If you have recently purchased or are thinking of purchasing the best air purifier, there will likely be one question on your mind. How do you know an air purifier is working? Don’t worry. We have got you covered.


  • It can be tricky to tell if your air purifier is doing its job of purifying the air and removing pollutants.
  • You can perform a spot check by placing your hand in front of the air vent that pulls in air and the one that pushes out air.
  • You should also regularly replace or clean any impacted air filters.

What Does an Air Purifier Do?

Generally speaking, an air purifier pulls in air from its immediate surroundings. This air is then pushed through a series of filters and related technologies where pollutants are trapped and sometimes destroyed. The filtered air, free from pollutants, is then released back into the living space.

How Do Know if an Air Purifier is Working?

Air purifiers are tricky because they are working best when you don’t really notice anything. In other words, they excel at creating the absence of something (air pollutants) and that can be difficult to suss out. We have, however, assembled some useful tips so you can know if your air purifier is working.

Take a Look at the Purifier Itself

Plug your air purifier into the power outlet and power it on its highest setting. Now approach the purifier and take a look at the various air vents. There should be one vent that seems to be sucking in the air. Place your hand on it to be sure, feeling for gentle suction. Another vent should be forcefully pushing out air. Place your hand in front of it to feel for air being released into the living area. If both vents seem to be working, then your air purifier is likely doing its job.

Check on the Filters

An air purifier is typically only as good as its air filters. HEPA filters are meant to be replaced every six months to a year, depending on usage. Other types of filters, such as electrostatic filters, should be removed and cleaned every month. If your filter is clogged up, your purifier is likely just pulling in dirty air and then pumping out that very same dirty air. Remove your filter according to instructions and take a look at it. If it is dirty and clogged, replace it or clean it. You will find that this solves a number of problems.


HEPA filters are meant to be replaced every six months to a year, depending on usage.

Use Your Nose

One of the easiest ways to check if your air purifier is working is by using your innate sense of smell. Smell around the room, checking out the air quality of your living space. If it smells good, it likely is good. And if you find that your air purifier isn’t working like it should, make sure you know the proper way to dispose of your air purifier and filters.


Someone in my household has a pet allergy. How can air purifiers help, and are they an effective solution?

They can absolutely help. Modern air purifiers do a great job at eliminating common household allergens, including pet dander.

How to check your air purifier for filter replacement?

The actual process here will vary depending on the make and model of your air purifier, but typically there is a red light that will indicate when a filter needs to be changed. Then you will open up the purifier, remove the filter, and insert the new one.

Do air purifiers help with smells?

They absolutely do help with smells. That is one of an air purifier’s primary use cases.

STAT: According to the US Environmental Protection Agency and CDC, “the levels of indoor air pollutants are often 2-5 times higher than outdoor levels and, in some cases, these levels can exceed 100 times that of outdoor levels of the same pollutants”. (source)

Lawrence Bonk

Lawrence Bonk is a copywriter with a decade of experience in the tech space, with columns appearing in Engadget, Huffington Post and CBS, among others. He has a cat named Cinnamon.

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