Bacteria & Virus Air Purifiers
air purifiers designed specifically to reduce bacteria and viruses
Despite the claims of many air purifier manufacturers, in reality, there are very few air purifiers on the market today that can do a meaningful job of killing bacteria and viruses or filtering them from the air. The fact is that most bacteria and viruses are too small to be effectively trapped in HEPA filters and the readily escape from electrostatic and ionic filters. However, there are a few newer technologies that have indeed proven quite effective against bacteria and viruses and other microbiological (living) contaminants; most notably ultraviolet (UV) light, and incineration.
UV light sterilizers are typically added to high-end HEPA filters to extend their capabilities to remove / kill bacteria and viruses. Indeed, a good quality HEPA filter with UV sterilizer offers the greatest spectrum of contaminant removal of any single portable air purifier and accordingly is the most "complete" air purifier of its type currently available. UV light is extremely effective against bacteria and viruses and its efficacy has been widely proven and recognized by the scientific community. The biggest challenge for UV air purifiers is the air processing rate. We recommend a lower fan speed setting be used to ensure the maximum UV dosage which is directly affected by the speed that the air passes through the system. Innovative manufacturers are using photocatalytic oxidation to further enhance the performance of UV sterilizers.
Incinerators pass contaminated air through an extremely hot sterilization chamber where bacteria and viruses are killed by the elevated temperatures. These systems generally rely on passive convection to move the air, so they process air rather slowly. However, when used over extended periods as a means of bacteria and viral control, they have proven very effective. Since incinerator type air purifiers are not very effective at removing particulate and chemical contaminants, it is popular to use an incinerator-type air purifier in conjunction with a good quality HEPA filter.
Top Ranking Air Filters for Bacteria and Virus Reduction
Our top choice is the Airpura P600 / P600+ which incorporates an excellent HEPA / activated carbon filtration system, a germicidal UV light sterilizer, and photocatalytic oxidation technologies. The P600 offers the widest spectrum of contaminant removal/reduction of any air purifier we offer. Of course, this level of performance comes at a cost. Not surprisingly, it is also the highest price filter in the Airpura line-up. While the Aifree models discussed below actaully score better for bacteria and virus treatment according to our experts, we rank the Airpura P600 / P600+ higher due to its well rounded filtration capabilities (ability to remove other contaminants as well).
Another option that is popular among our customers is the Airfree line of incineration-type air purifiers. The Airfree air purifier is a revolutionary air sterilizer geared specifically at killing microbiological air contaminants like bacteria and viruses. The heart of every Airfree sterilizer is its patented Thermodynamic Sterilizing System (TSS), a ceramic core which incinerates contaminants at a temperature of roughly 400ºF (250ºC). Since the Airfree relies solely on passive convection to move air through the ceramic incineration chambers, it does not process air nearly as quickly. It takes longer to achieve the desired contaminant reduction, although once achieved, it is generally easy to maintain. It may take up to 10 days to achieve 70-90% contaminant reduction. Since incinerator type air purifiers are not very effective at removing particulate and chemical contaminants, it is popular to use an incinerator-type air purifier in conjunction with a good quality all purpose HEPA filter like the Austin Healthmate HM400 or Airpura R600. When combined with a good all purpose HEPA / carbon filter in this manner, the Airfree models would offer very comparable performance to the top rated P600 and P600+, at a slightly lower combined price point.
We also give very high marks to the Airpura UV600 and Airpura UV600 with UV Sterilizer, similar units but without the photocatalytic oxidation technology. On lower fan speed settings, the UV will provide good bacteria and virus abatement. At the same time, the unit contains an excellent HEPA and activated carbon filter for reduction of dust, chemicals, odors, and allergens.
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