We put in about 240 hours of research into portable commercial grade air purifiers. What we show below are our findings.
We chose this category to see products that can clean well in a commercial environment. And could also do well in a home without the need for an installation.
The air cleaners below are all top notch. You cannot go wrong with any of them. We highlight some differences so you can better see how they compare. They are heads above anything else we have seen.
We have written in depth about ozone generators. In searching commercial purifiers online we see several filtration systems that produce high levels of ozone. From our research we have safety concerns around these products. This also includes electronic air cleaners, negative ion generators and PCO (photo-catalytic oxidation) air cleaners. Thus, we do not recommend them here.
In keeping with the safety focus we did not consider any product with the potential to create ozone. In other words, we limited our search to mechanical air filtration. And air purifiers that use industrial grade filters to clean the air.
Our focus was to find commercial air cleaners with the best filters that can be used in both a home or office setting. As part of the evaluation we look in detail at the specs. We also look at the air flow and special features.
How We Got to the Results
From the criteria we set, many products were eliminated from consideration. In fact, there were only a few brands to choose from the whole air purifier market.
It was surprising to find that these products were either made in the US or Europe. No Chinese made product that we saw could meet our criteria.
We reviewed the product specs and found that only IQAir and the Oransi Erik had filters better than HEPA. In doing some Google searches they also seem to have the most global market share for commercial air purification systems.
And we looked at the AHAM CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) and Energy Star results to gain performance data.
We dug deep to review the specifications of the remaining air purifiers and tested a couple models to make sure.
In the end, we decided to focus on IQAir and Oransi EJ and Erik. Each are superior to everything else we reviewed. They represent the best from Europe and America. IQAir from Switzerland and Oransi from the US.
It seems fitting as most comments we receive are from customers who love these products. From the feedback both have passionate fan bases.
While it’s hard to argue their performance, they do come with a higher price. Expect to pay about $1,000 or more.
When and Where to Use
We thought about the different reasons why you would want an air purifier. Maybe to remove fine dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander, air pollution or tobacco smoke removal.
What’s great about these two brands is that with superior filters they can cover it all.
It comes down to whether your need airborne particle, chemical gas removal or both.
With better than HEPA filters they remove particles better than anyone else. So, they will do a good job with dust, allergies, pollen, etc.
For gas removal, the HEPA filter won’t do much. We will look at their gas filters and provide our perspective on what to look for.
When we started this process we planned on putting together a ranking system. But, without many products to compare we decided to present it as more of a conversation. And highlight what we see as best in class for each feature.
In the future if we see more products in this space that meet our criteria we may revisit this. Or at least add to this article.
As we mentioned these products have better than HEPA filters – medical grade. To go a little deeper we will review each filter.
The purpose of the pre-filter is to catch larger particles like dust, pet hair, pet dander or dust from an HVAC system. This protects the HEPA air filter so it can do it’s job in removing the smaller particles.
It’s crazy to see that both of these brands have pre-filters that are more like the main filter of other products.
For example, the IQAir pre-filter has an efficiency: 55%+ at ≥ 0.3 microns. And 30 sq ft of surface area. The efficiency is lower than many HEPA air purifiers. But it has a similar amount of filter media as other air purifiers have in total. The filter size is 13″ x 13″ x 3″. And this is just the pre-filter.
The Oransi Erik650A has a pre-filter efficiency of 85% at ≥ 0.3 microns. This rivals the main filter for many air purifiers. It has 45 sq ft of filter media. Like IQAir, this is more than many other air purifiers have in total. The filter size is 12″ x 24″ x 4″.
Just looking at the pre-filter it’s clear these are in a different class.
While we call these HEPA filters, they are in fact much better. IQAir calls their filters HyperHEPA and it’s easy to see why.
The IQAir Cleanroom H13 ($1799) has a HEPA filter that rated as the name implies as H13. This is a European standard and is measured in a different way than the MERV system in the US.
It’s specifications state MPPS efficiency: ≥ 99.95% @ 0.22 microns. It has 81 square feet of filter media surface area.
MPPS stands for most penetrating particle size.
In other words, it removes at least 99.95% at it’s weakest particle size. This happens to be at 0.22 microns.
In the MERV system, HEPA filters are measured at 0.3 microns. So, it’s not exactly an apples to apples comparison with the European system.
Either way, the H13 is excellent.
The HealthPro Plus ($899) is rated H12/H13 and has 53 square feet of surface area. This is a lower rating than the Cleanroom H13 but still great performance. The filter size is 13″ x 13″ x 4.75″.
In comparison, the Erik 650A ($1595) is MERV18 and is rated at ≥ 99.99% @ 0.3 microns. It has 75 sq ft of filter media surface area. The filter size is 12″ x 24″ x 12″.
The Erik Ultra ($1495) has the same 99.99%+ efficiency rating as the 650A but with 195 sq ft of filter media. This is the most of any filter we have seen, by far.
The Oransi EJ ($899) has a 99.97%+ efficiency with sq ft of filter material. In it’s technical specifications the performance is listed as “Lab tested to remove 99.996% at 0.3 microns”.
We have poured through spec sheets for hours and so far have not seen any HEPA filter that comes close to these four.
While the HEPA filters are impressive, it comes as no surprise that the gas filters are also great.
With a review of the HEPA filters it is straightforward. They remove all airborne particles.
But with gas filters it depends upon what odors you need to remove. And if gas removal is a primary or secondary concern.
For tobacco smoke removal you need a good combination of true HEPA filtration and smoke odor removal.
In reviewing the specs, it’s clear that some models focus more on particle filtration. While others are geared more toward gas and odor removal.
The IQAir Cleanroom H13, HealthPro and Oransi Erik Ultra models have limited gas removal ability.
The IQAir HealthPro Plus and Oransi EJ and Erik650A models feature activated carbon filters. They have more of a balanced HEPA and carbon approach. The HealthPro Plus has 5 pounds of activated carbon and activated alumina. The Oransi EJ and Erik650A units have 3.5 pounds each of activated carbon.
If you care most about chemical gas or odor removal then you will want to look at models that have more carbon. To gain better odor control you will give up some ability for the air purifier to remove fine particles.
The Oransi Multi-carbon ($1395) has an industrial gas filter with 14 pounds of activated carbon. This model also has a carbon pre-filter and post filter.
The IQAir GC Multi-Gas GC ($1199) has 12 pounds of activated carbon and impregnated alumina. This model has a H11 pre-filter and a post filter. The next step up is the GCX Multi-Gas ($2199) with 22 pounds of activated carbon and impregnated alumina.
While we love these filters, you need to move the air to clean it.
So, here we will show the results of the air flow through the air purifiers with the filters installed.
The air flows per the manufacturer sites as follows. The IQAir Cleanroom H13 has an air flow of 360 cfm. The HealthPro Plus is 300. The Oransi Erik is 416 and EJ120 is 384.
All are good numbers as most air purifiers have a CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of 250 or less.
As we have written, this air flow is based on the highest fan speed. If you operate the air purifier at a lower fan speed then you will get less air flow.
Our observations of these models is that they are loud at the highest fan speeds with the exception of the EJ120 air purifier. The EJ120 has about half the sound on the highest speed and we could not detect noise with our decibel reading on the two lowest speeds.
Overall, these machines move a lot of air through high efficiency filters. That requires energy and produces noise.
For example, the IQAir draws 215 watts and the Oransi 170 watts. The EJ draws 83 watts of power.
As we reviewed these products we wanted to highlight some points we found interesting.
IQAir includes a remote control.
Both have electronic filter monitoring and let you know when it’s time to replace each filter. IQAir’s system goes one step further to forecast when you will need to replace the filters.
These are larger units and both have casters so you can push from room to room.
IQAir has a modular system that locks the filters in place. This results in zero air from bypassing the filters. They have the best filter seal in the market.
Oransi uses a German EC motor that allows the system to achieve EnergyStar. The Erik models have variable fan speed controls so you can dial in the precise fan speed. The EJ has 5 fan speeds. In both the controls are simple.
The EJ120 is quietest.
IQAir has more advanced programming controls for the air purifier and includes a timer.
IQAir offers optional ducting to create positive or negative pressure clean areas.
None of these systems use any technology like ionizers, photo-catalytic oxidation or anything else that could potentially create ozone.
We conducted a review of commercial air purifiers. The purpose was to find the best air purifiers with industrial grade filters. Meaning, better than HEPA performance and designed for the smallest particles.
We highlighted the criteria we used. Our research took us to two groups of air purifiers that use better than HEPA filters. Plus, they offer tobacco smoke removal with more than just activated carbon filters.
We feel these are the best commercial air cleaners that improve the air quality without introducing indoor air pollution.
Finally, rather than pick and choose products we highlighted what we viewed as best in class and the key points to help you.