It’s no secret that the air we breathe indoors is often significantly worse for us than the air outside. “Sick-building syndrome” is a very real concern. While individuals with allergen sensitivities more susceptible to the effects of these contaminants, many of us may be having breathing issues as a result of this poor air quality and not even know it.
In the short term, these indoor particulates can cause soreness in the nose and throat, headaches, dizziness, and even fatigue, according to the EPA. Over time, however, poor indoor air quality can produce a slew of respiratory diseases and cancers. Help protect yourself and your loved ones with these five exceptional air purifiers for the home and office.
Best overall — Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier ($150+)
The Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA is one of the best purification units on the market, namely because its glass fiber HEPA filter captures particles as small as 0.3 microns. To put that number in perspective, an average human hair is about 80 microns. Needless to say, this unit is more than capable of filtering pollen, dust, pet dander, and even smoke particulates.
A carbon-activated pre-filter also captures larger contaminants and works to eliminate common household odors. Unlike other units, this model uses a primary HEPA that can be vacuumed, thus allowing you to extend the lifetime of the filter.
As with any air purifier, one of the key things to consider is the maximum square footage the unit can adequately filter. Honeywell’s modest offering is designed for rooms up to 390 square feet in size. That’s more than enough power to sufficiently treat the air in most rooms around your home. Units with similar capacities can easily cost an upwards of $400, making this system a bargain.
The unit does feature a rather lackluster design — not to mention a bulky exterior. Even if the unit might not necessarily complement the Feng Shui of your living space, however, it’s more than capable of removing all of the feng-us in your home. Pun totally intended.
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Best customizable choice — Alen Breathesmart HEPA Air Purifier ($595+)
Considering the sheer size of most air purifiers, they often have a tendency to clash with the overall interior design of your home. The Alen Breathesmart is one of the most customizable options in a market loaded with blasé behemoths. The unit is available in 14 different colors, allowing you pick something more in line with your existing home décor.
The unit is as customizable on the inside as it is on the outside, as Alen Breathesmart offers four unique HEPA filters to choose from. All of these filters remove dust and allergens, but each has a specific filtration forte. The HEPA-Pure filter is designed for common contaminants such as dust, allergens, mold, spores, and pollen. The HEPA-Silver filter is perfect for mold, germs, and asthma-related concerns. A HEPA-Fresh Plus utilizes a chemical filter to rid the indoor air of smoke and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The fourth option, the HEPA-OdorCell, works to neutralize overbearing odors. This filter, in particular, is apt for households with multiple pets.
As an added bonus, this unit continually adapts to the indoor air quality. When pollutants and allergens levels are low, the unit functions in an energy-saving mode that’s designed to prevent unnecessarily filtration. Similarly, when irritants in the air are higher than normal, the device utilizes a higher setting to help purify the air more rapidly. This adaptive technology will prolong the life of your filter and save you money on your utility bill.
The Alen Breathesmart is recommended for rooms up to 1,100 square feet in size, making this model powerful enough for virtually any household room and some apartments. It’s by far one of the more expensive air purifiers on the market given its price tag, but your lungs — as well as your interior designer — will both breathe easier because of it.
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Best compact option — GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with HEPA Filter ($58)
The GermGuardian is a solid countertop option. While most units require plenty of space to properly take in and expel air, this unit has been designed specifically to sit on an end table or desk. The device was also crafted to look like a speaker, which allows you to inconspicuously incorporate the GermGuardian around your home or office.
A built-in HEPA filter also captures more than 99 percent of dust, allergens, pet dander, mold, and pollen down to 0.7 microns. The device also uses UV-C light to kill airborne germs and bacteria, making it the perfect unit for the current flu season. It also decomposes odors caused by pets and cigarette smoke, though you’ll need to replace the filter every 6 to 8 months. And while there are air purifiers with better filtration specifications, you’ll be hard pressed to find a sleeker design for under $60. Just don’t expect it to clear massive rooms of potential contaminants.
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Best design — Dyson Pure Cool Link Air Purifier & Fan ($461+)
For both aesthetics and functionality, Dyson’s Pure Cool Link Tower is one of the best air filtration systems out there. Most air purifiers use fan blades to filter air indoors, which often creates a rather loud and annoying chopping sound. The Pure Cool Link Tower, on the other hand, uses Dyson’s bladeless technology to minimize these disturbances. The unit is more than capable of filtering all allergens and rogue particulates as small as 0.3 microns. The system also uses a layer of activated carbon granules to eliminate odors, as well as toxins like paint fumes.
The Pure Cool Link Tower even has the ability to monitor, react, and then relay your daily filtration report to your smartphone via the Dyson Link app. With 10 different airflow settings, the unit can easily adapt to any situation, and do so using a bundled remote control.
While the Pure Cool Link Tower is slimmer than most, it measures 40 inches in height, rendering it rather large, despite its svelte figure. It’s certainly not the most economical option given its $400+ price tag, either, though individuals looking for a powerful, customizable air purifier will certainly appreciate what Dyson’s device has to offer.
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Best budget — Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier ($34)
The Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier is ideal for individuals seeking a basic and affordable air purifier. As the product’s name would suggest, the Holmes Desktop Air Purifier is perfect for places with limited space. For convenience, this unit can also be situated vertically or horizontally without sacrificing performance.
Homles’ unit can filter airborne particles as small as 2 microns. A second filter uses activated carbon to remove pesky odors, too, and the unit’s housing features a Microban coating to help protect against mold, mildew, and bacteria growth. As with any budget option, however, this unit has its drawbacks. The Holmes Desktop model is only rated for rooms up to 109 square feet in size, and while 2 microns is fairly solid when it comes to household filtration, asthmatic individuals or people with other respiratory problems will certainly prefer a higher caliber purifier.
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