With new restrictions in place for large parts of the country, lots of us are spending more time at home. As a result, it’s now more important than ever to think about air quality in the spaces where you spend most of your time.
This year has been challenging enough, but if you’ve taken solace in the fact that you’re no longer breathing polluted air on your daily commute, there’s more bad news in store. Studies have shown that the air inside our homes can be three times more polluted than outside.
There are several ways you can improve your indoor air quality. Buying an air purifier is a good start, but you’ll need to make sure you choose wisely as air purifiers don’t come cheap.
We recently tested six air purifiers in the Which? lab. Two of those models were Best Buys, but one did so poorly in our tests that we had no choice but to make it a Don’t Buy. Keep scrolling for the details.
Best Buy air purifiers – discover which models soared through our rigorous tests
Dyson air purifiers: Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool (£549), Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool (£599)
These air purifiers are certainly the most attractive of our latest batch, each flaunting an open-loop design.
They’re the most feature packed, too. The Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool (pictured below) is a combined air purifier, fan and humidifier, which could appeal if you suffer from a dry throat, dry skin or dry eyes.
The Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool could also be worth considering if you’d benefit from adding some moisture to the air. You can turn off humidification if you want and have the device function purely as a purifier fan.
The Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool also functions as an electric heater. You can see how it performed as an electric heater by reading our full Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool Purifying Fan Heater review.
Both of these products can be controlled via the Dyson Link smartphone app. They also have a remote control that attaches to the fan magnetically so you don’t lose them.
We We measure the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of every air purifier in the Which? test lab to see how rapidly they tackle common household allergens such as dust, pollen and smoke particles.
AEG AX9 400 AP air purifier (£449)
If you don’t fancy spending quite so much on an air purifier, but still want something stylish, the AEG AX9 400 AP is slightly cheaper.
This AEG model has nine fan speeds, or you can set it to Smart Mode and leave it to automatically adjust itself to the conditions in the room.
It doesn’t have a timer so you won’t be able to set it to turn on or off after a certain number of hours. There’s no night mode either – remember to lower the fan speed yourself so it doesn’t disturb you while you sleep.
Like the Dyson air purifiers above, this AEG unit can be controlled from your smartphone.
Check in with our full AEG AX9 400 AP air purifier review to find out whether this model is a Which? Best Buy.
Beurer LR500 (£399.99)
This air purifier is even cheaper, albeit still not exactly a budget option. It’s more of a standard-looking air purifier with a white box design.
Like the Dyson models, the Beurer LR500 has an air-quality sensor and an automatic mode, so it can detect when pollution levels rise and adjust the level of purification according to what’s needed. It has a night mode and a timer that can be set to switch the machine off up to 24 hours in advance.
Although the Beurer LR500 doesn’t come with a remote, you can control the settings using the Beurer FreshHome app.
We’ve also tested the smaller and significantly cheaper Beurer LR200 (£123), which might be of interest if you’re short on space. The LR200 has three fan speeds rather than five and no automatic mode.
We also tested the Boneco Hybrid 300 Humidifier and Purifier (£319) and the Philips Series 300i AC3033-30 (£649), read the full reviews to find out how they fared and which of the models in this story is a Don’t Buy.
How to improve indoor air quality for free
Don’t want to spend out on an air purifier? Fret not – you still have plenty of options. Below, we’ve rounded up some methods that can get results without forcing you to reach for your wallet.
Open a window
It may sound obvious, but ventilation is really important. And it’s all too easy to forget to do this when the weather’s bleak and all we want to do is hide under a duvet. Open your window when there’s least traffic outside.
Avoid scented candles
Many people find that scented candles help soothe and relax them, and we’re definitely in favour of looking after your mental health during lockdown. However, these can be substantial sources of air pollution, especially considering the possible exposure time, which could be a couple of weeks for high-volume diffusers.
So rather than using scented candles and diffusers, try alternative self-care practices such as meditation. Getting as much natural light and exposure to nature (or recordings that can play natural sounds) will also go a long way.
Keep a sharp eye on damp and mould
If your home is damp, you could find yourself sharing it with mould spores, dust mites, clothes moths, fleas, cockroaches and other unwelcome visitors. Living in a damp, mouldy property can have serious consequences for your health.
Make sure you watch out for any mould and tackle it immediately: see more information on dealing with damp.
Avoid drying wet clothes over heaters, as this can make it harder to argue that you’ve used your home reasonably if you’re living in rented accommodation and want your landlord to take action. If necessary, invest in a dehumidifier after reading our dehumidifier reviews.
See also: other ways to breathe cleaner air at home