For Geeks w/Allergies: The Air Purifier To Buy

I am deathly allergic to the blooms of the Sweet Acacia tree, which happens to be a popular choice of landscapers in Phoenix. I can physical sense the presence of Sweet Acacia from a good 20 meters, and the mere thought gives me a Pavlovian response. The blooms are my kryptonite.

My allergies hit so hard this year that I decided to invest in a quality air purification unit. I’ve had several inexpensive HEPA-type units over the years, but none that have made a significant difference to my nose. I am very attracted to the filterless design of the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze, but various accounts show that not enough air moves through it, and it’s measured effectiveness at removing allergens is comparatively small. The nicest, hospital-quality units still use filters, so you’re likely to have to live with paying for filter replacements if you want a nicer air cleaner.

I purchased the Friedrich C-90B (click for picture). It’s a combination of a powerful fan, reusable pre-filter, replaceable activated carbon filter, and a large washable ionizing section. While not cheap (mine was $425 USD here, though the price has since increased), it moves a significant amount of air for a household model, does both electrostatic precipitation and conventional filtering, and produces relatively little ozone. It’s also large, hideously ugly and must be placed unobstructed on both ends for optimal air flow, but I’m more than willing to pay that price to be able to breath again. Now why the heck didn’t I buy a decent model years ago? If you have bad allergies, seriously consider ordering one. I’ve found it well worth it.

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