Photo of K. Woessner M.D.

K. Woessner M.D.

Professional Allergist Expert

Best Air Purifier & Best Air Cleaner

As we spend over 90% of our time indoors, the quality of the air we breathe can have a phenomenal impact on our health and well-being. Sources of indoor pollution are varied and include the obvious such as tobacco smoke, indoor allergens, dust, pollen, mold spores and animal dander. Other often overlooked sources include the cleaning agents and air fresheners we use to improve the home. These agents can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs), as can certain paints, new pressed wood furniture and carpeting. These indoor pollutants have been linked to asthma, worsening of chronic medical conditions, and other serious health issues.

As our understanding of the adverse effects of indoor air pollution have grown, a new market has emerged in which a vast array of products and services related to indoor air quality have become available. When it comes to air purifiers it may seem as though there is a dizzying number of options from which to chose, with varying claims of health benefits. There are a few simple things you need to keep in mind when considering the appropriate air purifier for your needs.

There are 3 types of air purification processes: air filtration, air ionization, and ozonolysis. With air filtration, air is taken through a filter to remove particulates before being released into the room. Most ionic (air ionization) devices work by charging airborne particles and electrostatically precipitating them on metal blades which then need to cleaned. Ozonolysis air purifiers use a large amount of ozone with the intent of oxidizing volatile organic compounds. Unfortunately, this process can lead to the generation of even more hazardous materials than were in the environment to begin with. Both ozonolysis and some ionization purifiers generate ozone. Ozone in the home is a bad thing. Of the purification processes available, filtration of the air is by far the healthiest option.

Why do we care about the release of ozone? In 2005, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued an official statement expressing a serious concern about ozone-generating air purifiers and recommended that the public avoid these devices. In their report, CARB stated: “air cleaners that generate ozone intentionally should not be used indoors. Independent studies by the US EPA, the Consumers Union, and others have shown that these devices can emit very high amounts of ozone - several times the state ambient air quality standards. Additionally, ozone generators do not effectively destroy microbes, remove odor sources or reduce indoor pollutants enough to provide any health benefits (Indoor Air Pollution in California: Report to the California Legislature; California Air Resources Board: Sacramento, CA, 2005, ARB Warns, Danger from Popular “Air Purifying” Machines; ARB press Release 05-02, California Environmental Protection Agency: Sacramento, CA, 2005). Furthermore, the ozone generated by these devices can combine with air fresheners and cleaners to make toxic materials that are not easily cleared from the environment.

After eliminating devices that generate ozone from your search for the perfect air purifier, it is now time to examine the details of the remaining air cleaners which rely upon filters. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters remove 99.97% of all particles as small as 0.3 microns from the air that pass through them. Many advertisements give the misleading impression that any HEPA filter will clean the air in a room of more than 99% of its particles. The reality is that the amount of cleaning of the air in the room depends not just on the filter, but also on the amount of air moving through the filter. This is expressed as the “clean air delivery rate” or CADR. The EPA recognizes CADR as the appropriate test of air cleaner effectiveness.

The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is a measure of the amount of particle-free air being delivered into the room. The higher the clean air delivery rate, the larger the size room that can be effectively cleaned of airborne particles. The CADR allows for comparison among air cleaners. Typically a CADR greater than 350 is considered excellent. It needs to be noted that the advertised clean air delivery rate applies to the highest speed on the unit.

When choosing an air cleaner, it is also critical to choose one that can handle the size of the room you wish to clean. Air cleaners are typically advertised with the room size for which they are recommended. This recommendation is based on the unit’s ability to provide five or six air changes per hour in a room by 70%. A larger unit in the same size room can produce 8 or more air changes per hour, decreasing levels by 90% or more. This is the correct target in medical situations.

Ah, so what are our options?

Clean up your air with the best air purifier recommendations at the best price. The best air cleaner will increase your quality of life by cutting the allergens, dust, pollen and other pollutants you breathe.

Best Air Purifiers by K. Woessner M.D.

The Best You Can Get

  • IQ Air Cleanroom Air Purifier

    K. says: The IQ Air Cleanroom Air Purifier represents the ultimate in air cleaning technology currently available for the home. It was designed for cleanrooms, hospitals, pharmacies, research laboratories and other areas where clean air is absolutely necessary. This likely more than what you may need for your home but there are situations in which this may be the air purifier for you:

    This air purifier may be used to keep a room to become cat dander-free as long as the room is kept off limits to the cat, creating a safe haven that is cat dander free, as often happens when two people begin living in the same household and one has a cat, while the other is allergic or asthmatic.

    It also features:
    A light indicator for filter change.
    Filter technology that prevents the release of captured allergens.

    • High overall efficiency and air delivery
    • No release of particles from fan motors or activated carbon filters
    • Low noise level
    • Ability to set the machine to go on and off automatically
    • Casters for easy moving
  • IQ Air HealthPro Plus

    K. says: The IQ Air HealthPro Plus has the same hyperHEPA filtration technology as the Cleanroom but is a more cost effective option. Ideal for allergy sufferers looking for an all around air purifier for allergens, gas, and VOC (volatile organic compound) removal.

    • Long-lasting HEPA filter life typically, 2-4 years and the prefilter generally last 6-18 months
    • Covers a room up to 1000 square feet
  • IQ Air HealthPro

    K. says: The IQ Air HealthPro has the same hyperHEPA filtration technology as the Cleanroom but is a more cost effective option. Ideal for allergy sufferers looking for an all around air purifier for allergens.

    • Long-lasting HEPA filter life typically, 2-4 years and the prefilter generally last 6-18 months
    • Covers a room up to 900 square feet
  • Blueair 501 HEPA Air Cleaner

    K. says: A stylish unit produced in Sweden by Blueair. Blueair 501 was chosen as the winner of the "Excellent Swedish Design" award and is featured in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Stockholm. The unit is unbelievably quiet.

    Blueair 601 is for rooms up to 680 sq ft.
    Blueair 501 is for rooms up to 550 sq ft.
    Blueair 402 is for rooms up to 360 sq ft.
    Blueair 201 is for rooms up to 200 sq ft.

    • Blueair 501 was chosen as the winner of the
    • Blueair 501 is unbelievably quiet
  • PureNight Pure Air System

    K. says: This device is very different from other air purifiers on the market. This is focused on keeping the air clean that you breathe at night while sleeping as opposed to trying to clean the air in the whole room. Think of it as a personal space air cleaner.

    The PureNight Pure Air System uses “laminar flow” technology to bathe you in an envelope of 99% pure allergen-free air. The system consists of a 6½ inch tall HEPA filtration unit that slides underneath your bed and is connected to a vertical column to a horizontal laminar arm that extends over the head of the sleeper. The filter does need to be changed every three months.

    • 99% pure allergen-free air
    • Uses “laminar flow” technology
    • Very different from other air purifiers
    • Focused on keeping the air clean that you breathe at night while sleeping

You will be happy with any of these

  • BlueAir ECO10 Air Purifier

    K. says: For the Eco-conscious consumer, this purifier is the winner of the highest rating for an air purifier ever recorded by the EPA’s ENERGY STAR program. It removes dust and pollen particles from the air using up to 95% less energy than other air cleaners in its class.

    • Winner of the highest rating for an air purifier ever recorded
    • Ideal for a child’s bedroom, home office, or den
    • Not recommended for rooms larger than 300 sq ft.
  • IQAir HealthPro Compact Air Purifiers

    K. says: Outstanding performance with IQAir HyperHEPA technology.

    Controls all types of particulate matter (pet dander, dust, pollen and mold spores).

    Controls gaseous contaminants and odors.

    Does not have a separate gas filter as found in the HealthPro Plus.

    It is not effective at removing VOCs (volatile organic compound) from the environment.

    • IQAir HyperHEPA technology
    • Remote control included
    • Controls gaseous contaminants and odors
    • Controls pet dander, dust, pollen, and mold spores
  • Whirlpool AP510 HEPA Air Cleaner

    K. says: The new Whirlpool AP510 HEPA air cleaner is an exceptional value. This is the clear choice for the price conscious consumer who wants a product who can deliver outstanding performance.

    This air cleaner is consistently highly rated by a leading consumer reporting service.

    • An ideal choice for a smaller room
    • Easy-to use electronic controls
    • Filter-change indicator
    • Easy to move from room to room
  • Austin Air Healthmate Plus Junior Air Purifier

    K. says: The Austin Air line is a well-respected line of air purifiers - the Healthmate Plus Junior Air Purifier provides an exceptional value as the filters typically need replacement only once every 4-5 years. It’s ideal for allergy sufferers and is able to remove harmful gasses from the environment.

    • Cleans up to 700 sq feet
    • Filters typically need replacement only once every 4-5 years
    • Ideal for allergy sufferers

Related Articles

Check the facts when buying the best air purifier to clean up the dust, allergens and other particles in your air at home. For the best air cleaner, look for the size of particles filtered, the room capacity the room can handle and amount of clean air being delivered. Also the best UV light air purifiers will zap mold and other microorganisms you don't want to breathe in.