Air purifiers have become incredibly popular for those looking to protect themselves against COVID-19 and other viruses. That’s not surprising. Data shows that air purifiers can filter out COVID-19. In fact, the EPA now suggests portable air purifiers be used to improve ventilation to protect against COVID-19:
However, when looking to buy an air purifier, the wide range of filters, makes and models of air purifiers can be daunting. What’s more, finding the best air purifier can be made more difficult by companies using misleading marketing strategies and flashy ads.
This article covers the best air purifiers for combating the COVID-19 coronavirus. It gives instructions on what type of air purifier is best for COVID protection and provides simple steps to help you choose the best air purifier for COVID-19.
Best Type of Air Purifier for Coronavirus Protection
There are three main types of air purifiers that have been marketed as best for combating COVID-19. They are:
- UV Light Air Purifiers
- Ionizer Air Purifiers
- HEPA Filter Air Purifiers
We’ll go through each in turn, using data to show which is the best.
COVID Protection #1: UV Light Air Purifiers
UV air purifiers have been mentioned by some as the best air purifier for COVID-19 protection. Data shows that UV light can kill the coronavirus, so UV light air purifiers would seem like an obvious choice for COVID-19 protection.
However, data shows that the UV lights in most UV air purifiers are too weak to kill viruses. This means that for a typical household UV air purifier, viruses in the air would have to pass 36 times through the purifier before the purifier would kill them. That’s not very practical.
Other downsides of using UV light air purifiers to combat COVID include:
- UV light air purifiers typically cost more than other purifier types (both for the purifier, and for the electricity used).
- they can lose their effectiveness rapidly, as the light gets dirty.
- UV light itself is dangerous – especially to the human eye.
Conclusion: Coronavirus: 1 – UV light air purifier: 0
All in all, UV light air purifiers aren’t the best purifiers for COVID-19.
COVID Protection #2: Ionizer Air Purifiers
Next up are another heavily marketed type of purifier for COVID-19 protection: air purifiers with ionizers. Ionizers work by shooting negative ions into the air. These negative ions stick to viruses, and in turn sticking them surfaces like walls and tables. The science is similar to what makes a balloon stick to the wall:
This is not ideal. Because the ions only move the viruses to walls and tables, the virus is still in the room. Ionizers do not kill or remove viruses from the air. What’s more, these surfaces could become a means of transmitting the Covid-19 virus.
Conclusion: Coronavirus: 2 – Ionizer air purifiers: 0
Since ionizer air purifiers do not actually remove viruses from the air, they cannot be considered the best air purifiers for COVID-19.
COVID Protection #3: HEPA Filter Air Purifiers
If you’ve read this far, you probably already know which type of air purifier is the best for protecting against COVID-19. HEPA filter air purifiers have been around for a long time. And there’s a reason for that. They do a great job of capturing tiny particles, including nanoparticles as well as particles the size of the coronavirus.
What’s more, as HEPA filter air purifiers are simple, old tech, they don’t cost a lot of money. They can be picked up for as little as $30, or you can even make your own. This makes them one of the best choices for filtering out coronavirus.
HEPA filters are incredible efficient, they capture over 99% of virus-sized particles in a single pass. The viruses stick in the HEPA filter, and are no longer in the air. HEPA filter air purifiers also do not release any harmful or dangerous pollutants, such as ozone (from ionizers) or UV light (from UV light air purifiers.
While HEPA filter air purifiers are the best air purifier for COVID-19, they still aren’t perfect. There are some important things to remember when using an air purifier for COVID proteciton.
Conclusion: Coronavirus : 0 – HEPA air purifiers : 1
CDC Study: HEPA Air Purifiers Reduced COVID-19 Spread in Schools
A recent 2021 CDC study of elementary schools in Georgia showed schools that used HEPA filters in their classrooms had significantly lower COVID-19 spread than those that did not. The study results further add to the support of HEPA filters in COVID-19 protection.
How I Protect Myself
Smart Air is a certified B–Corp committed to combating the myths big companies use to inflate the price of clean air.
Smart Air provides empirically backed, no-nonsense purifiers and masks, that remove the same particles as the big companies for a fraction of the cost. Only corporations benefit when clean air is a luxury.