It’s no fun to be the itchy-eyed, runny-nosed oddball in the room. Allergy pills and bulk Kleenex orders get old fast. When you finally decide to enlist the help of technology, you’ll probably focus your search for relief on an air purifier.
Granted, an air purifier isn’t going to go everywhere you go, but they are great at removing allergens, dust, and other pollutants in your home or office. They are also great at removing other things like VOCs and odor if properly equipped.
If you’re shopping for your first air purifier the options and marketing hype you’ll encounter get overwhelming in short order. Terms, features, and prices will transform curiosity into frustration. That’s why we built this site… to cut through the jargon and get you to the right appliance fast and easy.
Above all else, you’ll want a purifier with a True HEPA filter and Activated Carbon. Those two features cover the widest range of pollutants better than any other filter options. However, some of the questions we see over and over focus on eliminating the need to buy replacement filters. Do washable filters work? Is a permanent filter better than a replaceable filter? Should I buy an air purifier with a washable HEPA filter? The quick answer… washable pre filters are pretty good, but you’ll give up some performance with a washable HEPA filter. Furthermore, filters that aren’t true HEPA are pretty ineffective… so permanent “filters” that attract pollutants to fins or plates are probably going to disappoint.
What is the Difference Between a Permanent and a Washable Filter?
Simply put a permanent filter is a reusable filter that you’ll ruin if you try to wash it. Manufacturers typically recommend a good dusting or vacuuming to refresh a permanent filter. A washable filter is… washable. You remove it from the machine and give it a good rinse with water and sometimes a mild detergent. Just make sure you dry it completely before use.
Who should buy a purifier with a washable or permanent filter?
It’s a tad confusing, but the thing you’re looking at when you buy either a permanent filter or washable filter is that you don’t have to swap a dirty filter out with a brand new one.
Replacement filters need to be cleaned or replaced periodically. They trap airborne particles, and when they are full, you dispose of the old one and replace it with a fresh one. However, the recurring cost of filters adds up in the long run. Permanent removable filters that can be cleaned or washed may be more practical for some shoppers. Simply pull the filter out every 2 to 3 months (or more if needed) and clean it using a fine bristle brush. If the filter is washable, use warm soapy water; but be sure to rinse and dry thoroughly – damp or wet filters are a sure-fire way to invite fungus to form and the re-circulate around the home.
If you have dog or cat allergies it might be okay... but probably not the best option.
Why should you avoid a purifier with a washable or permanent filter?
The primary reason you want a purifier should be to remove airborne particles. The reason we see people opt for a washable or permanent filter is almost always to avoid the expense of replacement filters. But, more often than not, they’re giving up both short and long term performance just to save a few bucks. They’d be much better off buying a cheaper HEPA filter equipped purifier and a handful of replacement filters.
Disposable air filters only require you removing the old one, tossing it in the garbage and replacing it with a new one. This takes far less time and effort.
Our Favorite Purifiers with Washable or Permanent Filters.
You can probably tell that we’d rather see you purchase a purifier with a replaceable HEPA filter, carbon filter, and a replaceable or washable pre filter. But, if you’re still set on a Permanent or Washable filter in your new purifier here are two that we recommend.
Honeywell AirGenius5 Air Cleaner
When it comes to affordable tower purifiers, Honeywell’s AirGenius series excels in the filter department. The AirGenius5, however, surpasses its other models (3 and 4). It utilizes a permanent washable iFD filter, as well as two pre-filters integral to the AirGenius series.
The AirGenius also has up to 5 cleaning level/fan speeds: sleep, germ, allergen, general and max. The cleaning level/fan speeds and two pre-filters combine to create a powerful and efficient air purifying system.
Honeywell AirGenius5 Air Cleaner At A Glance
It is certified to comply with the federal ozone emissions unit.
Operation is easy with its smart touch screen controls and automatic shut off timer.
It only has one color option and is a little pricey for its minimal improvements.
O-Ion B-1000 Air Purifier
O-Ion may be a low profile air purifier manufacturer, but it’s carbon filtration technology certainly marks a unique difference from other air purifiers in the market. Carbon filtration is an effective way to chemically neutralize foul odors in your home. Combining the carbon filtration feature, Ultraviolet Germicidal irradiation technology (UGVI), and other notable features such as; electrostatic purification and the whisper quiet filtration fan and night light, the O-Ion B-1000 Air purifier becomes a well sought after product. Is it the best air purifier with permanent filter available… probably not. We’d choose the Honeywell… or a traditional filter-equipped purifier.
These great features, however, do not come without a few cons.
O-Ion B-1000 Air Purifier At A Glance
It is compact and lightweight.
No need for any carbon filter replacement.
Average filtration and performance.
Emits trace amounts of ozone – a respiratory irritant.