The Hidden Costs of Air Purifiers  – Smart Air

Energy costs are often overlooked when buying an air purifier. Although energy efficiency may seem minor, choosing an inefficient purifier can incur large electricity costs. In this article, we discuss how to choose an energy-efficient air purifier and also analyze the electricity costs of running some popular air purifiers.

Comparison of Air Purifier Electricity Costs

To get an idea of typical electricity costs for running an air purifier, we found some of the most popular air purifiers on Amazon.

These purifiers include the Levoit Core 300, Conway Airmega AP-1512HH, Colzer EPI-328, and our own Smart Air Sqair. We chose these air purifiers due to their popularity and relatively similar CADR ratings. An air purifier CADR rating measures its effectiveness, or in other words how much clean air it produces. CADR ratings below are given in cubic meters per hour.

Levoit Core 300 (CADR: 229 CMH)

Levoit Core 300 energy efficiency and annual running costs.
The Levoit Core 300 energy usage is 45 watts on the highest setting.

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH (CADR: 296 CMH)

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH energy efficiency and annual running costs.
The Coway Airmega AP-1512HH energy usage is 77 watts on the highest setting.

Colzer EPI-328 (CADR: 320 CMH)

Colzer EPI-328 energy efficiency and annual running costs.
The Colzer EPI-328 energy usage is 80 watts on the highest setting.

Smart Air Sqair (CADR: 315 CMH)

Smart Air Sqair energy efficiency and annual running costs.
The Smart Air Sqair energy usage is 38 watts on the highest setting.


Annual Electricity Cost of Air Purifiers

So how do the energy efficiencies of these air purifiers translate to costs? Using a price of 14 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is also roughly the average price of electricity in the US and globally, we compare the yearly electricity cost of the four air purifiers. The graph below shows energy costs if the air purifier is run for a year, 24 hours a day, at the highest setting.

The Hidden Costs of Air Purifiers – Smart Air

The Coway and Colzer air purifiers have the highest annual electricity costs at $94 and $98. On the other hand, the Sqair has the lowest electricity cost at $46. Even with the Sqair using significantly less energy, the Sqair still has a CADR of 315 m3/hr, which is higher than the Coway at 296 m3/hr and nearly as high as the Colzer at 320 m3/hr.

In places like Germany, where the electricity is more expensive at ~36 cents per kilowatt-hour, the differences in annual electricity cost between the purifiers are even more significant.

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The annual electricity costs for Coway and Colzer increase to $243 and $252 respectively, while smaller increases are observed for Levoit and Sqair, which now incur a cost of $142 and $120 respectively.

An Energy-Efficient Air Purifier Can Save $100+ on Electricity Bill

The above analysis highlights the importance of choosing an energy-efficient air purifier. Even though the above data shows the electricity cost differences of running the air purifier 24/7 (which is not uncommon), there can still be significant cost savings at lower levels as well.

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How to Choose an Energy-Efficient Air Purifier

When looking for an air purifier that can save you money on your electric bill, there are two things to consider. The first of course is the energy usage, which is given in watts. Make sure the number listed by the air purifier company is the energy usage for the purifier on high. Note, energy usage is sometimes not listed on Amazon pages, but it is almost always listed on a product’s official website.

Air purifier energy efficiency and annual running costs.
The power rating (45W) for the Levoit Core 300, found on their official website.

The other factor to consider is how much clean air the air purifier generates. Slightly higher power consumption may be ok if it is producing considerably more clean air. To factor this in, we can take note of an air purifier’s CADR rating. The higher the rating, the more air the air purifier can clean. Thus, the ultimate test for an air purifier’s energy efficiency is a ratio of CADR/watts. In other words, how much clean air one watt of electricity produces.

Below we found the amount of clean air (CADR) produced per watt of electricity for the four air purifiers.

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The Sqair is the most energy-efficient, having the highest CADR/watt (at 8.3 m3/hr per watt). On the other hand, Coway and Colzer have the lowest energy efficiency (at 3.8 and 4.0 m3/hr per watt respectively).

 Why is the Sqair Energy-Efficient? 

The Sqair is one of the most cost-effective and energy-efficient air purifiers on the market for a couple of reasons. The first is the ‘no-frills’ philosophy behind the conceptualization of the Sqair. The Sqair captures the essence of air purifiers without adding any unnecessary gimmicks like LED displays or ionizers, which helps lower its electricity consumption and overall cost.

Sqair Air Purifier

Smart Air also carefully chose to use an H12 HEPA filter instead of an H13 filter. At first, a lower grade HEPA filter may appear to be disadvantageous. However, our tests show that it actually contributes to a more powerful purifier by allowing more air to flow through for purification.

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As air more easily passes through the H12 filter, Sqair can also be fitted with a fan that is not excessively strong (and therefore energy-wasting) to achieve the same airflow.  

Bottom Line: An Air Purifier’s Energy Efficiency Matters

Energy ratings of different air purifiers can vary widely, and these differences can be costly. When purchasing an air purifier, check the energy usage on high (in Watts) and the amount of clean air it produces (CADR). The higher the CADR/Watts number is, the more energy efficient the air purifier is.

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