Allergy sufferers need a cleaner that will clean the air as well as the floor. All cleaners include filters to remove some of the grunge from the air, but the effectiveness of these filters vary. Many cleaners offer filters that comply with the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) standard, which means that they have been shown to capture 99.97 per cent of pollen and other small particles.
But HEPA is not the end of the story: some models offer dual HEPA filters (such as the Dyson DC28), or one pre-filter that capture larger particles before they reach the HEPA one. Both of these approaches are good, as they mean that the HEPA filter is less likely to get clogged and will last longer.
A filter that is described as a sealed or a ultra HEPA is also preferable. This means that all of the air exiting the cleaner has been through the HEPA filter, while non-sealed filters may allow some unfiltered air to escape around the filter. Be cautious of other claims that use generic terms such as “allergen filter” or don’t give specific information on what they filter. These may be much less effective, or may not even filter some pollen and other allergens.
If you use your cleaner a lot, you will need to clean or replace the filters every one to three months. Some cleaners (such as those on Dyson cleaners and many LG models) use washable filters that can be removed, washed and reused. Others use replaceable filters that have to be replaced, which could add to the overall cost considerably. Some bagged models also offer HEPA filter bags, which collect the dirt without allowing the fine particles to escape.