What is the Best Air Filter for VOCs? A Comprehensive Guide

The IQAir HealthPro Plus is designed to eliminate small particles, odors and VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). We have tested more than 50 air purifiers over the past nine years and our measurements have shown that the exceptional Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty is the best of them all. It's powerful enough to use in a large room, quiet enough to sleep nearby, designed to last for years, and economical enough to set up in multiple rooms. The Coway Airmega 200M is practically identical to Coway's Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty in every important way.

They are equivalent in noise and performance measurements, their filters are interchangeable and their similar controls allow the lights on the screen to be turned off. The 200M has a square rather than a round grille, but that's the only important physical difference. If you prefer the 200M look or find it at a better price, we recommend it. The Levoit Vital 200S matched the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty in performance tests, and the two are very similar in terms of energy efficiency, noise emission, and the ability to turn off the screen while maintaining the fan configuration of your choice.

However, the Vital 200S is a new version (January 2012), so we haven't had time to test it in the long term yet. In conditions where air quality is poor, such as when your area is affected by a nearby wildfire, we recommend running air purifiers at a high temperature for one hour and then running them in a quiet environment or medium to create and maintain clean air in the home. After burning 15 wooden matches (to create an initial heavy load of fine smoke particles), we tested this method with the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty and the Airmega 400 for three hours (one hour at high temperature), followed by two at medium temperature. A Guide to Creating a Healthy Home This publication lists and compares the 7 best air purifiers to reduce VOCs (the release of gases from new building materials).

I also focus on which units have the most absorbent material, the least amount of gas emission, and are the best for chemically sensitive people. I have a separate post about air purifiers that work best for mold, however, the True HEPA filter on these units helps capture mold spores. When making the purchase, I earn a small commission through affiliate links at no additional cost to you. What are hourly air changes (ACH)? This is the number of times the air in the room is “replaced” per hour, this is a key area of comparison with air purifiers.

ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers) recommends a minimum of 4 ACH for patient rooms in hospitals, 5 for intensive care units, and 25 for operating rooms. How many ACHs do we need? For people who are extremely sensitive to mold and VOCs, we want between 5 and 10 air exchanges per hour. To maximize the amount of room air that the air purifier can process, place it in a central location. How do you calculate ACH from a unit's specifications? You'll always want to find the CFM of the unit.

CFM is the unit's ability to move air: the amount of air it moves through the machine. CFM stands for cubic feet per minute. You need the CFM to calculate the ACH. I have two calculators here to correctly size these units.

You can buy some models at Walmart or through Amazon. Steel units, plastic on the wheels, not plastic inside. Some with extreme MCS have resumed emitting gases, but many with MCS prefer this brand. You can buy them at Green Design Center and Amazon.

EnviroKlenz, according to the literature, destroys most contaminants. Unlike odor masking methods, nanocrystalline materials contact, adsorb, and then neutralize substances that cause odor. It is effective against aldehydes and pollutants and particularly effective against different types of smoke and pesticides. Activated charcoal doesn't help much with formaldehyde, and smoke can also be difficult to filter out.

My preference for this unit comes from its ability to treat formaldehyde and smoke. EnviroKlenz materials will chemically dismantle many VOCs. Hydrocarbons will be absorbed but will not be chemically modified. The company has several patents and they have been tested (you can see that information here (you can search and read the patents here), and for a summary of research articles and references on this technology, the company also provides a technical report).

This air purifier has been in production for 8 years. They have a sealed motor: the bearings are sealed. First they run engines outside for 2 or 3 days to discharge gas. The metal construction does not use adhesives; it has HEPA filters without glue.

They are made for chemically sensitive people and some of the most extremely sensitive such as this brand; they sell filter sample kits so you can check different materials used. In general for extremely sensitive people PP is difficult to tolerate; most sensitive should start with their pure bituminous carbon filters. Having a sealed motor will be key for most sensitive; downside is that this one has much less carbon than other models; this could be one of best-known brands of air purifiers; some people with MCS rely on it; however most seriously sensitive do not always tolerate it; unit is made of plastic; emission of gases from unit itself could be problem; potassium insert can be difficult for many people to tolerate (not problem unique to this brand); some people have returned filters that smelled particularly sweet or strong & have received others that were more tolerable; however this is favorite & trusted brand for many people with MCS who want rugged top-of-the-line air purifier; you can buy Healthpro & Multigas directly through IQAir website; Multigas can also be found on Amazon; 3000 available on Sylvane & Amazon.

Becca Zlatkin
Becca Zlatkin

Devoted social media lover. Lifelong twitter guru. Infuriatingly humble twitter geek. Extreme food fan. General travel junkie. Certified zombie lover.

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