5 Best Air Scrubbers In 2020 (+Specs) | LearnMetrics

“There is dust all over the place. What was the contractor thinking? Why didn’t they use an air scrubber to suck the dust away?”

If you work in construction, renovation, and demolition, you know the struggle. Contractor work and dust go hand in hand. Customers will either complain about it or not be pleased with the service. Here’s the simplest solution:

Just get the best HVAC air scrubber (also referred to as a negative air machine). It is basically a powerful fan with HEPA filters and pre-filters that removes dust particles. It comes in handy if you do:

  • Construction work.
  • Renovations.
  • Demolitions.
  • Sanding.
  • Mold and mildew mediations.
  • Sewage remediation.
  • Fire damage restoration.
  • Pretty much any project that creates particulates.
4 places where you can use air scrubber to remove dust particles and mold
BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL (#2 pick) with 500 CFM can be used for different kinds of projects (either contractor-related or even home DIY remodeling).

It gets even better:

Contractors love it because it’s a 100% moneymaker. You can offer customers a dust-free job, and they love it. If you’re a contractor, you can charge a rental fee for the air scrubber to the customer. On top of that, you can charge a filter replacement.

Example: Home Depot leases the best air scrubber – Dri-Eaz F284 DefendAir HEPA 500. The lease price for 4 hours: $169. That’s quite a high number; you can buy the whole air scrubber for as little as about $1,000 (more info further on).

Here’s the deal:

The biggest money-moner are good referrals. People love their houses not being full of nasty debris.

Especially customers with allergies and asthma will be grateful. Air scrubbers for HVAC clean that up quite nicely. Basically, it’s a single simple device that can increase your referrals with every job.

In short, an air scrubber is a robust machine that does the job and pays 10 times over.

Let’s see how to choose the best commercial air scrubber for contractors. We made a list of the top 5 air scrubbers (with specs) further on:

What Is An Air Scrubber?

Plainly speaking, an air scrubber is a negative air machine (negative pressure) that filters out dust. It’s perfect for all projects that involve particulates (dust, smoke, mold mediation, etc.).

Top air scrubbers have a two-stage filtration. Here’s how an air scrubber works:

  1. A big fan creates an airflow; it sucks in dust-full air and vents out dust-free air.
  2. 1st stage: Pre-filter captures dust larger particles
  3. 2nd stage: HEPA filter captures 99.97% of the small particles down to 0.3 microns.

With the use of filters, an air scrubber creates negative air pressure that prevents cross-contamination.

Here’s why the 2-stage filtration is used:

1st stage prefilters (that are cheap) are there to protect the 2nd stage HEPA filter (that’s expensive).

air scrubber ventilation outdoors with a hose
You can attach a hose to a air scrubber to create negative air pressure.

These negative air pressure machines will easily work for 10+ years:

Air scrubbers are incredibly robust (ready for any job). You can throw it down a 100 ft shaft without making a scratch on it. It will work in knee-deep sewage water just fine (just keep it out of the water).

What Specification To Look For:

Maximal Airflow (Up To 1500 CFM With 3 Scrubbers)

Airflow will tell you how fast the air scrubber is capable to suck in and vent out air. There is little variation between the best industrial air scrubbers when it comes to airflow:

Most of them have a 500-550 CFM maximal airflow.

With a variable speed control switch, you can adjust airflow. The minimal airflow is usually 250 CFM, and you have several stages before you reach 500-550 CFM.

For bigger jobs, you can hook 3 air scrubbers together and get up to 1500 CFM airflow.

connecting 3 air scrubbers one to another to create a big airflow
Hooking up 3 Dri-Eaz F284 DefendAir air scrubbers (#1 pick) with a GFCI port. Combined airflow: 1500 CFM.

Recommended Maximum Coverage Area (500-1000 Sq Ft)

Every air scrubber producer will give you their recommended maximum coverage area. This is usually a figure based on airflow, CADR ratings, and expected ACH (air changes per hour) needs.

In general, negative air machines with higher maximum coverage are better. Always look for a minimal value of about 500 sq ft. Anything less than that can be too weak for most construction and renovation projects.

Power Outputs (2.5-3 Amps; Up to 400 Watts)

Air scrubbers for HVAC are powered 200 to 350 Watts. That about 1/3 HP to 1/2 HP max. Higher wattage air scrubbers tend to be better; can generate more powerful airflow.

Here’s the important part:

1 unit uses about 3 Amps. For bigger jobs, you might need several units. That’s why the best air scrubbers have GFCI power outlets. 

With the GFCI port, you can connect 3 air scrubbers together. When you turn the 1st one on, all 3 are automatically turned on. That’s a total of 9 Amps; any normal electrical grid will easily handle that.

Air Scrubber Price (Up To $1,500 For 1 Unit)

As we know, air scrubber rentals can be crazy expensive. Just for a 1-day lease, you’re likely to pay more than $100.

Commercial air scrubbers are the true moneymakers for contractors. Buying your own unit is a well-thought-out investment.

Prices of 500 HEPA air range from $500 for low-end units (questionable robustness) to $1,500 for high-end units (very robust; can last for 10+ years).

Obviously, you want to get the best performing air scrubber for the lowest price. Nonetheless, spending a few extra $100 for a negative air machine that can make you several $10,000 more in 10 years, is the smart choice.

With all these specifications in mind, LearnMetrics recommends 5 air scrubbers with the best price-performance. Be sure to check the reviews of each unit below this comparison table:

List Of Best Air Scrubbers (Comparison)

Air Scrubber: 1. Dri-Eaz F284 DefendAir HEPA 500 2. BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL 3. ALORAIR CleanShield HEPA 550 4. XPOWER X-2580 5. MOUNTO AF500
Photo:
Max. Coverage Area: 938 square feet 550 square feet 550 square feet 550 square feet N/A
Max. Airflow: 500 CFM 500 CFM 550 CFM 550 CFM 500 CFM
Power Output: 345W (3 Amps) 287.5W (2.5 Amps) 322W (2.8 Amps) 322W (2.8 Amps) N/A
Filters: 3-Stage Filtration 2-Stage Filtration 3-Stage Filtration 4-Stage Filtration 2-Stage Filtration
Weight: 44 lbs 41.2 lbs 39.7 lbs 23.6 lbs 40 lbs
Air Scrubber Price: $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$ $$$$
Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.4 out of 5 stars 4.4 out of 5 stars 4.2 out of 5 stars
Availability: Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price Check Price

 

1. Dri-Eaz F284 DefendAir HEPA 500 (Overall Best Air Scrubber For HVAC)

Best Air Scrubber Overall
Max. Coverage Area: 938 sq ft
Max. Airflow: 500 CFM
Filters: 3-Stage Filtration 
Power Output: 345W (3 Amps)
Dimensions: 24.6” x 26.2” x 18.2”
(H x W x D)
Weight: 44 lbs
Price: $$$$
Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 stars

Dri-Eaz F284 is the top-of-the-line no-nonsense air scrubber. Most contractors who have used several negative pressure machines recommend this HEPA 500 anti-dust machine, primarily because it’s so reliable. It will work for dust, mold infestation, sewage work, and any kind of construction project.

The specifications are impressive. Dri-Eaz F284 3 Amps motor will generate 500 CFM maximal airflow; it’s capable to operate in areas up to 938 sq ft. That is a much larger coverage area than similar scrubbers. 

The heart of the machine is the top quality F321 HEPA 500 filters. Independent testing has shown the Dri-Eaz F284 filter to be highly-efficient. It can easily trap more than 99.97% of the smallest dust particles.

For large particles, you get F270, F271, F415 pre-filters, and an optional activated carbon F397 filter for odor removal.

You can install the HEPA filter and pre-filters yourself. Customize them according to the job:

  • Dust removal, air filtration: Use both pre-filters (F270 and F271), and HEPA 500 filter (F321)
  • Odor control (fumes from paint, varnish): Use activated carbon filter (F397), DOP pre-filter (F415), and HEPA 500 filter cartridge (F321)
  • Sensitive jobs: Use both 2nd stage pre-filters (F271 and F415 filter), followed by Dri-Eaz F284 HEPA filter.

Changing the HEPA filter is fairly easy. You just remove the 8 bolts on the Dri-Eaz F284 exterior and replace it. Here’s another good point:

“Another nice feature is the fact that you can hook a hose to the exhaust and vent it outside if you want to depressurize part of a job.”

Above all else, the Dri-Eaz DefendAir is robust. With 44 lbs, it’s the heaviest air scrubber with a 500 HEPA filter.

All in all, the Dri-Eaz F284 is the quintessential air scrubber recommended by contractors. It may cost a bit over $1,000, but this is a long-term investment and a powerful moneymaker for any kind of rough job.

Dri-Eaz F284 DefendAir Review

Pros
  • Overall the best air scrubber in the industry; recommended by all kinds of contractors
  • Big 938 sq ft coverage area, 500 CFM maximal airflow with 3 Amp motor
  • Different kinds of pre-filters makes it versatile enough for any job
  • You can easily hook 3 of them together for larger projects
Cons
  • Inital price might be a bit higher because it’s made out of higher-grade materials
  • Heaviest air scrubber (44 lbs); difficult to move around without strong arms

2. BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL (Most Popular Commercial Air Scrubber)

Most Popular Commercial Air Scrubber
Max. Coverage Area: 550 sq ft
Max. Airflow: 500 CFM
Filters: 2-Stage Filtration
Power Output: 287.5W (2.5 Amps)
Dimensions: 25″ x 20″ x 14” 
(H x W x D)
Weight: 41.2 lbs
Price: $$$$
Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL negative machine is quite spectacular. It offers amazing specifications such as 500 CFM maximal airflow with only 2.5 Amps of power. But the No. 1 reason why it’s so popular is because of the price:

High-specs BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL costs less than $800. That’s considerably less than most air scrubbers.

It’s Air Shield 550 filtration system can cover up to 550 sq ft. It is based on 2-stage filtration, with an option to include an activated carbon filter (for odor removal; has to be bought separately).

There is a whole range of features BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL offers, such as:

  • Hour meter display.
  • GFCI port (you can connect up to 4 2.5 amp units for a total amperage of 10 amps).
  • Variable speed control.
  • HEPA filter light indicator.

All these make the use of the BlueDri air scrubber much easier to use. You know when to change the HEPA filter and you can simply adjust the fan speed to gathered and filter all the dust particles flying around during construction work.

To sum it up, BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL is a very popular air scrubber for commercial use precisely because it has great specs for a great price. Price-performance is just amazing.

BlueDri BD-AS-550-BL Review

Pros
  • Best price-performance; low price coupled with great specs
  • Useful features; with 2.5 amps/unit, you can hook 4 of them up via GFCI port
  • Optional activated carbon filter removes unwanted odors
Cons
  • Activated carbon filter has to be bought separately
  • Not as robust as Dri-Eaz F284 (#1 pick)

3. ALORAIR CleanShield HEPA 550 (Best Cheap Air Scrubber For Mold For Less Than $500)

Best Air Scrubber For Mold
Max. Coverage Area: 550 sq ft
Max. Airflow: 550 CFM
Filters: 3-Stage Filtration
Power Output: 322W (2.8 Amps)
Dimensions: 14.8″ x 20.8″ x 24.8″
(H x W x D)
Weight: 39.7 lbs
Price: $$$$
Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

ALORAIR CleanShield is one of the more versatile air scrubbers, the best fit for mold mediation. This is primarily because of its higher-than-average 550 CFM max. airflow and a solid combination of pre-filters and HEPA 550 filters.

This CleanShield filtration system is, in addition to mold mediation, ideal for:

  • Any kind of home repair.
  • Construction sites.
  • Sewage remediation.
  • Restoration after fire or water damage.

The whole filtration system is encased in the roto-mold housing that has certain toughness to it. It has to be said that it’s not as robust as the toughest air scrubber – the Dri-Eaz F284 (#1 pick). The price difference shows that very well.

To use the ALORAIR air scrubber for bigger mold infestation, you can easily stack 3 CleanShield HEPA 550 units together. Combined, they will generate tremendous 1650 CFM airflow; perfect for filtering out mold and mold spores as fast as possible.

That’s only possible because the auxiliary outlet can run up to 9 amps. Each unit draws 2.8 amps; combined, the amperage is 8.4 amps. That’s less than the allowed 9 amp maximum.

Here’s the best part:

1 ALORAIR CleanShield HEPA 550 costs less than $500. That’s an incredible price. Contractors usually buy 3 units and hook them together to get that almighty 1650 CFM airflow. And all of that for less than $1,500.

ALORAIR CleanShield HEPA 550 Review

Pros
  • By far the cheapest air scrubber (available for less than $500)
  • Perfect for mold if you connect 3 unit together, you get 1650 CFM airflow
  • The auxiliary outlet can handle up to 9 amps when turned on
Cons
  • It’s a tough negative air machine but not as reliable as most others (roto-molded polyethylene housing)
  • Noise levels can reach 69 dB

4. XPOWER X-2580 (Best Portable Air Scrubber – Lightweight)

Best Portable Air Scrubber – Lightweight
Max. Coverage Area: 550 sq ft
Max. Airflow: 550 CFM
Filters: 4-Stage Filtration
Power Output: 322W (2.8 Amps)
Dimensions: 16.6″ x 10.4″ x 18.9″
(H x W x D)
Weight: 23.6 lbs
Price: $$$$
Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars

With 23.6 lbs, the XPOWER X-2580 is the most lightweight air scrubber. That makes it very portable; you can move it around the construction site with ease. It comes with a carrying handle; you can carry it around like a purse. It’s also fit to be an air scrubber for home.

On top of that, XPOWER X-2580 has a special 4-stage filtration system. In addition to the HEPA filter and pre-filter, this portable air scrubber comes with 2 unique nylon mesh pre-filters. Here’s how these filters fit into the 4-stage filtration:

  • 1st stage: Nylon mesh pre-filter 1. For capturing medium to large particles.
  • 2nd stage: Nylon mesh pre-filter 2. For capturing medium to large particles.
  • 3rd stage: Carbon filter. For odor adsorption and smell removal.
  • 4th stage: 2-inch HEPA filter. For thorough 99.97% small dust particle removal.

On top of that, you get the lipped air outlet that can be ducted to channel purified air, or even create negative air pressure.

XPOWER X-2580 has 5 adjustable speed settings. The highest fan speed setting produces 550 CFM airflow, utilizing the 1/2 HP motor to the fullest.

All in all, the XPOWER X-2580 is a great professional air scrubber with a thorough filtration system.

XPOWER X-2580 Review

Pros
  • 4-stage filtration system consisting of 2 nylon pre-filters, activated carbon filter and 2-inch HEPA filter
  • Most portable air scrubber with carrying handle and only 23.6 lbs
  • 5 speed settings, with the maximum 550 CFM (1/2 HP commercial-grade motor)
Cons
  • At highest setting, it can produce quite a bit of noise
  • You have to be gentler when you handle it (compared to 40+ lbs machines)

5. MOUNTO AF500 (Most Robust Air Scrubber For Construction Sites)

Most Robust Air Scrubber For Construction Sites
Max. Coverage Area: N/A
Max. Airflow: 500 CFM
Filters: 2-Stage Filtration 
Power Output: N/A
Dimensions: 25″ x 24″ x 16″
(H x W x D)
Weight: 40 lbs
Price: $$$$
Average Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars

For construction sites, you need a robust air scrubber and the MOUNTO AF500 is exactly that. It’s a no-nonsense air scrubber powered by a 1/3 HP motor that can generate up to 500 CFM.

MOUNTO AF500 has the basic 2-stage filtration system with a pre-filter and HEPA filter. That’s pretty much all you need on a construction site.

It’s true that MOUNTO AF500 would like to be in the same class at the Dri-Eaz HEPA 500. And it’s true; the specs of both these air scrubbers and negative pressure machines are similar. But the MOUNTO AF500 is not as robust and reliable as the #1 pick on this list.

It has one advantage over Dri-Eaz, however:

It’s cheaper. MOUNTO AF500 costs less than $700 while Dri-Eaz costs a bit more than $1,000. Of course, a reliable machine is well worth the price. But if you only need an air scrubber for construction sites, and you’re looking for something on the budget, the MOUNTO AF500 will do well enough as well. 

It can also be used as an air scrubber for furnace because it works well for smoke and dust removal.

MOUNTO AF500 Review

Pros
  • Solid specifications
  • No-nonsense 2-stage filtration system
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Can’t compare to Dri-Eaz machine in reliability
  • A little weak for an industrial air scrubber (1/3 HP motor)

Related Air Scrubber Question (FAQ)

Does The Air Scrubber Plus Really Work?

Yes. Air scrubber does the job of removing small, medium, and large dust particles very well. People use it in home DIY projects, for cleaning furnaces, renovation, construction, and so on.

By using an air scrubber to remove all those undesirable particles, you prevent dust accumulation. After a construction job, you will have a much easier job cleaning if you have been continuously removing dust during the job.

How Long Does It Take For An Air Scrubber To Work?

Less than 1 minute. You can plug it in, and the 1/3 to 1/2 HP motor will run the fan to the maximum speed in less than a minute.

Moreover, if you use a GFCI port to connect 2 or more units, you can also flip on 1 switch and all 2-4 units will start at the same time.

You will notice a significant difference in air quality in less than 1 hour. This depends on the airflow, CADR rating, size of the place you’re using an air scrubber in, ACH, and so on.

Is An Air Scrubber Worth The Money?

Air scrubber is one of the most underrated smart investment a contractor can make. Air scrubbers are being rented for more than $100 per day.

A new unit costs about $1,000. Contractors can add the use of an air scrubber to the bill. What’s more, customers love not having to clean up after contractors. Using an air scrubber is pretty much the easiest way to increase your referrals.

Here’s when an air scrubber is not worth the money:

If you’re planning a small DIY project and would need an air scrubber for less than a week, it doesn’t make sense to buy a new unit. Rather, you might rent it for that time or use a vacuum cleaner if the DIY is very small and limited in space.

Do Air Scrubbers Remove Mold?

Yes. Air scrubbers are one of the most common machines to fight mold infestation. Mold mediation experts use their powerful airflow (500 CFM) to quickly suck in mold and mold spores.

HEPA filter captures the mold and effectively removes it from the indoor air circulation. Mind you that you will have to replace the HEPA filter after every use against mold because the mold is only captured, not destroyed.

To educate yourself about how to effectively destroy mold and mold spores, you can read the LearnMetrics article on air purifiers for mold. Basically, a UV-C light filter needs to be used to eliminate mold and mold spores.

What Is The Difference Between An Air Scrubber And A Negative Air Machine?

An air scrubber is used interchangeably with a negative air machine because you can use an air scrubber to create negative air pressure.

If you vent the exhaust of an air scrubber out of the window, you’re effectively pumping air out of the room. In time, that will decrease the indoor pressure, if you have an isolated system. In practical terms, the air scrubber is, in such a way, performing exactly like a negative air machine.


To Conclude:

Air scrubbers are one of the most versatile tools HVAC specialists, carpenters, mold infestation experts, and even DIY home remodeling guys can use.

Always make sure that the filtration system is up to the standards. High CFM, coverage area, and power are a plus.

In the end, the toughest no-nonsense units such as Dri-Eaz HEPA are the best. They may cost about $1,000, but they are an invaluable moneymaking tool you’re not going to regret buying.

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