What's Better than an Air Purifier? A Comprehensive Guide

Ionizers are more effective than HEPA air purifiers when it comes to purifying a larger area and removing smaller particles from the air. After testing more than 50 air purifiers over the past nine years, our measurements have shown that the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty is the best among them. It is powerful enough for a large room, quiet enough to sleep nearby, designed to last for years, and affordable enough to be installed in several rooms. The Coway Airmega 200M is practically identical to Coway's AP-1512HH Mighty in every important way.

They are equivalent in noise and performance measurements, the filters are interchangeable and the similar controls on either allow the lights on the screen to be turned off. The 200M has a square rather than a round grille, but that's the only important physical difference. If you prefer the 200M look or if you find it at a better price, we recommend it. In conditions where air quality is poor, such as when your area is affected by a nearby wildfire, we suggest running air purifiers at a high temperature for one hour and then running them in a quiet environment or medium to create and maintain clean air in the home. We tested this method on the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty and the Airmega 400 for three hours (one hour at high temperature), followed by two at medium temperature after burning 15 wooden matches to create a large initial load of fine smoke particles. Air filters and air purifiers serve the same purpose - they both filter contaminants such as dust, mold, bacteria, and allergens.

However, they work in completely different ways. Portable air purifiers generally use fans to suck air through one or more filters, trap various contaminants, and then circulate the cleanest air back to the room. Indoor air quality kits are available to help you identify which pollutants are the source of many of your indoor air quality problems.


air filters are particularly good at removing particles such as mold, pet dander, dust, and other allergens. It all depends on what you want an air purifier to do in your home and how well you adapt the specific air purifier to your goals.

HEPA purifiers use glass fibers in a strategic configuration to capture large particles such as mold, dust, and other allergens while clean air passes freely. To filter gases, you should choose a portable air filter with an activated carbon filter or other filter designed to remove gases. Before investing in an air purifier, you may want to invest in a home air quality test to determine what contaminants you have in your home. With fiberglass, pleated paper, mesh or active carbon, the filter acts like a sieve to trap particles that are larger than the holes through which air flows and removes them from the atmosphere. If you try this trick, carefully seal the filter around its entire perimeter with clear, professional-strength adhesive tape; any space would have let unfiltered air through, just like in specialized air purifiers. By combining UV-C and HEPA air purifiers, researchers have observed a greater reduction in airborne pollutants that can cause allergies or asthma, as well as other harmful particles.

Other research showed that HEPA air purifiers can reduce smoke particles in the air, but not nicotine without particulate matter or other gaseous components of smoke. Ionic and HEPA air purifiers are very common solutions to many homeowners' indoor air quality problems. Rather than relying on fans to move air through filters, ionic air purifiers send out negatively charged ions that bind to positively charged pollutants in the air. Air filters are built directly into the air conditioning system and allow air to pass through them to trap microscopic contaminant particles. A review of the research concluded that air filters have little significant effect on dust mite allergens because these allergens lodge in larger particles that deposit quickly on surfaces and are not trapped by air filters. However, a ULPA (Ultra Low Penetration Air) filter looks better on paper because it reduces smaller sized particles and larger particles.

Ida Trodden
Ida Trodden

Devoted beer geek. Passionate twitter nerd. Proud introvert. Evil twitter maven. Friendly web junkie. Certified pop culture ninja.

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