Air Purifiers That Work, And Ones That Don't

Consumer Reports tested 40 air purifiers by locking them in a closed room and filling it with smoke and dust—in other words, they recreated this writer’s childhood Christmases when Granny would visit with her angry poodle. Here are Consumer Reports’ selection of the best and worst devices.

Two ozone-based purifiers, EdenPure Area Model and the EcoQuest Fresh Air, “do a poor job of removing smoke and dust, and they emit very high levels of ozone.” Consumer Reports slaps a “Not Acceptable” for use by homeowners label on them. (More memories of Granny.)

Of course, the most heavily marketed purifiers we know of are from Sharper Image. So how did the company fare?

Consumer Reports also tested air purifiers from market leaders Oreck and Sharper Image. The Sharper Image Hybrid GP Germicidal Air Purifier is $500 and the Oreck tower, the XL Professional Air Purifier, is $700. But Consumer Reports says neither did a good job of cleaning the air.

A much less expensive air purifier did a much better job and earned top-ratings. It’s the Whirlpool Whispure model number AP45030S for $230. It uses only a filter to clean the air, so it doesn’t emit any ozone at all.

As far as antibacterial features, the testing found that the Whirlpool Whispure model named above performed as well at removing microorganisms from the air as more expensive models, even though the Whirlpool model isn’t marketed as antibacterial.

“CONSUMER REPORTS: Air purifiers” [9 News Colorado]

“Air cleaners, how to choose” [Consumer Reports]
(Photo: Getty)


Edit Your Comment

  1. TomK says:

    Thanks for that. I want an air purifier, but didnt know what to get. I am getting a Whispure. Sweet toxin free air.

  2. I own two air filters… These things are sort of a rip off. Hundreds of dollars for a multi-speed fan that sucks air through a filter on one end, and pushes it out another.

    They work though.. so I guess unless you can fabricate plastic around an oscillating desk fan and strap on a house air filter… you are SOL for saving money.

  3. mycroft2000 says:

    I have a Bionaire HEPA filter purifier that works amazingly well. I have dust, pollen, and mold allergies and love to keep my windows wide open all summer, and this sucker really takes care of it all. Of course, it has been discontinued by the company … but not before I bought a half-dozen replacement filters, which should last me six or eight years.

  4. RogueSophist says:

    This is such bs obviously Whirlpool paid Consumer Reports money just like with the Ford Focus and Verizon lol.

    Kidding, kidding.

  5. faust1200 says:

    If you have central air, putting a hepa filter on the furnace fan can help a lot. Most people use very cheap crap filters.

  6. Sudonum says:

    We used a regular 1″ thick HEPA filter on the central air system since they first came out. Then when we had some work done on the air handler we had the installer set it up so that it can accept a 4″ thick commercial pleated HEPA filter. Now that sucker works great and we only have to change it once a year.

  7. inelegy says:

    I use nostril hairs to purify my air. Never had a problem.

  8. RottNDude says:

    I’ve been using my cylindrical Honeywell filter for many, many years… works great and is still highly rated.

  9. Slothrob says:

    My wife has cats, I am allergic. We bought the former Consumer Reports champ, The Friederich C-90B, and I haven’t had any problems since (Plus replacement filters are 3-for-$20).

  10. powerjhb says:

    My daughter’s pulmonologist told us not to waste our money on an air purifier as there is no proof they work and they do not really affect the quality of the air in the house. Just remember to regularly (at least every 3 months) change the air filter in your furnace.

  11. HOP says:

    i would like to know where to get the nostril hairs………sounds like a good idea……

  12. swalve says:

    @powerjhb: I think we just read proof that they work.

  13. asherchang2 says:

    A “this reporter” instead of the journalistic “we”? It’s a Hanukkah miracle, Consumerist editors actually give a damn about good practice!

  14. b612markt says:

    I have an oreck filter that I got on woot for dirt cheap. It’s my first air filter and is just wonderful. We used to smell cigarettes from the apartment below sporadically and now we NEVER smell the smoke.

  15. rich815 says:

    >>>>We used to smell cigarettes from the apartment below sporadically and now we NEVER smell the smoke.

    They moved.

  16. deviationer says:

    sorry but consumer reports are full of crap. they always have been and always will be.

    They have a big grudge with sharper image so they will shat on any product sharper image puts out.

  17. Ben Popken says:

    @deviationer: Maybe because Sharper Image makes overpriced plastic doodads of dubious utility.

  18. Ariah says:

    @deviationer: You have to be employed by Sharper Image, crazy, or both. Their (lack) of quality is frequently played for laughs.