In case you’re getting ready for an allergy season, or suffer from the asthmatic condition, an air purifier is an investment you can’t disregard. Today, we are going to learn how air purifying works, what to look for when shopping for a purifier, and what things you’d better avoid. Since my son’s allergic to pollen, I’m ready to share my hands-on experience on how we tackle the most abominable allergy symptoms. I’ll also take you with me on my 50-hour research quest for the best air purifier on the market. Read our review of the TOP Best Air Purifiers and choose the one that would finally change the quality of your life!
Keeping the air clean is essential for your health. It is noteworthy that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends installing air-handling systems with appropriate filtration in the rooms where COVID-19 patients are treated. According to the CDC official statement, “air from these rooms should be exhausted directly to the outside or be filtered through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter directly before recirculation”.
What You Will Learn from This Guide:
- TOP Best HEPA Air Purifiers: what is the best air purifier for allergies?
- Best Powerful True HEPA Air Purifiers for Allergy & Asthma around 200 dollars
- 1. Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier, Extra-Large Room | Best w/highest CADR
- 2. Blueair Blue Pure 121 Air Purifier 3 Stage
- 3. AIRMEGA 300S The Smarter App Enabled Air Purifier (Covers 1256 sq. ft.),Compatible with Alexa
- 4. Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Carbon Filter
- Best UV Air Purifier
- 5. Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier for Home, Office, Bedrooms, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust, Pet Dander, UV-C Sanitizer | Best Under $100
- The Affordable Air Purifiers
My son is allergic to birch tree pollen, which is considered the most important and widespread allergenic pollen in the Northern latitudes, accounting for about 20% of all hay fever incidents. In late winter and early spring, when the birch is getting ready for pollination, its long and narrow catkins that dangle from the branches, become feathery, fluffy, and light, for even the gentlest of wind currents to easily shake them loose. And when the wind-pollination season starts, so does an allergic rhinitis.
My son starts getting a runny nose, conjunctivitis, and his atopic dermatitis is just getting extremely worse. These are all the most common symptoms of hay fever, which can slightly vary from person to person, and in the most severe cases lead to asthma. The common treatments which are, unfortunately, not very effective, often include steroids, antihistamines, and antileukotrienes.
Because of my son’s allergy, I’ve become a member of many pollen and allergy-related communities, where people share their stories and treatments that have helped them during the high season. And if you suffer from an allergy, you probably know that finding an antihistamine that would successfully work for you (not your neighbor, your friend, or any other person) is extremely hard. Some people are luckier than others and find the drug that works the first time they try it, but others have to change several medications before finding something that works.
Do UV and HEPA Air Purifiers & Sanitizers Work? What Scientists Say About the Technology
Researchers widely recommend using air purifiers with both HEPA filters and UV lamps to fight flu viruses in homes, universities, and other facilities. According to them, UV light has proven to be antimicrobial and there is scientific evidence that it can reduce flu transmission. Actually, multiple studies have shown that ultraviolet light can effectively control the spread of various bacterial diseases.
In particular, UV lamps (air sanitizers) are used to control tuberculosis in healthcare facilities. Experts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute claim that this technology reduces the risk of tuberculosis transmission more effectively than conventional systems. Whereas HEPA filters provide about 12 air changes per hour, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation provides up to 35 air changes per hour.
Moreover, ultraviolet light eliminates one of the common problems of HVAC systems — fungal contamination. Researchers from the University of Tulsa note that fungi occur in ducts, air filters, and cooling coils of the unit, causing infectious diseases and asthma in people around. Germicidal UV irradiation kills most types of fungi, bacteria, and viruses, making HVAC units safer and the air healthier.
Interestingly, in 2018, scientists from the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University discovered that far ultraviolet C light could be a better solution for killing viruses than a conventional UV light. Why? The thing is that far-UVC light is harmless for humans but fatal for bacteria and viruses, which makes it a great option for hospitals, schools, and homes. The major downside of conventional UV light with a wavelength of between 200 to 400 nm is that it poses health hazards in prolonged contact with the skin, which is not the case with far-UVC light.
We draw your attention to the fact that when it comes to protection against novel coronavirus, you should take only those measures that are approved and advised by relative governmental agencies. The Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC) states that the best way to prevent COVID-19 is avoiding being exposed to the virus, washing your hands with soap and hand sanitizers, and avoiding touching your mouths with unwashed hands.
CDC recommends installing air-handling systems with appropriate filtration in the rooms where COVID-19 patients are treated. According to the CDC official statement, “air from these rooms should be exhausted directly to the outside or be filtered through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter directly before recirculation”.
Also, as our MD says, the best way to combat an allergen is to avoid an allergen. That said, she always asks us to leave the town before the birch pollen season starts. And if last year, we successfully avoided the season, by moving for two months down to the south, I am not sure if we have the same opportunity this year round. And, as you likely already know, it’s not always possible to escape, some have jobs and schools to attend to.
So what are the solutions if you’re stuck with the tree pollen? Many people on community boards suggest sitting at home with all windows sealed shut, and an air purifier going full speed. Perhaps, that’s not the smartest advice ever, as one cannot possibly sit at home for 2 months in a row without getting depressed or fired from a job, but having an air purifier at home will certainly make things a little easier. That said, I decided to purchase an air purifier before the season starts, so we are all ready for the battle.
With many options available on the market, it’s still very hard to choose one, especially if it’s the health of the child, we’re talking about. Thus, I’ve embarked on a journey to find the best air purifier on the market that would be both reliable and effective at eliminating small pollen particles that often find their ways into the house even if you take all possible precautions.
The best air purifiers catch even the smallest allergens, as tiny as .3 microns (the human hair is 600 times larger), and prevent these particles from moving back into the air. But not all air purifiers are created equal. There are certain features you want to look for to ensure it will be effective against even the smallest of allergens.
When looking at features and functionality of air purifiers, it’s imperative to understand what features should be the most vital and what limitations are possible deal-breakers:
Types of filters
The first and most important aspect of an air purifier is, of course, the type of filter. There are several types of filters that the market currently has to offer:
- Pre-filter is able to trap the large particles, like pet hair, dander, and dust. They also serve as the first line of defense against the allergens and help prolong the life of the main filter. If you disregard using the pre-filter, you may end up with your main filter dying within a year or so, as it will take larger particles, which can clog it up and wear it down. Read a detailed insight into pet odor elimination in our Buyer's Guide — Best Air Purifiers for Pets.
- HEPA filter is able to trap even the smallest of allergens, like micro pollen, mold spores, etc and it stops the allergens from getting back in the air. However, HEPA is helpless against odors and gases, which can be eliminated with the use of carbon filters.
- Carbon filter is a powerful filter that’s able to remove certain chemicals with an unpleasant odor, like hydrogen sulfide (rotten eggs odor) or chlorine. Activated carbon that’s used in carbon filters works by chemical absorption thus, it traps the chemicals into the pore structure of the carbon substrate.
This type of feature can safely be disregarded. And let me briefly explain here why. None of the devices that claim to clean the air by generating ozone has been approved by the EPA for use in occupied spaces. Contrary to a popular belief, instead of actually helping the allergic condition, ozone can “worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma and compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections”, as outlined by the EPA. That said, do not buy air cleaners.
Distance (room size)
Another feature, which might be the obvious one, is the room size that you need to “purify” with the device. The product specifications should indicate the air purifier’s cleaning capacity for a given area. You should be aware, though, of the fact, that dirty filters reduce the device’s capacity and it might become inefficient for the size initially claimed by the manufacturer. Thus, it’s imperative to take all the necessary steps to prevent filters from clogging up and clean the room in a timely fashion.
If you have a small child who’s oversensitive to noise, or anyone in your household who often find themselves hard to fall asleep with an electric device working in the background, then you should look if there’s any indication that the device is noisy. Fortunately, the branded models have sealed systems for noise reduction, so there are fewer things to worry about. However, not all devices are the same, and some would have noise. If that concerns you, look for the noise level dBA, to see if it’s acceptable for you.
People who’d obviously most benefit from having an air purifier are those that suffer from allergies like my son, have an asthmatic condition or any other respiratory disease. But an air purifier is not just for the allergic. Anyone could benefit from having their air cleaned, we’re talking prevention of weakening of immune system, lung problems, and improvement of overall well-being. Let’s briefly summarise those benefits in the following bulleted list:
- Assists in cleaning and purifying the air, thus helping breathe easier
- Helps people with various allergies by eliminating mold spores, pollen, pet hair and dander, dust and dust mites, etc
- Helps improve the immune system and prevent it from weakening
- Some devices are capable of removing unnecessary and unwanted odors as well: tobacco or any other smoke, rotten eggs odor, etc
However, don’t think that HEPA filters are omnisciently powerful, they do have their own limitations:
- Noise: irrespectively of how manufacturers try to make it as noiseless as possible, air purifiers still produce noise at their highest settings. To tackle this problem, put it on the lowest setting at night to feel more comfortable during your sleep
- HEPA will not serve you a lifetime: filters would require to be often changed and replaced to maintain their efficiency
- HEPA is useless at odor elimination: if you’re concerned about tobacco smoke from your neighbor, then HEPA won’t do much, and you will have to purchase separate carbon filters for that matter. If you need a powerful air purifier for smokers — read our detailed Buyer's Guide: Best Air Purifiers for Smoke.
In case you’re only convinced by powerful scientific evidence, then these are a few statements shared by the prominent researchers and scientists on the subject.
Dr. Busaba, an otolaryngologist from Harvard-affiliated hospital in Massachusetts, says that only air purifiers with HEPA filters are able to make a difference in the quality of life of an allergic person. She also strongly advised against electrostatic precipitators that produce harmful ozone. In case you’re not allergic to airborne particles or impurities, then air purifier would hardly make a difference in your life, Dr. Busaba says.
Whole-home filtration systems vs air purifiers
According to Dr. Ogbogu, MD, an allergist and immunologist at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in Columbus, there’s no strong evidence that expensive whole-home filtration systems are any better than small air purifiers, meaning there’s no need to make an exorbitant investment in something that would work just as well as a small air purifying unit.
Mold & humidifier
She also says that in case you have mold in your house, it’s a good idea to turn your humidifier off, because, as it’s well known, mold thrives in humid environments. And even if you do own an effective and reliable purifier, cleaning your room on a regular basis should be a part of an important strategy against allergy, says Dr. Ogbogu. To fight mold, skip to the Guide Best Air Purifiers for Mold.
Limitations of HEPA filters
In the paper on the effectiveness of air filters and cleaners in allergic diseases, researchers from the University of Louisville School of Medicine concluded that HEPA filters, although, very beneficial, are limited in their effectiveness to a single room, rather than an entire dwelling. Thus, they recommended several purifiers to cover more rooms and consequently a larger area.
Ideal humidity level
According to the Medical Center of the University of Rochester, the ideal humidity levels should range from 30 to 50%. If the humidity is above those numbers, then mold and dust mites would thrive, if the humidity is too low, then a person can develop a skin condition (like atopic dermatitis could worsen, for example), dry eyes, throat irritation, etc. Thus, it could be inferred, that the air purifier should work in conjunction with other devices (humidifier, dehumidifier) and strategies (cleaning, washing) to be an efficient “weapon” against allergic symptoms. Also, the researchers outlined several key tips to ensure the air purifier works at its best: invest in HEPA filter; clean the filters regularly; eliminate the source of an allergic reaction (pet, rug, etc); improve the indoor hygiene.
The EPA, in their Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, suggested looking for CADR values in an air purifier’s specifications. The best air purifier thus would have greater CADR values than its competition. CADR stands for clean air delivery rate that’s expressed in cubic feet per minute.
For example, if CADR for pollen is 240, then it means that the purifier can reduce the pollen particles to the same concentration as it would have been achieved by adding 240 cubic feet of clean air per minute. And while many air purifiers won’t necessarily achieve the CADR stated in their specifications (because conditions vary), it’s still advisable to look for these values and compare them across different models.
However, in the same document, the EPA also mentions that air purifiers are not as potent as they might seem for “sensitive population”, like children and elderly, because even the strongest air purifiers are sometimes powerless to the minuscule particles that would still linger in the air or settle quickly before they can be effectively removed. Thus, only washing, cleaning, and maintaining hygiene would play out well, and not a single air purifier alone.
Now, back to my quest to find the best air purifier for allergies to help my son survive his next pollen season. I’ve sifted through obvious chaff before arriving at the following options, which seem like ideal versions to have at home. Mind you, I have not gone into the exorbitant price category with options that could cost one an arm and a leg, on the contrary though, I’ve chosen only the best cost-effective options that everyone could afford. I’m a full-time working mom and budget matters to me a lot. The priciest model you’ll find on the list will cost you two hundred and a half at most, and there also other alternatives available, in case you prefer something even cheaper.
1. Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier, Extra-Large Room | Best w/highest CADR
This purifier is pretty powerful, it covers an area of 465 sq ft, and its filters circulate air five times an hour. Honeywell purifier also features an activated carbon pre-filter (that should be replaced every three months) and a true HEPA filter (to be replaced once a year).
What makes this product stands out among other options around 200 dollars, is that it doesn’t have an ionizer, a harmful addition for an asthmatic person.
Also, the CADR values that Honeywell features are very powerful, namely 300 for smoke, 320 for dust, and 300 for pollen. CADR is an important indicator showing the volume of the air processed by the filter, determining how well it filters out allergens, pollen, dust, and other particles. The device also features 4 settings, with the lowest settings being almost silent.
Check out this video with an earlier model of Honeywell air purifier being tested both in turbo and quiet modes.
Separately worth noting the producer of this model, Honeywell International Inc. that was established in New Jersey in the late 19th century and has now become a successful global company represented in 70 countries worldwide. Their clients include homeowners, private companies and government agencies. Over the course of about 130 years, Honeywell has been developing and marketing a wide array of high-quality products, including air cleaners, fans, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, and others. And this air purifier is no exception.
What do buyers say?
Consumers highly praised the Honeywell purifier, saying it was a fantastic HEPA purifier at a bargain price; many shared the pictures of the filters being completely ridden with dust proving the purifier was excellent at doing its job. Among those who were not as much enthusiastic were customers, who received a faulty product and needed to exchange it. Minor nuisances aside, this product can be safely recommended.
In this video, a Youtuber tells the story of his mother who started developing allergies and asthma this season. She has never had any issues like that before and the purchase of this air purifier has become one of the effective solutions to the problem. He has described this model as an efficient and inexpensive alternative to pricier high-end air purifiers. However, those who suffer severe allergies and cannot breathe in even the smallest amount of dust should opt for more powerful air cleaners.
Honeywell: Check the current price
2. Blueair Blue Pure 121 Air Purifier 3 Stage
Blueair Purifiers don’t have ionizing options that’s why they are my favorites, besides there are also models available for small, large, and extra large rooms, so you can choose whatever option for the size of your dwelling. The one we are covering in this guide is good for 400-600 sq ft.
There’s a 3-part filtration system featuring a washable pre-filter, true HEPA, and an activated carbon filter. It’s also particularly noiseless, with a small unit having a sound level of only 17 to 46 dB, and the larger room unit featuring 31 to 56 dB. Keep in mind that you will have to replace the filters approximately every 6 months depending on how often you use the device. Apart from that, it does not consume much energy — just 60W on the highest speed of the fan.
The product is made by Blueair, a company that has been developing innovative air purifiers for about 20 years. The team of professional designers and engineers have been working together to invent products combining high performance with a low level of noise. These air purifiers have won various awards and are being sold all over the world.
What do buyers say?
Although this is yet not a bestseller, Blue Pure still received a lot of positive customer feedback, with testers comparing it to other similar more expensive options and saying that Blue Pure was just as good and sometimes even better. People, who were, however, unsatisfied, said that when they received the purifier it smelled unpleasant. Thankfully, these were just a handful of consumers, because the majority was overwhelmingly pleased with how the purifier delivered.
Blogger Neil Mossey has published a video review of a Blueair purifier that he has been using recently. You can see from this video how powerful and easy-to-use it is. The unit is really large and, as Neil put it, “is the biggest thing he has ever unboxed.” Although it seems quite bulky, the device is easy to operate and is opened with the push of a button. Even inside, the appliance looks gorgeous and stylish, as he notes while disassembling it with the help of his son. The purifier is powerful and you can hear sounds emitted for each of the 3 settings. Well, the really loud noise is that on the third setting.
Blue Pure 121: Check the current price
3. AIRMEGA 300S The Smarter App Enabled Air Purifier (Covers 1256 sq. ft.),Compatible with Alexa
The purifier from Coway is a very sophisticated and powerful model with the sleek tower design. The unit covers more than 1,200 square feet, meaning it is specifically designed for a living room and large apartments. It comes with a Max2 filter which combines activated carbon and a True HEPA filter, effectively reducing the amount of all sorts of allergens and fumes in the air. In particular, it targets ammonia (NH3) and acetaldehyde (CH3CHO) fumes.
As a reference, ammonia is produced not only industrially but also naturally from decomposition of organic matter. For example, dog urine contains ammonia, the concentration of which increases as the urine breaks down. As for acetaldehyde, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, it is a Group 1 carcinogen. Worse still, studies show that this chemical compound is “one of the most frequently found air toxins with cancer risk greater than one in a million.” Acetaldehyde is known to be a potential contaminant in indoor environments and is present in automobile exhausts. Needless to say how important it is to purify the air from these dangerous fumes.
The device is pretty powerful at eliminating dust, pollen, and smoke (260 cubic feet per minute). The higher the CADR, the better. If you remember, the first device that we’ve covered had these values somewhere at about a hundred, whereas Coway features these values way above those, but still a little bit less than Honeywell purifier.
This model has a number of other essential advantages. It comes with a Smart Mode feature that adjusts fan speeds depending on the air quality in the room, meaning that the device will not run idle. Also, the system sucks the contaminated air from two sides and, therefore, works more efficiently. Besides, the unit has 5 fan modes, a timer for up to eight hours and an air filter indicator showing when you need to replace the filter or clean the pre-filter. There is also a four-level sensor that will let you know how dirty (or clean) the air in the room is.
Alternatively, you may try the Airmega 300S model. The unit has the same technical specifications and offers the same benefits, but also has the advantage of being compatible with Alexa and Dash Replenishment. This makes it more convenient and useful for smart-home users.
Let me tell you a little bit about the manufacturer. Coway is a South Korean holding company that was founded in 1989 and has since expanded globally. With a motto reading: “Every home deserves a specialist”, it has set up a large research and development center that has been certified by the American WQA as a Recognized Testing Laboratory. Coway is focused on the production of high-tech goods with modern design and this is also true about Coway Mighty Air Purifier.
What do buyers say?
Youtuber Bozo shares his experience with the Coway air purifier, calling it “one of the best air purifiers on the market”. He has been using it for 3 years, something that says a lot about the product’s reliability since many things he buys seem to break within a year. While demonstrating the unit, Bozo has highlighted the Auto feature as one of the most important ones. Once the dust is detected in the air, the device automatically kicks the fan’s speed up to whatever level of pollution is necessary. In this video, you can see how much dust, pets hair, and grease from the kitchen it collects.
Coway: Check the current price
4. Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA, PlasmaWave and Odor Reducing Carbon Filter
This purifier is slightly cheaper than Conway, covers a slightly less space (good for 283 sq. ft), and is also less stronger (Pollen: 194; Dust: 182; Tobacco Smoke: 183). It features washable advanced odor control carbon filter, washable pre-filter, true HEPA filter, and, what manufacturer calls, a Plasmawave® technology.
I did a brief search on a subject and discovered that it was an ionizer, but, according to the company’s website, its emission numbers were safe and certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). Again, in smaller rooms, the concentration can add up, so turn this feature off, it if bothers you. Still, the company claims that the technology should not be labeled as an “Ionizer” as it is far superior and produces not only negative but also positive ions. The manufacturer claims that only Plasmawave® technology is able to reduce the concentration of air pollutants in the room.
Now, let's have a look at the company producing these devices. Founded in 1973 in South Korea, Winix has been engaged in the development and production of innovative water and air treatment solutions. A range of products manufactured by the company includes air cleaners, humidifiers, dehumidifiers, and some other household appliances. While the production is established in South Korea, Winix operates not just in Asia, but also in the US and Europe.
What do buyers say?
According to positive consumer response, there was obviously nothing to worry about in terms of safety and most of the purchasers seemed genuinely pleased with the product’s performance. The only concerns that the testers raised were the high expenses associated with the replacement filters and their scarce availability.
Check out this video review of Winix air cleaner by SuperMomWannabe who recommends this product for anybody who has pets in their home or has any odors to eliminate. Speaking of the benefits, she has mentioned an advanced odor control. According to the blogger, with an activated carbon filter, the device can actually get rid of strong odors while the pre-filter traps hair, dust, fur and all other particles that are normally built up on the floor. Another helpful feature she mentioned is smart sensors boosting the unit's performance when the dust is detected in the air.
Winix: Check the current price
Best UV Air Purifier
5. Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier for Home, Office, Bedrooms, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust, Pet Dander, UV-C Sanitizer | Best Under $100
This seems like a wonderful solution for rooms up to 167 sq. feet. GermGuardian features both charcoal and HEPA filters that in combination would help to eliminate both chemical odors and allergen particles. There’s also an optional UV-C light technology that works with titanium dioxide to reduce airborne bacteria, viruses, germs, and mold spores. There’re three settings that target specific allergens: CADR Dust (118), Pollen (125) and Smoke (108). According to the manufacturer, only one filter needs to be replaced every 6-8 months depending on how often you use the device. You can buy two of those (in case you need two separate devices for different rooms) for slightly less than a single device alone.
The testers seemed pleased with the product’s performance, with many saying it was a godsend for multiple allergies they had. The only concerns were, however, the cost of replacement filters, and the fire hazard issues, that some consumers reported while using the device. It seems like a manufacturer has circuit board problems underneath the controls, and as of yet, it doesn’t seem like the problem is solved. Thus, a safety issue is a deal breaker. Also, it’s important to note, that while UV-C might sanitize the air, it will also produce "photolytic" ozone when UV-C hits oxygen molecules, and, as we’ve mentioned above, ozone is absolutely harmful to your lungs.
GermGuardian: Check the current price
6. Hamilton Beach Air Purifier & Odor Eliminator Ultra Quiet
Hamilton purifier will work for 140 sq ft rooms. It features a permanent pre-filter that captures pet hair and large particles, two replaceable carbon zeolite filters and an HEPA-grade filter for capturing small particles. The permanent filters can be easily cleaned with a vacuum cleaner for minimal maintenance. However, the carbon filters should be changed every 3 months.
Just as the other option, it has 3-speed operations, and the manufacturer claims the motor and fan are ultra quiet and can be hardly heard.
The testers recommended the product, for the most part, saying it was a very good option for the money (actually, the cheapest on our list) and easy to clean. However, there were still a few customers who said they didn’t see any difference, others said despite the manufacturer’s claims it was still pretty noisy.
My recommendation would be to invest a few more dollars, and purchase something more reliable.
Hamilton Beach: Check the current price
7. LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Smokers Allergies and Pets Hair
This item is an absolute bestseller, it’s a little more expensive than the options covered above, but it seems like it’s well worth the investment. There’s just as well three-stage filtration system with pre-filter, true HEPA, and activated carbon filters. It also has 3-speed settings and a gentle night light with two brightness settings. The filters are advised to be replaced every 6 months, maybe sooner or later depending on the air quality in your area. This guy doesn’t produce any ozone, doesn’t ionize the air, and thus can be ruled out as completely safe.
On the downside, however, it covers as little as 86 sq ft. In case you’ll want to purchase a couple of those for two rooms or cover a larger area, the seller offers a 2-pack deal that will save you a couple of bucks.
Thankfully, customers seemed to enjoy having this purifier at home, with many saying that it indeed helped them in their allergies and relieved their symptoms. Overall, this product merits a recommendation.
LEVOIT: Check the current price
10 Best-Selling Air Purifiers Comparative Table
Allergy prevention with an air purifier
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for allergies. Your doctor can prescribe immunotherapy, a series of shots to change your immune system response to an allergen. In many cases it does work, but in many cases, it does not. Also, if your children are allergic, you can’t start the therapy until they are at least 5 years old. Other serious disadvantages of immunotherapy include its 3 to 5-year duration, the need to start early, sometimes 5 months before the pollen season, as well as the possibility of a fatal anaphylactic event. The decision to start or avoid the immunotherapy should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor. Even if you do start it, it will most probably pay off only in a few years.
Also, it comes as obvious, that a few months before the season, you should visit your doctor and discuss the strategy that you’ll use to combat the allergic reactions during the season. Remember which medications you used the previous year and if they were at all effective at helping you relieve the symptoms. Perhaps, you’ll want to try other medication, and if so, discuss the options with your doctor.
See, if you can take at least a month off work, especially when the pollination is at its peak, and if you can’t, then change your strategy accordingly.
There are several mobile applications, as well as internet websites that predict the amount of pollen and the areas where it’s going to start first and how it’s going to play out. We advise you take a look at those websites and see if you can use this information to your advantage: for example, stay home when there’s an especially high concentration of pollen in the air, or conversely, finally go out when the pollen seems to subside. As you likely already know, the most famous websites are weather.com and pollen.com. Among the apps are Allergy pollen count and My Pollen Forecast for iPhone, Zyrtec Allergycast for both iPhone and Android, and, of course, Pollen.com Allergy Alert for Iphone and Android.
Get your house/office/car ready for the season: declutter, get your old books finally behind closed glass doors, clean up your room regularly, do not just vacuum, but wash your floors carefully, remove the dust off the shelf, tables, desks, etc. Well, I’m sure, you know the routine.
Get that air purifier BEFORE the season, so you check how it works, which functions do the job best and if you are okay with the level of noise it makes.
If you live in an apartment, then investing in one air purifier might be enough, whereas living in a large house would probably require two or more devices to cover the most important areas: a bedroom, a living room, your child’s room.
Getting the most out of your air purifier
- Change your filters regularly: some manufacturers state in the product’s description when exactly the filters need to be changed, usually, it’s from 3 to 8 months, depending on the model, the type of filter, and the quality of your air. Some devices have the pre-set functionality that would inform you when the filter needs to be changed, while others do not, and you would be expected to remember when it’s time to change them. Usually, it’s recommended to change the filters before the start of each season, but we advise you to do it more often if you use the purifier on a daily basis.
- Follow the instructions carefully and see if the filters inside can be washed, vacuumed, and how & where to purchase the replacement parts in case the purifier fails you in the middle of the season.
- During the season, stay home when the pollen is at its peak (check the app for specific dates) and try to stay indoors in the hours of an early morning, usually, it’s from 5 am to 10 am.
How & where to use an air purifier
Let’s start from where. The key areas are the bedroom, living room, home office (if you have one in your house), and your child’s room. If you have any other areas in your house where you spend most of your time, then you’d obviously want to move the purifier in that area. Perhaps, your child has a separate playroom, then install the purifier there as well.
How to use it. It’s generally recommended to adjust the high/low settings to your comfort level, if you’re okay with the noise it makes at its highest, then set the purifier on the highest setting, and if the noise makes you uneasy or anxious, then set the setting at the level when the noise would be more acceptable for you.
How often should I change the air purifier filters?
Usually, the manufacturer outlines the exact time you need to change the filters, as mentioned above, the time ranges from 3 to 8 months. Change the filters before each season. And if you use the purifier often, like every day, then change the filter at least once in 6 months, if not directed by the manufacturer otherwise.
Precautions: Why should allergic people handle ionic air purifiers with care?
As mentioned earlier in this article, ionic air purifiers can be hazardous to a person’s health, especially if they have allergies or suffer from asthma. According to WebMD, recent findings showed that short-term increases in ozone contributed to thousands of deaths per year in the US. The ozone that ionic appliances produce is indeed very detrimental to human health and essentially considered as a respiratory irritant. According to the research published by the Current Allergy and Asthma reports, ionic purifiers provided little or no benefits compared with HEPA, and in some cases “caused an increase in submicrometer particles”, which have particularly harmful effects on human health.
We’ve mainly talked of allergy to pollen, previously, as one of the most common allergy, which is also relatively easy to diagnose (sometimes even without medical tests).
But let’s also take a few moments here to address allergies to dust, dust mites, roaches, rodents, and pets. Also, other asthma triggers, such as smoke, strong odors of various chemical compounds.
As a mom to an allergic child, I can say, that when some causes of ailments are pretty straightforward and easy to figure out, others are like a pig in a poke, and can’t be determined without a series of medical tests. Thus, it’s imperative that you’d figure out exactly what you are allergic to, be it mold or dust mites, to tune your strategy accordingly.
Whatever you happen to be allergic to, it’s important to keep your house clean at all times. According to the NC State Extension, healthy housekeeping is key in allergy prevention. Also, it might not be as obvious, but cleaning can actually exacerbate the amount of dust in the air, and it might be a better idea to have someone else (without an allergy) to help you clean.
Other important factors mentioned by the researchers from the NC State Extension include, but not limited to:
- Declutter your house/apartment
- Eliminate carpets and rugs
- Wash beddings at temperatures above 130 F to kill dust mites.
- Use dust-mites proof bedding (also known as “allergen-impermeable” covers for pillows and mattresses)
- Keep foodstuff away from easy access to other pests, like roaches and rats (store food and trash in tightly sealed metal containers, don’t leave pet food overnight, clean your dishes, seal cracks and openings shut to prevent pests from entering)
- Do not keep pets. It might sound like an unacceptable alternative, but if you have asthma or any other allergic condition, your pets can trigger and worsen it, so it’s best to avoid having pets at home
- Make sure your house appliances are kept in order and checked on a regular basis. For example, see if you need special furnace filters installed or if you already do, then inspect and change them when needed.
- Quit smoking. If you can’t, then check with your doctor what meds she can prescribe to help you do that. Also, do not smoke in front of children and in your car.
- If you have mold, then your house has obviously humidity issues which can be solved by keeping it dry, purchase a dehumidifier, if needed
Other allergy prevention tips that were shared by the American Cleaning Institute include:
- Make an allergy plan (work on it in conjunction with your doctor) that would address how you’re going to control allergens that affect you
- Join asthma support groups (even if online, there are plenty on facebook by the way)
- Use safe cleaning products and never mix different detergents or chemical cleaning liquids together because they can produce dangerous fumes and gases.
- Invest in a vacuum cleaner that also has a HEPA filter and/or exhaust filter, as well as special bags that would hold allergens inside them
What is the best air purifier?
When it comes to virus protection, look for an UV air purifier (with a UV germicidal disinfection feature). This function kills up to 99% of microbes and will help prevent you from catching a virus.
The second thing to consider is the size of the unit, which depends on how large the room is. While small air purifiers are good for rooms measuring up to 300 sq ft, larger ones can cover up to 1,900 sq ft. If you suffer from asthma or allergies, look at the product’s ACH rate, which is the number of times the unit filters the air per hour. The best option for people with allergies is air purifiers that filter the air in the room no less than 4 times per hour.
Third, make sure that the product you are going to buy is energy efficient. Such air purifiers come with an Energy Star label that indicates their compliance with a program run by the EPA to promote energy efficiency. And finally, choose an air purifier that features multiple speeds so that you could change them depending on your needs and the noise level acceptable for you. We believe that the Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier meets these criteria best.
Yes, air purifiers with HEPA filters are definitely worth every cent. Air filters are scientifically recognized and recommended by different scientific agencies and societies that deal with allergy and associated diseases, for example, the British Thoracic Society explicitly recommends the use of air filters for removal of pet and other allergens. Many scientific studies conclude that advanced air filter systems are significantly beneficial to patients with asthma and cardiovascular diseases.
Yes, if they are not producing or generating ozone. Mind you, that air ionizers that meet an ozone emission concentration limit of 0.050 parts per million are considered safe. However, we still do not recommend using an ionization function in your purifier especially if you’re asthmatic. Thankfully, the modern purifiers all allow for the separate functions to be turned off.
This is a good question, and the answer to that is not quite. While air purifiers move and circulate air like fans, they also clean the air from pollutants, which are trapped in a series of replaceable air filters.
These two serve completely different goals. While the air purifier primary objective is to clean the air, it would do nothing for the room’s humidity level, and vice versa, the humidifier would add water into the room’s air but would not clean it from pollutants. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, I’d advise on purchasing both, if you live in a dry climate, but if you live in a humid environment, then see if you can control the level of humidity in your dwelling at around 30-50% (might be worth it to invest in a dehumidifier as well)
There’s a fantastic study published in the Environmental Health Perspectives that specifically addressed the possibility of growing indoor plants to help clean the indoor air, and the results were pretty encouraging. In conclusion, the researchers particularly emphasized and recommended the use of ten plants that proved to help remove chemical vapors and clean the air, among those, were bamboo palm, ficus, Boston fern, and peace lily.
The air purifiers that utilize HEPA filters are specifically designed to remove dust.
Actually, quite the opposite. A sore throat is the result of bacteria or viruses. Air purifiers can actually help reduce the possibility of getting ill by removing pathogens from the air.
Only an air purifier with a carbon filter will be able to remove smoke.
An air purifier with HEPA filter can definitely remove asbestos from the air. Asbestos particles range from 0.7 to 90 microns, while HEPA filters tackle particles as tiny as 0.3 microns.
If you use an air purifier with an ionizer, then there’s a possibility that it can make you sick. Turn the ionizing option off to prevent ozone emissions.
Air purifiers with HEPA filters can remove mold spores, which range from 1-30 microns. However, if mold is embedded on the surface and hard to remove by cleaning the air, you might need to employ other strategies that would tackle mold problem specifically.
Some can be washed, others can be vacuumed, and some filters can only be replaced. It all depends on the type of filter, the particular model, among other things. Please, consult the instruction manual that came with your purifier to find out exactly how you need to do it.
Yes, air purifiers with HEPA filters are designed to remove dust mites as well.
Only, air purifiers with carbon filters can remove smells and gases.
Yes, air purifier (without ionizer) with true HEPA filter is a must have for anyone who suffers from the asthmatic condition. To make most out of your purifier, use it with carbon filters, which also help remove odors and gases. Clean and replace your filters on a regular basis.
Only air purifiers with carbon filters are able to tackle odors and gases.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds or chemical off-gassing) cannot be removed by HEPA alone. You will have to use an air purifier with additional technology, like HEGA (or High-Efficiency Gas Absorption), which is, in its essence, a combination of military carbon cloth and medical HEPA. Some of those devices can cost up to 1,000 dollars. We can recommend one of those, namely VOC Air Purifier by Aipura Industries, for a little less than the aforementioned price; or Oransi Air Purifier with Medical Grade HEPA.
Please, refer to our answer on VOCs. Not every air purifier can eliminate formaldehyde, just like any other VOCs. You need to make sure your purifier has a deep-bed activated carbon filter. We can recommend investing in Airpura F600: Formaldehyde, VOCs and Particles.
Yes, an air purifier with a true HEPA filter removes pollution from the air.
Yes, air purifiers can, in fact, remove pathogens, like bacteria and viruses, from the air.
Air purifiers, during the recycling process, can dry out the air. And if you don’t have a humidifier at home, the low humidity levels can, in turn, make your eyes dry. To prevent this from happening, we advise to purchase a humidifier and use it in conjunction with an air purifier.
In fact, quite the opposite. Air purifiers help relieve headaches and migraines by removing dust, pollutants, and other airborne allergens that are known to trigger headaches.
During the high season, it’s probably not the best idea to open your windows very often, unless you wear a window mesh or something similar that would protect the greater allergen particles from coming inside your house. It’s probably obvious that the opened windows would somewhat decrease the efficiency of a purifier, however, even with opened windows, it can still perform relatively well and will significantly reduce the number of airborne allergens indoors.
Absolutely. In fact, air purifiers were designed and created with allergic people in mind.
All air purifiers would have a filter, a fan, and a housing.
You need to look for a purifier with a carbon filter. From those, covered above in this guide, we suggest investing in Levoit, if smoke is a real concern.
All above-covered purifiers would work well for mold. If budget is a concern, go for Hamilton Beach.
If you suffer from allergies or asthma, ensure the purifier of your choice has a true HEPA filter, and maybe a carbon filter as well, in case you’re sensitive to smoke or any other particular odors. See, if the ionization feature can be turned off on the device of your choice.
For our list, we’ve specifically chosen options that would work well in the home setting. Thus, pick any device you like.
As described at the beginning of this guide, an air purifier circulates the air inside the room and captures particles and gases inside its filters.
It’s probably not a very good idea to make an air purifier at home if you suffer from any serious allergic condition, and we’d advise you invest in a true HEPA filter purifier that would guarantee specific results in removing allergens from the air. However, if you just want to see how the technology works or have a school project to complete, then there are, actually, a couple of interesting videos that go into greater detail on how to make something similar to an air purifier at home. Here’s an example, involving a 12 volt CPU blower, motorcycle air filter, a couple of DC wires, and a 12-volt battery:
Or another, more serious and potent DIY version of a purifier:
First, it depends, on how much space your air purifier can cover. Second, it depends on how many rooms you have in your apartment or house. The general rule is to use an air purifier in a bedroom, a living area, and a child’s room. So our guess is 3 purifiers if you own a house. In case, you’re living in a studio apartment, then having one air purifier might be enough.
Yes, but only an air purifier with a true activated carbon filter.
If your cough is a sign of an allergic condition, then yes, air purifiers would help. I suggest you also use a humidifier to improve the humidity level inside your house since the dry air can provoke coughing. Or conversely, in case the humidity levels in your house soar, then it might be best to control the humidity level by using a dehumidifier. In any case, mold and dust mites (which can trigger coughing as well) usually thrive in the humid environment, and if you live in a humid climate, then see if you need to level the humidity down a bit.
For the bedroom
We suggest you use an air purifier with a minimum amount of noise so as not to disturb your sleep. The quietest on the market (17 dB) is Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier for small bedrooms, or if you’re tight on a budget, then Levoit sounds like a good option. There’s also an interesting alternative that is claimed to utilize HEPASilent Air Purification System, and according to the consumer reports is indeed barely audible at low settings.
For the basement, you’ll probably want something that would eliminate odors as well, thus, look for an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. For those, on the budget, an ideal solution would be an air purifier by Hamilton, which covers around 140 sq ft and has two replaceable carbon zeolite filters.
I think you’ll need several small or medium air purifiers to cover multiple rooms. However, if you look for a purifier that covers a large area and not a few that cover smaller spaces, then we’d advise on Winix (283 sq ft), Blueair Classic (237 sq ft), or Blueair Classic 605 (775 sq ft) that works with Alexa.
If you’re looking for an air purifier for your car, then you’d need something lightweight and portable enough to fit in your car without getting too much space or generating extra noise. We’d advise GoPure Purifier from Phillips. Otherwise, if you’re not ready to spend that much money, then go for naturally activated bamboo charcoal bags that would help you maintain a fresh and pleasant odor inside your car.
We’ve found a purifier that’s specifically created to complement furnace-based systems, it’s Evolution Perfect Air for Furnaces from Bryant, which can be bought from Bryant Dealers directly. However, filters are easier to find, although, they are quite expensive.
With air quality sensor
Winix has smart sensors that automatically adjust air cleaner settings to meet the needs of the environment; Coway also has an air quality indicator. Among the options, which have not made it to our TOP list, but are still worth mentioning, are AeraMax Air Purifier with an AeraSmart Sensor to monitor the air quality and adjust the fan speed, then Bissel Air Purifier with an air quality display.
Without the ionizer
With a dehumidifier
The most affordable option for an air purifier with a dehumidifier we found was for Vremi 1 Pint Dehumidifier
There’s one option that we can recommend, however, for use not around people. It’s Smartlife Portable Air Purifier with Permanent Filter, it works 36 hours after being fully charged. The reason it is not to be used with other people present is that it emits ozone, but according to consumers it does its job pretty well and doesn’t require electricity after it’s charged.
Actually, all the options we’ve covered here do not have the water inside and doesn’t require the use of water.
Remember, that if you suffer from allergies, only a combination of treatments and methods would help alleviate your condition. The best strategy is always to try and get rid of the allergen. Air purifiers can help you in this difficult endeavor. Among those, we’ve covered, I’d go for Winix with ionization option off, and Blueair purifiers, which do not even have ionization option. Take care of yourself and your loved ones and don’t forget to purchase a few anti-allergy appliances (humidifier or dehumidifier, air washer purifier) before the season starts.