Air Purifier Acronym, Jargon and Technologies

Air Purifier Acronym, Jargon and Technologies: Everything You Need to Know!

There are many jargon, acronym and association that can be quite intimidating for people new to air purifiers. To make it furthermore confusing, many brands used different names on their purification technologies which essentially is still an ionizer. Let’s not even begin on the deceiving tactics of ozone generator market as air purifier! What we provide below is a compiled list of all the jargon/ acronym/ technology used in the air purifier’s field that some you might have encounter multiple times including from this site. Each jargon/ acronym comes with a simple explanation to give you a heads up on what you are dealing with. The list will be updated periodically so remember to bookmark the page for more updates.


Air Purifier/ Air Cleaner

Air Purifier/ Air Cleaner is a device that remove airborne particles and purifies the air.


ACH/ ACPH (Air Changes Per Hour/ Air Change Rate)

Measure the number of times air will cycle through a space per hour. Typically measured in 2, 4 and 5 air charges per hour. Use higher air charges on stronger particles.

CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute)

CFM measure how much air can move per minute through an air purifier. The higher CFM is, the faster and more airflow an air purifier can deliver.

CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate)

CADR figure of merit is cubic feet per minute (CFM) that measure how much or fast air can move per minute through an air purifier. The higher CADR is, the more dust, allergens, germs and smoke an air purifier can removed.

Micron (Micrometer)

Also known as micrometre in other parts of the world, Micron is a term of measurement that equals to one millionth of a metre length (symbol: μm). Often used in air purifier field to measure the size of the particles e.g. human hair is at 70 micron while virus is between 0.1 to 0.01 micron.

PM10 (Particulate Matter 10)

PM10 is airborne particles measured in 10 micrometers or less. Removable through an air purifier.

PM2.5 (Particulate Matter 2.5)

PM2.5 is airborne particles measured in 2.5 micrometers or less. Removable through an air purifier.

dB (decibel)

dB is an unweighted unit of sound measurement that is often use to measures the loudness/ noise level an air purifier produced. Also See dBA.

dBA/ dB(A) (decibel)

dBA is a weighted unit of sound measurement based on an approximate way of human ear hears. Often use to measures the loudness/ noise level an air purifier produced. dBA measurement will be lower than dB.

AQI (Air Quality Index)

AQI is an index scale that shows daily air quality in your area. While different countries have different AQI calculation, it is still the main measurement used by government and other public agencies in reporting how clean or unhealthy is the air quality.

Filter & Technology

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air/ High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance/ High Efficiency Particulate Absorber/ High-Efficiency Particulate Aerosol)

HEPA is a type of mechanical filter that capture microscopic particles through fine mesh at 99.97% efficiency rate as small as 0.3 micron. Manufactured and certified with recognized industry standards (IEST, UL).

True HEPA Filter/ Genuine HEPA filter/ HEPA filter

In general, True HEPA filter captures up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.

HEPA-type Filter/ HEPA-based Filter

In general, HEPA-type filter captures up to 99% of particles as small as 2 microns.

Lifetime Filter/ Permanent Filter

Lifetime filter/ Permanent filter is a cost-saving, reusable filter that does not require replacing. Typically less effective than conventional filter, it is mandatory to clean/ vacuum the filter to maintain its filtration efficiency.

Carbon Filter/ Activated Carbon Filter

Carbon Filter/ Activated Carbon Filter is a deodorization granular carbon filter that focus on capturing smoke, fumes/ odors from household cleaning products, cooking smell, pet odors, diaper and harmful chemicals such as tobacco smoke, VOCs.

HEGA (High Efficiency Gas Absorber/ High Efficiency Gas Assistance/ High-Efficiency Gas Absorption/ High-Efficiency Gas Adsorption)

HEGA is a carbon cloth filter that trap gaseous pollutants and odors e.g. cleaning products, cooking smoke and chemicals from paint, tobacco smoke, VOCs.

ULPA (Ultra-low Particulate Air)

ULPA is a type of mechanical filter that eliminate 99.999% of airborne particles as small as 100 nanometres/ 0.1 micron (0.1 µm). Not commonly found in air purifier.

Ionizer/ Ionization

A device or a feature from an air purifier that help improve air quality through negative ion generation. The charged negative ions will disperse and merge with positive charged airborne particles to allow an easier capturing from the filter (due to the increase weight).

Irritants/ Contaminants

VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)

VOCs is a variety of gas-type chemicals emitted from wide range of products including household cleaning products, building materials, cosmetics and paints. Exposing to concentrated VOCs will have adverse health effect including eye irritation, headaches, asthma, liver/ kidney damage and premature death. An air purifier with Activated Carbon Filter (or similar) can effectively remove VOCs from the air.


MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivity)

Also known as environmental illness and sick building syndrome, MCS is a disorder which a person can develop from long exposure to harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, VOCs. Symptoms include diarrhea, headache, breathing difficulty, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, congestion, sore throat, muscle stiffness and skin rash. Air purifier equipped with carbon filter can help eliminate most indoor chemicals.

SBS (Sick Building Syndrome)

SBS is a medical term for building occupants that is suffering from illness symptoms e.g. dizziness, headache, nausea, itchy eyes from an unknown cause. See BRI.

BRI (Building Related Illness)

BRI is a medical term for building occupants that is suffering from acute discomfort symptoms e.g. cough, fever, chill, muscle pain caused directly or indirectly by airborne contaminants in the building. Air purifier can help alleviate the symptoms BRI bring.


AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers)

AHAM is a United States association that help develop and maintain technical standards of various home appliances including air purifier. Air purifier that is AHAM Verifide/ certified must publish actual figures (dust, pollen, smoke CADR) tested by independent laboratory.

IEST (Environmental Sciences and Technology)

IEST is a multidisciplinary, internationally recognized society that contributes to environmental sciences on electronics manufacturing and contamination control.

UL (Underwriters Laboratories)

UL is world's largest non-profit, global independent safety science company that conducts comprehensive safety and quality tests on products.

DOE (United States Department of Energy)

DOE is a cabinet-level department of the United States Government that helps create and set the standard of HEPA filter. A HEPA filter must remove 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 micron (0.3 µm).

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