How to Know if You Really Need an Air Purifier for Your Home

Air Purifier

The truth is, air purifiers can’t solve all your problems, but they can really keep your homes air cleaner for longer. Below are a few signs that show you definitely need an air purifier for your home.

When it comes to selling the best purifiers, sellers often pitch them as the best way to improve air quality in your home, however, you will find that their usefulness is often overblown and some may even be detrimental to your health as some have ionizing functions that produce ozone.

Research from the Environmental Protection Agency says that the best way to enhance the indoor air quality is simply to get rid of pollutant sources and also to ventilate your interior spaces with clean outdoor air. Although air purifiers are built to decrease airborne pollutants, they can’t eradicate them. Additionally, they are not able to remove, dander, dust, and other particles that have settled on surfaces around your home.

So if you’re on the market for an air purifier here’s what you need to know.

Bear in mind that for a whole house UV air purifier to work well it has to be on almost all the time. This can increase your power bill immensely and that’s why it’s always important to check the air purifiers EnergyStar rating before you make a purchase, to get an idea of how much electricity you will have to pay for eventually.

On the plus side, the issue listed above does not mean air purifiers are not effective in the real world. The greatest air purifiers are best at filtering out tiny particles like dust, smoke, pollen, and pet dander. Evidence suggests that users feel a lot better with functional air purifiers in their homes even though the long-term health impact is not well documented.

So while you’re shopping around, bear this in mind we’ve highlighted situations that indicate a real need for air purifiers below to help you make your final choice.

You Suffer from a Respiratory illness

People who suffer from allergies and/or asthma or breathing issues may notice a drop in symptoms, like coughing and wheezing when using an air purifier with a HEPA (HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air) filter designed to capture 99.7% of particles bigger than 0.3 micrometers.

Some of these appliances do a good job at catching common irritants. Like pollen, pet dander, and dust, so unless your purifier’s fans bring out pollutants it probably won’t make your issues worse.

It must be mentioned that although the American Academy of Allergy (department of Asthma and Immunology) don’t recommend portable air purifiers for persons who suffer from allergy. Research emphasizes that devices with HEPA filters seem to be beneficial only if they’re regularly maintained but there is no solid evidence that dispels air filtration as having an important impact on health outcomes.

Air Quality

You Own Pets

Let me tell you a fact, there’s no such thing as a hypoallergenic pet. You will find that even cats that don’t shed will release dander and skin into the air. Also, animals tend to collect dust and pollen in their furry coats. For instance, you may not be allergic to your pets directly, but it does not mean you’re immune to allergies if you get into contact with their fur.

So if you are looking to avoid this but love your pets, buying a high-quality air purifier will be worth your while.

Youre a Smoker or You Live with One

Cigarette smoking, including secondhand smoking, can negatively impact your health and the health of those you live with. Even a small amount of secondary smoking can pose a grave risk. Not even opening the window can protect against such issues, but having filtration and ventilation can give some relief.

Smoke from cigarettes is one of the three particles included in the design of an air purifier’s clean-air delivery rate. This is measured in cubic feet per minute. For example, a CADR of 80 for dust would mean 80 cubic feet would be cleared off every minute.

Compared to dust and pollen, smoke has the smallest particles, so rather decide on a device that rates highly in the area of tobacco smoke ventilation.

Air purification

You live with Children or Other people

Even if you’re the cleanest person on the face of the earth, you can’t control how your children, guests, or roommates behave. If other people are not committed to decluttering as you are or if they bring in pet hair, pollen, dirt, or dust from the outside to inside your home, an air purifier can ease your burden clearing those pollutants before they get out of control.

You Live Around a Construction Site

Purifiers are designed to capture airborne particles, like dust, that get picked up during construction or from cars driving up and down the road. One way is to keep your windows closed, this could prevent some of the debris from making its way in. This is where an air purifier comes in because it’s able to filter what gets through the cracks. Putting it on can help you breathe better in this situation. It can also play a role if you are renovating part of your house. It can protect against particles like mold, lead, lacquer, or asbestos particles from floating into other part of your establishment.

Other tips to improve air quality for your home:

  • Clean your home often
  • Ventilate your laundry room, kitchen, and bathrooms
  • Keep your windows open
  • Change and wash your linens
  • Don’t buy or use incense, candles, or products with scent in your home

The Bottom line

The process of buying an air purifier is about managing anticipation. These appliances can improve the air quality in your home. But dot depends on them completely without taking other precautionary measures.

Also don’t expect that they will do more than they’re designed to do because they may be able to filter out dust, pollen, smoke, dander, but they won’t be able to keep your carpets clean, wash your dishes or cook your food or keep your internal environment neat.

Which type of air purifier will you need?

Buying an air purifier requires some research work, and you should do diligence before buying. Let’s start with the main types of air filtration you can find out there:

How to Know if You Really Need an Air Purifier for Your Home

HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filtration

When it comes to air purification, HEPA is considered the gold standard. The system includes a highly dense paper filter that collects airborne contaminants.

Even if many types of filters use the HEPA acronym, not all of them carry the certification. Look for “True HEPA Filter” when selecting your air purifier. A model of this kind will remove 99.97% of all microscope particles as tiny as 0.3microns in size.

Dust, fungi, mold spores, pollen, hair, pet dander, and visible smoke are some pollutants that HEPA air purifiers can remove. These are highly efficient units that trap particles and don’t release them back into the air. People with respiratory issues will benefit from them the most.

Ionic Filtration models

This technology emits a cloud of charged ions into the air that sticks to the airborne contaminants. The process will make the impurities fall on surfaces and floors. Some air purifiers also come with electrostatic collection plates to attract the fallen particles and remove them from the room. Air purifiers of this kind can remove particles at tiny as 0.01 microns.

Pollen, dust, fungi, mold spores, bacteria and viruses, volatile organic compounds, and visible smoke are pollutants that air purifiers can remove with ionic filtration. These models don’t require maintenance, filter replacement, and don’t use a fan. Additionally, they are more affordable than air purifiers with HEPA filters.

Carbon Filtration

Air purifiers with carbon filtration use activated carbon made of millions of absorbent pores. They create a surface that traps gases, fumes, and odors. Such models aren’t suitable for removing health-causing particles. They are appropriate to remove particles that generate smell.

These models eliminate gas and chemical fumes, odors, and smell from cleaning supplies, paints, cooking, smoke, and pets. They’re affordable and cheap to replace. If you only aim for a fresh smell in your home, they represent the most practical choice.

Ultra Violet (UV) Light

The technology produces invisible light that attacks pollutants. UV light is found inside the air purifier and not released into the room.

A UV light air purifier uses the UV-C band of the ultraviolet spectrum, which is entirely safe for humans and doesn’t have negative side effects. UV light will kill bacteria and viruses inside a room as it can destroy their molecular DNA structure. You will enjoy a clean and sterilized environment with no particles that might affect your health.

Such models will remove germs, bacteria, and viruses. Ultraviolet light rarely needs replacement as it can last for thousands of hours. The air purifiers create a sterile environment and decrease the number of germs inside.

Classic or smart-enabled?

When you look for an air purifier, you need to consider if you want a classic or a smart-enabled model.


Classic air purifiers don’t inform you on what impurities they’re removing from the room. You have to take the leap of faith and trust that they’re doing their job. Checking out the filter is one way to know how well they’re filtering the insider air or not.

You can find classic air purifiers with digital controls and air quality sensors to help them perform as expected. With a traditional model, though, you never know for sure what contaminants your filter has removed.

Smart enabled models

Smart enabled air purifiers feature a dedicated mobile app that gives you all the information you need about the device’s performance. Some apps display which pollutants the air purifier removes from the room; they can also monitor the air quality in real-time.

With such models, you get a lot of information about indoor air quality and the unit’s efficiency. Additionally, some units allow voice control through Amazon Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit. Needless to say, be ready to pay the extra buck for the innovative features. The Wi-Fi models of air purifiers cost $50 to $100 more than regular versions.

Portable or whole-house air purifier?

There are two main designs to choose from for your air purifiers: portable and whole-house models.

How to Know if You Really Need an Air Purifier for Your Home


The portable air purifiers are the most affordable models. They don’t require installation and allow placement in whatever room you need at a time. Moving around a portable air purifier is relatively straightforward.

Whole house

It goes without saying the whole-home air purifiers are pricier than portable models. Additionally, they need professional installation. However, if you want to ensure that air is purified in all rooms, the whole house system represents the most appropriate choice.

ACH and CADR ratings- what do they mean?

When looking for an air purifier, you will notice two ratings: ACH and CADR.


Air Changes per Hour (ACH) is one rating that many consumers miss to examine when buying. However, it’s an essential telling feature that informs about the efficiency of the air purifier. The ACH rating tells you how many times the purifier exchanges the air in a room with clean air every hour. 4x, 5x 6x are the most common ACH ratings.


Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) helps you know how well the air purifier cleans the air within a specific size room. It gives you the objective standard to compare the efficiency of an air purifier. Not all devices come with a CADR rating, which is why you should get a model that tells you an honest assessment of the size of the room the air purifier can actually manage.

The air purifier market isn’t regulated around the world, so you should take the specifications made by the manufacturer with a grain of salt.

Where should you place the air purifier?

Poor placement of the air purifier will alter its performance. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t place air purifiers using HEPA filters and/or Carbon filters under tables, against the wall, behind a couch, or in places that block the stream of airflow. Always place such models 2-3 feet away from furniture and walls.
  • Don’t place air cleaners with ionic filtration near walls or piece of furniture as they emit ions in a 360-degree circle. Try to place such units close to the center of the room.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many air purifiers should you have in your home?

Generally speaking, you want to have an air purifier in every room you spend time in regularly. You will need one for the living room, the kitchen, and one for each bedroom you use.

Is it necessary to run the air purifier all the time?

Air pollution is an ongoing problem, and we recommend you run the air purifier all day long. As long as you replace the filters as necessary to reduce pollutants inside, it would help if you didn’t worry about leaving the air filter on all the time.

Do air purifiers require cleaning?

Your air purifier will work at its best if the filters don’t present clogging with dust, pet dander, pollen, and various particulates. It would help if you stayed on top with cleaning/replacing the air filters as necessary. Do it frequently if a family member deals with respiratory conditions, allergies, or asthma.

How much will you spend on an air purifier?

If you decide to install a whole-house air purifier, expect to pay anywhere from $500 to $2,500, with $1,300 as the average national cost. You will pay anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 for the air purifier itself.

Is the air purifier different from the humidifier?

The air purifier will clean the air thanks to filtering or other technologies, without adding any moisture to the air.  The humidifier, on the other hand, simply adds water to air by vibrating water droplets into the air or boiling water into steam through ultrasonic technology. Some models will give water by evaporating it with a fan and a wick. The humidifier doesn’t clean air, and the air purifier doesn’t add water into the air.

About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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