What are the Best Ionic Air Purifiers in 2019?
If you’re looking for the best ionic air purifier that actually produces significant negative ions, without potentially dangerous ozone, this page has a detailed list of the leading air cleaners for your home and why they are recommended.
First, we will look at my pick for the top negative ion based air purifier that generates extremely high levels of beneficial ions.
Followed by a review of the best all round ionic air cleaner, with 7 different technologies to decontaminate the air you breathe.
Finally, the top 3 recommended HEPA filter air purifiers that cleanse the air of allergens while still generating negative ions without ozone.
The Problem with Ionizing Air Purifiers
Buying a good ionic air purifier can be confusing. Manufacturers have taken terms like anion, ionizing and ionic and plastered these labels on air cleaning units that primarily produce ozone, rather than beneficial negative ions.
In doing so, they have done a great disservice to people looking to buy an air purifier that actually emits high levels of negative ions, rather than just ozone.
Ozone producing air cleaners, while effective at eliminating odors and some harmful airborne contaminants, are not without certain risks.
You definitely want to stay well below the CDC safe limit of 50 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). At this amount sensitive people can experience irritated lungs and other side effects of excessive ozone.
Personally, I’d much prefer to rely on the proven health benefits of negative ions, rather than worrying about whether ozone from my ionic air filter is actually doing more harm than good.
With that in mind, let’s look at the best room ionizer air cleaners that actually produce therapeutic levels of negative ions, while still keeping ozone levels exceptionally low, so as to be virtually undetectable.
Best True Ionic Air Cleaner – Vortex VI-3500 Room Air Purifier
If the primary feature you’re looking for in an air cleaning device is high ion output, it’s hard to go past this new 2019 model Vortex VI-3500 negative ion generator by Wein.
This deceptively powerful little ionizer and air purifier produces an incredible 3.4 trillion negative ions per second. It is made in the USA by ionization pioneers and innovators Wein, who hold several patents related to this technology.
The Vl-3500 produces such an exceptional ion reading by electronically pulsing tiny charges along a unique corkscrew shaped ion emitter. Wein says this process creates ‘vortex waves’ of ions, swirling away from the unit at a rate of 150 feet per minute.
The pulsing ionization also stimulates airflow and draws airborne pollutants, like dust, pet dander, pollen, bacteria, viruses, cigarette smoke, volatile organic compounds, dust mite waste products and toxic mold spores, towards the device.
With millions of negative ions electrostatically attaching to these microscopic contaminants, they become too heavy to float and drop to the ionizer’s collection pad or fall to the nearest surface for vacuuming.
Wein state on the VI-3500 packaging that their new ionic air purifier will remove 95% of particulate matter (PM2.5) indoor air pollution in 30 to 120 minutes. They also list room coverage as 800 square ft, enough to clean the air of particles as small as .01 microns in a large 40 ft by 20 ft living room for instance.
At the same time, due to the special design, this air ionizer creates no detectable ozone away from the unit and the VI-3500 has been tested to be well below the OSHA standard of 0.1 part of ozone per million parts of air. It also produces no harmful positive ions, unlike some cheaper models on the market.
Despite its power, this air purifier and ionizer runs on less than 4 watts of power, making it extremely energy-efficient and very cheap to run. Even left on to clean the air in your home 24/7, this negative ion generating air cleaner will use very little electricity compared to most other electrical equipment.
Unlike many other air cleaning machines, the Vortex VI-3500 room purifier is extremely quiet to run. While you may hear some faint clicking when it is first switched on in a polluted room, after a short period of filtering the air it should be virtually silent as long as it remains running.
Another unexpected benefit of this air purifier is the ionic breeze it generates, with reviewers commenting that the air feels cooler, fresher and much cleaner to breathe. Some describe it as being like the air beside a waterfall. This is unsurprising as waterfalls are actually one of nature’s own great negative ion generators.
One factor that is important to consider with this air purifier ionizer though is placement. For best results position it on a table, bench or some other elevated position at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from a wall and other electrical equipment like TVs and computers.
Be aware as well that you may get a mild static shock, similar to those you get in winter, if you touch this combination ionizer air purifier while it’s on. Whenever you wipe down the Vortex’s collection plate to clean it, which you should do at least weekly, it’s also recommended to switch it off first.
These simple precautions shouldn’t be any reason not to get the Vortex ionic air cleaner. It’s my pick for the best air purifier that primarily uses negative ions to clean the air in your home and has no issues with ozone.
You can see more specs, pictures and customer questions and feedback here for the new 2019 Vortex VI-3500 high density negative ionizer by Wein.
Best All Round Air Cleaner with High Negative Ions — Surround Air Intelli-Pro XJ-3800
The Surround Air Intelli-Pro is a winner. The company have been making it for years and even the latest model, the XJ-3800, has well over 600 vastly positive customer reviews on Amazon at the time of writing this ionic air purifier review.
There’s a reason why this all-in-one air purifier and ionizer is so popular. While it doesn’t have as high ion production as Wein’s Vortex VI-3500, with a negative ion output of 60 million per cubic centimeter, it is still far higher than most other so-called ionizing air cleaners out there.
In fact, the Intelli-Pro’s 60,000,000/cm3 negative ion production is a full 10 or even 20 times higher than the vast majority of its ionic purifier competitors.
Despite this, it has being tested for ozone output and produces only 0.7 parts per billion by volume. This is over 70 times lower than the UL 867 standard of 50 ppbv required by California state law.
At levels this low, ozone would be virtually undetectable, even with constant use, and as we will see ahead, this air purifier with ionizer actually removes ozone from the air when it’s operating.
7 Air Purifying Technologies in 1
There are 7 different ways the Surround Air Intelli-Pro XJ-3800 cleans the air in your home. Let’s have a quick look at each of them to understand what makes this such an effective ionic air purifier.
- A pre-filter to catch large particles and improve the performance of the other filters. This can be washed if needed and never needs replacement.
- An electrostatically charged collection grid that draws dust and other allergens in from the surrounding air. This too can be simply wiped to clean occasionally.
- An active carbon filter that is highly absorbent and traps harmful airborne compounds like ozone, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds emitted from electrical equipment and furnishings in your home. Carbon filters also work well against strongly odorous contaminants like tobacco smoke, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas) and ammonia.
- A long-lasting true HEPA filter that effectively traps 99.97% of particles right down to 0.3 microns. HEPA filters are the best method for removing dust, pollen, pet dander and other airborne allergens from your living space. The addition of the strong negative ionizer in this air purifier actually increases the effectiveness of the HEPA filter as well.
- A photocatalytic oxidation filter which destroys airborne bacteria and viruses. This is also another way carcinogenic VOCs are eliminated within this air purifier ionizer.
- A germicidal UV lamp that eliminates mold spores, microbes and other harmful airborne organisms. The CDC recommends the combination of ultraviolet light and a HEPA filter, as found in the Surround Air Intelli-Pro, for preventing airborne diseases.
- A 60,000,000 cm/3 negative ion generator the causes floating particles to clump together and become too heavy to remain airborne. USDA testing found high negative ions in an environment quickly reduce airborne dust, particles and bacteria significantly.
The XJ-3800 packs a lot of air cleaning technology into an exceptional all round ion air purifier. It is also significantly lower in price than many of its less powerful competitors.
In addition to all of this, the Intelli-Pro has special sensor technology on auto mode to adjust its air cleaning as needed and its powerful fan will easily purify the air in larger rooms in your home.
There is also a quiet mode for the evening and the manufacturers claim it is extremely energy-efficient, running on high only when needed to deal with heavy airborne pollution and allergens like cigarette smoke or pet dander.
This room ionizer and air cleaner has a 30 day money back guarantee and then a 3 year warranty after that. Given that Surround Air is an established 20+ year-old company, this is much easier to trust than warranties from many other air cleaner manufacturers out there.
The only con or potential negative I can see with this particular air purifier and ionizer is that you should replace the combination HEPA/carbon filter approximately every 12 months for best results.
The UV lamp can last up to 3 years and the photocatalytic filter lasts between 3 and 5 years. Surround Air estimates that replacement costs will be roughly $25-$50 a year for maximum air cleaning.
All HEPA filter-based air cleaners will encounter these costs but the XJ-3800 parts seem comparatively cheap compared to other air purifiers replacement parts. You can check the current prices here and if you’ve decided on the Surround Air Intelli-Pro it might make sense to pick up an extra HEPA/carbon filter at least.
There’s a more visual explanation of how the 7 stage air cleaning process works in the Surround Air Intelli-Pro here on Amazon. The detailed customer feedback and answered questions by current owners are also very informative in deciding if this is the best air cleaner for you.
Why Other Ionizing Air Filters Fall Short
I studied the technical specifications and contacted the companies directly on many other competing combination air purifier/ionizer units in the process of writing this review of the best ionic air cleaners.
To be honest, despite the dozens out there, including some very popular best sellers, like the OION B-1000, GermGuardian AC4825 or Ionic Pro Turbo, none of them made the grade for what I was looking for — an ionizing air purifier with strong negative ion output and virtually undetectable ozone.
Invariably, the negative ion output was a no higher than 3 million/cm3, some as low as 1 million/cm3, despite boasting about ion health benefits in their marketing and promotion.
Compare that to the 3.4 trillion negative ions per second of the Vortex VI-3500 or the 60 million/cm3 of the Intelli-Pro XJ-3800 with all the other air cleaning technologies packed into it and you can see why they came up short.
Many manufacturers seem to like the label of negative ionizer, but haven’t made the effort to put in a powerful corona discharge negative ion generator into their products. As such, their ‘ionic’ air cleaners don’t actually produce enough negative ions to make a measurable difference.
Some were actually confused about the difference between negative ions and ozone. Not a good sign. While many had ozone readings on or just shy of the CDC safe limit of 50 ppbv. I consider this unnecessary, a sign of poor manufacturing and unsuitable to recommend.
Recommended Ionic Air Purifiers with Lower Negative Ion Output
If extremely high ion generation isn’t as important to you as pure air cleaning, then the Oransi Finn, with its focus on asthma and allergy prevention, or the high powered Green Air Encore HEPA filter may be a better choice for your home.
Also, for smaller rooms like a bedroom, consider the Surround Air Intelli-Pro 3, the more compact but still high ion generating cousin of the strongly recommended Intelli-Pro XJ-3800 above. Its lower price makes it a great air purifier for those on a budget.
Oransi Finn HEPA and UV Air Purifier with Negative Ionizer
In the course of reviewing the best ionic air purifiers I considered the very stylish Oransi Finn HEPA and UV air purifier, built especially for allergy and asthma sufferers.
This great-looking and compact unit is made by one of the market leaders with the highest rating in university air purifier tests, comes with extra HEPA filters included and has an excellent 10 year warranty.
Unfortunately, the negative ion output of 6 million/cm3, while still probably higher than the majority of its competitors, wasn’t quite what I was looking for.
It could be a good option though in a bedroom or office for people with asthma and allergies, or in smaller rooms that have to deal with bad smells or pets.
Green Air Encore Air Purifier
Another contender is the Green Air Encore with HEPA, carbon filter and ioncluster technology.
This is a powerful air cleaner that covers up to 1000 square feet, perhaps big enough for an entire small apartment or at least a very large living space.
It is also said to be whisper quiet on silent mode and has a night mode to turn off those silly bright lights manufacturers insist on adding to virtually every electrical device these days.
Despite Green Air making a big deal of the ioncluster technology in this ionic air purifier, when I contacted the manufacturer they said the negative ion output of the Green Air Encore is 3×106/cm3 which sounds closer to 3 million/cm3.
Wading through scientific articles on the newer ioncluster technology, that involves attracting water molecules to airborne particles, I wasn’t able to confirm that it was any more beneficial from a health perspective than regular negative ion generation.
It is at least reassuring that the manufacturers claim this unit produces no detectable ozone and the reviews on Amazon are overwhelmingly positiveso perhaps ioncluster really is more effective for aircleaning than regular ion generation. If any reader could share the studies to prove this I’d be interested.
Until then I think the Green Air Encore would be best considered primarily a powerful and quite stylish HEPA based air filter for larger rooms, with some non-ozone negative ions and air purifying ionclusters thrown in for good measure.
Surround Air Intelli-Pro 3 Ion Air Cleaner
A final good option for an ionizing air purifier that actually produces significant negative ions while it cleans the air is another model by Surround Air – the more compact but still powerful Intelli-Pro 3. This ionic air filter is surprisingly good value as well.
You can read all about it at the end of my detailed look at the best smaller negative ion generators available here.
Improve the Air You Breathe for Better Health
I hope this review of the best ionic air cleaners and purifiers has helped you find an effective new way to clean the air you breathe in your home.
Air quality inside our living spaces is often measured as more polluted than outside in a busy city so this is an important topic if you value your own and your family’s long term health.
Personally, I think it’s hard to go past the latest technology in the Vortex VI-3500 ionizer and air purifier if you are primarily interested in the health benefits of negative ions, while still having fresh and purified air within your home.
The Surround Air Intelli-Pro XJ-3800 with true HEPA filter and other air cleaning technologies will circulate air more effectively though and could well be considered the best all round ionic air purifier that actually produces significant negative ions.