To get the most from an air purifier, CR’s experts say you should use it in the room where you spend the most time. That’s probably your bedroom. But if you’re working from home, you may be logging long hours in your home office (which, yep, might also be the bedroom). The same goes for students learning remotely.
Several studies show that breathing clean air is good for your brain as well as your body. One study published in IZA World of Labor found that high levels of outdoor particulate pollution led to significant decreases in worker productivity at a call center.
“Even if your health isn’t compromised to the point where you need to take a day off from work, small changes in your well-being, like watery eyes, a runny nose, or a scratchy throat, can worsen your productivity,” says Matthew Neidell, the lead researcher of the study and an associate professor of health policy and management at Columbia University.
And he says that improving your indoor air pollution by 50 to 80 percent—which we know is doable using an air purifier with a HEPA filter—would have a real impact. “You should certainly see people improving their productivity with drops like that,” Neidell says.
The top models in our air purifier ratings are great for large rooms or an open-plan living space—but probably overkill for a 150-square-foot room (the average size of an office).
“The ideal air purifier for an office is one that is physically small and performs adequately at low speeds because no one wants to work in a racket,” says Dave Trezza, CR’s lead tester for air purifiers. “Since the office is a smaller space, even models that don’t top our ratings chart will do well and save you some money.”
To find out more about air purifiers and how we test them, see our air purifier buying guide. And learn how almost 50 models perform in our air purifier ratings.