Informational Guide

Air Purifiers - Worth It Or a Waste of Money?

Are air purifiers all they’re cracked up to be? In the article, we’ll help you decide if an air purifier is a waste of money or something worth investing in.

by Josh M

Air purifiers are designed to cleanse the air in your home. This is good because indoor air can have levels of pollutants up to five times higher than outdoor air. But are air purifiers all they’re cracked up to be?

In the guide below, we’ll help you decide if an air purifier is worth it or if it’s just a waste of money.

An air purifier consists of a filter or multiple filters and a fan. The fan recirculates the air. A charcoal filter will remove odors, and a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter will filter the air. When air moves through the filter, pollutants and particles like dust, smoke, pollen, pet hair, and VOCs are captured, and the clean air is pushed back out into the space.

An air purifier can be compact to treat just one room, or it can be an addition to your HVAC system to provide strong filtration for your entire home.

Air Purifiers

Types of Air Purifiers

  • Portable Air Purifiers
    No matter where you need clean, fresh air, whether it’s at work or in a hotel room, you can grab a portable air filter to take with you to help fight against polluted air.
  • Whole-house Air Purifiers
    True whole-house air purifiers are built into the HVAC system of your house. To be considered a genuine whole-house air purifier, the purifier filter needs to be placed into the airflow in the ductwork of your home HVAC system.
  • Car Air purifier
    A car air purifier will filter the air inside of your vehicle. If the source of pollution is coming from inside your car or through your car windows, a car air purifier will be worth it, especially if you are sensitive to air pollution or airborne allergens.
  • UV Air Purifier
    A UV Air Purifier will clean the air using ultraviolet light rays that incinerate particles as they pass through the machine. These modern air purifiers are worth it for people with severe allergies, asthma, and lung issues.

Are Air Purifiers Worth It? Benefits Explained

Lowers allergy and asthma triggers

Are air purifiers worth it for allergies? The research says 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
Eliminates harmful chemicals

Air purifiers are excellent at removing several harmful chemicals from indoor environments/closed rooms. The best air purifiers for toxic chemicals need to have activated carbon.

They will often utilize customized blends of treated activated carbon to eliminate specific chemicals. These air purifiers also have high airflow and can circulate air in a room quickly.

Gets rid of odors

Harmful and unpleasant odors that like to linger, like cigarette smoke, animal odors, or cooking odors, can be challenging to eliminate. If you’re having issues removing odors, an air purifier with a charcoal or activated carbon filter can help.

Improves sleep

A lesser-known benefit of air purifiers is that they can improve your sleep. One of the main reasons people can’t sleep is because they suffer from allergies.

Because an air purifier can eliminate congestion, stuffy noses, sneezing, sinus headaches, and shortness of breath, you are almost guaranteed to sleep better. Air purifiers also produce white noise that can act as a sleep aid.

Removes harmful radon

Radon is a highly toxic, naturally occurring gas that’s tasteless, odorless, and invisible. To protect against radon, you can use certain air purifiers. These air purifiers aren’t only effective for dust, mold, bacteria, allergies, and viruses, but their carbon filters can also help reduce the radon levels in your home.

Reduces the chances of airborne diseases

Certain air purifiers can remove bacteria and viruses from your home under certain airflow conditions. This will help keep your household in good overall health, especially during the winter months. UV air purifiers are great for this. The disinfecting ultraviolet light provides an extra safeguard against airborne pathogens.

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 filter is airtight, comprised of a thick sheet of tiny fibers pleated and sealed in a metal or plastic frame. 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. They are often used in air purifiers to combat volatile organic compounds released from everyday household products. Activated carbon filters typically last 6 months.
  • Pre-Filters
    A pre-filter is an affordable, sometimes washable filter used in some air purifiers to maximize the primary filter’s lifespan. Pre-filters generally last 3 months, but some filters are washable for long-term filtration.

Features to Look Out for When Buying An Air Purifier

True HEPA filter

It’s a good idea to choose an air purifier with a True HEPA filter. Genuine HEPA filters are excellent at removing ultra-fine particles like dust, dander, pollen, mold. This ensures your air stays clean.

AHAM verified mark

Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, or AHAM, standards are meant to ensure the safety, efficiency, and performance of many home appliances, including air purifiers. The standards provide a common understanding between manufacturers and consumers to make buying appliances easier.

CADR rating

The Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR, is a standard defined by the independent Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) in the U.S. AHAM uses CADR, so consumers know that an air purifier will perform according to the manufacturer’s product claims.

It also helps shoppers identify which air cleaners work better than others. CADR is the only air purifier standard recognized as an American National Standard. Look for a CADR of at least 300. A CADR rating above 350 is excellent.

Noise levels

The noise your air purifier produces will be measured in decibels. Some air purifiers have a rating of 17 dB, which is similar to rustling leaves. Others, though, can reach noise levels of 60 dB and higher, which can be compared to listening to an AC unit 100 feet away.

Is A Dyson Air Purifier Worth It?

The popular Dyson Pure Cool TP04 uses two filters to remove gases, odors, and airborne particles. It uses a HEPA filter and a carbon filter. The Dyson brand is very popular, and if you can afford it, it may be a good investment.

However, the Dyson Pure Cool TP04 retails for over $500, so it’s one of the most expensive air purifiers on the market. And, if you take a look at its CADR, you will see that the Dyson TP05 Pure Cool’s CADR comes in at just 164m3/hr.

That means the expensive Dyson Pure Cool air purifier out about as much clean air as a $20 DIY air purifier could. Although Dyson is a beloved brand, if you are looking for an air purifier that works without spending hundreds of dollars, you may want to look elsewhere.

4 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Reduce sources of pollution

The best way to keep the air clean in your home is to keep the pollutants out. If you smoke, do it outside, but quitting altogether is the best thing you can do for your health.

Use things like craft supplies in well-ventilated areas, and if you have a gas stove, make sure that it is well ventilated. And if you can, remove your carpet because it traps a lot of toxins.

Improve room ventilation

Another way to keep the concentration of indoor air pollutants in your home low is to bring outdoor air inside. As much as you can, even when it’s colder outside, open your windows, doors, and attic fans will get fresh air inside. Running a window air conditioner with the vent control open will also improve your outdoor ventilation rate.

Keep the rooms clean

A clean house is often a healthy house. Good indoor hygiene can cut down on things like pet dander and other toxins from accumulating in your home. Develop cleaning strategies that can help reduce the accumulation of pet dander, mold, and dust lurking in your home.

Buy naturally air-purifying plants

Scientists have long suggested that bringing in air-purifying plants can help detoxify the air in your living spaces. Houseplants won’t only make your room look better, but they will make it healthier as well.

NASA’s Clean Air Study found several plants that can detoxify your home from toxins found in a variety of household products, materials, and furniture.

Air Purifier in the Living Room

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Where should I place my air purifier?

Your air purifier should be in rooms with the most toxins. You also need to be sure that your air purifier has at least a foot of space on each side so that it will clean the air in the entire room.

Do air purifiers use a lot of electricity?

Not really. 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?

It would be best if you kept your air purifier running at night. 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 much does a whole-house air purifier cost?

Whole-house air purifiers typically cost between $587 and $2,502. On average, the cost right around $1,303. The actual whole-house air purifier can cost anywhere from $1,000 to over $5,000, depending on the one you choose.

How long should an air purifier run?

You should run your air purifier 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.

Conclusion

Air purifiers are a great way to keep the air in your home clean. When shopping for a purifier, look at the CADR ratings and filter types, and find one with the AHAM mark.

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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