Rid Your Home of Dust With One of These Air Purifiers
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Finding time to clean your home can be difficult even at the best of times. Worrying about microscopic dust mites making a mess that you can't even see isn't just inconvenient, it's downright unpleasant. Thankfully, an air purifier can help you filter out all the dust, skin flakes, and other crud that builds up in the cracks and crevices of your home.
To get an air purifier that cleans your home’s air effectively, you need to pick wisely. It's important to consider important factors such as room size, physical footprint, and the amount of noise that they produce. You also need to think about what you’re filtering out and why: If you suffer from acute seasonal allergies, for example, you'll probably want to invest in a larger, more powerful air purifier than if you simply want to minimize the amount of dust that settles onto your shelves.
Even when you know what you want, it can be difficult to figure out what you need based on the tech specs and jargon manufacturers use. Luckily, we're here to help. No matter what your situation is, there's an air purifier that will suit your living or working situation, and our picks below will help you figure that out.
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Best Air Purifiers for Dust
The Expert: As a freelance journalist who has worked from home for years, I know how necessary air filters are to keep my work area clean and habitable. In updating this piece, I consulted professional and consumer reviews, as well as my own experience using air filters firsthand to determine what models to include.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
In short, most air purifiers clean indoor air by pulling it through a filter which traps toxins and unwanted airborne particles before releasing the air back into the room. Many premium air purifiers rely on HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, although there are other methods of purification that don’t rely on filters, such as ionic purifiers.
Generally speaking, HEPA filters are made from fiberglass and are capable of trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns in some cases, which means that you can use an air purifier to reduce odors and even germs. Because dust is usually between 3 and 5 microns, air purifiers are an especially effective method of dust control. In order for a filter to meet HEPA standards, it must remove a minimum of 99.95 percent of particles from the air.
While air purifiers that rely on standard HEPA filters or HEPA filters with additives reduce the need to dust frequently, they won’t completely eliminate dust particles that have already settled on surfaces, because they may not become airborne again without being disturbed by the duster or vacuum.
What to Consider When Shopping for an Air Purifier
What Size Space Do You Have?
Like air-conditioning and heating units, air purifiers are meant to purify a certain amount of square footage in a given room. If you’re looking to purify a 500-square-foot bedroom, an air purifier with a 250-square-foot capacity isn’t going to cut it. On the other hand, an air purifier with the capacity to filter 1,000 square feet is going to be overkill and will likely take up too much space.
In fact, Chel, the expert I spoke to from Alen, recommended purchasing an air purifier that is rated for a room that is 200 square feet larger than the room you want to purify. She explained that going 200 square feet over the room size ensures that your new filter won’t have to run at max capacity all the time, which increases the life of the motor that sucks the air through the filter.
Also, be wary of capacity claims from manufacturers without an established reputation and keep your eyes peeled for anything with an Association of Home Appliance (AHAM) certification, in which case you can rest assured that the capacity claim is accurate.
Smart Sensor Technology
One of the best features of a good air purifier is the fact that it can reduce the amount of time you spend dusting and vacuuming your space, and high-quality air purifiers should include a sensor that will tell you when you need to replace the filter, at the very least. Be on the lookout for air purifiers that automatically assess the air quality in your space and adjust the speed of filtration accordingly. The last thing you want to do is invest in a convenience-oriented product and have it turn into a hassle that requires more time and attention.
Cost of Maintenance and Upkeep
When it comes to HEPA filter air purifiers, the only ongoing cost is associated with replacement filters, which are essential not only to the purifier’s function but also its longevity. Depending on what type of HEPA filter you want, and how often you have to replace it, you may end up spending far more on your purification system than you originally intended. Replacement HEPA filters vary in price depending on what model purifier you have, and you can expect to find replacement filters for as low as $30 and as much as $130.
Because air purifiers are often placed in the most frequently used areas of the house, such as the bedroom, living room, and office, it’s important to make sure that whichever one you purchase doesn’t interfere with your day-to-day activities. I keep my Tredy air purifier in my bedroom and can attest to how important it is to get a purifier that doesn’t produce a lot of noise, especially if you are a light sleeper.
Although this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, the larger the purifier’s capacity, the more likely it is to create a level of noise that bothers you due to the sheer volume of air that is being pulled through the filter each minute. Before purchasing your new air purifier, check the decibel rating in the product description; some purifiers are rated as low as 24 dB. For reference, the average whisper volume is 30 dB.
Third Party Certifications and Tests
Unfortunately, the at-home air-purifier market has more than a few cases of deceptive marketing and dubious claims. Between knock-off HEPA filters that prioritize profit margin over quality and overstated capacities, finding an air purifier with stats you can trust can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are a few certification labels that can help alleviate any potential worries.
First and foremost is the Energy Star seal, which will be displayed on the packaging. Chel informed me of the fact that air purifiers “work best when they run 24/7,” which means you may see an increase in your monthly electricity bill. Energy Star–certified air purifiers are 40 percent more energy efficient on average than their uncertified competitors. Also, you can check the annual electricity consumption for each Energy Star–certified model on the organization’s website.
Another trustworthy third-party logo/acronym you may come across is from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Products with the AHAM Verifide seal have been thoroughly tested for both quality and veracity of manufacturer claims. Most important, AHAM provides reliable and accurate suggested room size information and CADR (clean air delivery rate) ratings.
How We Evaluated The Best Air Purifiers For Dust
To find the best air purifiers for dust, I researched the most highly rated products across various brands and spoke with Chel, an air-purification expert at Alen. I made sure to include air purifiers that suit a variety of room sizes, design tastes, and purification needs. The selections I chose are based on my personal experience with my air purifier as well as customer reviews and product specs.
The Coway Airmega is an excellent air purifier that doesn’t sacrifice good design and pleasing aesthetics for functionality. This is one of the rare air purifiers that you will want to display, which makes it easy to integrate into any room in your home. Displaying your purifier will likely mean placing it somewhere free from airflow obstructions, such as curtains and couches.
If you’re on a bit of a budget and are looking to purify a relatively small space, such as an office or dorm room, the Levoit Core 200S is a great choice. Although the 200S is cheaper than most, affordability doesn’t come at the expense of technology, such as voice-assistant compatibility.
Also, the 200S is better suited for quiet environments thanks to its low decibel rating and the neat soft-white night light that’s built into the top.
Purifier Cool TP07 Smart Air Purifier
Dyson is known for precise engineering, high quality, and enduring design, and the TPO7 doesn’t disappoint in any of these areas. One of the coolest features of the Dyson TP07 is its fully sealed construction, which completely traps all pollutants and dust inside.
BreatheSmart 75i True HEPA Filter: Pure
If you’re looking to purify a large space and don’t want a loud, bulky machine, you should consider the Alen BreatheSmart 75i. In addition to the convenient replacement-filter subscription service, it comes with a lifetime warranty that ensures complete replacement as long as the filters are changed on a regular basis.
The Levoit Core Mini is an affordable and portable mini air purifier that can clean up a small office or bedroom while sitting on your desk or a shelf. With a small 46 CADR, it’s made for rooms smaller than 178 square feet, making it a great fit for college dorms.
And since it only weighs 2.2 pounds, students can easily pack it up and bring it with them every time they switch rooms. Obviously, this is no substitute for a full-size air purifier, including larger models from Levoit, but it’s a quick and easy fix in the right situation.
Portable Air Purifier
Carrying an air filter with you can be a hassle, but it can be a good idea if you're worried about dust and debris. The Munchkin Portable Air Purifier creates a 7-cubic foot “bubble” of filtered air that you can bring with you everywhere you go.
Though its efficacy will vary depending on local air quality, especially outdoors, it’s a lightweight, non-invasive way to keep pollen at bay.
I purchased this air purifier when I moved into a new, dust-covered apartment in New York City. Before I got it, I was having regular sneezing fits, and dusting was a tortuous task because of how much debris it kicked up.
Now, I only have to dust once per week, and nine months into using it, I haven’t had to replace the filter yet. My favorite feature is the color-changing light ring, which allows you to see the air quality in your space without having to get up.
If you're one of the many people out there who struggles to work with significant background noise, but you need a heavy-duty air filter, look no further than the Blueair Protect 7470i. With a CADR of 270, it’s capable of filtering the air in a large room–up to 420 square feet–at whisper-soft 22dB.
It stays quiet thanks to Blueair’s proprietary HEPASilent Ultra feature, which reduces the noise of a traditional HEPA filter. It also features nice quality-of-life tools like an LCD screen with real-time air quality information, as well as an RFID-enabled SmartFilter to tell you when you need a replacement.
It even has a companion app. The Blueair Protect 7470i is a rare high-powered filter that can truly fade into the background of your life.
For those who want to splurge for connected features, the Mila is a top-of-the-line smart air purifier with a price point to match. Mila’s design sensibility emphasizes choice: You can pick one of seven filters, which provide different levels of protection.
Using a companion app on your phone, you can check your air quality and meticulously control everything from air flow to scheduled maintenance across one or many Mila units throughout your home. It can also sync with your wider smart home system via Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
In true “smart gadget” fashion, the Mila is also the most stylish filter we’ve seen. If data drives you, and you care about your air purifier fitting in with your furniture, it’s probably the best option you’ll find.
Air Purifier Maintenance Tips With Air Purification Expert, Chel, from Alen
PM: What does CADR mean and is it important?
Chel: CADR stands for clean air delivery rate and is a common, although not universal, industry metric that measures the volume of clean air produced per minute on the highest setting. CADR ratings tend to fall between 60 and 450.
Generally speaking, the higher the CADR the more efficient the air purifier is. A general rule of thumb is that your CADR rating should be no less than two-thirds of the room’s total area.
PM: How much maintenance do air purifiers require?
Chel: Quality air purifiers are fairly low maintenance. Aside from replacing the filter, which takes only a few minutes once you have the replacement, I recommend vacuuming the intake vents once every 6 to 8 weeks, or as needed, to remove built up dust and dander.
PM: Can I clean and reuse a HEPA filter?
Chel: Unfortunately, HEPA filters cannot be cleaned and reused under any circumstances. For this reason it’s important to consider how often you have to replace the filter. Once the filter has reached its capacity to purify it should be placed into a plastic bag, sealed, and thrown away.
Sadly, HEPA filters cannot be recycled, especially once they are saturated with dust and other undesirable particles.
PM: Are there any other types of filters?
Chel: While there are numerous non-HEPA filters on the market, none of them have the same standards of testing and none are classified as hospital grade. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that other filters are inherently worse, it does mean that you may be investing in unverified information. I recommend sticking to HEPA filters because of the rigorous standards they have to meet.
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