate for the size of the room where it will be used.

The Horsepower of Air Purifiers

“Cubic Feet per Minute” (CFM) in air purifiers can be thought of as horsepower in cars. They are both measures of performance, simply applied to different aspects of the devices.

CFM measures the volume of air that an air purifier can move in one minute. It tells you how quickly the purifier can circulate air through a room, and therefore how effectively it can remove airborne particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander. A higher CFM rating generally means that the purifier can clean the air in a larger room or space more quickly and efficiently.

Similarly, horsepower measures the power output of a car’s engine. Horsepower is a measure of the power output of a car’s engine. It represents the amount of work the engine can do over a given period of time. Specifically, one horsepower is equal to the amount of work required to lift a weight of 550 pounds by one foot in one second.

In the context of a car, horsepower refers to the engine’s ability to produce power to move the vehicle. The higher the horsepower, the more power the engine can produce, and the faster the car can accelerate and reach higher speeds. Horsepower is an important factor to consider when choosing a car, especially if you are interested in performance.

CFM and horsepower are both measures of performance, applied to different aspects of the devices they describe, that provide a way to measure the product’s power and output.

Air Changes per Hour (ACH)

Air changes per hour (ACH) is an important concept in the realm of air purification, as it refers to the number of times that the entire volume of air within a room is exchanged with fresh air per hour. Air purifiers are designed to help improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants and contaminants from the air, and the ACH rating is an important factor in determining the effectiveness of an air purifier.

The higher the ACH rating, the more times the air in a room is cleaned per hour, which can lead to improved air quality and health benefits for individuals who suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues. Understanding the ACH rating of an air purifier can help individuals choose the right product for their specific needs and improve their overall indoor air quality.

Alen Air Purifiers

The CFM rating of an air purifier will determine its efficacy at removing airborne particles, ranging from dust and pollen to smoke and pet dander. Alen air purifiers have a CFM rating of up to 350, which is on the higher end for a home air purifier.

Another important factor to consider when exploring an air purification system is air changes per hour (ACH). Air exchange refers to the number of times an air purifier can clean the air in a room within a given time frame. Alen air purifiers have different air exchange rates depending on the model and fan speed setting. Generally, Alen air purifiers have a range of air exchange rates from 2 to 6 times per hour. This means that, depending on the air purifier’s settings and the size of the room, the air purifier is exchanging the entire volume of the room’s air every hour.

A higher air exchange rate means that the air purifier can clean the air more frequently, which is especially important for people with allergies or respiratory issues. However, it’s worth noting that a higher air exchange rate may also result in more noise or higher energy consumption. As such, it’s important to choose an air purifier with an appropriate air exchange rate based on the size of the room and the user’s specific needs.

When it comes to the price range for Alen’s products, you’ll typically find them falling between $200-$600 depending on the model type and size options available. This makes them fairly affordable compared to competitors’ offerings in this category.

IQAir Purifier

The IQAir air purifier’s HEPA filter is incredibly effective, capturing 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, giving it unparalleled power among other air purifiers. IQAir purifiers have a top CFM that ranges from 300-330 cubic feet per minute.

IQAir purifiers have a standard air exchange rate of 2 times per hour, but you are able to set the machine to do more air exchanges per hour depending on the unit and the size of the room. The IQAir HealthPro Plus, for example, is designed to clean the air in a room up to 1,125 square feet, and it can perform up to 6 air exchanges per hour on its highest fan speed setting. It’s important to note that the actual air exchange rate may vary depending on factors such as the size of the room and the level of air pollution.

One of the biggest pros when it comes to using an IQAir purifier is its ability to capture ultrafine particles like bacteria and viruses without producing any ozone or other harmful gasses into your living environment. This makes them ideal for those who suffer from allergies or asthma since they won’t be exposed to potentially dangerous irritants while using this product.

However, one downside is their price tag—these units tend to cost more than comparable models due their high-performance capabilities. You can expect prices ranging anywhere between $200 and $1000, depending on the model you choose as well as additional features such as remote control operation or Wi-Fi connectivity options.

Shark Air Purifier

The Shark air purifier has a CFM rating of 275-300. This means that it can effectively filter out airborne particles and pollutants from your home or office environment, although these numbers are lower than either Alen or IQAir.

The company’s provided specifications for Shark air purifiers indicate that these air purifiers, when running normally, are designed to perform one air exchange per hour. This is lower than the industry average, which typically starts at two air exchanges per hour.

One plus of this model is that it runs quietly; many people don’t even realize when it’s on. Furthermore, its HEPA filtration system captures 99% of all airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size—making sure only clean air enters your living space or workspace.

Shark air purifiers range in price from $230 to $450, making them a relatively affordable option.

Dyson Air Purifier

The Dyson Air Purifier boasts a range of features, including auto-off capability, adjustable fan speeds, sleep mode settings and more—all to make life simpler while keeping your air clean and healthy. It is also certified by AHAM for superior performance in removing allergens such as dust mites and pet dander.

However, Dyson does not always offer CFM numbers for its products, or the results of product testing. Per Dyson’s website, “At Dyson, we don’t believe this [standard CADR testing] is a representative space for measuring the performance of a purifier in modern homes…Current test standards do not represent real living conditions.”

Because of this stance, Dyson does not offer certain technical specifications for its products that other companies offer. Some reviews indicate that Dyson air purifiers have a much lower CFM than normal industry standards.

Dyson air purifiers are able to reach ACH rates of up to 5, which is in line with industry averages. However, most Dyson air purifiers also act as fans, which makes it a little less clear how much of the air being exchanged is being completely filtered.

Coway Air Purifier

Coway Air Purifiers come with a range of impressive features, such as multi-stage filtration systems that capture and remove a wide variety of pollutants, including dust, pollen, pet dander, and even bacteria and viruses. They also have smart sensors that monitor the air quality in real time, adjusting the fan speed and filtration level accordingly. The purifiers are also sleek and modern in design.

One of the standout features of Coway air purifiers is their energy efficiency. They use less power than other air purifiers on the market, making them a great choice for those looking to save on energy costs. Additionally, the purifiers are easy to use and maintain, with intuitive controls and replaceable filters that are straightforward to swap out. They also come with a range of additional features, such as air quality indicators and programmable timers, that make them a versatile and convenient option for improving the air quality in any room of the house.

However, Coway air purifiers are slightly less powerful than some of their competitors. Coway air purifiers max out around 250 CFM, depending on the unit, which is slightly lower than comparable units. Depending on the unit, they can generally perform 2 to 4 air exchanges per hour.

BlueAir Air Purifier

BlueAir air purifiers come equipped with a range of advanced technical specifications that enable them to effectively remove airborne pollutants such as dust, pollen, smoke, and even bacteria and viruses. One of the key technical features of BlueAir air purifiers is their HEPASilent filtration technology, which combines electrostatic and mechanical filtration to capture particles as small as 0.1 microns. This technology also ensures that the purifiers operate quietly, making them ideal for use in bedrooms and other quiet spaces.

BlueAir air purifiers range from 105-400 CFM, varying greatly between units. The higher-end, pricier units—those designed for larger rooms—have some of the highest CFM ratings on the market. They are also capable of an ACH of up to 4.8.

Finally, BlueAir air purifiers are also designed with energy efficiency in mind. They use less energy than many other air purifiers on the market, making them an eco-friendly choice that can also save you money on your energy bills. They also have long-lasting filters that only need to be replaced every six months or so, which further reduces their environmental impact.

Austin Air Purifier

Austin Air is a company that specializes in both home air purifiers and high-end units for commercial spaces, such as dentists’ offices. Their air purifiers are known for their superior filtration capabilities, as well as their durability and efficiency. The company offers several models, including the HealthMate, HealthMate Plus, Austin Air Allergy Machine, and Austin Air Bedroom Machine, each of which is designed to address specific air quality concerns.

All standard size Austin Air units are 250 CFM on high and 125 CFM on medium. The junior size units are 125 CFM on high and 62.5 CFM on medium. Because these are designed to be medical-grade machines, they focus on having a high ACH. Units range from 3-7 ACH, which is higher than many options on the market.

However, these benefits come at a cost: Austin air purifiers are fairly expensive, ranging from $715 to nearly $1000.


FAQs in Relation to Air Purifier Air Movement

Do Air Purifiers Move Air?

Yes, air purifiers do move air. They use fans to draw in polluted or contaminated air from the surrounding environment and then filter it through a combination of mechanical filters, electrostatic precipitators, ultraviolet light sources, and activated carbon beds before releasing clean air back into the room. Air purifiers can help improve air quality by trapping allergens such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander.

Do Air Purifiers Create Air Flow?

No, air purifiers do not create airflow. Air purifiers capture tiny airborne particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, and smoke in order to cleanse the air. Air purifiers use a fan to draw in contaminated air which passes through filters that trap contaminants before releasing purified air back into the room. This process does not generate airflow or circulation but instead cleans existing indoor air.

How Effective Are Air Purifiers Against Covid?

Air purifiers can be effective in reducing the concentration of airborne particles, including those that may contain COVID-19. Studies have shown that air purifiers with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter are able to capture up to 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger from the air passing through them, which includes viruses like SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for causing COVID-19. However, it is important to remember that while an air purifier can reduce airborne particle concentrations within its vicinity, it cannot completely eliminate all risks associated with exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

How Does Air Purifier Filtration Affect Air Quality?

Air purifiers utilize filtration to trap pollutants, allergens, and other airborne particles from the atmosphere. The filter media in an air purifier captures these particles so that they cannot be inhaled or cause respiratory issues. This can lead to a better atmosphere inside, making it healthier for all those in the building or home. Additionally, some models also contain features such as UV-C light which can help reduce bacteria and viruses present in the air. Air purifiers can have a significant impact on air quality, making it safer and more comfortable to breathe.


Ultimately, air purifiers can be a fantastic tool to upgrade the atmosphere of your house. By understanding how much air movement they provide in CFM, you can make an informed decision when selecting the right one for your needs. Alen Air Purifier provides up to 350 CFM, IQAir has the capacity for 300-330 CFM, and Shark offers a top CFM of 275-300 depending on model type. Dyson also produces several models with different levels of airflow, although these numbers are not generally verified through standard testing. Coway air purifiers have a top CFM of 250, Austin air purifiers range from 125-250 CFM, and BlueAir has a whopping top CFM of 400 on their premium units. Ultimately, by considering all these factors you can find the best option that will give you clean and fresh air at home.