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Choosing the Best Air Purifier

Which air purifier is the best and do you even need one at all? Certain households gain significant benefits from their use, especially those wherein one or more family members have been diagnosed with asthma, allergies, or other respiratory problems.

Below is a brief description of two kinds of air purifiers to help you choose the best one for yourself, and for your family:

Electronic Air Purifiers
Electronic air cleaners, or purifiers, are designed to eliminate dust and pollen particles from the air in your home. They use electro-static precipitators to attract dust particles, much in the same way that a magnet will attract small iron filings. An electronic air cleaner can capture up to 95% of airborne dust particles, and 99% of pollen particles. It is necessary to clean the filter on a periodic basis.

Cleaning Method
Follow the guidelines in your model's instructions which usually states to do the following:

  1. turn off power to the electric air purifier
  2. soak the collector cells and pre-filters in bathtub filled with hot water and about half a cup of dish soap for at least 30 minutes.
  3. rinse to remove soap residue and reinstall when completely dry

The downside to the electronic air purifier is that it does not capture all smells or gases, and it is less likely to capture large particles as they fall more quickly to the furniture, walls, and floors.

HEPA Purifiers
Perhaps the most popular kind of air purifier is the HEPA, which stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. The disposable HEPA filters are capable of capturing at least 99.97% of airborne particles that are 0.3 micrometers in diameter. Airborne particles of this size have been determined to be most difficult to filter. Particles that are smaller, or even larger, can also be efficiently filtered. The more expensive HEPA air purifiers have been used in certain hospitals to combat the SARS epidemic.

Electronic vs HEPA
Which are the best air purifiers? While there appears to be a slight advantage with the HEPA filters, the bottom line is that the best air purifier is the one that meets your needs and preferences.

How to determine the best air purifier for your needs:

  • Do you prefer to buy replacement filters as with the HEPA, or do you prefer to periodically have to clean the filter as with the electronic air purifier?
  • The HEPA filters retail approximately $16 to $80 each, depending on which system you purchase, but the initial cost of the unit is lower than that of the electronic air cleaner.
  • If you suffer from asthma or severe allergies, the HEPA might be best suited for you.

Whatever you choose, improving the air quality of your home is conducive to better health, and therefore a wise investment.


Written by Gary Martin
Gary Martin is a freelance writer specializing in health and allergy research for the Mold Removal Unit website.


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