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What is an air purifier? Everything you need to know



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


Sarah Tew / CNET

If your home feels dusty, moldy, or just weird, there are several small appliances that are ready to come to the rescue. Dehumidifiers and Humidifiers provide the moisture in your home and solve a variety of climate issues and problems such as mold growth. Air purifiers, sometimes referred to as air purifiers, also work to keep the climate of your home healthy by removing polluting particles such as dust and pollen. These cleaning machines are often packaged as portable devices and fans to help you breathe easier.

What does it matter?

Portable air purifiers remove pollutants from the air. Indoor air pollutants can be divided into three main categories:

  • particulate matter. These include biological contaminants such as mold, house dust mites, bacteria, animal hair and viruses.
  • Gaseous pollutants. Things like paints, varnishes, adhesives and pesticides.

Air purifiers work to filter these impurities from our air. Anyone who is sensitive to allergens or with asthmatic symptoms could benefit from an air purifier. Of course, it's hard to imagine that someone who would not be better off with a cleaner atmosphere in their house, and air purifier can certainly play a helpful role.

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Vacuuming is a good way to collect dust and allergens.


Colin West McDonald / CNET

However, an air purifier is not a substitute for keeping your home clean and ventilating it if possible. The most effective way to manage pollutants in your air is to avoid them from the outset. Preventive measures such as non-smoking indoors, regular vacuuming, the ability to occasionally breathe fresh air and clean solid surfaces are still the best solutions to indoor air problems.

How do air purifiers work?

Air purifiers remove these pollutants from the air using one of the three common methods: filtration, electrostatic precipitation and ionization. The EPA warns of the danger of ozone by electrostatic and ionizing air purifiers. Using a filter-based air purifier is considered the healthiest and most effective option. That's the method we'll focus on here.

The most effective form of air filtration (and probably the one you've heard most about) is a HEPA (High Performance Particulate Absorber) filter. Models with filters draw in the air at home and move them through the filter with a recirculation fan. As the air moves through each filter, pollutants and particles are trapped in the filter. The clean air is then pushed back into your room. HEPA filters do a better job here than a standard filter because they can trap finer particles.

Buying Tips

Air purifiers range from under $ 100 to well over $ 1,000, and the main difference is typically the quality of the air or the amount of air (how big a room) that can be effectively cleaned. Most models are designed to sit on the floor, but you can find table models and even wall-mounted designs. Read the descriptions carefully to make sure you get a cleaner large enough to fit in your room, but keep in mind that a larger model is likely to use more energy.

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On the packaging of an air purifier you may see the abbreviation and the value for "CADR", which stands for "clean air supply rate". That's a measure of how quickly the air purifier can deliver clean air. The higher the CADR, the faster the air purifier can filter your air. Another way to measure air purifier efficiency is a minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV), with the lowest rating being 1 and the highest being 20. HEPA filter rates between 17 and 20. Here are some notable options on Amazon: [19659027] If dust, allergens and other pollutants are taking over your home, try a good deep cleaning and consider an air filter for those extra irritating spaces.

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