According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies annually. And, that number is increasing. In fact, allergies are the 6th most common cause of chronic illness in the U.S.
For anyone suffering from symptoms, the best air purifier for allergies can help. These appliances clean the air in your home. By getting rid of the pollutants and allergens, it helps your family breathe better.
In this article, we tell you everything there is to know about allergies. And, what to look for in an allergy air purifier.
Our Top Choices: Air Purifiers That Get Rid of Airborne Allergens
- Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier – Our Top Pick
- AeraMax 300 Air Purifier – Runner Up
- GermGuardian AC4825 – Affordable Option
- Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover, HPA300
- Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet
What Are Allergies?
Allergies are our body’s way of responding to allergens, which are foreign substances that cause our immune system to overreact. Most allergens aren’t harmful. At least not for most people.
But, if you have allergies or sensitivities to these allergens, your immune system works overtime in reacting to these harmless substances. When this happens, you experience allergic reactions.
Allergens can be present in the air or on objects. This means breathing them in or touching them can cause a number of symptoms. These include nasal congestion, sneezing and wheezing.
Among the most common forms of allergies are that from food and drinks, medication, pets and pollen.
Indoor Air Quality & Pollution
Most of us see our homes as a source of shelter. But, it doesn’t completely protect us from outdoor pollutants and allergens. Recent studies have shown that indoor air pollution may be worse than that outside. And because many of us spend 90% of our time indoors, this becomes more of a problem.
Indoor air pollution is caused by sources from both inside and outside your home. In addition, poor ventilation worsens the problem. It allows the unhealthy air to stay stagnant.
How Pollution from Outside Enters Your Home
Pollution from vehicle exhaust, factory smoke and other sources enter your home through its openings. These include windows, doors, and cracks in your walls and ceilings. Wind pushes this air into your home in a process called natural ventilation.
Additionally, there are also mechanical causes. This includes ventilation devices like fans and vents that are installed in bathrooms and kitchens. When these air handling systems push out indoor air at a rate faster than outdoor air enters, it increases the pollution levels inside your home.
Indoor Sources of Pollution
Along with the outdoor sources, there are also a number of factors from within. These are sources of contaminants and allergens that come from within your home. Among the common culprits include furniture, cooking appliances, heating and cooling systems.
Common Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
- Humidity. This allows mold to grow.
- Smoke from the kitchen, fireplaces, candles and cigarettes.
- Cooking appliances. These include wood and gas burning stoves.
- Cosmetics, perfumes and hair sprays.
- Household cleaners and air fresheners.
- Carbon monoxide from vehicles. This applies to homes with attached garages.
- Fumes from products that have off gassing. These include mattresses and carpets.
Indoor allergens are one of the pollutants in the air that can disrupt your home life.
Air pollution inside your home is harmful to your lungs and heart in the long term. Allergens meanwhile, produce a more immediate response. These include itching, sneezing and runny noses. Left unresolved allergies can become chronic causing your daily irritation.
Common Causes of Allergens in the Home
Among the most common causes of indoor allergens include:
- Dust mites
- Pet dander
- Mold and mildew
- Cigarette and other sources of smoke
- VOCs or volatile organic compounds. These come from plastics, glues, paint and synthetic products like carpets.
For the most part, we can’t see these allergens. They often range from 0.3 to 100 microns in size. Though particles like cigarette and tobacco smoke are even more microscopic. These are as small as 0.003 microns. To give you an idea of how tiny they are, a micron is 1/25,000 of an inch.
Most of these tiny particles float in the air. Some, which are heavier, fall to the ground or stick to furniture like fabrics and sheets.
These allergens cause many symptoms. Among them are sneezing, coughing, wheezing, watery eyes and runny nose.
How Do Air Purifiers Help With Allergies
Air purifiers work very well in cleaning your home’s air of household allergens. They capture airborne particles floating in the air. This filters the air from pollutants and allergens.
One thing to note is that air cleaners can vary in shape, capacity and what they can remove from the air. The latter is due to the fact that these devices often come with one or more filters. Among them are large particle filter, HEPA, activated carbon, and ultraviolet lights.
For indoor allergen removal, we recommend a few types of filters. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses. Together, they complement one another to clean your home’s air of unwanted contaminants and allergens.
1. HEPA Filters
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. It is a type of filter that is made with a fine mesh. When air passes through the mesh, it prevents dirt and other unwanted particles from passing through. This allows it to clean your home’s air.
HEPA filters capture 99.97% of all airborne particles that are 0.3 microns or larger. This makes them ideal in trapping almost all allergens and pollutants in the air. HEPA filters are very effective in getting rid of dust, mold spores, dander and pollen.
The problem with HEPA filters is they aren’t effective with smaller airborne particles. They allow smoke, odors, fumes and organic compounds to get through. This is where the next layer come in.
2. Activated Carbon Filters
Activate carbon filters use a special type of carbon to remove allergens and impurities. They do so through chemical absorption.
Their small, low volume pores and wide surface area makes them ideal for neutralizing odors as well as removing smoke, vapors and chemicals in the air.
Essentially, this filtration layer captures the particles that HEPA filters aren’t able to. As such, they complement one another well.
Pre-filters are large particle filters. They come with mesh that’s not as tight as those in HEPA filters. This is why they’re often placed as the first line of defense. Pre-filters are used to remove larger particles from the air. These include human and pet hair, pollen and dust.
It’s worth noting that they come in many different types. We do recommend getting an air purifier that comes with a carbon pre-filter. This helps get rid of odors as well as other organisms in the air.
Having a clean pre-filter reduces the amount of pollutants the other filters need to trap. This helps lengthen their lifespan.
4. UV-C (Ultraviolet C Light)
UV-C stands for ultraviolet C light. UV lights work well for bacteria, germs and viruses. By ridding the air of these microorganisms, you’re able to have a more sterile breathing environment.
It’s worth noting that this type of filter isn’t as available as HEPA. And, it may not be something you need. If your main concerns are allergies from pet dander, smoke, or odors then skipping the UV-C filter and saving some cash is a good idea.
A Note on Air Purifiers
It’s important to understand that every the best air purifiers aren’t going to make your home 100% allergen free. That’s because they’re designed for capturing airborne particles.
As such, allergens and other contaminants that have fallen to the ground or stuck on to furniture, carpeting or fabrics are beyond what they can handle.
This is why it’s important to do regular cleaning, preferably with a HEPA vacuum, to make sure that the air as well as other surfaces in your home are allergy free.
Best Air Purifier for Allergies Reviews
The GermGuardian AC4825 is an air filtering system that uses 3 different layers to clean your home’s air. This gives you excellent performance for its small size. The best part about this unit is it is very affordable. In fact, it is our top pick as far as value goes.
This air cleaning system is ideal for average sized rooms. As mentioned, it comes with multiple levels of cleaning.
- It uses True HEPA filtration which is capable of capturing 99.97% of allergens including pollens, pet dander, mold spores and dust.
- It also uses UV-C light. The UV-C light damages the DNA of germs. So, all the viruses and bacteria like E.coli and rhinovirus are killed.
- Lastly, it comes with a pre-filtration layer that has charcoal to capture larger air particles and get rid of unwanted odors.
You can keep this Germ Guardian 3-in-1 air purifier running all night long due to very quiet operation.
Indicator lights are added to the system so you no longer need to recall when you last replaced the filters. These lights will automatically blink when you need to change the filters.
The purifier meets the energy efficiency standards as set by the US EPA due to which it earned the ENERGY STAR.
If you’re looking for something that can cover a bigger areas in the homes, this is a more effective choice. The unit’s capacity makes it ideal for large rooms as well as shared spaces like living rooms.
One of the features we really like is that this purifier uses AeraMax’s AeraSmart sensor. This lets it monitor indoor air quality and purify the air automatically.
The AeraMax 300 is good for large sized rooms; ranging from 300 to 600 square feet. And, it is equipped to reduce the odors from such a large area.
This air cleaner also uses True HEPA filtration. Along with this, you get Aeramax’s AeraSafe antimicrobial treatment. Together, these features remove the smallest (0.3 microns) particles from the air and rid it of harmful microbes and germs.
For cold and flu season, this device comes with a special Plasma technology. This helps keep your family healthy because it can catch influenza virus in the air as well.
The unit is certified as the allergy & asthma friendly purifier by the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America. It includes carbon filters which help in removing different odors like cooking odor, pet odors, household odors and cigarette smoke from the large rooms.
If you want coverage for very large rooms (up to 1100 square feet) then this is the best choice for you. It comes with higher air cleaning capacity compared to the other products in our air purifiers for allergies reviews here.
We like that it not only delivers excellent performance but is also quiet. This lets you let it run in the background while going about your regular day.
The device only takes two hours to purify the air in large rooms. It works well for allergies thanks to its HEPA pure filter.
The best feature of this system is that you can customize the filter type as per your purification needs. You can select from the following HEPA filters it offers.
- HEPA-Pure: This is ideal for everyday use. It works well for pet dander, allergens and dust. It is the standard filter.
- HEPA-Silver: This filter goes a step up. It works better if you want protection from mold, asthma and germs.
- HEPA-FreshPlus: Great for getting rid of smoke and odors as well as other chemicals in the surrounding air.
- HEPA-OdorCell: This filter is designed for neutralizing odors. It is ideal for homes with pets and baby diapers.
In addition, this purifier includes Alen’s exclusive SmartSensor. This feature enables the system to automatically adjust according to the varying air quality. This helps in conserving the energy and improving the filter lifetime.
Its WhisperMax Technology also helps in keeping the home environment peaceful. This technology is helpful in eliminating the high frequency sounds that are really very irritating.
These purifiers come with life time guarantee which makes them an ideal choice.
These 5 stages include:
- A pre-filter that catches larger particles in the air.
- True HEPA filtration for getting rid of even the smallest airborne pollutants.
- CleanCel Anti-Bacterial treatment to get rid of bacteria from the air you breathe.
- A carbon filter for odor elimination.
- Winix’s PlasmaWave Technology for eliminated viruses.
Due to this 5 stage filtration, your home’s air becomes almost free of any allergens and odors.
This Winix air purifier is suitable for the medium as well as large rooms up to around 283 square feet in size. It also includes a LED alert to inform you about the change of filter.
We like that the purifier uses the sensors that continuously monitor the air quality and then adjusts the system according to the needs.
Finally, it offers four different speed levels; low, medium, high and turbo. This lets you choose the required level manually based on your needs at that moment.