This has led to a growing awareness of the importance of home air quality.
Home air quality can be compromised by a number of pollutants. The key ones day-to-day are particulate matter and VOCs. However, an air purifier can also be effective at destroying airborne viruses and bacteria, which is obviously a major concern at the moment.
If you're affected by hayfever or have a dust or dander allergy, the blocked nose, itchy eyes and sore throat you may experience are a result of irritation from small particles of dust or pollen. More dangerous are the tinier particles that aren’t caught in your nose and throat and can make their way into your lungs.
An air purifier can help to remove particles like these from the air in your home. A HEPA filter is the industry standard, and it must trap 99.97% of particulates that are 3 micrometres or larger. This includes particles that are large enough to cause allergies, and those small enough to affect your lungs.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are gases that can be harmful or irritating if breathed in. In the home, they are likely to be byproducts of cleaners, disinfectants, air fresheners, cosmetics, solvents, paints or adhesives.
Air purifiers that have a carbon filter will trap VOCs. This means they’ll also remove odours from the room.
Sharp’s new range of air purifiers use a three-step filtration process to remove these different pollutants. A pre-filter catches large particles of dirt and dust. An active carbon filter removes VOCs and odours from the air and finally, a HEPA filter catches smaller particles. Sharp claims that its filters remove up to 99% of pollutants from the air and that its ionic technology is effective against mould, bacteria and viruses.
The purifiers also act as humidifiers, monitoring the air quality and automatically adjusting the humidity to levels optimum for skin and lung health.
The air purifiers are currently available to buy from Amazon UK. The Sharp UA-HD40U-L is effective in small rooms (up to 26sqm) and is priced at £299.
The next size up, suitable for medium-sized rooms (up to 38sqm), is the Sharp UA-HD50U-L, which is £349.
The largest size, the Sharp UA-HD60U-L, will improve the air quality in a room of up to 48sqm and costs £399.
All of the purifiers have the same design, which is definitely on the functional side. But price-wise, these are pretty good value. There's no getting around the fact that high quality air purifiers are expensive. But investing in a better quality purifier will make a huge difference to the air you breathe in. Poorly engineered appliances of this kind can pull through a lot of air that makes its way through gaps around the filter, and so isn't cleaned at all.
Sharp also claims that its filters will last for up to ten years depending on frequency of use, which will save money in the long run.
The smallest of the new Sharp purifiers, which will clean the air in an entire room, is the same price as Dyson's Pure Cool Me, the brand's personal fan and air purifier. To my mind, you get a lot more bang for your buck with the former, as the Pure Cool Me won't be effective in changing the air quality in a whole room.
If you'd like more advice on finding an air purifier that's right for you, we have an in-depth article that explains more about filter options, as well as information on all the tech that can improve the air quality in your home.