Do Air Purifiers Help with COPD?

 If you know someone who has COPD, then getting an air purifier can help with their quality of life and reduce problems due to lung inflammation.

What is COPD?

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder is a condition that is caused by swelling and inflammation of brachial tissue in the lungs. COPD can be caused by many things, including bronchitis, pneumonia, and smoking. Patients with COPD usually have sensitive lungs, and small bits of particulate matter in the environment can cause inflammation in affected tissue.

Air Purifiers and COPD

COPD can be triggered by small particles like dust, mold, smoke, and other particulate matter. These kinds of particles are inhaled and can cause the inflammation associated with COPD. Air purifiers use filters or ionization to clean dust, bacteria, and other particles out of the air. Air purifiers clean and sanitize surrounding air for breathing, which can reduce lung irritation and breathing issues.

Types of Air Purifiers

There are 3 major types of air purifiers. Each one uses a different method to filter air.

  • HEPA. High-efficiency particulate air filters use dense pleated fabric layers to trap dust and other particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns (0.0003 cm) in diameter. True HEPA filters are highly effective at filtering almost all kinds of particulate matter.

  • Electric. Electric purifiers use electrically charged plates to trap particles in the air. The plates create a negative charge that attracts the positively charged particles in the air. These plates do a good job of filtering air as long as the plates are regularly cleaned. Not as effective as a True HEPA filter.

  • Ionizers. Ionizers emit ionized particles in the air to trap dust and pollen. These negatively charged ions disperse and attract positively charged particles in the air. The particles then settle on the carpet, curtains, and other spaces. Also, not as effective as a True HEPA filter.

How Can Air Purifiers Help with COPD?

Yes, air purifiers can help manage the symptoms of COPD. Research has shown that regular air purifiers use can decrease the amount of inflammation that COPD patients experience. Also, there is evidence that air purifiers can also help reduce asthma symptoms.

However, there are some caveats. There is no evidence that air purifiers can improve COPD, only that they can help reduce breathing discomfort. Air purifiers cannot “cure” COPD and they are not a substitute for medical treatment.

Still, if you or a loved one have breathing difficulties due to COPD, air purifiers can help them maintain comfort. Air purifiers are particularly helpful during nights, where COPD symptoms can prevent getting a good night’s rest.

What to Look for in an Air Purifier for COPD

Filter Type

Any filter will most likely help, but True HEPA filters are probably the best option for someone who has COPD. HEPA filters air purifiers can capture tiny particles that other filters cannot, so they will remove most potential allergens from the air. For example, AustinAir air filters use premium-grade HEPA filters that capture particles as small as 0.1 microns in diameter.

When looking for a HEPA filter purifier, look for the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV). The MERV is a number between 1 and 16 that tells you how effective the filter is. A higher number means a more effective filter.

Coverage Area

Coverage area matters because it tells you how much air your purifier can effectively clean on its own. A small, portable air purifier might only be good for about 100 sq. ft. of coverage. But there are large full-house models that have thousands of square feet in coverage.

Corded or Battery Power

Purifiers can operate batteries or corded electric power. Battery models are portable but they tend to be small and not that powerful. You also need to remember to change the batteries. Corded models are conversely powerful, but they are limited because they need to be near an outlet.


If you are going to use the air purifier a lot, make sure to find one that has a good manufacturer warranty. For example, AllerAir air purifiers have an extremely generous 10-year limited warranty that covers the motor and other parts. So you can get a replacement in case anything ever goes wrong.


COPD can cause discomfort, but a good air purifier can help. So if you or a loved one has COPD, consider looking into an air purifier.  

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