Two identical air purifiers can have a completely different impact on the indoor air quality.
And it all comes down to where you place the air purifier.
Generally, you can increase the efficiency of the air purifier by up to 20% if you correctly place it. What is even more important, if you put it in a corner or behind a television, you can lose more than 50% of the overall air purifier capacity.
Some companies try to help you out with air purifier placement. For example, Dyson air purifiers come with a ‘format’ in specifications; they are either ‘floor’, ‘desk’, or ‘tower’ units.
For all other air purifiers, we need to clarify this one thing:
Where is the room is the best place to place an air purifier?
To answer that, we need to concentrate on where in the room is the biggest:
- Concentration of pollutants (dust, smoke, mold spores).
- Indoor airflow (not in the corner; air purifier should be placed on the hallway where there is the highest air exchange within the apartment/house).
Based on this and many other factors, you should be considering 7 golden rules when figuring out where to place an air purifier.
Here’s the deal:
If we consider all 7 rules, we can help an air purifier do its job better simply by choosing the right location for it.
Be mindful of the bonus tip (you’ll find it below the 7 basic rules) connected with the air purifier being portable (you can and should move it around to achieve the maximum air cleaning effect).
7 Rules Of Where To Put Air Purifier (Or Where Not To Place It)
Where should I place my air purifier?
The 7 rules below are a mixture of recommendations of:
- Where to put an air purifier.
- Where NOT to put your air purifier.
Be mindful that you can gain 20% efficiency by placing an air purifier correctly. What is even more important is to know where not to place it; you can lose up to 50% of its air cleaning effect.
1. Place It Near Worst Air Pollutants (Smoke, Odor, Mold Source)
An air purifier should be placed where the concentration of pollutants is the highest. An air quality specialist would usually use an air quality monitor to measure where the pollutants are in abundance.
However, we don’t need special help here. We can all use our senses to determine where the concentration of air pollutants is the highest. You can use:
- Your eyes: Pollutants such as smoke and mold are clearly visible. Place an air purifier for mold near the mold infestation for better results. Place an air purifier for smoke near the smoking area. If you use the powerful Blueair air purifiers against wildfire smoke, move them closer to the windows where the wildfire is entering your home.
- Your nose: Odor or foul-smelling air is a distinct indicator of a high concentration of unwanted air pollutants such as tobacco smoke or oil smoke.
- Your allergy reaction: Do you get allergy reactions more often when in the bedroom than in the kitchen? That’s a good indicator that the concentration of allergens is higher in the bedroom and it will help correctly place one of the best air purifiers for allergies. Note: Alen BreatheSmart is a new line of air purifiers, specially designed to improve sleep quality. Alen are the most exquisitely engineered air purifiers.
When placed close to the most problematic areas (with lower indoor air quality), the air purifier can improve air quality rapidly.
2. Put Air Purifier 3-5 Feet Off The Ground
Indoor air circulation has two specific directions:
- Horizontally: Door to door, for example.
- Vertically: Floor-to-ceiling movement of air, based on a slight difference in temperature.
You already know that hotter air will move toward the ceiling.
Not really. Placing an air purifier off the ground (3 to 5 feet is perfect), you not only capture the horizontal indoor air movement but also expose an air purifier to the vertical air movement. Smaller Medify Air air purifiers, Levoit and Coway units, for example, can easily be placed on the desk.
The best possible position for an air purifier is mounted on the wall. Wall-mounted air purifiers are mounted 3-5 feet off the ground and you can install them in places with the highest airflow (see #3). One of the best examples is the Medify MA-35 air purifier; here is how it looks mounted on the wall:
In such a way, an air purifier has plenty of air at its disposal. It can suck it in the device readily and clean the air quickly.
In the office, you can put it on the office desk. Smaller units (under 10 lbs) are most appropriate for that. In the bedroom, you can put an air purifier on a windowsill or even on the nightstand.
The best air purifier placement would be on the wall. Of course, to suspend it on the wall, you have to elevate and secure it in much the same manner you would hang a painting.
In short, keep an air purifier off the floor.
3. Put It In Places With Highest Airflow (Doorways, Walls, Near Window)
Air purifiers can suck in the air very effectively. However, making as much air as possible to the air purifier can help the air purifier clean the air quicker.
Placing an air purifier near a window, close to a doorway, and especially on the walls where the air moves make a lot of sense.
Moving air also has more large-sized pollutants. This is because moving air has enough energy to lift dust, mold spores, and other pollutants. It can carry it across our whole house; this is exactly what we want to prevent by using let’s say Winix or Honeywell air purifiers.
Capturing pollutants near entry points – like front doors or open windows – also presents the first line of defense again outdoor air pollutants that might otherwise be dispersed throughout our home.
4. Don’t Place Air Purifier In A Corner (Low Indoor Airflow)
On the other hand, putting an air purifier into a corner is a no-no. There is airflow is the lowest. By placing an air purifier in a corner, you prevent it from effectively purifying the air.
Obviously, the air quality in that corner might be splendid. Still, air quality in other rooms would not be affected as significantly as it could have been with proper air purifier placement.
Here are 3 reasons that evidently make a corner the worst choice to place an air purifier at:
- Low indoor airflow.
- On the floor.
- Blocked in two directions.
By placing a purifier in the corner, you can seriously reduce its ability to function properly. For example, you would never put a Dyson HP01 air purifier in a corner.
5. Don’t Put Obstacles In Air Purifier Vicinity (Optimise Airflow)
Avaya from obstacles. You want airflow through the air purifier to be unimpeded.
Places behind the TV represent a tempting free space where you could put an air purifier. Do try to resist that urge; an air purifier should have at least 3 feet of space in all directions to function at its maximum capacity.
Another problem is usually with books. Air purifier increases indoor air quality. It’s only reasonable that people like to read books in a fresh air environment. However, we may place a bunch of books near an air purifier and thereby impede its ability to create maximum airflow.
As a general rule, try to give air purifier space. The more space you give it, the easier and quicker it will do its job properly.
6. Avoid Places With High Humidity (Bathroom, Cooking Area)
High humidity means heavier air. For air purifier spells out problems because:
- Air purifier needs more energy to create airflow with heavy air.
- Humid air will reduce the capacity of filters (especially HEPA filters).
There are two places in our house that we think would be a good placement for an air purifier:
- Kitchen. Because of all the odors, obviously. If we boil water in the kitchen, the humidity will rise, and an air purifier will have a harder time functioning properly.
- Bathroom. While showering, the relative humidity can rise to above 90%. That kind of humidity will strain the capacity of the air purifier to the limit.
Obviously, the places with high humidity are also known as a brilliant breeding ground for mold. Mold infestation will usually develop in the bathroom.
In such a case, a dehumidifier might be a better idea. You can also combine it with using an air purifier when you’re not actively using the bathroom (during the night, for example). Just remember that relative humidity should be below 50%.
Note: If you need to increase humidity (usually during the winter), you can look into the best air humidifiers for large spaces here.
7. Don’t Put It Near Electronic Devices (TV, Stereo, Microwave)
When asking, ‘Where should I place my air purifier?’ we’re usually thinking about optimizing the airflow through the air purifier.
One thing to be careful about – and that doesn’t impede airflow – is the presence of electronic devices.
Things like TV, stereo, or microwave might be harmful to the function of the air purifier. It’s best to avoid placing a purifier near electronic devices. Sophisticated new tech air purifiers like Molekule Air might be especially vulnerable as far as electronic interference is concerned.
A minimum of 5 feet should be respected.
Bonus Tip: For Maximum Efficiency, Move Air Purifier Around
If you take into account these 7 rules, you’re good to go. You have an idea of where to put your air purifier in your bedroom, living room, or office.
Now here is a bonus tip: Air purifiers are portable for a reason.
“Can you move my air purifier from room to room?”
Of course you can. They usually weigh less than 20 pounds and can be easily moved around. When looking at a perfect spot to place our air purifier, we want to maximize the indoor air that is available to them. As we have written in the article about how many air purifiers you need here, you don’t necessarily need one for each room.
By moving an air purifier from the bedroom to the living room and baby room, for example, we are effectively increasing access to polluted indoor air. This can have a significant impact on how well the air purifier is utilized.
Just by moving it around, you can make a bigger difference in the effectiveness of an air purifier than placing it perfectly in a single room.
If you find this article useful, you can read a similar one about where to place a humidifier here. The same basic positioning principles apply to humidifiers as well.