Electronic air cleaner buying guide

1. The More Air Purification The Better

Every air purification technology has its strengths and weaknesses. In which case, an air purifier that offers multiple technologies is generally best, in order to combine the advantages, and eliminate the disadvantages of each air purification method.
About the Top Air Purification Technologies:
Hepa Air Filtration

Summary. Hepa air filters are the most efficient type of air filter available. They are 99.97% effective at removing particles as small as 0.3 microns. Hepa air filters were developed by the Atomic Energy Commission during the second World War to remove radio active dust from their plants, and are recommended by the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security.

Hepa Air Filter Strengths:

  • Removal of dust, pollens, mold spores, dust mites, and other allergens.
  • Removal of many bacteria.
  • Solid particles captured are not released into the air again.

      Hepa Air Filter Weaknesses:

    • Difficult time removing airborne particles from across the room, since they must be drawn through the filter.
    • Do not remove chemical fumes, gases, cigarette smoke or odors.
    • Do not capture ultra-fine particles, viruses or germs.
    • Micro-organisms captured in filter can breed and/or reproduce, resulting in increased micro-organism populations.

        Technologies that Compliment Hepa Air Filters:

      • Ionizer to cause finer particles to magnetically attach together, making them easier to capture, and to better remove airborne particles from across the room, since ions can be circulated.
      • Activated Carbon Air Filter to capture the chemicals, fumes, and cigarette smoke that Hepa filters cannot.
      • Germicidal UV Lamp to destroy viruses and germs that are not captured by Hepa air filters, and that also prevent micro-organisms trapped in the Hepa filter from breeding and/or reproducing.
      • Ozone Generator to remove odors that are unaffected by Hepa air filters. Should be able to be turned completely off.

          The Surround Air "Multi-Tech" Air Purifier using Hepa Air Filter, Ionizer, Germicidal UV Lamp, and Ozone Generator that can be completely turned off.
          Air Ionizer

          Summary. An air ionizer creates negative ions, which change the polarity of airborne particles, causing them to magnetically attract together. As a result, they become to large to remain airborne, and fall out of the air that you breathe in. The most effective ionizers use a stainless steel "needlepoint" to produce negative ions.

          Air Ionizer Strengths:

        • Removal of particles from the air, including ultra-fine particles as small as 0.01 microns.
        • Neutralization of viruses, bacteria, cigarette smoke and chemical fumes.
        • Can circulate throughout the room to remove airborne particles that are across the room from where the air purifier sits.

            Air Ionizer Weaknesses:

          • Does not collect many or most of the airborne particles removed from the air.
          • Does not remove odors.
          • Does not kill germs, fungi (although it does remove them from the air), and not all viruses.
          • Does not remove all chemicals.

              Technologies that Compliment Air Ionizers:

            • Hepa Air Filter to collect ionized particles.
            • Ozone Generator to remove odors. Should be able to be turned completely off.
            • Germicidal UV Lamp to kill germs, viruses, and fungi.
            • Activated Carbon Air Filter to effectively capture chemical fumes.

                The using Hepa Air Filter, Ionizer, Germicidal UV Lamp, and Ozone Generator that can be completely turned off.
                Germicidal UV Lamp

                Summary. Ultraviolet (UV) lamps effectively destroy micro-organisms that pass by the bulb, including germs, viruses, bacteria, and fungi (such as mold). UV Light radiation is recommended by the Centers of Disease Control to prevent illness and disease.

                UV Lamp Strengths:

              • Ability to destroy micro-organisms, such as germs, viruses, bacteria, and fungi (including mold).
              • Helps prevent illness and disease.

                  UV Lamp Weaknesses:

                • No affect on particulate, including most allergens.
                • No affect on chemical fumes, gases, or cigarette smoke.
                • No affect on odors, unless designed to produce ozone, which may not be desired under all circumstances. Some UV lamps are designed not to produce ozone.

                    Technologies that Compliment UV Air Purifiers:

                  • Hepa Air Filters and Air Ionizers to remove and capture solid particles, including dust and other allergens, which are not affected by UV lamps.
                  • Activated Carbon Air Filter to remove chemical fumes which are not affected by UV lamps.
                  • Programmable Ozone Generator to increase odor elimination capability, which can be completely turned off if not needed, allowing the use of a non-ozone producing UV lamp.

                      The using Hepa Air Filter, Ionizer, Germicidal UV Lamp, and Ozone Generator that can be completely turned off.
                      Activated Carbon Air Filter

                      Summary. Activated carbon air filters consist of a vast system of pores of molecular size. These pores are highly adsorbent, forming a strong chemical bond/attraction to odorous, gaseous, and liquid contaminates.

                      Activated Carbon Air Filter Strengths:

                    • The most absorbent filter available, making it highly effective it capturing chemical fumes, gases, cigarette smoke, and odors.
                    • Does not release captured contaminates back into the air.

                        Activated Carbon Air Filter Weaknesses:

                      • Does not effectively remove dust and other allergens.
                      • Does not effectively capture micro-organisms.
                      • Has a difficult time removing contaminates from across the room, since they must travel through the filter.

                          Technologies that Compliment Activated Carbon Air Purifiers:

                        • Hepa Air Filter to capture allergens and other particles that activated carbon cannot.
                        • Ionizer to remove chemicals from across the room.
                        • Germicidal UV Lamp to destroy micro-organisms not affected by the activated carbon filter.

                            The using Hepa Air Filter, Ionizer, Germicidal UV Lamp, and Ozone Generator that can be completely turned off.
                            Ozone Generator

                            Summary. Ozone is a highly reactive oxidant that destroys certain bacteria and chemicals, including odor-causing bacteria and chemical agents. Ozone is highly effective against strong odors, but is not always needed or wanted under normal circumstances. In which case, it is best if it can be completely turned off if not desired.

                            Ozone Strengths:

                          • Highly effective against odors, including cigarette smoke odors.
                          • Helps to destroy certain chemicals and bacteria.

                              Ozone Weaknesses:

                            • The smell of it can be bothersome to some.
                            • Can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat if occurring in high enough concentrations.
                            • No affect on solid particles, such as allergens.
                            • Does not neutralize most chemicals.

                                Technologies that Compliment Ozone Air Purifiers:

                              • Hepa Air Filter and Ionizer to remove solid particles from the air.
                              • Germicidal UV Lamp to remove micro-organisms not affected by ozone.
                              • Activated Carbon Air Filter to remove chemicals not neutralized by ozone.
                              • Ozone Controls in order to adjust the ozone level to the desired concentration, or even to turn completely off if it is not needed or wanted.

                                  The using Hepa Air Filter, Ionizer, Germicidal UV Lamp, and Ozone Generator that can be completely turned off.
                                  2. Removal & Collection

                                  Certain technologies have little effect in removing solid particles from the air. UV purifiers or ozone air purifiers without a separate ionizer (such as needlepoints, many only produce small amount of ions as byproduct) and/or a Hepa air filter will not be able to remove dust and other allergens from the air, the most common types of airborne pollutants people want removed.

                                  Ionizers without a filter can remove solid particles, but do not actually collect much of the particulate. Hepa air filters, such as the filter used on the , capture allergens and other particulate, removing them from the environment, while preventing them from re-entering the air.
                                  3. Removal of , Gases, & Smoke

                                  Other air purification technologies are ineffective at these common contaminates, created by household cleaners, construction materials, cigarettes, etc. Activated carbon air filters are the most absorbent type of filter for chemicals, while Hepa air filters have not effect on these pollutants. The uses an activated carbon air filter in addition to its Hepa air filter.
                                  4. Destruction of

                                  Ozone and negative ions have some ability to destroy certain micro-organisms, but UV (ultraviolet) light is the most effective at destroying the greatest variety of micro-organisms. UV light destroys viruses, germs, bacteria, and fungi (such as mold) in order to help prevent illness and disease. The incorporates a UV lamp, ionizer, and ozone generator (which can be completely turned off) to team up against micro-organisms.
                                  5. Thorough Throughout the Home

                                  Multiple Units Most Effective. The most effective way, and sometimes even the more economical way to purify the air throughout the room is through the use of multiple portable air purifiers. Some companies claim their portable air purifier will purify an entire home. However, this is an inaccurate claim due to the fact that portable air purifiers cannot normally purify more than one room or open area at a time. Even an air purifier that uses negative ions (ionizer) and ozone purification cannot effectively circulate the ions and ozone throughout a home.

                                  Negative Ions and Ozone Cannot Purify Entire Home. Negative ions have a short life (typically about 30 seconds), and can cover an area of up to about 500 sq. ft. Ozone can travel farther before breaking down to oxygen, but ozone is not effective against most common and important indoor air pollutants (except for odors).

                                  Portable Better Than Central. The other option for purifying the air throughout a home is with an in-duct air cleaner. In-duct air purifiers are not as effective as a portable unit on a room-to-room basis. Plus, it is difficult to find an in-duct air purifier that can offer multiple technologies.

                                  Quantity Pricing. The main limitation to using multiple air purifiers in a home or office is cost. Most room air purifiers cost $200 or more per unit, making it cost-prohibitive to use multiple units for most people. The is priced as low as $129 per unit (for the purchase of six or more units).
                                  6. Elimination

                                  The most effective air purification technologies for eliminating odors are ozone purification and activated carbon air filtration. Ozone is a highly reactive and powerful oxidant capable of destroying odor-causing bacteria, while activated carbon is the most absorbent type of filter for removing chemical odor-causing agents. Using a combination of the two technologies, as is done in the , is the best way to remove odors.

                                  Ozone is great for environments where strong odors exist, but can be overbearing when they do not, since ozone has its own scent. In which case, it is important to be able to control the ozone output, or even to be able to turn the ozone completely.
                                  7. Sanitization

                                  Air filters serve as a breeding ground for micro-organisms. The fabrics within an air filter allow micro-organisms attached to trapped dust particles to reproduce and/or breed. In which case, it is imperative that an air purifier (such as a Hepa filter) have a sanitizing device located next to the filter. Otherwise, the growing populations of microbes will be circulated into the air. A UV lamp, ionizer, or ozone generator can be used for this purpose, although a germicidal UV lamp is most effective at destroying micro-organisms.

                                  The UV lamp in the is placed directly behind the air filter cartridge, enabling it to thoroughly sanitize the air filter. The Multi-Tech also has an ozone generator located near the filter that can be activated for even added filter sanitization.
                                  8. and Replacement Costs

                                  Price Can Be Deceiving. In the air purifier market, there are inexpensive air purifiers that are very effective, and extremely expensive air purifiers that do not clean the air very well at all. In which case, cost is not necessarily the way to determine the best air purifier for your situation. Instead, the criteria given in this Air Purifier Buying Guide is a better way to judge an air purifier.

                                  Know the Replacement Costs. It is also important to verify replacement costs before buying an air purifier, so you understand the total lifetime cost. Some air filters cost a couple hundred dollars a year in replacement filters.

                                  Replacement costs for the are minimal, consisting only of the Hepa/Activated Carbon filter cartridge ($32 per replacement) and the UV lamp ($15 per replacement), which last 1-2 years and 1 year respectively.
                                  9. Consumption

                                  Many air filters consume heavy amounts of power, adding upwards of $200 a year or more to your electricity bill. In which case, it is important to verify the wattage used by an air purifier. Anything over 100 watts, can add over $100 a year to your electricity bill.

                                  The uses just 40 watts of electricity, costing just a few dollars per month in power consumption, if run continuously.

                                  Air filtration units with a high wattage rating may be capable of drawing large volumes of air through the unit, but they are also very noisy. As a result, you trade in air pollution for noise pollution.

                                  The has a powerful fan. However, it is very quiet, even on the highest setting, and will not disturb the peace and quiet in your home.

                                  (Model XJ-3000C)
                                  Combines the Top 5 air-cleaning technologies in one air purifier.
                                  Covers 500 sq. ft., Priced as low as $129.

                                  * High-Output Air Ionizer for allergens, bacteria, viruses, chemicals and more.
                                  * 99.97% Efficient HEPA Filter for particles including dust and mold spores.
                                  * Germicidal UV Light for destroying microbiological pollutants such as viruses, germs, bacteria and fungi (such as mold).
                                  * Activated Carbon Filter for chemicals, gases, odors, and cigarette smoke.
                                  * Programmable Ozone for strong odors and filter sanitization. Can be completely disabled without affecting other functions.