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The rapid spread of COVID-19 has spurred many of us to embark on house-cleaning binges, and to purchase bleach, hand sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, and other products that promise to maintain and improve the wellbeing of our families.

That urge to clean is likely why Technavio, a market research company, expects the ongoing pandemic to bump up sales of smart air purifiers this year.

But interest in air purifiers may have been on the rise before COVID-19. Julie Jacobson, founding editor of CE Pro magazine, noticed in 2019 that demand was increasing among people who live in more efficiently insulated homes, in which indoor pollutants can be “two to five times higher indoors than out.”

Poor indoor air quality, she wrote, has “wreaked havoc on our homes and our health leading to increased incidence of asthma, allergy, pneumonia and other ailments, especially in children and the elderly.” 

How Smart Air Purifiers Clean the Air

John McKeon, a medical doctor and the CEO of Allergy Standards — an organization that certifies products as “asthma and allergy-friendly,” recently explained to NBC News that air purifiers are devices that “deactivate” airborne toxins, including pathogens. Some purifiers use ultraviolet light sterilization to kill mold and bacteria while others use an electrostatic filter to draw particles to metal plates. Most air purifiers, he said, rely on a combination of both methods to trap as particles, gases, and bacteria.

Can Smart Air Purifiers Stop Coronavirus?

Smart air purifiers do clean the air, but they can’t stop most viruses – including Coronavirus, according to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The problem, said ASHRAE official William Bahnfleth, is the size of the virus -- between 0.06 and 0.14 microns – too small to be trapped by a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate arrestance) filter.

But the HEPA filters in air purifiers do inhibit pesky other particles -- as small as 0.3 microns -- typical of the mold, pollen and pet dander that plague allergy sufferers.

How Can an Air Purifier Be Smart?

While all good air purifiers scrub your air, you’ll need a smart purifier if you want to know exactly which allergens are present in your home. Sensors in smart air purifiers work with smartphone apps to help you identify particles and allow you to monitor, measure, and receive alerts about pollutants in real-time.

Of course, smart air purifiers will adjust and filter automatically. But if you prefer more control, you can fine-tune settings.

The online Home Air Quality Guides publication suggests consumers consider the following smart air purifier units:

  • Airmega 4002
  • Holmes Wi-Fi Enabled
  • Honeywell H250-B Bluetooth
  • Winix HR1000 Wi-Fi Enabled
  • Dyson Cool Link

All these smart air purifiers have:

  • Customizable timers and schedulers 
  • Real-time monitoring 
  • Historical reporting
  • Filter replacement indicators

The Holmes and Honeywell units connect to weather companies and adjust the pollen and pollutant settings accordingly. And, the Honeywell H250 can also automatically order new HEPA filters for you.

These and similar smart air purifier products will have a positive impact on the market over the next few years, according to Technavio. The firm expects the global smart air purifier market size to grow by $3.35 billion between 2020-2024.

Manufacturers: Find out how you can participate in this market opportunity by contacting Ayla for a free consultation about designing smart air purifiers using Ayla IoT platform services.