Can Air Purifiers Make Allergies Worse?

Most people will come across air purifiers as an alternative way to reduce their allergic symptoms. Air Purifiers are used for allergies such as dust mite, pollen and pet dander. The science behind allergy air purifier is that they remove the allergens from the air and thus the sufferer no longer has an allergic reaction.


This sounds like a magic pill for allergy suffers but the vast majority of air purifiers will actually make their allergy worse. And it’s not just allergies, the wrong air purifier can be harmful and can actually aggravate health conditions like asthma and other respiratory issues.

I often spend time answering questions on Yahoo answers and very often people will ask why their air purifier is actually making their allergy worse. One young woman bought an ionizer air purifier and then told us how it made her allergies worse for the next 6 months. It was only when this purifier broke that her allergies got better.


Now the problem with many ionizer air purifiers is they will stir up the dust/pollen/pet dander in your room and bring it out of the areas it has been hiding. The Ionization process will then charge the allergen particles and make them heavier. However, if the air purifier has a limited ability to filter the allergens then the problem has only been made worse. Allergens that are stuck in your carpet or behind objects do not cause as many problems as the allergens in the air. It’s the reason why many of us even with no allergies start sneezing after we have been dusting our rooms.


Another problem with using an air purifier for allergies is that some of the cheaper ionizer based models actually produce ozone which can trigger allergies in some people. In once case – The ionic breeze air purifier produced as much ozone as the amount found during high smog season in downtown LA! Any air purifier that produces any sort of ozone should be ignored by someone looking to remove allergens from the air.

So do air purifiers work for allergies?

It might sound like I am telling you that air purifier is useless for allergies but I’m not. In fact, I helped to reduce my symptoms caused by my dust mite allergy by using an air purifier. However, it took me many different models and lots of $$ to find one that actually worked. So I have put together a list of things to look for if you really want an allergy air purifier:

1. No Ozone Production – check with independent results to see how much ozone is produced

2. Needs to be able to deal with a room sized at least 500 square feet – but preferable more than a 1000 feet.

3. Needs to be able to remove 99.7% of particles bigger than 0.3 microns. In most cases this will require a true HEPA filter. Again check independent results to see how it works both out of the box and after 6 months.

4. Always choose an air purifier that comes with a pre-filter. Pre Filters stop big particles such as dust, pet hair and general dirt. With a pre-filter it will mean that you won’t have to buy as many costly replacement HEPA filters.

5. Try to find an air purifier that has a silent sleep mode as you will want to keep the machine running whilst you sleep.

Tips to make sure your air purifier helps allergies and doesn’t make them worse

  • Be sure to check if your filters need replacing. A big issue is that people forget that filters need replacing either every 12 months (for cheaper units) or every 5 years for units like the Austin Air models (more $$)
  • Make sure that you only go for an air purifier with a true HEPA filter or equivalent. The main issue for allergy sufferers is the pet and pollen dander which will get caught up in HEPA filters as the holes are small enough to let in air but can capture bigger particles like tree pollen or pet dander.
  • Don’t make the mistake of using a small unit in a large space. Many of the cheaper air purifiers are only built to deal with the air in a small room. If you take one of these units and place it in your large living room – the unit will become overwhelmed and won’t be able to remove the allergen causing particles from your home.

If you are looking for an air purifier that won’t make allergies worse but can significantly reduce the amount of dust and pet dander then be sure to check the list below of our recommendations for 2020. All of them include HEPA filters and Carbon so you can be sure that as long as they are used as recommended they will reduce your allergic symptoms.

Top 4 Air Purifiers for those with Allergies

1.Austin A250B1 – Best Overall
Austin Air A250B1 HealthMate Plus Junior Air Purifier, Black
  • Designed for people living in smaller spaces and specializes in the reduction of harmful chemicals, noxious gases, VOC’s, formaldehyde, and sub micron particles for individuals in the most contaminated of settings
  • Broad spectrum adsorption offers protection for people exposed to smoke from wildfires, those living close to busy highways, and people with sensitivity to certain chemicals and gases found in the home
  • True medical grade HEPA filter removes 99.97% of all particles larger than 0.3 microns; over 270 cubic inches of activated carbon impregnated with potassium iodide and zeolite filtration removes odors, gases and chemicals including formaldehyde and benzene
  • 3 speed settings for fan; 360 degree intake system draws air into all sides of unit, passing air through a 4 stage filter
  • Eases headaches and reduces nausea related to chemical exposure; helps reduce coughing, wheezing and sneezing, dry mouth, runny nose; reduces night time allergies and asthma attacks, snoring, and helps you sleep better; strengthens the immune system

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2. Medify MA-40 2.0 – Great if you can afford

Medify MA-40W2 V2.0 Medical Grade Filtration H13 True HEPA for 840 Sq. Ft. Air Purifier, 99.9% | Modern Design - White (2-Pack)
  • Medical Grade H13 Filters (higher rated than True HEPA) 99.9% particle removal. H13 True HEPA is considered medical grade air filtration, the unit alone is not a medical device.
  • Cleans a room up to 1,600 sq ft in one hour, 840 sq ft in 30 minutes, 420 sq ft in 15 minutes (CADR 330)
  • To make V2.0 quieter in 'Sleep Mode' and Speed 1 the ionizer is automatically turned off, on speed 2 and 3 it can be turned on/off as needed | CARB, Energy Star & ETL certified.
  • Tempered Glass panel (like your cell phone, easy to clean, won't scratch like cheap plastic models), Sleep mode and 3 fan speeds, 8 hr timer, night mode, child lock
  • Genuine Medify Replacement Filter: B07MTQFFNT, 110 Volt units, USA registered Lifetime Warranty

3. LEVOIT CORE 300 – Quite a machine for less than $100

LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Air Purifiers Filter, 24db Quiet Air Cleaner, Remove 99.97% Smoke Dust Mold Pollen for Large Room, Core 300, White
  • Genuine Replacement Filters: Search for core300-rf or core 300 replacement filter for Replacement Filters. Use genuine Levoit replacement filters to maintain the best performance and to ensure what you're buying is worthy of your investment
  • Higher Purify Performance: Use the Core 300 to fill your environment with crisp, clean air. Its Vortexair Technology creates a stronger air flow, CADR number is 230+m3/h, allowing it to cover up to 219 sq. ft. AC 120V/60HZ for USA and Canada
  • Improved Filtration: With larger expansion area and longer length than others, the H13 Ture HEPA filter works with ultra-fine Pre-filter and activated carbon filter, trapping 99. 97% of fine particles and allergens as small as 0. 3 microns and large pollutants such as dust, pet dander, smoke, mold, pollen
  • Most Silent Air Cleaner: The noise level is nearly voiceless at sleep mode with only 24db, its QuietKEAP Technology reduces noise so you can sleep in a restful and soothing indoor environment
  • Ultra-long Service Life: Industry leader provider's bearing makes this levoit core300 hepa air purifier durable and reliable. The AC capacitor motor uses durable high-precision bearing, and excellent internal structure increases abrasion resist, which obviously extends the life of machine

4. Coway Airmega 300 – Not cheap but great for large spaces

Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA and Eco Mode
  • Coway Mighty (AP-1512HH) is designed to accommodate room sizes up to 361 sq.ft (CADR: Dust 246 / Pollen 240 / Smoke 233 cb. ft.).
  • 4 Stage Filtration System (Pre-filter, Deodorization filter, True HEPA filter, Vital Ion) captures and reduces up to 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in the air, including pollen, pollutants and other allergens. It also reduces volatile organic compounds and reduces odor.
  • Coway Mighty pollution sensor communicates indoor air quality in real-time. The brightly colored LED lets you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is every minute of the day. And it features a timer, and filter lifetime indicator.
  • Fan speeds available in 1, 2, 3 stages by manually setting up. While auto mode automatically optimizes the speed setting 1 through 3 based on the level of indoor air quality. When no pollution is detected for 30 minutes, the fan will automatically stop and set as Eco mode to save energy.
  • Timer feature allows the machine to run 1/4/8 hours before automatically powering off.

5. Sharp FPF30UH – Great for small spaces and tight budgets

Sharp, White FPF30UH True HEPA Air Purifier for Home Office or Small Bedroom with Express Clean. Filters Last up-to 2 Years for Dust, Smoke, Pollen, Pet Dander, 143 Square Feet
  • SMALL ROOMS: Designed for Rooms up to 143 sq. ft.
  • CADR Dust (101) / Smoke (92) / Pollen (109)
  • Long-Life TRUE HEPA Filter Lasts Up-to 2 Years (actual filter life will differ depending on the environment)
  • True HEPA Filter Captures 99.97% of Allergens as Small as 0.3 Microns that pass through the filter
  • The Library Quiet, Sleep Setting is Perfect for the Bedroom or Home Office (as low as 23 dba)

Last update on 2020-08-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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