I bought this air purifier for my allergies — and it’s changed my life

The Coway AP-1512HH Air Purifier in white, in a child's bedroom.
(Image credit: Coway)

'Tis the damn season for runny noses, coughing and congestion. Around the turn of the year, I was afflicted with heavy congestion, which I naturally assumed was a cold, COVID, RSV, the flu or any number of other illnesses that have been running rampant recently. 

Yet, I never ran a fever, didn't have a sore throat, only coughed occasionally and didn't feel that bone-deep tiredness that usually accompanies a virus or infection. After a week of not being able to breathe, yet without symptoms worsening, a lightbulb went off: Allergies. 

Allergies aren't confined to spring; winter allergies can be just as brutal. Once I realized the culprit behind my congestion, I immediately began taking my usual allergy regimen: over-the-counter antihistamine medication like fexofenadine (Allegra) in the morning or levocetirizine (Xyzal) at night.

They helped, but didn't make me feel completely better. Without fail, by late afternoon, I would feel stuffed up again. I needed another solution. 

It turned out to be an air purifier.

What causes winter allergies?

Man sneezing into tissue

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Americans spend an average of around 90 percent of their time indoors, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Naturally, the quality of indoor air has a massive effect on our health.

In the winter, common allergy triggers include dust mites, pet dander, mold and pest droppings. 

In my case, I don't have pets and saw no visible signs of pests, so I figured the problem is dust or mold. 

I consulted my colleague Cynthia Lawrence's tips on reducing allergens in the home. I was already following most of the advice: I remove my shoes at the door, I run my robot vacuum several times a week, I regularly wash my bedding in hot water, and use vinegar to clean the bathroom (as suggested in our guide on how to clean mold).

There was one item on the list I hadn't followed yet: investing in an air purifier. 

An air purifier cleared up my allergies

After perusing our guide to the best air purifiers, I chose the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH for a number of reasons. First, it was on sale at Amazon for under $140 (the price has risen again, unfortunately). That was a fantastic deal for a well-reviewed model. 

I liked that it was fairly compact and unobtrusive in style, as well as light enough to move between rooms. According to our review and others, it does a good job of what it's supposed to do: purifying air. There's a washable outer pre-filter to capture large particles (like hair), a carbon filter that deodorizes and a HEPA filter that traps micro-particles.

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH air purifier

(Image credit: Kelly Woo/Tom's Guide)

I also appreciated the eco mode, which makes the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH very energy efficient. And it didn't have any bells and whistles that I didn't need, like voice controls or other smart features. The price of replacement filters, around $40 once a year, seemed in line with other brands. 

Once I unpackaged it and set it up, the air purifier has been simple to use. A light tells you the air quality level (blue is good, red is bad) and the eco mode automates fan speed according to that level. It can get a little loud on the highest fan setting, but that comes on rarely. The only time it's switched to high is after I seared a steak and created a lot of smoke. 

After just a few days with my new air purifier, I noticed my congestion easing. I wasn't drowning in mucus every afternoon. A week in, my nose was cleared and I could breathe easily again. Goodbye, allergies!

Kelly Woo
Streaming Editor

Kelly is the streaming channel editor for Tom’s Guide, so basically, she watches TV for a living. Previously, she was a freelance entertainment writer for Yahoo, Vulture, TV Guide and other outlets. When she’s not watching TV and movies for work, she’s watching them for fun, seeing live music, writing songs, knitting and gardening.