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What are the key features that stand out in the best air purifiers for VOCs and formaldehyde that make them different from other air purifiers? One of the most important features is the filtration method. The two proven options for removing VOCs or formaldehyde are a carbon-activated filter and PECO technology.
Next, you’ll want to confirm that your air purifier has a VOC sensor. This ensures that your appliance is continuously monitoring the air quality, and if those pollutants are detected, the air purifier will adjust its operation to remove the contaminants from the air. Of course, other concerns include the CADR rating, noise output, and if there are remote controls or an app versus having to manage settings through the control panel on the device. Keep reading our buying guide for choosing the perfect air purifier for VOCs and formaldehyde to learn more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model features app connectivity and strong filtration to refresh a room or offer improved breathing around the house. With multiple levels of filtration and an Energy Star certification, this is an efficient unit for cleansing allergy-causing particles and smells from a warehouse or multi-room household.
The NuWave 8001 air purifier is an excellent pick for users that need powerful filtration to mitigate seasonal allergies, stale air, and lingering smells. This model can purify up to 1200 sq. ft. in under two hours, and it ensures consistent air circulation thanks to the five-stage filtration system and strong fans. Additionally, users will love the Sleep Mode designed to improve their sleeping environment. While this device takes up a decent amount of space, users will love the thorough and efficient filtration that this model provides.
In addition to incredible cleaning power and speed, the NuWave 8001 air purifier offers a user-friendly interface that makes attaining cleaner air and easier breathing simple, which is something you’ll expect from a great air purifier for asthma. This advanced unit features Wi-Fi connectivity and a smartphone app for IOS and Android. The app offers preset cleaning modes for dust or odor, and users can control the fan speed and filtration timer. Additionally, users can stay informed on the condition of their filters and access advanced controls for a fine-tuned cleaning session. But, check out our Bissell Air 400 vs 320 comparison article before you decide on a device.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This compact model features a three-step cleansing process to remove potentially harmful particles and lingering odors from mid-sized rooms or workspaces. This unit will suit numerous layouts and interior designs with a modern look and simple operation.
The Jese Air Purifier is a stellar choice for users needing efficient and effective air filtration for a small office or craft space. This model features a compact and modern design to fit on an office desk, bedside table, or high-traffic hallway. Additionally, the three-stage filtration system includes a true HEPA filter that eliminates up to 99.7% of airborne allergens and dust particles. While this model only cleans 110 sq. ft. per hour, this model is a semi-portable solution for cleaner air at the office and home.
In addition to a small form factor and multi-stage filtration, the Jese Air Purifier provides simple operation and maintenance for users that need quick relief from airborne allergens and pet dander. This model offers additional protection to craft-makers needing relief from formaldehyde and potentially hazardous VOCs thanks to the multi-layered filtration system. Additionally, users will love the simple three-button interface that controls energy usage, fan speed, and power.
Award: BEST FOR NEW PARENTS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model offers efficient and ozone-free filtration for expecting parents and users who suffer from seasonal allergies. Additionally, this trendy-looking unit provides enough power for a small apartment, and the smartphone application provides instant cleaning quality feedback.
The Mila Air Purifier is an excellent pick for users wanting up-to-the-minute information on their indoor and outdoor air quality. The included application for IOS or Android offers granular control and information about this model’s operation. Additionally, the high-density true HEPA filter eliminates allergens like pet dander, dust, and pollen, so your household can breathe a little easier. While this model doesn’t include a pre-filter, the full-featured smartphone app updates your filter’s condition and lets you know when to replace or clean the filter.
In addition to powerful filtration and air quality updates, the Mila Air Purifier features an easy-to-use control panel and a modern design ideal for a small office or nursery. This model offers multiple automatic features that ensure your home is particle-free to mitigate seasonal allergies or irritating VOCs. This model automatically tracks the room size and learns a rough schedule of when to clean or quiet down so users can sleep peacefully and vigorously.
Award: BEST FOR CRAFT-MAKERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This device provides excellent filtration and over 1000 feet of coverage for an oversized garage or entire apartment. Additionally, its convenient design allows it to fit in a high-traffic hallway or small craft-making space, and the LED quality indicator keeps users informed and safe.
The HATHASPACE HSP002 air purifier is a fantastic choice for users needing efficient and powerful air filtration for an ample crafting space or an entire apartment. This sleek model features a slim design that makes it easy to attain improved air quality and reduced allergy symptoms in numerous settings and circumstances. While the filter needs to be replaced more than comparable brands, users will love the washable pre-filter that catches hair and large tufts of dust and dirt.
In addition to a striking design and a reusable pre-filter, the HATHASPACE HSP002 offers a great coverage area that’s ideal for a multiple-car garage filled with fumes and VOCs. This model can replace 100% of the air in a 1500 sq. ft. every hour, and this air purifier offers variable speed control and automatic cleaning. Additionally, users will love the live Air Quality Index feedback that utilizes an easy-to-see LED indicator light.
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Award: BEST FOR ALLERGIES
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model provides efficient cleaning and a clear indicator light to inform users of their indoor pollution levels. With multiple operating modes, users will love the responsive touch panel for adjusting the timer, fan speed, and other settings.
The Okaysou AirMax10L Pro air purifier is an excellent pick for users that need a reliable and robust device to mitigate allergy symptoms from dust, pollen, and other household pollutants. This model can easily fit in most rooms, and it has an incredible 1000 sq. ft. coverage area that makes it ideal for a multi-car garage or large family room. While this model is loud, users will love the responsive touch panel for manual fan control, even on low settings.
In addition to a large coverage area and a streamlined design, the Okaysou AirMax10L Pro air purifier offers simple touch controls so users can set a cleaning timer, adjust fan power, and activate a child lock. Additionally, this model offers an ECO mode that stops automatically when the unit no longer detects indoor pollutants after 30 minutes. The Turbo Mode provides a quick clean, and the square indicator light keeps users informed on their indoor air quality.
Award: BEST FOR ANIMAL LOVERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This model provides exceptional cleaning power to improve the breathing quality of an entire household or massive multi-car garage. Users can easily adjust fan speed, activate night mode, or power the unit thanks to the responsive remote.
The CLEANFORCEAIR CP-MEGA1000 air purifier is an excellent pick for users that need extra-fine filtration for allergy symptoms, potentially harmful VOCs, and other household pollutants. This practical model features double four-stage filters to offer excellent filtration of extra-fine particles like dust, dander, and pollen. The activated carbon eliminates lingering odors like food, smoke, and animal messes, which is what you’ll want on the top-rated air purifiers for smoking weed. Additionally, the filters are easy to change and clean, thanks to the durable filter doors. While this air purifier is pretty heavy, the rolling wheels make it easy to push around a hard-floored environment.
In addition to smooth-rolling wheels and super-effective filtration, the CLEANFORCEAIR CP-MEGA1000 air purifier delivers a user-friendly interface and responsive remote for granular control. The touch screen panel features multiple operating modes like Sleep Mode, Auto Mode, and a 12-hour timer. Additionally, users can manually adjust the four-level fan speed, and the filter replacement indicator makes it simple to schedule maintenance. The clear LED display features an air quality index number, filter health, and fan speed level indicator.
An air purifier for VOCs and formaldehyde is a special type of air purifier specifically designed to remove harmful chemicals from the air. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are usually in the form of vapors and gas and can be released from a wide array of everyday products that people use in their households. This can include air fresheners, cleaning products, carpeting, bedding, furniture, and more obvious items like paints or varnish. It’s also helpful if you’re looking for the best air purifiers for odors because they can help eliminate strong chemical smells.
Formaldehyde is one of the most common types of VOCs, and it is also found in a wide array of products commonly found in the home, including nail polish, MDF furniture, glues, and even insulation materials. VOCs are often present in higher concentrations indoors than outside because these household items are “off-gas” as time passes.
When present over 0.1 parts per million (ppm), VOCs can cause adverse reactions in some people, including burning sensations in the eyes, throat, and nose, or even coughing, wheezing, and nausea. Because of these health concerns, a good air purifier designed to remove VOCs from the air can help minimize the risk of breathing in those harmful chemicals.
The main difference between an air purifier designed to remove VOCs and other air purifiers, such as the finest photocatalytic oxidation air purifiers, is the filtration technology. Just like any other product category, not all air purifiers are effective at performing certain tasks. In particular, there are only two proven filtration methods that can effectively remove these harmful chemicals from the air: activated carbon filters and PECO or photoelectrochemical oxidation technology.
It’s important to note that activated carbon filters are a common option for air purifiers in general. But the distinction between a model designed to effectively remove VOCs and one that can’t is the amount of carbon present in the filter and the thickness of the filter material. Understanding this point is essential as you’ll need to consider the filter quality if removing VOCs is a priority. The best air purifier for dust should have a True HEPA filter, specifically designed to remove dust.
Depending on the filtration technology in your air purifier, there are two ways that these appliances remove VOCs from the air. If you opt for an activated carbon filter, you’ll again want to ensure that there’s enough carbon present in the filter and that the material is thick enough to create an effective barrier that traps chemical vapors and gases.
Typically, you’ll want an air purifier with many pounds of activated carbon. Activated carbon is simply carbon that has been treated with oxygen to create millions of pores. This increases the surface area of the carbon, which allows the material to better absorb chemicals and gases.
Carbon filters, by default, rely on a passive technology where the air must pass over the filter for chemicals to be removed from it. Another concern with this type of air purifier is that over time, the filter can become so saturated that it’s not working as effectively as it should. In some cases, there’s the risk of previously trapped VOCs being released back into the air.
The alternate technology is PECO. This method is specifically designed for VOCs. While it’s proprietary to just one air purifier brand — Molekule — this filtration process works at the molecular level to not just trap chemicals and gas vapors but to destroy them.
In contrast, activated carbon filters simply trap particles to the filter surface. However, if you’re shopping on a budget, models that rely on activated carbon filters are significantly cheaper than Molekule air purifiers.
It makes sense that you would want your home to have healthy air quality. This is especially true when you realize that everyday items in your home — including your mattresses, couch cushions, or even household cleaning supplies — can all unintentionally work together to create unhealthy environments.
You Have a Respiratory Condition: Without a doubt, if you suffer from any respiratory condition that can be easily triggered by irritants in the air, an air purifier that’s rated to filter out VOCs is a smart choice.
You’ve Recently Remodeled or Redecorated Your Home: Off-gassing is a real thing and is commonly associated with that “new chemical smell” you experience when you buy a new mattress or furniture set or even have your home repainted. If you’re remodeling your home or upgrading existing furniture and don’t want to deal with the literal headache associated with these scenarios, get an air purifier for VOCs.
You’re Concerned About Air Quality: Even if you don’t have a respiratory condition or haven’t recently remodeled your home, maybe you’re just concerned about the air you breathe. While it may not be necessary to have a VOC-filtering air purifier in your home, there’s nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution.
You’re Not Specific About Quality: Activated carbon filter-based air purifiers can be hit or miss if you don’t pick a model with enough carbon present in the filter to effectively clean the air. If you’re not going to pay attention to that key feature, this product category isn’t for you.
You Won’t Consistently Use It: Air purifiers are intended to be used 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. There’s no point in buying these products if you’re only going to use them occasionally.
You Don’t Want to Deal with the Upkeep: The one drawback with any air purifier is that it’s not a “one and done” type of product. Every few months you’re going to need to replace the filter. Along with the time commitment is the associated cost of having to buy new filters throughout the year.
This is more about how frequently the filters need to be changed versus how long the actual appliance will last. Typically, carbon-based filters need to be changed more frequently — anywhere from three to six months. However, carbon filters tend to be cheaper and are usually no more than $50 per filter.
With PECO-based air purifiers, you’ll need to replace the primary filter every six months and the pre-filter every three months. However, because it’s a proprietary technology that’s exclusive to the brand Molekule, their filters are more expensive and range between $80 to $150. These timelines are based on the idea that you’re running the air purifier all day, continuously.
In many ways, shopping for an air purifier that can remove VOCs from the air isn’t too different from shopping for a regular air purifier. Many of the criteria between the two versions are similar, but you will need to pay more attention to the filter quality if VOC removal is a priority for you.
Especially if you decide to buy an air purifier that relies on activated carbon filtration, you need to pay attention to exactly how much activated carbon is in the filter. Experts agree that you’ll need several pounds of activated carbon to effectively remove VOCs. And just as important, the primary filter needs to be very thick.
While you shouldn’t be entirely motivated by budget, the reality is that air purifiers represent an ongoing cost. Beyond the initial investment into the appliance, you also need to factor in periodically replacing the filters.
With activated carbon filters, these should be replaced every three to six months and can cost up to $50. PECO technology is significantly more expensive both in upfront costs for buying the unit and in replacing the filters every six months.
CADR is short for clean air delivery rate, and it’s used to determine how much air an air purifier can effectively move after cleaning. Larger CADR scores mean that the appliance can work properly in a larger room. You want to ensure that you pick an air purifier with a CADR score that’s compatible with the size of your room.
Picking a unit with a score lower than needed means that you aren’t cleaning the air effectively. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and get an appliance with a higher CADR than you need — especially if you prefer quiet operation, which is what you’ll find with the high-end quiet air purifiers.
Most air purifiers feature a quiet operation mode. But there are going to be times when it needs to cycle into a higher setting. Or, you might be very sensitive to sounds. Always consider the decibel rating as usually anything around 50 decibels is considered a good benchmark for quiet operation.
There’s nothing more frustrating than fighting to understand how to operate an appliance. Beyond easy operation, you’ll also want to think about whether there’s a remote control or associated app included with your pick. A remote control ensures that you can make adjustments from across the room. And if an app is available, you might even be able to control your air purifier even when you’re not home.