Help & advice: Buying guide to air purifiers
Buying guide to air purifiers
Deal with dust, dirt, smoke and smells with an air purifier and treat yourself to a cleaner, clearer, healthier home.
For a real breath of fresh air see the Homebase range of air purifiers.
There are four different types of air cleaners and air purifiers but they all do one important thing - improve the quality of the air we breathe. They do this by reducing airborne pollutants and allergens such as dust, mite faeces, pollen, bacteria, tobacco smoke and odours, and even some viruses. With these pollutants out of the way, you'll enjoy a cleaner, healthier home and fresher rooms.
And that can be a huge boost for those suffering from allergies, asthma and respiratory problems. Air purifiers can even help stop cold and flu viruses spreading.
These generate a stream of negatively charged ions that are attracted to positively charged allergen particles and airborne dust. The ions join together, become heavy, and eventually fall to the floor. Ionisers are a very affordable way to clean air and work well with other technologies.
HEPA Air Filter
Most air purifiers contain a HEPA filter capable of filtering out 99.97% of airborne pollutants. HEPA filters are very effective at removing allergens, dust, mould spores and dirt but not so good at tackling smells and smoke. Some HEPA air purifiers also have an anti-bacterial pre filter to get rid of larger particles, which extends the life of the HEPA filter. HEPA filters are a must for asthmatics.
Germicidal UV or TiO2 technology
The UV (ultra violet) light destroys micro-organisms such as germs, viruses and bacteria by deactivating their DNA. TiO2 technology enhances UV light by up to 4000% to kill germs, viruses, mould and bacteria.
A charged plate showers incoming air with positive and negative ions to help remove airborne particles and micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses.
This depends on:
- The size of the room
- The level of air purification and cleanliness you want
- Your budget
- How much space you have - some models can sit on a shelf.
- How much the unit weighs - important if moving it from room to room.
- Is it the correct size for the room - different size models clean different volumes of air.
- The amount of times an hour the air is cleaned.
- Other features you need such as remote control and speed settings.
Generally, the more levels of filtration and features a model has, the higher the price.Air purifiers featuring HEPA filters are more expensive but are more effective than other filters at removing harmful bacteria and pollen that can affect allergy and asthma suffers.
HEPA filters don't need to be cleaned or replaced regularly, so think about the cost of buying replacement filters when you're weighing up what to spend. Some filters can be hand-washed or vacuumed but most need replacing at some point.
Air purifiers can be in use continuously or for long periods, so it could pay off to think about their energy efficiency and the amount of noise they'll make. Ionisers are almost silent. But some air purifiers make a low whirring noise, which you might want to take into account if you're a light sleeper.
For optimum performance the best place is in the middle of the room where air flow is at its maximum but of course this isn't always practical! It's also fine to position at the end of a room near a doorway, but don't put an air purifier in a corner.
This depends on the size and layout of your property, though one large model is usually enough for a medium-sized open plan home.
Most filters are quick and easy to remove and many can be cleaned by vacuuming or hand-washing.
Products are subjected to strict tests by the British Allergy Foundation to ensure they're beneficial to allergy sufferers. If they pass they're awarded the Seal of Approval.
Look out for air purifiers that need minimal assembly. Simply attach the flexible hot air hose outlet to the back of the unit and place the other end out of the room you're cooling - this is typically done through a window or door. Some machines come with an adapter kit that reduces the amount a window needs to be open to only about 6cm.
Plug the air conditioner into a normal 13A socket and switch on. When the unit needs emptying the full water indicator will come on. Some units have an external drain system for continuous use and you don't have to empty them.