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People spend approximately 90% of their time indoors1 , making it more important than ever to create a healthy living space. Unfortunately, organic pollutants are two to five times more likely to occur inside homes than outside of them, per the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). One way to ensure your living space is up to snuff is by adding one of the best HEPA air purifiers to your home. Air Filter Machine
Considered the gold standard of air purification, a HEPA filter must remove at least 99.7% of microns at least 0.3 micrometer and larger, as defined by the United States Department of Energy. While these HEPA filters are often paired with additional layers, such as activated carbon or ionized filters, they're considered the most important element of any air purifier—whether you're searching for a design for someone with allergies or a space with mold.
Not only does the right air purifier tackle allergens, dust mites, and pet dander—but it can even tackle bacteria. Some devices also opt for ionizers that can kill viruses; however, these devices output ozone (an environmental pollutant that can harm the lungs at high concentrations).
With so many purifiers on the market, it can be difficult to determine which is the best. Read on to learn more about choosing the right HEPA air purifier for your specific needs, as well as our top picks of 2022.
Not just any air purification can bear the HEPA label—and the regulated design is fairly effective, per Shyam Joshi, M.D., an allergist and head of medical for Nectar, a customized and convenient way to treat common allergies from home with sublingual immunotherapy treatment.
"HEPA filters, or high-efficiency particulate air filters, are meant to remove 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micron in diameter or larger, which is 100 times thinner than a human hair. These particles, which include dust, smoke, pollen, and mold spores, can cause irritation or allergic reactions in susceptible people that can lead to nasal congestion, runny nose, cough, or shortness of breath," explains Joshi.
Unlike regular air purifier filters, the HEPA rating does ensure a higher level of purification based on the size of particle, which is needed to remove common allergens and irritants from the air, he adds.
But while HEPA filters do offer a range of benefits for users, they can be more costly than traditional air purifiers on the market. The replacement filters, which generally need to be replaced every six to 12 months, also tend to cost more than traditional air filters. Fortunately, there are quality options for all budgets and needs, so you can enjoy cleaner and healthier air in your home or office for years to come.
When choosing a HEPA air filter for your home, it's important to know what to look for. Experts advise paying attention to a few key factors.
HEPA filters are effective at removing particles sized 0.3 micron and larger from the air, but it's not the only way to tackle contaminants. Choose an air purifier with a multistage air filtration system to ensure that it traps and removes as many particles as possible.
For example, carbon filtration can help remove odors and chemicals from the air. Some purifiers may also include a UV light to inactivate and destroy microorganisms, like mold and viruses.
"Each purifier is designed for a specific room size and comes with a maximum square footage rating. Smaller devices generally are efficient for smaller rooms but may not be effective for larger rooms. Choose one that is appropriate for the size of your room," explains Joshi.
Proper sizing will help ensure your device can operate efficiently, which will allow you to run the air purifier on a lower setting—which is generally quieter too.
Cost and accessibility of replacement filters
Replacement filters are often a hidden cost associated with air purifiers—and some filters can be pricey. Be sure to factor this cost into your decision and choose a purifier with filters that are both affordable and easy to replace.
Some replacement filters may be available locally, while others may require you to purchase them through the company's website. If you are someone who would rather pick up a filter locally and not order online, keep that in mind when shopping for an air purifier.
As the name suggests, every pick on our list boasts a HEPA certification. We also sought out designs that took air through multiple levels of filtration—but skipped designs with ionizers due to their negative environmental impact and potential health risks.
Air purifiers are designed for a variety of room sizes, and it's important to choose one to fit your specific space. We included products that are suited for both large and small spaces.
Shopper satisfaction is an important factor with any product. We analyzed customer reviews from a variety of online sources to make sure our picks are based on real user experiences.
Air purifiers can be pricey, so we made sure to include options for every price range. We looked for products that were effective and offer good value for the money so you can feel confident in your purchase—no matter your budget.
The GermGuardian AC4825E is a 4-in-1 air purifier that uses a 3-stage filtration process to capture dust and allergens, kill airborne mold and germs, and reduce odor. Air first passes through the purifier's activated charcoal pre-filter, which captures dust, pet hair, and other large particles, while also removing odors from the air. The True HEPA filter then captures 99.97% of the remaining allergens—including even more dust particles. Lastly, the optional UV-C light with combined TIO2 treatment can be used to reduce airborne bacteria, viruses, mold, and VOCs from the air.
The GermGuardian AC4825E has an overall 4.7/5.0 rating on Walmart's website. One reviewer raved about how impressed she was, stating "Came across this as I searched online about keeping the dust down. Went from needing to dust AT LEAST 2x week, to every 2-3 weeks." Another reviewer shared, "The reduction in dust in the room over a two week period is astounding."
The EnviroKlenz Mobile UV Model uses a 3-stage filtration process to not only capture but also destroy air contaminants, including pet dander, pollen, mold, smoke, odors, and chemicals. As air passes through the purifier, the EnviroKlenz air cartridge captures viruses, bacteria, and chemicals, which are then broken down in the system. The air then continues through the HEPA filter, which captures dust, dander, pollen, and more. Meanwhile, the UV-C lights destroy microscopic contaminants from the HEPA filter, as well as the purifier's interior, making it an excellent option to help protect against the spread of viruses.
Although not currently available on Amazon, this air purifier boasts an overall 4.9/5.0 rating on its site. One reviewer shared, "I have had my unit for 2 years. I and my family love it and notice the continuing benefits of having clean air in our home and the security that our EnviroKlenz is working 24/7 to maintain and remove any unhealthy airborne toxic and noxious, gasses, particulates, allergens, bacteria, viruses, and other allergy triggers. Every home should have one." Other reviewers share that they've purchased a second unit for another room after experiencing the benefits of the first.
The Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link is certified asthma and allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. It features a 360-degree filtration system that captures 99.97% of allergens, as well as bacteria and viruses. The purifier also monitors air quality and automatically adjusts its settings accordingly to provide the cleanest air possible. The app, remote, and voice control capabilities give users the flexibility to adjust the settings from anywhere.
The Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link has a 4.4/5 rating on Amazon, with many reviewers sharing that they have noticed an improvement in their allergy symptoms after using it. One reviewer shared, "My allergic asthma has all but disappeared, and I actually haven't been taking any allergy pills after a few days of running this unit." Other users mention difficulty connecting to the unit through Wi-Fi.
The Levoit Core 400S is a smart air purifier that uses a 3-in-1 filter that combines a pre-filter, H13 HEPA filter, and high-efficiency activated carbon filter into one. With only one filter to replace, users don't have to worry about purchasing separate replacement filters at different times throughout the year.
This purifier uses VortexAir™ Technology, which utilizes 360° air intake, curved fan blades, and raised vents to increase air circulation and improve speed of air purification. It also uses a high-sensitivity laser to scan the nearby air for allergens, allowing the purifier to adjust its speed accordingly when set in Auto Mode.
Customers on Amazon give the Levoit Core 400S an overall 4.8/5 rating. One reviewer shared that the purifier "Seriously reduces the total amount of 'pet fur tumbleweeds' across our hardwood floors." Another reviewer expressed similar feedback as she raved, "I love this purifier! I didn't believe in them, but I gave it a shot. It cleans most dust and has cut down on about 70% of my pet hair of two Pomeranians." Some users, however, had difficulty connecting to the unit through the app.
This purifier is a popular option among consumers concerned with smoke and other VOCs. The Winix 5500-2 uses a 4-stage filtration process to capture and reduce odors, smoke, and other airborne pollutants, leaving air cleaner and easier to breathe.
While the purifier does come with a range of benefits, it also requires more maintenance and cleaning than other models. In addition to annual replacements of the carbon filter and HEPA filter, the company recommends cleaning the pre-filter every 14 days, as well as the carbon filter every three months.
The Winix 5500-2 has over 23,000 ratings with an overall 4.7/5.0 rating. Among other benefits, reviewers rave about the purifier's ability to remove smoke from the air. One reviewer shared, "My wife and I both smoke and we've got 2 indoor cats but whenever we have guests over they always say how clean the air smells." Other reviewers purchased this purifier to help with smoke resulting from local wildfires, with one reviewer stating, "I've had no smoke smell AT ALL in the bedroom when I run this with the door shut to the rest of the home." Some reviewers, however, were dissatisfied by the sensitivity of the auto-mode sensor, with one reviewer sharing, "If you are buying this mainly for auto mode then skip this and look for a different purifier."
An Energy Star–rated option featured in our roundup of the best air purifiers for mold, this sleek design comes in a variety of colorways to match your space. Of course, the internal design matters just as much as the external one—and this pick is up to the task.
It boasts an activated carbon filter to conquer odors and VOCs, as well as a HEPA filter for small particles, like mold spores and dust mites. The simple design is best for those who don't want to spend a lot of time dealing with upkeep or adjustments—it offers minimal settings with just a single light to indicate when the filter needs to be changed.
A popular option on Amazon, the BlueAir gets rave reviews from customers who say it "packs a punch." Along with offering a great CADR (clean air delivery rate), it provides a noticeable difference in air quality for many—yet it's still quiet.
An air purifier can offer benefits in any room where a person spends a significant amount of time. "This is particularly important to those individuals who are more susceptible, such as those with environmental allergies or asthma," per our medical expert Joshi.
HEPA filters come in different grades ranging from H10 through H14, with the higher grade corresponding to a higher performance. H10 through H12 filters are sometimes referred to as "True HEPA filters," while H13 through H14 are considered medical grade because they are able to remove even more particulates from the air.
Whether you suffer from seasonal allergies or simply want to create a cleaner atmosphere in your home, investing in a HEPA air purifier is an excellent way to keep your indoor air clean and contaminant-free. With the right knowledge and research, you can find the model that best suits your particular needs—and maybe even add a few air-purifying plants for an added breath of fresh air (and pop of greenery).
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