The Best Way to Filter Air: A Comprehensive Guide

When it comes to improving indoor air quality, there are a few key steps you can take. The most efficient way to filter home air is through your home's forced air heating or central air conditioning system. The filters are integrated into the return air ducts, trapping particles as the air passes through. Other ways to improve indoor air quality include eliminating pollutant sources and ventilating with fresh, clean outdoor air.

Room air purifiers can also be used when those methods are insufficient or not possible. Ion filtration technology is not a big advantage, but it also doesn't produce significant ozone, as tested by the California EPA. If you're looking for an air purifier for a medium-sized room, the Coway HEPA air purifier is one of the best options with an adventurous look. For those with the money and wanting a super-powered air purifier, or if you prefer a purifier to cover your entire house than buy one for each room, the Coway Airmega 400 could be the best choice. This device offers 1,560 square foot air cleaning coverage. It's important to note that many of the best air purifier models have been going in and out of stock in recent months due to the demand for such devices during the pandemic and in the midst of wildfires.

While this could mean that some of the above options are out of stock, we've decided to keep our recommendations (and the reasons behind them) published so you can use them and find the best product for you. Our recommendations for the best air purifier options are based on the included prices, and we recommend avoiding sellers offering the same devices for significantly different prices. We will update this list regularly as we review new products. When selecting an air purifier, I mainly considered power for price (i.e., the higher the CADR and the lower the price, the better). Secondly, I looked at additional cleaning modes, controls, design and noise level.

The best air purifier should look elegant enough to fit modern decor, work as desired with minimal manipulation and clean the air thoroughly and quietly. An easy and inexpensive way to make your own air purifier at home is with a box fan and oven filter. These “filter fans” can filter out small particles that are common in wildfires or wood smoke. Particulate matter contamination can cause a number of immediate and long-term health impacts, including shortness of breath, asthma attacks and lung and heart disease. It's especially dangerous for children, elderly people and those with sensitive immune systems. According to several researchers I spoke to, most consumer air purifiers simply don't have enough activated carbon to be an effective odor filter for more than a short period of time.

However, they do effectively capture viruses (and any droplets of saliva and aerosol mucus that contain them) that they introduce into their filters. Air purifiers have denser and stronger filters which can provide cleaner air, eliminate odors and aid respiratory health. When placed in filtration systems such as purifiers and air purifiers, HEPA filters can remove 99.97 percent of particles from the air. Contrary to some media outlets' claims that HEPA filters do not filter below 0.3 microns and therefore cannot capture airborne coronaviruses, these filters were initially used in nuclear plants but now many new devices use this technology in products that can help clean your home's air. Studies by NASA and Associated Landscape Contractors of America have found that some plants are capable of filtering common volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are by-products of chemical-based cleaners. Made of pleated polyester, paper or cotton, pleated media filters are more efficient than fiberglass filters and washable filters at capturing particles. Multiple studies of room air purifiers show that using HEPA filters results in reductions of 50 percent or more in particulate matter.

All five models offer a carbon filter or charcoal filters to remove pollutants such as odors, pet dander and gaseous contaminants but their filters contain only a few ounces of medium meaning they won't last long with regular use.