Are Air Purifiers a Waste of Money? (No – Here’s Why!)

Every now and then, someone will want to argue with me and tell me air purifiers are a waste of money. I’m always up for a debate, and by the end, I have them believing air purifiers truly live up to the hype.

If you’ve contemplated investing in an air purifier, I’m here to tell you that you won’t regret it. By the end of this article, you’ll understand how purifiers reduce allergy and asthma symptoms, eliminate harmful chemicals, eliminate odors, and more.

Let’s get started.

Why Air Purifiers Are Not a Waste Of Money? (6 Benefits Explained)

1. Lowers Allergy And Asthma Triggers

Are air purifiers worth it for allergies? The research, and my experience, say yes. Most air purifiers will reduce allergy irritants in your house. Common triggers an air purifier can reduce are:

  • Volatile organic compounds such as cleaners, air fresheners, and personal care products
  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Mold

Air cleaners eliminate asthma triggers from your home by capturing them in the filter and releasing clean air into your space. Air purifiers can also sanitize the surrounding air.

The effectiveness of an air purifier in reducing asthma symptoms depends on several factors, like the airflow rate of the purifier, the filter design, the size of the allergen particles, and the placement of the purifier within your home.

2. Eliminates Harmful Chemicals

Air sanitizers are excellent at removing several harmful chemicals from indoor environments that come from things like:

  • aerosol sprays
  • household cleaners
  • paint
  • air fresheners.

Air purifiers can be highly effective in eliminating various harmful pollutants from the air we breathe. However, only air sanitizers with a HEPA filter or a lightweight carbon pre-filter can effectively filter volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Similarly, air sanitizers with a low airflow rate or a compact size may not provide the sustained relief required to combat chemical pollutants in the air. It’s essential to understand your specific needs and requirements before investing in an air purifier to ensure you choose one that works for you.

3. Gets Rid Of Odors

In my experience, the main reason people initially buy an air purifier is to get rid of odors. Air purifiers are excellent a removing unpleasant smells from your home, regardless of their source.

From cooking odors to pet smells and even cigarette smoke, an air purifier can help to improve the air quality by removing airborne pollutants and particles that contribute to these odors. By eliminating harmful contaminants from the air, air cleaners can significantly improve indoor air quality, making the air you breathe healthier and fresher.

4. Improves sleep

A lesser-known benefit of air purifiers is that they can improve your sleep. Many people can’t sleep because they suffer from allergies. Unpleasant odors caused by smoke, mold, or bacteria in your bedroom can also significantly impact your sleep quality.

Unlike delicate scents that promote relaxation, these lingering odors can cause sleep disruptions or even prevent sleep altogether. Investing in an air purifier can help eliminate these odors and improve air quality, leading to better sleep.

5. Removes Harmful Radon

If you suspect high Radon levels in your home, seeking professional help to assess the situation is crucial. Radon is a toxic gas that’s undetectable without testing, and it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

Air purifiers can help eliminate or reduce radon, but it’s essential to choose one equipped with an activated carbon filter. Activated carbon has a history of effectively eliminating dangerous chemical gases, including radon, dust, mold, bacteria, allergies, and viruses.

6. Reduces The Chances Of Airborne Diseases

Air purifiers can improve the overall health of your household, especially during the winter months when air circulation is limited. Certain air sanitizers can remove bacteria and viruses by filtering airborne particles and droplets containing microorganisms.

This process involves passing indoor air pollution through filters that trap contaminants and release clean air into the room. UV air purifiers can effectively disinfect the air, providing an extra layer of protection against airborne pathogens with their ultraviolet light.

7. Decreases Other Risks Related To Indoor Air Pollution

I have a little guy in my house that experiences allergies or asthma, but even if you don’t, an air purifier can reduce other troubles linked to poor indoor air quality. Air sanitizers can improve indoor air quality, reducing a range of issues like:

  • Itchy throat, eyes, nose, or skin
  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

Identifying problems related to indoor air quality can be challenging because they can be caused by various factors. However, if you notice feeling better after leaving your home, your indoor air quality may be the culprit, and a purifier can help.

Are Dyson Air Purifiers Worth It?

Dyson is a well-respected brand, and the TP04 may be a sound investment for those who can afford it.

The Dyson Pure Cool TP04 has been gaining popularity for its ability to effectively remove gases, odors, and airborne particles. Its filtering system comprises two types of filters: a HEPA filter and a carbon filter.

However, it’s important to note that the TP04 has a hefty price tag of over $500, making it one of the most expensive air purifiers available. Moreover, if you look closely at its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), you’ll find that the TP04’s CADR is only 164m3/hr.

This means that despite its high price, the Dyson Pure Cool air purifier can only produce about as much clean air as a DIY air purifier that costs a fraction of its price.

While Dyson is undoubtedly a beloved brand if you’re searching for an air purifier that can effectively clean the air without breaking the bank, consider other options. Plenty of affordable air sanitizers can create cleaner air without costing you an arm and a leg.

If you’re willing to spend a considerable amount of money on an air purifier, the Dyson Pure Cool TP04 will do the job. However, there are plenty of other models out there that can do the job just as well at a much lower price point.

It’s all about finding the right balance between affordability and effectiveness when it comes to air purifiers.

Air Purifiers 101 – Explained For Homeowners

How Do Air Purifiers Work Exactly?

Air purifiers work by removing or destroying pollutants in the air, creating a safer environment for us to breathe.

The process is relatively simple. Most air sanitizers use a fan to pull in dirty air from the surrounding environment and force it through a filter or series of filters. These filters trap unwanted contaminants like dust, pollen, pet dander, and other harmful particles, effectively cleaning the air.

The purified air is then released back into the room, and the process continues, continuously cycling the air over and over until the room is purified.

It’s important to note that not all air purifiers are created equal, and different systems work better for different types of pollutants. For example, some purifiers use mechanical filtration to remove particulate matter, while others use electrostatic attraction or gas absorption to produce cleaner air.

Other air purifiers destroy pollutants through ultraviolet (UV) light radiation, which is highly effective against molds, viruses, bacteria, and other biological pollutants.

Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) is another option that uses ultraviolet lamps and is intended for gaseous pollutants. Ozone generation, on the other hand, produces ozone molecules (O3) from surrounding oxygen to trap particulates, gases, and biological contaminants.

Ultimately, the type of air purifying system you choose will depend on your specific needs and the types of pollutants you want to eliminate. Regardless of the system you choose, however, investing in an air purifier is a wise decision that can help keep you and your loved ones healthy by improving the air quality you breathe.

Air Purifiers

Types of Air Purifiers

Portable Air Purifiers
If you’re constantly on the go, or if you work in an office or stay in a hotel room that’s exposed to polluted air, a portable air purifier is the way to go.

Sometimes called personal air purifiers, they will clean the air around you and get rid of pollutants and irritants.

There are desktop versions that clean the air around where you sit, or you can get a wearable necklace meant to clean the air around your face before you breathe it in.

Whole-house Air Purifiers
To purify the air in your entire home at once instead of just a single room, true whole-house air purifiers are the way to go.

An entire home air purifier is built right into your home’s air conditioning system, making them an excellent option for those who want clean air throughout their entire house.

To be considered an entire home air purifier, the filter must be placed into the ductwork for your air conditioning system.

Being placed in your heating and cooling system ensures that every time your HVAC system runs, the air will pass through the filter, trapping and removing harmful particles. This makes it much more effective than portable purifiers, which only purify the air in one room at a time.

Car Air Purifier
A car air purifier filters the air inside your car and removes harmful pollutants, and provides fresh, clean air.

A car air purifier can be a game-changer if you’re sensitive to air pollution or allergens. It can help alleviate symptoms like sneezing, coughing, and headaches that may result from breathing in polluted air.

UV Air Purifier
A UV air purifier is a machine that uses disinfecting ultraviolet light to incinerate particles as they pass through it. In other words, it zaps away the bad stuff that can make breathing difficult, like allergens, bacteria, and viruses.

If you struggle with severe allergies or respiratory issues, they help eliminate harmful particles from the air and can also help reduce the spread of airborne diseases. And with the latest technological advancements, UV air purifiers are more effective than ever.

Types of Air Purifier Filters & How Often To Replace Them

HEPA Filters
HEPA is an acronym that stands for “High-Efficiency Particulate Air.” A HEPA air purifier is airtight, comprised of a thick sheet of tiny fibers pleated and sealed in a metal or plastic frame.

They trap small, harmful particles, like pollen, pet dander, smoke, and dust mites by forcing air through a fine mesh. HEPA filters last about one year, depending on use.

Carbon Filters
Carbon air filters are most commonly used to remove gases. They filter harmful gases through a bed of activated carbon (also called an activated charcoal filter).

They are often used in purifiers to combat VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released from everyday household products, and they can help remove odors.

Filter replacement for activated carbon filters should happen at around 6 months. Purifiers that have one or more filters typically have a HEPA filter and a carbon filter.

A pre-filter is an essential part of most air purifiers. It’s the first stage of filtration, and they help capture large particles.

Pre-filters prolong the life of your main filter, and it improves the efficiency of your purifier.. Pre-filters generally last 3 months, but some filters are washable for long-term filtration.

Downsides of Using Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are great, but nothing’s perfect. Air purifiers have their limitations, and it’s essential to understand them before making a purchase.

One of the biggest issues with purifiers is that they collect pollutants but don’t necessarily destroy them.

While most air purifiers on the market do an excellent job of trapping pollutants in their filters, some will still release tiny particles back into the air. This can be especially problematic for individuals with respiratory issues or allergies.

In addition, ozone air purifiers emit ozone gas to eliminate bacteria and chemicals in the air. However, exposure to ozone gas can harm our lungs and airways and may cause shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness.

As such, it’s essential to research the type of air purifier you’re interested in purchasing and understand its potential side effects.

Moreover, not all air purifiers perform as well as manufacturers claim. Many rely on disposable, replaceable filters, meaning you’ll need to spend between $30 and $200 each year on new filters. If you don’t change a purifier’s filter periodically, it won’t function optimally and may not provide all the purifying effects you hoped for.

Features to Look Out for When Buying An Air Purifier

True HEPA filter

A True HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is widely considered the gold standard in air purification technology. HEPA air purifiers are made up of tightly-woven layers of glass fibers, which trap particles as they pass through the filter.

This design ensures that even the smallest particles are caught and don’t get released back into the air. A genuine HEPA filter can capture up to 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, including dust, dander, pollen, and mold spores. This means they effectively remove ultra-fine particles that other filters may miss.

AHAM verified mark

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, or AHAM, is a non-profit trade association representing the home appliance industry. They help ensure that the appliances its members produce meet specific safety, efficiency, and performance standards.

For purifiers, AHAM standards measure the appliance’s CADR, which indicates how effectively it can remove specific pollutants from the air. Air purifiers that meet AHAM standards will have a CADR rating displayed on the packaging, which can help consumers compare the performance of different models.

CADR rating

The CADR is a standard defined by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) in the United States.

The CADR measures an air purifier’s effectiveness in removing three types of airborne pollutants: tobacco smoke, pollen, and dust. These pollutants are used as examples to represent small-, medium-, and large-sized particles, respectively.

The CADR rating ensures that an air purifier will perform according to the manufacturer’s product claims. When shopping for an air purifier, choosing one with a CADR rating that meets your specific needs is essential.

Noise levels

Most air purifiers on the market today have a noise level that ranges from 17 dB to 60 dB.

Purifiers with a 17 dB rating have noise levels similar to rustling leaves and are virtually silent. These air purifiers are excellent options for people who are sensitive to noise or for those who plan to use them in areas where they need to maintain a peaceful environment.

Air purifiers with a rating of 60 dB or more can produce noise levels similar to listening to an AC unit 100 feet away. These louder purifiers are better suited for use in larger, noisier environments where noise is less of a concern.

4 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Reduce sources of pollution

Modern homes are sealed and deeply insulated, which is fantastic for energy efficiency. However, it’s not so great for indoor air quality. Since updated homes don’t allow in much outside air, pollutants including dust, pet dander, and cleaning products can build up inside.

Using an air purifier is an excellent solution for reducing these pollutants. However, even the best air purifier isn’t perfect, so you’re better off if you prevent them from entering your home in the first place.

If you’re a smoker, quitting altogether is the best thing you can do. But if you can’t, smoke outside and away from open windows and doors.

Use things like household cleaners and craft supplies in well-ventilated areas. Open windows or turn on an exhaust fan to help remove air pollutants. If you have a gas stove, make sure it’s adequately ventilated to prevent the buildup of harmful gases.

If you can, remove the carpets from your home. Carpets trap countless toxins and allergens that can be harmful to your health. Hard flooring is easier to clean and less likely to accumulate pollutants.

Improve room ventilation

Improving the ventilation in your home can be an effective way to reduce the concentration of indoor air pollution. Even during colder weather, opening your windows, doors, and attic fans whenever possible can bring in as much outside air as possible.

This isn’t good for energy efficiency, but it will help cleanse the air in your home. Additionally, running a window air conditioner with the vent control open can improve your home’s outdoor ventilation rate and help maintain healthy indoor air.

Keep the rooms clean

Maintaining a clean house is essential for a healthy living environment. Implementing effective indoor hygiene practices can significantly reduce the accumulation of pet dander, mold, and dust in your home.

Consider developing a regular cleaning routine that includes dusting, vacuuming, and disinfecting surfaces to minimize the presence of harmful toxins and allergens in your living space.

Buy naturally air-purifying plants

It’s been widely suggested by scientists that incorporating air-purifying plants into your living spaces can help to remove indoor air pollution. Not only do houseplants improve the aesthetic appeal of your room, but they also have several health benefits.

NASA’s Clean Air Study discovered that numerous plants can effectively air clean and remove toxins from the air in our homes. These toxins can originate from everyday household products, materials, and furniture.

By incorporating these air-cleaning plants into your home, you can achieve improved indoor air quality, leading to a healthier and safer living environment for you and your family.

Air Purifier in the Living Room

Other Common Air Purifier Questions

How much does a whole-house air purifier cost?

A whole-house air purifier will typically cost between $587 and $2,502. On average, they cost right around $1,303. The actual cost can be anywhere from $1,000 to over $5,000, depending on the size of your house and your specific purifier.

Are air purifiers energy efficient?

Air purifiers are energy efficient, and many models carry the Energy Star Certification. Energy Star guidelines indicate that certified air purifiers are more than 25% more energy-efficient than their non-certified counterparts.

Do air purifiers use a lot of electricity?

An ideal air purifier won’t use a lot of electricity. Depending on the airflow speed, Most HEPA air purifiers consume around 50-100 watts per hour. If you use your air purifier for 12 hours a day, that equates to about $3-5 a month for the electricity or $36-60 for the year.

Should I sleep with an air purifier on?

You should sleep with your air purifier on. Indoor pollutants like mold, pet hair, and dust quickly accumulate when the purifier is turned off. And, outdoor air and toxins are constantly entering your home, even when you’re sleeping. When your purifier isn’t running, those pollutants will seep into your air.

How long should an air purifier run?

An air purifier should run for at least 12 hours a day for the best results. However, it’s not a bad idea to run your air purifier all day long because dust and airborne particles will circulate nonstop throughout the day.


Air purifiers are an effective solution for improving indoor air quality, no matter what your neighbor two doors down may think. With my years of experience, I can testify to the fact that the right air purifier is not a waste of money as long as you know how to use it.

A higher CADR rating translates to better performance and an air purifier with the AHAM mark ensures it meets industry standards for performance and safety.

The best home air purifier will create a healthier and cleaner indoor environment so you and your family can enjoy the many benefits of clean air in your home.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with DIY and improving my family home. HVAC topics can be tricky for homeowners so I decided to share my knowledge on the subject. When I am not working on DIY projects, you can find me at the beach or my local coffee shop.