Air scrubbers are the ultimate home and industrial air cleaners when it comes to particles, dust, mildew and other pollutants floating in the air or sitting on surfaces. Unlike regular air purifiers, air scrubbers are designed to attach to your HVAC’s ductwork for whole-house cleaning.
But air scrubbers can also be pricey. You probably recently got one on a rental and paid over $100 per day and now thinking out loud, “how much does it cost to purchase an air scrubber?” Let’s find out.
How Much Does an Air Scrubber Cost?
Air scrubbers have a market price range of $500 to $1,500. While you may find high end products and brands selling for above $2,000, it’s almost impossible to get a quality unit for less than $500.
Air scrubbers are categorized according to their wattage and airflow. While you may find a cheaper product having a higher airflow than a more expensive one, these are often regarded as the exception. Let’s consider some categories.
1. Clean Air Delivery Rate
The CADR is what determines the fan speed and how much air is cleaned per time. It is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM). The CFM of an air scrubber is one of the factors that determine the cost of the unit.
250 to 450 CFM:
At 250 CFM to 450 CFM, an air scrubber doesn’t have the best air flow needed in tough situations like construction sites. These units are also usually cheaper, within the range of $500 to $850.
Some with wider coverage and higher wattage may go for as high as $1,000 or more. See this BlueDri Airbourne HEPA Scrubber for reference.
450 to 550 CFM:
This is a higher category of air scrubbers and are reasonably more expensive. In fact, some of the best air scrubbers on the market have an airflow of 500 to 550 CFM. A typical unit in this category sells for $600 to $1,200.
These include the Dri-Eaz F284 DefendAir HEPA 500 Air Purifier. It is a 500 HEPA negative air machine with 3-stage filtration and coverage up to 938 sq ft.
There are some high-end products with much more airflow rate up to 750 CFM and above, such as this ALORAIR Negative Air Scrubber which costs about $800 to $900.
This is another very important consideration for determining the cost of an air scrubber. On average, air scrubbers run on 200 watts to 400 watts and ⅓ HP to ½ HP maximum.
Logically, the higher the wattage, the better and more expensive it. There are no specific price categories for these categories.
However, you should be willing to pay at least $100 to $500 more or higher if you go for a unit with a higher wattage and HP than one with a lower output.
To determine coverage, you need to know the size of the space you want to clean with an air scrubber. Most air scrubbers are within the 500 sq ft and 1,500 sq ft range.
High-end brands can go beyond 1,500 sq ft. But anything below 500 sq ft may not do so much for your space. Also, units with less coverage cost less than units with more coverage.
While you can purchase units within 500 sq ft and 1,500 sq ft for between $500 and $1,000, those covering spaces up to 2,000 sq ft are usually sold above $1,000.
A good example of a high-end product is the MOUNTO 1HP 1000 CFM Industrial HEPA Air Scrubber.
How Much Does It Cost to Run an Air Scrubber?
The cost of running an air scrubber depends on two major factors; electricity cost and filter maintenance.
1. Energy Cost
Air scrubbers tend to consume a lot of electricity as a result of their output. Using the national kWh average of 13 cents, a typical 300-watt (0.3 kw) air scrubber will cost about 4 cents to run per hour, 96 cents per day and $28 per month (assuming you run it 24/7 for a whole month).
If you have a 500-watt air scrubber, we can get the running cost using the same formula;
Cost of electricity x unit wattage / 1,000 (to get per hour cost):
Multiply that by 24 to get your daily running cost, then by 30 to get monthly running cost. In this case, you’ll be spending 6.5 cents $0.065 per hour, $1.56 per day and $46.8 per month.
2. Filter Maintenance
Air scrubber filters do a lot of work and require great attention. You would need to clean the filter frequently to prevent debris and plaque blocking air flow.
However, most air scrubber filters cannot be washed and many of them come with pre-filters.
Depending on the project, a pre-filter should be changed at least once every three months while the main filter (HEPA or Carbon) usually lasts 4 to 6 months before a replacement may be required.
Note that if you have a tough remediation job or wastewater cleaning project, filter replacement will be done more frequently.
Prefilters cost $50 to $70 on average; carbon filters cost $55 to $80 while HEPA filters usually cost between $100 and $200, depending on brand quality.
This means if you use a 300-watt air scrubber 24 hours daily for 5 years, replacing the prefilter every 3 months and the main filter every 6 months, you’d have spent an average of;
- $1,680 on electricity
- $1,200 on pre-filters
- $1,000 to $1,500 on main filters
That amounts to an average of $4,100 as the running cost of an air scrubber for 5 years.
An air scrubber can be the difference between having clean, healthy indoor air or having to suffer the devastating effects of pollution and allergies.
Although you’d spend some money (running into thousands of dollars) on purchasing the appliance and running it over its lifetime, the benefit of having an air scrubber in your home or factory is unquantifiable.