Best Air Filtration Systems: Buying Guide and Top 5
Whether it’s summertime or wintertime, we spend a lot of our time in the comfort of our homes. Our homes are built to be insulated which helps in keeping the terrors of natural weather conditions outside where it belongs. The problem is that in doing so, we’ve unknowingly trapped ourselves inside with pollens and other pollutants with nowhere to go. In fact, in certain cases around the globe, the quality of indoor air is sometimes even worse than it is outdoors.
Consequences of Bad Indoor Air Quality
We probably spend most of our time ignoring the stuffiness or slightly odd smells lingering in our homes. However, this could actually be one of the worst things you could ever do. There are several consequences of not doing anything to improve air circulation, and most of them, unlike other problems around your home, are not immediately noticeable.
Coughing, Sneezing, Itchy Eyes
We might attribute seemingly random episodes of coughing, sneezing, and dry, itchy eyes on allergies or colds, but it could actually be caused by the lingering dust, pollen, and other airborne pollutants you have yet to clean from your home’s vents. It’s always easier to ignore these minor health issues, especially since doing something is always easier than doing nothing. You can do a simple test to determine whether the quality of your home’s air is the problem – simply step outside and get some fresh air. If these minor health problems have subsided, your indoor air needs to be treated.
Obviously, one of the major problems of maintaining an unhealthy level of indoor air quality is the harm it can do to your throat and lungs. Our lungs can only take in so much airborne debris before needing to expel it through sneezes and coughs, but when exposed to these conditions for extended amounts of time, you’re actually willingly causing long-term damage to your health. Breathing problems may not manifest for several weeks or months after constant exposure to bad air quality, but when it does, combating these health issues become increasingly more difficult to do.
Most types of cancers are actually due to living an unhealthy lifestyle, including exposing yourself to airborne pollutants. People living in homes with improper air circulation and ventilation have a greater risk for cancer later on in life. Try and imagine all of the invisible smoke coming from each and every passing cars’ exhaust pipes, cigarette smoke that dissipates but leaves a disgusting odor, and the sawdust that doesn’t get sucked up by your shop vac and goes into the air. Now try imagining inhaling it on a regular basis each time you’re “chilling” at home.
Types of Air Filterers
There are actually several things we can do to improve the quality of our air, including banning smoking indoors, shutting all windows, periodic vacuuming, and keeping our pets outside (inhumane!). However, in most cases, these simply aren’t enough; we need the help of devices with the sole purpose of maintaining good, clean air quality within the walls of our homes. The following list will describe just a few of the options available to you.
An air purifier is a device that suctions up small quantities of air and traps any contaminants in super-fine filters. The filtered air is then expelled from a chute into the room where the device is placed. An air purifier does this repeatedly, slowly but surely cleaning the air of a room. These are great devices for use in small rooms. They don’t a lot of air in the process, making just a single air purifier insufficient in cleaning the air of an entire home or factory.
An ion generator is a portable air-cleaning device that uses the force of static electricity in giving minor shocks to airborne particles. The shock then results in these particles becoming attracted and stuck to walls, carpets, curtains, tables, etc. Unfortunately, this means that you’ll need to manually give every surface in your entire home a thorough wipe-down to ensure that the particles do go flying back into the air. However, some newer models are made to attract the shocked particles back into the unit, eliminating the most time-consuming process of wiping your surfaces down.
Like air purifiers, these devices are designed to be used in a single room. You’ll need to invest in multiple ion generators in order to give your entire home or a large room the static shock treatment.
Industrial-Strength Air Filtration Systems
Arguably one of the most effective, but costly, devices you can use to maintain proper air quality in your home is with an industrial-strength air filtration system. Unlike the previous air-cleaning devices, these systems are not designed to be placed on tables or other flat surfaces but rather hung from high off the ground. This gives them better access to larger amounts of air at any given time.
This type of air filtration system suctions up copious amounts of indoor air (some models can move up to 300 CFM). Like an air purifier, the air is pushed through one or several fine-mesh filters before being expelled back into the wild. Also unlike a simple air purifier, this type of system is usually adequate enough to clean the air of an entire floor of your home or large room. This makes them the preferred choice to be used in large factories, offices, and other commercial sites.
Air Filtration System Buying Guide
By now, you should be able to comprehend the risks of breathing in poor-quality indoor air and the various types of air-cleaning systems available. Investing in an air-cleaning device will help significantly in combating the presence and effects of air pollutants. However, a quick internet search will yield thousands and thousands of different air-cleaning systems and devices. The following segment will provide you with a quick explanation of each of the specs and features you should take into consideration when looking at different air filtration systems.
One of the most important things to consider when looking at air purifiers or industrial-strength air filtration systems is how much air volume they can move. Knowing how many cubic feet of air is moved per minute (CFM) can indicate whether a purifier is suited for single rooms, large rooms, or entire homes.
There’s a simple formula that you can use to determine how much airflow your room or home needs. The formula is the length of a room/building x the width of a room/building x the height of a room/building x air changes per hour / 60 minutes.
The air changes-per-hour variable depends on which room you plan on placing your air purifier/filtration system. Most rooms like living rooms, office, and bedrooms need 6 air changes per hour, whereas heavily polluted rooms – e.g., lobbies, restrooms, smoking rooms – require around 12 to 15 air changes an hour. Large production rooms and wood workshops would require more to control airborne sawdust and exhaust fumes.
Different fan speeds mean more versatility for your air purifier or filtration system. A quicker fan speed equals more CFM, making a high-speed fan option better-suited for use in large offices, living rooms, or garage workshops. A lower fan speed would make the device useful in moving and filtering air in smaller rooms like bedrooms or kitchens.
If you don’t plan on taking the air purifier or filtration system with you around the home, you should consider a one-speed device that provides enough CFM for a particular room. However, if you need to take the device with you wherever you go, a model with an adjustable fan speed would be the better option.
Number of Filters
The number of filters that an air purifier or filtration system can hold is extremely important in ensuring that the processed air is as free of debris as possible. These kinds of devices usually come with an outer filter which serves to capture and hold large particles. Several models come with inner filters that trap even smaller particles before releasing the air back into the room. Having multiple filters ensures a better quality of recycled indoor air. Avoid single-filter models at all costs since they may only capture large particles or become clogged after limited usage.
Fineness of Filters
Apart from looking at how many filters come installed in an air cleaner, you’ll also want to see how fine the sieves are. Outer filters designed for capturing large particles don’t do particularly well in trapping microscopic debris like dander and pollen. Inner filters have a finer mesh, making them more able to trap smaller particles before the machine expels the processed air back into a room.
If animals are free to roam into a room or office, you should consider investing in super-fine HEPA filters designed to capture pet dander and other microscopic debris. Wood workshops might not need HEPA filters; in fact, wood dust could potentially clog a HEPA filter in no time, requiring you to purchase frequently purchase replacement or wash the filters.
The overall size of an air cleaner is also an important spec to consider. Certain air cleaners take up floor space while others are compact models that can rest on tables. Typically, more powerful air cleaners are floor models that take up less than 3 x 3 x 3 feet of space, though there are also models that come in larger sizes.
Industrial-strength air filters come with hooks and chains that let you hang them from your ceilings. This not only eliminates the need to dedicate floor space for this device, but it also gives the unit better access to airborne particles that float upwards and get stuck on your walls.
You should consider the weight of the model if and only if you plan on relocating the device to wherever you’re headed. Basically, you don’t want something that’ll wear you down when lifting the unit up and down staircases. Good thing there are very few models that weigh over 50 pounds, though even those can be considered somewhat lightweight if you have a partner to help you lift the unit.
Imagine having to use a broomstick each time you want to adjust the fan speed of a ceiling air cleaner. Or perhaps you’re just too lazy to get up and walk the 5-foot distance to your air cleaner and push a few buttons. Several air cleaner models come with remote controls, so you don’t need to manually press buttons to turn the unit on, adjust its fan speed, or set a timer. Instead, if the unit has an infrared remote control, you can do it from the comfort of your sofa or bed.
Top 5 Air Filtration Systems
Now that we have the basics of what to look for in an air cleaner, now it’s time to check out what the market has to offer. A quick search on Google will show hundreds, if not thousands, of different models of all types. It can be overwhelming having to sift through the pile in order to find one that meets you and your workshop’s needs. Good thing we’ve done the heavy lifting for you! Check out our picks of the five best air filtration systems you can get today. Note: All the models on our list are industrial-strength air filtration systems that hang from your ceiling.
5 POWERTEC AF4000 3 SPD Air Filtration System
The first item on our picks of the five best air filtration systems is the AF4000 from POWERTEC. This 1/6-HP device comes with three different fan-speed settings: 300, 350, and 400 CFM. The difference between each fan speed may not seem like much, but they can help significantly in rooms of progressively larger sizes as you increase the fan speed. Once again, you can calculate a room’s CFM needs by using the formula we provided in the previous section.
The AF4000 comes with outer and inner filters for twice as much filtering power. The outer filter has a mesh of 5 microns for capturing larger pieces of debris like wood dust, and the washable, reusable, 1-micron inner filter helps with trapping the smallest of airborne debris in a workshop. This machine does not come with a HEPA filter so it may be unsuitable at capturing most microscopic pollutants like pet dander and pollen.
Since the 24 x 20 x 13-inch machine hangs from hooks and chains on your ceiling, POWERTEC includes a handy infrared remote control, so you have the power to turn the machine on and off from a distance. The remote control also lets you set up the timer to 1 hour, 2 hours, or 3 hours, so you don’t need to constantly babysit the machine while working away in your workshop or garage.
4 Rikon Air Filtration 400
The next air filtration system on our list is the 1/6-HP Air Filtration 400 from Rikon. This California-based company’s 20 x 17 x 10-inch machine also hangs from hooks and chains from your ceiling, so you don’t need to dedicate any floor or table space to keep this machine up and running. Like the previous model, the Air Filtration 400 also has three fan speeds – 300, 350, and 400 CFM.
This device also features two filters – an outer 5-micron filter and an inner 1-micron filter. The inner filter is washable and reusable. As for the outer layer, you can just run a damp cloth over the entire surface of the filter to clear out any stuck pieces of debris hanging onto the mesh. Also, like the AF4000 from POWERTEC, neither of these filters are graded HEPA (0.3 microns), so this machine won’t do much in combating airborne allergens like dander, pollen, and microscopic dust.
You’ll also need a convenient way to control this machine without having to employ the help of a chair or ladder. Rikon includes an infrared remote control in this kit which gives you the ability to change fan speeds and set up a timer (1, 2, or 4 hours).
3 Shop Fox 3-Speed Hanging Air Filter
The next model – the 1/8-HP 3-Speed Hanging Air Filter from Shop Fox – is similar to the other models, despite its smaller motor relative to the three previous models. First of all, this is also a 3-speed machine, but the volume of airflow is incredible considering its motor – from the slowest speed to the fastest, the machine offers 260 CFM, 362 CFM, and 409 CFM. This machine would be more appropriate for placement in living rooms or hallways and not as beneficial in large manufacturing plants.
The 20 x 17 x 10-inch, 31-pound air cleaner from Shop Fox also comes with two air filters – a 5-micron outer filter and a 1-micron inner filter. Cleaning both of these filters is easy; simply detach the filters from their slots and shake/bump them over a trash bag. Installing the filters back to their position is as easy as snapping them back in place. Like the other models, the 3-Speed Hanging Air Filter’s dual filters are not designed to eliminate debris smaller than 1 micron.
This kit also comes with an infrared remote control that lets you turn the machine on an off and toy around with the preset timer selections (1 hour, 2 hours, and 4 hours). The remote control can be used from a distance of up to 26 feet away from the machine.
2 JET 708620B AFS-1000B Air Filtration System
The second best item on our list is the 708620B AFS-1000B from JET. This is the most powerful of all the units on our list. It is also a 3-speed machine where the fans can move up to an astounding 556 CFM, 702 CFM, and 1,044 CFM. This machine is definitely better-suited to handle heavily polluted rooms.
This device also comes with two filters – an outer 5-micron filter and an inner 1-micron filter. Both of these filters can be washed and reused multiple times before needing to be replaced. Simply detach the filters and bump them several times over a garbage bag or give it a quick blast with an air compressor before placing them under running water. Like the other models before this one, the 708620B AFS-1000B’s filters aren’t designed to trap microscopic pieces of debris. However, in a woodworking shop or an auto shop, the filters will do just fine at trapping large pieces of debris and expelling good, clean air.
The kit also comes with an infrared remote control that lets users control the power switch and timer (programmable and preset to 1, 2, and 4 hours). The remote control can be used at distance of up to 10 feet away from the system. This 30-1/4 x 24 x 12-inch, 54-pound machine hangs up and away from your workspace so you won’t accidentally bump into it.
1 WEN 3410 Air Filtration System
The final item on our list is one of WEN’s designs – the 3410. It’s also a 3-speed machine (300 CFM, 350 CFM, and 400 CFM) and is designed for use in spacious rooms in homes and offices. However, it might not perform well in large manufacturing facilities or garages.
Next, it also has an outer filter and an inner filter of 5 microns and 1 micron, respectively. Like the other models, pet dander and pollen will pass through the filters like they were open doors. However, wood debris and foul odors like cigarette smoke will get sucked up into the system with no trouble at all.
Thirdly, the 3410 also comes with an infrared remote control, but there aren’t any preset running times. You’re free to program the timer as you wish so you won’t need to constantly use the remote to turn the machine back on after shutting down.
What really separates the 3410 from the other machines is its noise production levels. At its highest speed, the most noise the machine will make is around 60 decibels or about the same noise as regular conversation tones. This makes it the better choice to place in an office or in your home, especially if you can’t stand the constant droning and buzzing of an air cleaner.
No matter what room you’re in indoors, you need to make sure that the air is as clean as possible. We often forget that passing vehicles, cigarette smoke, and other airborne odors and particles set up base in our homes, leading to potentially deadly health threats. However, to combat their nasty effects, there are several devices we can use such as air filtration systems.
When looking for an air cleaner, there are several specs and features to consider, such as how much air it can move every minute, whether it has different fan speeds for different sized rooms, how many filters come installed in the device, how capable the filters are at trapping small particles, the size, and weight of the device, and convenience factors like remote controls.
To help you in your search for a reliable air cleaner for your home, office space, or workshop, we’ve included five of the best-performing air filtration systems available. If you need to clean the air in super-large rooms, we recommend getting the 708620B AFS-1000B from JET since, out of all the models on our list, it can move the most amount of air per minute. However, if you need a versatile unit for multiple areas in your home, and one that won’t annoy you with loud droning noises, then you can’t go wrong with WEN’s 3410 Air Filtration System.