Are Air Purifiers A Waste Of Money?

Many people have questions about what an air purifier can do and is a waste of money. Here at airfuji, we have zero doubt about air purifiers' worth in cleaning the air, but how accurate to all the claims brands are making? More importantly, is it worth spending hundreds of dollars on one? Find out the answer below.
Short answer
No, it isn't.


An air purifier is not a waste of money, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is 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. An air purifier will improve indoor air quality by removing harmful airborne particles, bacteria, germs, smoke, odor, and toxic VOCs, especially during the flu season. Without the harmful 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.

HEPA air purifiers are also recommended by doctors and can often be found in hospitals, nursery homes, schools, factories, or anywhere that needs air cleaning.

Are Budget Air Purifiers Worth It?

Most people assume you will need an expensive air purifier to work. That is not the case, as a smaller and cheaper HEPA air cleaner would also do the trick. It will still purify the air while costing less in filter replacement and electricity bills. There is no point in placing a full-fledged model that supports super-wide coverage in a tiny room. To give you a clearer perspective, an MRSP $249 Winix 5500-2 would not be too far off than a $749 Airmega 400 for bedroom use. Both come with autonomous purifying, Sleep mode, AQ indicator, and HEPA/ carbon filter.

 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 designed to clean the air in a room or designated area. Depending on the type, it can be a portable, standalone unit or part of your HVAC system. An air purifier pulls airborne pollutants into its multi-stage filtration via its motor fan and circulates purified air. 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 further reduces the airborne particles before releasing clean air back into the room.

While an air purifier can make a big difference in the air quality, filters will get clogged after some time. You will have to either clean or replace them according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Do I Need An Air Purifier? Are Air Purifier Worth It?

Benefits 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, Here are the top reasons: 

  1. Alleviate allergies and asthma triggers – 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 from falling sick – By disinfecting germs and viral infections in the air.
  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 models you should avoid as they negatively impact our health. Here are some air purifiers that you should stay away from:

  • Ozonator/ ozone generator - Produce harmful ozone that can irritate your lungs even at a low concentration level. Ignore all the marketing gimmicks, as it is unsafe for indoor use.
  • No HEPA filter - Air purifiers that do not use a HEPA filter should not be on your consideration list. It is not the best to deal with airborne contaminants regardless of what manufacturers are pushing.
  • Unregulated model - Never purchase air purifiers that are not approved by FDA or AHAM. You should always go with the more prominent brands like Winix, Levoit, Honeywell, Blueair, Alen, Rabbit Air, Austin Air, or Medify Air.

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 many misconceptions and misleading advertisements that set unrealistic expectations of air purifiers. When the air purifier does not live up to the expectation, you will feel cheated or let down by it. To clarify all the misconceptions, let's address the common myths circulating on the internet.,/p>

  • 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 allergens as small as 0.3 microns, while a HEPA-type filter can only trap down to 2 microns.

Getting Your Air Purifier Worthwhile

EPA does not certify or recommend a specific model, so choosing the wrong air purifier can damper its effectiveness and make you feel it is not doing anything at all. To ensure you are getting the best bang for the buck based on your situation, here are some quick tips on buying the "Worthy" RIGHT air purifier.

  • 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 more 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, you will need to sort out all the sources of indoor air pollution. Otherwise, an air purifier will only play a minor role and end up being redundant. Here are six checklists that you should go through before purchasing an air purifier.

  • 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.
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