Air Purifier Buyer's Guide

There are several different kinds of air purification methods. This guide will provide a general overview of the most popular methods available on the market today. It will cover the types of pollutants that air purifiers are designed to target, the particle sizes and where COVID-19 falls in the scale, how the size of these particles become more dangerous the smaller they get. We will also discuss the types of purifying actions that these machines use to clean the are of these particles, and the pros and cons of each method. And lastly, we will show you some of the best air purifiers for different use cases, such as small rooms (personal, home, or office spaces), huge spaces (cafeterias, yoga studios, and open-space offices), and everything in-between.

TARGET POLLUTANT

There are 2 types of pollutants air purifiers target: particles and gaseous. Both types of particles can be dangerous, and both require various techniquies to properly filter. Below you will find some of the common pollutants that fall into each type.

1. PARTICLES

  • Viruses
  • Bacteria
  • Mold Spores
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Smoke Residue
  • Etc…

2. GASEOUS

  • VOCs
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Radon
  • Formaldehyde
  • Etc…

PARTICLE SIZES

Large Particles
Mostly captured by mucous membranes of the nose and throat.

 

Inhalable Particles
< 10 µm (called PM10) can enter the lungs.

 

Fine Particles
< 2.5 µm (called PM2.5) can penetrate into alveoles.

 

Ultrafine Particles/Nanoparticles
< 0.1 µm (100 nm) can be absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO),
these are the most dangerous particles.


PURIFYING ACTIONS

There are 5 types of purification actions used in most air purifiers today: HEPA, carbon, ion, UV, and PCO. In fact, many models offer multi-point, combined technologies to cover various impurities. Below we've outlined the pros and cons of each air purification method. We've also indicated which action targets the various types of pollutants.

1. HEPA

Target: Particles  |  Method: Fibrous filter

ProsCons
High-efficiencyDoes not filter microparticles, like viruses and bacteria. Effective down to 0.3µm
Most common air purifierRegular filter replacement
 Changing the filter releases trapped particles back into the air
 Does not remove gasses or odors.

2. Carbon

Target: Gaseous  |  Method: Fibrous filter

 

ProsCons
Neutralizes odor, VOCs, gassesDoes not filter particles
Common; often combined with HEPA, ION, and UV systemsRegular filter replacement
 Effectiveness varies on gas

3. ION (Ionisation)

Target: Particles  |  Method: Canister or Cell

 

ProsCons
Low power consumptionSlower filtration process
Low maintenance/canister replacement is infrequentReputation from 1st release in the 90’s
 No collection of particles

4. UV Light (UVC Light)

Target: Particles/Microorganisms  |  Method: Canister or Cell

 

ProsCons
Destroys airborne microbes (micro-size) including viruses, mold, bacteria, dust mitesSlow air flow required to work effectively
Deactivates microbes; renders them harmlessNo collection of matter
Low maintenance/canister replacement is infrequentLamp replacements

5. PCO "Photocatalytic Oxidation"

Target:Gaseous  |  Method: Canister or Cell

 

ProsCons
Deactivates harmful gasses, renders them harmlessRisk of carbon monoxide; ensure systems are certified
Works for large variety of gas pollutantsNo collection of particles
Low maintenance/canister replacement is infrequentExtended time required to filter the air

CHOOSING AN AIR PURIFIER

What customers look for in an air purifier will entirely depend on their industry. Those who often experience high traffic, such as in government buildings, will often look for all-encompassing air purifiers that target viruses, smoke dangers, and more. Corporate offices, however, without much visitor traffic may want to focus more on allergens that protect their staff.

In general, professional organizations and individuals will look at the (1) square footage, (2) run time, (3) target and target size, (4) and the price of a system before making a decision.

Medical facilities may require a deeper look into purification systems that includes getting their own HVAC team involved with the “air changed per hour” and average people in a given space.

No matter the customer, they may use multiple units to cover their unique square footage and room layouts. We can work directly with our partners and our customers to find the perfect placement of multiple units in larger facilities.

SMALL ROOMS

Up to 1,000 square feet