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When considering the best air purifier, consumers may consider a HEPA vs. PECO filter for their device. To understand the difference and which is better, you need to consider how the filters work in even the smartest air purifiers and the standards for both. Additionally, you may want to understand the cost of each. For additional information about affordable air purifiers, check out our guide on the greatest air purifiers under $100.
Both HEPA and PECO filters eliminate airborne particles to improve indoor air quality within a specified space. These two filters work differently on a fundamental level, but both should remove triggers for asthma symptoms, as well as allergens, dust, and mold. To continue to be effective, both filters also require filter replacement after extended use. However, HEPA filters must block 99.97% of particulates larger than 0.3 microns in size, while PECO filters have no such standards. To read more about the leading air purifier and humidifier, check out our guide.
HEPA filters traditionally hold to one of the highest standards in air purification requirements.
Molekule introduced photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) filters for use inside its air purifiers in 2016. This technology uses UV-A light to create unstable molecules that break apart airborne pollutants, turning each into a harmless organic compound. Molekule claims that its PECO-based cleaners remove particles and allergens in less time than PCO and more efficiently than HEPA ones. However, one company has accused Molekule of false advertising in terms of its comparison to air purifiers with HEPA filters.
With that said, it’s always a good idea to do your own comparisons, which you start by reading our mashups of HEPA vs ionic purifiers, IFD filters vs HEPA filters, and Molekule vs Alen.
Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) filters use a catalyst activated by UV light to oxidize airborne particulate matter. This process helps to create non-toxic substances from the pollutants and many studies have shown that this technology can help to increase indoor air quality. The inventor of PECO filters worked off this idea to eliminate toxins, claiming that a PECO filter would be more efficient.
A high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) product has long been considered the best option for an air filter. Because of its fibrous nature, the filter catches particles and traps them along the filter’s surface, eliminating them from the air but not eradicating them. However, combining it with a carbon filter, air ionizer, or electrostatic precipitator may improve results. These cleaners range in price, depending on the highest speed and product quality. However, all HEPA standards must be met for a fiber filter to be certified.
Molekule is currently facing a class-action suit regarding the advertising claim that their PECO filters remove more airborne particles than HEPA filters, so be wary of their claims.
What is a HEPA filter?
A HEPA filter is a pleated fiber filter that catches pollutants larger than 0.3 microns in size. These cleaners are currently considered the best on the market.
How does the PECO air purifier work on different pollutants?
The PECO filter changes the pollutants’ molecular composition, turning them into harmless organic compounds.
How often should you change an air purifier filter?
Most air purifier filters should be changed about once a year unless you know your filter becomes dirtier quicker than that. Some air purifiers include an indicator light that alerts you when you need to change your filter.
STAT: Seasonal or perennial allergic symptoms are present in 10% to 40% of the U.S. population, resulting in at least 6 billion dollars in overall health-care expenditures per year. (source)