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Our experience with air purifiers includes hands-on personal use and quality testing combined with the most comprehensive consumer research.
If you would like to find one quickly, take a look at the top-rated air purifiers (these are the only air purifiers you need to consider for most use cases).
Top 5 Comparison:
#1: Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier
#2: Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover (HPA 300)
#3: GermGuardian AC4825
#5: PARTU Air Purifier
How to Choose the Best Air Purifier
An air purifier is an essential item when it comes to creating the best environment possible in your house. Modern air purifiers are excellent in removing all kinds of impurities from a home’s atmosphere. They ensure that the internal atmosphere of your home feels fresh and free from any odor in addition to being healthier for you and your loved ones to breathe. Although all purifiers are meant to do the same thing, there are several types employing different technologies and designed to work best in varying environments. Below is a rundown of the various types of air purifiers as well as a brief history of the items.
Don’t worry, we were frustrated once too, and that is why we put together all of this information including reviews of the top 5 Best Air Purifier and the most popular.
Believe it or not, like any other industry, air purifier have a history. This common household cleaning appliance revolutionized the way housecleaning was done in homes. Rather than good old sweeping and leaving behind dust and particles, the air purifier could leave the air cleaner and suck the dirt up not only faster but more efficiently than sweeping ever could.
Essentially, the air purifier is a device that is used to suck up dirt, dust, and other debris. Originally, it was done through manual movement but over time the technology improved. Below is a historical overview of air purifiers. It is meant to make you laugh as you picture yourself using one of the early prototypes, but there is a little history lesson hidden in there too.
Manual air purifiers:
- 1858 by Hiram Herrick of Boston – leading from the design of a broom corn, the broom and dustpan sweeper was a rolling apparatus that you rolled over the floor and gathered the dirt into a pan.
- 1860 by Daniel Hess of West Union, Iowa- Is what was referred to as the actual “air purifier device” since it needed a suction to pull in the debris rather than just gathering it. It featured rotating brushes that worked the floor while the bellows built the suction to pull in the debris, it worked with a belt driven fan cranked by hand and was rather bulky and difficult to move around
- 1868 by Ives W. McGaffey, – the whirlwind was bulky and worked similar to the others in that it had to be hand cranked while in use. Losing suction while moving across the floor often caused the debris from the hose to wind up back up on the floor. McGaffery’s air purifier machine stood in an upright position.
- 1876 by Melville R. Bissell of Grand Rapids, Michigan – designed a “carpet sweeper” model very similar to the model of Hiram Herrick. This was the first successful marketing of a manual design to date. The design is known as the Bissell and similar designs are still in use today.
Powered air purifiers:
1901 by Hubert Cecil Booth – an oil powered vacuum known as the Puffer Billy. The Puffer Billy was an utter failure as it required a horse drawn carriage for transport.
Modern air purifiers
1905 by Walter Griffiths Birmingham, England- improved upon the manual air purifier and made the first modern vacuum cleaner. It used suction through a pump and sucked debris through a flexible hose. It’s recognition as the first manual air purifier is in the overall appearance.
1906 by James Murray Spangler– created the first complex air purifier featuring an electric fan, handle (a broom handle), and a bag (pillow case). A year later he filed a patent for a carpet sweeper with a rotating brush and sold the design to W.H. Hoover, a leading air purifier company still in business today. In fact Spangler has quite a few patents filed in the early 1900’s
John S. Thurman, St. Louis – created a gasoline-powered “pneumatic carpet renovator”, it was an air blasted machine that loosened the debris from the carpet and blew it into a container. Thurman made house calls and was semi successful in his cleaning service but not marketing the product as household item.
1975 Decker cordless air purifier
1985, James Dyson- designed and marketed the widely popular Dyson air purifier. They utilize a vortex to pick up debris and have a more versatile head that moves in various directions but still requires a back and forth motion to work.
1991 Dyson G-Force
1902 Hubert Cecil Booth – a reversal of John S. Thurman,St. Louis’ air blasting carpet renovator machine, Booth’s used suction to remove debri and was eventually installed as a central air purifier in the more elite home. It was not a device that was small enough to fit into a normal home due to its massive size.
air purifiers were a great addition to the homes across the world. They cleaned homes faster than ever and rid the houses of debris that caused sickness such as allergies. Early inventors tried to emulate upon each other and work off the designs to create a model that would last. However it was the design of Spangler that ignited an industry and probably the reason why you are reading this. While he is not credited with the invention he is credited with the revolution of the air purifier. His model was the first belt driven motor. It was the missing component that ultimately led to the modem vacuum.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are many types of air purifiers. The most common ones include ionic air purifiers, UV air purifiers, ozone air purifiers, carbon filters air purifiers, and HEPA air purifiers.
Ionic Air Purifiers
These are high-tech machines designed around an ion generator. The generator produces negatively charged ions, which attract airborne dust particles, allergen particles, and other positively charged particles. They are particularly great when it comes to dealing with second-hand smoke. Surprisingly, they are incredibly affordable. Unfortunately, these machines generate ozone as a byproduct, and therefore, you have to be careful to ensure that the item that you pick is from a reputable manufacturer for your home’s safety.
UV air purifiers
These air purifiers work by emitting electromagnetic radiations, which kill bacteria and other pathogens in the air. They are also effective in dealing with issues caused by molds, yeast, and viruses. Unfortunately, they cannot eliminate non-living impurities such as dust and smoke, and therefore, they have to be used together with other types of air filters.
These air purifiers pump ozone into a home’s atmosphere, and this kills bacteria and viruses among other dangerous microorganisms by oxidizing them. However, ozone gas is quite harmful, and it could kill small animals in your home.
HEPA Air Purifiers
These machines purify the air using the High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration technology, first used by the US Atomic Energy Commission as a solution for tiny radioactive particles. Today it is used in homes, beauty salons, and even in hospitals. They are the most effective air filter in the market today
Carbon Filter Air Purifiers
These air purifiers make use of activated carbon to purify the atmosphere in your home. Activated carbon is very porous, and this characteristic gives it quite a large surface area. It has many microscopic pores with extremely high chemical bonding and absorbent abilities. This enables it to capture smoke particles, gasses, and even chemical emissions. Once the particles are captured, they don’t get back into the atmosphere. However, the efficiency of these air purifiers is relatively lower when it comes to dealing with allergens.
A Brief History of Air Purifiers
The primary purpose of air purifiers is to eliminate harmful and irritating contaminants from the atmosphere or at least to prevent them from finding their way into our respiratory systems. The air pollutants come in many forms including pollen, dust, mold spores, pet dander, smoke, and dust mites among others. Although air purifiers are ubiquitous today, very few people have thought about the history of these essential items. The truth is that air purifiers, as we know them today, have come a long way. Below is a brief description of their history.
The 16th Century
The concept of air filters first emerged in the 16th century when Leonardo da Vinci came up with the idea that a soft cloth material dipped in water could protect sailors from inhaling harmful powders that were used as weapons. This was followed by the development of a protective air respirator. The product would be worn on a person’s nose, and mouth with the aim of filtering the air breathed in through it. As a result, it protected the wearer from inhaling air contaminated with harmful impurities such as vapors, fumes, gases, and particles.
The 1700s to 1800s
Although the industrial revolution brought a positive transformation of societies in the western countries, it also came with myriad environmental challenges. As a result, this period saw significant advancements insofar as air filtration technology is concerned.
While working as a mining engineer in 1799, Alexander von Humboldt developed a simple air-purifying respirator. Later on, Lewis Haslet built the Haslet Air Protector and had it patented in 1848. It used wet wool and a clapper valve to remove dust particles from the air.
In the 1870s, Hutson Hurd developed the cup-shaped mask and received its patent in 1879. Eventually, the mask would become commonplace for industrial workers. The manufacturer, Hurd’s H.S. Cover Company, was still producing these masks in the 1970s.
In the 1900s, more efficient air purifying devices were developed. For instance, in the 1940s, the US Atomic Energy Commission and the US Army Chemical Corporation came up with the first High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters. The aim of these filters was to protect people from inhaling tiny radioactive particles emitted by chemical warfare elements. These purifiers would later be identified by the acronym, HEPA.
The early HEPA filters were built with rigid frames, and they had a minimum particle removal efficiency rate of 99.97 percent. They were first used in World War II, as a part of the Manhattan Project, during the development of the first atomic bomb. After the war, the US government declassified the technology giving way to residential and commercial applications.
Originally, HEPA air filters contained African or Bolivian asbestos components, which were not readily available in the United States and there was growing concern over the toxicity of their fiber. Besides, there was uncertainty surrounding the future availability of these materials. Therefore, the US government called upon Arthur D. Little, Inc to develop domestically available HEPA filters using other non-combustible materials. They came up with the Absolute Filter, which was absolutely fire resistant. Eventually, the commercial use of asbestos in the production of HEPA air filters was abandoned.
Modern Air Purifiers
The modern air purifiers as we know them were first developed in Germany by Klaus Hammes in 1963. The system had filter pads attached to the air outlet of coal ovens. It was used to trap dust found in cold air as it went up due to temperature increase. Its main purpose was to slow down the buildup of black dust on the walls of ovens. However, with time, it was discovered that it reduced cases of asthma flare-ups.
Later on, Klaus Hammes and his son Frank developed carbine air filters for vehicles and eventually, Frank focused on air purifiers powered by fans. In the 1990s, he worked with a team of engineers from Germany and Switzerland to develop a highly effective and efficient consumer pact air purifier.
Clearly, the air purifiers that we often take for granted today have come a long way. Over the years, humans have tried to come up with innovative ways of ensuring that they protect themselves from inhaling toxic or irritating particles found in the atmosphere. In the process, they have gradually developed complex and highly efficient air purification products that we know today.
Overall, it is apparent that the evolution of air purifiers has been going on since the 16th century when Leonardo da Vinci thought of using wet soft cloth materials to create air filters to prevent sailors from inhaling toxic gases used as weapons. More complex air filtration and air purification systems were then developed during the industrial revolutions and in the 20th century. Today, air purification systems are more effective and efficient than ever before. Besides, there are many different types available in the market that can serve different purposes with the overall aim of creating clean and fresh environments in homes and even in commercial settings. Thus, if you are shopping for an air purification unit, you should familiarize yourself with the various options available to ensure that you get a product that will serve your intended purposes.