5 On Your Side

Consumer Reports puts air purifiers to the test

Posted March 22, 2012 5:00 p.m. EDT
Updated March 22, 2012 7:45 p.m. EDT

— Consumer Reports tested dozens of air purifiers that promise cleaner air and easier breathing, but some didn't deliver the expected results.

They also released some tips for improving air quality in homes.

$500 million a year is spent on air purifiers, but the results show that the most expensive option is not necessarily the best.

Researchers filled a sealed room with clay dust and cigarette smoke, then used a particle analyzer to measure how well the purifiers removed the contaminants.

The LightAir model, which costs $300, "was about as effective at removing smoke and dust as using no air cleaner at all," said Consumer Reports' Bob Markovich.

For half the price, Consumer Reports recommends a Holmes air cleaner.

Consumer Reports also said that some simple changes at home could improve air quality as much as an air purifier. Putting dust mite covers on mattresses and pillows, not using the fireplace, not allowing pets in bedrooms and replacing air filters can lead to improvements.

They recommend 3M Filtrete Elite Allergen 2200 MPR air filters, which help remove dust and pollen.