Buying an air purifier for your bedroom
Adding an air purifier to your bedroom and home in general can provide a great deal of benefits. If you have trouble sleeping, experience allergies, or are concerned about air quality and particle pollution, an air purifier’s performance in your room may be just what you need. Read on to learn more about how an air purifier in the bedroom can help.
The importance of clean air in the bedroom
We, as humans, spend one third of our lives in our bedrooms. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is usually 2 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air (sometimes reaching up to 100 times more polluted!1), air quality in a space where we spend so much of our time should be at the top of our list of priorities. The presence of stale air in your bedroom can have a serious impact on your sleep quality, allergy and respiratory disease symptoms, and can even put your health at risk in many different ways.
What, exactly, is stale air? Stale air occurs when chemical pollution (including volatile organic compounds or VOCs), air and particle pollutants, humidity, and biological contaminants accumulate in your breathing air. To avoid the build-up of stale air, proper ventilation of your space is always encouraged whenever possible. However, if you live in a place with outdoor air pollution or are concerned about safety, leaving your windows and doors open may not be a possibility.
Polluted indoor air can lead to a host of health problems. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 6.5 million people around the world die as a result of air pollution-related illness. Exposure to air pollution may cause:
- Respiratory disease (asthma, COPD, pulmonary fibrosis, and pneumonia)
- Multiple types of cancer, particularly lung cancer
- Mental health conditions like anxiety and depression
- Increased hospitalisation risk and aggravation of pre-existing conditions
- Asthma attacks – allergens and pollutants in the air trigger 80% of asthma attacks
Specifically, in the bedroom, air pollution may cause snoring and other breathing difficulties whilst sleeping. Some studies have even shown a link between air pollution and sleep apnoea2.
The types of air pollution targeted by air purifiers in the bedroom
An air purifier in the bedroom, particularly one that is equipped with a HEPA-certified filter, can target a wide variety of air pollutants. A device’s clean air delivery rate (CADR), as you will read below, determines how often the air in your space is renewed to remove these pollutants.
Outdoor air pollution is a major contributor to poor indoor air quality and fine particle pollution (and ultrafine and nanoparticle particulate matter) in the home. Pollen, dust, cigarette and other types of smoke, and ashes may also contribute to fine particles present in your bedroom or in your home in general. An air purifier’s performance in your bedroom can help combat all types of fine particles.
In addition to the longer term health effects mentioned above, exposure to fine particles indoors may cause reactions like eye and throat irritation, congestion, coughing, and sneezing. A recent study found that nasal congestion may cause difficulties sleeping, fatigue, headaches, and drowsiness3.
Biological pollution is any type of airborne air pollution that is caused by living organisms. Several examples are dust mites, fungi (mould and mildew), germs (viruses and bacteria), and animal excreta (urine, faeces, skin cells, and saliva). Within the home, these organisms are most abundant in the bedroom which provides a dark, warm place for them to proliferate. Dust mites, specifically, commonly live in your mattress, pillows, and bedding. An air purifier installed in the bedroom can help remove biological pollution and particles from your breathing air.
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are a form of chemical pollution that are often found in the bedroom but in other rooms in the home as well. When you use products like cosmetics, cleaning agents, paint, fragrances, or air fresheners, they all release VOCs, exposure to which can cause many deleterious health effects. Some may include:
- Short-term: respiratory irritation, headaches, loss of coordination, and nausea
- Long-term: nervous system, kidney, and liver damage
If you purchase new pieces of furniture for your bedroom, they can release VOCs – including formaldehyde, a known carcinogen – for up to several years! Application of pesticides or fungicides in the bedroom can also contribute to chemical pollution which is why manufacturers always recommend to properly ventilate when using these products. An air purifier in your bedroom designed with high performance can help remove these contaminants from the air in your space.
The benefits of an air purifier in the bedroom
Ease allergy and respiratory disease symptoms
An air purifier for your bedroom, especially those equipped with a HEPA filter, can ease allergy symptoms and improve sleep quality as a result. In fact, one study has found that those who experience allergic rhinitis and allergy symptoms are twice as likely to experience trouble sleeping4. Individuals who have allergies to pollen, pet dander, and dust can benefit significantly from purchasing an air purifier for the home if the device is equipped with a HEPA filter. This type of filter removes all allergens and air pollutants down to a size of 0.01 µm from your breathing air. Additionally, an air purification device installed in the bedroom can assist with and reduce symptoms associated with multiple types of respiratory conditions, notably asthma.
Carbon filtration is one of the most effective forms of filtration available. Air purifiers that come equipped with activated carbon filters are able to remove odours from the rooms in your home. Typical bad odours found in the home may include those from the kitchen (such as the refrigerator, cooking smells, the rubbish bin, drains, etc.), dirty clothes, cigarettes, pets, and mould. Some of these odours may even contain dangerous VOCs! These scents can easily find themselves in the bedroom, making for an unpleasant night’s sleep. By replacing these smells with fresh, purified air thanks to a high-performance air purifier, you can ensure a more sound sleep. Activated carbon filters are also effective at targeting volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Long-term snoring can have many effects on your everyday life. It may disturb your own nightly sleep patterns as well as those of your partner or other family members or roommates who may be asleep nearby.
As mentioned above in this article, snoring can be a result of having too many pollutants in your breathing air. Snoring occurs when the flow of air through your mouth and nose is blocked. Polluted air can irritate the upper airways, leading to stuffy, inflamed nasal passages and irritated throats. The presence of an air purifier in the bedroom can remove the contaminated particles that may be responsible for these symptoms throughout the night. An air purification device can help to keep these passages open and, thus, reduce snoring.
Serves as a white noise machine
In addition to its health benefits, a bonus feature of installing an air purifier in your bedroom is its use as a white noise machine to ensure a quiet bedroom. The sound that an air purifier makes whilst blowing and circulating air can be soothing to those who have trouble falling or staying asleep throughout the night. White noise masks other sounds in your space and also can be an aid for those who do not like the silence or who live in noisy environments. Regarding white noise machines, studies have shown that:
- In healthy individuals, the performance of white noise machines reduces the amount of time it took people to fall asleep by nearly 40% compared with people who do not use them5
- White noise machines can help babies and young children fall asleep more quickly6
How to choose an air purifier for the bedroom?
When searching for an air purifier to install in your bedroom, it is important to keep certain factors in mind.
- Consider your pollution type and type of filter. Are you experiencing allergies to dust, your pets, or something else in your bedroom? If so, a HEPA filter is what you will need. This is the only filter that guarantees the removal of allergens.
Consider the noise and light level. When installing an air purifier in your bedroom, it is best to install it as close to your breathing zone as possible. That said, you want to make sure that your device will not disturb you throughout the night, especially if you are a light sleeper. The ideal sound level of your device should fall between 25-44 dB. Certain air purification devices, like Eoleaf’s, offer a Sleep mode option that allows you to enjoy a noise-free, optimal sleeping environment and purified air simultaneously. It dims all of the indicator lights and keeps the device running on a speed that is silent.
Consider your bedroom size. Air purifiers are designed to filter the air of rooms of a given size. When choosing your device, ensure that it is properly sized to the size of your bedroom. This can be verified using the device’s clean air delivery rate (CADR).
You can calculate the minimum CADR necessary using the equation below. Note that this rate is usually given in m3/hr (cubic metre per hour), so you should use metres:
Take the room’s length (in metres) x the room’s width (in metres) x the room’s height (in metres). This will calculate the volume of your room (in cubic metres).
Multiply the volume of your room by the desired air changes per hour or ACH (the number of times the air is cleaned per cycle). We recommend an ACH value of between 3 and 5.
This will give you your minimum CADR score.
Example: 10 m length x 3 m width x 3 m height = 90 cubic metres.
Let's use an ACH of 4.
90 x 4 = 360 minimum CADR score.
To read more about CADR and an air purifier’s air flow, refer to the CADR section in our Buying Guide.
Consider your device’s size and future position in your bedroom. When installing your air purifier, optimal positioning is key. Make sure that it is placed as close to your breathing zone (bed) and/or your pollution source (such as a pet that sleeps in your bedroom) as possible. Air inlets and outlets should not be blocked. Ideally, it should not be installed against a wall or in a corner. Avoid putting it right next to furniture as well, always ensuring to leave a little space. Take note of the device’s size before purchasing: a bigger air purifier will take up more of your room’s space, of course.
Consider your budget and energy consumption. There are three things to keep in mind when calculating a budget for an air purifier: 1) the initial price of the device, 2) maintenance costs, and 3) energy consumption.
Air purifiers for the bedroom can vary extensively in their capacity, performance, and features, as can their price tag. Be sure to choose a device with options that will fulfil your needs – or purchase one like Eoleaf’s that comes equipped with 8 different filtration technologies and can do it all! Keep in mind that ‘HEPA-type’ filters, though cheaper, do not have the same performance as a true HEPA filter.
Also, keep in mind that all air purifiers need their filters changed. Lower quality filters need changing multiple times per year and higher quality filters, like Eoleaf’s, need replacing only once a year. If you purchase a low-cost device with low-quality filters, filter replacements every few months can make up a significant portion of your budget.
Finally, choose a device that is energy efficient and consumes minimal energy. This will ensure that you keep both your energy usage and energy bills low.
1 Environmental Protection Agency. (2022, December 5). Why Indoor Air Quality is Important to Schools. EPA. https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/why-indoor-air-quality-important-schools
2 Billings, M. E., Gold, D., Szpiro, A., Aaron, C. P., Jorgensen, N., Gassett, A., Leary, P. J., Kaufman, J. D., & Redline, S. R. (2018). The association of ambient air pollution with sleep apnea: The multi-ethnic study of Atherosclerosis. Annals of the American Thoracic Society. https://www.atsjournals.org/doi/10.1513/AnnalsATS.201804-248OC
3 Donald E. Stull, Laurie Roberts, Lori Frank & Kim Heithoff (2007) Relationship of nasal congestion with sleep, mood, and productivity, Current Medical Research and Opinion, 23:4, 811-819, DOI: 10.1185/030079907X178793.
4 Léger D, Annesi-Maesano I, Carat F, Rugina M, Chanal I, Pribil C, El Hasnaoui A, Bousquet J. Allergic rhinitis and its consequences on quality of sleep: An unexplored area. Arch Intern Med. 2006 Sep 18;166(16):1744-8. doi: 10.1001/archinte.166.16.1744. PMID: 16983053.
5 Messineo L, Taranto-Montemurro L, Sands SA, Oliveira Marques MD, Azabarzin A, Wellman DA. Broadband Sound Administration Improves Sleep Onset Latency in Healthy Subjects in a Model of Transient Insomnia. Front Neurol. 2017 Dec 21;8:718. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2017.00718. PMID: 29312136; PMCID: PMC5742584.
6 Spencer JA, Moran DJ, Lee A, Talbert D. White noise and sleep induction. Arch Dis Child. 1990 Jan;65(1):135-7. doi: 10.1136/adc.65.1.135. PMID: 2405784; PMCID: PMC1792397.