Activated Carbon and Activated Charcoal Air Purifiers

A white Brondell air purifier next to a gray couch with decorative pillows.

Activated carbon air purifiers and activated charcoal air purifiers remove various types of odor-causing particles from the air, such as pet odors and tobacco smoke, by reacting to them chemically and causing them to stick to the filter surface. The filter on this type of room air purifier must be replaced regularly, as indicated by the manufacturer, to keep your home odor free. Although activated carbon and activated charcoal purifiers fight unpleasant smells very well, some models are not as effective at removing bacteria, viruses, mold and mildew from the room air.

Electrostatic Air Purifiers

A black Honeywell Air Genius air purifier.

As the name suggests, electrostatic air purifiers use static electricity to cause irritants and other odor-causing particles in the air to cling to a removable collection plate. This type of purifier comes with the advantage of not requiring a filter, although some models do have an optional, replaceable prefilter. This model does require some maintenance: The collection-plate surface must be wiped down regularly, as indicated by the manufacturer. Some electrostatic air purifiers are not as effective against microorganisms as other types of purifiers.

Home Air Purifier Placement Tips

An air purifier cube with two plush animals sitting on top in a children’s nursery.
  • Room air purifiers are intended for use in a single room, so it’s best to have more than one.
  • Place a home air purifier in rooms where you spend the most time, like your living area and your bedroom.
  • Some models are more portable than others, so if you need a larger machine, look for one with wheels and a handle.
  • Check the cord length to make sure you can reach an outlet from your designated placement.