After carrying out 300 hours of research, three lab tests, and a weeklong real-world test encompassing 18 purifiers, all over four years, we’re more confident than ever that the here is the list of best air purifiers for most people.
Let's find out why this is the list of best air purifiers for pets in 2019 and beyond.
Why you should trust us for Best air purifiers in 2019
I am John Norton, who holds a master of science and is one of the guide’s researchers and a co-author, has conducted laboratory tests for many brands' air purifier reviews since 2008. Since 1990, I have studied particulate air pollution for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and in the private sector, in locations ranging from the continental US to the Arctic to the Maldives. I have also led research to develop aerosol particles with specific optical properties.
I am Don Tien, guide editor, researcher, and co-author. With my formal education is in biology and economics, I am the most influencer in air purifier field.
Who should get this best air purifier
Effective air purifiers can be expensive to purchase and operate. And despite the prolific marketing to the contrary, scientific studies do not support claims that they improve your health. That’s partly because it is exceptionally difficult to disentangle air-quality impacts from other environmental and genetic factors that influence health.
Balancing this is overwhelming medical and scientific evidence that breathing elevated levels of particulate pollution has serious negative health impacts, exacerbating asthma, allergies, and respiratory disease, and there is mounting evidence that particulate pollution is a cause of degenerative brain disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. As if that wasn’t enough, exposure can increase mortality rates, especially among those with heart disease or compromised immune systems. Air pollution from US combustion emissions alone results in 200,000 premature deaths a year, according to a 2013 MIT study.
Then you have clear evidence that quality air purifiers are actually very good at their primary job, which is to remove particulate matter from the air—fine dust, pollen, mold spores, and so on. With that in mind, it’s less of a surprise to learn that air purifier owners offer extensive, almost universal testimony that the machines improve their sleep, reduce their allergies, and/or lessen their asthma symptoms.
Go into this purchase with realistic expectations, though. Most of the filters you see don’t filter everything—as we explain in detail, most are HEPA-style filters that can’t catch nanoscale molecules like gases (radon, VOCs), and also can’t do anything about many allergens—dust mites and pet hair, for example—which sink and stick to furniture and other surfaces, and remain in the environment even after the air has been purified. To get rid of them, you’ll also need a good dust mop and/or vacuum cleaner.
Finally, no real-world home or office is remotely airtight; new particles are always being drawn in through windows, doors, ducts, and other openings. So air purification is a continuous process—and to be most effective, air purifiers need to run more or less around the clock. As the EPA says, “The best way to address residential indoor air pollution usually is to control or eliminate the source of the pollutants and to ventilate the home with clean outdoor air.” That means: Don’t smoke indoors, vacuum and dust regularly, and keep your pets outside when possible. Taking these measures alone will significantly improve your home’s air quality—if you want to go further, bring in an air purifier.
How we picked Best air purifier list?
For 2017 we conducted two new tests of air purifiers. John re-created his 2016 lab tests in a new round of testing, including new models. Don did a week-long real-world test—the first of its kind that we know of—using picks and competitors in a New York City apartment.
The lab results give a measure of absolute performance under controlled conditions and act as a baseline for comparison of the air purifiers’ performance. The real-world results give something equally useful: a detailed picture of how our air purifiers performed in an everyday home (wool rugs, pollen, city air, a cat)—and, as it happened, in the middle of a stretch of hazardous outdoor air quality.
Both tests concentrated on particle filtration; John also measured VOC (molecular) filtration, noise levels, and ownership cost over time.
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