Shopping for an air purifier to protect someone who is sensitive to airborne chemicals?
You are on the right page.
Chemical sensitivity is a serious issue that affects many people around urban and industrialized areas because of the poor air quality.
Whether you live in a well-ventilated penthouse or a cramped apartment, air that flows into your house is usually contaminated with automotive fumes, industrial vapors, and other airborne chemicals.
Fortunately, you can improve the air quality around your house by using a good chemical air purifier.
The air purifier market is brimming with units that boast incredible air cleaning power. But not every air purifier can help with chemical sensitivity.
To help you out, we have rounded up the best air purifiers for chemicals.
What’s In This Buying Guide
Chemical sensitivity is a serious health issue that exhibits itself moderately as nausea and headaches and severely as chest pain and irregular heartbeat. These reactions are brought on by low-level exposure to different chemicals and their fumes.
In this buying guide, we list the best air purifiers that can help people with chemical sensitivity. We carefully chose products with high carbon content or impregnated carbon filters that can effectively remove chemical traces.
We review each product in detail and list its pros, cons, and specs.
Then, in our comprehensive shopping guide, we explain the essential features of any chemical-removing air purifier.
We also thoroughly explain how to correctly use an air purifier for chemical removal and answer some common queries related to chemical air filters.
Let’s get started!
Best Air Purifiers To Remove Chemicals From the Air
HATHASPACE Smart True HEPA Air Purifier
- Best Overall
7 x 13.5 x 19.5 inches
Up to 700 square feet
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
- Budget Pick
15 x 8.2 x 23.6 inches
360 to 1745 square feet
2-year limited warranty
Austin Air HealthMate
- Best with 360° Air Intake
14.5 x 14.5 x 23 inches
Up to 1500 square feet
Over 780 cubic inches
- Best for Noiseless Operation
14.8 x 14.8 x 22.8 inches
Up to 1560 square feet
1-year for internal malfunctions, 5 years for the motor and electrical parts
1. Best Overall: HATHASPACE Smart True HEPA Air Purifier
While Hathaspace is not a very well-known brand, the HSP001 Smart True HEPA Air Purifier is a popular choice amongst people fighting against smoke, VOCs, and MCS. It features a sleek and stylish design with a built-in air quality sensor.
This Hathaspace air purifier boasts a comprehensive 5-stage filtration system that helps eliminate 99.97% of most of the known allergens and air contaminants.
Plus, it has a maximum area coverage of 700 square feet and delivers one air change per hour.
We chose the Hathaspace HSP001 as the best air purifier for MCS because of its comprehensive 5-stage filtration system.
The first stage in the Hathaspace HSP001 is a Nano Cold Catalyst filter that removes toxic chemicals like ammonia, formaldehyde, and benzene. It also effectively captures visible particles like hair, lint, and pet dander.
The second stage is the activated carbon filter. This honeycomb filtration stage contains around 300 grams of carbon. The increased surface area helps address chemical issues in a better way by allowing the filter to absorb a greater concentration of odors, VOCs, smoke pollutants, and gases.
In the third stage, the HSP001 filters the air with an antibacterial filter. It consists of nanomaterials that effectively destroy viruses, bacteria, and other microbes as they pass through it.
The next stage is the True HEPA filter that traps 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns.
The last stage is the anion ionizer that releases negatively charged particles to neutralize airborne contaminants, making it easier for other stages to trap them.
The Hathaspace HSP001 also contains some useful smart features. An auto mode scans the air quality and regulates the fan speed accordingly, while you can also use the Sleep mode to set the HSP001 on whisper-quiet as you sleep.
Plus, the speed and light control on the included remote lets you operate your Hathaspace device very conveniently.
2. Budget Pick: Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
The Winix 5500-2 is one of the most affordable yet feature-rich air purifiers currently available on the market. This powerful machine can cover areas ranging from 360 to 1745 square feet.
The 5500-2 delivers up to 5 air changes per hour in smaller areas, but as the room size increases, the number of air changes decreases, falling to one change per hour in a 1745 square feet room.
The Winix device has a 4-stage air filtration system that addresses all air chemical-related issues in no time.
The Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier primarily stands out for its high smoke CADR of 232 cfm, which means it's very effective at filtering chemicals. The device boasts 4 mechanical and ionizing technologies to remove up to 99.97% of airborne contaminants.
The first stage of the Winix 5500-2 is a fine mesh permanent pre-filter that traps the largest airborne particles like dust, hair, and fibers.
After the preliminary filtration, the air passes through the washable AOC carbon filter made from activated carbon granules. The carbon effectively adsorbs free-floating VOCs, gases, and chemical particles and binds them to its surface, so they cannot escape back into the room.
The third filtration stage in the 5500-2 is True HEPA filtration. Air passes through the ultra-fine HEPA filter that captures particles as small as 0.3 microns. This filtration stage effectively removes most physical particles, allowing 99.97% of clean air to blow inside the room.
Lastly, the 5500-2 air purifier incorporates PlasmaWave technology to generate ions that break down water vapors into hydroxyl ions. These hydroxyls destroy most bacteria and viruses and break down chemical vapors, gases, and odors for easier absorption.
Despite its low price, the Winix 5500-2 boasts multiple smart features, such as a remote control option, an automatic sleep mode that turns on when the lights are off, a built-in air quality sensor, and an auto mode that senses air quality and automatically adjusts the fan speed.
3. Best with 360° Air Intake: Austin Air HealthMate
The Austin Air HealthMate’s powerful filtration against all types of airborne contaminants has earned it the title “America’s Favorite Air Cleaner” year after year.
The device delivers excellent functionality against chemicals and VOCs with its high carbon content and CADR.
The HealthMate is suitable for both small and large areas and delivers 1 to 5 air changes per hour. Plus, the wheels on the bottom significantly increase its portability.
Austin Air HealthMate is one of the sturdiest air purifiers out there. It features a sturdy, corrosion-resistant, and premium steel alloy body.
Since it weighs 45 pounds, moving it around is no easy task, but the caster wheels help with that.
Though the HealthMate doesn’t come with fancy features like a remote control and air quality sensor, it is still great for chemical removal because of its high carbon content and comprehensive 4-stage filtration system.
The first stage, of course, is a pre-filter designed to capture larger air contaminants, including pet hair and lint.
The second stage is the medium filter that acts as a backup for the pre-filter. As the name suggests, it stops medium-sized particles from passing through.
The next stage is the True Medical-Grade HEPA filter designed to trap the smallest contaminants, measuring down to 0.3 microns. It removes up to 99.97% of all remaining particles before allowing the air to reach the next filtration stage.
Lastly, the air passes through a filter containing 15 pounds of activated carbon impregnated by potassium iodide.
The higher content increases the air’s dwell time inside the filter, allowing it to absorb chemicals, gases, and VOCs in large quantities. The air leaving through the outlet vents is clean, healthy, and chemical-free.
The Austin Air HealthMate boasts a 360° air intake that allows it to purify large amounts of air at a time. A single outlet vent on the side blows out clean air. And a mechanical dial on the front allows you to power it up and adjust fan speed settings.
4. Best for Noiseless Operation: Coway AP-2015E
The Coway AP-2015E carries forward the flagship design of the iconic series from Coway but is more sophisticated and advanced in terms of features and performance.
It boasts a high area coverage ranging up to 1560 square feet. The AP-2015E can intake air from both sides, each with a dedicated filtration system to purify the air coming from that particular side. It boasts double a 3-stage filtration, one for each side of the device.
The AP-2015E features a sleek and elegant cubic design with 2-way air suction. It pulls in air from both sides and passes it through the 3-stage filtration system on each side. The clean air comes out from the top.
This Coway smart air purifier is a good choice for removing chemicals because of the efficient Max2 filter.
The air-cleaning process starts with the washable pre-filter. Since it is the first point of contact, it captures bigger particles that may damage the inner filtration layers.
The next stage is the Max2 filter, which is a combination of a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter.
The true HEPA filter eliminates up to 99.97% of allergens and particles as small as 0.3 microns, including mold spores and pollen.
Next is an activated carbon layer. Here, air passes through the porous surface, which interacts with gaseous molecules and binds them inside, allowing only fresh air to pass through. Chemical matter and VOCs are removed in this stage to pump healthy air outside.
A good thing about the AP-2015E is that there is no guesswork involved when it comes to filter replacements. A convenient filter change indicator light tells you when the filters are full and that it’s time to replace them.
We also like the Coway AP-2015E for its smart features, like the built-in air quality sensor, an auto mode to adjust fan speeds according to the air quality, a sleep mode for quiet operation during the night, and an energy-efficient Eco mode that helps you save on energy bills.
Air Purifiers to Remove Airborne Chemicals: Buying Guide
Features to Consider: Air Purifier for Chemical Sensitivity
Not every air purifier is designed to help with the symptoms of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). You need a specific air purifier for this purpose.
To make sure you get an air purifier that efficiently removes airborne chemicals, look out for:
The first and the most important thing you should do before starting the search for the best chemical air cleaner is to measure the room you plan to use it in.
Some units are designed to clean air in smaller rooms, while others have a large coverage area. When you know the size of your room, you can easily choose an air purifier with the corresponding coverage.
If you don’t want to limit the purifier’s usage to a single room, choose an air purifier with the coverage area of your largest room. This way, you can use it for purifying both small and large rooms.
The filtration system is a significant consideration in any air purifier for chemical removal. This is where chemical and physical airborne allergens are trapped, so you need the most efficient filters.
The first stage in any good air purifier is a pre-filter. It is a mesh or fabric filter designed to trap large, visible particles such as lint, pet hair, and fibers to preserve the efficiency of more advanced filtration stages.
The next stage is usually a HEPA filter, which is a mechanical filter that traps smaller physical particles such as dust and mold spores. This kind of filter can remove up to 99% of airborne pollutants, allowing cleaner air to pass through.
In some models, you get a PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) filter instead of a HEPA filter.
PECO filters are more advanced because instead of trapping air pollutants, PECO filters destroy them altogether. They use light energy to break down the particles and oxidize them to release them as carbon dioxide and water vapor into the air.
The absolute must-have for any chemical-removing air purifier is an activated carbon filter. The carbon pores in AOC filters trap vapors, gases, and chemicals and ensure that they are not released back into the environment.
However, not every air purifier with a carbon filter is effective for chemical removal. You need it in higher quantities to effectively capture chemical vapors and keep them trapped. Any air purifier with a thin activated carbon sheet or a carbon pre-filter cannot do that.
Look for a model with high carbon content. Some carbon filters are also impregnated with different sorbent materials to improve their chemical adsorption.
Although the activated carbon filter makes an air purifier great for chemical removal, you should also not neglect other filter types. It's best to invest in a multiple-stage filtration system because such air purifiers are great for removing mold, dirt, pollen, and other common allergens.
You need an air purifier with a large carbon volume and a True HEPA filter or PECO filter for effective chemical removal.
Only such a model can effectively trap chemicals and VOCs commonly found on household items like aerosol sprays, cigarette smoke, cleaners, fuel, polish, paints, and shampoos, amongst many others.
When shopping for an air purifier to eliminate chemicals, look for one that can effectively remove contaminants like alcohol, smoke, VOCs, acetone, formaldehyde, gasoline, benzene, toluene, pesticides, etc.
You should also look for an air purifier with good automatic features.
Since you want to eliminate chemicals from your home, these features provide assistance and ensure that the air you breathe is as clean as possible.
One important feature to look out for is the auto mode. In this mode, the air purifier uses built-in air quality sensors to scan the room’s air quality and automatically adjusts the fan speed to meet the requirement.
Some air purifiers have indicator lights to indicate air quality.
Having such features gives you peace of mind that the air around your home is clean and that your air purifier is doing what it is supposed to do.
Setting up a budget for your purchases is always a good idea before shopping for anything. It is a good practice that saves you from making impulsive purchases.
Once you set a price range for buying a new air purifier, try to stick with it as much as possible. You’ll find that it’s not very difficult to do so because air purifiers are available in a range of prices.
And sometimes, the more affordable models have better capabilities than their expensive counterparts.
Sure, some units might cost you an arm and a leg, but if you carefully consider all the aspects we mention, you might find a good chemical-removing air cleaner that actually falls within your budget.
Although the device's weight does not directly affect its performance, it plays an important role in determining its portability. A compact, lightweight device is very easy to move from one place to another, while a heavy, bulky unit is difficult to transport.
You should carefully consider your application before settling on a particular unit. If you plan on using it in one place only, a heavier air purifier certainly won’t be a problem. But if you want to use it around your house, it’s better to go for a lighter, more portable unit.
The ideal air purifier should efficiently clean the air without making much noise. However, that’s not realistically possible.
Air purifiers tend to make some amount of noise, even if it's a gentle hum.
The best you can do is check the noise level of different devices and settle for one whose noise level is more comfortable for you.
Warranty coverage indicates the unit’s reliability. It usually specifies the time period the manufacturer believes its unit to last without developing problems.
The longer the warranty coverage, the more trust the manufacturer has in the air purifier’s performance.
You should invest your hard-earned money in a unit with long warranty coverage. That way, even if the air purifier malfunctions, you can contact the manufacturer for repairs.
How to Use an Air Purifier Correctly to Remove Chemicals From the Air
Choosing the perfect chemical air purifier for your home is a good thing. But simply finding the correct unit is not enough.
You need to use it correctly to reap the benefits of clean air. Here are some tips for using your air purifier to eliminate chemicals from the air effectively:
Consider its placement
Every air purifier needs some breathing space, so it’s important that you place the unit a few feet away from everything.
It should have some clearance on all sides and on the top for unobstructed air circulation. Place the device such that nothing hinders its inlet and outlet vents.
Plus, don’t hide it behind anything, as doing so will adversely impact its performance.
Choose the right size
As we mentioned above, you should choose an air purifier with the right area coverage to properly remove chemicals floating in your room.
If you choose a model with inadequate coverage, it will struggle to improve the air quality. Choosing the right size is the key to effective chemical removal.
Direct the airflow towards yourself
Having clean airflow towards yourself helps alleviate MCS symptoms quickly. This is especially true if you have a large room.
If your room is small, the direction of clean airflow does not matter because then it will circulate in the entire room.
Keep it running
If you live in an industrial area, by a busy road, or with a smoker, we suggest running your air purifier round the clock. Doing so will keep all the allergens and chemicals from triggering your condition.
If you are worried about increased energy bills, know that air purifiers manufactured these days are highly energy-efficient.
Insulate the room from outdoors
No matter how powerful your air purifier is, it can’t clean the outdoors. The best you can do is clean the air in your room and seal it off from the contaminated outside air.
Keep the doors and windows closed and seal off any leaky crevices that may introduce dirty air back into the room.
Pros and Cons of Air Purifiers For Removing Airborne Chemicals
Chemical air purifiers certainly boast a lot of benefits, but they have limitations, too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can Air Purifiers Remove Airborne Chemicals?
Not every air purifier can remove airborne chemicals. Only a unit with an activated carbon filter with high carbon content or one impregnated with some sorbent materials like potassium permanganate, alumina, or zeolite can remove airborne chemicals.
Are There Any Side Effects of Using an Air Purifier for Chemicals?
Air purifiers whose carbon filter is impregnated with different materials tend to off-gas some minerals as gases. Some people find the sweet smell of the potassium permanganate inserts intolerable. The plastic and glue used in your air purifier can sometimes off-gas too.
Do Air Purifiers Make the Air Dry?
No, air purifiers do not make the air dry. In easy words, they don’t have any mechanism to draw moisture out of the air. Their filtration system may trap particles, chemicals, and odors, but it does nothing against airborne water vapors.
You might feel the air drier when the device is running, but it’s usually because of the increased air circulation.
Final Verdict: What Is the Best Air Purifier for Chemical Sensitivity Sold Today?
MCS is a serious health issue that greatly affects day-to-day life. If either you or your loved one suffers from this condition, you should immediately get a good chemical air purifier to help alleviate the symptoms.
In our opinion, one of the best air purifiers for people sensitive to chemicals is the HATHASPACE Smart True HEPA Air Purifier. It is a smart device with good carbon content and useful features for a good user experience.
But if you want something more affordable, go for the Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier. This smart air purifier caters to spaces up to 1745 square feet, while the auto mode and the built-in air quality sensor allow you to use it without a hitch.
Meanwhile, if you want something basic but highly effective against chemicals, the Austin Air HealthMate is a good option. Although it lacks fancy smart features, it contains enough carbon to remove chemical traces from a large 1500 square feet room.