Do air purifiers really make a difference in your home? While there is limited medical evidence to suggest that air purifiers directly improve your health or relieve allergies and respiratory symptoms, they can still be beneficial in certain situations. Air purifiers can trap particles like dust and dirt that enter through cracks in windows, and they can also help reduce the risk of COVID-19 aerosols entering your home. Most air purifiers consist of a filter or several filters and a fan that draws in and circulates the air. Research suggests that devices with HEPA filters “appear to be beneficial as long as they are maintained regularly”, but no study definitively demonstrates that air filtration has a significant impact on health outcomes.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends eliminating the source of pollutants and ventilating indoor spaces with clean outdoor air as the best way to improve indoor air quality. However, if other people in your home aren't as diligent about tidying up or tracking dust, dirt, pet hair, and pollen from outside, an air purifier can help take the burden of filtering and removing those contaminants. Depending on the model, HEPA-filtered air purifiers can also capture bacterial and viral particles of 0.3 microns or greater. The only real downside to having an air purifier in your home is the financial investment.
But if you're looking to mitigate the risk of possible asymptomatic or symptomatic spread of COVID-19 or simply deal with the usual indoor air pollution, investing in an air purifier may be worth it. Just keep in mind that while good air purifiers can do a decent job of filtering out some particles, they're not the beginning and end of indoor air quality. Opening a window can create an air exchange that will allow pollutants to leave a room and enter fresh air.