Cleaner air at a reasonable cost

By Mir
November 8, 2006

Anne sent along this question:

Dear pretty, smart Mir,

Now that we’ve taken the air conditioner out of our bedroom window, I find that my allergies are making a good night’s sleep impossible. I’ve thought about putting it back in but my husband refuses to sleep in a room that cold all winter. I would like to purchase some type of air purifier/filter rather than get rid of the dogs, cats, dust mites and husband. I know nothing about this other than I do not want one of those ionizer thingies that make the air smell funky. I’ve heard that some these machines don’t really work – or maybe all of them? Can you help poor stuffy me?

Anne beat me to the obvious joke, with saying right up front that she won’t get rid of the pets, mites, and husband. Sheesh.

I headed out to do some research on this, and I found some interesting results.

First, I encourage you to review an oldie but a goody: The Green Guide to Choosing an Air Purifier. Start there for a general overview.

Next, I went to see what the Allergy Consumer Review had to say. You can link off to about a zillion articles there and learn everything you never wanted to know about air purifiers. Their top-recommended purifiers are the IQAir HealthPro ones, which are extremely pricey and don’t appear to ever go on any sort of sale.

Now, if your eyes haven’t rolled back into your head and you’re not completely overloaded or comatose by the time you get done on the previous site, check out this fabulous comparison article which is essentially an amalgamation of the Consumer Reports recommendations and some additional comparison commentary. Here’s the part I found most interesting:

Although it isn’t tested at Consumer Reports, the Alen 350 (*est. $400) outperforms the Austin Air HealthMate at Air Purifiers America, and when run on high speed, testers say it is notably quieter than the IQAir HealthPro air purifier. In addition, the Alen 350’s filters are less expensive than those for the IQAir or Whirlpool air cleaners. It has one filter cartridge, which contains the HEPA filter, carbon filter and pre-filter, so replacement filter costs are less than with the Whirlpool or IQAir air purifiers. Filters should be replaced every six to nine months (*est. $40 each). The Alen 350 air purifier can clean up to 800 feet.

The only other thing I have to add is that some poking around revealed that the Rabbit Air purifiers are both highly rated and discounted at Amazon. I’m drawn to the prices, but I’m not sure why they’re not discussed anywhere else. You can check out a few comparisons of them here on their site, but, you know… it’s their site, so take it with a grain or ten of salt.

I hope that helps, Anne, and if it doesn’t, well, at least I’ve given you plenty of dry reading material for the next week or so. Just another service which I offer.


  1. My allergist seemed to think they were all a waste of money. He told me not to bother with any of them. Just his opinion, though!

  2. Thanks for answering my question and piling up my reading material. I think that the green folks made the most sense. I would cheerfully spend that kind of $ if I knew for sure that it would help, it just makes my wallet cry to think of spending all that money for something that doesn’t really do anything. I’ll be sure to post my opinion/review when I get one.

  3. Re: Therese’s comment… I disagree that they’re “all a waste of money.” I suffer from pet allergies and the last time I went to my folks’ to visit (where there are multiple animals I love but that make me sneeze) they put an ionizer with a HEPA filter in my room for me. It helped tremendously.

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