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Room Air Purifier vs. Whole-House Air Cleaner: Which is Better for Allergy Sufferers?

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sneezingSpringtime means annoyingly high pollen count in New Jersey.

So if you have allergies, you’re trying to keep away the sneezing, sniffling and puffiness in any way you can. One way to do that is by making sure your home’s air is a safe haven from pollen.

There are 2 major options for cleaning your home’s air:

  • Room air purifiers (also called portable air purifiers)
  • Whole-house air cleaners (also called in-duct air cleaners)

We’ll break down the differences between the 2 and help you figure out which is right for you.

Room air purifiers

airpurifierWhat it is: Room air purifiers typically weigh 10 to 20 pounds and stands upright in your home to clean one room’s air of pollutants. The way it cleans the air depends on the technology it’s using.  Some larger units have wheels to make them easier to move around.


  • Easy-to-use
  • Portable, so you can move them around and clean different rooms
  • Relatively inexpensive compared to whole-house air cleaners
  • Does not require a forced-air heating/cooling system


  • Air cleaning quality varies greatly from model to model
  • Can be loud when put on highest air cleaning setting, which is required to get advertised cleaning power
  • Needs frequent maintenance when used on highest air cleaning setting
  • Can only clean the air of one room at a time, so cost increases for each room you need a purifier for

Whole-house air cleaners

aircleanerWhat is it: Whole-house air cleaners are installed directly into the ductwork of your HVAC system.

So anytime your heating or cooling system turns on, the air cleaner catches any pollutants flowing through the air ducts.

This prevents pollen and other particles from being pushed out your supply ducts.

Like room air purifiers, there are different air cleaning technologies to consider.

Here’s a summary of air cleaner types.


  • Effectively cleans your entire home’s air of airborne pollutants
  • Quiet, so it does not disturb your family at night
  • Installed in your ducts, so it’s not taking up space in any of your living areas


  • More expensive than room air purifiers
  • Needs professional installation, adding to the total cost
  • Requires a forced-air system

How to choose which is right for you

These are just a few major things to consider:

  • Do you have a forced-air system? If not, then a room air purifier is your only choice.
  • What’s your budget? If you have limited funds, then a room unit will probably be your best bet.
  • How many people in your home suffer from asthma or allergies? If there are multiple allergy or asthma sufferers in your home, then a whole-house air cleaner will be more cost efficient.

Need help on figuring out if a room air purifier or a whole-house air cleaner best for your home?

Contact one of our experts for free advice.

Air Professionals is a whole-home comfort company serving New Jersey homeowners. Contact us for more information on how we can help improve your home’s comfort.