In this day and age, we’ve become a lot more cautious about exposing ourselves and our loved ones to dirty air. We really should’ve been doing this a long time ago, especially for those who live near construction sites, which can cause indoor air to be just as polluted (if not more) than outdoor air. Thankfully, there’s a simple appliance you can get to filter harmful contaminants from the air—an air purifier.
An air purifier is a simple device that draws in large quantities of air and passes it through a series of filters to capture microscopic particles. The air purifier then shoots the newly filtered air out of its exhaust, leaving clean, breathable air with considerably fewer air pollutants. Anyone suffering from seasonal or pet allergies will definitely appreciate having an air purifier around.
However, this begs the question: how many filters, or stages, in a “series” of filters do I need? Are more filters better than fewer filters? What about optional filters? Worry not, friends, for we’ll explain everything you need to understand about the stages of filtrations in an air purifier.
How Many Stages Are There?
Air purifiers come in all shapes, sizes, and cleaning capacities. In general, a larger air purifier—one that can mount on the wall, for instance—will come with more filters than a desktop unit.
Below, we’ll quickly go over the different types of air purifier stages and what they generally consist of.
The Blueair Blue Pure 411 is a short-ranged 3-stage air purifier. It uses the more standard series of filters, namely a washable pre-filter to capture large contaminants, an activated carbon filter that eliminates odors, and a HEPA filter that removes 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size.
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The Fellowes AeraMax 300 is a large-sized air purifier that comes with a 4-stage purification system. It has an activated carbon filter that doubles as a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, an AeraSafe antimicrobial filter that destroys bacteria upon contact, and a PlasmaTrue filter.
The final stage is an optional ionizer that statically charges the air to cause airborne particles to adhere to the filters more efficiently.
- 4-stage hospital-type filtration: effectively purifies air in large rooms 300 - 600 square...
- AeraSmart sensor: monitors the air quality and automatically adjusts the fan speed to keep...
The Winix HR900 is a 5-stage that takes it a step further by coming with an additional pre-filter. It starts with the Ultimate Pet Pre-Filter, which traps pet hair, dander, and other large particles.
Then there’s a washable mesh pre-filter that catches common pollutants, such as airborne lint. The following stages are an activated carbon filter and a HEPA Filter. Then it finishes it off with an optional PlasmaWave, which is Winix’s take on an ionizer.
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- True HEPA filtration captures 99. 97percent of airborne pollutants, pet dander and...
It delivers near-100% efficiency in removing particles 0.3 microns and larger, and it also absorbs odors, VOCs, and viruses. This specific air purifier also lets users customize its filters for specific needs, such as removing germs, removing allergens, absorbing toxins, and deodorizing the air.
- Expansive: Covers up to 1070 square feet, ideal for home or business settings, and filters...
- Thorough: An advanced BioGS HEPA filter with 6 stages of purification and deodorization...
Aviano has pushed past the 6-stage-air-purifier boundary and created a model that has one additional layer of protection. It all starts with an aluminum pre-filter and a non-cold catalyst filter.
After removing larger particles, air passes through an activated carbon filter, then an antibacterial filter, and finally a HEPA Filter. However, if you want to kick it up 2 notches, you can use the UV-C filter that deconstructs microorganisms at the molecular level or the ionizer.
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What Are Optional Stages/Filters?
Optional stages or filters aren’t filters in the literal sense. Instead, they’re additional functions that improve air-purifying performance in different ways.
The first kind of optional filter is an ionizer, which goes by many names depending on the brand. An ionizer delivers a static charge to an area, which causes zapped airborne particles to adhere more effectively onto the air purifier’s filter(s). The second type is a UV-C germicidal chamber. It uses multiple UV-C lights that destroy single-cell organisms and creatures like dust mites at the molecular level.
Please note that both kinds of optional filters may produce ozone, which is a lung irritant. Only use these functions in an empty house and allow for several hours to pass for the ozone to dissipate before re-entering.
Is More Always Better?
The straightforward answer is yes, more is always better. The higher the number of stages found in an air purifier, the more filters it uses, and the better chance the device has at retaining airborne contaminants. Not only that but some filters are designed to capture odor molecules and cigarette smoke.
In other words, the more stages an air purifier has, the better it will clean indoor air.
If you have any questions or comments, please add them below in the comment section. Similarly, please let us know if you spot any mistakes or omissions. Thanks!
Last Update: 2023-09-24 | Affiliate links/Images from Amazon Product Advertising API