Air purifiers have become an essential household item, especially for those living in areas prone to high pollution levels or allergens. These devices can significantly improve the quality of indoor air by capturing airborne allergens, bacteria, viruses, and even smoke particles. This guide will help you understand the intricacies of air purifiers and how to choose the right one for your needs.
Understanding Air Purifiers
Air purifiers are fundamentally simple machines, primarily consisting of a fan and a filter. However, a well-designed purifier can capture virtually all airborne allergens, such as pollen and mold spores, as well as bacteria, viruses, and smoke. The particles that cause the most trouble are the smallest ones. They stay suspended in the air the longest and can be breathed into our lungs. Our nasal passages are not filtering them.
Key Features to Consider
When choosing an air purifier, consider the following Features:
- High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filter: A good air purifier should have a HEPA filter. These filters can capture 99.97% of airborne particles at least 0.3 microns in size, including dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria.
- Room Size: Match the air purifier to the size of the space you plan on using it. For a bedroom, a small air purifier might be enough, but you might need something bigger for a large home with tall ceilings and multiple rooms.
- Activated Carbon Filter: If you need odor removal, your air purifier should also have an activated carbon filter. This carbon is great for a wide range of gases, including mold-related odors and smoke.
Top Air Purifiers to Consider
Based on extensive testing and reviews, here are some top air purifiers to consider:
|Feature||Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty||Blueair Blue Pure 311 Auto||Austin Air HealthMate HM400||Mila Air Purifier|
|Coverage||361 sq ft||388 sq ft||1500 sq ft||1000 sq ft|
|Filter Configuration||Pre-filter, Deodorization filter, True HEPA filter, Bipolar Ionizer||Particle filter, Carbon sheet||Pre-filter, Medium Particle Pre-filter, Activated Carbon and Zeolite, True HEPA filter||45 ft² H12 HEPA, 99.6% filtration efficiency|
|Filter Life||1 Year (HEPA and Honeycomb Activated Carbon)||6 Months||3-5 Years||Struggles with odors, high cost of filters, decreased value compared to other products|
|Pros and Cons||Efficient filtration, Compact and customizable design, Lacks smart Features and advanced controls, high power consumption, noisy at higher fan speeds||Highly efficient filtration system, combining True HEPA filter and 15 lbs of activated carbon and zeolite blend, Durable construction with steel housing, Lacks smart Features and advanced controls, High power consumption compared to other air purifiers||It is efficient and quiet, but it lacks some Features that might be expected at its price point.|
DIY Air Purifier
In the quest for cleaner indoor air, many people are turning to DIY air purifiers. These homemade devices can be a cost-effective alternative to commercial air purifiers, especially in situations where supply shortages or budget constraints are a concern.
Key Components of a DIY Air Purifier
A DIY air purifier typically consists of a few key components:
- A box fan
- Air filters (usually with a MERV-13 rating)
- Duct tape
The fan is placed on top of the filters, which are arranged in a square or cube shape. The fan pulls air through the filters, trapping contaminants and allowing clean air to flow back into the room.
Step-by-Step Guide to Building a DIY Air Purifier
Building a DIY air purifier can be a straightforward process. Here’s a simple guide based on the popular Corsi-Rosenthal Box design:
- Arrange four MERV-13 air filters in a square or cube shape.
- Secure the filters together with duct tape.
- Place the box fan on top of the filters.
- Use cardboard and duct tape to create a base for the purifier and a shroud on top of the fan to improve efficiency.
- Plug the fan into a normal electrical outlet and turn it on to start purifying the air.
The total time to build this DIY air purifier can range from 15 to 45 minutes, and the total cost can range from $40 to $100, depending on the fan and filter choice.
Comparison with Commercial Air Purifiers
While DIY air purifiers can be effective at reducing aerosol exposure, they may not be as efficient as commercial air purifiers equipped with True HEPA filters, which can capture 99.97% of unwanted airborne particles. Commercial air purifiers may also offer additional Features, such as the ability to monitor indoor air quality through a mobile app.
However, DIY air purifiers can be a viable temporary solution until a commercial air purifier can be acquired, or they can be used in areas that cannot obtain commercial air purifiers.
Benefits of Using a DIY Air Purifier
DIY air purifiers offer several benefits:
- Cost-effectiveness: The materials needed to build a DIY air purifier can be significantly cheaper than buying a commercial air purifier.
- Effectiveness: DIY air purifiers can reduce aerosol exposure by up to 73%, depending on the design, filter thickness, and fan airflow.
- Versatility: They can be used to improve air quality in various settings, including homes, classrooms, offices, and nursing homes.
- Ease of assembly: Despite their DIY nature, these purifiers can be relatively easy to assemble, even for those who may not consider themselves handy.
Materials Needed for a DIY Air Purifier
The materials needed to build a DIY air purifier include:
- A box fan
- Four MERV-13 air filters
- Duct tape
These materials can typically be found at local hardware stores or online.
A DIY air purifier can be a practical and cost-effective solution for improving indoor air quality. However, it’s important to remember that while these devices can be effective, they should not be considered a permanent alternative to commercial air purifiers with known performance characteristics.
Choosing the right air purifier can significantly improve the quality of your indoor air, making your home a healthier place to live. By considering the key Features and understanding how air purifiers work, you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs. For more information, check out our guides on the Best Air Purifiers for Dust and Best Air Purifiers for Allergies.