What to look for in a Good Air Purifier?

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What to look for in a Good Air Purifier?

Neural Blog, June 27th 2006

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So how do decide which air purifier or air cleaner is right for your home or office? Most air purifiers remove dust, dander, smoke and other particles. Some also kill germs and mic

What to look for in a Good Air Purifier?

So how do decide which air purifier or air cleaner is right for your home or office? Most air purifiers remove dust, dander, smoke and other particles. Some also kill germs and microorganisms, while others also remove gases and odors from the air. A few do it all.

It can be frustrating wading through product information when selecting the right air purifier or air cleaner for your needs. Air purifier vendor websites can list arcane and unfamiliar terminology, features, specs and options.

This website will help you become familiar with air purification, different types of air purifier technologies, and leading brands available today. In this way, you can learn what you need to know before you make a purchasing decision.

There are a few items to consider before buying an air purifier

Determine where the unit will be used.


There are room air purifiers, whole-house air purifiers that connect to your ventilation system, car air purifiers that plug into a cigarette lighter, and even personal air purifiers that are worn around the neck. Get a unit that serves your purpose.

Tip: It is usually more effective, and often cheaper, to get air purifiers for each room of a house where they are needed most rather than getting a whole-house air purifier.

Check for the AHAM certification seal.


AHAM stands for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. AHAM is an unbiased, independently agency that tests and certifies air purifier performance. All reputable air purifier manufacturers display the AHAM seal.

Check the CADR rating.


CADR, which stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate, is the single most important piece of information you need to make a comparison of air purifier performance. CADR measures the amount of clean air that an air purifier delivers into a room. The higher the number, the faster the unit filters the air. Three CADR values are usually listed: one for dust, one for cigarette smoke and one for pollen. CADR takes into account factors such as filter efficiency, air-flow, and room size. Other metrics, such as filter efficiency, don't matter nearly as much.

Get multi-technology unit.


For the best results, look for an air purifier that uses different technologies to help filtrate and purify the air. Some examples: a HEPA filter with an ionizer, or an ionizer with a germicidal UV lamp. All things being equal, the more technologies, the better the overall effectiveness of the air purifier in general to eliminate dust AND germs AND odors, etc.

Look for a "true" HEPA filter.


Some air purifiers claim to include a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter, but are not the real thing. Look for a "true" HEPA filter that will trap 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.

Get a unit with a pre-filter.


For air purifiers that use a HEPA filter, a pre-filter can help trap larger particles, thus not clogging up the pores of the HEPA filter (or the activated carbon filter) for the smaller-sized particles and pollutants. This is a must.

Carbon is better than Zeolite.


To reduce odors and gases, some air purifiers include an activated carbon or carbon-zeolite filter. Zeolite is cheaper but is not nearly as effective as a true carbon filter.

Consider fan noise.


Many air purifiers contain fans to help draw air in and push filtered air out. The larger the fan, the more air that can be filtered faster. It's important to test the unit in operation in the room it will be used in to see what is an acceptable level of noise.



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