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Air purifier in living room, dust protection
Courtesy of iStock

Are air purifiers worth the investment? Whether it’s to improve air quality and your overall health or even to reduce the risk of exposure to certain contaminants, there’s a lot of debate about air purifiers and their effectiveness. In this post, we’ll look at the evidence and dispel some myths to help you decide whether air purifiers are worth the investment.

We’ll explore how air purifiers work, what they can (and can’t) do, the different types of air purifiers, and the various health benefits they offer. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the information you need to decide whether air purifiers are right for your home.

What are air purifiers? How do they work?

An air purifier is an electrical device that removes contaminants from the air in a given space to improve air quality. It traps pollutants within an internal filter, including allergens, bacteria, pet dander, mold, smoke and dust mites. Depending on the size and type of air purifier, these filters will need to be replaced regularly to maintain the device's effectiveness. Thanks to their effect on air quality, air purifiers can help lessen symptoms associated with allergies or asthma, such as sneezing and coughing.

There are many different types of air purifiers available, each with its advantages and disadvantages depending on the individual consumer's needs. Common types of air purifiers include mechanical air filters, HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arresting) filters, electrostatic precipitators (ESP), ozone generators, gas-phase air purifiers and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems.

A typical air purifier draws contaminated air into the device through a fan or motorized blower system. Air is then filtered through one or more filters before being released back into the environment in a cleaner state. The most common filter types used are mechanical filters which trap particles such as dust, mold spores, and pet dander; HEPA filters which remove particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter; ESP which capture smaller particles; gas-phase purifiers which trap volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and ozone generators which produce ozone gas to remove contaminants from the air.

Are air purifiers effective?

Although opinions vary on whether or not air purifiers provide sufficient benefits to justify their cost, many people find that they have enough of an impact to be worth the investment. For instance, they are useful for improving indoor air quality and reducing allergy symptoms caused by airborne allergens such as dust mites and pet dander. Here are some advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding to buy one:

Advantages of air purifiers

  • Clean the air of airborne particulates such as dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold spores and bacteria
  • Remove unpleasant odors from the home or office
  • Can reduce symptoms associated with allergies and asthma
  • Can reduce levels of VOCs in the home
  • Can help improve overall health and well-being

Disadvantages of air purifiers

  • Require regular filter changes to maintain effectiveness
  • Can be expensive to purchase and maintain
  • May not be effective for large open spaces or outdoor areas

Common misconceptions about air purifiers

Misconceptions about air purifiers often prevent people from investing in them even though they may benefit from using one. Air purifiers are not a cure-all for poor indoor air quality — they work best when combined with regular dusting and vacuuming and diligent maintenance of HVAC systems. Additionally, choosing the right type of air purifier for your needs is important. Certain types of cleaners may only capture certain airborne particles while leaving others untouched. For this reason, it’s important to research the types of airborne particles prevalent in your area before purchasing an air purifier so that you get one that appropriately meets all your needs.

Air purifiers are also not a one-size-fits-all solution. These devices function optimally when used in sealed spaces with less airflow, such as homes or offices, than in larger open spaces like airports or malls. While smaller rooms generally require smaller units with fewer filters for optimal performance due to limited airflow capabilities, even large rooms can benefit from using an appropriately sized model designed for larger environments such as commercial buildings or large spaces with more foot traffic. If you're looking for an air purifier specifically for small spaces like bedrooms or home offices, then make sure you buy the right size model according to your estimated square footage so that it can effectively cleanse the entire room.

Best practices for purchasing and using an air purifier

When considering an air purifier, choosing the right model based on your specific needs and the pollutants you want to eliminate is important. Determine whether you need multiple units for different areas of your house and how often you plan to use them. Investing in a higher quality, energy-efficient model can lead to long-term energy savings and quieter operation.

Before investing in an air purifier, research online or consult experts to understand the specifications and features of different models. Don't settle for the first option, and consider pre-owned models from reputable sellers, which can provide similar performance at a lower cost.

Select an air purifier that’s appropriately sized for the area you want to cover. Choose a smaller model for small bedrooms or more powerful units for larger living rooms. Additionally, various types of filters are available, so it’s essential to determine which one would be most effective for your specific environment before making a purchase. You should also research the recommended replacement schedules for filters to ensure each model’s cost-effectiveness and keep it in optimal working condition.

Final thoughts and recommendations

When selecting an air purifier, it's important to consider the specific pollutants in your environment and how they impact air quality. This may involve choosing the right type, size or air filter brand or incorporating other solutions like regular dusting and vacuuming. These methods may not require ongoing expenses but can help make an air purifier’s job easier. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to air purifiers. Assess your specific needs, evaluate multiple factors and choose the best option for you regarding efficiency, effectiveness and cost.


When it comes to air purifiers, the fact is that they can be an effective solution for improving indoor air quality and reducing health risks. Investing in an air purifier is a great way to create a healthier living environment for your family and can be a worthwhile addition to any home. But it’s still important to thoroughly research before purchasing an air purifier and choose the right type and size for your needs. With this information in mind, you’ll be well on your way to reaping the benefits of an air purifier.