With all the marketing hype that gets pushed into the nether it can be difficult to make an informed decision about air purification unless you’re an environmental scientist, or rocket engineer. But have no fear, Gadget Review has you covered. We’ve analyzed the most popular, portable air purifiers on the market based on HEPA filtration and rated the top three out of an initial list of fifteen.
So, what is the best air purifier for allergies and dust? Based on our research, the #1 pick is the Austin Air Bedroom Machine Air Purifier ($764.99). It’s our top pick as Editor’s Choice/Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust, employing a medical-grade HEPA filter that removes 99.99% of airborne contaminants, a near perfect mechanical filtration process with seals ensuring contaminated air doesn’t escape before being completely treated, and a serious activated carbon stage that will undoubtedly help allergy suffers. Austin Air’s forty-five-pound activated carbon filter puts most other consumer air purifiers to shame, and the unit’s maximum 400 cfm of airflow is best in class.
- 1 Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust
- 2 How We Choose an Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust
- 3 Why You Should Buy an Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust
- 4 #1 Pick Editor’s Choice/Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Asthma – Austin Air Bedroom Machine Air Purifier
- 5 #2 Pick Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Pets – IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
- 6 #3 Pick Best Air Purifier for Dust – Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier
- 7 Key Factors
- 8 Features
- 9 Mistakes to Avoid
- 10 What Else You Should Think About
Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
|Austin Air Bedroom Machine||IQAir HealthPro Plus||Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA|
|Rank||#1 - Editor’s Choice/|
Best Air Purifier for Allergies
|#2 - Best Air Purifier for|
Allergies and Pets
|#3 - Best Air Purifier for Dust|
|Carbon Weight||15 lbs||5 lbs||N/A|
|Advertised Sq Ft||1,500||1,125||390|
How We Choose an Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust
HEPA filtration had to first meet the minimum government performance standard, which requires filters to remove at least 99.97% of airborne particulate larger than 0.3 microns in diameter from the air – but that’s standard. Following that basic requirement, we set our sights on machines that went above and beyond the bare minimum and looked for filters with an efficiency of 99.99%, or higher (the efficiency scale stages filters from 99.97, 99.99, 99.999, 99.9995, and finally to 99.99999%).
An air purifier’s filter is only one part of the machine, though. For a filter’s efficiency to be utilized, the air flow driven by the machine and through the filter must be acceptable. Think about it – I can buy a HEPA filter and tape it to the pedestal fan in my bedroom, but that doesn’t make the setup a high-efficiency air purifier. Airflow driven through the machine, and the mechanical filtration process designed by the manufacturer is what truly differentiates an air mover from an air purifier.
Cubic feet per minute (cfm) is relative to the filtering process and the environment your air purifier is treating. Our top three picks our weighted against each other in terms of airflow and filtration processes, and since we’ve given the gold standard to all three with respect to filtration technologies, airflow is pretty straightforward – the higher the better (just don’t go putting an air purifier in a 2,000 sq ft space if it’s designed for 500).
Why You Should Buy an Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust
Consistent behavior is what really makes a difference in the quality of our lives. For example, if you go for a run everyday your cardiovascular health is likely better than the guy that sits on the couch instead. Similarly, if you own an air purifier that cleans your air everyday your likely healthier than someone that doesn’t use one. Allergy sufferers across the globe can attest to the health benefits that come from normal use of an air cleaner.
Indoor air pollutants are one of the top health risks in the United States and abroad, and the use of a machine that does its job well can make a significant difference in the quality of your life. If you’re an allergy sufferer, constantly struggle with congestion, or just want a little reassurance that the air in your home is being cleaned, take a look at our top picks – they’re some of the best air purifiers for allergies and dust on the market.
#1 Pick Editor’s Choice/Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Asthma – Austin Air Bedroom Machine Air Purifier
Price: $765 | Area: 1,500 sq ft | Warranty: 5 Years
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Austin Air’s Bedroom Air Machine is the most reliable, perfectly engineered portable air purifier on the market.
Endorsed by the National Sleep Foundation as the preferred bedroom air purifier, the Austin Air Bedroom Machine was designed to meet requirements specified by the Johns Hopkins University Medical School to capture particulates at the nano-sized level. The machine moves approximately 400 cubic feet of air (at across its highest setting) across a fifteen-pound activated carbon filter and through sixty feet of HEPA and HEGA carbon cloth surface area before returning purified air back into the environment it’s treating. It’s a purely mechanical filtration process, which if you’ve read any of our other air purification reviews before, you’ll know we prefer due to UV and ionization byproducts – air purifiers that employ ultraviolet and ionization methods to cleanse air create ozone which is a respiratory irritant at low levels and a significant health hazard at higher levels.
Too many air purifiers are marketed as high-performance cleaners, but fail to move enough air the right way. Intake and exhaust engineering, airflow volume, and a whole host of other air characteristics must be considered to ensure that an air purifier is properly cleaning the air. The
This machine is the one you want if you’re suffering from allergies, or plagued by dust. No UV treatment, no ionization, nothing that creates pollutants in the process of filtering them from the air. It’s a straight-forward, industrial machine, coupled with a medical-grade HEPA filter, and enough activated carbon to filter a small city. Austin Air is the real deal, folks, and takes the cake as one of the the best air purifiers for dust and allergies hands-down.
#2 Pick Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Pets – IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
Price: $899 | Area: 1,125 sq ft | Warranty: 5 Years
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The HealthPro Plus is a superior home air purifier with an excellent functional design and outstanding performance.
On this machine, IQAir has engineered a seal system to ensure internal leaks aren’t the cause for lost efficiency or polluted air escaping back into the environment before being pushed through the filtration process. There’s a special grooved edge that the HEPA filter is seated in to minimize (or potentially eliminate) air loss around the filter itself. The company has also installed individual seals around each air housing module in the unit to further mitigate the risk of leaks. IQAir claims that these quality assurance steps give them a total system efficiency rating higher than “the theoretical efficiency of [most other] conventional air cleaners.” The Plus model also utilizes a specialty five pound activated carbon filter stage for odor and gas adsorption.
The HealthPro Plus has a fan that is rated to move 780 cfm of air at 2750 RPM – with the filter arrangement in the Plus model, maximum air flow is 300 cfm. The fan motor is isolated in its own internal compartment, and vibration and noise are reduced by shock absorbers installed around the rotating equipment.
Marketing material for the HEPA technology is a little…floofy…on IQAir’s website, pushing the phrase “HyperHEPA” to emphasize the inclusion of a HEPA filter meeting the 99.97% standard. “HyperHEPA,” “TrueHEPA,” and HEPA are all identical. It isn’t a warning sign though that IQAir uses the buzzword, it’s actually quite common since many underrated machines claim “HEPA-like,” or “90% HEPA” to lure uneducated consumers in for the kill.
IQAir has a quality product that performs as advertised. The medical-grade HEPA filter (53 sq ft surface area), airflow rate, and pure mechanical purification process makes this an excellent air purifier for allergies and dust.
#3 Pick Best Air Purifier for Dust – Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier
Price: $131| Area: 390 sq ft | Warranty: 5 Years
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: The absolute best value air purifier for those in search of a high performer on a tight budget.
Honeywell’s 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier is a popular retail model (we suspect due to its low cost of ownership) that performs moderately well. Honeywell claims this unit is its “most powerful” HEPA air cleaner which is surprising considering the size of the corporation and some of its other products. Don’t get us wrong, the 50250 is an okay air purifier – it did make our list after all – but it doesn’t hold a candle to the other top picks. It’s built to treat areas no larger than 390 square feet, and we suspect that the machine’s 360-degree air intake and discharge might cause inadvertent filtering of already purified air (think mushroom cloud airflow).
The machine moves 253 cfm – a nice volume considering the difference in price between this unit and the other two. Honeywell states that its machine “yields the greatest cleaning power for the money.” We buy that.
Another claim that we haven’t been able to substantiate is that Honeywell air purifiers are recommended by MDs due to efficiency metrics for the removal of airborne toxins.
Note: We’re trying to get feedback from the manufacturer on its claims, and will update soon.
- HEPA Grade & Surface Area: HEPA H12/H13 is the most common among the group we reviewed – we believe that this should be an absolute minimum for most in-home applications. The greater the surface area available, the more pollutants the filter can adsorb, and the longer the life expectancy of the filter. All HEPA filters in our list are expected to last a minimum of three years, with some promising up to five.
- Activated Carbon: Carbon helps to adsorb toxic gasses, VOCs, and smoke. Multi-staged filtration processes that are used by industrial machines not only perform better, but also demonstrate that the manufacturer understands a thing or two about air purification. Trust us, it’s not uncommon to find air cleaners that move air more than they actually purify it. If you’re looking for the best air purifier for allergies and pets, look for a good combination of HEPA and activated carbon filtration.
- Mechanical Process: We like things simple, but it isn’t because we’re opposed to technology. Popular “filtering” methods employed by many air purifier manufacturers include ionization and/or ultraviolet stages, which can actually create an ozone byproduct that ironically pollutes indoor air more than it purifies it. We prefer to eliminate pollutant sources, not introduce them, so our top picks in this list are all purely mechanical in nature – air comes in, passes through physical filters, and gets pushed back out.
- Simple Design: Focusing on products that are developed with one main goal in mind: purifying the air. While we’re not opposed to smart features and connectivity options, for this article we focused on simple mechanics and electronics.
Mistakes to Avoid
Vague statements and a lack of technical data on the manufacturers website are abundant in this industry. Far too many list HEPA filtration without filter specifications, activated carbon without details, Clean Air Distribution Rate (CADR) without clearly defining the limitations of the CADR value. Look for manufacturers that list too much data, are eager to discuss specifics, and truly care about your well being while using their machine.
Many air purifier users sleep with their machines so it’s important to consider sound levels generated by the machine you buy. That said, moving air the right way versus just pushing air around can (and does) create noise. Consider our review and others, and the quality of the machine you purchase. If it’s a little noisier than most, but performs above expectations, that’s okay. The average maximum decibel level for most air purifiers in this category is around 70 dB. To put that in to perspective, the noise from traffic while sitting in a car is around 85 dB.
What Else You Should Think About
Having the Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust is only the first step in leading a healthier, less polluted life. Is your cleaner the best air purifier for cat allergies, or dogs? Will it work well for cigarette smoke? What toxins should you be concerned about? For more information on indoor air pollutants check out our article on VOCs. If you would like step-by-step instructions on how to clean your air purifier, check out the previously linked article as a follow-up.
Our top pick as Best Air Purifier for Allergies and Dust, the Austin Air Bedroom Machine Air Purifier, is a wonderful addition to your home that will absolutely improve indoor air quality and overall health!