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Air Purifier: Your best friend in this allergy season



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Dyson's air-purifying fans control air pollutants in style.


Sarah Tew / CNET

The allergy season is on the rise, and if your eyes itch and runny nose of the year come to an end, air purifiers could be the answer. Air purifiers, sometimes referred to as air purifiers, keep the climate in your home healthy by removing polluting particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander and even mold spores. These air filters are often supplied as portable units and fans. So you can breathe easier.

What are you doing?

Portable air cleaners and air filters remove pollutants from the air. Indoor air pollutants can be divided into two main categories:

  • Particulate matter: This includes biological pollutants such as mold spores, house dust mites, bacteria, animal hair and viruses.
  • Gaseous pollutants: paints, varnishes, adhesives and pesticides. Highly hazardous gaseous pollutants are sometimes referred to as volatile organic compounds or VOCs.

Air purifiers filter these contaminants out of your air. Anyone who responds to allergens or has asthma can benefit from an air purifier. Of course, one can hardly imagine anyone who would not be better off with a clean atmosphere in their home, and air purifiers can certainly play a helpful role in improving indoor air quality.

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Regularly vacuuming your home is a great way to accumulate dust and allergens.


Colin West McDonald / CNET

However, an air purifier is not a substitute for keeping your home clean and, if possible, ventilating it. The most effective way to deal with pollutants in the air is to prevent these particles from entering the air.

Preventive measures such as indoor smoking, regular vacuuming, occasional supply of fresh air and cleaning of solid surfaces are still the best ways to combat indoor air problems and reduce air pollution in your home.

How air purifiers work?

Air purifiers remove these pollutants using one of the three common airborne methods: filtration, electrostatic precipitation and ionization. However, the EPA warns of the ozone hazard generated by some electrostatic and ionizing air purifiers. The use of filter-based air purifiers is generally considered to be healthier and more effective than ozone generators. Therefore, we focus here on this method.

The most effective form of air filtration (and probably the one you've heard most about) is a HEPA filter (high-performance particulate absorber). Models with filters draw in the air in your home and move it through the filter with a recirculation fan. As the air moves through each filter, pollutants, particles or allergens in the air are trapped in the filter. The clean air is then forced back into your room. HEPA filters are better than traditional air filters as they trap finer particles and clean the air more thoroughly.

Buying tips

Air purifiers range from less than $ 100 to well over $ 1,000. The main difference is usually in the amount of air (how many square feet) that you can effectively clean. Most models are designed to sit on the floor, but you can find tabletop models and even wall-mounted finishes for air filtration. Read the descriptions carefully to make sure you get an air filter system that is large enough to fit in your room and fight your allergies. Remember, though, that a larger model probably needs more energy.

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There are several ways to rely on your choosing a good air purifier. The abbreviation and value for "CADR" may appear on the packaging of an air purifier. This stands for "Clean Air Delivery Rate". That's a measure of how fast the air purifier can deliver clean air. The higher the CADR, the faster the air pollutants are removed, although some manufacturers have suggested that this laboratory test method is not an accurate simulation of air filtration in an average household. Dyson even developed its own test method, the Polar test.

Air purifiers are also measured according to the MERV scale (minimum efficiency reporting value), with the lowest rating being 1 and the highest being 20. HEPA filter rates between 17 and 20. If you are looking for an air purifier on the market, look for a higher score on this scale if you want to solve serious problems with asthma and allergies.

We have not tested any air purifiers on CNET, but there are a variety of well-reviewed and popular models available online. Here are some notable options from Amazon:

If dust, allergens, animal dander, and other pollutants take over your home, or if allergies drive you crazy, try a good deep cleaner and use air filters or air cleaners to check the indoor air quality of these particularly disturbing rooms.

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