Dust mites are a hidden danger in the home that can degrade indoor air quality. This can be even worse when coupled with the presence of pet dander or mold. Some people even have specific allergies to dust mites.
Regardless, the presence of dust mites can be health affecting. It can also be a source of poor sleep. So, tackling a dust mite infestation can be important to you and your family. One of the best lines of defense against dust mites is to purchase a quality air purifier.
However, purifiers are not equal. You should search specifically for the best air purifier for dust mite allergies in particular. While not an exhaustive list, let’s focus on the best air purifiers for the job and learn a bit about dust mites and their dangers in the process.
What Dust Mites Are and What They Do
Dust mites are incredibly common in homes. They can be found anywhere humans live and work. These bugs average just one-hundredth of an inch in size and are near impossible to see with the naked eye.
As dust mites devour dead skin cells and other organic matter, they leave behind tiny waste particles. In a lifetime, which typically spans a few weeks, dust mites will produce as much as 2,000 particles of waste each. When considered along with the dust mites ability to reproduce rapidly, it’s this large amount of waste that introduces dangerous allergens which can cause severe reactions in some people.
The Risks of Dust Mites in Your Home
As mentioned, the most common problem with dust mites is the release of allergen particles into the air. In the confines of indoor air, this can build up and create generally poor air quality. Worse still, dust mites can cause severe reactions in those allergic and even trigger an autoimmune system response – allergic rhinitis.
Allergic rhinitis, more typically known as hay fever, causes a multitude of symptoms including:
- A runny nose
- Itching skin, eyes, and mouth
- Congestion and a stuffy nose
With dust mites, allergic rhinitis is perennial, as opposed to seasonal, occurring year-round for sufferers. Dust mites can also trigger dangerous asthma attacks in susceptible people. What’s worse is the persistent nature of these health issues. Long-term, dust mite allergens can disrupt natural sleep and generally damage your health by denying you quality sleep.
How Air Purifiers Work to Protect Your Home and Family from Dust Mites
Air purifiers employ several means to scrub your indoor air of molds, allergens, and other particles. Some methods are better than others at targeting specific types of air impurities. The best air purifiers for dust mites employ a combination of different technologies to remove their waste particles from your indoor air. Some of the more common methods employed are:
This is the most common and simplest of air purifier options. Whether it uses disposable or washable filters, they employ a dense filter material designed to trap particles in the air. Regular cleaning or replacement of filters is required to keep this type of air purifier running effectively.
This is very similar to a standard filter system. The difference is in the filter itself. HEPA, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters are EPA compliant and proven to dependably remove 99% of particles as small as 2 microns in size. This makes them excellent at dust removal. Like standard filters, these should be replaced regularly. HEPA filters are so efficient at cleaning the air, they are commonly used in industrial settings where air purity is of the highest importance. This covers a lot of allergens and odors that affect indoor air quality.
True HEPA filters
True HEPA filters are much the same as HEPA filters, but they are capable of catching more material of even smaller size, at 99.97% of particles captured as small as .03 microns in size. Pet dander and dust particles lie in this range.
Ionizing Air Purifiers
This air purifier generates an electrical field that causes particles to gain an electrical charge and, thus, clump together. This extra weight causes particles to fall from the air to the floor where they can safely be vacuumed and wiped up. The device also has a plate or plates carrying an opposite electrical charge to the emitter which draws particles towards it to be trapped. While excellent against like cigarette smoke, it can be more challenging for it to remove other particles such as dust and other airborne allergens.
These air purifiers work by emitting an electrical charge, much like an ionizing air purifier. However, this electrical charge converts oxygen to ozone. Ozone can not only eliminate airborne particles but also neutralize odors. While the EPA warns against the use of ozone air purifiers in home settings in some cases, it is commonly used in commercial areas.
Activated Carbon Filter
An activated carbon filter uses absorption to trap impurities and contaminants in its porous structure. Carbon filters are excellent at removing odors as well.
The Safety of Air Purifiers
The benefits of having an air purifier are many. Air quality affects general health and cleaner air offers respite for allergy sufferers from outdoor air quality. Even from people who do not suffer allergies, clean indoor air can offer a break from outdoor air pollution.
Still, some people worry air purifiers can make you sick. The short answer to this question is no. Air purifiers are perfectly safe indoors and do not contribute to illness. The only known exception, as noted, are ozone-generating air purifiers that are not recommended for use in homes.
Things to Consider When Choosing Air Purifiers for Dust Mites and Allergens
Hands down, if you are concerned about finding the best air purifier for dust-mite allergies, you should focus on those that use a HEPA filter. A HEPA filter is designed to catch 99.97% of all dust matter it filters. Many air purifiers are hybrid models employing different systems alongside a HEPA filter. But a true HEPA filter should be something you require, regardless of other features.
The other consideration should be how much air a particular air purifier can clean. This is usually expressed in square feet. Keep in mind, if your home has higher than average ceilings you may have to account for this and adjust the square feet of the unit you’re considering.
Lastly, keep in mind, the square foot rating is typical for running the machine at full capacity. So, if you want to run your air purifier at a lower, quieter setting, you will want a larger model.
Look for Air Purifier Certifications
Another way to identify a good air purifier is to check what certifications it has. Here’s a short list of the important ones and what they mean.
- CARB Certified – CARB stands for the California Air Resource Board. This shows that the air purifier meets California’s stringent air quality regulations. Its primary focus is to prevent exposure to toxic air contaminants. Most importantly for you, it means the purifier will have extremely little to no ozone emissions.
- FCC Certified – FCC certification is done by the Federal Communications Commission. It certifies the electronics within the purifier to ensure it doesn’t create electromagnetic interference when operating.
- ETL Listed – ETL listed means that the air purifier is certified to meet all safety standards in North America. This assures you that the purifier will run safely in your home and not endanger your family.
The Best Air Purifiers for Dust Mites Currently on the Market
Let’s examine some of the best air purifiers on the market for dust mites. Some are even rated as the best air purifier for mold, dust mites, and other irritants as well. Which is best for you largely depends on the area you will need to clean of air impurities, what particles and odors you need to remove, what methods you prefer, and what budget considerations you have.
Here are, arguably, the top 5 models on the market. You can follow the links provided in the product names to view them directly on Amazon.
This Levoit model uses three separate filters for maximum effectiveness. Pollutants travel through a preliminary filter to catch larger particles such as lint and pet fur. The second layer is a true HEPA filter designed to catch particles such as dust mite waste. The final filter is a carbon filter, which removes fumes and odors from a room such as smoke and cooking odors.
The Levoit runs quietly at under 25dB and can handle rooms as large as 881 square feet. With a suite of programmable options, this unit can even detect airborne contaminants and adjust its fan speed automatically.
Rabbit Air MinusA2
The Air MinusA2 can handle rooms as large as 815 square feet and comes with a six-stage HEPA filtration system. It even has interchangeable filters depending on your individual needs, such as Pet Allergy, Germ Defense, or Toxin Absorber. It also has a negative ion generator to freshen the air.
What’s extremely interesting with this Rabbit Air model is its slim design and WiFi capabilities. It is shallow in design and looks like a standing black square. The Rabbit Air can even be wall-mounted to reduce clutter. As to the controls, you can use a smartphone to control this air purifier from anywhere in the world as well as order replacement filters when necessary.
The HPA300 can handle rooms as large as 465 square feet. Its impressive speed means it can recirculate all the air in the room five times per hour. It runs with dual filters, a standard one as well as a True HEPA filter.
The Honeywell is a larger model, at 21 pounds. But it is hardly a surprise considering how quickly it can filter an entire room. But it isn’t the perfect model if space is tight. If you tend to forget to replace filters though, you’ll love the Honeywell warning lights on this unit that tell you when it is time to change each filter.
Germ Guardian AC5250PT
This Germ Guardian entry is designed to be perhaps the best air purifier for mold and dust mites. Not only does it come standard with a HEPA filter, but you can also add an optional UV-C light that works with titanium dioxide to kill bacteria, viruses, mold, and germ spores.
This Germ Guardian is designed to run in rooms up to 180 square feet in size, filtering the air up to four times per hour. It’s also Energy Star certified, meaning it will cost you less per hour than many other leading brands to use.
While it handles smaller rooms than other models, the Germ Guardian’s extra features make it a strong contender on this list. The UV-C light does need replacement about once a year.
Coway AIRMEGA 400S
For large rooms, there is no comparison to the AIRMEGA 400S. This unit can handle rooms as large as 1560 square feet.
The Coway uses a combination of a HEPA filter and a carbon filter to clean the air at maximum room size up to two times per hour. The pre-filter, designed to catch larger particles, is washable and reusable, cutting down on filter bills.
It has five speeds and runs nearly silently at lower speeds. At the highest speed, the noise level is still a moderate 43.2 dB.
The Coway can even tell you in real-time how contaminated your air is with a visual indicator. It’s also fully programmable for automatic run times and has indicators to let you know when to replace your filters. The only drawback to the AIRMEGA 400S is that it is on the higher end of the pricing scale.
A Special Note Regarding True HEPA and HEPA Filters When Selecting the Best Air Purifiers
While HEPA filters, in general, are excellent for air cleaning, True HEPA is likely what you’ll want for dust mites. These HEPA-type filters are ideal dust removal. For dust allergies in general, True HEPA is a clear choice.
You might still consider a model with a humidifier or UV-C light option as well, which can also help to alleviate allergy symptoms as well as remove dust particles and, in particular for UV-C light, can help destroy volatile organic compounds thus purifying the air.
Protect Your Family from Dust Mites Allergens with an Air Purifier
Whatever model you choose, you’ll find an air purifier a good investment if your home has dust mites. Even if no one in your home suffers from dust mite allergies, dust mites will adversely affect the air you breathe. Air purifiers are a simple and affordable defense against this health hazard. Ensure you can rest and breathe easy.