The home should be a safe place, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that "concentrations of some pollutants are often two to five times higher" in homes than outdoors. There are measures you can take to protect yourself from indoor air pollutants, however, such as improving airflow indoors, getting rid of toxic household cleaners and products with artificial fragrances, and investing in a quality air purifier.
The best air purifiers are able to filter out chemicals, toxins, and particles that cause allergies and other health issues. Besides creating a cleaner environment, you may be able to get rid of unusual odors or even reduce the chances of respiratory issues like hay fever and asthma. Unfortunately, all air purifiers aren't created equally.
This guide will walk you through how to choose one of the best air purifiers available now.
Specs: Three-phase filtration system | H13 True HEPA Filter captures airborne particles up to 0.3 microns in size | Removes 99.97% of dust, smoke, pollen and mold | Available in black or white | 8.7 x 8.7 x 16.25 inches and 7.48 pounds | Cycles air up to five times per hour in a room up to 219 square feet.
Levoit is one of the top-selling manufacturers of air purifiers, and the Core 300 is an excellent all-around option. This air purifier is smaller in size when compared to the large floor units on the market, but it can cycle the air in a room in as few as 12 minutes. The Core 300 works differently than many others, as it doesn't use UV-C light to destroy airborne particulates (the light can produce harmful ozone). Instead, the Core 300 cleans the air using a series of filters.
It captures airborne particles using a high-efficiency activated carbon filter, followed by a pre-filter, followed by a medical-grade H13 True HEPA filter capable of capturing tiny particles up to 0.3 microns that the other two may have missed. Smoke, pet dander, dust, pollen, and unwanted odors can finally be a thing of the past.
Powerful three-phase filtration
No UV-C light or ozone
Offers optional replacement filters, such as a Toxin Absorber or Pet Allergy filter
Quiet -- the sleep setting produces only 24dB
For smaller rooms of up to 219 square feet
Replacement filters can be pricey
Specs: Four-stage filtration system | True HEPA filter | Washable pre-filter; eco mode | Pollution sensor | Timer | 16.81 x 9.57 x 18.31 inches and 12.35 pounds | For room sizes up to 361 square feet.
Coway's Airmega AP-1512HH Air Purifier is an award-winning model that's easy to understand and operate. The pollution sensor broadcasts your room's air quality using three colors: red for unhealthy, purple for moderate, and blue for good air quality.
As with the color-light system for air quality, the Airmega AP-1512HH has an indicator light that will flash when it's time to replace any of its filters. There are four filtration stages: pre-filter, room deodorizer, carbon, and HEPA. The deodorizer phase is not typically found in air filters, but this one is excellent for removing odors from mildew, pets, or cigarette smoke.
Four filtration phases
Room deodorizing feature
Washable pre-filter saves you money
Cleans rooms up to 361 square feet
Not one of the quietest reviewed
Higher price point
Boxy design looks more like a subwoofer
Specs: Multi-phase filtration includes true HEPA air filter as well as a UV-C light and a Titanium Dioxide layer to kill airborne viruses | 10.25 x 6.75 x 21.5 inches and 8.55 pounds | Cycles up to 743 square feet per hour.
Germ Guardian's AC4825E is powerful enough to deodorize, kill viruses, and filter airborne particles in rooms as large as 743 square feet. And the smaller the room, the more efficiently the purifier can work. While a room that's 743 square feet only cycles once per hour, you'll get three cycles per hour in a room that's 248 square feet.
What makes the AC4825E model unique is its ability to kill viruses as part of its multi-state purification. The HEPA filter captures 99.97% of allergens and fine dust; the charcoal filter eliminates odors; the UV-C light reduces airborne mold, bacteria, and viruses; and the Titanium Oxide treatment eliminates any surviving VOCs and viruses. This may be the most extensive purifying process on this list.
Tall tower design is compact but allows for maximum air circulation
Several stages wipe out odors, impurities, bacteria, mold, and viruses
Capable of purifying small and large areas
Combination filter should be replaced at least every six months
UV-C light produces ozone, which could affect people with asthma or allergies
Specs: Four-state filtration includes a True HEPA filter and a washable AOC carbon filter | PlasmaWave technology | Smart sensors | 15 x 8.2 x 23.6 inches and 15.4 pounds | 27.8 decibels | Cycles up to 360 square feet per hour.
Winix's powerful floor model uses PlasmaWave technology instead of UV light to break down certain particulates. It's a safer way to eliminate chemical vapors, bacteria, and pollutants without producing ozone, which can irritate lungs or make asthma and allergies worse.
The 5500-2's four phases include a washable mesh pre-filter and a washable carbon filter to get rid of odors from foods, smoke, and pets. Next is the True HEPA filter, which captures 99.97% of airborne particles. The final stage is the PlasmaWave technology that destroys any remaining pathogens.
Quiet operation at only 27.8 decibels
Two filters are washable, reducing replacement costs
Air quality indicators show you a room's air purity
Smart sensors can automatically adjust airflow
Higher price point
Larger model may not be ideal for small spaces
Specs: Three-phase filtration | Nylon pre-filter | Carbon filter, and H13 True HEPA filter | 8.07 x 8.07 x 12.6 inches and 6.6 pound | 24db operation | Five times circulation per hour in rooms as large as 183 square feet.
Levoit's Core 200S features smart controls that can be activated using voice control or through their app. This allows you to do everything from set a schedule to adjust the fan's speed. The Core 200S's small size makes it portable enough to move around your home or to and from your office. In addition, the air purifier is extremely quiet and includes an integrated night light, making it a good option for a baby nursery or child's room.
Smart model works with the VeSync app, Google Assistant, and Alexa
Quiet at 24db
Small design can sit on a countertop or desk
Affordable price point
Most effective in small rooms
Specs: Two-stage purification | Available in five colors | 8.5 x 3.3 x 2.7 inches and 0.6 pounds | Rechargeable lithium-Ion battery with up to 12 hours of operation per charge | Cycles up to 54 square feet per hour.
The PureZone Mini is a "small and mighty" air purifier that's easy to carry with you throughout your day. It features an integrated upper handle to hook anywhere, making it easily portable.
You can charge the device using the included USB cable for up to 12 hours of operation per charge. Although the purifier is small, it features a powerful HEPA filter that can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. As a bonus, the PureZone Mini comes in five colors: black, white, blue, starlight blue, and blush.
Rechargeable using a USB cable
Runs up to 12 hours per charge
Limited to purifying 54 square feet per hour
How did we choose these products?
To choose the best air purifiers from the hundreds on the market, we looked at several important factors. CADR is an important factor, since it determines how many times an air purifier can purify the room's air in one hour. Some air purifiers are designed for larger rooms, while others work most efficiently in small spaces. Typically, the larger the air purifier, the wider the coverage in square feet. This guide aims to provide a range of air purifiers for varying needs, so we made sure to review purifiers for different room sizes.
Besides size and CADR, HEPA filtration was an important deciding factor. Short for high efficiency particulate air filter, it can remove airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. This covers 99.97% of the particles found in the air including pollen, mold, dust and bacteria.
Other factors we took into account include design, price, and customer reviews. The six air purifiers above were among Amazon's best sellers and boast high ratings from a large number of customers.
Which is the right one for you?
When shopping for an air purifier, you'll need to decide what area you'll want to use it in. There isn't a plug-in air purifier that can clean the air inside an entire household; it's best to isolate areas, such as a bedroom, kitchen, or living room. Once you know the size of the room you're working with, you can select an air purifier capable of efficiently circulating and cleaning the room's air. A tabletop model is best for small spaces like a nursery or bathroom. A floor model can handle larger areas and is still portable enough to be moved from one room to another.
Another important consideration is filter replacement. Some models require regular replacements of expensive filters, which could end up costing you hundreds of dollars per year. Before you purchase a model, look into what type of replacement filters you'll need, how much they cost, and if you can afford to replace them as required. Otherwise, choosing not to replace filters as recommended could reduce the air purifier's efficiency.
Lastly, sound can be an important factor. If you plan on running an air purifier in a bedroom, one with variable fan speeds and a low-decibel sleep mode can make it more comfortable to operate at all hours.
What is a HEPA filter?
A HEPA air filter is short for high efficiency particulate air. It's the finest type of filtration, able to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. This includes bacteria, mold spores, pollen, dust, and nearly 99.97% of airborne particles.
What size air purifier do I need?
To determine the best air purifier based on the size of the room or area you're hoping to clean, look at a purifier's Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR. Most purifiers will list the rate they circulate the entire volume of the room per hour by square footage.
How often will I need to change a filter?
All air purifiers will require the filters to be regularly changed. After all, they are capturing and trapping harmful particles, such as mold spores and bacteria. Some air purifiers feature washable filters, which make it easier to maintain. However, the most effective air purifiers include HEPA filtration and carbon filters, which need to be replaced. You can find the manufacturer's requirements in the manual.
When using some modern purifiers, they often have an indicator light that warns you when it's time to replace the filters. As a rule of thumb, plan on replacing carbon air filters every three months and other filters every six months.