Top 10 Home Air Purifier Features
Can’t-Miss Features When Shopping for an Air Purifier
By Tyler Drag
12 min read
Spring is on the way, and that means more sun, but it also means more allergies. For those who suffer from runny noses, itchy eyes, coughing, and all the other joys that allergies bring, a home air purifier might be for you. When looking for an air purifier there are plenty of options, with different sizes, filters, fans, noise levels, and more. Picking the right purifier has become a little overwhelming, with so many features, brands, and differences in prices, but after reading this article, you’ll know what features to look for and why.
How an Air Purifier Works and Why the Different Features Matter
An air purifier uses a filtration system to purify and clean as much air as possible before releasing the clean air. HEPA filters (high-efficiency particulate air) are the backbone of air purifiers because they catch 99.97 percent of all airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns. A micron is 1/25,400th of an inch, which means that microns are invisible to the human eye. Humans can’t see anything smaller than 10 microns, which is another reason these filters are so important. HEPA is the most common filter, but some units have multiple filters and different options to protect against other things.
Using an air purifier has been proven to reduce allergens like smoke, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, pollen, and plenty more. These purifiers vary in quality and efficiency, so it can be important to pay attention to each purifier’s features and how much maintenance each will take. Different purifiers protect against other allergens and unwanted airborne particles. Here are the top 10 features to look for when shopping for an air purifier.
This air purifier feature is the most important when it comes to deciding which one to buy. As mentioned before, there are highly efficient HEPA filters, but there are also PECO-filters, carbon filters, and ionizers (electrical filters). PECO-filters don’t trap allergens and pollutants like volatile organic compounds(VOCs). Carbon filters are great for trapping unwanted gasses and odors through adsorption, but as these filters become wetter and wetter, they also become less effective. Lastly, ionizer filters are electronic filters, which work by releasing charged ions into the air. The charged ions in the air act as a magnet by attracting airborne particles. Once the airborne particles reach the charged ions, they receive a charge and either attach to a surface in the room or fall to the ground. Some ionizer filters can create ozone as a byproduct of their mechanics.
According to the California Air Resources Board, ozone may cause many adverse health effects, so it’s just another thing to think about when shopping for the right air purifier. Many purification systems also have different maintenance, so shoppers should also consider how often the filters will have to be changed. Some air purifiers even notify the owner when the filter needs to be changed. Other units may have a multi-filtration system, which is more efficient but uses more filters.
When thinking about which air purifier to buy, you should consider where you will place it in your space. Which room will it go in? How big is the room? Will it need multiple purifiers or just one? One large air purifier or a couple of smaller ones? The size of the air purifier required depends on the square footage of your space. For example, if your bedroom is 900 square feet, you must choose an air purifier with a coverage area of at least 900 square feet to get the most effective results.
3. Noise Level
The noise level of an air purifier might not seem like a big deal, but when you try to sleep or watch a movie, the noise level will become very clear. If an air purifier is too loud, you will likely turn it off. This is why it’s important to choose a tranquil air purifier. Some air purifiers come with pink noise, which is the best bet for helping you sleep.
4. Energy Consumption
It would be best if you also kept energy consumption in mind when researching air purifiers. To save on energy expenses, look for a purifier that runs below 100 watts on the most powerful setting. And if you’d like to see how an air purifier will potentially affect your energy bill, the Office of Energy Efficiency has a great free online calculator.
Air purifiers require maintenance, some more than others. As mentioned before, the filter will have to be changed eventually but can last from six months to one year or more. Depending on the pollutant levels in your environment and the filtration technology used, some filters may also need changing more often, which could become high maintenance and costly. Maintenance might not be a feature listed on the product description page, but it’s certainly an important one. A high maintenance unit might be very efficient but not worth the cost. A low-maintenance air purifier could be a great feature for smaller rooms or rooms with multiple units.
6. Fan vs. Fan-less
Fans and fan-less air purifiers are also important to consider while researching the right air purifier for you. Units with a fan typically make more noise and create more airflow and clean more of the air in an area. Fan-less air purifiers are great for cleaning the air quietly but can’t catch as many pollutants because there’s less airflow without a fan. This feature might affect the need to get one unit or multiple.
Your air purifier must come with a warranty. Many things can go wrong and can get costly if you do not have a warranty. Think about what happens when the fan breaks or the unit makes too much noise. How’s the return policy? What if you bought the wrong air purifier and it doesn’t protect against the specific pollutant or allergen you need it?
If you or a family member are light sleepers and still want to use an air purifier, a unit with a sleep-mode is a great feature. Like mentioned before, some air purifiers can be loud, but some have various settings and even a sleep-mode. In this mode, the unit still cleans the air but does it more quietly and even dims the unit’s lights. Depending on the brand and unit, the purifier might automatically go into sleep-mode when it detects a change in lighting. It’s a more minor feature, but it’s surprisingly convenient when shopping for a unit to put in a bedroom.
The addition of Wi-Fi to air purification units is by far one of the most luxurious features, but it’s not just cool tech. An air purification system featuring Wi-Fi has some incredibly convenient features. Users can link the unit to their smartphone, set a schedule for their air purifier, control the fan speed, turn the entire unit on and off, be alerted when the filter(s) need changing, and even view real-time air quality data, all from a smartphone. The Wi-Fi feature usually comes with a little more of a cost, but it might be worth the extra money if it’s within your budget.
10. Protect Against Specific Pathogens and Allergens
Air purifiers have become surprisingly high-tech, with Wi-Fi, different filtration systems, various operation modes, and plenty more. One of the byproducts of more efficient and high-tech air purifiers is that some protect their owners against specific pathogens and allergens. For instance, if you live in an area prone to wildfire smoke, choosing an air purifier designed to eliminate wildfire smoke effectively is a smart choice. There are many options when choosing an air purifier, so you must do your research to ensure you select the best air purifier to meet your needs.
Shopping for an air purifier can be overwhelming, with all the different features, prices, and brands. However, knowing which features you need and finding units that fit your budget can help narrow down the options. Additionally, knowing what harmful airborne pollutants like allergens, pet dander, or smoke you need to eliminate at home will help you choose the air purifier that best fits your needs.