Why buy an air purifier with a permanent filter
There is one main reason to buy an air purifier with a permanent filter, which is to save money. Filters for these machines can be quite expensive to replace, especially when you consider this needs to be done every three to six months. Even if there is a cheap generic filter that can be used as a replacement, the cost still adds up. So, even a cheap $50 air purifier will cost hundreds of dollars long before it begins to fail and requires an upgrade.
When buying one of these models, though, be sure to check if the filter is washable or just permanent. These words are not interchangeable after all. The washable ones can be cleaned using soap and water, which is quite easy to do. The permanent ones may be washable, but could also require vacuum cleaning instead. If a vacuum is needed, it is because the water will damage the filter, making it unusable. Vacuum cleaning isn’t always as thorough as washing, either, so be sure to check what you’re getting before you buy.
Keep in mind, that there are also filterless air purifiers on the market today, which don’t even need anything to be ever replaced, vacuumed or washed.
Features to consider while choosing an air purifier with a washable filter
If you’re going to buy an air purifier with a washable filter, there are a few important details and features you should look for. This will ensure that you are purchasing a reliable model that will provide you with the air quality levels and ease of use that you are looking for.
Many of the airborne particles that an air purifier removes from the air are about 0.3 microns in size or larger. This includes things like dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, and smoke. A filter that can catch things of this size or larger cleans them out of the air, making it much healthier to breathe in.
Unfortunately, other VOC like odors or gas molecules are smaller than 0.3 microns. This means a filter that catches 0.3 micron-sized particles won’t stop those smaller bits, leaving them in the air. For these odors, you’ll need a different type of filter, or a combination of filters and ionizer to be sure every tiny unwanted particle is removed for the cleanest air possible.
Type of filters
There are a few main filter types used in an air purifier with a washable filter. These have different capabilities and strengths. On their own, they work fine, but you can also find many air purifiers that combine some of these options, gaining the extra benefits.
A High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is one of the most common types. These remove 99.97% of the airborne particles that are a minimum of 0.3 microns. These types of particles include pollen, dust, and pet dander, just to name a few. Some air purifiers use true HEPA filters, others label them as HEPA-grade or HEPA-type filters, which means they are similar to the real ones, though not exact.
Activated carbon filters add a more thorough clean to the air, getting rid of odors or chemicals that are smaller than 0.3 microns. These odors can come from smoking, fireplaces, pets, or cooking. Even volatile organic compounds (VOC) like paint fumes are removed from the air with this type of filter.
Pre-filters add an extra layer of protection by catching the larger particles in the air. These particles would normally be caught in the other filters, but this reduces their lifespan. The pre-filter extends the life of your other filters, which reduces cleaning or replacement time.
The Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR, tells you the volume of filtered air that an air purifier can create. There are three different levels of filtration that are displayed when discussing the CADR, including smoke, dust, and pollen. Each one has a different number range. Smoke is 10 – 450 CADR, dust is 10 – 400, and pollen is 25 – 450. The number assigned to each one means that the air purifier has been tested and proven to remove those particles in the same concentration as if the same amount of clean air was added. For instance, the Honeywell AirGenius is rated for 160 CADR of dust, so adding 160 cubic feet of clean air would improve the quality in the same way as using the air purifier.
The coverage area of the best air purifier with a washable HEPA filter, carbon filter, or any other type of cleaning device shows you the largest room you should use that purifier in. Some have smaller coverage areas, like the model by Hamilton Beach, which covers up to 80 square feet. This means it will work best in rooms of this size or smaller. Other models, like the OION Technologies B-1000, have much larger coverage areas so that they can be used in the bigger living spaces, like living rooms or kitchens.
Before you select the right model, check the size of the room you intend to use it in first, to be sure it will be able to keep up the amount of air in that space.
Air purifiers with washable filters come in a wide range of sizes. Some are small and wide, while others are tall and thin. If you have a lot of space, you can pretty much get any size you want, as long as it has the features you’re looking for. For those with limited space, larger models may not fit as nicely. A wide one may take up some precious floor space, but a taller one that is quite thin may be easier to tuck into a corner or between some furniture if needed.
Portable air purifiers of this type come with a wide range of warranties, depending on the brand. For instance, the Hamilton Beach 04383A has a one-year limited warranty, while the Honeywell HFD-120-Q has a five-year limited warranty. Obviously the more extended warranty is more appealing. You do need to consider what each warranty covers though. Does it cover the defects in workmanship or parts? Are only certain pieces covered? What is the procedure for repair or replacement? Sometimes you are required to ship the purifier back to the company at your own cost, which isn’t cheap for products of this size. So, check out the coverage carefully, so you know exactly what to expect in the event of a purifier failure.
Though the purpose of an air purifier is to clean the air, there are a few additional features that make them much more convenient to use. Many of these products come with multiple fan speeds, so you can choose how many you think you’ll need for different rooms or seasons.
An auto shut-off feature turns the purifier off at specific times, like when the air quality improves. A timer allows you to run it for a set amount of time. Different modes are also good to have, like a Sleep Mode that dims lights and quiets the fan while you sleep.
Though not common, an included remote control is handy, allowing you to change the settings while you relax on the couch. Energy-efficient certifications tell you these machines won’t add too much to your electric bill. Different color options and stylish designs help you fit your new air purifier in with your other décor.
Tips to clean your filter
To keep your air purifier running smoothly, you need to clean the filters regularly, getting rid of the dust and hair that could otherwise interfere with its effectiveness. To do this properly, follow these handy tips:
- Unplug the air purifier and remove the filters.
- Check what type of cleaning is needed (washing or vacuuming).
- If they are washable, use a soft cloth and some warm, soapy water. Wipe them down completely, making sure there is no residue left behind. Then dry them thoroughly before putting them back into the machine.
- For vacuum filters, use the brush attachment on your vacuum. This will loosen the particles as the brush moves over them, allowing more of them to be sucked up by the vacuum.
- Wipe down the outside of the machine, the outlets and air vents, and intake grills to get rid of any old dust and keep the filters cleaner for longer.