Last Updated on December 17, 2019 by Yuvika Iyer
The air conditioned environs of the car may feel pure, but that may not be true everytime. Here’s what you need to know before getting a car air purifier.
Why Use a Car air Purifier – Is it Necessary?
Impure air is a reality whether you live in New York or London. Daily commuting, meetings and travel is a necessity that cannot be avoided.
You may have a preconceived notion that if your car windows are rolled up with air-conditioner or heating system switched on; you are safe from the deadly bite of air pollution. Let me tell you the harsh truth, the indoor air of your car is equally toxic as outdoor air.
The moment you open your car door to get off or in, roll down the windows to gulp a burst of fresh air or allow outdoor air to get inside the car, you have already sent an invitation to air pollution by trapping polluted air inside the cabin.
These toxins include P.M10 and PM2.5 particles, airborne viruses and bacteria, toxic fumes and smoke of petrol and diesel, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) like methane, CO2 and harmful chemical components such as benzene, formaldehyde and other noxious substances like pet dander, dust mites and hidden molds in the A/C ducts.
Companies have realized the dire need of introducing car air purifiers just like the indoor air purifiers and give all the passengers with fresh air.
Car air purifiers are smaller and more compact than home air purifiers and make the car air toxin-free whether it’s a sedan, SUV and hatchback. These handy devices can be easily plugged into the cigarette lighter socket (12V power socket), present in every car.
Some of them come with washable filters and others with replaceable filters. The car air purifiers requiring filter replacement have a typical lifetime around 6-15 months with standard usage. However, the lifespan may reduce or increase based on many other factors like how much time you spent driving with your car windows rolled down.
Open car windows let the toxic outside air and dust particles blow inside the car and settle in. If you don’t clean your car seats, dashboards and A/C ducts regularly, these particles may give rise to the dust mites and other airborne toxins triggering many chronic diseases.
If you frequently travel with pets, the accumulation of pet hair can also be hazardous for the passengers.
Sources of Air Pollution in a Car
Various factors are responsible for the poor quality of your car air. I have discussed some of them above, and the remaining ones are listed down below. The following sources are considered to be the most common ones you may have to encounter in your daily life.
- Foul odors
- Cigarette smoke
- Exhaust fumes and Carbon Monoxide emission from other cars
- Carbon Dioxide in the outdoor air
- Pet Dander
- Airborne particulate matters such as pollen, mold, dust, and bacteria
First four items in the list are noxious gases. Standard car air purifiers cannot remove these gases as they are small in size. You need to install advanced gas filter media in the air purifier to make your car gas-free.
Dust, pollen, molds, and pet dander are airborne particles and more widely present than gases. You need a strong HEPA filter to eliminate these harmful particles. The specially designed fiber-like nets of HEPA filters can easily capture these particulate matters. Gases, on the contrary, can be trapped into the material such as activated carbon.
Selecting the right kind of car air purifier can help you win half the battle. You have to decide what you want your air cleaner to do, removing particulate matter or toxic fumes. Your answer will help you choose the best solution.
A car’s cabin comprises of indoor air. You won’t be able to spot airborne particles or pollutants with naked eyes, but they are always present inside the cabin.
At times, your nose may be filled with a foul odor or toxic fumes, which could be the direct outcome of rotten or spilled food, tobacco smoke, and the stench from plastic varnishing. These pollutants take the form of dust particles, PM 2.5, PM 10, VOCs and smoke from a cigarette.
A highly functional and advanced car air purifier can make your car entirely toxin and pollutant-free and offer you safe travel within or outside the city limit.
What Factors To Consider Before Buying A Car Air Purifier?
With worsening outdoor air quality, you should mandatorily take strong preventive measures before venturing out. If you drive daily to your office, your lungs get exposed to the highly toxic city air.
It is scientifically proven that your car air is 7 times more polluted than the outside air. The deadly pollution level has been triggered by bacteria, dust, pet dander, mold, pollen, smoke, and gases, etc. The high degree of toxicity can prove to be fatal on your health.
To counter such deadly toxin, you can get different types of car air purifiers. Choose carefully after aligning the products with your requirements and how much technologically advanced it is to solve your problem.
You can consider the below points while choosing your preferred model of car air purifier:
Prefer The HEPA Filter
High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestor, which is commonly known as HEPA, is built on a radically advanced dust collection technology from Japan. It has the in-built capacity to arrest and remove over 99.97% airborne particles as tiny as 0.03 micrometers.
These deadly toxins should be immediately eliminated from your vehicle else these can trigger severe health hazards to you and your family members.
Check for Layered Purification
Your car air purifier should be highly advanced and effective in removing deadly bacteria from your car air and speeding up the air purification process. It should be loaded with activated carbon, pre-filter, and HEPA filter. The pre-filter traps and removes the airborne particles.
Activated carbon fights the toxic gases lurking inside your car and successfully eliminates most of them. The activated carbon filter nestled in the outer layer of your car air purifier can remove stench caused by its in-built absorption capability.
HEPA filter effectively reduces SPM and PM 2.5 from your car’s cabin air. The entire filtration process ensures 99.9% elimination of toxic pollutants and makes your indoor car air pure and breathable.
It Should Have A User-Friendly Design
The car air purifiers are specially designed for using inside its cabin. They should be user-friendly, easy to install, and operate. Some of the purifiers follow pedestal mode of installation and can be kick-started by simply getting it plugged into a 12V car socket.
These air purifiers are famous for its convenience as well as inbuilt capacity to purify the air. You should always select car air purifiers with CADR or Clean Air Delivery Rate of 25 m3/hour or more.
Air purifiers with such strong functionalities are capable of instantly purifying your indoor car air.
Air Purification Technology – Ionizers vs. Filters
Car air purifiers are differentiated by the type of robust technology they use to eliminate bacteria, dust, allergens, and other airborne particles from car air. Ionizers release a steady flow of negatively-charged anions, or molecules to wick away the microscopic organisms and particles from car air.
HEPA filters have an entirely different working mechanism; they suck in the impure air and filter the toxic particles before spreading out the fresh air.
Ease of Use
Unless you a techno-geek, go for a car air purifier that’s easy to operate. Some of the simple-to-use car air purifiers work on a plug and play model. You have to insert the power cords of your air purifying device into the 12V adapter of your car and start using.
Go for an air purifier, which is hassle-free and has a dependable mounting system compared to the ones that are snug-fit or slide around your car dashboard.
Even the most advanced filters can get blocked after dealing with a car full of allergen, bacteria, and dust. The filter of your car air purifier should be easily replaceable to maintain cabin air purity. Many of the currently available models don’t have readily available filters.
Ionizers, however, are not dependent on the filter, but still, you need to choose one that’s sturdy and won’t give up easily.
Car Air Purifiers Pricing
Car air purifiers can cost anywhere from $10 to $250; you should choose based on the functionalities you require. Usually, the low-end models are plug and play ionizers with limited features and may not live up to your expectations.
If you research well before buying, you may find some handy filter-based models and ionizers in the price range of $20-$30.
If you increase your budget from $30-$100, you can get plenty of models with combined features of ionizers, integrating filter systems and air purifiers.
If you want a model with either ionizer or filter, you can easily get in this price point, or you can choose to go ahead with devices offering both the functions. Once you go over $100, the number of models goes down drastically.
Car air purifiers in the range of $100-$250s have improved functionalities with the better-built quality compared to the low-ranged models.
If you want to breathe pure and fresh air, say yes to active airflow management and no to only rolling up your car windows. You will be pleasantly surprised by seeing the difference.