- I now recommend the Healthmate HM-400 by Austin Air for chemical and odor removal (see this article for more information)
- I now recommend the Coway AIRMEGA 300 as the best air filter for removing allergens.
- The best standalone air filter is the RxAir Plus. It uses UV-C Sanitizer to kill up to 99% of airborne viruses and bacteria in a 800 sq ft room.
- The best compact standalone air filter is the Honeywell QuietClean.
- The best standalone air filter for allergies is the Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover.
Tower air filters, frequently using HEPA technology, are designed to reduce exposure to indoor irritants and allergens such as dust, cigarette smoke, pollen, pet dander, mold and mildew spores and other particulate matter. Effective air filtration is especially important for those with allergies or respiratory problems such as asthma. Studies show that those who suffer allergies are often sensitive to multiple allergens, making it nearly impossible to remove environmental triggers without the use of technology such as air filters using the HEPA technology.
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters work by forcing air through a fine mesh designed to trap particulate that can escape standard filters found on HVAC systems. Many tower air filters contain a HEPA filter, and as air is pulled into the tower by a fan, it is pulled through the filter where particulate is trapped and then clean air is forced back out. HEPA filters are remarkably effective at eliminating environmental irritants, capturing 99.9% of airborne impurities 0.3 microns in diameter, or larger.
Consider the air change rate (ACH), which defines how many times the portable air filter will clean an entire room’s air during one hour. An ACH of 5, for example, indicates the air will be cleaned every 12 minutes.
Another factor to consider is the CADR ratings, which is the clean air delivery rate. This identifies how powerful a tower air filter is. CADR indicates how many cubic feet of air the unit can filter in one minute. You may see ratings for CADR related to irritants such as dust, pollen and smoke on the tower air filter’s packaging. Look for higher numbers if you have a large space, or consider purchasing more than one tower air filter. Here are the best standalone air filters.
The Best Overall Stand-Alone Air Filter: RxAIR Plus
For most people, a stand-alone air filter is a convenient way to cut down on air pollution and minimize annoying affects of allergies. For others, an air filter is a literal lifesaver, killing airborne bacteria and viruses. If you have a weak immune system, go with RxAIR Plus, an air purifier trusted by hospitals around the world.
This high end air purifier harnesses the germicidal ultraviolet light (UV-C) to clean the air as well as germs and viruses ranging from H1N1, TB, and the flu. In addition to a 99% elimination of airborne bacteria and viruses in a space of up to 800 sq. ft, the RxAir uses a system of traps and baffles to catch large particles such as pet dander and dust.
The unit comes with a 5 year warranty that places cartridge replacement. Replacement cartridges are available to keep the machine running at max efficiency even after 5 years. The RxAir Plus comes with a whisper-quiet fan that allows it to purify the air without causing a lot of disturbance, and you don’t have to worry about changing out the filters.
The Best Stand-Alone Air Filter For Value: GermGuardian True HEPA AC4825
This best-selling unit is an all-around good value, offering true HEPA filtration, a charcoal filter to reduce common odors, and UV-C light technology to kill bacteria and germs. The unit is Energy Star qualified, meaning it meets the strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the US EPA.
Air cycles through three stages to ensure maximum effectiveness. First, air is filtered through a pre-filter and charcoal filter to capture large particles and remove odors. Then, air is filtered through the HEPA filter, capturing 99.97% of airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns. In the last stage, UV-C light kills airborne viruses and bacteria, and titanium dioxide destroys the molecules that cause odors. Common viruses and bacteria that can be killed by the UV-C light stage includes rhinovirus, E. coli and streptococcus, responsible for millions of illnesses each year.
One downside is that it does require an air filter change every 7 months. The GermGuardian tower air filter includes an indicator light that blinks when it’s time to replace the filter or bulb.
The Best Compact Stand-Alone Air Filter: Honeywell QuietClean Compact Tower Air Purifier
The compact Honeywell QuietClean weighs just 1 pound, is 12.6 x 17.8 x 10.5 inches, and has a built-in handle, making it easily transportable and ideally suited for any tight space, including a nightstand, table or you can place it on the floor. It is whisper quiet, has two speed settings that can be set via an easy control knob on the top of the unit, and a permanent, washable iFD filter.
IFD (intense field dielectric) filters are a honeycomb of hollow air channels with floors and ceilings alternately charged or grounded via embedded electrodes to create a powerful, polarized electrical field inside the air channels which can trap 99.99% of particulate matter 0.3 microns or larger, including virtually all viruses, bacteria and spores. The iFD filter can be removed from the unit, easily washed with water and reused, so it never needs replacing.
The Honeywell QuietClean has a CADR rating of 40, meaning it can filter 40 cubit feet of air per minute, ideal for smaller rooms up to 62 square feet. The energy efficient design requires only as much electricity as a small light bulb to run, reducing your energy costs as compared to many other models. Air is effectively filtered through the unit 5 times per hour.
The Best Standalone Air Filter For Allergies: Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
The Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover tower air filter is the number one recommended model by allergists, and the Honeywell brand is recommended by 7 out of 10 physicians who recommend the purchase of an air filter. This portable unit weighs just 21 pounds, making it simple to carry from room to room via built in handles on the sides. It can circulate the air in a 21’ x 22’ room up to 5 times per hour, and has a powerful CADR rating of 300, meaning it can clean up to 300 cubic feet of air per minute. There is an activated carbon pre-filter to help reduce common household odors, such as those caused by pets or cooking.
The unit features easy tap electronic controls, 3 cleaning levels and a turbo clean setting. A timer can be set to shut off automatically after 2, 4 or 8 hours, and there are built in electronic filter replacement reminders. A light/LED dimmer control on the top of the unit makes it easy to determine the operating status even in the dark. This unit functions most efficiently in a medium to large sized room and includes a true HEPA filter, guaranteeing 99.97% of allergens and other irritating particulate will be removed from the indoor environment.