Concern over COVID-19 has many people worrying about indoor air quality and whether an air purifier can help. Consumer Reports’ experts reveal what a residential air purifier can really do when it comes to cleaning the air.
The HEPA filters in most residential air purifiers are certified to capture 99.97 percent of particles that are 0.3 micron in diameter. They also capture smaller and larger particles even more efficiently, including the coronavirus.
If someone in your household is sick, he or she should be isolated in a separate room with an air purifier. Even then, an air purifier isn’t a cure-all.
The faster an air purifier can exchange air in a room, successfully passing it through its filter, the better its chances of capturing the virus-laden particles. But even then, it’s not going to eliminate all of the particles, nor will the filter capture viruses that have landed on surfaces in the room.
CR says that along with the use of an air purifier, people should continue to practice social distancing, wear protective face masks, and follow other guidelines provided by the CDC.
The Blueair Classic 605 for $830 is the best and fastest air purifier based on CR’s particle reduction tests. But it’s pricey, and noisy at its highest speed.
For less money, consider the Honeywell HPA300 for $220. It earned ratings of Excellent and Very Good at its highest speed and lowest speed, respectively.
CR says you can see how fast an air purifier cleans the surrounding air by looking for its CADR number—or clean air delivery rate—on the packaging. Choose a model with a CADR over 240. This means that a particular air purifier can perform about five air exchanges per hour in its suggested room size. Also remember that simply opening your windows will allow fresh air to flow in and can help clear the air in a room.