If you’re looking to purchase an air purifier for your home, you may not know that there are two different kinds to choose from. You could either opt for one with a permanent filter or one that uses a reusable filter.
Table of Contents
- Washable or Permanent Filters?
- The Best Air Purifiers With Washable Filters—A Buyer’s Guide
- Essential Features to Consider
- Air Purifiers With Washable Filter—Frequently Asked Questions
- The Takeaway
As you can guess, getting a reusable filter can save you the hassle of having to replace one every three to six months. Not only is that convenient, but it can also save you some money.
Washable filters function as their name suggests. When the time comes to get rid of any collected contaminants, you simply remove them from the air purifier, give them a clean with water (and suitable soap or detergent), let them dry, and then put them back in. The whole cleaning process is relatively quick; you only need to soak the filter for a couple of minutes, rinse it out, and it’s cleaned. Simple and hassle-free!
You also have a choice between two different types of washable filters: either a HEPA filter or an IFD filter. Both have similar effectiveness ratings, but the IFD just has the edge over HEPA. But don’t get tied up in knots trying to choose between them. Both of these options work well to help ensure that your home’s air is kept clean, fresh, and allergen-free.
Investing in a good quality air purifier means that air pollutants with the potential to cause health issues, allergies, and breathing problems can be stopped in their tracks. These irritants include pollen, plant spores, pet dander, and dust.
Keeping your home clean needn’t cost you the earth. Plus, using reusable, washable filters will save you money in the long term. (Not only on filter replacements but potential doctor’s bills!) One of the best things about these systems is choosing when to clean the filters at a time convenient for you. And it only takes a few minutes.
Just remember that the more often you clean the air purifier’s filter, the more efficiently it can work to keep you and your loved ones healthy.
Washable or Permanent Filters?
As we’ve mentioned, there are two kinds of filters that you can use with home air purifiers: washable or permanent. The main difference between the two is as their names suggest—one you wash and reuse, the other you have to replace according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. However, these two types of filters differ in other ways too, and each type also has its own variations. We’ll be taking a look at these now.
These types of filters aren’t only reusable, but cleaning them is simple and easy, too. The filter’s surface traps all kinds of contaminants, including dirt traces and air pollution. All you need to do is use a simple solution containing water and soap to wash the filter clean.
While it’s true that it only takes a couple of minutes to give the filter a thorough wash, we haven’t already mentioned that it takes some extra time to rinse them and then allow them to dry completely before reinserting them. Realistically, the whole process takes a few hours. And that means a few hours without your air purifier.
You can also choose between two different types of washable filters: HEPA or IFD. Both are of excellent quality and effectively trap all those nasty air irritants and pollutants. However, the former effectively catch 99.97% of airborne particles, while the latter excels at trapping 99.99%. But rest assured, whichever type you go for, you’ll be drastically improving the air quality of your household.
You don’t have the option of washing permanent filters, so they will have to be replaced eventually. However, they can be vacuumed in the interim to get rid of the dirt trapped on the filter’s surface.
True, it won’t be a deep clean, but it’ll help ensure that your filter works efficiently for longer. While some people may find this a more convenient way of using an air purifier, it certainly means that the appliance won’t be as effective at getting rid of all those air nasties as if you’re regularly cleaning and using washable filters.
The Best Air Purifiers With Washable Filters—A Buyer’s Guide
Essential Features to Consider
To determine an air purifier’s efficiency, look at its square footage rating relative to the square footage of the room(s) you intend to use it in. In other words, opt for an appliance with a larger square footage rating than the square footage of the room or rooms.
An air purifier’s efficiency is also based on the minimum three-stage filtration system consisting of a pre-filter (to trap larger particles), HEPA/IFD filter for smaller particles (as tiny as 0.3 microns), and an odor resisting activated carbon filter. This filtration system works to neutralize nearly 100% of air irritants, pollutants, and contaminants, such as dust, bacteria, mold spores, pet dander, and pollen.
For better efficiency, look for an air purifier that evenly distributes airflow (i.e., in a 360° manner) rather than working in a rigid bottom to top direction. Plus, you can opt for a multi-functional appliance that not only purifies your home’s air but also works as a humidifier or cooling/heating fan.
These types of appliances provide better value for your money and save on floor/wall space being taken up by different machines or gadgets.
And speaking of space, ensure that you purchase an air purifier with the layout of your home in mind. For example, would you prefer to mount it on a wall or place it on the floor horizontally or vertically? Check that the appliance you’re going to buy allows for versatility in positioning that works for you.
As with many household appliances these days, many air purifiers also come with digital controls for better ease of use. Not only do these controls make the appliances easier to use, but they also flag up any issues or help keep the monitoring of your home’s air quality a doddle.
For example, color-coded LED indicators can display air quality levels or when your filter needs to be cleaned. Functions such as Sleep Mode or Auto Mode can help optimize the use of your purifier’s fan speed by detecting the air quality of your home at any given time. Plus, the inclusion of smartphone app functionality will improve the ease of monitoring, programming, and scheduling your air purifier.
Air Purifiers With Washable Filter—Frequently Asked Questions
Are washable air filters any good?
There’s no reason to think that washable air filters are any less effective than their permanent counterparts. In fact, they’re incredibly efficient, working to clear out both large and ultrafine particles that cause air pollution and potential health problems.
They use a combination of HEPA/IFD filtering, UV-C (providing even more microbial protection), and activated carbon layers.
Aside from their effectiveness, these types of filters are straightforward to wash and maintain. First, all you need to do is remove them from the air purifier’s front panel or casing. Then, lay them flat and use a gentle brush and mild soap or detergent to clean them. They can also be vacuumed or simply wiped off in between cleaning times.
Despite their reusable status, they can last for several years if maintained correctly—even with constant and heavy use. Just make sure that any filters that have been washed are rinsed thoroughly and allowed to dry completely before reinserting them into the appliance.
How are washable and permanent filters different?
The main difference between these two types of filters is that the former can be cleaned and reused for several years, while the latter will have to be replaced more regularly. However, both need to be cleaned (or at least vacuumed) at some point.
Many air purifiers now contain super-effective HEPA filters that are washable. Technological advances mean that you can rest assured that gentle cleaning will keep these filters healthy without risk of damage. The longer-lasting, permanent, non-washable filters can’t be washed in the same way, and you’ll need to clean them using either a vacuum cleaner or with a dry cloth.
Another difference is that air purifiers using permanent filters tend to have an ionizer as an extra filtration device. But rest assured, most of these appliances are CARB certified, meaning that they don’t produce illegal amounts of ozone.
Another thing to bear in mind when looking at air purifiers; some manufacturers will claim that their appliance contains washable filters when not all of them are.
Pre-filters and carbon filters tend to be washable in most cases. However, True HEPA filters usually should never be washed and should instead be replaced. Always check the small print or get advice from a trusted retailer.
How often do reusable filters need to be cleaned?
Check your filters every two weeks for excess particle accumulation as a general rule. If you suspect they may need a clean, use a gentle brush with some mild detergent. But remember: Always rinse the filter well and allow it to dry thoroughly before putting it back into the appliance.
How will I know if my air filter is washable or not?
It’s vital that you get this piece of information correct, so you’ll need to see if the filter is permanent or replaceable. If it’s the former, it can’t be washed. The best way to get this confirmed is by checking with the air purifier’s manufacturer guide. And don’t forget: Your air purifier may contain both washable and un-washable filters, so always make sure first before getting that water and soap ready.
Which are better, washable or disposable air filters?
Generally speaking, washable filters last longer than their disposable counterparts. However, disposable ones tend to have the edge in terms of trapping smaller airborne particles.
Using an air purifier that contains washable filters means that you won’t have to change filters two to three times each year. And developments in filter technology mean that the gap has nearly closed between the effectiveness of standard versus washable filters.
In fact, sometimes, they even outperform True HEPA filter-based appliances. So, it really comes down to what you view as the most convenient, cost-effective option for you and your home.
One thing to bear in mind: If you live in an area prone to wildfires, air purifiers with washable filters don’t tend to have inbuilt carbon filters. Carbon filters are incredibly effective at eliminating smoke and odors from your home, and without these, you may find your air purifier doesn’t work as you would like.
However, overall, air purifiers with washable filters are a convenient, simple, and potentially cost-saving way to keep your home clean, fresh, and breathable.
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