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Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is a performance measurement for portable room air cleaners first standardized by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) in the 1980s. The standard measures how well a given air cleaner removes tobacco smoke, pollen and dust from a room, regardless of the removal method used. The resulting performance numbers help consumers to compare models and to match an air cleaner to the room or rooms in which it will be used.


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CADR has become a widely recognized standard in air cleaner performance. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the American National Standards Institute all have adopted CADR or confirmed its credibility. Consumers Union (of Consumer Reports magazine) uses the standard in testing the air cleaners it evaluates.

AHAM uses an independent laboratory to test air cleaner models submitted by participating manufacturers. To participate, air cleaner makers must submit all of their models for testing.

Packaging for models that have been tested must include the CADR certification label shown at the top right of this page. All else being equal, higher CADR numbers mean faster contaminant removal. In addition to CADR performance numbers, the certification label carries a suggested maximum room size for the specific model, based on the floor area of the room in square feet.

Using an air cleaner in a room that’s smaller than the suggested floor area will result in faster, better performance, at least when the unit is new. Regardless of room size, AHAM recommends closing all doors and windows in the room while an air cleaner is in use.

It’s also important to maintain the air cleaner regularly. Follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning the unit and performing other maintenance.





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CADR:  Created on June 4th, 2009.  Last Modified on November 9th, 2009


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