Are Air Purifiers A Waste Of Money?

Many have questions about what an air purifier can do and whether it is a waste of money. Here at airfuji, we have zero doubt about air purifiers' worth in cleaning the air; thus will look into the facts of all the claims brands are making. More importantly, should ordinary folk spend hundreds of dollars on one? Let's address all the queries and common myths circulating on the internet.


Air purifiers are worth the investment as indoor air can be 5 times more polluted than outside air, particularly in modern homes that are well-sealed and insulated to conserve heat. Many doctors and health agencies, including EPA, CARB, AHAM, and FDA, approve of using air purifiers. HEPA air purifiers can often be found in hospitals, nursery homes, schools, factories, or anywhere that needs air cleaning.

There are many claims that an air purifier is a worthless device that does nothing but spin air. It is made worse when misleading advertisements set unrealistic targets. When the air purifier does not live up to the expectation, you will feel cheated or let down by it. 

Below are the things that air purifiers cannot do.

  • There is no longer the need to dust – An air purifier can only handle airborne particulates. You will still need to clean the house to remove settled dust on the surface area.
  • My home will be 100% germ-free – Not all germs are airborne. It will not prevent germs from spreading through coughing, sneezing, or talking.
  • I can smoke indoors with an air purifier beside me – No, you can’t. Even the best air purifier is quick enough to contain all smoke coming from a cigarette.
  • All my allergies go away – Not all allergies are caused by airborne particles. Food, animal, and an unhealthy lifestyle are some of the primary triggers for allergies.
  • HEPA filter can trap all kinds of allergens – HEPA filter mainly traps non-smoke particles with different grades. A true HEPA filter can trap 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns, while a HEPA-type filter can only trap 99% down to 2 microns.
Are Air Purifiers Waste Of Money?

Are Air Purifiers A Waste Of Money?

An air purifier is not a waste of money, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It can actually make a difference in improving indoor air quality, especially during the flu season. Research has shown that an air purifier can effectively filter the air and remove harmful airborne particles, bacteria, germs, smoke, odor, chemical fumes, and VOCs. Without the allergens in the air, allergies like cough, sinus, itchiness, dry eyes, and headache will not trigger. You will breathe better, live happier, and stay healthier.

What About Small, Budget Air Purifiers?

Most people assume portable air purifiers are a waste of money and will not work. That is not the case, as you don’t need an expensive air purifier to clean the air. Many prime examples of cheap HEPA air cleaners under $100 would still purify the air while costing less in filter replacement and electricity bills. There is no need to spend recklessly for a full-fledged air-cleaning model in a tiny room. To give you a clearer perspective, an MRSP $249 Winix 5500-2 air-filtering efficiency would not be too far off than a $749 Airmega 400 for small bedroom use. Both come with autonomous purifying, Sleep mode, AQ indicator, and HEPA/ carbon filter. You can have better use of your money elsewhere.

 Winix 5500-2 PlasmaWave
Winix 5500-2

Coway Mighty

PureZone 3-in-1

Levoit LV-PUR131
Filter cost$130$47$40$40
Filter cost in 3 years$390$141$120$120
Coverage360 sq. ft. (33 m2)326 sq. ft. (30 m2)200 sq. ft. (19 m2)322 sq. ft. (30 m2)
Energy Star ratedYESYESYESYES

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are specifically designed to circulate clean air in a room by filtering harmful airborne particles via multi-stage filtration and a fan. Depending on the type, it can be a portable, standalone unit or part of your HVAC system. A typical HEPA air purifier setup starts with the pre-filter that captures large particles like dust, dirt, and hair while protecting the HEPA and carbon filter. The True HEPA filter traps 99.97% airborne contaminants e.g. dust mites, pet dander, pollen, mold, bacteria, and viruses as small as 0.3 microns. Toxic fumes like radon, Formaldehyde, VOCs, cigarette smoke, and odors will be absorbed by an activated carbon filter instead. Some air purifiers come with an ionizer or UV technology that kills bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms, preventing them from spreading. For those who can afford, it is definitely worth spending the extra cash for better air filtration.

7 Advantages Of Air Purifiers

There are a lot of perks to having an air cleaner by your side. If you still need convincing that an air purifier is good for you and not a gimmick, Here are the top reasons: 

  1. Alleviate allergies and asthma triggers – By removing triggers and reduce symptoms include sneezing, coughing, headache, nausea, dry eyes, itchy skin, sore throat, poor memory, dizziness, fatigue, and asthma attack.
  2. Reduces dust and dust mites buildup – With less dust in the air, less vacuuming is needed, and you can spend more time doing the things you love.
  3. Remove smoke and odors – Sources include cigarettes, pets, cooking, pesticide, paint, diaper, cleaning products, and wildfire.
  4. Alleviate seasonal allergies – like allergic rhinitis, hay fever by capturing pollen and other allergy triggers.
  5. Improves mood levels and reduces stress – You will feel better and more productive throughout the day.
  6. Protects you and your loved one from falling sick – By disinfecting viral infections germs in the air. You will need an air cleaner with UV technology to permanently eradicate bacteria and viruses.
  7. Boost the quality of sleep – you will wake up refreshed and energized the following day.

Air Purifiers That You Should Avoid

An air purifier is the real deal, as proven time and time again. However, there are some unwanted models you should avoid as they negatively impact our health. Here are some worthless air purifiers that you should not waste your money on:

  • Ozonator/ ozone generator - A useless device that produces harmful ozone and irritates the lungs even at a low concentration level. Ignore all the marketing gimmicks, as it is unsafe for indoor use.
  • No HEPA filter - Unless you want to throw away your money, air purifiers that do not use a HEPA filter should not be on your consideration list. Thin mesh filters are ineffective in containing airborne contaminants regardless of what manufacturers are pushing.
  • Unregulated model - Never purchase air purifiers that are not approved by FDA or AHAM. You might misspend your money as there's no guarantee that the air cleaner works. Always go with the more prominent brands like Winix, Levoit, Honeywell, Blueair, Alen, Rabbit Air, Austin Air, or Medify Air.
  • A single-room air cleaner for an entire home - It is wasteful and incapable of covering an ample space. Instead, choose a whole-house air purifier that works alongside an HVAC system.

There are many different types of air purifiers in the market. From HEPA air purifier, odor eliminator, UVGI, PCO Cleaner, Ionizer to Electrostatic precipitation. Each type has its pros and cons, but when it comes to air cleaning, the safest and best option is a HEPA air purifier. Remember, the fewer allergens in the air, the less likely you will fall sick. So start identifying what type of contaminants you face and what symptoms you are enduring.

Rabbit Air MinusA2 Air Purifier Review

What Air Purifiers Cannot Do

There are not many downsides to HEPA air purifiers aside from the financial burden. However, it cannot get rid of all the pollutants in the home. There are limitations to what an air purifier can do. Set your expectation right to avoid future disappointment.

  • Limited air cleaning effectiveness - Most standalone units are meant to cover a single room. A whole-home air purification system coverage is a much better method than single-room, but you will still have to keep doors and windows to be truly efficient.
  • Take up space - A standalone air cleaner will take up some interior space, and you can't place it by the corner or wall. You will have to leave a few feets of gaps to prevent airflow disruption.
  • Filter maintenance - Air purifier filters will get clogged after some time. Either clean or replace them according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good. Researchers from the University of Nicosia in Cyprus found out that air cleaners with dirty filters may actually increase the spread of pollutants. Note that there are filterless ionization technology options that emit ion charges to remove airborne contaminants. It is convenient but at the cost of air cleaning efficiency.

How To Pick The Right Air Purifier

Avoid spending recklessly. Choosing the wrong air purifier can affect its effectiveness, making you feel it is not doing anything other than a waste of space. Here are some quick tips on buying the RIGHT air purifier to ensure you get the best bang for the buck.

  • Understanding your needs - Different types of air purifiers will serve different purposes. A HEPA filter is needed to reduce dust, mold, and pollen, while a carbon filter removes smoke and odor. If you are asthmatic, you will need a powerful asthma air purifier. Simple as that.
  • Get the right size air purifier - A crucial measurement that many neglected. If you need to purify the air in a room space of 300 square feet, go for a model that can cover at least 300 square feet. Vice versa, if you only need to purify a small area with only 100 square feet of space, go with a smaller model that is much cheaper and portable.
  • Features you are looking for - Auto mode, Sleep mode, Wi-Fi, remote control, and timer, just to name a few. Most of these features are more towards convenience and usability rather than performance.
  • Look at the CADR Ratings - Clean Air Delivery Rate is AHAM's official benchmark on how much air can be cleaned in a controlled room. While only some manufacturers will participate in this test, we recommend exploring air purifiers with at least 200 cfm output.
  • Put it close to the pollution sources - If you have trouble sleeping at night, place it in the bedroom, preferably by the bedside. If you are allergic to your pets, put them in the area where your pets are. Remember to leave some distance between the wall and furniture to avoid airflow disruption.
  • Energy Star certified - If you are worried about the running cost, there are many energy-efficient air purifiers on the market.

Air purifier is not vacuum cleaner

Things To Consider Before Buying an Air Purifier

Even though an air purifier will do wonders for a home, it works best with proper house cleaning procedures. You will need to sort out all the sources of indoor air pollution, or the air purifier will only play a minor role and end up being redundant. To prevent wastefulness, here are six checklists you should go through before purchasing an air cleaner.

  • Allocate money for filter change - Air purifier filters will get clogged after some time. You will have to clean or replace them according to the manufacturer's guidelines. Otherwise, it will do more harm than good. Researchers from University of Nicosia in Cyprus found out that air cleaners with dirty filters may actually increase the spread of pollutants.
  • Ensure proper ventilation - Opening windows and doors is an excellent way to start if you do not have an air purifier at home. For enclosed areas, install HVAC systems or exhaust fans to improve airflow circulation. Keep everything shut tight during pollen or haze season.
  • Vacuum regularly - An air purifier is not a substitute for house chores. You will still need to vacuum/ mop thoroughly to get rid of ground dust and dirt. Keep unused items in the storage compartment to prevent dust from building up. Carpets are notorious for trapping harmful particles like dust mites, pet dander, and dirt; vacuum them frequently.
  • Use eco-friendly household products - Detergents emission are one of the primary sources of toxic fume. Check the ingredients in cleaning products and pick the one that uses fewer chemicals. When possible, replace them with eco-friendly cleaning agents that are non-toxic to breathe in.
  • Limit your pets activity area - If you are one of the 10% of people allergic to cats or dogs, it is best to keep them outside or limit their activity area, especially in the bedroom. Grooming, bathing, and allergy shots (antihistamines and bronchodilators) will help, but once pet danders and germs travel in, there is very little an air purifier can do.
  • Stop smoking indoor - You have probably seen ads, news, and flyers on the side effects of smoking. The toxic residues, AKA third-hand smoke, will adhere to the wall, ceiling, floor, and upholstery beyond an air purifier realm of removing it. If you have to smoke, smoke outside and keep windows shut tight.
  • Use range hood during cooking - It is the best method of containing smoke and odor from grilling, frying, searing, and baking. You can still use an air purifier as a supplementary device to remove the lingering smoke.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
How Can I Help You Today?

I need air purifier that is to deal with for to be placed in the for with