In terms of air purifiers, CADR is king. CADR, a rating assigned because of the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, tells you what size room an air purifier can, well, purify. We tested out nine that clean near to 360 square feet and looked at ease of replacing filters and features like quality of air sensors and Auto settings. We then spoke with quality of air specialists and physicians concerning the need for True HEPA filters and secondary filters before landing on our two top picks.
How We Chose the Best Air Purifiers
High CADR ratings
- The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) performs independent tests on electronic home air cleaners to observe how quickly they could remove particles through the air — the clean air delivery rate, or CADR. The larger the CADR numbers, the better. Consumer Reports judges a CADR score to be “excellent” if it is 350 and above and “poor” if it is 100 or below. A greater number means the units have significantly more powerful fans and bigger HEPA filters to “clean more air each hour.”
- To make it simpler for you to obtain the right amount of coverage for your space, the AHAM uses CADR ratings to calculate the utmost square footage a unit can purify. This square footage is tied to air exchanges per hour (ACH), or how often the machine will cycle through all of the air in the room. Most portable, at-home units have an ACH between four and six, the total amount recommended by allergists. “The more the better,” says Dr. Marie Petrizzo, a unique York physician, “but at minimum four.”
- So that you can cover nearly all rooms, we centered on units that offered the highest CADR ratings and ACH rates we’re able to find (which averaged around 200 to 300 and 4 to 6, respectively). These units are powerful adequate to clean near to 360 square feet, which will be well suited for most homeowners. That said, we left off one model, the Airgle AG500, which had an exorbitant price tag in conjunction with mediocre specs.
- AHAM CADR rating labels are listed close to the box of every AHAM-verified air cleaner; that one is from the Coway 4-Stage Filtration System, certainly one of our top picks.
True HEPA filters
- For home air cleaners, a True High Efficiency Particulate Air (True HEPA) filter is the gold standard. True HEPA filters are recommended by organizations such as the EPA, the American Lung Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.
- These filters force air through a sticky membrane and can capture as much as 99.97 percent of particles no more than 0.3 microns. Dr. Petrizzo says that she “always recommends HEPA electronic home air cleaners as they are best at trapping small particles such as for instance pollens, dander from pets, mold spores, et cetera.”
- For testing purposes, we required a True HEPA filter. Three brands fell from the running here. SheerAIRE and Idylis both offered models that advertised HEPA filtration but proved to possess only HEPA-type filters upon inspection. Blueair, meanwhile, uses a proprietary filter that promises to be much better than a genuine HEPA, but we couldn’t find any research to aid these claims. Because of the lawsuits over misleading air cleanser claims in past times, we plumped for models with transparent, proven-effective technology.
Pre-filters and secondary filters
- To make sure that the genuine HEPA filter would be as durable as possible, we also looked for 2 additional components in each of our finalists:
- A pre-filter is a sort of bodyguard for the primary filter. These screens work as the first line of defense, capturing large airborne particles like dust and pet hair that will gunk up the main HEPA filter, which will be what actually “purifies” the atmosphere. “Basically, pre-filters boost the lifespan of the HEPA filter,” Ray Wu, CEO of Wynd and quality of air expert, told us. Pre-filters last for around three months. Then they’ll need to be either replaced or, with lots of models, washed or vacuumed.
- Secondary filters add to a unit’s efficacy and may raise the lifespan associated with the HEPA filter — the HEPA doesn’t want to work so difficult if this has some help. We preferred charcoal as a secondary filter, which absorbs gases and odors too small for a HEPA filter to catch.
Simplicity of use-air purifiers
- With this specific base criteria set up, we brought in all nine remaining contenders for testing. During testing, we looked for some specific metrics: simplicity of use (air filter replacement, convenient design), features offered (user-friendly control panels, auto settings), and general cost effectiveness with time (energy saving modes, cheap replacement filters). Our two top picks excelled, meeting or exceeding our expectations in each area. The other seven systems we considered sometimes had slightly better technical specs, however these tiny increases in coverage equalled hundreds of additional dollars upfront, often for machines that were bulky or counterintuitive to make use of.
The reason we chose it-air purifiers
Intuitive controls and sensors
- Most of all, Winix stands apart for its lineup of features. Its completely digital panel allows you to control the purifier’s speed or enable PlasmaWave Technology (which, when activated, claims to “instantly neutralize airborne viruses, bacteria, chemical vapors, odors, and gases”). The simplicity of the digital panel also includes its sensors: The Winix’s glowing LED lights shift from blue to red the more polluted the atmosphere.
- It’s not just looks, though; the Winix can also be packed with features which make life simpler in the event that you don’t like to constantly monitor your machine. Specifically, a built-in air quality sensor automatically runs the fan at its lowest once the quality of air is good — a good touch for your peace of mind and for saving power. Other models like the Blueair air cleanser came with some controls and sensors, nevertheless they weren’t nearly as robust as those on the Winix. Simple digital design and a full breadth of automatic features won us over.
Hassle-free filter replacement
- Popping the hood for the Winix was easy. The cover uses magnets to snap inside and outside of place, and each filter locks inside the next — there’s no question where each piece must be when replacing the filters. In comparison, the Coway is significantly flimsier, also it takes a few tries to put the front and pre-filter back on after you take them of.
More cost-effective than similar models
- Air purifiers could possibly get expensive, often topping the $600 mark. That’s why the Winix, at not as much as $200, is indeed impressive: It’s powerful enough to cover 360 square feet and is sold with features like air quality sensors and Auto settings that are available on more high-end air purifiers. If you’re trying to find a robust air purifier that is included with all the great features (but not with a high price tag), the Winix will probably be worth considering.
Areas to consider-air purifiers
Much less powerful as some competitors
- Admittedly, there are many more powerful home air cleaners on the market. The Winix U450, for example, has higher CADR ratings, covering an additional 100 square feet. However, this 100 square feet comes at a high price: The U450 model is double the price of the 5500-2. The Winix 5500-2 may not cut it for those who have an unusually large room, but its features and affordability still push it into the the surface of the lineup. If you’re concerned with that additional 100 feet of coverage, you might be best off purchasing two 5500-2 units for features and cost-savings alone.
Why we chose it-air purifiers
Cheap replacement filters
- A significant bonus for the Coway is its cheap replacement filters. Just one replacement filter for the Coway costs about $15 lower than a filter when it comes to Winix, meaning the Coway averages off to be cheaper than the Winix in some years’ time. This is certainly a huge win if you’re concerned with savings and would like to get the most from the air purifier.
High CADR ratings
- The Coway ranks three points greater than the Winix with regards to CADR ratings for dust (although it is slightly worse at capturing pollen, coming six points below the Winix). In addition notably excels in number of air exchanges per hour. During the max setting, the Coway averages five air exchanges for a 360-square-foot room with a nine-foot ceiling — the average ceiling height of a home. The Winix only averages four . 5 air exchanges. While both numbers exceed the minimum recommendation by our experts, the Coway may be a much better choice if you’re looking to make the almost all of a big room.
- Unlike bigger home air cleaners, that may stick out like a sore thumb in your house, the Coway is sleek and compact. It’s a bit wider compared to Winix, but overall shorter. As a result of this, it is an easy task to put the Coway under a window without it feeling obtrusive. Plus, the black design with gray accents feels sleek and well-aligned with most modern decor. If you value aesthetics, you’ll likely desire to choose the Coway within the Winix.
Facts to consider-air purifiers
Difficult to change filters
- Despite its otherwise-sleek design, the Coway is notably flimsier than the Winix. Inside our testing, it took a few attempts to replace the leading and pre-filter after removing them. That is largely due to the fact that the Coway doesn’t have magnets to snap in and out of place; additionally, the filters don’t lock into one another because they do with the Winix. It’s not a deal breaker, but if you’re taking it apart every two weeks to rinse out the pre-filter (which is suitable for both units), the Coway is more of a hassle.
Guide to Air Purifiers
Where to find the proper air cleanser for you personally
Element in replacement filters and energy use
- Electronic home air cleaners aren’t a one-and-done purchase — replacement filters and energy use will affect your important thing, especially due to the fact electronic home air cleaners are typically left on all the time. To predict your electric bill, you should know what number of kilowatt-hours your purifier uses per day, multiplied by the average electricity rate your geographical area.
Consider size and placement
- When searching for an air purifier, be sure it fits your space. Air purifiers should never be flush against walls or furniture, as most units work best when they usually takes in air from all sides. For those who have a little room, make sure your air cleaner is compact enough to meet basic requirements.
Think of additional features
- Home air cleaners come with increased features than you possibly might think. The Winix, for instance, comes with features like timers, sensors, and a power-saving fan that automatically slows down when quality of air is great. When researching air purifiers, think beyond simply purifying the atmosphere at home and consider additional features you will need. If you’re seeking ways to keep your energy bill low, as an example, you may decide to look for a purifier with an automobile setting.