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Air Purifier Technology At a Glance

There are 3 general categories of air purification technology which include several sub-categories:

I. PASSIVE FILTRATION

HEPA (High Efficiency Particle Air Filtration) Air Purifiers

Air Filtering Technology HEPA filter remove 99.97% of allergen particles from 0.3 micron and up
Irritants/allergens Filtered Out

Pollen, Dust, Mold, Pet Dander, Bacteria, Viruses

Great for allergies

Benefits No harmful byproducts or chemicals are produced with their use
Considerations Pure HEPA Filter does not remove odors, chemicals (e.g. VOCs) or gasses

Used filters will need to be replaced or washed off periodically

 

Activated Carbon Air Purifiers 

Air Filtering Technology Neutralizes odors and traps chemicals and gases
Irritants/allergens Filtered Out

Gas & Chemicals, Smoke & Odors

Best for treating MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities)

Benefits Typically harmful byproducts or chemicals are not produced with their use until saturation

Air purifiers with both a HEPA and an activated carbon filter are considered very efficient
Considerations

Doesn’t remove particles or germs

Can outgas when saturated

 

Earth Mineral (Metal Oxide) Air Purifiers

Air Filtering Technology Neutralizes odors and traps chemicals and gases
Irritants/allergens Filtered Out

Gas & Chemicals, Smoke & Odors

Best for treating MCS (Multiple Chemical Sensitivities)

Benefits No harmful byproducts or chemicals are produced with their use, no outgassing

Air purifiers with both a HEPA and a mineral filter are  considered very efficient
Considerations

Limited removal of particles or germs

Filters may need to be replaced more often than comparable carbon filters

II. IONIZATION

Ionic/Electrostatic (Filter-less) Air Purifiers

Air Filtering Technology Charge airborne particles, causing them to clump into larger particles. The difference between Electrostatic Air Purifiers and Ionizers is that they trap the "charged particles" inside the machine.
Irritants/allergens Filtered Out

Bacteria, Virus, Germs

Benefits No need to replace filters, save money on maintenance
Considerations

May not remove the particles from the room entirely

Create ozone, another pollutant that can cause irritation in the lungs, especially for people with asthma or other sensitivities. Ozone emission concentration less than 0.05 parts per million (ppm) should be considered for residential use

For more information, check out California Certified Air Cleaning Devices.

 

III. IRRADIATION

UV Light Air Purifiers

Air Filtering Technology Neutralize bacteria that accumulate on air purifier filters. Benefits vary depending on the unit
Irritants/allergens Filtered Out

Bacteria, Germs

Benefits Designed to get rid of allergens and germs, including bacteria and viruses
Considerations UV itself doesn't filter particles

Effective when it's used in addition to an air purifier that uses HEPA

Lamp will need to be replaced every so often

Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) Air Purifiers

Air Filtering Technology Neutralize bacteria while still in the air and thus do not require filter collection
Irritants/allergens Filtered Out

Bacteria, Germs

Benefits Designed to get rid of allergens and germs, including bacteria and viruses
Considerations Larger particles are not filtered or destroyed

Effective when used with Titanium Dioxide to destroy small particles in the air without filtration

Catalytic chamber will need to be replaced every so often