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What Size Air Purifier Do I Need? (Simple Answer!)

by Lisa Hayden
What Size Air Purifier Do I Need

The most important question you need to ask when buying an air purifier is "What size air purifier do I need?". Let's explain why size matters when it comes to air purifiers...

Who doesn’t want clean air at home, especially after being out and about in the polluted town or city center? Thanks to air purifiers, you can create a sanctuary in your house where you know you are breathing in fresh and clean air. While there are many different features to choose from, including kinds of filters, digital panels, WiFi connectivity, and remote controls, the most important thing to consider in an air purifier purchase is that it is big enough for your room.

What affects the effectiveness of an air purifier is not price, brand, or other factors. It simply needs to be appropriate for the room you want to use it in. This is why some manufacturers offer models that can service different sizes of rooms while others just sell one size for rooms of average dimensions. 

How Big Should Your Air Purifier Be?

How Big Should Your Air Purifier Be

Finding the right model for your home doesn’t seem complicated, because manufacturers indicate an “approximate coverage area“ in the description of the air purifier. Unfortunately, it is not as easy as that, because some manufacturers adopt tricks to make it seem like their products are capable of servicing a bigger room than it actually is able to. 

The main confusion is that the number in the label does not refer to the room area but instead, it is for a surface area measurement. This is actually a huge difference. For example, if you have a square room with a length of 16 feet. The area of the room (16 x 16 feet) is 256 square feet, but the surface area (16 x 16 feet x 6 total surfaces in total) equates to 1,536 square feet. 

Another factor to consider is that the numbers you see on the labels are based on tests done on these units. Unfortunately, these are “laboratory“ conditions (a room without many dusty surfaces, pets, smoke, and other pollutants) and cannot be compared to real-life homes where the air purifiers will eventually be used in.

Because of this, you might want to consider purchasing a purifier designed for a room bigger than yours. This way, you will be sure that you see results.

Understanding The Jargon: CADR And ACH

Another thing you might notice when looking for an air purifier is the CADR rating. This helps you figure out how big of an air purifier you should buy. You need to follow the formula (CADR x 1.55 = square footage of your room). 

An air purifier gets 3 CADR values, referring to pollen, dust, and smoke, although they are the same most of the time. If not, refer to the lowest value. While the model with a low CADR can still purify the air in a big room, it will take time to do so.

ACH, on the other hand, refers to air changes per hour. It tells how many times the air in the room of this size can be purified within an hour. Anything that has less than 2x is not a good buy and if you suffer from asthma, then a 4x ACH rating is best. These ratings are also important for those with allergies to pollen and others. 

What Else Should You Consider When Buying An Air Purifier?

What Else Should You Consider When Buying An Air Purifier

Almost everything is secondary to purchasing a model with the right size for the room or apartment. But once you have identified the specific brand and model, do not forget to account for the noise. When you have a machine that has the perfect size recommendations as your room, you will need to set it at medium, at least. However, it will be too loud, especially at night. In moments when you need peace and quiet, then you need to set it at the lowest setting. Thus, you might want to get an air purifier for a bigger room.

Did you know that where you place your air purifier also makes a huge difference? For the best results, it is best placed right in the middle of the room where it will filter the air in the shortest time. Unfortunately, this is not always possible, nor will it look good with your room design to have the purifier in the middle. 

Placing it on the side will not mean the purification process will be worse; the consequence is only that it takes longer to filter the air. It will still clean the air in the room. The worst decision is to put it behind the couch or in a corner. Most models have either the intake or outflow in the back of the machine, so when it is placed against a wall, it will hinder its operation. Even if it does not have any flow from the back, it might still get too hot when placed so close to the walls. 

For best results, put it as close to the middle of the room as possible and on top of a table, for example. Keep it away from obstacles like walls or couches. If there is a smoker in the house, place it closest to where he likes to have a smoke. 

When it comes to buying an air purifier, the size matters but where you place it makes a difference as well.

Final Notes

Do you want to get the best out of your air purifier? Then you should follow these tips to pick the best model and ensure that it works optimally.

air purifier tips
  • When looking at the manufacturer-recommended square footage, subtract 50 square feet to be sure that it will serve your room perfectly (to compensate for any differences between ideal test conditions and real-life conditions).
  • When you see the words surface area, then you need to consider the dimensions of the 4 walls and the ceiling plus floor (if the room is square, then the length should be multiplied by 6).
  • If you are buying for your bedroom, make sure the air purifier is effective even in its lowest setting (for less noise especially when you are sleeping).
  • If you want to compute for the room size that an air purifier model can clean, use the formula CADR x 1.55.
  • Buy an air purifier with an ACH rating of at least 2x.
  • Place it as close to the middle of the room and on an elevated surface for best results.

By focusing on these specs and following these tips, you can ensure that your purchase of an air purifier is worthwhile and that it will deliver the results you need. So enjoy breathing that fresh, clean air at home!

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