RSES Header Logo
Can Air Purifiers Protect You from the Coronavirus?

No, is the blunt answer from the technology site, Digital Trends. The website noted that even if HEPA filters can capture the virus, it can live on surfaces for some period of time. Both HEPA and high-MERV filters can also impede airflow in ducted systems. A PECO filter, which creates free radicals that cause an oxidation reaction in the air, can kill organic matter including some viruses but it’s still not fully effective. Some filters contain an anti-microbial coating, which is helpful but not foolproof.

The big problem, the site reported, comes from the size of viruses in general and the COVID-19 virus in particular. Most air purifiers capture particles that measure 0.1 micron at best and more typically 0.3 microns.

Still, even the best air purifier doesn’t solve the fundamental problem; like most viruses, the coronavirus is spread by person-to-person contact and contact with contaminated surfaces. Air purifiers are capable of filtering the air in a room over time, but viruses tend to travel short distances between people or land and linger on surfaces. An air purifier, even if equipped to kill a virus, will often fail to catch a virus before it comes into contact with a person or surface.

The best advice boils down to regularly change your air filters and wash your hands.

  • 1911 Rohlwing Road, Suite A
  • Rolling Meadows, IL
  • 60008-1397
  • Toll Free Phone: 800/297-5660
  • Phone: 847-297-6464

©2011 RSES. All Rights Reserved.