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How The Home Air Purifier Wars Took My Breathe Away

Are Infomercial Air Purifiers Too Expensive?

I am not a consumer of infomercials.

Maybe it’s because having been an infomercial co-producer, I know the markup on most air purifiers is 7-9 times the cost.

I’m also not a shopper (my girlfriend says I’m “frugal”) so when I buy something I do my homework and find the best price. So when I decided to join the millions of Americans who purchased an air purifier over the past year, it became a journey to “clean the air” in more ways than one.

Having been an asthmatic and allergic person (now cured), I have owned many air purifiers for over 30 years. My two reasons for buying an air purifier this time around were a layer of black soot that appears on my LA windows every week.

I quickly found 94 air purifier manufacturers (mainly in China, a few in Europe) and 12 primary technologies to research.

Air Purifier Infomercial Wars

78% of all air purifiers purchased in the United States last year were purchased through Infomercial. The Sharper Image Ionic Breeze led the way until consumer reports criticized them for overproducing ozone. Now Oreck XL Professional is leading the pack.

Again, markup is often 7 times the cost. A small $449 household air purifier (Oreck’s best air purifier is $699) made of plastic, with multiple metal grilles seems a bit too much. And it’s. Better to find the exact same one on eBay or Craigslist for $90 after the person takes it home.

“Manufacturers are fighting over whether ozone purifiers, ion purifiers, and no-replacement filter type purifiers are the best in the minds of consumers”

The truth is that they all work, some better than others. Many companies practically say ozone is “the evil”, others claim it’s the best thing since sliced ​​bread. Ozone in small amounts works great, but causes problems at high levels. It’s a nice addition if timed. So the truth is somewhere in the middle. (I like it to “purge” my room several hours before going to bed, and for mold problems it’s the best)

5 things to know before buying an air purifier

#1: Replacement filters are too expensive

In Japan, air purifiers include 2-3 additional replacement filters. WHY? Because the Japanese anticipate.

American manufacturers realize that Americans don’t think ahead, so they overcharge. Once you have purchased an air purifier, you will be obligated to pay what they charge. (Reminds me of my $89 inkjet printer – replacement cartridges are $28!)

Remedy: Ask for filter prices first. Every 6-12 months you will need to change the filters. And anything over $25 is too much.

Buying tip: Ask for a discount on additional replacement filters before you buy.

#2: Avoid purifiers that say, “No replacement filters”

The idea sounds great, but once you see a dirty HEPA filter (HEPAs are a fabric filter that trap dust and pollution) you realize that those without a filter don’t catch much dust or pollen. – YOUR LUNGS ARE!

“Models without replacement filter” include:

Ion Breeze

Oreck models (they contradict each other on their site. The filters need to be replaced, but they are not HEPA)

Remedy – Get an air purifier that has affordable replacements. HEPA is important if you have allergies.

#3: “Fanless” Air Purifiers Won’t Move Enough Air

Ionic purifiers are selling you on how quiet they are and how little electricity they use. The problem is that they don’t move air.

(Note; because of this issue, Sharper Image went to fans in their new designs)

Remedy: Avoid fanless purifiers.

#4 Avoid Loud Fan Motors

A few people emailed me saying that after buying an air purifier they couldn’t sleep.

Remedy: For a super quiet fan, ask for one with brushless motors. Read the box for decibel levels. 20 to 35 decibels is quiet enough for sleep.

#5: This Won’t Do The Square Footage On The Box

I called Oreck when their new $700 tower was listed as 1100 square feet. “How many times does he change the air in the room?” (meaning how many times it will change all the air in that room).

They did not know. Finally a technician said: “One per hour”. It’s poor.

Remedy: Be sure to request 4-9 “changes per hour” per square yard. (You may need to call the manufacturer) The square footage listed on the box is also based on an empty room.

How to choose the right technology

Here are some guidelines for matching core technologies to your needs:

#1 For allergies and asthma, certain odors = HEPA, Pre-filter, Neg/Ion, Grid Plasma

(HEPA is always best for allergies)

#2 For odors, smoke, animal odors, chemical sensitivity, VCOs and the immune system = Carbon, Charcoal, Ozone

#3 For the immune system (colds, flu, viruses, pathogens) and eliminate musty odors UV = TiO2, Plasma Grid, Ceramic

New sensor technology

I just reviewed a very cool new technology from Japan that detects pollen, odors and dust. Ideal for allergy relief. It also saves electricity and guesswork. [SEE THE VIDEO LINK BELOW]

So how much do I have to pay?”

Shopping online will save you $100-200 upfront. You should also research 5 or more technologies. I encourage you to get HEPA and UV as they do the best job on allergies and protect you against viruses etc.

For a large room, I wouldn’t spend more than $275-$350 for a multi-technology unit, including HEPA. For a small room, maybe $200.

For my part, I found a purifier with 9 technologies, including HEPA, UV, ion, sensor technology, washable filters, charcoal, for less than $350. Twice the technology for half the price of infomercials.

I guess I breathe easier just knowing I’ve saved so much.

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