Which air purifier should I choose for my home?  Part 2: Air Cleaning

If you read the post on Part 1: Airflow, you can see that unless you live in a studio apartment with one Big Ass Fan (not joking, they really do exist!) to get airflow moving, it’s sometimes difficult to get good dilution ventilation.  Many homes are broken up into little boxes that aren’t planned well for air circulation.  Without that mixing action going on, the air quality is not going to be homogenous and a single purifier will not be able to effectively clean the air in corners and behind closed or even partially closed doors. 

HypoAir purifiers do not have large fans to pull air through them; they have a single small fan that distributes polarized ions and catalytic molecules into the air.  Therefore, they rely heavily on the airflow already established in the space.  Better airflow = better purification.  We make specific recommendations based on a review of the layout of your home and specific needs.  Let’s hit one more topic of Specific Needs before making the recommendation. 

The Air Angel, Germ Defender and Whole-Home Polar Ionizer have overlapping technologies, each of which are suited to different air contaminants.  

  • All three have Polar Ionization, which is great against bacteria, viruses, mold, and particulate control (pet dander, pollen, smoke particles from wildfires, dust, etc.).  
  • The Air Angel has the added benefit of an AHPCO cell with UV light, which make it a better choice in areas with VOCs/smells like the kitchen, cat litter box or pet bed area, areas around new furniture, and also bedrooms for easier breathing at night. 
  • We suggest adding a “removal” unit like HEPA filter to your arsenal as these three HypoAir units do not include HEPA filters. 

If you would like to protect your whole home and have central HVAC, then the Whole-Home Polar Ionizer delivers the best value for protection.  There are no filters to change, and is designed to run continuously with the AC fan set to “on”.   Everywhere that HVAC is delivered, polar ions will flow with the air to deactivate pollutants and germs.  One unit will be required for each air handler in your home; for example if you have two air handlers for different zones, you would need two Whole-Home Polar Ionizer units. 

Consider strategic placement of Germ Defenders and Air Angels if the following applies:

  • You don’t have central AC, or
  • Your central AC does not cover the whole home, or
  • You have a smaller budget
We highly recommend a Germ Defender in bathrooms (it’s so easy to plug in and forget about it) because it helps to keep mold at bay.  I have personal experience with this: in the spring of 2020 my shower faucet began to leak and the constant dripping caused mold to spread in the shower within days.  Until I could get the valve fixed, moving a Germ Defender into my bathroom stopped the mold growth.  Another great space for the Germ Defender is a front entryway or hallway, where bigger purifiers would be a tripping hazard or seem unsightly.  Neutralize germs at the front door!

Air Angels are great for bedrooms and any space up to 300 ft2, and they have three fan settings to adjust the airflow/noise to your liking.  When possible, the fan should be kept on the highest setting to afford maximum distribution of polar ions in the space.  This unit is more portable because of the cord and horizontal mounting surface.  You can move one from your main living space to a bedroom in the evening, if necessary,  for better sleeping.  

Both Germ Defenders and Air Angels are made for zone purification like medium to small rooms and spaces.  When your home is more than one story, staircases are an added complexity.  In general, we recommend placing one purifier at the top of the stairway rather than the bottom, as air tends to move down and will carry the polar ions with it. 

As mentioned earlier, we recommend a separate HEPA filter to pick up deactivated toxins from the air.  If you are using your homes HVAC with the Whole-Home Polar Ionizer, then make sure the AC filter is a HEPA one.  Otherwise we have some great picks for standalone HEPA filters.  If the square footage given is slightly smaller than your space, don’t count the HEPA filter out; rather, just be aware that it will take a little longer than designed to purify all the air in the space.  

  • The BlueAir Pure Fan Auto, $240, has a large Clean Air Delivery Rate and cleaned a 702 ft3 room (about the size of an 8’x9’x8’ tall room) full of incense smoke in only 27 minutes!  (see the test results here).  It has washable pre-filters that come in different colors.

  • The CoWay AirMega Mighty, $230, has been highly rated for a number of years by the NY Times Wirecutter review for dusty rooms up to 250 square feet.  Their testing has used the same filter for up to a year with good performance (however of course you’ll want to have new filters on hand just in case you are caught in an exceptionally-poor air quality day). 

  • Lenoit has several models that fit comfortably into bedrooms and small to medium size living spaces. This one can purify spaces up to 129 ft2 in as little as 15 minutes.  
  • For DIY’ers / very low budget:  check out this DIY Box fan air cleaner which at the highest setting, can clean over 1600ft2 every 15 minutes (assuming you have 8 foot ceilings).  Since it only has HEPA, there is no carbon filtration of smells or VOCs, but 4 HEPA filters in one unit are certainly going to impact your life in terms of better air quality!