Portable Air Purifier Guide for Home Office, Cubicles and Small Rooms

Defender air purifier for cubicle

So, you’re thinking about purchasing an air purifier for your office or cubicle at work? Nice! The average adult takes 12 to 20 breaths per minute, so it’s important that the quality of air we breathe is exceptional. However, the world of portable air purifiers can be a confusing one full of jargon and false promises. This guide will help you understand what air purifiers can do for you and how to select the right one for the job.

Do I Really Need an Air Purifier?

Every person’s life and daily routine varies to some degree, but let’s look at the facts. The average American spends around 90% of their time indoors, most of which is spent either at home or at the office. If you take into account the length of your average workday and remember that we usually spend about a third of our day sleeping, that statistic makes sense. However, a fact that most people don’t know is that indoor air quality can actually be up to 5 times worse than outdoors due to the lack of proper ventilation and access to fresh air. Indoor air is typically full of pollutants such as mold, allergens, viruses, bacteria, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The simple solution to controlling indoor air quality can be as easy as opening a window to circulate fresh air into your office space. Unfortunately, due to inclement weather or outdoor pollution, this option is not available to everyone. Oftentimes, cubicles and office settings don’t even have window access. In these situations, you should look into getting a portable air purifier.

What are the Different Types of Air Purifiers?

Once you start researching air purifiers, you’ll find that there are a variety of different air purifying types. The list below is an overview of these different air purifying methods, how they work, and their possible shortcomings.

HEPA Air Filters

Air filters advertising the HEPA standard are probably the most common. HEPA certified filters target airborne particles, picking up 99.97% of them down to 0.3 microns (about 100x smaller than the average singular mold spore). It’s a start, but the downside is these filters can still allow many bacteria, viruses, smoke, and dust particles in the air that slip right through. They are also particularly ineffective against VOCs.

Ozone Generators

Avoid air purifiers that use ozone or produce ozone as a byproduct. Ozone indoors can create throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and shortness of breath, as well as an increased risk of respiratory infections. In fact, California has long banned any air purifier that produces ozone from sale anywhere in the state.


Ionizers don’t actually purify or remove anything from the room. What they do is charge particles in the air to stick to each other and other surfaces like your walls and floors (only to be dislodged later and sent back into the same air)! Many ionizers produce dangerous byproducts that are put into the air. Since all this is kind of the OPPOSITE of what you’re trying to do, don’t bother with anything that has an ionizer in it.

UV Light

Air purifiers using UV lamps claim that the UV radiation they produce eliminates unwanted pollutants in the air. However, using UV technology effectively, even in controlled settings, uses a lot of power and comes with many potential dangers, such as uncoated lamps producing ozone and even potential injury to your eyes. In fact, the EPA did a landmark study on air purifier technology, and they concluded that UV technology in an air purifier should be avoided because it is ineffective, expensive, and potentially dangerous.

Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO)

PCO is pretty much just another version of trying to use UV technology to purify the air. The EPA says that the gases PCO can break down are not even the type of pollution typically found indoors. Not to mention, recent studies have shown that this and similar technologies actually produce formaldehyde and other dangerous gases as a byproduct.You’ll find that many air purifier manufacturers mix and match these different techniques in an attempt to impress you with their features. This means higher price tags and larger units that ultimately fall short when it comes to the air purification game. It also can make for a maintenance nightmare – replacement filter costs that exceed even the original unit cost!

What Size Air Purifier Do I Need for My Office?

Along with the wide variety of air purifying techniques, manufacturers make air purifiers in all shapes and sizes. These sizes can be organized into three main categories: compact, portable, and console units.


In your search, you will come across air purifiers that advertise as being extremely compact for use on your desk/table, as well as those that plug into the wall. Be wary that the small size of these purifiers greatly reduces how effectively they purify the air in your office.


Portable air purifiers are sized so that they can easily be moved from room to room. Portable units are ideal for home office or cubicle spaces due to their relatively small size and ease of use.


Consoles are the really big bulky air purifying units that require specialists for installation and maintenance. These units also tend to be much more expensive and consume way more power than you would ever need to effectively improve the indoor air quality in your office.

What Other Factors Should I Consider When Buying a Portable Air Purifier for My Office Space?

Room Size

When choosing an air purifier for your home or work office, you will want to determine that the air purifier coverage area does not exceed the capability of the unit. Most purifiers advertise this as room size coverage in square feet.

Noise Level

Noise can be a distraction when working in an office setting. Finding an air purifier that works effectively with multiple speeds and runs quietly could be a deciding factor.


There will always be odors and pollutants in an indoor office environment. You should choose an air purifier that works 24/7 and comes with a lifetime perpetual warranty, like the FilterQueen Defender, so you never have to leave your air quality up to chance.

Fortunately, there are some portable air purifiers, like the FilterQueen Defender, that are genuinely top of the line when it comes to air purification. The Defender Medi-Filter Cartridge removes over 99.99% of airborne particles down to 0.1 micron – making it 3 times more effective than the aforementioned HEPA standard at removing harmful viruses, bacteria, dust, mold, and allergens from your indoor air. It also comes with an Enviropure Charcoal Wrap that eliminates VOCs and unwanted odors in your air.

Hopefully this helps you understand what to look for when choosing an air purifier for your office and what things to avoid. Work can be stressful enough without worrying about the quality of air you are breathing – and with the right air purifier, you won’t have to.

By Ryan Duggan


The best air purifier for office spaces.

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