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Why Some Air Purifier Technologies Are More Harmful Than Helpful

There are so many different types of air purifier on the market and it can be difficult to choose the exact right one. Names can be confusing, cleaning ability can be measured in creative ways, and the technology itself can be different from one device to the next. 

With all these options, it’s important to know what to look for and what to avoid in your air purifier. For example, some technologies advertised as cutting-edge may actually do more harm than good while some might drive up the cost of your air purifier without offering much value back. Here are two commonly used technologies in air purifiers to avoid entirely and one to approach with some healthy skepticism.


Two Technologies to Avoid and One to be Seriously Skeptical About

Ionizers and Ozone: A Harmful Byproduct

Ionizers are often marketed as an effective means of air purification, claiming to neutralize airborne pollutants by emitting charged ions. However, what many consumers aren't told is that ionizers can also produce ozone, a harmful indoor air pollutant, as a byproduct. 

Ozone is a gas that can be harmful when present indoors, causing respiratory issues and exacerbating asthma symptoms. It’s especially harmful for sensitive lungs, including children and the elderly. 

Despite their potential to remove some airborne particles, the risks associated with ozone emissions make ionizers a questionable choice for air purification, especially in intimate places like your home.

It’s worth noting that if an air purifier includes an ionizer, even smaller amounts of ozone will increase quickly with use overtime and multiple devices present in the same building or home.


UV Lights: Limited Effectiveness at Best

UV light technology is another feature commonly found in air purifiers, touted for its ability to kill bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. While UV light can be effective in disinfecting surfaces, its efficacy in air purification is limited. 

Airborne pathogens have to be in close proximity for an extended period of time to the UV light source to be effectively neutralized. This means that UV air purifiers are less effective at cleaning the entire volume of air in a room. 

Prolonged exposure to UV radiation can be harmful to human health which raises concerns about the overall safety of UV air purifiers. Ineffective and possibly harmful? That’s not something you’ll want in your air purifier. 


Smart Devices: More Gimmick Than Game-Changer

It seems like everything is trying to take up space on your wifi. From big appliances like ovens and refrigerators to small devices like air purifiers, it’s trendy to design a smart appliance. 

While the idea of controlling your air purifier from your phone may seem convenient, the reality is often far less impressive. Smart features add unnecessary complexity and cost to air purifiers without significantly improving their performance. 

The truth is that most people using an air purifier find the noise level they like best and leave their air cleaning machine to run 24/7 until the next filter change. 

It’s worth noting here that many smart devices lack robust support and updates, leaving consumers with expensive gadgets that are ultimately more frustrating than helpful. 


What to Look for in an Air Purifier

Now that you know what to avoid, here’s what to look for in a high quality air purifier.  For filter technology, HEPA filtration remains the industry standard when it comes to capturing fine particles in the air. 

These filters are made of densely woven fibers that can capture the smallest of airborne particulate matter and remove it from the air. This is also known as “mechanical filtration” because of the way it physically traps particles in the air, unlike other technologies that rely on chemical reactions or electromagnetic forces. 

You’ll also want to ensure that the room size an air purifier can clean lines up with the room size you’re looking to clean. For healthy air, it’s recommended that you get a full air change every 12.5 minutes, or approximately 5 air changes per hour. 

When selecting an air purifier, look for models that prioritize HEPA filtration over flashy but potentially harmful features like ionizers and UV lights. And when it comes to clean air, simplicity and efficacy should always trump gimmicks and gadgets.