Air purifiers. Are they any good?

Ive had asthma for over 30 years controlled most of time with symbicort salbutamol montelucast etc. I'm using my nebuliser more often as bad bouts of extreme tightness are more frequent. This latest spell of high pollen has really knocked me for 6 with another 10 days of prednisalone. I am fine with pet hair no problem. Has anyone tried air purifiers? Have they worked for you?

26 Replies

  • I've been told that Vaseline round the nostrils is a great help with pollen, traps it, which makes sense. I am trying a de-humidier at the moment, haven't noticed a difference yet .

  • I have had an air purifier for some years now and it can really make a difference to how I feel. I usually turn it on for about an hour when I get home from work. It is quite loud but I understand that you can get quieter ones now. They're not cheap, so maybe you could borrow one from somewhere for a few days to see if it helps you.

  • Hi. Thanks it's good to know you find it helpful. Yes they are expensive hence my caution in getting one. I will do some research on noise levels. Although I'd put up with the noise for the relief of my lungs . Thanks


  • Good luck. I hope you find one to suit you.


  • We have a Dyson . expensuve but boy dose it work it even p[icks up cooking smels my wife spprays hair in the bedroom when she comes back into the loung the Dyson goes mad until the air is clear pollen its the same,yes it works good luck.

  • Thank you the great news. Which model do you have (guessing there's more than one)

  • look up Dyson air purifers ist the tall one ,it only blows cool clene air,

  • Thanks will have a look

  • Ok we bit the bullet and bought one. Very impressed so far. Did the hairspray test. .....Brilliant. My husband is a techie and loves that he can control it from his phone . .. ..I'll be happy if it helps my chest. I have a good feeling. Thanks so much for the recommendation 😊

  • Rosalind which Dyson model did you get and where did you get it from?

  • We went to John Lewis as they had it stock. It's the tall purifyer. There is just that one for rooms or the small designed for a desk. I've got to say it certainly reacts quickly to any change in the room and switches off (when left on auto mode) when it's not detecting a problem. Brilliant!! Had it in the bedroom on night mode last night and it ran for about an hour then not needed. Door shut. Window open slightly. Very very queit running. Lovely fresh room. The app is great for the phone as it let's you see what is going on and monitor changes. Altogether very pleased. Expensive. But I'd say worth it. Filters look to be a once a year change costing about £50 so £1 per week for clear air after the initial purchase. Hope this helps. Good luck


  • Hi Rosalid -23, Glad to be of hjelp, I have emphersema and it helps me so you should be ok good luck

  • Thanks I love it. Sitting here off work at the moment . Enjoying my confidence in clean air. It's on 4 now due to me getting pilchards on toast for my lunch 😊

  • You can get Dyson purifier from their web site on 14 day trial -I got one a few weeks ago and it didn't do much for me so I sent it back and got their fun instead

  • Fan!

  • ..... And I was hoping to buy some Dyson fun :-)

  • Thank you. I'll do a trial. Sounds like a good plan

  • Hi Rosalind, I have been using air purifiers for several years, I've owned models from three brands and bought other brands also for family members. There are several aspects to the devices, (I'll try to be organised about this). 1) They work! They take a while at first and sometimes new machines add a plastic-like or chemical smell to the air- this is only because they're new and I'm sure is harmless. 2) Researching them is very difficult because they are distributed and marketed strangely, and there are a lot to choose from by very big and very small manufacturers. Everyone's out to sell their model as the best. 3) The technology we want for asthma is primarily a good small-particle filtration. The benchmark is HEPA but it's a misused term. 99.7% filtration indicates a genuine HEPA filter; 99% or other figures indicates not actually HEPA, though many non-HEPA machines still do a good job, the 'electro-static' type for instance. 4) The direction of air flow created can influence utility - I use a Homedics (called HEPA but not quite a true claim) one near my bed that blows out filtered air horizontally, so I can chose if this air blows across the bed, creating high-pressure, or away. Most models blow vertically - I had a 3M Filtrete (electro-static) that was great in the lounge. 5) I choose to avoid anything with 'ionising' functions because of the risk of ozone (very dangerous for asthma). 6) Activated carbon pre-filters work against gasses and odours but only thick ones are good - I have a Honeywell HA170E ( my first purifier) with a carbon and HEPA filter although I prefer the other machines. 7) Most require frequent replacement of filters, which is how the companies make money (like ink cartridges). My Homedics one allows the filter to be hoovered but eventually replaced (£20, when you feel it is old; the machine is less than £70 now, mine cost £100!). Don't hoover ones that don't say you can. 8) Because asthma literally causes inflammation, think of it like a sore that keeps getting rubbed, time to heal away from irritants is often needed. 9) initially the air circulation caused by the machines will stir-up dust particles, and they work best in closed rooms.10) You'll be amazed to see after a month or so how dark with dust the filter inside gets but the worst offending particles are the sub-micron, invisible ones that take longest to settle - these machines (especially True-HEPA) are designed to catch those. 11) Don't believe marketing hype (Vax isn't HEPA, for instance, but I think they may be ok machines, much the same as others); avoid ionisers; I wouldn't spend more than £180 on a first machine - try one for less than £100, make sure it has CADR figures above 45 for small/medium rooms (clean air delivery rate- a rough guide to efficiency and room size).

    Also, use a HEPA vacuum cleaner (I have had a Sebo X4 for ten years), run purifiers during and after hoovering, have open windows when hoovering (Irish Asthma site had good tips on spring cleaning)

    I should say:

    My 3M Filtrete packed-up after 2 years.

    I use my Homedics purifier daily and have replaced the filter yearly since bought 4 years ago. But, it is difficult to open safely without cutting myself on the plastic!

    I will be trying my Honeywell again - the filters are so expensive (£40 HEPA + £15 carbon) that I haven't used it for years.

    I Don't like the Vax with in-built humidifier that I bought for my mum - over-priced and the filter is tiny and the carbon filter so thin it's a con. I do intend to try one of the basic Vax or Fellowes models one day.

    Don't use any of them for kitchen odours - the machine will just end up stinking of cooking oil (as a learned!) - they are not extractors!

    I hope this helps, I didn't mean to write so much!, Ollie.

  • Thanks Ollie, that was very interesting.

  • Hi. You are an absolute star. Thank you so much. You have made some very interesting points. Trying to sort and compare is almost impossible as no two products gives information in the same way (yes designed to confuse) I'm definately going on the Irish asthma site. I'm off work for the second time this year and trying to be very focused with my meds to get the tightness under control. I'm not known for resting up so this is tough but I know I have to do it. My daughter is giving me a phone check every day to make sure I'm behaving.. .. Im 65. ..How the tables turn eh. plus side is I get time to knit for my Grandson 😊. Thanks again for all your great info and advice


  • I wrote about air purifiers above. I want to add that I'm 39, I've had asthma since early childhood, exercise induced and allergenic, my symptoms worsened greatly in my late twenties and all through my 30s until I moved into a purpose-built block four years ago - it was a 5th floor one-bed ex-council in a semi residential area. The floor was tiled throughout (tatty old semi-hard tiles). There were north-east and south-facing windows (so good air flow), a central low pressure high volume constant ventilation extraction shaft and no mould. After a few months and with my air purifiers, my symptoms improved and I have just spent about two years free of medication - actually became brave enough to go out without my ventolin. All the doctors ever did was increase my dose of symbicort.

    I recently had to move and after two months in a nasty run-down, carpeted, mouldy 2nd ff on a main road, my symptoms are as bad as they ever have been - I got three hours sleep tonight and realise I need symbicort again. I am afraid my symptoms look more like copd than asthma these days.

    I would recommend people try beetroot powder capsules and blueberry powder capsules (if blood-thinning is ok) and also try shallow breathing techniques, in addition to medicines and lifestyle/environment/technology changes. Cheers, Ollie.

  • Bless you. Get someone to rip the carpets out they are obviously full of rubbish that is getting on your chest. Get out in the air when you can by water and breath deep. I do hope you can find a better environment to live in. You are obviously a lovely person and deserve to be able to live somewhere that is good for your health. Take care.


  • Thanks Rosalind, I haven't looked at that Irish site for a few years so I hope it's still out there - at the time I found their advice much more helpful and easy to find than our UK asthma society who seemed very pessimistic/medical-orthodox and fundraising orientated, though I might go and see if thing have changed (I feel the last thing someone with a condition needs is dull medical pessimists, their worse for moral than the snake-oil charlatans!) Asthma's the worst for getting stuck - light-headed, unsure of triggers, afraid of invisible causes that seem sometimes so unpredictable. I have eczema too and for years have been deterred from the creative/physical things I would otherwise be good at. An interesting thing I discovered two years ago was that, if I control my environment, I can get away with working with pine (despite it's reputation with respiratory problems). I had always needed my inhaler when around pine timber and now realise that my asthma was more triggered by too much dust especially from things like MDF and chipboard but because pine smells so strong I learned to associate my symptoms with pine! (I'm talking about visits to B&Q etc.). Still, I have to be careful but I built two bookcases in my last flat when I was well!

    I hope you recover soon and thanks for posting your question, I signed-up to respond! Cheers, Ollie.

    Ps - private rented & they've already given me notice to vacate because they don't like my 'clutter'! But I was going to look for somewhere better anyway!

  • Good luck 😊

  • I found this guide for you.

    Its may be useful !

  • Thank you that's brilliant

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