Chemical Air Purifier Guide


The Challenge of Removing Chemicals


Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that off-gas from a wide range of household products such as paints, building materials, aerosol sprays, and cleaning products. In addition, many people are exposed to noxious and toxic chemicals at their place of work, or even at their homes, from sources outside of their control. Depending on the type of chemical concern you have, the air purifier we recommend for you can vary significantly.

Selecting an air purifier for Chemicals and VOCs is a challenging task. Information varies significantly across the web and from brand to brand, so we have compiled this guide to help you better understand the differences between the top chemical air purifiers on the market.


We recommend expert help for this complex concern:


This guide contains a lot of technical information and can be fairly overwhelming to most anyone casually looking to make an air purifier purchase. Unlike some air quality issues such as dust or allergens, chemicals can have long term consequences for your health. We highly recommend that you don’t navigate this concern alone. Give one of our specialists a call or chat, during business hours and we can help walk you through the nuances of selecting an air purifier for your chemical concerns.

Removing chemicals is a tricky business.
How do you remove things you can’t see, cannot smell, and might not even be able to identify? There are literally thousands of chemicals that can be found in a home or work environments, and many of them require different treatments to be effectively removed.

How are chemicals removed?
The most widespread solution for removing chemicals in the air purification industry is through the use of Activated carbon. Activated carbon works like a sponge and is capable of adsorbing thousands of different types of chemicals from the air. It is highly effective and is used in both industrial and residential applications.

Activated carbon + additives
Although activated carbon is effective at removing most chemicals, it cannot remove every type of chemical. There are some chemicals that due to their size and composition just can’t be absorbed by activated carbon. Think about how water can be absorbed by a sponge, but ice cubes or humidity in the air can’t be. Ice cubes and humidity are both forms of water, but because of it’s shape/state the sponge can’t remove it. The same idea applies for many type of chemicals.

Fortunately, there are ways to remove these other chemicals. Activated carbon can be modified (or treated) to absorb a wide range of difficult to remove chemicals. But once the carbon has been modified to remove a specific chemical such as formaldehyde, then it will only be effective at removing that chemical and not much else.

Therefore, depending on what chemicals you want to remove, you may want a filter with a large volume of untreated carbon, blended with various types of treated carbon. See the tables below to determine which units contain the right additives to remove the chemicals that are affecting you. Or talk to one of our specialists who can walk you through the decision process.


Other methods of chemical removal


Ventilation
If you have a high buildup of chemicals in your home or place of work, it may not be possible to remove them entirely with an air purifier. For example, we’ve worked with a printing shop that had 3 commercial printers/copiers set up in a small 500 square foot room. Although an air purifier can remove the chemicals and odors associated with these machines, the best solution found was to exchange the air with fresh air from outdoors at least once during the workday and utilize an air purifier when it was not practical to do so. Ventilating out the chemicals can extend your filter life and quickly reduce the buildup of chemicals in the air. However, the drawbacks are that this is not always practical to do during very hot or cold times of the year, and you will spend a lot of money heating/cooling the new air that comes in.

Source control
A few years ago, we actually worked with an American contractor working in China. He was getting headaches and dizziness in his apartment in ( city ). Eventually, he found out that he had a toxic formaldehyde problem. The level of formaldehyde off-gassing from the floors in his Chinese apartment was so bad that he had to set up a fan to circulate air out the windows in his home twice per day. Although an air purifier was able to reduce the concentration to safe levels, he was having to replace his filters every month, rather than once per year. Ultimately, he determined that the safest long term solution for his family was to remove the hard wood floors from the apartment and put tile in. This method of source control may be applicable in your situation as well.


1. Choosing Your Unit


How Severe Is Your Concern?
The first place to start when choosing a chemical air purifier is to determine how severe of a chemical problem you have. Chemicals are serious concerns that can have long lasting affects on your health. Therefore, if you have a serious chemical problem, then you are going to have to spend the money required for a serious chemical solution.

Let's be realistic.
You should expect to spend more than $300 on an effective chemical air purifier. This is because most cheap air purifiers are not equipped to remove chemicals. Even though many brands include carbon filters and say "removes chemicals", the volume of activated carbon in those filters is just not significant enough to be last for a long period of time. In most air purifiers, the carbon will be used up and the unit will stop removing chemicals long before the filter life indicator on the unit turns on. In fact, if your unit only has an “activated carbon pre-filter” or a thin sheet of activated carbon, it may only last a few weeks before becoming completely saturated with chemicals.

Don’t risk it.
Even worse than having an air purifier that does not remove chemicals, is having one that you think is removing chemicals that is not effective. Chemicals may be more prevalent in your environment than you think, and your filter may last a shorter period of time than you expect. So be smart. Use your nose or other senses to evaluate how you feel. Just because the filter light on your unit has not turned on, does not mean that you would not benefit from changing your chemical filter more often.


2. Identify Your Target Chemicals (Or Choose Multi-Purpose)


There are thousands of different chemicals that could be present in your environment. As we said above, some types of carbon/additives will be extremely good at removing one chemical while completely missing other chemicals you may care about. Therefore, it helps to know which chemicals you are trying remove. However, if you do not know, choose a multi-purpose unit. These units will use a blend of activated carbon designed to target the widest range of chemicals.


3. Get Expert Help


If you need help navigating this list, or want to ask an expert some specific questions, don't hesitate to use our live chat tool by clicking the pop-out on the bottom right of your screen. Or call (800)-334-1494 to talk directly to an expert over the phone.


Light Chemical/VOC Concerns


These units have much more carbon than the average air purifier on the market, but are not usually recommended for serious chemical concerns. Because these units have HEPA filters, they are great choices if you are concerned about chemicals, but do not have a heavy chemical problem in your home.

BreathSmart with

HEPA-FreshPlus Filter

BreatheSmart FIT50 with

HEPA-FreshPlus Filter

Austin Air Healthmate Plus Jr. Austin Air Healthmate Jr.
Max Coverage 
  • 1100 SqFt
  • 800 SqFt
  •  700 SqFt
  • 700 SqFt
Ideal For
  • Chemical Smells
  • Odors
  • Airborne Particles
  • Chemical Smells
  • Formaldehyde
  • SO2, NO2, Cl2, H2S
  • Odors
  • Airborne Particles
  • Chemical Smells
  • Formaldehyde, Benzene
  • Odors
  • Airborne Particles
  • Chemical Smells
  • Odors
  • Airborne Particles
Not Recommended For
  • Paint Smells
  • Paint Smells
Carbon Weight
  • 3 lbs. Untreated Carbon
  • 3 lbs. Untreated Carbon
  • 1 lb. Treated Carbon
  • 6.5 lbs.  Carbon Blend
  • Carbon Treated w/ Potassium Iodide 
  •  6.5 lbs.  Untreated Carbon 
Filter Life
  • 6-9 months.
  • 8-12 months
  • 2+ years
  • Depending on severity of concern
  • 2+ years
  • Depending on severity of conern
Product Description Filter contains 3 lbs. of untreated activated carbon for general chemical odors and smells.  This unit does not have treated carbon, which is why it does not address Formaldehyde, SO2, NO2, Cl2 and H2S. Good for people with sensitivity to treated carbon. Filter contains 3 lbs. of untreated activated carbon. Also includes 1 lb. of treated carbon for formaldehyde and chemicals found in pollution and car exhaust such as SO2, NO2, Cl2 and H2S.    Good for homes in urban areas with light pollution concerns. Healthmate Plus indicates the addition of  Potassium Iodide, which is used for the removal of Formaldehyde, Benzene, & other Toxic VOCs found in pollution. Also good for wood burning smoke/soot/odor removal.  6.5 lbs. of untreated activated carbon for general chemical odors and smells.  This unit does not have treated carbon, which is why it does not address Formaldehyde & some other VOCs. Good for people with sensitivity to treated carbon.
Pros
  • Smart Sensor Technology
  • Automatic Mode
  • Forever Guarantee
  • Smart Sensor Technology
  • Automatic Mode
  • Forever Guarantee
  • Large volume of carbon
  • Small unit size good for homes with limited space
  • Large volume of carbon
  • Small unit size good for homes with limited space
Cons
  • Small amount of carbon
  • Not sufficient for serious chemical concerns
  • Small amount of carbon
  • Not sufficient for serious chemical concerns
  • People with serious concerns should still get something with more carbon capacity
  • OR expect to change filter more frequently
  • People with serious concerns should still get something with more carbon capacity
  • OR expect to change filter more frequently
Details Details Details Details

Get Expert Help With Your Smoke Concern

Talk to an expert at Air Purifiers America about your concern.
We can help you find the perfect air purifier for your family, your space, and your concerns.

Call or chat us during business hours, Monday-Friday 8am-6pm CST and Saturday 10am - 4pm CST.

Talk to an expert:

1-800-334-1494


Heavy Chemical/VOC Concerns


These units have much more carbon than the average air purifier on the market, but are not usually recommended for serious chemical concerns. Because these units have HEPA filters, they are great choices if you are concerned about chemicals, but do not have a heavy chemical problem in your home.

  AirPura R600 AirPura T600 AirPura F600 AirPura F600 DLX
Max Coverage 
  • 2000 SqFt
  • 2000 SqFt
  • 2000 SqFt
  • 2000 SqFt

Ideal for

  • Multi-Purpose Chemical Use
  • Smells from Aerosol Sprays
  • Paint Strippers
  • Dry Cleaning Chemicals
  • Artificial Scents
  • Airborne Particles
  • Tobacco Smoke Chemicals
  • Odors from Tobacco, Tars
  • Smoke & Ash
  • Airborne Particles
  • Formaldehyde
  • Airborne Particles
  • Formaldehyde
  • (More Formaldehyde Removal additives than the AirPura F600)
Not Recommended for
  • Formaldehyde
  • See F600 or F600 DLX
  • Allergens, Dust
  • See R600
  • Tobacco Smoke
  • Tobacco Smoke
Carbon Weight
  • 18 lbs.
  • 26 lbs.
  • 18 lbs.
  • 26 lbs.
Filter Life
  • 2+ years
  • Depending on severity of concern
  • 2+ years
  • Depending on severity of concern
  • 2+ years
  • Depending on severity of concern
  • 2+ years
  • Depending on severity of concern
Description The R600 is AirPura's multi-purpsoe unit. It contains a large volume of activated carbon which can adsorb thousands of different types of chemicals.  It also has a True HEPA filter to remove airborne particles. Good for those that have a wide range of chemical/odor issues that are not caused by a few identifiable sources. The T600 is designed specifically for Tobacco related concerns. It is 100% carbon, with no HEPA Filter so not recommended for allergies.  It includes a TarBarrier filter which captures the gummy tars that come from cigarette/cigar smoke and keeps them out of the primary filter. Good for: Dedicated smoking areas, restaurants, bars, waiting rooms, homes.  The F600 has added blends of treated carbon designed for improved removal of Formaldehyde. Formaldehyde can off gas from an number of building related products. For example, Lumber Liquidators was recently found to have high levels of Formaldehyde offgassing from their laminate & wood flooring.  The F600 DLX (Deluxe) adds more carbon & additives to the F600. But it does so by reducing the thickness of the HEPA filter layer.  This is for someone with serious formaldehyde concerns, but who does not have a heavy particle problem. Or someone that already has another air purifier to address the airborne particles.
Pros
  • Variable Speed Dial 
  • High Carbon Capacity
  • Variable Speed Dial 
  • High Carbon Capacity
  • Variable Speed Dial 
  • High Carbon Capacity
  • Variable Speed Dial 
  • High Carbon Capacity
Cons
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
Details Details Details Details

Heavy Chemical/VOC Concerns


This is a continuation of the Heavy Chemical units above.

AirPura V600 AirPura C600 Austin Air Healthmate Plus Austin Air Healthmate
 
Max Coverage 
  • 2000 SqFt
  • 2000 SqFt
  • 1500 SqFt
  • 1500 SqFt
Ideal For
  • VOC Offgassing
  • Ammonia, Pesticides
  • Benzene/Toluene from heating fuel.
  • Paint & Glue Smells
  • Customizable Blends
  • Call for More Info
  • Chemical Smells
  • Formaldehyde, Benzene
  • Odors
  • Airborne Particles
  • Chemical Smells
  • Odors
  • Airborne Particles
Not Recommended For
Carbon Weight
  • 18 lbs.
  •  26 lbs.
  • 15 lbs.
  •  15 lbs.
Filter Life
  • 2+ Years
  • Depending on severity of concern
  • 2+ Years
  • Depending on severity of concern
  • 2+ Years
  • Depending on severity of concern
  • 2+ Years
  • Depending on severity of concern
Description V600 is AirPura's unit for Volatile Organic Compounds.  VOCs are the unpleasant and noxious odors and smells that come from household chemicals, like the cleaning products you keep under the sink, or the bug/weed killer products you keep in the garage. It also includes odors like paint smells, and new carpet or furniture smells.  Target the exact chemical concerns you are looking to remove with the AirPura C600. AirPura builds these units to order based on the specific needs of the customer.   Call our customer service team to discuss options creating a custom carbon blend for your concern. Healthmate Plus indicates the addition of  Potassium Iodide, which is used for the removal of Formaldehyde, Benzene, & other Toxic VOCs found in pollution. Also good for wood burning smoke/soot/odor removal.  15 lbs. of untreated activated carbon for general chemical odors and smells.  This unit does not have treated carbon, which is why it does not address Formaldehyde & some other VOCs. Good for people with sensitivity to treated carbon.
Pros
  • Variable Speed Dial 
  • High Carbon Capacity
  • Variable Speed Dial 
  • High Carbon Capacity
  • High Carbon Capacity
  • Built in USA
  • Trusted/Used by US Military
  • High Carbon Capacity
  • Built in USA
  • Trusted/Used by US Military
Cons
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
  • Heavy to Carry Up/Down Stairs
  • Complex Filer Change process (But done infrequently) 
Details Details Details Details

Get Expert Help With Your Smoke Concern

Talk to an expert at Air Purifiers America about your concern.
We can help you find the perfect air purifier for your family, your space, and your concerns.

Call or chat us during business hours, Monday-Friday 8am-6pm CST and Saturday 10am - 4pm CST.

Talk to an expert:

1-800-334-1494