Air purifier buying guide: Get rid of allergens and pollutants indoors with the right air purifier for your home - Hindustan Times
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Air purifier buying guide: Get rid of allergens and pollutants indoors with the right air purifier for your home

Jun 13, 2024 09:30 AM IST

With air quality declining in many parts of India, an air purifier is essential for clean air. Our air purifier buying guide will help you choose the best.

With rising AQI in parts of India where air pollution levels are worsening with each passing day, a high-quality air purifier has become a necessity. It is even more essential for homes with the elderly or family members with compromised immune systems.

This air purifier buying guide has everything you need to know before shopping for one.
This air purifier buying guide has everything you need to know before shopping for one.

Beyond maintaining clean air, air purifiers benefit those with allergies or asthma caused by pollen, dust, dust mites, or pet dander. They are also crucial if you live in a highly polluted area or have a neighbour or family member who smokes, as they can guard against second-hand smoke.

Investing in an air purifier not only promotes a healthier living environment but also enhances overall well-being by addressing various air quality concerns. Whether for protection against pollutants or allergens, an air purifier provides a comprehensive solution for cleaner, healthier air.

Now that you are here, we will ensure that you lay your hands on the best air purifier as per your region and requirements with our detailed buying guide. We will simplify the process by highlighting key factors such as room size, filter type, CADR ratings, noise levels, and budget considerations.

We will address all your questions, such as what an air purifier is, how it works, who needs it the most, the different types of filters available, and how to choose the right one for your home. Sit back and relax! Our guide will help you find the perfect air purifier to meet your needs and improve your indoor air quality.

What is an air purifier?

An air purifier is a device designed to improve indoor air quality by removing contaminants and pollutants from the air. It works by drawing in air from the surrounding environment and passing it through a series of filters or purification technologies that capture or neutralize harmful particles, gases, and odours.

These devices are commonly used in homes, offices, and other indoor spaces to reduce allergens, such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander, as well as to eliminate smoke, mould spores, bacteria, and viruses. By continuously filtering the air, air purifiers help create a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment, particularly for individuals with allergies, asthma, or respiratory conditions.

How does an air purifier work?

Air purifiers employ various filtration methods to clean the air, including High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, activated carbon filters, UV-C light technology, and ionization.

We will talk about these filters in detail in a later section of our guide. First let's make it easy for you to understand how an air purifier works step-by-step.

Air intake: The air purifier pulls in air from the surrounding environment through a fan or suction system.

Pre-filter: Some air purifiers have a pre-filter that captures large particles like dust, hair, and lint. This pre-filter helps prolong the life of the main filter by preventing it from getting clogged too quickly.

Main filtration: The air passes through the main filtration system, which typically consists of one or more filters. The most common type of filter is the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, which can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns with high efficiency. Other types of filters, such as activated carbon filters, UV-C light filters, or electrostatic filters, may also be used depending on the purifier model.

Particle capture: As the air passes through the filter, particles such as dust, pollen, pet dander, mould spores, bacteria, and viruses are trapped within the filter media or neutralized by the purification technology.

Clean air released: The purified air is then released back into the room, free from harmful contaminants and pollutants. Some air purifiers may have additional features like ionization or UV-C light treatment to further enhance air quality by neutralizing or killing pathogens.

The air purifier continues to cycle and clean the air in the room, maintaining a healthier indoor environment for occupants.

Also read: Best air purifiers under 5000: Top 6 smart investments for improved breathing

Check out this air purifier by Coway

Who should buy an air purifier?

Air purifiers can be beneficial for various individuals and settings, but their efficiency can vary based on factors such as health, location and other specific needs. Let's explore who should consider buying air purifiers and whether they are efficient in both urban and suburban settings.

Who should consider buying an air purifier?

Individuals with allergies and asthma: People with allergies or asthma can benefit greatly from air purifiers, as they help remove allergens such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mould spores from the air, reducing the triggers for allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

Smokers: For individuals who smoke or live with smokers, air purifiers equipped with activated carbon filters can help remove smoke particles and odours from the air, improving indoor air quality and reducing the smell of tobacco smoke.

Pet owners: Pet owners may find air purifiers helpful in managing pet-related allergens and odours. Purifiers with HEPA filters can effectively capture pet dander and hair, while activated carbon filters can help eliminate pet odours.

Residents of polluted areas: People living in areas with high levels of outdoor air pollution, such as urban centres or regions near industrial sites or highways, can benefit from air purifiers. These devices can help remove pollutants like particulate matter, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and nitrogen dioxide, providing cleaner indoor air.

Individuals with compromised immune systems: People with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly or those undergoing medical treatments, may benefit from air purifiers, which can help reduce the spread of airborne viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens.

Is it efficient in both urban and suburban settings?

Urban Regions

In urban areas with high levels of air pollution from traffic, industrial activities, and other sources, air purifiers can be highly efficient in improving indoor air quality. They can effectively capture particulate matter, vehicle emissions, and other pollutants, providing relief for residents who are exposed to polluted outdoor air.

Suburban Regions

While suburban areas generally have lower levels of air pollution compared to urban areas, they are not immune to indoor air quality issues. Air purifiers can still be beneficial in suburban settings, particularly for individuals with allergies, asthma, or sensitivities to common indoor allergens like dust mites and mould. Additionally, air purifiers can help remove pollutants brought indoors through open windows or ventilation systems, ensuring cleaner air for occupants.

Also read: Best air purifiers under 3000: Elite 10 choices to enhance air quality

Check out this air purifier by Honeywell

Types of air purifier filters

A single filter cannot eliminate all the pollutants and allergens from the surroundings. It takes a combination of filters for efficient optimal air purification. Here are the 5 most common filters or filtration stages found in air purifiers and their uses.

1. High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters

HEPA filters are constructed from dense layers of fine fibres arranged in a random pattern. They can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns with an efficiency of 99.97%. That is why HEPA filters are highly effective at capturing common indoor allergens such as dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mould spores, and fine particles. They are essential for improving indoor air quality and providing relief for allergy and asthma sufferers.

2. Pre-Filters

Pre-filters are usually made from a coarse mesh or fibrous material that captures large particles like dust, hair, and lint before they reach the main filtration system. These filters help extend the lifespan of HEPA and other filters by preventing them from becoming clogged with larger particles. They also help improve the overall efficiency of the air purifier by reducing the workload on the main filter.

3. Activated Carbon Filters

Activated carbon filters are made from a porous form of carbon that has been treated to increase its surface area and adsorption capacity. Activated carbon filters excel at removing gases, odours, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. They effectively absorb smoke particles, cooking odours, pet odours, chemical fumes, and other gaseous pollutants, leaving the air smelling fresher and cleaner.

4. UV-C Light Filters

UV-C light filters utilize ultraviolet light with a wavelength of around 254 nanometers to disinfect the air by destroying the DNA of bacteria, viruses, and mould spores. UV-C light filters are particularly effective at eliminating airborne pathogens, providing an added layer of protection against illness-causing microorganisms. They are commonly used in healthcare settings and areas where hygiene is paramount.

5. Ionic Filters

Ionic filters emit negatively or positively charged ions that attach to airborne particles, causing them to become heavier and settle out of the air. Ionic filters can be effective in removing particles from the air, particularly ultrafine particles. However, they may produce ozone as a byproduct, which can have adverse health effects and may require regular cleaning of collection plates.

Check out this air purifier by MI Xiaomi

Types of pollutants and filters to effectively remove them

There are several types of air pollution and each requires a different air purifier filter to effectively eradicate them. Here's an overview of common types of air pollution and the corresponding filters used in air purifiers:

1. Particulate Matter (PM)

Particulate matter consists of tiny solid or liquid particles suspended in the air, including dust, pollen, mould spores, pet dander, and smoke.

Filter type: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are highly effective in capturing airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns with a high-efficiency rate of 99.97%.

2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

VOCs are chemicals emitted from various sources such as paints, solvents, cleaning products, and furniture. They can cause short-term and long-term health effects.

Filter type: Activated carbon filters are ideal for removing VOCs and other gaseous pollutants. The activated carbon adsorbs the VOC molecules, trapping them within the filter.

3. Smoke and odours

Smoke from cigarettes, wildfires, or cooking, as well as unpleasant odours from pets, cooking, or household chemicals, can contribute to poor indoor air quality.

Filter type: Activated carbon filters are effective in absorbing smoke particles and neutralizing odours, helping to improve air freshness.

4. Bacteria and viruses

Airborne pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, and mould spores can cause respiratory infections and other health issues.

Filter type: UV-C light filters and HEPA filters with antimicrobial treatment are commonly used to kill or capture airborne bacteria and viruses. UV-C light damages the DNA of microorganisms, while antimicrobial-treated HEPA filters inhibit the growth of bacteria and mould.

5. Allergens

Allergens include pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mould spores, which can trigger allergic reactions and asthma symptoms.

Filter type: HEPA filters are highly effective in capturing allergens, providing relief for allergy and asthma sufferers by reducing exposure to these airborne particles.

6. Formaldehyde and other chemicals

Formaldehyde and other volatile chemicals can be emitted from building materials, furniture, and household products, posing health risks.

Filter type: Some air purifiers use specialized filters designed to target specific chemicals, including formaldehyde. Activated carbon filters are also effective in adsorbing a wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including formaldehyde.

Also read: Best air purifier brands in India: Complete comparison guide, top 9 picks

Check out this air purifier by Fulminare

Features to look for in an air purifier

Pre-filter: Catches large particles like hair, extending the lifespan of internal filters. Can be washed and reused for sustainability.

Air quality monitoring: Constantly monitors room air for specific pollutants, automatically adjusting settings for optimal air quality.

Adjustable fan speeds: Offer customizable purification and room cooling. Most purifiers provide 2-5 speed options, plus Turbo Mode for extra power.

Antimicrobial treatment: Prevents bacterial and microbial buildup on purifier filters, maintaining cleanliness and hygiene.

Remote control: Enhances accessibility, allowing users to adjust purifier settings from a distance for convenience.

Portability: Handles and castors improve purifier portability with multi-functional wheels and handles for easy movement.

Filter replacement indicators: Alerts users when filters are clogged, ensuring timely replacement for continued purification effectiveness.

Humidity regulation: Filters out allergens, mildew, mould, and dust while regulating moisture levels in the air for comfort and health.

Timer: Automatically switches off the purifier after a set time, offering convenience and energy savings.

Certain air purifier models may offer extra features like WiFi connectivity, integration with mobile apps, portability wheels, display dimming, and more. Availability of these features varies by purifier model.

Also read: Best air purifiers under 20000: Top 10 purifiers delivering clean air in budget

Check out this air purifier by Phillips

How to choose the right air purifier for yourself?

Here are a few factors to consider before investing in an air purifier:

1. Size of your room

To select the right air purifier, measure your room size. Look for Air Changes per Hour (ACH) ratings. ACH (Air Changes per Hour) indicates how many times an air purifier cycles the air in a room hourly. Higher ACH ratings signify higher efficiency.

2. Buying price and maintenance cost

Air purifiers entail two costs: initial purchase and maintenance, including electric consumption and filter replacements. Costs vary based on quality and filter lifespan. Ensure your budget accommodates ongoing maintenance.

3. Energy efficiency

Consider the energy consumption of your air purifier before purchasing. Larger units for big spaces consume more energy. Continuous operation, especially at high speeds, increases energy usage.

4. Real time air quality tracking

A real-time air quality tracking feature is essential in an air purifier. It enables you to monitor its effectiveness and adjust settings accordingly. Devices with this feature often have automatic modes to adjust speed based on pollution levels, ensuring continuous protection.

5. Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) is an objective measure of an air purifier's ability to remove contaminants. It verifies the accuracy of area coverage and effectiveness against pollutants like dust, smoke, and pollen. Higher CADR ratings indicate greater efficiency in cleaning the air.

6. Placement

Calculate the square footage of your space to determine the appropriate size and placement of your Air Purifier. Ensure the purifier's square footage rating matches or exceeds the room's area. Place HEPA or carbon filter purifiers 2-3ft. away from walls for proper airflow. Position ionic filtration purifiers centrally for optimal 360-degree output.

7. Noise level

When selecting an air purifier, the noise level is an important factor to consider, especially if you plan to use it in bedrooms or quiet spaces. Look for purifiers with low noise levels, typically measured in decibels (dB). Quieter models, operating below 30 dB, are ideal for minimal disruption, especially during sleep.

Check out this air purifier by Qubo

Where to place your air purifier?

Selecting the right spot for your air purifier significantly enhances its efficiency and performance, potentially boosting effectiveness by up to 20%. When placing your purifier, identify the areas in your house or office with the highest pollutant concentration and ample airflow.

Check out this air purifier by Coway

Features comparison of the 8 best air purifiers on Amazon

Air PurifiersFiltration StagesFloor AreaSpecial Feature
Coway Airmega 150 Professional Air PurifierSpecial Green Anti-Virus True HEPA355 Square FeetLongest Filter Life of 8500 Hrs
Honeywell Air Purifier for HomeHigh Efficiency Pre-Filter, H13 HEPA, Activated Carbon388 Square FeetReal Time PM2.5 Level Indicator
MI Xiaomi Smart Air Purifier 4 LiteTriple Layer Filtration: Primary, True HEPA, Activated Carbon462 Square Feet360 Degree Filtration, High Clean Air Delivery Rate
FULMINARE Air Purifiers for BedroomH13 True HEPA Filter215 Square FeetLow Decibel Operation, Independent Night Light
Philips Smart Air Purifier AC17113-Layer HEPA Filtration380 Square Feet360° Protection, Compact & Portable Design
Qubo Smart Air Purifier Q500Pre-filter, True HEPA H-13, Activated Carbon, Nano-silver coating500 Square FeetFour Layer Filtration, Smart App Control
Philips AC1715 Smart Air Purifier for Home3-Layer HEPA Filtration380 Square Feet360° Protection, Long Lasting Air Filter
Coway Airmega Aim Professional Air PurifierSpecial Green Anti-Virus True HEPA355 Square FeetLongest Filter Life of 8500 Hrs

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