With all the different types of air cleaners available, how do you decide which one is best for your home? Most air cleaners remove particles, a few remove gases (and odors), and some do both. But that's where the similarities end!
Your first step is to identify what air quality issues are most prevalent in your home:
Portable vs Central Filtration
Between tabletop and room-model portable units, most people agree that the room models are more effective at cleaning a single room. If you want a larger living space or an entire house cleaned, consider a built-in central filtration system. The smaller portable units cost between $50 and $150, while larger or more efficient portables may cost up to $800. Central air cleaners can cost $1000 to $3000, depending on the size and efficiency of the device.
System efficiency can be measured by the particle size captured. - 0.3 microns or smaller is an excellent "capture" size for any air purifier. Small particles that are inhaled can cause serious health issues, so look for filters or electronic air cleaners that effectively trap both large and small particulates.
Make sure you get a demonstration of any model or system to determine noise levels, even at slow speeds.
Clean Air Delivery Rate
The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is a standard of measurement that describes the number of cubic feet of clean air per minute an air cleaner can provide. CADR values can range from 30-450 CADR, depending on sizes and models. Many models will express a CADR number for different particulates. For example, a system may cover a room of 70 square feet and report CADR ratings of 45 for dust, 45 for smoke and 60 for pollen.
Reliability and Cost
Check the warranty on any unit you wish to purchase. Compare the product's lifespan, both for the motor and for the filters or cleaning plates. Look for filters with a long life, and which can be changed manually without requiring a professional.