Spring is a time of warmth, hope, and all-around pleasantness. Unless you have allergies. In that case, it’s one of sneezing fits, watery eyes, flushed cheeks, and more sneezing fits. A lovely day becomes an obstacle to overcome.
Consumer tech can only do so much to solve those struggles, but one way it can make life at least a little easier is through an air purifier.
A good one of these will grab the air in a given room and filter out potentially harmful particulate matter, such as pollen, pet dander, or dust. In the right situation, this can put those suffering from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory problems at less risk of struggling with such issues at home. Less polluted air has never been a bad thing.
I’m going to recommend a discounted air purifier in a second, but it’s important that you know a few things going in. First, an air purifier isn’t a magical cure-all. There’ve actually been a few hiccups between the FTC and air purifier manufacturers in recent years, and the latter have had to tone down their marketing as a result. What were once portrayed as saving graces for allergy sufferers are now sold on their ability to clean the air, and that alone.
This gets at the bigger point, which is that most people don’t need an air purifier. These are niche devices, and there’s no definitive proof that they make all their owners healthier. Before you go buying one, you should see if taking simple steps — letting in more outside air, vacuuming more often, putting your pets outside, lighting less candles indoors, etc. — make a difference.
If they don’t, then it’s worth trying one out. We recommend the Winix WAC5500, which is currently available for $144 on Amazon. That’s not the lowest it’s been, but it’s still a decent ways down from the $180 mark it’s held for most of the past year.
Its filter meets the HEPA standard, meaning it can remove more than 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micrometers in size. (Which is small.) It has a 4.4 rating after 760 user reviews on Amazon, and it’s received praise from the excellent guides at The Sweethome and TopTenReviews. And in the grand scheme of things, $144 is relatively cheap for a genuinely effective air purifier. It’s energy-efficient in operation, and the cost of its replacement filters isn’t too bad either. It’ll let you know when those filters need changing, too.
The main caveats here are that the WAC5500 can get a tad noisy at its highest setting, and that Winix doesn’t throw in many bonus features like automatic scheduling. (So it’s probably better suited in a living room than a bedroom.) It’s also mediocre when it comes to reducing odors, though that’s typical of most non-expensive purifiers.