This Thing Rules

The ionizing air purifier you should buy (instead of an ozone generator)

You're spending a lot of time at home. It's gonna get stuffy.

Girl in a blue gas mask on a green background

I recently moved to a new apartment, where we (thankfully) got the chance to settle in before all this quarantine business. Considering we're now spending all of our work and leisure time here, one of the luckiest purchases we made for the new place was a large air purifier.

Air purifiers are one of those things, like a Himalayan salt lamp, that I reflexively thought was useless bullshit for the easily scammed. I was probably getting air ionization confused with ozone generation, which the EPA says doesn't work. These processes are different.

Our air purifier, the creatively named Coway AP-1216L, is a beast. When we burn food, it sucks up the smoke. When our cat goes through shedding season, it zaps the dander and excess hair. When the pollen begins to strike, it strikes back. When a killer virus threatens the very fabric of society, it can help prevent you from getting sick and wearing down your immune system.

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Living in an urban environment can make one extra sensitive to the amount of pollutants you can encounter over the course of a single day. In particular, studies have shown that urban centers tend to have poorer air quality which can lead to a variety of health issues down the line. Though a single air purifier can't save the day on its own, I feel a lot better with it running and a bunch of plants performing photosynthesis around it. The Department of Energy agrees, setting HEPA standards to ensure the removal of at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers (μm) in diameter.

When it came time to pick an appliance, we went with the Coway AP-1216L because of its sleek, Apple-adjacent design and easy to understand button layout. The unit comes with a circular light that indicates the status of the air in the room, though this can be disabled with a simple button press if you're running it at night. The sound isn't too obtrusive when running at lower speeds or on Auto mode – but we tend to enjoy a bit of white noise to drown out any city sounds our walls can't squash.

Whether you go with this specific unit or not, a HEPA-certified air purifier is an easy recommendation for anyone cooped up at home. Which is now... all of us.