We often take breathing for granted. Thankfully, we usually do not have to think about how oxygen gets into our lungs. But anyone with bad allergies or asthma can tell you that being able to breathe easily, without giving it a second thought, is almost a miracle. If you are fortunate enough to not have bad allergies or other breathing problems, think back to when you had a bad cold. Now imagine having that level of difficulty breathing almost all the time.
At some point, most of us will be affected by allergies or some other breathing issue. Ironically, many of the causes of these problems are found where we feel the safest. In our own homes. Dust, mold, pet dander, and chemicals, all in a closed environment, can create an air soup of breathing irritants. Open the window and you let in the ‘fourth horse of the breathing apocalypse’, the dreaded pollen.
The frustrating part to many people is that no matter how well you clean your living space, these irritants never really go away.
But luckily there’s something you can do when the battle over airborne triggers of allergies and asthma (commonly called allergens). Air purifiers can reduce or even eliminate these allergens, such as dust and pollen. While some air purifiers only remove visible dust, to really get clean air, you will need to make sure you get one designed to filter out extremely small particles. Of course, these purifiers come with a higher price tag. But we feel like at the end of the day, you can’t put a price tag on breathing easy.
Why Do You Need an Air Purifier?
Even if you dust and clean regularly, the air in your home is filled with particles that you can’t see. Many of these particles are the allergens that cause allergy or asthma flare ups.
Common irritants floating around your house include:
- Mold and mildew spores
- Pet dander
- Dust mites
- Volatile organic compounds or VOCs
These indoor allergens floating around tend to eventually settle on various surfaces like carpets, rugs, and beds. As soon as you walk, sit, or lie down on these surfaces, these particles get kicked back up into the air. Odors can also kick off allergic or asthmatic-like reactions. Sensitivity to various chemical compounds in cleaners, perfumes, and other household products can cause headaches, dizziness, and asthma attacks. Even cooking can release molecules, such as peanut protein, which can cause adverse reactions.
Air purifiers help remove these allergens and chemical compounds, keeping them from entering your lungs. The bonus is the reduction in the need for dusting as often.
Choosing an Air Purifier for Allergies and Asthma
Most air purifiers tout their ability to remove airborne allergy and asthma triggers. However, not all air filters are made equal. While looking for an air filter, there are some important characteristics to look for.
True HEPA Filter
Good air purifiers have multi-stage filters. If you really want to remove as many allergens as possible, then look for models which have a high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filter. HEPA filters are designed to remove very small air particles. These HEPA filters come in different types: true HEPA, hyper HEPA grade, and medical HEPA. The differences really aren’t important to the average consumer. A true HEPA filter will work well removing allergens.
This type of filter will remove 99.97 to 99.99 percent of airborne particles. This range will catch fine dust, dust mites, and pet dander. It’s also important to have a good pre-filter to catch larger particles like hair and pollen first.
Activated Charcoal or Carbon Filter
To remove odors and smells which aggravate allergies or asthma, an activated charcoal filter is needed. These filters actively absorb the compounds from smoke, chemicals, or cooking which cause odors.
Activated carbon filters also remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals which come from everyday household items like cleaners. They can also come from new fabrics such as newly installed carpets. Besides eliciting adverse breathing reactions, some research has also suggested that these VOCs can cause certain cancers.
Activated charcoal or carbon filters are commonly utilized in water filtration systems which can remove particles from 0.5 to 50 microns.
These types of filters require frequent replacement as they become saturated with filtered chemical compounds. Most manufacturers recommend replacement every three to six months compared to HEPA filters, which can last between 6 months and a year.
Some air purifying models use ionic air systems, or ionizers. These tend to be cheaper than other air purifiers. They work by creating negative ions in the air. The negative ions bond with the positive ions on things like dust. This weighs the dust down and causes it to settle on the nearest surface below it.
This hinders the purpose of an air purifier, as many particles settle before being sucked into the filter system. When these particles are disturbed again, they float back into the air.
There is also some research that shows ionizers can discolor some paint and wallpaper.
Keep In Mind
Another issue with ionizers is their production of ozone. Ozone, the same gas that protects us from the sun’s UV rays when high in the atmosphere, is harmful when we breathe it in. If you suffer from breathing difficulties, this is exactly what you want to avoid.
Best Air Purifiers for Allergies and Asthma of 2021
If you are like most people, you probably spend a good part of your day in your residence, especially if you count the sleeping hours. It is important that the air you breathe during that time is clean and safe. Air purifiers are a great investment in you and your family’s health, but they can be pricey. Our team of experts have researched the best air purifiers for asthma and allergies. We’ve taken the top models and described each one’s positive and negative characteristics to help you decide which one is right for you.
IQAir Medical-Grade Air Purifier For Allergies & Asthma
If you suffer from severe breathing problems, we recommend this air purifier from IQAir. It incorporates a HyperHEPA filter which removes the smallest air particles (including some viruses) and gets rid of odors which may also irritate you.
This model is designed to filter and circulate air in large rooms or even multiple rooms (if there is airflow between spaces).
The unit’s ‘triple-seal technology’ prevents pollutants from escaping once they’ve been sucked into the filtration system. The fan uses electricity very efficiently to draw in dirty air and then circulate the clean air.
Why We Love It
Covers Large Rooms
This powerful unit can effectively clean air in an area as large as 1125 sq. The EvenFlow diffuser then sends clean air back into the space with 320 degrees of air flow arc with very little noise and noticeable draft.
The IQAir Medical-Grade Air Purifier uses a HyperHEPA filter that traps particles as small as 0.003 microns, which even includes some viruses.
The IQAir Medical-Grade Air Purifier comes with a remote control that lets you set fan speed and timer. The remote will also let you check when the filter will need to be replaced.
This model’s 3D UltraSeal System makes sure that removed air impurities say in the unit and don’t escape back out into the room.
Keep In Mind
If you want a small filter to place on your nightstand, this model is not for you. IQAir is big. Without it’s four wheels it would be hard to move to where you want it in your house.
Honeywell Allergen Remover with True HEPA
For smaller rooms of up to 465 square feet, the Honeywell Allergen Remover is a good choice.
This model comes with three air purification level options depending on your needs. The filter is a True HEPA which removes close to 99.97 percent of airborne pollutants.
Maintenance is very easy, and the filters will last a long time, depending of course on usage. There’s an indicator which will let you know when you need to replace the filter.
Why We Love It
Cleans air rapidly
This unit can cycle through a fixed amount of air in a room up to 5 times an hour. Basically, that means that if you shut the doors in a room, all the air molecules would pass through the filter 5 times in 60 minutes.
Dirty air passes through a pre-filter that takes out larger particles of dust and pollen and some pet dander.
The activated charcoal filter then absorbs odors and gases before the air gets to the True HEPA filter, which then removes the smallest particles. The clean air is then pumped out of the top of the unit.
Turbo Clean Setting
When you want your air cleaned FAST, use the Turbo Clean setting. This will speed up the process to move the air through the filters.
Honeywell indicates the pre-filter needs to be replaced every three months. The True HEPA filter can last up to a year. The unit will let you know when replacement is needed.
Keep In Mind
Pricey Replacement Filters
Many customers found the replacement filters to be too expensive to change in the long term.
Creating a Healthier Space
The world throws a lot at your lungs. Both man-made pollutants or Mother Nature’s contributions of pollen, mold etc. can cause allergies and aggravate asthma. Luckily you can make your living space a safe space for your lungs. With air purifiers you can take control of your home’s air supply, creating a healthier environment for you and your family.
When shopping for an air purifier, look for models with HEPA filters to make sure you catch the small particles. To get rid of odors and chemical smells, select a unit with an activated charcoal or carbon filter.