Mold has been a problem since the dawn of time. Egon, from the original Ghostbusters, who told their secretary, “I collect spores, molds, and fungus,” is probably the only person in the world who actually likes mold. The rest of us can’t stand it, and rightly so.
To stop mold growth, you need a mold air purifier.
In this Pest Strategies review you’ll learn:
- What air purifiers are
- How air purifiers work
- What you can expect from air purifiers
- Which air purifiers are the best
Molds spread by releasing airborne spores that float through the air until they find a wet or damp surface. There, they land and more mold growth begins, starting the cycle all over again.
Mold exposure presents an ever-present threat to human health. It can cause and/or worsen allergic reactions, and in the case of Stachybotrys chartarum, can even lead to death in a worst-case scenario. Obviously, we’d like to avoid this at all costs. Air purifiers can help.
Keep reading to learn about all the best air purifiers, or click here to skip to our top pick.
IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
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Alen BreatheSmart Classic Air Purifier
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Austin Air HealthMate Standard Air Purifier
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Blueair Classic 405 Air Purifier
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SilverOnyx Air Purifier
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Honeywell Air Purifier
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AeraMax 100 Air Purifier
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Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
(updated as of 10/28/2019)
If you’re a bottom-line type of person and can’t wait, we’ll tell you now that we’ve chosen the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier as our overall best pick.
IQAir has gone above and beyond the call of duty with a medical-grade air purification system that is 100 times better than a HEPA air purifier. The system has a 99.5% efficiency rating for stopping airborne particles as small as 0.003 microns (μ).
For comparison, a human hair is 40-50 microns in diameter. One micron would 40 times smaller than a human hair and the IQAir filter catches particles 3/1000ths smaller than that! And it catches those airborne pollutants in an area of 1125 sq feet, a medium-sized house.
We admit, it’s pricey, but worth the cost.
Top 7 Best Air Purifiers
Are you short on time or just want a quick answer?Check out our list below for a summary of our results. Keep on reading to learn more about air purifiers.
What Are Air Purifiers?
Airborne particles including airborne mold, mildew, pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens can combine to create air pollution and a musty smell in your house. The air quality will suffer as the musty odor increases.
All of those floating particles are winding up in your lungs, which is about as unhealthy as you can get. You can restore quality air in your house by removing these irritants, which is where air purifiers come into play. They are essentially air cleaning devices.
Air purifiers are generally rated by their coverage area, or how many square feet of clean air they can produce in any given room size. They are also rated by their filtration system, what kind of air filter, filter life, and how often filter replacement should take place.Some air purifiers also produce negative ions which are beneficial to human health. It’s important to note that an air purifier is not a dehumidifier, but it doesn’t hurt to use them in conjunction with each other.
Learn more about how air purifiers work in this video:
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
Air purifiers work by filtering air as an internal fan draws air into the purifier, filters it by one of several different means then pumps it back into the surrounding air again.
The best air purifier for mold and allergen removal will utilize a true HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorption) filter. True HEPA filters are high-efficiency filters that must stop 99.9% of all particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter.
A true HEPA filter is one that meets the high-efficiency particulate absorption standards, which are lofty. Other filters may be similar to HEPA filters, but do not achieve the same standards. Other filters can also be effective, but are not as high-quality as a true HEPA filter.
The filter captures and holds airborne particles as a fan forces indoor air through the filter. The higher the fan speed, the greater the chance the force of the air current will cause particles to slip through the filter, making this one instance where faster isn’t good.
Replacement filters are required on a regular basis as they become laden with captured particles that inhibit airflow through the filtration system.
The best air purifiers for mold will have an electrically charged plate that will collect mold and pollen particles from the air. Airborne mold spores will be stuck to the plate, which will need to be cleaned periodically.
They may also include an ionizer, an ion generator, that will produce electrically charged ions. These ions then bond to airborne particles floating in the air. The resulting electrostatic charges them to cling to surfaces in the room such as ceilings, drapes, and walls.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns against using ion-generating purifiers because they can actually increase the risk of inhaling unwanted particles.
Finally, air purifiers for mold often include a UV light. Rays from UV light kill bacteria, mold, and spores.
Air purifiers that utilize two or more of these filtration methods are known as multi-stage filtration systems.
How Do You Find The Best Air Purifiers?
Short answer: for a buying guide, you come to Pest Strategies and take advantage of our years of experience out in the field.
Long answer: our staff has many years of real-life experience with pest control and mold removal. Crawling under a house to kill mold with a 1-gallon pump-up sprayer isn’t nearly as much fun as it sounds, but we’ve done it.
Whether the mold is under the house or under the sink, killing it once it’s taken root is a hard, dirty job. It taught us – the hard way – that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The best way to stop a mold problem is before it happens.
In an effort to save our customers some money, licensed pest control technicians have had to become familiar with air purifiers so we can recommend the better ones to people.
You may be familiar with brands that are well-marketed, like Germguardian. But good marketing doesn't make a good product.
Over the years we’ve seen the brands and models that didn’t work (because we were called out to spray for mold) and the ones that did. So, let our experience be your guide.
Are Air Purifiers Effective?
How effective they are will depend on which one you get. That’s why we publish articles like this, to guide you to the best ones. People usually want to save money and we don’t blame them, but in this instance, the old saying, “You get what you pay for,” definitely applies.
If you skimp on the air purifier, that’s exactly the kind of results you’re going to get from whichever one you buy. Now, depending on the size of the room or house you’re using the air purifier in, you might wind up with a smaller, less expensive unit, but always go for the best.
In other words, you’ll get the best results by matching the air purifier to the room. High quality doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg if you only need an air cleaner for 100-200 square foot room.
What is high quality? Well, there are a number of ways to measure air purifier quality. HEPA is one common method. Another is Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). CADR is intended to measure stand-alone purifiers, like the ones that we rated. However, they aren’t always the most reliable.
For one thing, CADR only measures the first 20 minutes of a purifier’s performance. This means that the long-term performance of a purifier isn’t taken into account. CADR also doesn’t factor in ultrafine particles, which make up 90% of air pollution.
When determining the efficacy of an air purifier, base your decision only partially, if at all, on the CADR measurement.
How To Use An Air Purifier
Every air purifier should fit the room it’s in. A large room would need a large-capacity air purifier while a smaller room would need one with a smaller capacity. The location is equally important though.
If you place the unit in the corner, it may keep you from tripping over it but it won’t do much for mold removal. The best air purifier is one that has room to work. Good airflow is important to remove allergens and achieve the best clean air delivery rate. Therefore it needs to be centrally located as much as possible.
The furniture arrangement in each room will dictate the exact placement but if you can position it near the coffee table or other pieces of furniture, it will keep it mostly out of the way but still enable it to circulate the air in the room through its filters.
Another consideration is the noise level from the purifier. The fan inside will create a certain amount of background noise during normal operations. Pay close attention to any quiet operation mode or modes of operation. The exact decibel level is rarely mentioned in the description so you’ll have to look closely at what it does say.
If you’re buying your purifier from Amazon, check the customer reviews. Sometimes you can find where other buyers have commented about the noise and their first-hand experience can be valuable to your decision-making.
Are Air Purifiers Safe Around My Pets And Children?
Air purifiers can assist in keeping children healthy, especially those with asthma or mold allergies. Many of them not only remove tiny particles, allergens, pet dander, and molds from the air and pet hair, but they also clean the air of unsavory odors that trigger an allergic reaction in your children.
Aside from the normal caution you should take around any household electrical appliance, air purifiers are safe around your pets and children. Just don’t let your pet sleep right in front of it as their hair will get pulled in and clog the filters.
Best Air Purifiers Reviewed
As a quick recap, here are the 7 air purifiers we looked at.
- IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
- Alen BreatheSmart Classic Air Purifier
- Austin Air HealthMate Standard Air Purifier
- Blueair Classic 405 Air Purifier
- SilverOnyx Air Purifier
- Honeywell Air Purifier
- AeraMax 100 Air Purifier
Our #1 pick went to the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier, but some of the others might be more suited to your needs.
For large rooms or small houses, this is the true HEPA air purifier to get. The IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier also goes 100 times beyond the normal HEPA standards. It catches ultra-fine particles down to 0.003μ in size.
It has triple-seal technology to prevent any particles from escaping, a powerful, newly redesigned fan for recirculating the air in through the unit, and smart controls so you can filter the air exactly the way you want it done.
The Plus model includes an activated charcoal filter. Assuming you run it 10 hours a day, the pre-filter will last 18 months, the v-5 (activated charcoal) will last about 2 years, and the true HEPA filter will last around 4 years. It comes with a 10-year warranty.Maybe most importantly of all, this air purifier is designed to eliminate volatile organic compounds (VOC). These include a number of chemicals in cigarette smoke.
Alen BreatheSmart Classic Air Purifier will handle rooms or small apartments up to 1100 square feet, completely cleaning the air every 30 minutes. It uses its proprietary WhisperMax technology to reduce the noise level below what most purifiers can attain.
The HEPA-Silver filter has an antimicrobial compound coating to inhibit bacteria and fungi growth. It also has an activated carbon filter that will particles of cigarette smoke, household chemicals, and others.
It has a laser smart sensor that detects airborne particles as small as 0.3μ. Based on its detection, it will self-adjust the fan speed to address changes in the indoor environment. It also comes with a lengthy, multi-year warranty.This purifier also has customizable designer panels that come in different colors.
Austin Air HealthMate Standard Air Purifier has a medical-grade HEPA air purifier with 4 stages of filtration, including an activated carbon filter. The fan has three speed settings and a 360 degree air intake system that pulls air from all directions, ensuring smooth operations even if you have to put it in a corner.
It comes equipped with casters for ease of movement and is available in 4 different colors to more easily match the décor in your house.
It has a four-stage filtration system; large particle pre-filter, medium pre-filter, activated carbon filter, and the true HEPA filter. Overall it will remove molds, spores, and particles as small as 0.3μ.
The filter should last for 5 years but some customers have reported that it needs to be changed more often. On the high fan settings, it will cover 1500 square feet, which is a large space, but won’t clean the air as well as on the lower settings.
This energy efficient air purifier is rated for 300-400 square feet, making it a good living room air purifier. Blueair Classic 405 Air Purifier is Wifi enabled; the Wifi allows you to control the purifier through your Amazon Alexa if you have one. It has true HEPA filtration as well as electrostatic charge filtration.
This purifier won’t disturb your sleep; it has 3 fan speeds with the ultra-quiet operation and the LED light dims to act as a night light or turns off completely.
It is Energy Star rated and will clean about 180 cubic feet of air per minute.
The filters have to be changed about every 6 months for best removal of irritants. If you need carbon filtration, those filters are sold separately from the main unit, so you’re looking at more expense, in addition to the initial cost.
This SilverOnyx Air Purifier is for a room of 500 square feet, which reduces the cost but it still packs a lot of features. It features 5 different levels of filtration and comes in an attractive tabletop size that looks more like a decoration than an air filter.
It has a true HEPA filter, a combination mesh pre-filter, an activated carbon filter, a UV-C light, and an ion generator. All those stages are combined with an auto mode running off a smart sensor that automatically adjusts the airflow based on changing conditions.
The fan has 5 different speeds, each of which is incrementally louder than the previous one. The highest speed can be fairly loud. The filters need to be changed every 6 months.
Honeywell is a well-known brand name and they live up to their reputation with this floor model purifier for one 310 square foot room. This Honeywell Air Purifier has a HEPA filtration system and easy controls with an auto mode for timed shutoff.
It will circulate the air in the room up to 5 times an hour. It has a 3-stage system, with a pre-filter system for the larger particles that also includes activated carbon to catch odors and gases. The pre-filters have to be changed every 3 months. Unlike some other Honeywell purifiers, this one does not have a washable filter. The HEPA filter should be changed about once a year.This air purifier sits about knee high, making it an adequate size to work as an unnoticeable dining room air purifier.
A semi-tall but slender air purifier, the AeraMax 100 Air Purifier has a 4-stage filtration system, including a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter. It has a smart sensor to detect particles in the air and an auto mode so let it change fan speeds on the fly as circumstances dictate.
This inexpensive system is rated for small rooms that are 100-200 square feet and is quiet enough that it shouldn’t be noticeable except at the highest fan setting.
It has been given an antimicrobial treatment to protect it against odor-causing mildew, bacteria, and fungi. The proprietary PlasmaTrue technology creates an ionized field to further remove airborne pollutants and particles.
The carbon filter has to be changed every three months and the HEPA filter once a year.
Our Top Pick: IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
Remember that the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier has gone the extra mile with a medical-grade air purification system 100 times better than a normal HEPA air purifier.
It has a 99.5% efficiency rating for stopping particles as small as 0.003μ and can remove odors from the air besides.
Top features of this air purifier include:
- Long-lasting filters
- Catches ultra-fine particles
- Rated for up to 1125 square feet
- Removes volatile organic compounds
Final Thoughts On Air Purifiers
As the square foot capacity for air purifiers diminishes, so does the cost. In some cases, it might actually be best to buy two smaller units instead of a single larger one, or even three small ones.
On the larger units, the filters are more robust and don’t have to be changed as often than they do on the smaller purifiers.If you need exceptionally clean air for a sick or allergic child though, a larger model might be best since they will generally capture more particles out of the air, especially our top choice, the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier.
Other Allergen Guides
Curious about other pest-related products and guides? Check out our other detailed articles to help you deal with your pest problems.