Air Ionizer Buying Guide

Whether you keep your windows open on warm days, or you use the HVAC system to keep your home feeling comfortable, you should worry about the pollutants and chemicals in your home. An air ionizer can remove some of those toxins and purify the air to help you breathe easier. Though research into the effectiveness of these units is mixed at best, most find that the air in their homes feels fresher and smells better after running an air ionizer a few times a week or more.

Types of Air Ionizers

When talking about the types of air ionizers and purifiers, manufacturers typically refer to the type of technology used within those devices. The most common are those that use HEPA technology, which stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. These devices catch microns and particles in the air that are just .3 microns in size and invisible to the naked eye. Multiple pieces used within the filter form an accordion design to catch those particles.

An air ionizer that comes with an activated charcoal filter is best for those who want to clean the air and remove odors at the same time. Stale air can develop inside your home during the winter months. These air ionizers pull in air and send that air through several layers of charcoal to weed out any odors or smells.

Some models come with an attached UV lamp that uses an ultraviolet light bulb. As the air moves through the ionizer, it passes underneath this bulb. The UV rays kill up to 99% of the bacteria in that air before it goes back into your house.

Pay Attention to

Square footage

Most manufacturers will tell you upfront how much square footage the air ionizer can cover, which may range from around 100 square feet to more than 1,000 square feet. This lets you know whether it will function well in one specific room or whether it can help clean the air in your entire home.

Fan

Many air ionizers come with a built-in fan that provides the suction necessary to pull air into the device. Other models use other methods of pulling in that air, and those that do not use a fan may run a little quieter. Several companies make air ionizers that have a fan setting too, which lets you turn on the fan to cool down a room.

Air changes

Air changes is a term that refers to how many time the air will change or turn over in a single hour. This lets you know how often the ionizer will release new air into your environment. The more air changes it can perform in a single hour, the cleaner your home will feel.

Micron size

Check to see the micron size that the air ionizer is capable of filtering out. Bacteria and pet dander moving through your air can measure as little as .3 microns, but other things like mold spores and dust mites can range in size from 40 to 100 microns. The best air ionizers have filters that can weed out both larger and smaller items from your air.

Filter type

Though some models come with a standard filter that will need to remove and replace within the next month or several months, some come with a permanent filter inside. When this filter becomes clogged with debris, you can take it out and clean it with warm water before letting it dry and putting it back inside the ionizer.

Price

Cost refers to both the amount you pay for the air ionizer and the cost of maintaining that unit, which includes any changes it makes to your electric bill. Energy Star rated appliances will add little to your energy bills.

Top Brands and Product Lines

Ionic Pro

Ionic Pro is one of just a few companies that specializes in air ionizers and purifiers. Each of its models comes with a sturdy plastic base that supports a larger tower that sits on top. This tower rotates back and forth to keep pulling in stale or old air and push out fresh and clean air. Some models come with extra features like a smaller air purifier that you can use in your car or a remote control

Lasko

The air ionizers created by Lasko function as both fans to keep your home cooler and air purifiers to remove toxins from the surrounding air. Most models measure between 36 inches and 48 inches tall, but you may find some shorter or taller models too. Lasko also includes a remote control with some models to let you cycle between settings from across the room.

Envion

Envion is one of the manufacturers of air ionizers that makes devices that come with the Energy Star seal of approval. This lets you know that those devices will use less energy and won't cause your electric bills to skyrocket. These models look like tall and thin towers that run quieter than some other models do.

Austin Air

Both the HealthMate and HealthMate Jr. air ionizers get great reviews from customers. Austin Air makes professional quality ionizers that pull in air, purify and clean the air and then release it back into your home. The HealthMate Jr. line works in the same way but comes in smaller sizes to fit studio apartments and kids' bedrooms.

Bell & Howell

Those who use air purifiers like the sleek and contemporary designs available from Bell & Howell. These air ionizers look like large fans and run so quietly that you might not even realize you turned it on. As Bell & Howell products also work like air purifiers, you'll find that the air in your home both feels and smells fresher.