Best Air Purifiers 2021: Reviews and Buying Tips

The COVID pandemic, and across much of the country, the smoky air caused by rampant wildfires, has renewed interest in a once sleepy sector of the gadget universe: the air purifier. For those of us in California, air purifiers have been essential companions in the fall months, helping to remove the unshakable stench of wood smoke from the air while (we hope) protecting our health from the potential harms of inhaling fumes and toxic particles.

Updated November 1, 2021 to add our review of the Bemis Imunsen Smart Tower Air Purifier. This mighty yet handsome air purifier can get through a lot of dirty air, but it’s loaded with a tedious setup process and basic smart capabilities.

But are air purifiers any use? TO well publicized Consumer Reports history The 2003 found that not only were they basically useless, but many models produced harmful levels of ozone instead of removing it. The result was that some purifiers could make health problems like asthma worse, not better. The Sharper Image, whose Ionic Breeze product was the model for air purifiers at the time, sued the magazine for libel, and lost, going out of business soon after. The air purifier had suddenly turned into an outcast.

In recent years, however, the EPA has reported that typical indoor air quality (where we spend about 90 percent of our time) is much worse than outside, with some air pollutants two to five times more concentrated in the home than outside. These pollutants include combustion by-products, pet dander, mold, pesticides, ozone, natural gases like radon, and the comprehensive category of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which include everything from formaldehyde to trichlorethylene and chloroform. (These gases can be 10 times greater indoors than outdoors.)

And none of this is healthy to breathe.

The good news is that air purifiers have come a long way since 2003 (even Consumer Reports is back on board), although there is still a lot of confusion out there. (Purifier maker Molekule was recently hit with multiple class action lawsuits claiming that their devices, which cost up to $ 1,049, don’t actually do anything).

replacement filter blueair Blue air

Most air purifiers use multiple filters to trap smaller and smaller particles in the air and typically include a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter to neutralize odors. This particular filter is used in some Blueair air purifiers.

Do air purifiers protect you? The experts (including EPA) say HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are effective in reducing airborne pollutants of all kinds, including viruses, but be careful to note that they alone are not enough to protect you from viruses and bacteria, and that you should continue to practice the standard battery of safety measures, even if you have a large hand lit purifier. That being said, a purifier won’t hurt, and they’re also effective to reduce (but not eliminating) interior contamination.

At TechHive, we generally focus our air purifier coverage on smart devices; models that have a certain level of application compatibility and wireless connectivity. While we don’t have the facilities to scientifically test each purifier’s pollution reduction claims, we do report on manufacturers’ specifications on that front, and you’ll find some guidelines regarding those claims in our “what to look for” section, below. .

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