The Best Air Purifiers for Allergies and Allergens
If you’ve found this page I’m guessing that either you, or one of your family or friends, suffers from an allergy.
One minute you’re happily enjoying life. The next you’ve been struck down with streaming eyes, runny nose or a sneezing fit and suddenly life isn’t so fun anymore.
You’ve had enough. Now you’re on the hunt for a solution.
You may have heard that air purifiers can help but you want to know more about these devices and what the best models for allergies are.
If you’re considering investing your hard-earned cash in one then it’s only right that you pick the very best one for your specific needs.
While air purifiers are not a complete solution to eliminating allergies they can definitely help to reduce them.
That’s why I’ve created a round-up of the top 5 best air purifiers on the market in 2017 for helping you deal with your allergies – quickly!
Or read on to find out more about:
- how air purifier units can help to reduce allergies
- my top tips for selecting the best model for you
- the top 5 models in 2017
- 1 How Air Purifiers May Help With Allergies
- 2 So What Is An Allergy?
- 3 What Types Of Things Cause Allergies?
- 4 4. Mold
- 5 Symptoms of Allergies
- 6 How Do Air Purifiers Help With Allergies?
- 7 What is the Best Air Purifier For Helping To Reduce Allergies?
- 8 Top 5 Air Purifiers for Allergies
- 9 “Best Value” – The Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter
- 10 Smart Design
- 11 What Room Size Will It Cover?
- 12 What Features Does the Unit Offer?
- 13 3 Stage Filtration
- 14 Air Quality Indicator
- 15 Auto Mode
- 16 Sleep Mode For a Good Night’s Sleep
- 17 Is it Easy To Set Up and Maintain?
- 18 What Length of Warranty Does the Unit Have?
- 19 My Final Thoughts and Rating
How Air Purifiers May Help With Allergies
The number of people suffering from allergies is on the rise, although the exact reasons for this are unknown at present.
You may already know for sure that you or a family member suffers from allergic reactions. Or perhaps you have a sneaking suspicion you do as you display many of the classic symptoms associated with allergies.
In this article we’re going to take a look at exactly what an allergy is, some common causes and symptoms, and how air purifiers may be able to help relieve them.
So What Is An Allergy?
An allergy may be defined as ‘a reaction the body has to a particular food or substance’, with the body’s immune system reacting as though such substances were harmful.
Allergies are a common condition thought to affect approximately 1 in 4 people at some point in their lives in the U.K.
Children tend to be affected more than adults. Childhood allergies may go away as a child matures, although some remain lifelong.
It’s also possible for adults to develop allergies to substances they’ve previously had no issues with.
The reasons why some people are more susceptible to allergies than others are not fully known, although family history is thought to be a factor, or if someone suffers from a closely related condition such as asthma or eczema.
What Types Of Things Cause Allergies?
Substances which trigger an allergic reaction are called allergens.
The most common allergens include grass or tree pollen, house dust mites, animal dander, mold and household chemicals.
Let’s take a look at each of these things in a little more detail.
An allergy to grass and tree pollen is known as hay fever (allergic rhinitis).
Pollen itself is a microscopic powder which is transported from one plant to another by the wind, or by animals, birds or insects.
It can also be brought into our homes on our clothes, shoes or pets, in addition to floating in through open doors and windows.
Some pollen grains are large and so will settle on indoor surfaces fairly quickly as opposed to remaining airborne.
But others, such as pollens from grasses and birch trees, can shatter into much smaller fragments and remain suspended in the air for several hours. This makes them more likely to be breathed in.
Pollen levels are likely to be higher on hot, dry days.
Thunderstorms can also increase levels as a result of the accompanying high humidity which suspends the pollen particles in the atmosphere for longer.
2. Dust Mites
House dust mites are microscopic creatures, measuring approximately 9 microns in size and thus invisible to the naked eye.
They live primarily on dead skin cells shed by humans and animals.
Given that the average person sheds up to 1.5g of skin every day that’s a lot of ‘food’ to feed a lot of critters – almost 1 million of them in fact!
Dust mites thrive in warm, humid conditions and are typically found in bedding, fabric furnishings, carpeting and soft toys. Their favourite spot to make themselves at home is in the bedroom.
Dust mites themselves don’t carry diseases but they may sometimes cause allergic reactions in people who suffer from asthma or those who are allergic to mite faeces.
When such individuals breath in air which is contaminated with mite faeces their immune systems may produce antibodies in response.
This may result in a number of symptoms such as stinging eyes, runny nose, itchy skin or sinus pressure.
Asthmatics may suffer from more severe symptoms including tightening of the chest, wheezing and difficulties in breathing.
3. Pet Dander
A third common allergen is pet dander.
There are many millions of us who enjoy sharing our homes with furry and feathered friends. In the U.K. alone the domestic pet population in 2015 was estimated at 8.5 million dogs and 8 million cats.
But as much as we may enjoy the companionship that pets can bring, unfortunately they can sometimes contribute to a decline in the quality of the air inside our homes that we’re breathing in.
Animal dander (tiny flakes of hair or skin) can trigger allergic reactions, as can airborne particles contaminated with dried urine and faeces, and unsavoury chemical gases caused by your pet’s ‘metabolic processes’!
For a few years we had a terrible problem with mold. It would infest all the upstairs window frames in our home. We’d scrub them all clean, only for new growths to crop up again in next to no time.
Mold thrives in damp, humid conditions and the lack of an extractor fan in our upstairs bathroom was discovered to be the most likely cause of the problem.
But in addition to being unsightly and a pain to clean, mold spores can also linger in the air and cause problems for people susceptible to allergies when breathed in.
The potential dangers of mold to our health is slowly entering the mainstream health media and the danger is real.
Check out this excellent article on the danger of mold and what the latest scientific research is uncovering on the level of impact it has on our health. It certainly surprised me.
5. Household Chemicals
Now, it may seem a contradiction that products designed to keep our homes clean may actually be the things which can trigger an allergic attack.
That’s because many common household cleaning products on the market today are made from a myriad of chemical and synthetic substances which give off something known as VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).
VOCs may also be emitted from some types of paints, and also from some different types of building materials and indoor furnishings.
Symptoms of Allergies
Now that we’ve had a look at some of the common causes of allergies, let’s examine some of the typical symptoms a person suffering from them might experience:
- itchy skin
- nasal congestion
- red, itchy rash
- runny nose
- sore throat
- stinging and/or watery eyes
- worsening of asthma or eczema symptoms
Allergic reactions usually occur within a few minutes of exposure to an allergen.
It’s worth noting that in general most allergic reactions are fairly mild and can be managed and kept under control for the most part.
However, although rare, severe reactions such as anaphylaxis (sometimes referred to anaphylactic shock) can occur and in such circumstances immediate medical attention must be sought.
Please note: this article is in no way intended to replace the expertise or advice of your own doctor or healthcare professional, nor should be acted on as such. Please always consult them if you have any specific queries or concerns.
How Do Air Purifiers Help With Allergies?
Air purifiers have been around for some time now but their popularity has increased significantly in recent times thanks to a growing awareness of how they may be able to help with specific conditions.
Essentially, an air purifier is an electrical device which ‘cleans’ the air inside a room.
So they help with allergies by removing from the air all the different contaminated particles which may trigger an allergic reaction if breathed in, such as pet dander, pollen and mold.
They do this by drawing the contaminated particles into the unit (usually by means of a fan) and trapping them inside a filter, before blowing back out unpolluted air.
However, there can be a variation in filters between different models, and if you’re looking for an air purifier specifically to help with allergies then you need to select one which comes with a HEPA filter.
HEPA filters are superior to standard filters in that they can catch even the tiniest of particles, down to 0.3 microns in size, so they can effectively deal with all those nasties that may trigger allergic reactions.
As with standard filters, HEPA filters do need to be replaced at regular intervals as specified by the individual manufacturer (usually in the region of 6 months to a year) to ensure that the air purifier works as efficiently and effectively as possible.
In between changes they can be cleaned either by vacuuming or washing in soapy water. And the vast majority of models are very user-friendly, so maintenance can be carried out quickly and simply.
What is the Best Air Purifier For Helping To Reduce Allergies?
There’s a huge range of air purifiers to choose from nowadays and that choice can become a little bewildering at times.
So we’ve done some research for you and reviewed a number of different options which are recommended for allergy reduction. Read on to discover our independent verdict on the top 5 units.
Top 5 Air Purifiers for Allergies
“Best Value” – The Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter
Levoit are one of these companies that I love.
They are one of the smaller players in the market but have a really clear mission statement which is to focus on improving your health and wellbeing through inspiring and health-promoting products.
This unit reflects that mission.
The LV-PUR131’s design is super classy. The gloss white body is elegant enough to fit seamlessly into most living spaces.
The air intake and outlets are placed discreetly on the side and top of the unit which allows the design to have clean, unbroken lines along the front face and sides.
It’s perhaps a pity that Levoit have stuck a big logo on the front panel though as a little bit of shameless branding – a more subtle logo would be better for us end users. We don’t need to know the model we bought every time we look at it! It’s not a big issue though, I’m just being picky.
The unit is 14.5 inches wide and 18.5 inches tall and only 7.5 inches deep so it’ll easily fit into smaller rooms without taking up too much space.
What Room Size Will It Cover?
The Levoit 131 is good for up to 300 sq. ft. This is about 30 sq m. if you prefer metric measurements.
In real terms this means it comfortably copes with living rooms, larger bedrooms and kitchen/dining areas.
What Features Does the Unit Offer?
Next let’s look at what you get for your money.
This unit is definitely great value for money but does this low cost come with compromises on quality and features? Read on to find out…
3 Stage Filtration
When it comes to filters it’s important to know that different types of filters are required to deal with different types of particles that pollute your indoor air. There isn’t really a single filter that can deal with absolutely everything. To address this issue Levoit has 3 different types of filters:
1.) Fine Preliminary Filter
This is the first filter that the air meets as it’s drawn into the air purifier unit.
Its job is to remove the larger particles like grit, hairs and larger particles of dust.
It’s important that these larger particles don’t make it through onto the finer HEPA filter because they can block or even damage it.
This is bad news as not only will it reduce how effective the unit is, it will also mean you have to pay for a new HEPA filter.
2.) True HEPA Filter
The HEPA filter is the most important for people suffering from allergies.
HEPA filters are created to the HEPA standard which is the same strict standard that places like hospitals, food processing plants and pharmaceutical companies use to ensure their premises are kept clean and free of contamination.
HEPA filters remove particles which are as small as 0.3 microns. When you consider that a human hair is 30-100 microns HEPA filter capture particles that are extremely small.
This HEPA filter’s job is to trap bacteria, dust, dust mites, pet dander, pollen, insecticide dust and other tiny particles that, when breathed into the body, can cause or trigger allergic reactions.
It also does a great job of capturing mold spores, viruses and smoke particles.
Did you know there can be up to 42,000 dust mites living in an ounce of dust!
3.) Active Carbon Filter
Once the air passes through the first 2 filters almost all of the particles will be removed. However, the odors that linger in the air left by damp dogs, cat tray odors and cooking will still remain.
This is where the active carbon filter comes into its own.
This filter contains a special carbon material that absorbs these odors and stops them circulating back into the air.
Carbon filters can also capture some dangerous gases that can linger around your home.
Air Quality Indicator
If you use a portable air conditioner you know if it’s working because you can feel the air getting cooler. However, with an air purfier it might be a bit more difficult to know if your air is actually getting cleaner.
To give you peace of mind the Levoit LV-PUR131 has a built-in air quality sensor.
You simply press a button on the control panel and an easy-to-understand color-coded light will come on. This indicates the current quality of the air in your room.
Another really great feature of the unit is the auto mode. The air quality sensor is also used by the unit when you switch it to auto mode.
Auto mode will switch on the unit and increase the fan speed when the air quality is poor but switches off when the quality is good.
This saves on energy bills and also helps to extend the life of the filters as you only use them as and when you need to.
Sleep Mode For a Good Night’s Sleep
If you’re looking for a quiet air purifier then this unit also delivers on that score.
The fan is the main source of noise that comes from an air purifier so they tend to run at low noise levels anyway.
That said, at night when the whole house is quiet even low levels of noise can disrupt your sleep, especially if you are a light sleeper.
Levoit engineers have created a clever sleep mode. When you activate sleep mode the fan automatically switches to the lowest speed setting and auto mode is disabled.
Disabling auto mode will mean that the unit will stop adjusting the fan if the air quality drops but that’s what you’d want at night.
We tend to get woken up by changes in noise so if the fan was to increase or decrease in speed or switch on or off you could end up getting woken up.
Is it Easy To Set Up and Maintain?
The unit is very quick and easy to set up. All you need to do is remove the unit from its packaging, remove the protective covering from the filters, plug it in and you’re good to go. It’ll start cleaning your indoor air within in minutes.
In terms of maintenance, you’ll need to change the HEPA filter every 6 months or so, although this will depend on how much you use the unit and how many particles are being trapped.
Don’t worry if you lose track of when you last installed the filters – there is a filter replacement indicator that will light up when it’s time to do this.
Changing the filter is a simple 2 minute job and the instruction manual will talk you through this step-by-step. Filters cost around $35 and can be purchased online from stores like Amazon.com
You’ll also need to clean the air sensor every few weeks to make sure it’s dust and grim free. This sensor is used to control the auto mode feature.
What Length of Warranty Does the Unit Have?
Levoit offers a 2 year warranty with the LV-PUR131.
In an industry where most manufacturers only offer 1 year this demonstrates their confidence in the quality of the product.
To be fair, there are not many moving parts in an air purifier so there are fewer things to break, but it’s still good peace of mind to have the longer warranty.
It’s also worth noting that when a few customers on Amazon have had to use the warranty the service has been outstanding.
Have a read of the experience posted by this reviewer. It’s a great example of excellent customer service.
My Final Thoughts and Rating
For a unit that costs less than a few hundred dollars, the Levoit is an excellent choice for value.
And my opinion is mirrored by many glowing testimonials from customers online. Here’s a selection of some comments I came across recently:
- “My allergies have seen a dramatic improvement at night!”
- “Some of us have allergies and the Levoit Air Purifier has made a big difference.”
- “For years had issues with sinus/allergy especially upon waking. This unit in my bedroom at night has ended these issues altogether.”
I have no problem in recommending this unit and giving it our top 5 star rating
It’s great value for money and jam packed with features that you would normally find in a unit twice or three times the price.
The customer feedback is great with many people claiming it’s made a huge difference to their allergy symptoms, particularly at night.
If there was a downside it’s that the filters need to be changed every six months, but at a cost of around $35 these air purifier filters are great value – particularly when you consider that some of the filters for higher end models cost upwards of $150!