Expensive Doesn’t Always Mean Better – An Air Purifier Buying Guide

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Air purifiers have been around for ages, but we haven’t quite figured out how important they actually are for our well-being.

Even though some did figure that part out, the vast majority is still fixated on the apparently accurate connection between high price and high quality. That’s, for the most part, unfounded. My eyes get all watery just by thinking about how much money I’ve spent on things I could’ve gotten for 50% less or even cheaper.

If you don’t want to experience this kind of nostalgia whenever you look at your insanely expensive air purifier, stick to our guide.

We’ll show you what you should keep in mind when shopping for an air purifier and as long as it is in line with these criteria, the unit will be a great deal even if it costs $50.

Aspects You Should Take into Consideration

1. The Purpose You Need It For

Do you need an air purifier just because your neighbor has got one and he’s constantly bragging that “Oh my God, I don’t know how I could breathe without this purifier” or are you a highly allergic person that could benefit from an air purifier?

If you’re allergic or your husband/wife is a chain-smoker and you’re sick of gasping for breath, then, by all means, get an air purifier and your life will change for the better. Keep in mind that there are various types of purifiers.

Some of them are meant to trap large particles (think pollen and dust) and others are meant to dispose of much thinner particles. If you’re suffering from allergies when you constantly breathe in second-hand tobacco smoke, then a HEPA air purifier might be your best bet.

2. The Size

How many square feet would you need your purifier to work its magic on? If you need fresh air in your entire house, it might not even make sense to purchase a purifier. In this case, you’d want an air filtration installed in your home.

The thing with air purifiers is that you don’t really need a huge one. You can just move it from room to room and you’ll save yourself a few hundred dollars. What’s more, if it’s a purifier that works with activated carbon, then you’ve got protection against both a wide array of pollutants and irritants and cigarette smoke.

Activated charcoal is seen as the king of all air purifiers and to some extent, it really is. Don’t listen to your wife: size doesn’t matter that much. You can make do with a relatively portable air purifier.

Obviously, the larger a purifier is, the more expensive it will be. Opting for a small one will: 1) save you some cash and 2) serve you just as well as a humongous one.

3. The Features It Comes With

I have yet to see an air purifier that makes pancakes. Let me tell you, that’s a purifier I’d buy on the spot. The 21st century that we (sadly) live in is absolutely obsessed with features and the Internet of things.

People seldom buy things that don’t come with voluminous books of instructions that tackle the hundreds of button combinations that make up for hundreds of options and different features.

Now take a moment to think about this issue: is an air purifier something for which you’d need close to 1000 features? If we could travel into the future, I’m willing to bet my salary (which isn’t really worth the effort anyway) that air purifiers wouldn’t be packed with features in 2856, either.

Don’t waste your money on an air purifier that has features you’ll probably never use. This is the main pit that people tend to fall into. “I can’t even begin to describe how amazing it is! It sweeps the house, cooks dinner and walks my dog!”

Clearly, such an air purifier would be an investment but at the moment, none of these groundbreaking features you see on air purifiers are as fantastic as you think they are.

4. The Time You Need to Clean It

Why would I need to clean it? Doesn’t it clean itself? Well, Sally, sorry to burst your bubble but no, the air purifier isn’t self-cleaning. It might make pancakes, but we haven’t got the technology for self-cleaning features yet.

The amount of time you’d need for maintenance and cleaning depends on the type of air purifier you’ll get. HEPA filters tend to require a lot more maintenance than activated carbon purifiers.

5.Single Unit or Whole-House Air Purifier

Whole-house air purifiers aren’t near as expensive as you might think and they might just be a better investment than a single unit, portable purifier.

Let’s face it; air purifiers aren’t indestructible. They can last you for a good couple of years, but that’s not a guarantee. Whole-house purifiers seem to gain a lot of ground in favor of standalone purifiers and for good reasons.

On the one hand, they’re more durable and on the other hand, they’re sold for fair prices. Evidently, the choice is yours. You just need to know that a whole-house purifier can be a better solution in certain cases.

The Bottom Line

Air purifiers are great and really make a difference in the quality of the air we breathe in on a daily basis. However, they do not warrant cosmic prices. Let’s assume that you’ve got to choose between 2 purifiers: one’s $50 and the other one is $500.

You can’t have any guarantee whatsoever that the $500 is indeed more durable and more efficient than its $50 counterpart. People spend too much money on things that they can buy for cheap.

The purpose for which you need an air purifier should be the most important criterion. If you need an air purifier for tobacco smoke odor, don’t purchase one that clearly can’t filter that out. Assess what your needs are and buy a purifier according to those.

     Patrick Holmes     

Patrick is an indoor air quality specialist at Home Air Quality Guides. His passion is to help people create cleaner, healthier and more comforting environments inside their homes by sharing expert advice that's easy to follow. He enjoys writing in-depth articles on air purification, household cleaning tips, home maintenance advice and more.