To most UK residents aged over 40, the presence of air purifiers in the home is a relatively recent phenomenon. Certainly, it was the case until only a few years ago that they were mostly associated with smoky environments and it was not unusual to see small purifiers on peoples desks in some offices. These days, they are much more evident and are used most often by people with household allergies.
Since the days when air purifiers were little more than gimmick products to freshen the air or increase the ozone around you, there have been tremendous technical advances in this area. This has led to a position where, certainly in the last ten years, normal households can afford to buy purifier units that are both compact and really work. It other words, they really can eliminate most of the common air quality problems such as allergens and dust. More sophisticated units can even deal with fumes.
The degree to which the air purification market is a very specialised one in technical terms is best illustrated by the fact that many of the major companies in small electrical goods, such as Panasonic and Hitachi, have no real presence in this product category. Instead, the key manufacturers are brands such as Airfree, Blueair and Bionaire, and their brand names are enough to tell us that they basically specialise in air purifiers.
One of the most comprehensive ranges of air purifiers comes from Blueair, whose Swedish designed products utilise their highly regarded HepaSilent system of filtration. This system can remove up to 6 times the contaminant levels removed by many other filter based systems. Blueair also produce SmokeStop variants of most of the range and these are particularly popular for households with a mixture of smoking and non-smoking residents.
The other major manufacturer that uses filter technologies in their air purifiers is Bionaire, a brand that has quite a bit of recognition in the UK, as it was one of the original makers of ionising purifiers for smoky offices. However, their current product range is very different and their top selling air purifier today is an extremely capable unit called a Bionaire BAP 1700. This purifier features a comprehensive HEPA and carbon filtration system that scrubs out fumes as well as the more usual allergens, like pollen.
The air purifier manufacturer that is almost certainly attracting the most attention is Airfree, mainly as a result of their technology, which replaces the filters normally used and, instead, purifies the atmosphere in a room by high-temperature incineration of pollen, dust and other airborne contaminants. Amazingly, the incinerators are so small that virtually no heat is emitted from the unit and they can even be placed on carpets.
Although it is definitely still a niche market that is dominated by niche manufacturers, air purifiers have developed a massive amount in a relatively short timescale, both technically and in terms of the size and types of spaces that they can be used in. It is hard to see a situation today, in which someone who buys a unit of the right size from these major players, would not feel very confident that it will do the job required of it.