I’m looking for an air filter for my allergy prone wife. It needs to handle smoke, fireplace not tobacco, and other allergens. It should be stand alone and portable, meaning I can take it around the house not that it should be battery powered or something.
I enjoy the Blue Air filter system. It is quite, well-made, works well. The filters are quite expensive (approx $100 ea.) but you get what you pay for.
What works is called a HEPA air cleaner. HEPA air filters are LARGE and need to be plugged in, so not easy to move around. Anyway those are sold at stores like Walmart - the good models cost around $100 and are worth every cent!
If she wants something portable, face masks are rated. The best filtration is called a P100 or N100 rated mask. Those you can buy at an industrial safety business or online.
Medical supply businesses have a lesser filtering face mask called a “N95” rated mask.
The cheap 50 cent face masks sold in hardware stores are NOT RATED AT ALL and will not protect you from anything! They have holes in them so large, you could drive a semi-truck through them sideways!
The best HEPA type air cleaner example…
P100 face mask…
I use an Austin Air HealthMate – in the same category as the previously mentioned Blue Air. They are pricey but they do actually work; mine has been running for nearly 15 years and I will soon be ordering my third replacement filter. It is very quiet.
Compare to the cheap, noisy Walmart types that don’t actually do very much … and good luck finding a replacement filter for a particular model when it clogs up after six to twelve months.
Be sure the product packaging uses the term “HEPA” or “P100” or “N100”. (Which are specifications and standards for how small of particles the filter will remove from the air.)
There are all sorts of air cleaners which claim to do this or that, but do not meet the filtration specifications above.
To learn more about this, search for the terms…
NIOSH particulate filtration
NIOSH = The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health…
NIOSH Guide to the Selection and Use of Particulate Respirators…
We got a Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover that seems to have helped my wife with her household environmental allergies. Was highly recommended by Consumer Reports, for what it’s worth. It’s been running 24/7 for over 2 years.
Thanks this is the one I went with.
To effectively clean the air in whatever room she’s in, she’d need to keep the door shut. And as soon as she moves to another room - bathroom, kitchen, whatever - she’s back to breathing unfiltered air.
Does your house have forced-air central heating? If so, is there a compelling reason not to install an allergen-rated filter on the furnace? This would probably do a better job of keeping the air in the entire house clean, compared to a single portable filtration unit. My wife has pretty bad spring allergies, and this is how we take care of it at our house; we just set the furnace blower to continuous on rather than having it only come on with the heat or AC.
Look in the HVAC section of Home Depot/Lowe’s for suitably rated furnace filters.
No we have a fireplace and a pellet stove for heating. Our house doesn’t have ducting. The fireplace has a tendency to put smoke in the room (go figure right?) and that’s what the filter is mostly for. I should mention we also have electric wire radiant heating but that doesn’t move air at all, and is expensive.
As noted upthread, any portable filtration unit that specifies HEPA filtration will do the job. One that is “True HEPA” is certified to meet industry standards; “HEPA-type” or “HEPA-like” often use the same filtration material and likely perform as well as true-HEPA, but the manufacturer hasn’t paid for independent certification and so there are no guarantees.
Filtration units typically specify the size of room for which they are intended, so if you’ve got a big room, check the label; you may need two units instead of one (plus you’ll want additional units for other rooms).