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In the time of COVID-19 and variants like the highly-transmissible Omicron, wearing a mask and social distancing can help protect yourself and others in outdoor public spaces. However, reducing transmission indoors can be more challenging. The good news is that using an air purifier is likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19, or SARS-CoV-2, as well as other viruses like colds and influenza.

Studies that specifically focus on air purifiers and COVID-19 are limited. However, the CDC advises that HEPA filters are 99.97% effective at capturing viruses like the novel coronavirus that are shed by humans in respiratory droplets. Schools, hospitals and businesses have recently installed air purifiers to improve indoor air quality. Now, air purifiers with reliable filtration are available for home use as well.

Why does COVID-19 spread more easily indoors?

Pathogens like COVID-19 are airborne and spread when dispersed into the air in aerosolized or droplet forms. The process occurs when people cough, talk or breathe. While pathogens tend to disperse more quickly in moisture-rich outdoor air, they linger longer in dry indoor environments. Transmission is hastened by numerous people gathering in small, enclosed spaces, or in rooms with poor ventilation when windows can’t be opened to circulate airflow. 

How do air purifiers filter COVID-19?

While using an air purifier won’t provide 100% protection against contracting COVID-19, it is likely to minimize the risk. Combining it with other mitigation practices like social distancing, masking and room ventilation will provide extra protection against transmission. 

Although each air purifier varies somewhat in the way it operates, the primary function for cleaning air is similar. A fan pulls the air from a room into the unit, where it passes through various stages of pre-filtration and filtration. Top-performing models have HEPA filtration, which filters out nearly 100% of contaminants, dust, allergens and pathogens as small as 0.3 micrometers. 

According to the CDC, an air purifier should be an appropriate size for a room’s dimensions. Most manufacturers of quality models provide this information in the product description to help consumers choose the best air purifier for their living space.  

Best air purifiers for filtering COVID-19 particles

Blueair Pure Blue 311 Medium Air Purifier

Blueair Pure Blue 311 Medium Air Purifier

With both HEPA and carbon filtration, the Pure Blue 311 tackles 0.1-micron particles as well as dust, odors and allergens. It adjusts to a room’s specific purification needs when set on the auto mode function. It’s ideal for small to mid-sized rooms. 

Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

AIRDOCTOR 4in1 AIr Purifier

AIRDOCTOR 4-in-1 AIr Purifier

This purifier by AIRDOCTOR works with three stages of filtration, including HEPA, carbon and VOC, for removing close to 100% of tiny particles in the air. It automatically senses contaminants and adjusts accordingly. It’s suitable for rooms up to 900 square feet, making it a fantastic choice for large areas. 

Sold by Home Depot, Macy’s and Amazon

Winix Plasma Wave Console Air Purifier

Winix Plasma Wave Console Air Purifier

The proprietary Plasmawave technology combined with HEPA and carbon filtration make this Winix air purifier a powerful performer for rooms with dimensions up to 360 square feet. The sleek console design pairs nicely with a home’s decor. 

Sold by Wayfair, Kohl’s and Home Depot

BISSELL Air 320 Smart Air Purifier

BISSELL Air 320 Smart Air Purifier

This air purifier has a fabric pre-filter that captures lots of pollutants from the air before it enters the HEPA and carbon filters. It’s ideal for large rooms and can clean more than 1,500 square feet. It can also sense air quality for customized filtration. 

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Kohl’s

Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier

Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier

With a modern design, carbon and HEPA filtration, and an extremely quiet fan, the Dyson Pure Cool has become a consumer favorite. We love that the unit oscillates, producing a slight breeze for added comfort in warm weather. It’s suitable for large rooms too. 

Sold by Home Depot

Medify MA25 Air Purifier

Medify MA-25 Air Purifier 

Medify’s M14 HEPA filtration system earns praise for its powerful performance that’s effective at eliminating 99.9% of tiny particles in the air. It’s capable of cleaning the air of rooms as large as 1,000 feet in as little as an hour. The contemporary touchscreen is extremely user-friendly. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Shark Air Purifier 4

Shark Air Purifier 4

Shark’s Clean Sense IQ technology ensures optimal performance, as it consistently monitors the air and adjusts on its own to suit a space’s air cleaning needs. In addition to HEPA filtration, it features four quiet internal fans, ideal for spacious areas and highly effective at drawing air into the unit for purification. 

Sold by Kohl’s, Macy’s, Home Depot and Amazon

 

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Jennifer Manfrin writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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