What every best Air Purifiers has:
- HEPA filtration.
- High maximum air-exchange rate.
- Filter-change alert.
ConsumerReports.org conducts hands-on tests of more than 30 room air purifiers. Each is ranked from best to worst. Six models earn recommendations, and one is named a Best Buy. 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, ConsumerReports.org also tests 12 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 a high speed, and low. They also rate how freely air moves through the filter. Information on thickness and estimated annual cost is also provided. Four air filters are recommended.
Mary H.J. Farrell reports on the results of ConsumerReports.org's 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 ConsumerReports.org 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. One purifier is named best overall, while others that are nearly as good are identified.
AllergyBuyersClub.com 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 AllergyBuyersClub.com 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.com 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.
HomeDepot.com lists lots of home air purifiers. Most receive at least a handful of ratings, though others have dozens, and occasionally more. The write ups tend to be short, but most note whether or not they would recommend an air purifier to a friend.
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.
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 reviews aren't particularly detailed, but some might find the customer case studies and articles on allergies and other topics helpful.
In an update of an article originally written in 2010, Maxwell Ryan gives his take on the best low-cost, mid-range and high-end air purifiers. Some of his opinions are based on research, but he also owns and has used several of the models profiled -- typically for several years -- and that feedback can be helpful. On the downside, though some negatives are occasionally mentioned, all of the air purifiers profiled get generally positive reviews.