When you buy one of the best energy-efficient air purifiers through links in this post, we may earn an affiliate commission. These commissions do not affect our product recommendations. Click here to learn more.
Surprisingly, the air in your home may be more polluted than the air outdoors. Learn how air purifiers can achieve cleaner indoor air, improve air circulation, reduce your risk of disease. And find out WattDoesItUse’s recommendations for the best energy-efficient air purifiers to breathe easy without spiking your electricity bill.
We’re all spending a lot of time at home these days. And we’re worrying more than ever about our family’s health. But could the quality of your home’s air be more of a threat to you and your family than you think?
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has found that indoor air pollution levels are often two times higher than outdoor air. In some areas, they may be up to five times more polluted!
There are a number of adverse side effects that can result from even a one-time exposure to harmful indoor air pollutants. According to the U.S. EPA, some people can experience headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and nose/eye/throat irritation when spending time in rooms with indoor air pollution. Longer term symptoms can even include respiratory disease, heart disease, and cancer.
By taking simple steps to ventilate your home and introducing one of the best energy-efficient air purifiers to highly polluted rooms, you can easily eliminate these health risks while minimally impacting your electricity bill! In this post, learn how to pick the right air purifier for your home and find out WattDoesItUse’s top picks.
Threats to Indoor Air Quality
A truly staggering statistic: most people spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, even when they’re not quarantined! With all that indoor time, you could inadvertently be subjecting yourself and your family to a great deal of potential indoor air pollution.
This is due to a number of factors, namely the concentration of harmful chemicals, gases in many building materials and inadequate ventilation in confined spaces.
There are many sources for the pollution that fills our homes. Houses located in warmer or more humid geographies typically have poorer air quality due to uncontrollable environmental characteristics. Regardless of where you live, there are a number of factors that contribute to indoor air pollution in homes.
- Age of the House: Harmful chemicals or gases in building materials are major contributors to indoor air pollution. Newer regulations protect us from toxic building materials such as asbestos or lead paint. But those can still sometimes be found in older homes.
- Biological pollutants: These naturally occurring irritants most commonly include pollen, mold, viruses, dander, and bacteria. As we approach pollen season, we will be the first to admit it’s virtually impossible to keep some of these out of homes entirely!
- Home ventilation. Combine inadequate ventilation and confined spaces with any of the above pollutants, and you have the formula for dangerously low indoor air quality.
Decisions, Decisions: picking the right air purifier for your home
So, is it possible to improve the air quality within your home if there are so many potential pollutants? Absolutely! As the old saying goes, you must control what you can control.
Small changes in your behaviors can have major impact when it comes to air quality. Take for example these three steps: airing out the house regularly; switching to non-toxic cleaners; and changing cooking oils. These are all very effective strategies to reduce your home’s indoor air pollution. But the U.S. EPA recommends a comprehensive approach to indoor air purification. This means also investing in filtration systems like air purifiers in order to filter tiny particles out of the air that cannot be removed with behavioral changes alone.
But with so many models available, how do you pick the best energy-efficient air purifier that will offer you high performance without spiking the electricity bill? We provide comprehensive purchase guidance on the WattDoesItUse Air Purifiers website. But here are four key considerations:
Look for the ENERGY STAR logo
The ENERGY STAR specification for air purifiers measures the Clean Air Delivery Rate to Watt ratio to determine how energy efficient any given purifier is based on how much air it purifies with the allotted wattage. An ENERGY STAR certified air purifier will save you energy and money over the purifier’s life as compared with standard models.
Pick the right air purifier for the size of your room
Each purifier has a clean air delivery rate (CADR) based on the square footage that it can filter efficiently. Generally, you’ll want a CADR of at least 300 (above 350 is really great). The following table shows the minimum CADR rating you should look for in a purifier based on the size of the room you are purifying:
Choose the right filter for your goals
Not all air purifiers can filter gases. Those that can require a specific filter for that purpose. Make sure that you do your homework to pair your air purification goals with your air purifier’s specifications. For example, if anyone in your home suffers from allergies or asthma, look for a model with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. One feature that the U.S. EPA specifically recommends looking for is the use of activated carbon filters.
3 of the Best Energy-Efficient Air Purifiers
As with many electronics, the number of models on the market can be a blessing and a curse. While there are air purifiers that can be particularly good for big spaces, small spaces, you name it! But it can be hard to sort through all the options to really find the best fit for your home. With that in mind, we did the heavy lifting to identify for you three of the best energy-efficient air purifiers to choose from:
Best All-Around: Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier
This air purifier pairs high-end features with affordability. Consumer Reports praises the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ for its particle removal (on both high and low settings). Though it isn’t the quietest appliance out there, we hardly noticed it was running. And it is certainly worth it for the filtration and energy efficiency you will enjoy. You can purify the air in areas up to 540 sq. ft. And we love its washable “pre-filter” that extends the life of the primary activated carbon filter. If you are only looking to purify a small space, we recommend the Blueair Blue Pure 411. This smaller model provides quality filtration, even lower energy use, and a smaller upfront price tag!
Most Versatile: Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier
Want an air purifier that you can move around your home with ease? The Honeywell HPA300 is only 16 pounds and features a carrying handle. This makes it perfect for transport among multiple rooms whenever you choose. Compared to the Blueair, its high speed setting is quieter. This can be nice if you’re running it for longer periods of time. We’re big fans of its programmable timer, which helps you easily manage its run time (and electricity consumption).
On top of all this, you can easily place this Honeywell on tabletops or the floor. In addition to moderate energy use and better versatility than most models, it has a pre-filter like the Blueair to help prolong the life of the main filter. That means additional cost savings over the competition!
Best For Large Spaces: Alen BreatheSmart Classic Large Room
If you are looking to purify all the air in one of your larger rooms (or in an open apartment) and filter out pollutants down to 0.3 microns, this is the air purifier for you. It may be overkill for some people, but the Alen BreatheSmart is capable of cleaning the air in an 1,100 sq. ft. area every 30 mins. Pretty impressive!
It runs very quietly, even on its highest speed settings. With its larger size, it somewhat lacks in portability. But this is truly the creme-de-la-creme air purifier if you need to purify a large area or have an abnormally high level of indoor air pollutants.
If the air purifier you’re considering isn’t listed here, don’t despair! You can use WattDoesItUse to compare the features and power consumption requirements of other air purifiers on your short list.
How to Maximize Your Air Purifiers’ Efficiency
Like all appliances, even the best energy-efficient air purifiers have limitations. While they are great at removing tiny particles in the air, they are not as good at cleansing larger particles. And they are not a substitute for dehumidifiers. Air purifiers work best when used as part of a larger strategy to clean your home’s air.
The good news? A few simple changes can help you maximize your air purifier’s performance and minimize your costs.
Take a Load Off
Minimize the amount of harmful pollutants in your home before running your air purifier. That will empower it to more effectively clear out any tiny remaining particles. Simple steps like eliminating mold and using non-toxic cleaners will go a long way in cleansing the air so the purifier can function at its highest efficiency.
Location, location, location
Some areas of the home have less natural air circulation and grow “stale,” humid, or damp more quickly. You may be able to easily ventilate more central areas such, as the living room or kitchen, by opening windows. So consider prioritizing air purifiers in areas of the home that don’t have natural air circulation. For example, damp basements, interior bathrooms, bedrooms, or rooms without windows. This enables you to take advantage of free air purification methods like natural ventilation. And then leave the air purifier to work on rooms that need help the most.
Purifying Your Indoor Air: an investment in better health for you and the planet
Who isn’t concerned about our family’s health and the comfort of our home? The best energy-efficient air purifiers will enable you to breathe easy (literally!) knowing you are doing everything you can to prioritize that while tending to the health of your bank account and the planet.
Looking for other ways to make your home more comfortable while saving money on your electricity bill? Subscribe to the WattDoesItUse blog for the latest product comparisons and energy saving strategies straight to your inbox each month.