Are Air Scrubbers Worth It?

Last Updated on May 7, 2024 by Peter Simmons

An air scrubber helps make indoor air healthier. If you have trouble breathing, it can make life easier. But there’s no clear proof that it helps with allergies or asthma. Still, reducing dust and pollen in the air is a good idea!

An article I previously posted describes what air scrubbers do if you’re interested.


Check air quality: Assess your indoor air for pollutants before deciding on an air scrubber. Remember, 40% of Americans in 2024 will be breathing bad air!

Assess your needs: If you have respiratory issues or live in a polluted area, an air scrubber may be worth it. Otherwise, it might not be necessary.

Cost vs. benefit: Consider the initial investment against long-term health benefits and energy efficiency. Seriously, your life matters.

Let This Statistic Sink in!

According to the American Lung Association’s 2024 “State of the Air” study, even though we’ve been working on cleaning up air pollution for a long time, almost 40% of Americans, which is about 131.2 million people, still live in places where the air isn’t healthy.

They’re Invisible, But…

Chances are that allergens and pollutants are floating around in your indoor air. They haven’t harmed you yet, which is great news. But who knows what those tiny particles are doing to your organs, such as your brain and lungs?

Everyone says you need an air scrubber because it cleans indoor air well. But, are air scrubbers worth it? Should you spend over $500 on one when you could get a $65 HEPA-type air purifier?

Should You Spend Money on an Air Scrubber?

It depends on your needs and circumstances. If you have poor air quality, get an air scrubber. The same advice applies if you have respiratory issues, such as asthma or allergies.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. An air scrubber helps remove harmful particles, improving indoor air quality.

But if you live in an area with good air quality and no respiratory problems, you probably don’t need it. However, shouldn’t breathing cleaner air be every person’s goal?

What Is an Air Scrubber, and How Does It Work?

An air scrubber is a device that improves indoor air quality by removing pollutants. It uses a powerful motor and blade fans to draw polluted indoor air. It then passes the air through filters to capture particles like dust, bacteria, pet dander, pollen grains, and smoke.

These filtration media can be made of materials like HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) or activated carbon. Once the air passes through the filters, it is recirculated into the room, making it cleaner and fresher.

Imagine an air scrubber as a powerful vacuum cleaner for the air in your home. It sucks in dirty air and traps harmful particles, leaving behind cleaner air to breathe.

Some advanced air scrubbers also use UV-C light or ionization to kill bacteria and viruses. These additional features further strengthen the device’s ability to purify the air. They’re used in environments like hospitals, laboratories, commercial kitchens, construction sites, steel factories, and residential buildings.

Regular maintenance is necessary. You need to clean filters or replace them as needed to ensure optimal performance.

Do Air Scrubbers Work?

Scientific studies and user testimonials offer strong evidence of air scrubbers’ effectiveness in reducing airborne and surface contaminants. For those with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions, the improvement in air quality is noticeable.

However, expectations should be realistic. While air scrubbers can significantly improve indoor air quality, they’re not a cure-all for all air quality problems. Their performance may vary depending on factors like room size, pollution levels, and the air scrubber model.

Benefits of Air Scrubbers

Firstly, air scrubbers improve air quality, which is great news for those with respiratory issues or sensitivities. Cleaner air means fewer irritants and allergens, so you can expect fewer asthma attacks and better sleep.

They also help with odors from pets, cooking, painting, and other sources, making your home more pleasant. And, they can even extend the lifespan of your HVAC system by keeping the ductwork cleaner.

Air Scrubbers vs. Air Purifiers: Which is Better?

The debate between air scrubbers and air purifiers isn’t about superiority but about suitability for your needs. Generally, air purifiers are more accessible and cost-effective, making them popular for quick air quality fixes. They’re great at capturing particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander.

Air scrubbers are a more comprehensive solution, tackling both airborne and surface pollutants. They often work with the HVAC system to clean every nook and cranny of your house. Air purifiers only clean the space where you place them, but an air scrubber/HVAC combination is a whole-house cleaner.

Your choice should depend on your air quality needs, budget, and whether you want targeted or whole-house solutions.

How Long Does It Take an Air Scrubber to Clean a Room vs. an Air Purifier?

The time it takes for air purifiers and air scrubbers to clean a room or a house can vary based on several factors. It varies based on room size, the air quality status of the room being cleaned, and the specific model of the device.

Air purifiers might take longer to achieve similar results, especially in larger spaces with higher concentrations of pollutants.

Generally, air purifiers take about 30 minutes to 2 hours to clean a single room. However, an air scrubber integrated with the HVAC system can clean the air in an entire house within 1 to 2 hours. That said, removing lingering odors, such as tobacco smell, can take anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days with either technology.

Do Air Scrubbers Use a Lot of Electricity?

Modern air scrubbers are surprisingly energy efficient. The actual energy consumption will depend on the model and how it’s used. But in general, the increase in your electric bill should be minimal.

The typical air scrubber consumes around 300 to 500 watts of power. For comparison, a standard incandescent light bulb uses about 60 watts. So, an air scrubber uses roughly five to eight times more power than a light bulb. Also, it’s similar to running several small electronic devices simultaneously.

The power consumption can vary based on factors like the size and efficiency of the unit. Also, running the air scrubber continuously may result in higher electricity bills.

Consider This When Deciding If Air Scrubbers Are Worth It

First off, assess the air quality in your home or workplace. Use a reliable air quality monitor to determine whether there’s excessive dust, pollen, dander, VOCs, and more in your air.

Also, evaluate the size of the area you want to purify. Additionally, weigh the initial cost of purchasing an air scrubber against its long-term benefits.

Look for models with energy-efficient features to help lower electricity bills. In addition, consider maintenance requirements, such as filter replacements. Read reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources to find a reliable air scrubber brand and model.

Real-life Examples of When Air Scrubbers Are Worth the Investment

Air scrubbers are worth the investment in homes with allergy sufferers. For instance, individuals allergic to pet dander or pollen benefit greatly. Also, in regions prone to wildfires, air scrubbers help reduce smoke particles indoors.

In healthcare facilities, air scrubbers help maintain sterile environments by removing airborne pathogens, thus reducing the risk of infections. On construction sites, air scrubbers minimize dust exposure, promoting worker health and safety.

Other applications where air scrubbers come in handy are power plants, steel plants, and medical sterilization facilities. These pollutant removal systems help reduce harmful fumes and particles, such as SO2 and others, to EPA-recommended limits.

Here are the 6 Criteria Air Contaminants. These are common air pollutants in the US and many other places. And I’m 100% certain you have some of these impurities in your home!

The Truth About Air Scrubbers and Their Worth

Air scrubbers are worth the money for allergy sufferers and everyone else who wants to breathe cleaner air indoors. These devices maintain sterile environments in healthcare facilities and promote worker health on construction sites.

They’re also useful in power plants, steel plants, and medical facilities, reducing harmful fumes to EPA-recommended levels.

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