Lately, a lot of attention has been given to the air we breathe outside. Pollution is a big deal these days and cities all across the world have instituted air quality alerts and control measures to try to keep their citizens safe and healthy. With that said, did you know that your home air quality – that is, the air actually inside your home – can be unhealthier to breathe even than the air outside in large, polluted cities such as Los Angeles and Beijing? Allergy sufferers will attest to this firsthand. Harmful particles such as dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and many others circulate and stagnate in your home air, harming your lungs and respiratory system, aggravating your allergies, and putting your health at risk.

The best way to eliminate this threat to your health is with a quality air purifier. But there are so many of them out there, how do you know which one to purchase? This guide will help you make the right decision for you and your family's health.

Here are the main criteria to evaluate when buying an air purifier.

1. What is your budget? Air purifiers cover a wide gamut of price ranges, so first you want to establish how much you are willing to spend on one so that when you are comparing across several units, you are doing so with units that fit into your specified price range. You do not have to break the bank on an air purifier to get a good one, but this is something that is too important to your family's health to simply look for the cheapest discount option.

2. True HEPA filters only! You only want to consider air purifiers that contain a true HEPA filter. These filters will capture a staggering 99.97% of all airborne particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This will legally eliminate all pollen, dust, dust mites, tobacco smoke, and pet dander from your home. Do not fall for cheap units which claim to have a “HEPA like” filter. There is no substitute for a true HEPA filter.

3. How big of an area do you need to clean? Any unit you evaluate should have listed the maximum room size it is able to clean effect. This can range from 100-150 square feet up to 900 or more square feet depending on the power of the air purifier. If you have a large house and you want the whole thing to have clean air, you might consider using more than one air purifier. Personally, I use a large model for the open space that encompasses my living room, kitchen, and dining room, and a small, quiet unit for my bedroom.

4. Compare extras. The above paragraphs outlined the basic criteria that must be present for an air purifier purchase to be worth it. As you compare them, you will notice that some units have some special features that while they are not vital, some people strongly prefer to have them. These features include a carbon prefilter that captures large particles and keeps them from clogging up the HEPA filter, theby prolonging its life; an ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and other biological airborne contaminants; and an ionizer to release negative ions into the air, which some people believe makes the air healthier to breathe. If one or more of these extra features are important to you, focus on selecting an air purifier within your budget which offers them.

Your home air quality is vital to your health as well as the health of your family. Do not let the air you breathe inside be even worse than the air you breathe outside. By choosing a quality air purifier for your home, you can be confident that you are doing all you can to keep your family safe.