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Best Air Purifiers - The Ultimate Guide
In this Ultimate Air Purifiers Buyers Guide we cover absolutely everything you need to know to help you find the best air purifier in Australia for your personal needs.
History of Air Purifiers
Air purifiers have been around for much longer than you would imagine. In 1830 Charles Anthony Deane, a British diving engineer, patented the first type of air purifier in the form of a smoke helmet to be worn by firefighters so they could breath while being inside smoked filled buildings.
Deane's Smoke Helmet.
In 1860, the idea of using wood carbon to filter air was patented by Scottsman and co-founder of the Chemical Society, John Steanhouse. His ideas were integrated into the first carbon filtered respirators, and that technology is still used today in all the best air purifiers.
John Steanhouse's respirator
Inspired by gas masks used in World War 2, HEPA filters were first introduced in the 1940’s. They were developed by scientists during the experimental Manhattan Project. They designed to remove radioactive materials from the air. HEPA filters were further developed and were commercialised in the 1950’s.
Atomic Bomb Experiment
HEPA or True HEPA filters are the main type of filter used in air purifiers today and are considered the gold standard of filter used in modern day air purifiers. They are also known as “Medical HEPA Filters or Hospital HEPA Filters”
The first residential air purifier was created by two German brothers, Klaus and Manfred Hammes in 1963. It was designed to filter out coal dust and particles from domestic coal fired ovens that were common in homes all around Europe.
Klaus and Manfred Hammes
During the 1960’s and 70’s air purifiers were becoming commonly used in hospitals and manufacturing plants but commonly found in the home.
Come the 1990’s, lots of research and development went into creating residential air purifiers. They became much smaller, lighter and more affordable and quickly became a popular appliance in homes around the world.
Today, air purifiers are even lighter, compact and more efficient than their older counterparts.
What is an Air Purifier?
An Air Purifier is a device that filters out unwanted pollutants from your air. Designed to be used indoors, they clean the air of a wide variety of potentially harmful substances and allergens, making the air you breathe safe, clean and fresh.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
Air purifiers use fans to draw the air in your room through a variety of filters, trapping the airborne particles as they pass through. Most of these particles are so small that you can’t see them with the naked eye but you can definitely feel them when you are continually breathing them in.
The best air purifier brands also use technology to not only filter out airborne particles like dust, smoke, pollen and pet dander but also filter out viruses and bacteria. Giving you the cleanest air possible.
What Pollutants Can They Remove?
Airborne dust: Dust is a concerning factor for people with asthma, allergies & other respiratory symptoms. Filtering out dust particles from your air eases symptoms dramatically.
Mould spores: Mould is typically one of the most harmful and commonly found allergens in the home. Mould particles travel through the air and can cause a wide variety of ill effects to you and your family’s health.
Dust mite allergens: Dust mites and their waste can really affect people with allergies. They can make breathing difficult and can play havoc with asthma sufferers or people with other respiratory issues.
Household pets allergens: Hair and dander from your household pet can be a big trigger for allergic reactions. With a quality air purifier you can remove these allergens as well as any odours, making your home much more comfortable for you and your pets.
Pollens and airborne particles: Different seasons can cause allergies to flare up. Pollens and other particles can cause a wide variety of issues like Hay Fever, Sore and itchy eyes, Asthma, and sinus issues. Running an air purifier during these times will dramatically help reduce your symptoms.
Bad odours & VOCs: There are many things can can create lingering odours and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). With a quality multi stage air purifier you can get rid of odours and VOCs from things like Cooking, indoor pets, cigarette smoke, chemical vapours and gases etc.
Viruses and Bacteria. With a quality air purifier, filtering out harmful viruses, bacteria & other contaminants will help to protect your family at home and your staff in the office.
Types of Air Purifiers
Types of Filters Used in Air Purifiers
There are several types of air purifiers and filters used in them. Many are used in conjunction with each other to give you the best performance and efficiency.
HEPA Filter. HEPA is the gold standard when it comes to air filtration and is only found in the best air purifiers. Short for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, HEPA filters are able to filter out a MINIMUM of 99.97% of particles that have a size 0.3 microns. Only the best air purifiers use genuine HEPA Filters.
It is important to note that cheaper, generic brands can market their filters as “HEPA Like Filters” or “HEPA Style Filter” but these are not true HEPA filters and will not perform as a true HEPA filter will.
Always look for terms such as “True HEPA”, “Medical HEPA” or “Hospital Grade HEPA” to ensure that you are getting the real deal.
(*All of our brands and models of air purifiers use Genuine True HEPA Filters or better.)
DFS Technology. DFS or Disinfecting Filtration System is proven to capture 99.99% of particles as small as 0.007 micron in size. This patented technology is proven to filter out more pollutants than even a True HEPA Filter and is exclusive to the Intellipure range. See here for more details.
Carbon Filters. These filters remove odours as well as neutralise harmful VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as formaldehyde, ammonia and other hazardous vapours and gases. All of our brands and models use high quality carbon filters.
Pre Filter. These are designed to catch large particles like hair and visible by eye airborne objects and particles. These help prolong the life of the other filter and should be cleaned by gently vacuuming them between every 2 to 4 weeks depending on the model and amount of use.
PlasmaWave Technology. Exclusive to the Winix range of air purifiers by Ausclimate. This is an extra layer of protection and filtration. It neutralises viruses, bacteria, VOCs and odours in the air by creating both positive and negative ions that once combined with the water vapours in the air, destroy any bad particles they come in contact with. Once destroyed these particles are filtered and trapped in the unit. This technology is vastly different to how ionisers work and if far more superior.
Can Air Purifiers Filter Bushfire Smoke?
Australia has suffered a lot from bushfires over the past few years and with climate change, chances are it isn’t going to improve a great deal any time soon.
Living near bushfire affected areas can leave a strong smell of smoke in your home for a very long time. Not only is this unpleasant but lingering smoke particle can be damaging to your health. By using a quality air purifier that uses a HEPA system or DFS Technology, you can easily combat the smell of smoke in your home or office.
Who Should Use An Air Purifier?
Pretty much anyone who wants to have the freshest, clean and toxin free air should use an air purifier but people who definitely need to consider using them are:
Asthmatics: Asthma is a condition that affects the lung’s airways so filtering your air is highly recommended.
Allergy sufferers: Similar to asthma, airborne triggers are a major contributor for allergies.
Those affected by smoke: People who are affected by cigarette smoke or that live in a bushfire zone.
New Home Owners: Moving into your newly built home is no doubt exciting and there is nothing like that brand new home smell!. But as exciting as it is, that new house smell can be a cause of toxins in your home. Fresh paint, new carpets, tile adhesives and even new furnishing can all give off VOCs that into your air. The best line of defense to neutralise these toxins is with an air purifier.
Pet Owners: If you are like us then you love having your best furry friend indoors with you. Whether it’s cats, dogs, birds or reptiles, pets are a contributing factor to poor indoor air quality. Be it from their hair and dander, feathers, or a cage or enclosure that your child “forgot” to clean out. It all adds up and can really affect the air quality in your home. Especially if you suffer from Allergies or Asthma.
Children and Infants: Not many people realise this but young children and infants can be affected more by poor air quality than adults. This is because their immune systems are still developing and they cannot fight off reactions to toxins or pollutants as us adults can. Having a quality air purifier in their bedroom is a great way to ensure they have excellent air quality while they are sleeping.
People Sensitive to Chemicals and Vapours: There are a whole range of items that people can be sensitive to which include, cleaning and disinfectant products, hobby glues and solvents, paints and varnishes, cooking fumes and odours, cosmetics and aerosols. All of these can create airborne particles but an air purifier can help eradicate them from your environment.
Benefits Of Using An Air Purifier
There are many benefits of owning an air purifier, below we look at the main benefits:
There are many indoor triggers for asthma that can be found both in your home or office. These can include dust, pollen spores, fumes and vapours and smoke from cigarettes or a fireplace. By filtering out these and other pollutants you severely reduce the triggers that can induce your asthma. This is especially important for child and elderly asthmatics.
When you suffer from allergies you know how important having fresh, clean air can be. Using an air purifier is the best way to remove allergy triggers like pet hair and dander, dust mites, mould and other airborne irritants.
There are many things that can leave lingering odours in your home or office. Cooking, smoke, pets and cleaning products are just a few examples. A quality air purifier will help eliminate these odours, leaving your space smelling fresh and clean, day in day out.
It is clinically proven that quality air purifiers that use multi-stage filtration including True HEPA, can help to remove and trap airborne viruses and bacteria.
Mould spores are so light that they can easily be spread around your home or office with the slightest breeze. By running using an air purifier you dramatically reduce the chances of mould being able to grow in your home or workplace. Leaving your space cleaner and healthier for you and your family or workmates.
VOCs are chemical compounds that are found in a wide range of domestic and commercial products. These include cleaning products, paint and varnishes, furnishings, carpets, photocopiers and printers, pesticides and bug sprays, aerosol cans, building materials, chemicals etc.
It is true that VOC build concentration is typically up to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. Using a multi-stage air purifier will drastically reduce the VOCs in your indoor environment.
Remove smoke smells and particles: , running a quality air purifier will really help get rid of unwanted smoke smells and harmful residues. Smoke particles are incredibly small and obviously damaging to your health so removing these from your air is vastly beneficial.
What Size Air Purifier Do I Need?
Similar to sizing an air conditioner, when choosing an air purifier the more air flow they have the better. All of our air purifiers have the area they can cover in their product description and are displayed in m² (Square Metres).
When sizing an air purifier it is good practice to choose one that can cover more area than the space it will be used in. This will speed up the time it takes to clean the air in that room as well as make your system more much more efficient as it won’t have to work so hard to clean your air.
To work out your room size, simply measure the length and multiply it by the width. L x W = M²
What is ACH
ACH stands for Air Changes per Hour. It is simply the amount of times all of the air in a room and been cycled through and cleaned by an air purifier per hour.
So if your air purifiers ACH was 5 it would mean the air in your room will be cleaned 5 times every hour.
This is a handy measurement to know when choosing an air purifier. As all rooms are different sizes, you may want to work out the ACH of your room.
This is a very simple calculation do to and you only 2 things to work it out. The first thing you need is the units Air Delivery Rate. You can find this information in all of our product specifications. Air Delivery Rate is typically displayed in cubic metres per hour or m3/h.
The Second bit of information we need is your room size in cubic metres. To work this out simply multiply the length by the width by the height of room.
Once you have both of those numbers you just divide the air deliver rate by the volume of the room.
Example: Air Delivery Rate is 360 m3/h, your room is 6m x 5m with a celling height of 2.4m (6 x 5 x 2.4 = 72)
360 divided by 72 = 5 ACH
This means that the air purifier will be able to achieve 5 clean air changes per hour for that size room.
What is CADR
CADR or Clean Air Delivery Rate is used by some manufacturers as a measurement metric. It is the measurement of how many cubic feet of air a particular air purifier can effectively remove particles of a certain size per minute.
CADR can be handy metric but does have some limitations and drawbacks, hence why some top tier brands do not use it a metric.
CADR tests are conducted by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), manufacturers can voluntarily have an air purifier tested for a fee.
CADR only tests three pollutants, Dust, Smoke and Pollen. They do not test for VOCs, odours, fumes, gasses etc.
The way CADR is calculated is an air purifier is placed in standardised sized room measuring 1,008 cubic feet. They run the unit on the highest setting for a total 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes the levels of the contaminant/s tested are measured against the pre-test levels.
While being a handy metric to have on hand, CADR ratings don’t give you the full picture about an air purifiers efficiency and performance.
One major limitiation is that CADR does not test for gases, odors or VOCs.
These non-particle pollutants are very common in the home or workplace. As previously mentioned, paint, carpet, furnishing, cooking odours, chemical sprays and products are just some of the things CADR isn't testing.
So only having a CADR rate to go by doesn't really help you choose a unit when you are looking to filter these pollutants out. Having a high quality activated carbon filters, which aren't CADR tested, will remove these pollutants.
CADR testing is only performed for a short time (25 minutes) and only on the highest setting. These factors are also important to consider. A 25 minute test doesn't give any indication of the units effectiveness and performance over time.
Only testing on the highest setting doesn't give you any indication of how it will perform on a lower setting. You aren't always going to be running your air purifier on full, which is the only metric CADR gives.
Like we say CADR can be a handy thing to know. But knowing the Air Flow Rate, ACH and room size rating, while ensuring the unit has TRUE HEPA and Quality Activated Carbon Filters, is the best way to go.
Where Should I Place My Air Purifier
Whether you are using it in your bedroom, lounge room or office, if you have sized it correctly for your needs, then you can place it anywhere in your space. The main thing to consider is not having it too close to a wall or placing it in front or behind objects that may obstruct it’s air flow.
How much do air purifiers cost to run?
Luckily air purifiers are very energy efficient and do not cost very much to run at all. Considering they are designed to run all day and night, this is great news. But how does it actually cost to run an air purifier?
Let's take a look at how to work this out. For this example we’ll take a look at a medium sized unit, the Winix Zero 4-Stage Air Purifier. This unit has a maximum energy consumption rate of 35W on the highest fan speed.
At the time of writing the average cost per kWh in Australia was 0.37 cents per Kilowatt Hour (kWh).
First we divide the cost per unit by 1 kWh ( 0.37c/1000w = .00037c per watt).
Now that we know the cost per watt we can now work out what the maximum cost will be to run this machine per hour.
We just times the cost per watt by the max energy rating of the air purifier.
Ie: 0.00037 x 35 = 0.01295 or 1.295 Cents per hour.
So to run the above system for 24 hours it would only cost 38 cents and much less on lower settings.
Are Air Purifiers Noisy
The best air purifiers for domestic use are mechanical units. They use fans to draw in polluted air and to push out clean air. As they have fans there will be some sound when they are running.
The sound level will differ when operating in different modes or settings. Low being the quietest and high the loudest. Many of our purifiers have dedicated sleep modes for minimal noise making them perfect to use when sleeping.
All of our brands are high tier air purifiers and are designed to run as quietly as possible in all modes and settings.
The sound level is measured in decibels and is displayed as dB on all of our product pages in the specifications tab.
What Kind Of Maintenance Does an Air Purifier Require?
Air purifiers only require a minimal amount of maintenance. The Pre filter will need to be vacuumed between every 2-4 weeks if you are running it 24 hours a day.
Filters also need to be replaced over time. Luckily this is not very often. With most models you only need to replace them every 12 months.
Some models such as the Austin Air range only need replacing every 5 years with normal residential use.
That’s it, nothing else to do but turn it on and enjoy fresh, clean air all year round.
Your filters are working hard to remove all the pollutants in your air and as result they do need replacing over time. Replacement filters while very affordable, are also an extra cost to consider when choosing an air purifier.
Most brands tend to to need a filter replacement every 12 months. This is based on constant daily use up to 24 hours a day. If you are not using your system as much you can expect prolong use of each filter.
Many models will have indicator to alert you if your filter needs changing. You can also tell by the smell of your air. If you notice your air isn't smelling clean as it should then it's time for a replacement.
You will find all the suggested filter replacement timeframes on the each product page in the description/specifications section.
Another important thing to consider when purchasing an air purifier. Things top two things to look out for are:
- How long it is valid for. Anything less than 2 years is probably a red flag.
- Australian Warranties. If you by your system from an overseas website or market place platform then unfortunately your warranty won't be valid here in Australia. Meaning any warranty claims/repairs will entail you sending your unit to the county of purchase often at your expense. This not only costly but can leave you without your air purifier for months.
If after reading this guide you feel like you resonated with any of the above then chances are owning an air purifier is going to add a great deal of value to you and your family's lives.
If you have any questions or would like to speak with one of our super friendly team then or hit us up on our live chat, call us on 1300 748 137 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We're here to help you find the best air purifier for your your needs and are available 7 days a week, 8am - midnight (AEST)