What Is A Personal Air Purifier? | What Should I Look For in the Best Personal Air Purifier?

What Is A Personal Air Purifier?

Personal Air Purifier

Most people have heard of air purifiers, especially as conversations around air quality come up more and more often. But, something a lot of people don’t know is that there are portable air purifiers on the market, we aren’t limited to the bulky home devices!

A personal air purifier is a small, compact air purifier that you can keep with you through the course of your day. Personal air purifiers can be hung around your neck, placed on your work station, or on your nightstand, where they will provide you with clean air to breathe.

Air purifiers for your home are very important and give you a safe haven from all the allergens and pollution in the outside world. But, they only clean your home’s air, and we are oftentimes outdoors, and away from our home’s clean air. A personal air purifier will clean the air around you as you are on the go, keeping you in a clean-air environment around the clock. 

What About The Air Around Us?

Whenever you are away from home, you are being exposed to countless foreign particles which can be harmful to your health. These particles include viruses, bacteria, mold, and more. Sometimes, you may just wish that you could clean the air outside. What if we told you that you can?

Air purifiers have seen a lot of advances in recent years. Gone are the days where air purifiers were bulky machines which were never in your price range. Today, most anyone can afford an air purifier for their home, and what can be even more affordable is an air purifier you can wear! 

Shall We Wear An Air Purifier?

Yes, you can now even wear an air purifier, which will clean the air that you breathe wherever you roam. These portable air purifiers are often worn on neck straps, which means you can wear it like a necklace. No longer do you have to worry about all of the VOCs, allergens, smoke, and odors around you, as your own personal air purifier works to cleanse the air of those nuisances. 


Portable air cleaners come in many shapes and sizes, and there are several different ways they work as well. Some personal air purifiers are as simple as carrying a piece of activated charcoal, while others work like your standard air purifier.

Personal air purifiers that work like your home’s air purifier will need a recharge from time to time. Some can last as long as 10 days on one charge, while others need to be recharged more often. Many of these air purifiers utilize air ionizers, which do a great job at cleansing the air around you. These machines can cleanse an area as large as a small room all on their own! However, many of these machines are just designed to clean the immediate area around the user. 

Personal Air Purifiers are Great at Cleaning the Air Around You as You Go About Your Day

Personal air purifiers are pretty easy to come by, believe it or not.

If you’re in the market for one, here’s one that we recommend. It’s more affordable than other units and it’s battery lasts up to 24 hours!

You can check it’s current price on Amazon here.


Now, what does the ionizer do for you? Ionized particles will be removed from the air you breathe, cleaning it and helping to save you from your pesky allergies, or asthma. Ionizers can clean dust, pollen, dander (along with countless other allergens we don’t have the space to list!), germs, smoke, and even VOCs from the air. The result? Safer air to breathe! Better yet, several of the particles air ionizers remove from the air have odors, which means you’re a walking air freshener as well!

Note that not all personal air purifiers use ionizers in order to clean the air. What does that mean to you? Well, ionizers oftentimes don’t need to have their filters replaced, and that is because they don’t have any filters to replace! This makes personal air ionizers preferable to most.

Air ionizers are both cheap to purchase, and cheap to operate, which is great for a lot of people. If you are on a tight budget and need an air purifier for your home, then check out our article on finding affordable air purifiers that are actually worth buying! However, if you purchase a personal air purifier that has a larger coverage area, you may be better off just using that around the house as well as on the go!

air purifier around neck

Another type of personal air purifier that you can find on the market utilizes a HEPA filter, which makes it ideal for people with allergies. HEPA filters actually capture allergens (and microbes, and some odors), taking them directly out of the air you are breathing, and stores it within its filters. Ionizers simply remove these irritants and particles from the air, leaving them all over your surrounding surfaces, which can be less than ideal. However, these systems are oftentimes not wearable and need to be placed within arm’s reach.


Most personal air purifiers work great if you are sitting at a desk in your workplace, or otherwise remaining in one place for an extended period of time. This is because of the fact that many of these personal air cleaners require 15 or so minutes to adequately purify the air that you are breathing. 

This means, that if you are walking from one place to another, the effects of your air purifier will be greatly reduced, as you are leaving behind the air your unit cleaned! In addition to this, air ionizers don’t remove harmful bacteria and viruses from your environment, they simply cause them to attach themselves to the surfaces around you, making them quite filthy.

However, if you are mindful of touching, say, your mouth, nose, etc. then an air ionizer’s drawback of causing particles to stick to your surroundings shouldn’t be a serious issue. Additionally, if you only need your air purifier for when you are driving, working at a desk/station, then the air purifier should be able to help you as well. In the end, the effectiveness of your unit depends on your lifestyle. 


When you are looking for any air purifier, you need to be mindful of how much area the unit can cover. Would you like it to clean all the air directly around you (i.e. three feet/one meter), or would you like to have clean air in an entire room? Depending upon your response, you may actually be in need of a standard air purifier for your home. If you only need cleaner air directly around yourself, then you’ll need a personal air purifier. 

Once you’ve noted how much area you need to have covered, you will need to figure out what kind of purifying system you need. This may be a superficial task for most, as it keenly applies to those with severe allergies, asthma, or a compromised immune system. For most people, the standard personal air ionizer will work great, and be very low maintenance (you’ll only have to worry about how often your unit needs to be recharged). 

For those who have respiratory-related issues or a weaker immune system, it would likely be wise to invest in a personal air purifier that utilizes HEPA filters. HEPA filters will help to remove allergens and pathogens from your environment, storing them away in the filter itself. Note, however, that these air cleaning units will require recharging in addition to having their filters replaced every so often. 

We’ve got an article on some of the best air purifiers on the marker that you can access here. The maker of those units, Blueair, has been manufacturing air purifiers for decades and their machines are a head and shoulders above most of the competition. You can check out another article we have on one of their best units here.


Now, since we’ve mentioned recharging a few times, we come to the greatest “drawback” in personal air purifiers. They can only be portable (and work) for so long. Some units can go days without needing to be recharged, some need to be topped off every few hours. In the end, your specific needs are what dictate what unit you ought to buy. Most units will provide you clean air for at least a whole work day. Which means you can charge your unit overnight before you return to work the next day.

Some air purifiers utilize small fans which help them to cover a greater area. But that comes at the cost of battery life. Rather than last a hundred or so hours, these models generally can’t make it past 10 hours. Rest assured, this should cover your standard 9 to 5 job, with enough leeway to drive to and from work. A helpful feature on some of these units is that they can have their fans turned on and off. Depending upon your needs, which (when switched off) can increase your battery life greatly. 

Finally, the last biggie in personal air purifier related needs in how your air purifier is actually recharged. Does it need to be plugged into a wall? Can it be charged with your phone’s charger? How long does it take to recharge? We find that many air purifiers only need a short while to charge for a day’s use. But some need several hours. Depending upon how much downtime you have between your various commitments. This may make or break a deal on a specific unit.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Air Purifiers Work?

There are several different methods that are utilized in air purifiers. These include carbon and fabric filters, static electricity, screens, heat, UV light, and more. The air purifying machines run their surrounding air through themselves. They sift out all of the particulates in the air and capturing them. The resulting air that they release is freshly cleaned. 

Are There Personal Air Purifiers For Cars?car purifier

Yes, there are countless air purifiers on the market which are designed specifically for use in your car. These personal air cleaners either plug right into your car’s cigarette lighter, or they depend upon the occasional recharge. See our article on car air purifiers for more information!

Where Should I Shop for an Air Purifier? 

We recommend shopping online, regardless where you plan buying your actual air purifier. This is simply because of the fact that you will have the most exposure of every offer out there. Online stores also provide you with customer reviews. This can make all the difference on what your final decision may be. 

Do Air Purifiers Help Me with My Asthma? 

Asthma attacks are commonly caused by dust and other particulates in the air entering an asthmatic person’s lungs. Air purifiers remove these invisible hazards. By removing the microscopic matter from the air, the cleaners keep it out of one’s lungs. Effectively stopping future asthma attacks. Air purifiers are commonly bought by people with any breathing difficulties to ensure easy breathing into the future. 

Jonathon Silva

Jonathan Silva is our longtime Air Purifier Essentials author. He has been writing on air purification technologies for his entire professional career.

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