Silently effective: Measuring air purifier performance and noise

Hopefully, you are now aware of indoor air pollution and how the right air purifier can make a difference. But what about noise pollution? Performance that comes at a disturbing decibel level can affect your ability to rest and enjoy the full benefits of clean air living. Everyone has a different tolerance and preference for noise. For the latest in our Science of Clean Air series, we’re talking about how to select the performance and noise level that is right for you.

When it comes to purchasing an air purifier, one of the first questions people tend to ask is, “how quiet is it?” This is actually one of the most difficult aspects to compare in the air purifier market since there are a variety of decibel scales used. At Blueair, we use dB(A) values (decibel with A-weighted value) since we believe it to be the best rating for perceived sound level. What is often overlooked is that the absolute value of the noise is just part of the equation.

CADR/dB(A) = Great Air Purifier

It is important to always relate noise level to how much clean air you are getting at that sound level. If you have watched previous videos from us, you know that Blueair measures performance using the clean air delivery rate (CADR) metric. When you look at the decibel rating for an air purifier you want to determine how much clean air it is delivering at that setting. At times of high pollution, like when you are running your vacuum, Blueair products may have a slightly elevated decibel rating but that comes with an exceptionally high CADR. The biggest difference between Blueair and our competitors is at the low-speed setting. Blueair purifiers give you a very high CADR at exceptionally low decibel ratings. This becomes even more important for continuous use and while you are sleeping.

Remember that when comparing air purifier tech specs and websites for sound levels, always look at dB(A) values instead of dB or other scales. There are also noise apps and decibel meters for smartphones that you can download to easily compare products. Even more importantly, look for independent reviews done by someone who has tested products without being influenced by advertisers. Consumer Reports is a great resource since they review air purifiers in the US market, testing noise levels and performance at the highest and lowest speed settings.

The ultimate test is to hear the difference for yourself. Find a retailer near you that will allow you to turn on various models at different settings to find an air purifier with both the performance and noise level that is right for you.