Choosing a good air purifier can be tricky. Do you really need it? If you get one, what size should it be, what features are important and how effective will it be in cleaning the air? This 3 in 1 ionising air purifier seems to us to be the most relevant choice. We will explain here why it is the right choice for your home.
Do I need an air purifier?
Indoor air quality is important even in Quebec – after all, we spend much of our lives inside our homes breathing that air. It is easy to assume that pollution is really an external problem, but the same air containing traces of vehicle exhaust, dust and pollen suspended in the air, smoke and other pollutants enters our homes. Other sources of pollution are already inside the home, such as house dust, cigarette smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted from paint and foam inside sofas and mattresses, animal hair and dander.
Indoor pollutants are less likely to simply flare up and accumulate over time. All of these types of pollution have the potential to cause irritation to your breathing, eyes and skin.
Can an air purifier help eliminate bacteria or viruses?
Similarly, a purifier can also help eliminate viruses, bacteria and other nasty ones such as mould spores.
Rear view air purifier
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Purified air flow
The Clean Air Distribution Rate (CADR) is an industry standard measure of the volume of air the air purifier can clean. It is expressed in cubic metres per hour (or cubic feet per second). The larger the number, the better.
The CADR test is performed in a small room (a square room about 3.4 m per side and 2.4 m high), with the purifier unit in the center of the room and set to its highest speed setting. This is a 20-minute test, performed separately for each of the three pollutants (dust, tobacco smoke and pollen), so you will see some models showing their CADR rating for each type.
While CADR is a useful way to compare performance between models, it is not necessarily a good indicator of the performance of an air purifier in your own home. You are more likely to have the air purifier at one end of the room or in a corner, and you will not always use the highest speed settings. In addition, the CADR test does not measure the removal of other pollutants such as VOCs and very fine particulate matter. This 3 in 1 ionising air purifier offers an excellent compromise with its 160 m³/h CADR.
Everything about the filters
Tests conducted by our counterparts in consumer organizations around the world have shown that HEPA filtration is the most important feature for an air purifier.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. It is a very effective type of filter that traps very small particles, invisible to the naked eye. As a general rule, HEPA filters can trap at least 99.95% of dust, smoke, mould and other particles in the air, up to a tiny size of 0.3 microns.
HEPA filters are common in good quality vacuum cleaners and you should also look for HEPA filtration in an air purifier like this one.
Carbon or charcoal
It is said to be good for trapping odours and VOCs such as formaldehyde.
They say it’s good for eliminating odors. But at low levels, it has been shown to be ineffective at eliminating air pollution, and at high levels, it can cause respiratory irritation. We recommend you avoid these patterns.
Ionic or ionization
It is said to be good for removing fine particles such as dust and smoke. However, ionization of air can produce ozone (see above).
Ultraviolet (UV) sterilization
It is said to be good for killing viruses, bacteria and mould spores. But UV light takes at least a few minutes to kill germs, and it is unlikely that germs passing through the air purifier will be exposed to UV for that long. Do not rely solely on a sterilizing filter if this level of cleanliness is important to you.
Filter Cleaning & Replacementa
An air purifier may have multiple filters (including the HEPA filter) and these will need to be cleaned or replaced regularly. It is more economical to be able to wash and reuse a filter than to have to buy replacements every time, especially if you use the air purifier frequently. Most pre-filters and charcoal filters can be washed and replaced; HEPA filters are generally not washable and should be considered when purchasing replacements for these filters.
Some models have separate filters (HEPA, pre-filter, charcoal, etc.) that can be replaced separately if necessary. Others have an all-in-one filter cartridge that may be more convenient, but may mean that you replace the entire batch when only one of the filter types needs to be replaced.
A good air purifier will have a warning indicator to let you know when it’s time to clean or replace the filters. Alternatively, instructions can simply specify to replace filters after a certain time, for example every six months. But check how the replacement time is calculated; it may assume that the purifier runs all day every day, so if you use it less often, you shouldn’t need to replace the filters as often.
Filter replacement costs can accumulate quickly If you are only able to operate the air purifier occasionally (for example only on days of high smoke or pollen), the filters will of course last longer and your costs per year will be lower. However, if you are very sensitive to air pollution, you may need to run the air purifier year round.
Features to look for
Sensors & Timers
An air purifier with air sensors can monitor the level of indoor air pollution and display this information to you. Some can be configured to activate automatically once the pollution reaches a certain level. This can be handy if you want the purifier to maintain good air quality without having to continue to operate 24h/ 24 and 7h/ 7. For example, if you live near major roads that lead to high levels of pollution only at certain times of the day, or in the spring, when pollen numbers can vary significantly from day to day.
In the absence of automatic sensors, a simple timer function can be useful to set the device to work at certain times of the day.
Look for a model with a good range of fan speeds. You want a powerful airflow when you need to quickly clean the air in a room, but a soft airflow for use at night in a bedroom. An oscillating action is useful to cover a greater part of the room space.
If the purifier does not have a good range of fan speeds (or no fan at all), it is worth considering using an ordinary fan in the same room, such as a pedestal or ceiling fan. It is important to have good air circulation while the purifier is running; otherwise, it may end up cleaning the surrounding air, leaving pollutants in the air in other parts of the room.
Be aware that the air purifier can be quite noisy on its highest settings.
Wi-Fi Apps & Remote Controls
A remote control is ideal for convenience, but not all models have them. Some models can be connected to your home’s Wi-Fi network and controlled via a smartphone app. This can serve as an alternative to a dedicated remote control.
Air purifiers can be quite heavy devices – they can weigh about 10 kg or more – so if you plan to move the device between rooms, make sure its weight is manageable. Wheels and carrying handles can facilitate movement.
Most models will have a recommended part size. It may be useful to get a model that is rated for a larger room than the one you plan to use it in. This can mean that the purifier will clean the room air faster on its highest setting, while comfortably ensuring the air clarity at its lowest and quietest speed (good for when you try to sleep).
Air purifiers typically cost between $200 and $500, but can go beyond $1,000. Replacement filters and filter sets generally cost between $40 and $100 or more, depending on the make and model of the air purifier. This is why this purifier is the best choice. It is currently on sale at $295 for $550, do not hesitate.