Last updated: 16/10/2022

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As air impurities have increased more in the recent past, the topic of air purifiers is becoming more and more relevant. Experts expect the air purifier market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.6% between 2020 and 2027.

Because of their high effectiveness against coronaviruses, air purifiers with HEPA filters have become the solution for many households and organisations. That is why we have compared different models for our product comparison and worked out the most important aspects.




Summary

  • HEPA filters are HEPA filters that can filter out all particles between 0.1 – 0.3 microns in size from the air. They are effective against the coronavirus.
  • HEPA filters may have two filter classes according to EU standardisation: H13 and H14. The higher the filter class, the better the filtration efficiency of a filter.
  • The HEPA filter separates the air from allergens, bacteria, some viruses and other suspended particles. A HEPA filter is usually used with an air purifier to allow air to flow.

The Best HEPA Filter: Our Picks

Buying and rating criteria for HEPA filters

To find the perfect HEPA filter, we have worked out some buying criteria that you should consider when buying. These criteria should make it easier to compare the individual models so that you can make an objective and informed choice. The criteria that help you compare HEPA filters include:

Filter class

The filter class is a measure of how well a HEPA filter filters the air. It shows the efficiency of the filter. The filter classes are regulated and standardised by European standards. There are 17 particle filter classes in total. The higher the number, the better the filtration efficiency, i.e. the effectiveness of the separation process.

HEPA filters are classified as H13 or H14. For H13 filters, the separation efficiency is > 99.95% and for H14 filters it is > 99.995%. The HEPA filters can filter the particles with the size between 0.1 and 0.3 microns. Important: HEPA filters and HEPA-like filters are not the same. For a filter to be “HEPA”, the manufacturer must obtain certification for the HEPA label.

Noise and evaporation

A HEPA air purifier extracts the smog and pumps up the fresh air. During this process, there is noise and humidity due to evaporation. You should consider these factors when buying.

Volume in db(A) Comparison with
30 Refrigerator from 1 metre away
60 Normal entertainment
60 Normal entertainment
70 Vacuum cleaner

This table gives you an overview of the sound levels you can see on the label of air purifiers with HEPA filters.

Cost and energy efficiency

When looking for the right HEPA filter / air purifier with HEPA filter, you have to consider additional costs for e.g. replacement filters or filter mats. Sometimes washing out the filter is not possible. You also have to take into account the running costs for electricity due to the usage time and the power level. Therefore, you should know how the HEPA filter uses the energy effectively.

Durability

The durability of a HEPA filter depends on its size, model and separation frequency. Under ideal conditions, it can last up to five years. Realistically, you will change the HEPA filter 1-2 times per year if you have a small air purifier for your home. On larger models, the HEPA filter will have a higher capacity and last longer.

Cleaning

There are two useful features when changing your HEPA filters: Reusability: Depending on the material of the filter, you can use your HEPA filter several times. To do this, clean the filter with water and wait until the filter is dry again.

Changing the protective bag method: When changing the filter, separated pollutants may be released. You must avoid contact with these pollutants. Some models use filter housings that can be changed without touching them.

Room size

The size of the room you want to place your HEPA air purifier is crucial for your choice of HEPA filter. There are usually four different sizes: 1. Small: Suitable up to approx. 28 m² 2. Medium: Suitable from approx. 28 to 65 m² 3. Large: Suitable from approx. 65 to 176 m² 4. For the whole house The filter can only clean the air efficiently if the capacity of the filter fits the room size.

Guide: Frequently asked questions about HEPA filters answered in detail

In the following we want to answer the most important questions about HEPA filters. In this way, we want to give you a deeper insight into the topic.

What is a HEPA filter?

The term “HEPA filter” means “High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter”. HEPA filters are a subcategory of HEPA filters and are used to separate suspended particles from the air.

hepa-filter-test

It is developed in 1940s during a military research project called “Manhattan Project” to remove radioactive particles from the air. (Image source: Álvaro Bernal / Unsplash)

The three HEPA filter categories are EPA, HEPA, and ULPA filters. HEPA filters clean the air better than an EPA (Efficient Particulate Air) filter and worse than a ULPA (Ultra-low Penetration Air) filter.

How does a HEPA filter work?

A HEPA filter consists of a multi-layered, close-meshed fibre mat mounted in a metal or plywood frame. Glass fibres are usually used as the material. Because of the irregular structure of the glass fibres, there are small and large gaps between the fibres. This keeps particles of different sizes out. Finally, the fibre mat is folded in a serrated shape to increase the filter area. The functioning of the filter is based on three physical effects:

  1. The diffusion effect: Due to their own Brownian molecular motion, the particles do not follow the airflow of the air purifier. Therefore, they bump against the fibres and stick.
  2. The inertia effect: Heavy or large particles cannot follow the airflow due to their own inertia. As a result, they stick to the fibres.
  3. The blocking effect: When the particles enter the air filter, they follow the airflow generated by the air purifier. Because of their adhesiveness, the suspended particles remain attached to the fibres.

Conclusion

To increase the feeling of safety at home during the Corona pandemic, HEPA filters are helpful. When combined with an air purifier, they can clean the air from harmful particles. A HEPA filter is effective against all particles between 0.1 and 0.3 microns. They are there for you if you are allergic or simply need better air quality in your home.

When purchasing, you should always keep in mind that there will be replacement costs due to filter changes or electricity consumption. Important points in your choice are the filter class, noise, durability, cleaning and the room size of your home. The choice of air purifier also plays a role here.

Picture source: pexels.com / Jose Antonio Gallego Vázquez

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