As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives, many are seeking ways to enhance their protection against the virus. One question that has been frequently asked is, “Do air purifiers work for COVID?” This article aims to provide a comprehensive answer to this question, drawing on expert opinions and scientific research.
Air Purifiers and COVID-19: What the Experts Say
Air purifiers have been known to improve air quality by removing dust, mold, gases, and even viruses. However, their effectiveness against COVID-19 is still a topic of ongoing research. According to Westyn Branch-Elliman, MD, an infectious disease researcher and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, there is promising lab data suggesting that air purification strategies may be effective against the virus. However, more real-world data is needed before a definitive conclusion can be drawn.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that air cleaners and HVAC filters can help reduce airborne contaminants, including viruses, when used properly. However, they emphasize that air cleaning or filtration alone is not enough to protect people from COVID-19. It should be used in conjunction with other best practices recommended by public health agencies, such as social distancing and mask wearing.
Choosing the Right Air Purifier
When selecting an air purifier, it’s important to consider several factors. The EPA recommends choosing a unit that is the right size for the space you will be using it in, has a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) for smoke, is designated a HEPA unit, or specifically indicates that it filters particles in the 0.1–1 um size range. Timothy McAuley, MS, PhD, and founder/CEO of CHANGE Environmental, also suggests looking for a purifier with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of 13 or higher.
|Factors to Consider When Choosing an Air Purifier||Description|
|Size of the Unit||The unit should be the right size for the space you will be using it in.|
|Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)||The unit should have a high CADR for smoke.|
|HEPA Unit||The unit should be designated a HEPA unit or specifically indicate that it filters particles in the 0.1–1 um size range.|
|Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)||The unit should have a MERV of 13 or higher.|
Remember, no air purifier can completely eliminate all pollutants. They should be used as part of a comprehensive strategy to improve indoor air quality, which may also include improving ventilation, reducing sources of pollution, and maintaining good cleaning practices.
Comparison of Air Purifiers
|Air Purifier||HEPA Filter||MERV Rating||CADR for Smoke||Room Size|
|Clorox Air Purifiers||Yes||Not specified||Not specified||Up to 1,500 Sq Ft|
|BLUEAIR Air Purifiers||Yes||Not specified||Not specified||Not specified|
|Filtrete Air Purifier||Yes||Not specified||Not specified||Up to 150 sq. ft.|
|GermGuardian Air Purifier||Yes||Not specified||Not specified||Up to 743 sq. ft.|
|LEVOIT Air Purifier||Yes||Not specified||Not specified||Up to 1095 sq. ft.|
While air purifiers can potentially help in reducing the concentration of airborne COVID-19 particles, they should not be relied upon as the sole means of protection. They are most effective when used in combination with other preventive measures such as mask wearing, hand hygiene, and social distancing. As research continues, we hope to gain a clearer understanding of the role air purifiers can play in combating COVID-19.