Radon is dangerous and is known to cause lung cancer–in fact, it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US according to the EPA. But the good news is that there are a lot of things that we can do to get that radon gas out of our homes. Radon mitigation systems, the right home improvement, and air purifiers can be three things that we can all invest in to take care of the problem.
Introduction and Overview of the Severity of Radon in the US
A 1987 EPA study found that Americans spent roughly 90 percent of their time indoors. Since then, it’s pretty likely that that number has increased since we now have even more reasons to stay inside and even more things to do indoors.
However, there’s an issue that arises with that increased time indoors (alright, there are several and this is just one of them): indoor air can be all sorts of dirty. The EPA found it to be 2 to 5 times dirtier than the air outside, but some studies have found indoor air to be as much at a hundred times higher!
But that’s just for your normal pollutants, like dust, allergens, and other things like that. Radon? That’s a totally different story.
According to the US EPA (and even restated by the CDC), one in every fifteen homes have a problem with increased radon levels. The average US home has a little over three times higher radon level than the air outside, which shows yet again that all that time indoors is just exposing us to even more bad things in the air that we’re breathing. (Source: EPA)
But let’s face it, it isn’t easy to just stop spending time inside. We’ve got jobs and other stuff that has to be done inside. And for those of us who don’t live in Hawai’i, the weather doesn’t really let us open up a window or anything like that too.
Which means that we have to figure out something else to make the air in our homes and offices a little safer and healthier to breathe.
What is Radon Gas?
Radon is a radioactive gas that is naturally occurring and is known to cause cancer. Radon gas is colorless, odorless, and impossible to detect without a radon detector or a radon test kit.
Radon comes out of the ground that our homes are built on and is more prevalent in some areas than others, depending on the particular ground that your home is built on and the particular area that you are in.
Some states have really bad radon problems where nearly everyone will have too much radon, while other states have a very minimal issue. However, regardless of which state you live in, there’s a chance that you might have a radon problem in your own home, so it’s best to get your air tested.
But don’t just take my word for it, even the EPA and the Surgeon General of the US recommend that you test your home’s air for this toxic gas–a gas whose ill effects won’t be noticed until too late.
If you haven’t tested your home’s air for radon just yet, then be sure to do so. Check out this article I wrote What is the Best Radon Test? A Look at the Top Three DIY Radon Tests Anyone Can Get and do at Home where I show you the best (and most cost-effective) ways to test your home’s air for radon. A radon test or detector will cost a lot less than buying air purifiers and a bunch of other things for radon, so it could save you in the long run to be sure you have a problem before you spend a bunch of money addressing the problem.
But odds are that you know you have a radon problem and you know the risks of radon if you’ve made it to this article, so I’ll skip ahead to the subject matter you all came for. (And if you don’t know everything you want to about radon, you can check out one of my other articles which I link to at the end of this article.)
Do Air Purifiers Help With Radon Gas?
Air purifiers are not the all-time best way to deal with radon in your home, but the right air purifier is still an effective means of reducing the amount of radon that is in the air of your home.
Radon, being both chemically inert and microscopic (.5 to 3 nanometers according to the International Atomic Energy Agency), is incredibly difficult for most air filters out there to capture and remove from the air. Activated carbon filters, however, can capture this radioactive gas.
(Fun fact, there are some larger particles of “decay particles” that radon rides on that can be as large as 300 nanometers, which is the same size as what a HEPA filter can capture. However, again, much of the radon gas that gets in your home will be a lot smaller than that.)
Smokers and non-smokers alike are susceptible to getting lung cancer from the damage done by radon gas. However, smokers and those who have been impacted by second-hand smoke are both more apt to develop lung cancer because of radon exposure.
Air purifiers with activated carbon filters can cleanse your home’s air of that dangerous radon. In addition to that, the right air purifier can clear out allergens, dust, and a whole lot more than that as well. That can make life easier for people with asthma, respiratory illness, and allergies.
What Air Purifiers Can Help With Radon?
As I’m sure you know, there are tons of air purifiers out there. Some are great, some are good, some are terrible, and some are incredibly overpriced.
So, which of these air purifiers help with radon?
Well, it’s quite simple: the air purifiers with the most activated carbon in them are the most likely to be of the most help. And, as you might be able to tell from that, this means that air purifiers without a lot of activated carbon won’t be nearly as effective at cleaning the radon out of the air in your home.
Now, since this can get complicated and confusing, I know you came looking for some straight answers on what air purifiers are the best for dealing with radon. So, without further ado, I’ll dive right on in and tell you the top three air purifiers you can get today.
Top Three Radon Detectors for Radon Gas
Here’s the lineup of the best air purifiers for radon in 2022. These are some of the best units out there, so they’re sure to help with both your radon problem and with all the other issues you’ll want to have removed from the air in your home.
The following three air purifiers are listed off in first, second, and third place, the first being the all-around best pick due to capability, cost, and other factors.
#1 Alen FLEX Air Purifier
Alen has been making air purifiers for years, and they’re quite good at it.
This particular air purifier is made for “heavy smoke”, according to the company, and it’s got over two pounds of activated carbon that makes it effective for as much.
I know that we’re not here for smoke, but, if you’ve been reading this article, then you’re sure to know that activated carbon helps with radon. Over two pounds of it means that you’ve got even more protection against radon than other air purifiers offer.
In addition to working very well against radon, this air purifier also has a medical grade HEPA filter, which is one of the best HEPA filters out there. For the record, that means that allergens, dust, and a whole lot of other things won’t stand a chance.
Its medical grade HEPA filter can capture 99.99 percent of particles .1 micron and larger, which means that it can capture larger radon particles in its HEPA filter, in addition to its activated carbon filter.
There are other air purifiers made by Alen made for larger rooms and with more activated carbon, however this one, being rated for 700 square feet, will work great for many people and it’s also a much cheaper option than the larger units.
Pick up the Alen Air Purifier on Amazon here.
#2 Winix AM80 Air Purifier
Winix is another reputable air purifier manufacturer that has some great units.
In addition to having great air purifiers, the Winix air purifier has a bunch of activated carbon in it, which will be a super helpful addition to your fight against radon in your home.
This air purifier is just made for smaller areas, 360 square feet and smaller, but that doesn’t mean that it can’t be a great help for anyone who wants to cut down on the number of VOCs, radon, and other toxic gasses in the air.
(If you’re curious what VOCs are, check out my article on them here.)
Besides having a bunch of activated carbon, this air purifier also has a HEPA filter that works great and will work ceaselessly to get your home’s air as clean as it can be.
If you’re interested in this air purifier, you can pick it up on Amazon here.
#3 IQAir GC MultiGas Air Purifier
Like Alen, IQAir has been around for some time, and they make some great air purifiers as well.
However, their machines can be quite costly, hence why I put this air purifier in third place. But, despite its heightened cost, no list of air purifiers for radon could be complete without this option.
This air purifier, like the others on the list, has a chunk of activated carbon in it that can pull radon out of the air as it is passed through the air purifier.
This air purifier also has a medical-grade HEPA filter, which means that it can capture all sorts of things out of the air. However, the stated capabilities of this air purifier’s filters lingers behind the Alen air purifier’s capabilities.
And, as I mentioned already, this air purifier costs a whole lot more than the Alen air purifier.
However, this IQAir air purifier can clean a room as large as 1,125 square feet, which is 425 more square feet than the Alen air purifier I recommended above. However, the added cost of this air purifier doesn’t really make up for the added cost, in my opinion. You can get over three of the Alen air purifiers for the cost of this one, so keep that in mind.
If you’d still like to buy the IQAir air purifier, you can pick it up from Amazon here. Or, if you need an air purifier for a larger room that’s not a crazy price, here’s an Alen air purifier for rooms that are 1,100 square feet (and it’s still a lot cheaper than this IQAir), you can pick this Alen air purifier on Amazon here.
Another Way to Look at Things
Now, I know that’s a lot of information to dig through, so I’ve compiled all the information you might want to know on a table as well, since that might help things make sense for all of you. (Plus tables can be nice to look at too!)
|Attributes||Alen FLEX||Winix AM80||IQAir GC MultiGas|
|Removes Germs?||Yes, all the way down to .1 microns (with 99.99% efficiency). |
High germ protection.
|Yes, all the way down to .3 microns (with 99.97% efficiency).|
Least germ protection.
|Yes, all the way down to .003 microns (with 99.5% efficiency).|
Most germ protection.
|Coverage Area?||700 square feet||360 square feet||1,125 square feet|
|Reasons to Get it?||Great value, great coverage area, and good protection against germs, great against radon.||Great for smaller rooms, cheapest unit, and adequate germ protection, good against radon.||Best germ protection, great against radon.|
|Links to Get it||Get it on Amazon here.||Get it on Amazon here.||Get it on Amazon here.|
There’s obviously a whole lot more to what makes a good air purifier besides what goes into it and what it can do. Things like how much off-gassing it has, if it makes ozone, how long it’s supposed to last, and a whole slew of other things, but I’ll save you the details on all of that. Just know that the above list of three units includes some of the best air purifiers out there for radon (and in general).
However, there are other great air purifiers out there that I also recommend that aren’t necessarily great at getting rid of radon. If you’re in the market for air purifiers for the rest of your home, be sure to check out my list of top picks here. I own and have tested the units on this list and they’ve earned the title of favorites for me!
Are Air Purifiers the Best Way to Get Rid of Radon in My House?
As I’ve already alluded to, air purifiers aren’t the best way to get rid of radon in your home.
Just like everything in life, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of the cure–in this case, prevention means you ensure the radon doesn’t get into your home in the first place.
There are multi-thousand dollar radon mitigation systems that people get. There are entire businesses built around making homes radon-resistant. It can cost an arm and a leg.
But that’s just the price that people are willing to pay for safe air, because they want to live long, healthy lives. Most people would agree that health is worth the cost.
But, if you’re like me, then a few thousand dollars might make you want to risk your health. It’s a lot of money, I know. And that’s why I wrote an article on how you can go about putting in your own radon-mitigation system in your home. These systems can work well enough to get your home into the safe range (or safer range) of radon levels, and it can cost a whole lot less.
If you’d like to check that out, check out this article: What is a Radon Detector, Do I Need a Radon Detector, and What is the Best Radon Sensor on the Market Today? And yes, I know the title doesn’t sound like it answers the question, but I get to it in the article!
But I’m sure you’re still curious about all things radon, so here are some of my other articles on radon that might be worth checking out! Happy hunting and happy reading!