Selecting an air purifier can be a real hassle. There is a glut of products on the market that range all across the board in terms of price, filtration and features. For now, I want to focus mainly on the models you'll find in your local big box store. You know what I'm talking about. The $50-150 plastic, Made-In-China special that features "Super-Awesome-Never-Needs-To-Be-Replaced-Amazingly-Ultra-Real-True-HEPA-Filtration!!!" Ok, so perhaps I exaggerate just a bit, but you know I'm talking about. There are several points that I want to make about this style of air purifier, so let's just start with the most basic.
You Get What You Pay For - The reality is, most of us gave up on the notion of repairing appliances a long time ago. Thirty years ago you likely would have found at least a handful of people in your local community who repaired home appliances. Replace a part here or there, a new belt, and you were as good as new. While prices certainly haven't gone down, quality and longevity of home appliances have.
As quick anecdote, growing up, my family had an old Westinghouse refrigerator. Unlike now, back then Westinghouse was made here in the U.S. It was as ugly as sin, weighed as much as a Yugo, and nearly as big. It was a hand-me-down, but by the time it finally died, it was roughly sixty years old! Even then, I think we got $15 out of it just for the steel. Can you imagine a home appliance lasting sixty years? No? Well neither can most manufacturers. There's more money in cheap and disposable than durable and long lasting. It's good to keep this in mind when looking at any home appliance, and the same holds true for air purifiers.
Too Good to Be True? - If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't get caught up in superlatives, glittering generalities, and marketing language. There's a lot of it out there, and ultimately, an air purifier is just another tool that you can use to better control your indoor environment. It's not a cure-all. You won't be running four minute miles or leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but with the right one, you will likely sleep better, wake up feeling better and breathe a little easier.
Different Name, Same Place - This is pretty common in the air purifier industry anymore. Notice how several different brands all look the same? It's often because they come from the same factory in China. Often the only difference, particularly amongst cheaper air purifiers, is the name or color.
Features - What do you need? Carbon for odors? Don't expect a cheap air purifier to pack much carbon. Sealed systems? Virtually non-existent with these types of models. Want something made of steel that won't off gas? Not going to happen. Ionizers? This... this you can get. Ionization is an inexpensive technology that can produce ozone, but remains a feature built into many less expensive air purifiers, mainly because it can increase filtration rates while using a lower quality filter. It has a high CADR. That means it's the one for me, right? Maybe. Inexpensive air purifiers are often run through the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) test and display good results, but the CADR has its share of drawbacks, so don't let it be the only reason you select a particular model.
Filterless Units - Simply don't work. Stop considering or buying them. Let someone else be a sucker. "But Kevin, I can see the dust that the plates are collecting. That means they're working right?" Wrong. My coffee table collects dust, but I don't sell it as an air purifier. These "air purifiers" almost ALWAYS produce ozone, which even in small amounts isn't something you want to introduce into your home.
Labels - Labels can be really helpful. They can give you a quick indicator of some key features. Plus, they lend credibility to products and performance, and that is also where the problem lies. Some labels don't necessarily convey what you think they do. The CADR can lend itself to a false sense of confidence in a product when taken by itself. Air purifiers can even be endorsed by recognized entities yet still not deliver what they promise, and even the Made in the USA logo has been found to have been abused by manufacturers, all to capitalize on sentiment and sell their product. Labels are, well labels. Investigate them. What do they mean and stand for? Talk to people who have used the product, consider the company's reputation, and avoid buying something just because of a label.
If you want more comprehensive information of what types of filtration are out there and what are the qualities you should look for in a quality HEPA air purifier, visit our Air Purifier Buying Guide. In it we give you a thorough overview of the different types of filtration available as well as the information you need to make a solid choice while avoiding the pitfalls of marketer-speak or being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of imitators and snake oil. This is why on this site you'll find more information than any other. From determining which products best meet your needs to finding simple, everyday solutions to help alleviate symptoms, you can find a variety of answers to your questions.
Author: K. Gilmore
There are three areas where AirPura has made changes to provide a better product.
- Filtration - From tried and true to cutting edge, AirPura offers a range of filtration styles to remove particle allergens like pollen, dander, and dust mites as well as odors, smoke and chemical vapors. A HEPA filter is standard in most models, as is a carbon filter and large particle prefilter. Some models integrate UV light while others integrate AirPura's TitanClean technology for some of the most comprehensive filtration available. Regardless of which AirPura you choose, each filter type can be independently changed. So unlike some combination filters that result in one of the combined filter medias wearing out before the other, each type of filter in the AirPura can be changed exactly when it needs to be.
- Components - For some of the most sensitive individuals, the solution to air quality problems can actually create more problems. From plastics that off-gas and UV bulbs that emit ozone to compounds in the carbon and rubber/foam/plastics found throughout the machine, many modern air purifiers can emit harmful byproducts that can aggravate conditions for those coping with chemical sensitivities or severe respiratory problems. AirPura takes a different approach by greatly limiting the use of adhesives, rubber, foam and plastics. This is why you will notice felt gaskets around the filter assembly, a steel shell with powder coat finish, a coconut shell based activated carbon (one of the most MCS friendly carbon bases available), UV bulbs that are CARB compliant (meeting California's stringent UV standards and exceed EPA standards), and electrical components that rest outside of the flow of cleaned air through the machine. Particularly for anyone who has dealt with problems caused by cheap air purifiers, these small details add up to a big difference.
- Air Flow - Air and water share some similar characteristics, and in this case, kinks or bends in the flow can dramatically reduce coverage. The more sharp bends air has to negotiate inside the air purifier, the less efficiently it flows through the machine and the more energy it uses. Things like 90° angles inside the machine can dramatically reduce not only airflow but also coverage. AirPura air purifiers have a very streamlined internal flow with no sharp bends. This is why it has the highest CFM of any residential air purifier, 560. This is also why an AirPura can cover up to 700 sq. ft. at a rate of 6 full air exchanges per hour. Thanks to the internal design and a powerful motor, you get more coverage for your buck with an AirPura.
- Noise - On the lowest fan speed, each AirPura air purifier registers about 28 decibels at six feet away. This makes them some of the quietest air purifiers on the market. This also means you can simply turn the fan down at night and make the bedroom more accommodating for light sleepers.
Currently, the three models we offer are the base model, the AirPura HEPA R600, which provides excellent three stage filtration suitable for most people dealing with allergies, asthma or COPD; the carbon-rich AirPura C600, which employs a thick, 26 lb carbon filter ideal for chemical abatement, removing high levels of smoke, odors, vapors; and, the most comprehensive, the AirPura HEPA P600, which uses five-stage filtration to tackle the widest range of allergens, pollutants, pathogens, and irritants of all AirPura models. Each model offers a unique solution for general or specific air quality problems.
If you want to learn more about what AirPura has to offer you, visit our AirPura page or view our entire line of high quality HEPA air purifiers.
I want to start by talking about the filtration. You'll notice that Alen uses the terms "HEPA like" or "HEPA style". This is because all Alen air purifiers offer near HEPA filtration, but come up just a smidge short. There are few filtration categories that are HEPA or near HEPA for most air purifiers The traditional ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) HEPA standard is 99.97% filtration efficiency of particle 0.3 microns or larger. In Europe the standard is H13, 99.95% of the same size particles, and lastly there is an H11 standard with a filtration efficiency of 95% or greater. The Alen BreatheSmart filters 99% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. So, it comes in higher than H11 filters but just under traditional HEPA efficiency ratings.
What does this mean for you? Could be a lot. Could be not much of anything. The answer lies in which type of allergens affect you. If dust mites or pollen is the nemesis, the BreatheSmart will work well. The low end of the particle filtration range will get collected and retained by the filter of the BreatheSmart. If pet dander, smoke or odors are your game, you may want to consider a different model. Not simply because the particles of these can be smaller than what a certified HEPA filter would capture, with pets, smoke and odors, HEPA filtration plus activated carbon is typically the best way to remove these allergens. So to recap, for dust mites or pollen the BreatheSmart is a champ, for smoke, odors or pet dander, the BreatheSmart might not deliver the knock out you've been looking for.
Beyond filtration, the Alen BreatheSmart is a really simple air purifier to operate. There are no dials, just a series of easy-to-use push buttons and indicator lights. Select one of four fan speeds or the Auto Mode (which will select the appropriate fan speed based on current particle pollution levels in the air). Filter Life indicator lights let you know how long until you need to replace your filter, and unlike strict timers, it factors in fan speed and actual run time. There is also a timer that allows you select 4, 8 or 12 hours of run time before the unit will automatically shut off. Plug it in, press a few buttons, and you're finished!
The last thing that really stands out with the Alen BreatheSmart is its quiet efficiency. While the top fan speed is still somewhat loud (this is pretty much unavoidable with any fan/blower-based air purifier), on all three lower speeds, it is significantly quieter than comparable models. Best of all, it consumes fairly little power, so much so that it is Energy Star certified.
In all, the BreatheSmart is a solid choice for those dealing with particle allergies. With spring allergy season just around the corner, and pollen counts already nearing 1000 in Atlanta, now might the best time to invest in an air purifier for your bedroom or living room.
For more information about the our full line of home HEPA air purifiers.
Author: Kevin Gilmore
For starters, the new T500 is a bit smaller. Shorter and lighter, this model is now sized between the T300 and T100 but still retains the same size footprint. Other than this, the T500 retains most of the same features, functionality and style of the T300 model. It still has digital controls, 3 fan speeds, and a filter change indicator. It also retains the limited lifetime warranty, EnergyStar qualification, and coverage area. And, as the T300, the new T500 has an optional ionizer (produces no ozone), for your convenience.
The only downside with this model is the UV bulb, that came standard with the T300, is no longer included with the T500 model. In lieu of the UV bulb, there is a filter option, the HEPA-Silver that does the same thing - neutralizes microbes and germs. The standard filter with the T500 is the HEPA-Fresh filter, which is a HEPA-style filter that traps 95% of particles 0.3 microns or larger (think N95 filtration). Aside from the HEPA-Fresh and HEPA-Silver option, there is also a HEPA-OdorCell filter that uses Alen's MCP technology to target odors.
Lastly, it is priced the same as its predecessor - $299.00. This model is currently in-stock and available to ship today.
For a full rundown of the T500's specs and our review of this air purifier, visit our T500 page or to view all Alen air purifiers.
Author: K. Gilmore
Since its introduction, the Paralda has been a popular air purifier for anyone concerned with their indoor air quality. With a HEPA style filter and embedded Silver Ion technology, the Paralda reduces not only allergens like ragweed, mold spores and dander, but also pathogens and microbes that can cause colds or the flu. This is critical as we head into the flu and fall allergy seasons.
A small footprint allows you place it in nearly any room, regardless of the size of the room or space issues. Though it is compact, this tower air purifier will cover about 200 to 500 sq. ft., depending on how many air exchanges per hour you desire. The digital, soft-touch controls are easy to use and give you flexibility to customize the filtration level that is right for you.
Some additional benefits of the Paralda: Energy Certified, and with regular filter replacement, the Paralda comes with a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Right now you can save $100 and add this stylish air cleaner to your home or office for only $339.
Like few other models available today, AllerAir air purifiers have a steel body. This adds durability and pretty much eliminates the potential for off gassing, which can happen with some less expensive, plastic models. Each HEPA air purifier also uses three types of filter media. So in addition to pleated HEPA filter media for particle allergens like pollen, dander, mold spores and dust mites, each model also has a coarse prefilter to keep large, visible particles out of the other filter media and a bed of activated carbon. The carbon is the key for many people, since it is the core of odor, smoke and chemical filtration that draws people to AllerAir to begin with.
With a WIDE variety of options when it comes to the carbon in your machine, comes choice but also time. Instead of a having a single standard type of carbon or single type of air purifier, AllerAir's variety makes construction a more time consuming process. Typically, if you order a new air purifier or filter, you should expect it to arrive in two to three weeks. Granted, this does seem like a considerable amount of time considering most of our other air purifiers ship either the day you order or the following day, but there are two things to keep in mind.
First, the units are all essentially custom orders. AllerAir does not stock any air purifiers due to the wide variety of models that they sell. It's just not feasible to carry, say two or five of every model, if you ultimately offer several hundreds of potential models. Second, most consumers are in the U.S. and AllerAir is a Canadian company. You can always add a couple days in shipping as it crosses the border.
Additionally, most AllerAir HEPA air purifiers provide anywhere from 10-15 years of use (more for many people). So while the time it takes for you to get it may seem like a lot, you truly are investing in a machine that can and will provide cleaner air for years and years to come.
Here at Achoo, we really like AllerAir air purifiers. Not only are they extremely durable, but they're effective for both particle and chemical/smoke/odor filtration, and their made in N. America. We do realize the time frame can seem like a lot for some folks, but it is a custom product, and you know what they say? Good things come to those who wait.
Confused about all the options AllerAir offers? Choose the Right AllerAir for You.
Author: K. Gilmore
The upgraded IQ Air purifiers have three key upgrades when it comes to performance.
- Up to 25% More Clean Air
- Up to 38% Longer Filter Life
- Lastly, 32% Quieter
Second, the longer filter life comes from an increase in the prefilter and HyperHEPA filter media. As an example, the old HyperHEPA filters typically had 30 sq. feet of HEPA filter media, while the new filters have 53 sq. ft. Longer life also comes with advances in the actual pleating of the media during construction. These two things combine to allow for greater filtration efficiency. With larger, more efficient prefilters and HEPA filters, the IQAir HealthPro and GC MultiGas models are able to last longer while cleaning more air.
Lastly, the noise is considerably less. Despite pushing more air through more filter media, the redesigned fans create less noise on all settings. Consequently, the actual power consumption of the all four residential IQAir models has decreased, meaning your IQAir costs you even less to operate!
AchooAllergy.com has been shipping the new models for a few weeks now, so if you've ordered in that time period, chances are good you have one of the IQAir New Edition air purifiers. If not, now is the time to try one and see the difference!
Author: K. Gilmore
The Whirlpool Tower Air Purifier provides HEPA quality particle filtration while offering removal of light smoke and odors. With a slim tower design and easy to use controls, the Whirlpool APT40010R is compact and lightweight, easily fitting in to most spaces and blending into the decor of most rooms.
The filtration behind the Whirlpool Whispure Tower is a certified HEPA filter, which traps 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns and larger, and a non-woven polyester pre-filter with carbon/charcoal for adsorption of light odors and smoke. This combination provides ideal filtration of common allergens in smaller spaces like bedrooms, dorm rooms, and offices.
As a Whispure model, the Tower is very quiet on its low fan setting and is Energy Star qualified. It does not produce ozone or use any type of ionizing filtration technology and is backed by a five year warranty. So if you're looking for a tower style air purifier from a brand you know, consider the Whirlpool Whispure Tower.
Austin Air purifiers have long been some of the most efficient air purifiers for allergy and asthma sufferers. Steel construction, easy to use controls and long filter life have made them popular for those who want efficiency without hassle. True HEPA filtration, granular activated carbon and a sealed system have made them ideal for removing pollen, dander, dust, and other particle allergens as well as smoke, odors, and VOC's.
If you were considering an Austin or are in need of a replacement filter, there is no time to order like now!
Shop Austin Air Purifiers
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The article describes how "the homes and offices of many top leaders are filtered by high-end devices, at least according to a Chinese company, the Broad Group, which has been promoting its air-purifying machines in advertisements that highlight their ubiquity in places where many officials work and live."
Beijing's air is notoriously polluted, and lately the city has been particularly polluted. The United States Embassy monitors Beijing's air and has registered unsafe levels of pollution multiple times recently. Interestingly, the Chinese government does not publicly release data on the smallest particulates in the air, those that are smaller than 2.5 micrometers. However, these are the most harmful pollutants because they can penetrate deeply into the lungs. Much of this pollution is due to vehicular exhaust.
While debates continue over whether and when to change this air quality reporting policy, Communist Party leaders don't need much convincing to obtain air purifiers that cost a couple thousand dollars: "To make their case, company executives [of the Broad Group air purifier company] installed [an air purifier] in a meeting room used by members of the Politburo Standing Committee. The deal was apparently sealed a short while later, when technicians made a show of cleaning out the soot-laden filters. 'After they saw the inklike dirty water, Broad air purifier became the national leaders’ appointed air purifier!'" according to the Broad Group's website.