When it comes to products, modern means features we cannot visually inspect or verify, which is why we love regulatory standards. I don’t love discovering them after I’ve purchased, used, and broken something. So, here’s a quick reference.

If the product is meant to achieve the description on the left, the standard on the right is what I look for. Products, sources, and additional considerations are described under the labels. I’m not an expert, just an obsessive consumer.

I’m hoping to expand this, so if you don’t see the info you’re looking for, request it.

Clean air: HEPA

Air needs purification of minerals and organisms. HEPA filters, purify minerals most economically, and this is usually all you need. To get rid of organisms and harmful gases, you’ll need activated carbon.

Tip: Make, instead of buy an air purifier. The functional part of air purifiers is a fan and an air filter. A 10 dollar fan is not much worse than a 100 dollar fan, but the same is not true for filter quality.

Drinking water: NSF/ANSI 53 (filters)

Source: NSF consumer resources

Standard means that the water coming out of the filter is purified of a minimum percent[1] of specified[2] contaminants.

  1. as opposed to a percent of input contaminants; measured in parts per million (PPM)
  2. only applies to the contaminants named. A product could be ANSI 53 for lead, but not for something else

Most marketed products like Brita and Pur are NSF 42, a taste standard not a contaminant standard. Chlorine is reduced but there are no claims of reduced contaminants like bacteria.

IPX: Waterproof, water resistant, sweat resistant, dustproof

Refers to the effect of the product in keeping stuff (moisture and dust) out of it. This is especially relevant for electronics, and typical for weatherproofing. A higher IPX rating is better.

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