Although proper ventilation and use with caution can reduce the exposure to the volatile organic compounds (VOCs), an air purifier might help when those options are limited, or someone has MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity). An air purifier with gas and odor filter can bring down the concentration of VOCs from a closed space. In this article, we are going to discuss the 7 best air purifiers for VOCs removal with a helpful buying guide.
What are VOCs?
Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are chemicals that released into the air in the form of gases and vapors from paints, varnishes, perfume, air fresheners, cleaning products, furniture’s or from activities such as smoking, cooking or burning wood. The most common VOCs are formaldehyde, benzene, and ethylene glycol. Long-term exposure to VOCs arises many health issues, including the risk of growing cancer. Learn more about VOCs and their sources.
How to Select an Air Purifier for VOCs:
The most common air purifiers are based on HEPA filter, which is very effective at removing airborne particulates such as pollen, dust, pet dander, smoke particles, bacteria even some viruses that are sized down to 0.3 microns. Although the HEPA filter is not able to capture VOCs, odors, or gas molecules from the air.
Technologies to filter VOCs:
The current technologies to filter VOCs and gases are Absorption (use of activated Carbon or Zeolites as porous media), Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO), Plasma, and Ozone generation. The use of activated carbon or charcoal is the most popular and safest method for household VOCs filtration. Learn more about air filtration technologies.
VOC Air Purifiers Checklist:
1. Deep Bed of Activated Carbon or Absorbent media: Only select an air purifier that has an exclusive VOCs absorber, which uses activated carbon or zeolite pellets. Don’t go for mesh or sponge type thin filter impregnated with carbon. A deep bed of activated carbon filter would be more effective.
2. PCO, Plasma, and Ozone Generator: PCO and Plasma are effective in neutralizing VOCs and odor, but sometimes they produce ozone or other harmful substances as byproducts. So, don’t select these air purifier if you have asthma or breathing issues. Ozone generators are not suitable to use in residential spaces.
3. VOC sensor: A built-in VOC sensor will help the air purifier to operate it accordingly when it senses VOCs in the air. Although this is not a very common feature and you can buy a separate TVOC and Formaldehyde sensor to monitor VOCs in the room.
4. Room Size Calculation: During particulates filtration, you need a high CFM air purifier. But, to neutralize VOCs and odor, you need to run the air purifier slow to medium speed to increases the dwell time (the time the air passes through the absorbent media) for high effectiveness.
So, select the air purifier with a maximum of 4-5 air changes per hour (ACH) for your room to meet the minimum required CADR.
For example, if your room is 15 ft. x 20 ft. with 8 ft. ceiling and your maximum preferred ACH is 5, then you must need an air purifier that has a minimum CADR of 200 CFM.
List of the 7 Best Air Purifier for VOCs:
1. Oransi EJ120 Air Purifier
Oransi EJ120 equipped with a 1 lb. of a pleated activated carbon filter to remove VOCs, odors, and gases from the air. The independent test demonstrates more than 99% of efficiency in Formaldehyde, Sulfur Dioxide, and Nitrogen Dioxide removal within 48hr time. Also, they have another type of VOCs filter loaded with 3.5 lbs. of activated carbon pellets called granular activated carbon (GAC) filter. However, the performance against VOCs of the GAC filter is lower than the pleated carbon filter. These 1-inch deep carbon filters last up to 12 months.
The particle filter used in Oransi EJ120 is a 3-inch deep MERV 17 grade HEPA filter, which is more efficient than true HEPA as they claim.
It has been suggested to use two of the GAC filter instead of the HEPA filter and one pleated carbon filter combination to make it an ultimate VOCs removal machine.
Absorbent media: 1 lb. of pleated carbon filter or 3.5 lbs. of granular activated carbon (GAC) filter
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): 330 CFM
Room Size: 495 sq. ft. at 5 air exchanges per hour
2. IQAir GC MultiGas Air Purifier
IQAir GC (Gas Control) air purifier is primarily designed to remove VOCs, odors, and gases from the air. It equipped with four cylindrical shaped gas cartridges that are summed 12 lbs. of granular activated carbon and impregnated alumina as oxidizers for absorbing VOCs and odors. The filters can be used for up to 30 months on daily 10 hours usage at level 3 fan speed. However, it depends on the VOCs and other gas concentrations in the air.
The first stage is an H11 class HyperHEPA Pre-Filter to capture particles at 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency. Also, it has an electrostatically charged fiber sleeves works as 3rd stage filtration. The electrostatic nature will capture any leftover particles that pass through the 2 stage filters.
Absorbent media: 12 lbs. of granular activated carbon (GAC) and impregnated alumina.
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): 300 CFM
Room Size: 450 sq. ft. at 5 air exchanges per hour
Replacement filter price: $295 for four MultiGas Cartridges (check current filter price)
3. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
Winix 5500-2 is a budget-friendly air purifier that comes with all necessary mechanisms to combat odors. The primary VOCs filter is a honeycomb structured activated carbon filter, and the secondary filtration for VOCs is Plasmawave. Instead of a particle sensor, it comes with an odor sensor to detect VOCs in the air. The AOC carbon filter can be washed with water, which will boost the absorption effectiveness during its 12 months lifespan.
Additionally, it equipped with a true HEPA grade particle filter, which will block any tiny particulates from the air that are sized down to 0.3 microns.
VOC filters: Activated Carbon (mechanical) and Plasma Wave (electronic)
Absorbent media: activated carbon
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): 232 CFM
Room Size: 350 sq. ft. at 5 air exchanges per hour
Sensor: VOC sensor
Replacement filter price: $60 for HEPA and Carbon filter combo (check current filter price)
4. EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System Air Purifier
EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System adopts its patented Earth Mineral Technology to effectively remove VOCs and odors from the air than the traditional carbon filter and the plasma technology. The VOCs filter includes Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, and Titanium Dioxide as oxidizing agents to neutralize formaldehyde, ammonia, and other VOCs from the air. This chemical absorption filter can be used for 5-6 months.
Additionally, it has a powerful deep bed HEPA filter for particulates removal at 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency. This HEPA filter can be used for up to 24 months.
Absorbent media: Magnesium Oxide, Zinc Oxide, and Titanium Dioxide (1.5 lbs.)
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): 250 CFM
Room Size: 370 sq. ft. at 5 air exchanges per hour
Replacement filter price: $99 for VOCs filter (check current filter price)
The UV model >>> Check Price
5. Airpura F600 Air Purifier
The carbon filter of Airpura F600 is primarily designed to remove formaldehyde, the most common VOCs found in the home. The filter uses 18 lbs. of impregnated activated carbon (35% potassium permanganate, 65% coconut shell), which is capable of removing VOCs, odors, and some gases at a higher rate than a traditional carbon filter. The filter can be used for up to 24 months.
Alongside the chemical filter, Airpura F600 comes with a 40 square feet of H13 grade HEPA filter to remove all airborne particles that are sized 0.3 microns at 99.97% efficiency. It also has a pre-filter to protect the primary filter, which is also vacuumed washable.
Absorbent media: 18 lbs. of activated carbon substances
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): 560 CFM
Room Size: 840 sq. ft. at 5 air exchanges per hour
6. Blueair Pro Air Purifier with Smomestop filter
Blueair Pro air purifier has an option to remove VOCs, odor, and gas pollutants with its SmokeStop filter combination. The unique v-shaped honeycomb structured filter contains thermally-bonded polyolefin and activated carbon pellets to remove all kinds of VOCs, gases, and odors.
Blueair Pro comes with 3 size variants. The gas sensor is included only in the XL model. Also, the modular gas sensor is optional for the medium and the large model.
Absorbent media: Thermally bonded polyolefin and activated carbon pellets.
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): 330 CFM (Pro M), 660 CFM (Pro L), and 990 CFM (Pro XL).
Room Size: 390 sq. ft. (Pro M), 780 sq. ft. (Pro L), and 1180 sq. ft. (Pro XL) at 5 air exchanges per hour
Sensor: Particle and Gas sensor. Optional for Pro M and Pro L, included with Pro XL
Replacement filter price: $129 for a single Smokestop filter (check current filter price)
7. Austin Air HealthMate Plus Air Purifier HM450
Austin Air Healthmate Plus incorporates a compact 4-stage drum filter to remove both particulate and gas pollutants. The filter used 15 lbs. of activated carbon and zeolite media impregnated with potassium iodide to absorb VOCs, formaldehyde, odors, and gases. The 60 square feet high efficiency (HEPA) filter is capable of removing 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles. The filter can be used for up to 5 years.
Absorbent media: 15 lbs. of activated carbon and zeolite media impregnated with potassium iodide
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR): 400 CFM
Room Size: 600 sq. ft. at 5 air exchanges per hour
Replacement filter price: $169 for the combined filters (check current filter price)
The best way to remove VOCs, odors, and gases from the air is well-ventilation. The fresh air from outside is very effective at lowering the VOCs concentration from the indoor air. As the chemical absorption from the air is a slower process, an air purifier with VOCs and odor filters might help in a poorly ventilated area.