Do air purifiers work?

A recent investigation by consumer group CHOICE found that while air purifiers can be useful in some circumstances, they play a limited role in keeping homes virus free.

The research also found that some products on the market produce exceptionally poor results.

Google search trends showed 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,” explained Chris Barnes from CHOICE.

“An air purifier with a HEPA filter can be surprisingly good at trapping viruses and bacteria out of the air,” he said.

“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

“Originally I was a sceptic about air purifiers and, while they aren’t a miracle solution to bushfire smoke or viruses, there can be some benefit,” Mr Barnes said.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Have you bought an air purifier? Have you noticed a difference in your home?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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