Are Air Purifiers Worth It? (Or A Waste Of Money?)

Are air purifiers worth it or a waste of money? Perhaps somebody may have told you that air purifiers are a waste of money but that wouldn’t be entirely accurate. Something that doesn’t work for one person might work for somebody else and as long as you are smart with your buying decisions, you won’t feel as if you’ve been ripped off.

That being said, it’s also wise to have realistic expectations. If you expect your air purifier to be the solution to all of your problems, you’re probably going to be let down.

The argument surrounding air purifiers is about how useful they actually are. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t endorse manufacturer claims that air purifiers create healthier indoor air but there are plenty of professionals who would recommend an air purifier to somebody with allergies or a respiratory condition.

Many people would also agree that if you want to “purify” your air, you can’t rely solely on the air purifier. Even though air purifiers can help, you’ll need to take extra steps to keep the air clean.

What Does an Air Purifier Do?

The purpose of an air purifier is to remove pollutants from the air to improve breath-ability in the room. There’s an air filter in every purifier that works to filter out these pollutants, which can either be a gaseous or some sort of particulate matter.

Gaseous pollutants include paint fumes, tobacco smoke, and pesticides, among other things, and particulate matter includes bacteria, pet dander, dust mites, and mold spores.

If you want to know whether or not your air purifier is doing anything, simply check to see if the air filter is dirty after several days of use.

That being said, different air purifiers are designed for different purposes and there are different types of purifiers that perform different tasks. Not all air purifiers actually remove tobacco smoke, for example, and if you needed to remove smoke, you’d have to select an air purifier with that capability.

Regardless, removing pollutants helps keep the air clean and breathable, which is especially valuable for people with allergies or respiratory conditions. It’s just important that you are taking steps to reduce the volume of the pollutants in the first place.

Air Purifiers Don’t Replace a Clean Home

Having an air purifier doesn’t necessarily solve all of your problems and if you are polluting the indoor air at a faster rate than what is getting cleaned, it might seem as if the air purifier is not doing anything. That’s why it’s important that you address the source of the problem. You can do this in addition to buying an air purifier.

For example, if you smoke indoors, you may want to adjust your smoking habits to reduce the amount of smoke that lingers and clings to the furniture.

The real differences often come from lifestyle changes. If you don’t vacuum or dust very often, you may want to start doing that. Other preventative measures such as opening the windows on occasion and sanitizing surfaces can be beneficial as well. These habits will keep your air clean for the long term so that the air purifier doesn’t feel as if it is a wasted effort.

Myths About Air Purifiers

It’s also easy to be disappointed with your air purifier if you buy into one of the many myths that surround these devices. Some of the most common myths include:

  • Purifiers will eliminate the need to dust.
  • Purifiers solve all of your allergy problems.
  • You won’t have to bother with housekeeping.
  • If the purifier has a HEPA filter, it must be good.
  • Purifiers with HEPA filters remove odors.
  • It doesn’t matter what speed you have your purifier set on.
  • All purifiers remove viruses and germs.
  • All air purifiers remove tobacco smoke.

HEPA filters are great and they are the industry standard but just because an air purifier has one doesn’t mean that it’s a top-quality air purifier. There are still other factors, such as size and construction quality, that affect the quality of your air purifier.

Tips for Buying an Air Purifier

If you buy the wrong air purifier, it will certainly seem as if it was a waste of money. For the best results, you want to be careful about which air purifier you buy and make sure that it’s designed for what you need it for. This way, you’re giving yourself the best chances so before you commit to a purifier, remember all of the following:

  1. Identify Your Needs. There are different types of air purifiers and they are all designed for different purposes. Why do you want an air purifier in the first place? Do you want to get rid of dust and other allergens? Do you have asthma? Are you trying to reduce the amount of pet dander, hair, and odors? When you know why you want an air purifier, you can start shopping for purifiers that are the best at tackling your specific problem. Some purifiers don’t really filter smoke at all so if you’re trying to get rid of smoke, you need a specific device.
  2. Get the Right Size. How big is the room that you are trying to purify? You’ll need to answer that question before you buy an air purifier. If you’ve got a bigger room, you’ll need an air purifier that can handle the size and not all of them will be able to. If you put a small purifier in a big room, you probably won’t see any results and you’ll wind up feeling as if you wasted your money. Putting a large air purifier in a small room isn’t always a good idea either. It’s best to pick a purifier that is appropriate for the size of the room.
  3. What Kind of Features Do You Want? Different purifiers will also have different features. Some purifiers have wheels or handles for mobility and portability and some purifiers have multiple fan speeds and remote controls, among other things. What features are important to you? The features that come with your air purifier will determine how convenient it is to have. Many features also give you greater control over performance. For example, some purifiers connect to your smartphone so that you can see how it’s performing in real time.
  4. Look for the Right Ratings. There are several different things that will tell you how effective your air purifier should be. The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), for example, tells you how much volume of air your purifier can clean. Generally, you want the CADR to be at least 300. The filters in your purifier will also have efficiency ratings and you also want your filters to be HEPA. An Energy Star certification will also tell you that your purifier is more efficient, which means that you can conserve electricity.

Problems with Different Types of Air Purifiers

Oftentimes, air purifiers do what they say they are going to do; other times, they make claims that are somewhat exaggerated.

The most basic type of air purifier is the one with an air filter that simply pulls air through the system and filters out some of the bad stuff. Other types of air purifiers include air ionizers and UV light purifiers and these are the ones that people are often skeptical about.

Ionizers, for example, send out negatively charged ions that attract to pollutants in the room. Once they attach themselves, they fall and stick to surfaces where you’ll be able to clean them up. So these purifiers don’t actually remove anything themselves and they are also known to produce O3 that you don’t want in your home.

UV light purifiers use UV light to damage bacteria and viruses so that they are no longer a danger. The problem with this is that they need to be exposed to the light for a certain amount of time and sometimes they can also come back to life. UV purifiers don’t remove pollutants; they produce O3 and they can be harmful in some situations.

Undoubtedly, there are air purifiers on the market that aren’t going to be very effective so it’s important not to fall for any of the gimmicks. Many of the so-called “odor-removal systems” appear to be a waste of money, for example.

Are Air Purifiers Worth It or A Waste of Money?

They are not all a waste of money and if you are smart about what you buy, you might not be so disappointed.

The problem is that air purifiers aren’t necessarily a solution. Yes, they can remove some of the pollutants and particulates from the air but if you aren’t doing anything to stop the production of these pollutants, you aren’t going to see results. Air purifiers can perhaps speed up the purification process and if you run the purifier while you clean, you’re using two defense strategies instead of one.

Air purifiers use simple processes and they shouldn’t be difficult to understand, which is why it’s normal to be skeptical about UV purifiers or ionizers that use unfamiliar words and phrases.