What every best Air Purifiers has:
- HEPA filtration.
- High maximum air-exchange rate.
- Filter-change alert.
Consumer Reports conducts hands-on tests of more than 35 room air purifiers. Each is ranked from best to worst. Six models designed to cover larger rooms earn recommendations, including one that is named a Best Buy. However, no models for smaller rooms are similarly recognized. Testers rate each model for dust, pollen and smoke removal, and for noise, at low and high speeds. Editors also estimate the annual cost of ownership for each model, based on energy and filter costs.
In a separate review, Consumer Reports also tests more than 25 whole house furnace and air conditioner filters. Filters are rated based on how well they remove dust, pollen and smoke from the air when your furnace/air conditioner is operating at both high and low speeds. They also rate how freely air moves through the filter. Information on thickness and estimated annual cost is also provided. Seven air filters are recommended.
Mary H.J. Farrell reports on the results of Consumer Reports' testing of air purifiers. She says that based on their research, air purifiers provide limited benefits and are really only beneficial to allergy sufferers. That said, she notes, testing turned up some air purifiers that provide "capable air-cleaning performance," and reasonable efficiency. Though full ratings are not provided, the article reveals the models that Consumer Reports recommends, and is free to non-subscribers.
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) uses an outside lab to verify clean air delivery rates (CADRs) quoted by manufacturers for dust, tobacco smoke and pollen. Manufacturer participation is voluntary, and tested samples are taken randomly from factories, warehouses and dealer showrooms. Air purifiers that are certified to meet Energy Star standards and UL safety standards for ozone emissions are also identified, but that certification is not independently tested.
John Holecek, a NOAA scientist, with the assistance of co-author Tim Heffernan, finds the top rated and most popular air purifiers and then subjects them to his further testing. Air purifiers are tested for particle and odor removal, and the methodology is thoroughly explained. A best overall air purifier is identified, as is an upgrade and a budget pick. A few air purifiers that are nearly as good are also named.
TechGearLab focuses its review on air-cleaning performance, testing 11 air purifiers in a hazy 150 square foot room. Noise, ease of use, and operating costs are also assessed. An Editors' Choice and Best Buy selection are named.
Allergy Buyers Club is a retail website specializing in products that make life easier for allergy sufferers. Editors rate air purifiers on particle removal, noise level, ease of use, value, build quality and more. Users weigh in with their own feedback as well. Air purifiers are available in a variety of categories, from pet air purifiers to whole-house air purifiers.
Retailer Allergy Buyers Club also reviews furnace filters. The top ratings go to pricey washable furnace filters; they cost hundreds of dollars initially, but save money in the long term by eliminating the need for disposable filters. Customer reviews are posted as well, but most filters get little feedback.
There are thousands of products listed at Amazon in the air purifiers category, consisting of air purifiers, filters and related products and accessories. Honeywell air purifiers consistently get high ratings here, as well as some less expensive models by Holmes, GermGuardian and others. Several air purifiers have accumulated hundreds of owner-written reviews, and some have thousands. Furnace filters are also rated and ranked elsewhere on this site.
Top Ten Reviews researches air purifiers then selects 10 for testing. Because they lack a "reliable way to test air purification," effectiveness ratings are based on CADR scores provided by AHAM (see above), and the site's testing instead focused on factors such as noise levels and energy use. A top model, a top value, and the model with the best CADR scores are named.
Reviews.com uses a methodology similar to Top Ten Reviews -- researching air purifiers and testing for things like ease of use, but relying on CADR ratings to evaluate effectiveness. A top model and a runner up are named.
Home Depot lists lots of home air purifiers. Most receive at least a handful of ratings, though others have dozens, and occasionally a hundred or more. The write ups tend to be short, but most note whether or not they would recommend an air purifier to a friend.
Lowe's is another destination with a good number of air purifiers. Pluses and minuses are the same as Home Depot, though models tend to get less overall feedback. Elsewhere on the site, lots of furnace/HVAC air filters are listed, and these do get tons of reviews -- hundreds in some cases.
AchooAllergy.com is a site dedicated to products for allergy sufferers. Editors do test some of the units, although the testing process is not well explained. Users also weigh in with their opinions. A list of top 5 HEPA air purifiers is provided here, though the criteria for inclusion is based on popularity rather than performance.
This is another retail site that provides expert opinions as well as user feedback. AirPurifiers.com carries fewer brands than some others, however, and the expert reviews aren't particularly detailed and only a handful of models have been examined, but some might find the customer case studies and articles on allergies and other topics helpful.
Picks here are based on an editors' vote on air purifiers brought into the site's "test lab." Testing is not explained, but selections are said to be made based on "quality, appearance and price." A top pick is named, as are alternate picks in different price ranges.