Air purifiers are effective tools for ridding indoor air of toxins and pathogens invisible to the eyes. However, your air purifier’s efficiency at clearing pollutants is primarily determined by its location. So, should air purifiers be on the floor?
It’s best to set air purifiers three to five feet off the ground. However, some units come with manufacturer recommendations to place them on the floor. Elevate it off the floor if the air purifier doesn’t have specific placement instructions.
This article discusses the best place in a room to put an air purifier and whether you should place one on the ground. I also explore the air purifier size that’s better placed on the floor and spots to place an air purifier in a bedroom.
Where Is the Best Place in a Room to Put an Air Purifier?
It’s a little challenging to pick an exact location in a room as the best for putting an air purifier. The primary factors to consider are the areas in the room with the highest concentration of pollutants and indoor airflow. Due to these factors, the best location will vary from one room (or house) to another.
Here’s a mix of recommendations featuring suitable and unsuitable places to situate an air purifier:
Use Areas with the Highest Airflow
Doorways, walls, and near windows are ideal for an air purifier. This is because these areas receive a lot of air, and the more air the unit gets, the faster it will clean the room’s air. Also, moving air carries more large-sized particles.
The air purifier will stand guard in these locations, trapping unwanted airborne pollutants before entering the room. If the room gets much traffic or has pets, the doorway should be your top choice.
Where There’s an Abundance of Pollutants
Common indoor air pollutants are odors, mold, smoke, pet dander, and pollen. Suppose there’s a corner or area in the room with a concentration of these pollutants. Placing the air purifier smack in the middle of the abundance will eliminate them faster than if the unit was far away.
You don’t need an air quality specialist to test and figure out where the concentration of contaminants is. With your eyes, nose, and possible allergic reactions, you can locate mold, tobacco smell, and allergens.
Away from Corners and Tight Spaces
Unrestricted airflow from all room parts helps air purifiers put out their best work. Putting the unit in a corner may make it too weak to suck the air from other room corners. Corners and tight spots have the lowest airflow.
The corner with the air purifier may have excellent air, but other areas will remain with polluted air. Give your air purifier a chance to clean all the air in a room by placing it in an open space.
Away from Obstacles
Avoid putting your air purifier behind the TV, close to a book pile, and below or beneath the furniture. Recall that air purifiers work best with good airflow, and obstacles impede airflow. If the unit cannot pull in all the room’s air, it cannot filter all of it.
On top of the shelf and inside a closet are also tempting locations. However, resist this temptation unless you want a drop in the cleaner’s performance.
Away from Similar Devices and Electronics
Including an air purifier might be overkill If you have devices that humidify, dehumidify, or filter air. If these devices push and pull air from different directions, the air purifier can’t remove all the airborne contaminants from the space.
Similarly, placing an air purifier close to other electronics like microwaves or the TV may cause either of them to malfunction. The devices might send interference to the air purifier or vice versa.
It is more common among low-quality/ low-cost air purifiers. So, it’s best to maintain at least five feet between your air purifier and any electronic device in the room.
The busiest areas or common paths in a room are terrible places to put an air purifier, especially where kids and pets frequent. It’s also dangerous to keep an air purifier in direct sunlight or next to a heater because it can overheat and malfunction.
To sum it up, place your air purifier in an open space, with at least two feet between the unit and other objects.
Should an Air Purifier Be Placed on the Ground?
Airborne bacteria, household gases and odors, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and allergens (pet dander, dust mites, etc.) are often present in indoor air. Using an air purifier at home helps you escape prolonged exposure to these harmful pollutants by improving indoor air quality.
However, it’s possible not to experience the full purifying effect of an air purifier because of its location. Identical purifiers can have entirely distinct impacts on indoor quality based on where you place them. As a result, most manufacturers will advise you on the best position for their air purifiers.
For example, Dyson units have a ‘format’ in their specifications, such as ‘desk,’ ‘tower,’ or floor. Following the manufacturer’s instructions will maintain the air purifier’s performance.
Occasionally, an air purifier won’t have specific instructions on its placement. In the absence of such directions, here are some guidelines you can use:
Keep it Off the Ground
About four feet off the ground is the average distance between the ground and ambient air (whether you sit, lay down, or stand). Since an air purifier works to clean your ambient air (the air you’re breathing), putting it within this distance is ideal.
Indoor air circulates in two directions:
Vertically—floor-to-ceiling air movement, based on a slight temperature variation (hotter air goes upward).
Horizontally—for example, door-to-door air movement.
You expose it to vertical and horizontal air movement when you elevate an air purifier off the ground (three to five feet). It has enough air to suck in readily, and it’ll clean it just as fast. Off the ground involves mounting the air purifier on the wall or placing it on a furniture item.
Smaller devices—under 10 lbs—are suitable for the office desk or your bedroom’s nightstand or windowsill. Wall-mountable air purifiers can match your décor while maximizing floor-to-ceiling cleaning performance.
Small purifiers are more effective when placed on a higher surface—a table or desk. Not having to suck air from below improves their performance, and keeping them close to you is ideal.
Small purifiers are also mobile, so you can try different positions to find (and stick) with whichever offers maximum functioning. You can place big purifiers on the ground since they have enough power to clean air close to the ground.
Air purifiers easily clean the surrounding air: floor air on the floor or ceiling air on a shelf. So, to summarize, place air purifiers off the ground to save space, eliminate a tripping hazard, and improve their efficiency.
Is It Better to Put Smaller or Bigger Air Purifiers on the Floor?
One of the many things to consider when buying an air purifier is its size. The basis of your choice is often the size of the room you plan to place the air purifier. An appropriate-sized air purifier will work at optimum capacity inside the selected room.
Again, the purifier size affects where you place it. For example, bigger and heavier air purifiers may do better on the floor than smaller units. Conversely, placing a smaller air purifier on the floor may not be powerful enough to remove the heavier floor particles.
Bigger air purifiers may work well on the ground, but they won’t clean at optimum capacity. Therefore, it is always better to keep air purifiers, both smaller and bigger units, off the ground. Since airflow gets restricted lower to the ground, the air purifier will have more work to do.
Where Should an Air Purifier Be Placed in a Bedroom?
There are many reasons for desiring excellent air quality in your bedroom. First, getting uninterrupted sleep through the night is a plus for your health. Second, you may be in the population of people who spend about 1/3 of their lives in the bedroom.
Furthermore, this space is one place in which you have the power to improve the air quality. Placing an air purifier in your bedroom helps to reduce your overnight exposure to pollutants. This is a significant advantage if you have underlying breathing problems, like sleep apnea.
As mentioned in the previous sections, your air purifier’s location can significantly alter its efficiency. For selecting the correct place in a bedroom for an air purifier, here’s what you should know:
The Breathing Zone
Your breathing zone should receive the bulk of the clean air the purifier releases. To achieve this, place the air purifier in a location that shortens the distance between you and the clean air. This might mean setting the unit on a small table or nightstand near the bed.
An alternative option is to place the air purifier on the opposite side of the room. The reasoning behind this is that air purifiers work in reverse of fans. While a fan blows air, an air purifier pulls air through itself.
Placing the air purifier near your head means it will pull all the air (with pollutants) from the room toward your head. That kind of beats the purpose of breathing clean air. However, this format won’t work in a huge bedroom.
An air purifier on the room’s opposite side may not be effective enough to help improve your sleep quality. So, you can move it closer, but ensure the new location means the unit sucks the air away from your face.
The Direction It Faces and Distance from Your Bed
Achoo Allergy recommends placing the air purifier with the directional registers pointing toward you. They also state that about six to 10 feet away from the head of your bed is ideal. It’s vital to maintain this distance because air shouldn’t blow into your face directly.
If it’s closer than six feet, you risk getting a headache or other symptoms. A distance farther than 10 feet may prevent you from enjoying the purifier’s full benefits.
If you have a small room, ensure the air purifier faces the wider part of the room. The functional components of the air purifier should always face the areas of the room that need the most filtering. First, let the air purifier’s air intake face towards the bed to filter the air around your bed.
The Noise Factor
The best place in your bedroom for an air purifier is a matter of balancing efficiency and noise level. For optimum benefits, your air purifier should be on even while you sleep, which might mean constant noise.
Some people may enjoy the white noise the unit produces, but it makes it harder for others to fall and remain asleep. Although the nightstand is a suitable spot for your air purifier, you can place it farther away if the noise is troubling. You don’t have to decrease the speed setting to reduce the noise.
The idea is for the air purifier to contribute to better sleep, not interrupting your sleep.
Besides these considerations, the general rules also apply. Although there’s a detailed description of the rules above, it bears repeating. Here’s a summary of the rules, split into what you should do and avoid:
- Set it in an open space, without obstructions to the top, front, or sides.
- Place it in an area with high airflow.
- Situate it off the ground.
- Set it close to any pollution source in the bedroom.
- Close the windows and doors when the unit is running.
- Don’t put it in a corner because corners have restricted airflow.
- Avoid placing it in semi-closed or closed spaces.
- Behind or underneath furniture are poor locations for an air purifier.
- Keep the air purifier away from electronics.
Deciding where to put an air purifier turns location into a game of strategy. Hopefully, these guidelines will help ease the burden of choice. In summary, your preference is paramount, and you can always switch the unit’s location if you discover something better.