A new CHOICE test and investigation has found while air purifiers can be useful in some circumstances, they play a limited role in keeping homes virus-free and some products on the market produce exceptionally poor results.
Google search trends show significant spikes in searches for air purifiers as major retailers promoted the products heavily during the 2019/2020 bushfires and COVID-19 pandemic.
"We've seen a lot of talk and advertising from air purifier manufacturers and retailers, some of them claiming to filter out viruses or bacteria during COVID-19," says CHOICE Household Expert Chris Barnes.
"An air purifier with a HEPA filter can be surprisingly good at trapping viruses and bacteria out of the air. The issue is that it can only process what's in the air that it happened to suck in at the time. The best way to protect your family is by following health advice such as washing your hands and cleaning hard surfaces."
In response to the increased community interest, CHOICE commissioned new Australian testing, finding some models to be particularly poor performers.
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"Originally I was a skeptic about air purifiers and while they aren't a miracle solution to bushfire smoke or viruses, there can be some benefit. A good model can definitely help clear smoke from your home, and could be especially useful for people with allergies or hard to clean homes," says Barnes.
"Regarding COVID-19 and other germs, an air purifier might help, but it's not a solution on its own. Your best options are still the same as before: minimise unnecessary contact, clean any hard surfaces that people often touch, and regularly wash or sanitise your hands."
CHOICE is a not for profit consumer advocate. Our testing is made possible because of our community of members and supporters from across the community. Full test results are available for CHOICE members.
CHOICE advice on air purifiers and effectiveness against viruses: https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/cooling/air-purifiers/articles/do-air-purifiers-trap-viruses-and-other-germs
The worst air purifiers from our tests: https://www.choice.com.au/home-and-living/cooling/air-purifiers/articles/the-worst-air-purifiers
Media contact: 0430 172 669, firstname.lastname@example.org
Images available for download here: https://shwca.se/airpurifiers
Google search trend for air purifiers