Are Air Purifiers Good for Allergies?

by Véronique Raymond
air purifier

If you or one of your family members suffers from allergies, you’ve probably tried just about everything to ease your symptoms during allergy season and all year round. If nothing helps, or you’re not experiencing the level of symptom relief you want, an air purifier may be just the thing you’ve been looking for.

Air purifiers clean the air in your home of dust mites, pet dander and hair, and a variety of other pollutants that can irritate your airways and aggravate allergies or sensitivities. Let’s find out more about how an air purifier can help with your allergy symptoms.


What Allergens Are in Indoor Air?

Unfortunately, the air in your home can be just as bad for your allergies as outdoor air. There are a number of pollutants and irritants in your home that can affect your allergy symptoms. The most common allergens you’ll face in your home include pet hair, pet dander, dust and dust mites, mold spores, cleaning products, some building materials, tobacco, and pollen. Plus, any allergens outside can also make their way inside your home through open windows or from people coming and going from the residence. Your indoor air quality may also be affected by volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, such as paints, room deodorizers, new furniture, nail polish remover, and many other common household products. Those with seasonal allergies may only face irritants during certain months of the year, but anyone with sensitivities to these allergens and pollutants will struggle all year round.


How an Air Purifier Rids the Air of Allergens

air purifier

An air purifier works by pulling in air from the room, cycling it through a number of filters, and outputting the cleansed air back into your home. The purifier uses multiple layers of filters that trap unwanted allergens like mold, dander, pollen, and dust. For allergens, HEPA filtration is the best option most times, but some other types of filters can trap even smaller particles. Every filtration system is different and will trap a different collection of allergens.

There are also whole-home air purifiers that connect to your existing HVAC system to purify the air in your entire home rather than a single room. However, they are not magical devices, so they will work best when you follow other best practices for living with allergies such as regular vacuuming and cleaning of the home, proper ventilation, proper humidity levels, and medication.


What Allergy Symptoms Can an Air Purifier Help Relieve?

Allergens in the air can impact your physical comfort and well-being in many ways. The most common symptoms you’ll experience if your indoor air quality is poor include:

  • Nasal congestion or a runny nose
  • Watery eyes that may also sting, itch, or become red
  • Sneezing
  • Respiratory issues including coughing and asthma
  • Headaches


How Often Should I Run My Air Purifier for Allergies?

For best results, your air purifier should be on 24/7. There is no downside to running your air purifier all the time, and it is best to cycle your air constantly to continuously remove allergens from the air to maintain excellent air quality levels in your home. Since air purifiers are quite energy efficient and don’t consume much electricity, there is no downside to running your air purifier constantly for your allergies.


Best Air Purifiers for Allergies

air purifier

There are a few features that all the best purifiers for allergies have that ensure your symptoms will be relieved:

High Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

Since irritants in your home can build up quickly, the efficiency of your air purifier is one of the most important features. A higher clean air delivery rate means your purifier can cycle through more air faster to get your air cleaner at a higher rate. Not only does this make it more efficient in a room with more square feet to cover, but it will also maintain the cleanliness of your indoor air better since it cycles the air through more often. Some air purifiers have multiple fan speeds that offer various rates of clean air delivery to accommodate the air quality levels in your space. If the square footage or size of your room is larger than 500 sq. ft., you may want to consider a built-in air purifier for a higher CADR.

True HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) Filter

No matter the size, brand, or efficiency of your air purifier, the filter is the most important component when it comes to allergies. A true HEPA filter is the best choice since it traps 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns – this is the best capture rate of all filters across all air purifiers and is the standard for allergy relief. A HEPA air purifier is a top choice for allergies since it performs the best at trapping allergens like mold spores, dander, and dust. Though any type of filter can make some difference, such as a carbon filter, a true HEPA filter is the most popular option for allergy sufferers.

Advanced Multi-Step Filtration System

For maximum air quality in your home, multi-step filtration is key. The best air purifiers for allergies will have multiple air filters including a charcoal filter that helps reduce cooking, cleaning, and pet odors, a pre-filter that traps the larger debris like pet hair floating around your home, a HEPA filter for tiny airborne particles, and possibly even a UV light or ionizer for bacteria, customizable filter, deodorization filter, activated carbon filter, and others. A three- or four-stage filtration system is the minimum standard for allergies. Many of these filters are washable and reusable to ensure they function at maximum efficacy for trapping allergens.

Smart Digital Features

Since spring is the worst time for allergy sufferers, an air purifier with smart settings may be just what you need. With digital settings, you’re able to adjust the air purifier according to the air quality in your home. Smart functionality enables you to respond to changing allergen levels with the seasons so that air pollution in your home stays at a consistent level all year round. Smart air purifiers also remind you when filters need to be changed and can alert you to specific airborne allergens as well as trends in your air quality in real-time.


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