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What to look for in an air purifier

It’s challenging to compare air filtration among the various models and manufacturers that crowd your search results. 

But it’s important to conduct a thorough assessment of your indoor air quality before you begin to look for and compare these products and choose the one that works best for your specific air purification needs. 

Where do you start? First, evaluate your air quality concerns in your home. 

This includes assessing health issues that affect those living in your home, as well as any concerns you have about odors, smoke, and environmental issues. By determining these issues, you can identify the type of air purification that is needed – that is, whether your biggest concern is particle filtration or gas and odor filtration.

Here, we’ll answer some key questions that are often surprisingly difficult to get straight answers about from other manufacturers: 

  • How much clean air do I really need?
  • What extra features should I consider?
  • What type of air purifier is best for my needs?

By the end of this article, you should have a solid idea of what to look for in an air purifier so that you can save your money and protect your health with a purifier that truly works.

Airflow: How much clean air do you need? 

It’s also critical to determine how much clean air your air purifier must supply to provide adequate coverage for your living space.

It’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. A simple formula can determine how much clean air you need.

Here’s a quick key for terms used here:

  • CFM: cubic feet per minute, a rating given to an air purifier indicating how much air it produces in any given minute
  • ACH: air changes per hour, how often the volume of air in a room is completely replaced by new (and, in this case, purified) air

Now here’s your formula:

CFM of air purifier x 30 minutes / 8 (avg. ceiling height) = area of coverage (2 ACH)

Here’s an example to illustrate. 

Suppose you are considering an air purifier that delivers up to 300 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of clean air. Using the formula above, you would arrive at 1,125 square feet of coverage. Here’s how:

  1. 300 CFM x 30 minutes = 9,000
  2. 9,000 / 8 (ft. ceiling) = 1,125 square feet of coverage area

(NOTE: 30 minutes is used to compute coverage that will yield 2 air changes per hour.) 

IQAir’s guideline for general air cleaning purposes is a minimum of two complete air changes every hour (ACH). 

What kind of purification do I need?

Many air purifier manufacturers take a “one size fits all” approach, sticking with the tried-and-true HEPA filtration approach. But HEPA, even so-called “true” HEPA, is highly problematic for several reasons:

  • HEPA filters are only tested down to 0.3 microns. Much of the time, it’s not even good at that – most air purifiers leak too much to effectively filter particles from the air. Strike one.
  • Synthetic (Fake) HEPA filters can perform poorly for ultrafine particles. UFPs are as small as 0.003 microns and comprise 90% of harmful airborne pollutants, so even a HEPA air purifier isn’t protecting you from nearly all of the particulate matter that can affect your health. Strike two.
  • HEPA does absolutely nothing for gases and chemicals. If you’re in the market for an air purifier that’ll take care of gas build-up or odors in your home, you’ll be hard-pressed to find the right air purifier. Strike three.

But don’t feel down and out about all the cheap air purifiers out there. Invest in an air purifier that has it all. And by all, we mean something far more effective and long-lasting than HEPA:


And that’s where IQAir comes in.

With well over 50 years in the air purification industry under our belts, IQAir has more expertise than every other air purifier manufacturer operating today in helping protect your health from poor air quality in homes.

And IQAir is the recognized leader in every category in which its products are offered. IQAir systems are proven to be the most powerful and top-rated air purifiers in the world for every type of pollutant, all while being energy efficient and cost effective. 

In addition to extraordinary research, development, and design, IQAir is committed to reaching new levels of manufacturing precision and excellence. We manufacture all IQAir systems in our own state-of-the-art production facility in Switzerland. By using the highest quality components, a dedicated team of skilled craftspeople, and state-of-the-art manufacturing processes, we continue to build the best value and highest quality air cleaning products in the world.

But enough talk. Here are the specific reasons IQAir purification stands above the rest.

Proven to fight ultrafine particles

IQAir’s patented HyperHEPA® filtration technology is tested and certified to filter ultrafine particles all the way down to 0.003 microns—the smallest particles that exist—with a guaranteed efficiency of more than 99.5 percent. 

IQAir HyperHEPA filters last up to four years under normal conditions. And while other air purifiers begin to lose their effectiveness the moment you turn them on, IQAir systems retain or increase efficiency over time.

Superior gas and odor filtration

In addition to superior particle filtration, IQAir provides the industry’s leading protection against gases and odors. 

IQAir’s gas-phase filters use activated carbon from bituminous coal, not low-quality coconut shells or other sources. These gas and odor filters combine two types of media: one that adsorbs odors and gases and another that changes the pollutant to an oxidized form. This makes IQAir the ideal choice for controlling odors and chemicals in the home. 

Superior long-term performance

IQAir systems are more powerful than any other air purifiers around, yet they are energy efficient and cost effective. 

Most air purifiers are only tested for the first twenty minutes of total operation. IQAir tests their systems for years to truly know the long-term performance level. While less expensive air filters only last weeks or months, IQAir HyperHEPA filters last up to four years under normal conditions. 

Other air purifiers begin to lose their effectiveness the moment you turn them on – IQAir systems actually retain or increase efficiency over time. And, IQAir room air purifiers feature a sophisticated control panel that alerts you when it’s time to change filters, and not a moment earlier.


Which air purifier is best? 

So how do you know where to start?

In a quick, three-step process, you’ll check off your air quality concerns, such as:

  • Airborne allergens (pets, dust, dust mites, mold spores, pollen)
  • Asthma
  • Tobacco smoke
  • New carpet or furniture off-gassing
  • Ultrafine particles
  • Volcanic smog (vog)

Then, you’ll be asked about the space you need your air cleaned: do you need one room, multiple rooms, or your entire home purified?

And all you have to do in Step 3 is view your personalized recommendations. You can even elect to receive a full-length report detailing everything you need to know about your air quality concerns and what purifiers will work best for your indoor space.

The Best Air Purifiers from IQAir

Ain’t got time for that? Here’s a quick rundown of our top-selling systems for some of the most common air quality concerns: airborne particles and allergens, indoor gases, and pollutants in many office spaces.

HealthPro: #1 Choice for asthma and allergy sufferers

No other air purifier has received more recognition for its ability to reduce allergens. Here’s what you need to know about why our HealthPro stands above the rest:

  • It boasts a long list of first-place awards for the world’s most advanced air purifier. The HealthPro has also received acclaim from Newsweek, Wired, and many other consumer publications.
  • It features IQAir’s patented HyperHEPA filtration. Most air purifiers are only designed to filter large dust particles (those 0.3 microns and larger). But HyperHEPA technology filters down to 0.003 microns, smaller than a virus, with a guaranteed minimum efficiency of over 99.5%. HyperHEPA filtration has made the HealthPro the top choice in hospitals around the world to remove airborne particulates, such as the SARS virus, MRSA, and tuberculosis.
  • It contains IQAir’s exclusive V5-Cell gas and odor filter. Concerned with chemical vapors from household cleaners and other odors in your home? Most air purifiers do little to nothing to filter these irritants. V5-Cell filtration offers the most powerful gas and chemical filtration available in a residential air purifier.

GC MultiGas: #1 choice for MCS, chemicals, odors, and tobacco smoke

The GC MultiGas, with 12 pounds of gas-phase media, is the #1 choice for Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), chemicals, odors, and tobacco smoke. 

Efficient gas, odor, and chemical removal require three important things: 

  • the correct media for a particular pollutant
  • sufficient contact time with the media
  • sufficient particle pre-filtration

Most air cleaners provide ineffective gas phase and odor control because they don’t include enough particle pre-filtration media, don’t contain enough filtration media in general, and rely on activated carbon alone for gas phase filtration. Activated carbon only covers part of the gaseous pollutant range, primarily volatile organic compounds (VOCs). 

The GC MultiGas combines: 

  • HyperHEPA particle pre-filter for control of coarse, fine & ultrafine dust particles
  • 12 pounds of gas-phase media in four cylindrical filters, including granular activated carbon & impregnated alumina, for control of a wide range or specific chemical substances and odors
  • Post-filter sleeve set made of electrostatically charged fibers for further control of fine & ultrafine particulate matter

The result is effective reduction of airborne particles (including ultrafines) and high-performance gas, odor, chemicals, and tobacco smoke filtration.

Atem: A revolution in air purification

Need something portable to bring with you everywhere you go? Meet the Atem, the world’s most effective (and versatile!) personal air purifier.

IQAir has redesigned the patented HyperHEPA technology to fit into an easily portable, personal air purifier that fits into your carry-on. And the best part is that Atem is essentially a 4-in-1 air purifier, featuring accessories that allow you to take Atem anywhere you go that you need clean air:

  • Car Air Purifier: Secure Atem firmly to headrests, seats, and other in-cabin areas with a three-arm mount design and strong, adjustable nylon straps.
  • Desktop Air Purifier: Set up Atem on any flat surface, such as your nightstand or desktop, with a removable, zinc-alloy desktop stand.
  • Travel Air Purifier: Bring Atem with you in a customized carrying case featuring a patently Swiss hard-shell exterior, spacious storage, and adjustable padded back straps.
  • Portable Air Purifier: A mobile, rechargeable battery powers Atem approximately 12 hours (medium default speed).