In your research, you most likely have noticed that there are many different types, styles, and brands for sale.
This may seem overwhelming, however, there are really only four types of air filtration technology that these devices use.
HEPA Filtration: This is considered the gold standard.It consists of a highly dense paper filter that traps airborne contaminants and is the driving mechanism behind the top-end machines.
A True HEPA (H11 or H12) filter is certified to remove 99.97% of all microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. H13 and H14 HEPA filters remove 99.9% of particles as small as 0.1 microns.
- Pollutants it Can Remove: Pollen, airborne mold spores, fungi, dust, pet dander, hair, and visible smoke, higher-rated HEPA (H13 and above) can remove many viruses.
- Advantages: Highly efficient, traps particles and doesn’t release them back into the air, safe for all respiratory problems.
- Disadvantages: Requires routine filter replacements to maintain efficiency, usually the most expensive type of air filtration, uses a fan to pull in air and higher speeds can be noisy.
Ionizer Filtration: This air cleaning technology operates by emitting a cloud of charged ions into the air that latches onto airborne contaminants. This process forces these impurities to fall onto the floor and nearby surfaces.
Keep in mind there is always a chance the particles can be stirred back up into the air by ceiling fans, AC turns on, when people or pets walk through the room or touch a surface.
This can result in a constant cycle of impurities being removed from the air and then returning back to it because the particles are not technically removed from the room. This is one of the reasons why we don’t suggest ionizers for people with respiratory conditions like asthma (i.e. the particles are not collected).
Ionic air purifier: This type uses a fan to draw air into the unit. The air passes by a set of electrically charged plates. Electrostatic attraction occurs and the pollutants stick to the plates. When the metal plates become dirty, the particles can pass through the system because the electrically charged surface of the plates are covered by other pollutants. That’s why weekly/daily cleaning is necessary for maximum effectiveness.
Additionally, the process of electrically charging the metal plates can produce small levels of ozone as a by-product.
What you need to know here is that some people with respiratory conditions can experience lung irritation from ionic air purifiers.
So if you have health conditions like asthma, COPD, bronchitis, or emphysema, then you should choose a HEPA air filter purifier as these units produce zero side effects.
Carbon Filtration: This type of air filter uses a special form of activated carbon that consists of millions of tiny absorbent pores. These pieces of carbon have a large surface area that is excellent for trapping fumes, gases, and odors.
These filters are used for removing particles that cause odors and make a home smell fresh and clean.
- Pollutants it Can Remove: Odor and VOCs from chemicals, gas fumes, pets, cooking, smoke, paints, and cleaning supplies.
- Advantages: Relatively cheap to replace, helps a room smell fresh.
- Disadvantages: Focuses on removing fumes, VOC, odors and not allergens.
Ultra Violet (UV) Light: A UV light air purifier with this technology uses the UV-C band of the ultraviolet spectrum. This band is completely safe for humans and doesn’t cause any negative side effects.
The main purpose of UV light is to kill bacteria and viruses inside the home by destroying their molecular DNA structure. The end result is a sterilized, clean environment that’s free of particles that can make you sick.
- Pollutants it Can Remove: Bacteria, viruses, and germs are destroyed.
- Advantages: Ultraviolet light lasts for thousands of hours, create a sterile environment, reduces the number of germs indoors that are responsible for creating illnesses.
- Disadvantages:Only good at killing viruses, bacteria, and germs, cannot be bought as a stand-alone device.
Classic Version: Classic air purifiers are the traditional model for these machines and don’t give you feedback on what impurities they’re actually removing from the air. You just have to trust how well they’re working by seeing how dirty the filter gets and by the claims made by the manufacturer.
Smart Enabled Version: With a smart-enabled air purifier, you’re provided with a lot of additional information about your indoor environment and how effective the device is working. Some of these units come with a dedicated mobile app to provide remote control and other data. However, most people will not activate this app often.
CADR Stands for “Clean Air Delivery Rate”
This rating was developed as a way to help consumers know how well an air purifying device can clean the air within a particular size room. The goal of the CADR rating is to give you an objective standard to compare the effectiveness of a device.
This rating is especially important when you’re comparing two or more air purifiers against each other and trying to decide on which one to buy.
The CADR rating ensures that if a product claims to purify a space up to 300 sq. ft., it has been tested and verified to be true. It also tells you exactly how well the device can get rid of certain types of indoor contaminants.
The higher the number, the more effective the air purifier is at removing contaminants.