Having allergies will have you reaching for anything to stop a stuffy nose, puffy eyes, and constant watery eyes. While taking the right medication and avoiding triggers will go a long way toward limiting unwanted symptoms, adding an air purifier to the mix can help reduce your discomfort even further. Enter: the best air purifier for allergies.
ICYMI, an air purifier is a portable device that can filter allergens like dust, dirt, and bacteria from the air around you. Sure, an air purifier won’t magically eliminate your allergies, but it does can they help you feel less itchy, swollen and congested, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI).
And there is evidence to support it. A study published in Yonsei Medical Journal They found that patients with dust mite allergies who used air purifiers for six weeks felt so much better that they could take less of their regular allergy medication. Another study in Journal of Asthma found that air purifiers reduced concentrations of allergens such as cat dander and respiratory viruses by more than 50%, which is great news for people with asthma or allergies.
Air purifiers can even reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that two air filters reduced exposure to simulated exhaled aerosol particles by up to 65 percent.
An important item to look for in an air purifier is a HEPA filter (which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters, BTW), according to the AAAAI. These are considered the gold standard of air filters — they can remove at least 99.97 percent of pollutants (think: dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and other suspended particles), according to the EPA, and circulate the air in a room several times an hour, trapping particles on each pass.
But choosing the best air purifier for allergies comes down to a lot of personal preference—and there are factors to consider, like size, style, and, of course, cost. Here’s how to find the right air purifier for you.
Check out this list of the best air purifiers based on online reviews and selection criteria recommended by allergy experts—and start breathing easier.
1. Best for bedrooms: Rabbit Air Quiet HEPA air purifier
Not only is it a top-performing device (it averages 4.9 stars from reviewers), it also has a discreet screen, so its glare won’t keep you up at night. An added bonus: It can filter a room as large as 625 square feet twice an hour.
2. Best for COVID: PureZone Air Purifier
This ultra-quiet machine removes particles and disinfects the air quietly so it won’t disturb your sleep or disturb you. Air purifiers with a HEPA filter can disinfect the coronavirus from your air “down to a specific droplet size—0.3 microns,” says Dr. Purvi Parikh, MD, an allergist at the Allergy & Asthma Network. The model is on the smaller side, so it’s perfect in a smaller room.
3. Best for temperature control: Dyson Hot+Cool Air Purifier
Dyson is known for its quality products and the Pure Hot + Cool Smart Tower Air Purifier does not disappoint. It captures 99.97 percent of allergens as small as 0.3 microns, making it ideal for treating allergies caused by pets, dust, smoke, pollen and mold. It even has an activated carbon filter to remove dirt and odors. And—this is cool—it also doubles as a heater and air conditioner, so you can stay comfortable while breathing in fresh air.
4. Best For Dust: VEVA 8000 Air Purifier
This air purifier removes extremely small particles such as dust and hair and eliminates odors. Users say it literally brings a breath of fresh air into the room. “HEPA doesn’t work well for dust mites, but does work on house dust, which has larger particles,” says Dr Parikh. (BTW, if dust mites are a problem for you, Dr. Parikh recommends using hypoallergenic covers on your pillows and mattress.)
5. Best for allergies: Honeywell HPA300 HEPA Air Purifier
This purifier filters and circulates room air up to five times an hour and captures up to 99.97 percent of microscopic allergens.
6. Best for living rooms: Winix True HEPA Air Cleaner
Ideal for larger spaces, this air purifier can filter air in rooms up to 400 square feet and uses a four-stage filtration system to ensure it draws in the cleanest air possible.
7. Best for odor removal: LEVOIT Air Purifier
Not only is this air purifier super cheap, but it’s also an Amazon bestseller (it has nearly 4,500 customer reviews, and nearly 70 percent are five-star ratings). Most reviews celebrate how fresh and clean their homes smell now (especially if they’ve dealt with pet odors before).
8. Quieter Air Purifier: Blueair 7470i Smart Purifier
This air purifier can filter a large bedroom or living room in 12 minutes. In addition to removing certain bacteria and viruses from the air and small particles such as dust and pollen, its filter is also made with a layer of activated carbon to get rid of odors and other chemicals. It’s also built with HEPAsilent Ultra technology that keeps noise to a minimum.
9. Best for Pets: LEVOIT Pet Purifier
A huge thing when choosing a pet dander air purifier is to look for one with a HEPA filter, says Dr Parikh – this should be able to catch and trap dander so it ends up in your filter, not the body your. This Levoit air purifier has a HEPA filter and is specially designed to remove pet hair while eliminating pet odor.
10. Best for Mold: Germ Guardian 3-in-1 HEPA Air Purifier
Mold spores can be floating around your place without you even realizing it. This Germ Guardian filter removes up to 99.97 percent of allergens like mold so you can breathe easier. A pre-filter traps dust and mold before it even reaches the HEPA filter, so you won’t need to replace the main filter as often. It also has UV-C light to combat airborne viruses.
What should I look for in an air purifier?
When shopping for an air purifier, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. The first is to look for a filter that can remove particles as small as 0.03 microns and 99.97 percent of allergens. Refer to the product description to find this information, says Dr. Sanjeev Jain, MD, board-certified allergist and immunologist at Columbia Allergy.
You can also check if your air purifier is effective by making sure it has a seal from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL). “AAFA and ASL have partnered to create a certification program to help consumers choose effective allergy- and asthma-friendly products, including air purifiers,” says Dr. Jain.
Other things to consider when buying an air purifier include the following.
The type of filter it’s made with can tell you a lot about how effective an air purifier is, such as the types and size of particles it can filter. The filter will usually have a rating that will tell you more about how well it works. “Filter rating systems such as the Minimum Efficiency Reference Value (MERV) are commonly used by industry professionals to rate the filter on its ability to remove certain particle sizes from the air,” says Dr Jain. “Generally, a higher value on these rating scales indicates a filter capable of removing smaller particles from the air, which is ideal.”
“In general, look for a HEPA filter,” says Dr. Kara Wada, MD, an allergist-immunologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “This filters out particles that are 0.3 microns or larger.” They also filter out the vast majority of dust, pollen, mold and bacteria, he says, adding that it can also help filter out viral particles.
HEPA filters can usually filter out most kinds of particles, says Dr. Jain, and so may have MERV ratings of 13, 14, or 15. HEPA filters are ideal for most home settings. For reference, purifiers with a MERV rating of one to four can filter out small particles like pollen, dust mites, sand, and carpet fibers, while something with a MERV rating of 17-21 can filter out even smaller particles like combustion smoke and coal dust. These types of filters can help trap allergens to reduce a person’s exposure indoors, especially when particles are more likely to become airborne, such as during vacuuming, fan use, or central heating, or air conditioning, says Dr. Jain.
What you need to filter
Before you make a purchase, you should think about what you are trying to get out of the air. For example, you may need a filter that works for smaller particles if you’re trying to remove smoke. If not, you might be able to get away with a filter with a lower MERV rating for dust mites, pet dander, or other indoor allergens, Dr. Jain says.
If you experience irritation to chemicals like perfumes and other solvents, you may also want to make sure your filter is made with activated carbon, which can remove chemical vapors, Dr. Jain says.
““The size of the air purifier that’s right for you will depend on the size of the room you want to filter,” explains Dr. Jain. Most air purifiers come with specifications that indicate the size of the room it can filter. But ideally, the filter The unit should be able to circulate room air through the filter six times every hour, Dr. Jain adds.
“I recommend that people use air purifiers in the rooms they frequent the most, such as the bedroom and main living area,” says Dr. Wada.
Some air purifiers are much more expensive than others, so you may want to keep price in mind, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find an effective and affordable option. Just make sure you pay close attention to the product specifications of the air purifier so that it works for your needs.
Other things you may want to consider are the sound of the air purifier or its ability to humidify the air as well. Some machines are noisier than others, so if that’s something that bothers you, this could help rule out some options. Some machines also have a humidification function.
“This can be beneficial during the winter or for patients with irritated airways or nasal passages from asthma or allergies,” says Dr Jain, although he recommends using them with caution as they can also promote the growth of dust mites and mold. To avoid this, keep the humidity in the house between 30 and 50 percent.
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