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The best smart air purifiers for allergy season

If you're allergic to pollen or just want to air out your stuffy home, the best smart air purifier can filter out toxins, particles, and allergens -- all with app control.
By Maria Diaz, Staff Writer on
Reviewed by Emery Wright

The best smart air purifier is one that not only filters out chemicals, toxins, and particles that cause allergies and other discomforts but also offers mobile app control via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, making it a part of your smart home

But you don't have to suffer from respiratory maladies or allergies to enjoy the benefits of an air purifier. Besides creating a cleaner environment, they can work to get rid of unpleasant odors, like lingering cooking smells, or particles like dust, to fill your home with crisp, fresh air.

Like most devices, however, all air purifiers are not created equally. If you or someone you know is suffering from respiratory issues, like hay fever or asthma, or would just benefit from cleaner air, we'll walk you through how to choose the best smart air purifiers available right now, breaking down everything from efficiency and design to HEPA filters.

Also: How to clean a humidifier (and why you should do it today)

Pros & Cons
  • Easy to set up
  • Affordable
  • User-friendly app
  • Fast filtration
  • Not a seamless look
  • Can definitely hear it
More Details

Levoit Vital 200S specs: Three-stage filtration | H13 True HEPA filter | Wi-Fi | Noise: 24-54dB | High efficiency activated carbon filter | Large rooms: Up to 1,900 square feet in about an hour

When testing this smart air purifier, I quickly noticed that just minutes after turning it on, I could feel the air becoming fresher and lighter. Aside from helping reduce my day-to-day allergies, the Levoit Vital 200S is my go-to for whenever the air feels stuffy, or when we want to get rid of an odor, like after cooking a fragrant meal.

This air purifier has a u-shaped inlet on the front, which allows it to pull not only dust and particles but also pet hair and dander more efficiently than other models. I keep it in my office, where I spend most of my time working alongside my dog. I appreciate first-hand how effective it is at getting rid of airborne particles and pet odors.

The Levoit Vital 200S is controlled by the VeSync app, which is intuitive and user-friendly, easy to navigate, and seamlessly compatible with Alexa and Google Home for voice control. 

Review: The smart air purifier that helped save our holiday plans

Pros & Cons
  • Blends in with nearly all styles
  • Bonus built-in Qi wireless charger
  • Good for large areas
  • Controls are not as intuitive as others
  • Fabric cover can trap dust
More Details

Coway Airmega IconS specs: Three-stage filtration | H13 True HEPA filter | Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Activated carbon filter | Noise: 21.7-49.3dB | Large rooms: Up to 649 square feet | CADR 253

The Coway Airmega IconS has a fashionable design reminiscent of a modern piece of furniture. Its light, aspen-like color makes it blend in with any home decor, ditching the stoic and bulky design common with other air purifiers. It's perfect for those who value great air quality but don't want to sacrifice style.

It also features a bonus wireless charger at the top, which I use to charge my iPhone and AirPods, making it a multipurpose device that can work in any room.

Also: The 5 best wireless charging pads: Never fumble with cables again

While the Levoit Vital 200S is my go-to during the day, the Coway Airmega IconS is my go-to for sleep. Aside from its sleek design, this smart air purifier is more successful at helping my allergies at night, even more so than the Levoit. 

I've taken allergy medication daily for years due to dust and seasonal allergies causing congestion and coughing during the night, no matter where I sleep. Being able to finally ditch my nasal spray and antihistamine has made my life easier -- as easy as just telling Alexa "good night" and knowing the Coway Airmega IconS will switch on to remove airborne particles. 

Review: This smart air purifier doubles as a wireless charger and looks like midcentury furniture

Levoit Core 200S specs: Three-stage filtration | H13 True HEPA filter | Wi-Fi | Noise: 24-48dB | High-efficiency activated carbon filter | Small rooms: Up to 183 square feet | CADR 118

This compact Levoit Core 200S air purifier is perfect for small areas and lightweight enough to move from one room to another, weighing just over six pounds. Though small, it offers powerful filtration, cycling the air five times per hour in a 183-square-foot room at 360 degrees to tackle air pollution.

This Core 200S air purifier is the perfect appliance for the nightstand in your bedroom or in a small living room, to help you get rid of stale, stuffy air in favor of an odorless environment with improved air quality.

Just like the Vital 200S model, this Levoit smart air purifier can be controlled with the VeSync mobile app, where you can set schedules and timers, as well as connect to compatible voice assistants, like Amazon Alexa.

Pros & Cons
  • Outstanding for large rooms and areas
  • Different design options
  • 6-stage filtration
  • More expensive than others
More Details

Rabbit Air A3 specs: Six-stage filtration | BioGS HEPA filter | Wi-Fi, Bluetooth | Noise: 20.3-51dB | Large areas: Up to 1,070 square feet with two air changes per hour

The A3 air purifier from Rabbit Air has the power to perform two air changes per hour in large rooms of up to 1,070 square feet. Its Advanced HEPA filter technology can trap 99% of particles as small as 0.1 microns in size, making it highly effective at reducing allergens and pet dander in the air. It's also suitable to be placed on the floor and elevated surfaces, or mounted to a wall.

Aside from being perfect for large spaces, the Rabbit Air A3 also comes with different designs to choose from in its Artist Series, ranging from monochromatic cherry blossoms to Van Gogh's Starry Night to Snoopy or Hello Kitty for a kids' room.

Toshiba Air Purifier specs: Three-stage filtration | H13 True HEPA filter | Wi-Fi | Noise: 30dB | Large rooms: Up to 483 square feet | CADR 312

This smart Toshiba air purifier can clean the air in a 483-square-foot room in only 12 minutes. It excels at removing odors from the room with high purifying efficiency. It also features a VOC alert, which ZDNET's Charlie Osborne tested. 

"The 'VOC' alert is, perhaps, one of the most important readings to understand. Split into "clean," "fair," and "poor," volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be removed through this air purifier, as it uses activated carbon filters -- although as some customer reviews have noted, this feature is very sensitive and not every VOC noted should be a worry," Osborne said.

As far as the effectiveness of the air purification, Osborne tested it against cigarette smoke and pet odor and said visitors commented on the noticeable difference in the air inside the home. 

Review: I tested out the Toshiba Air Purifier on smoke odor. Here's my verdict

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight at just over 1 pound
  • Bluetooth control
  • Filters 99% of 0.3-micron particles
  • Eight-hour battery life
  • No activated carbon filter or HEPA
  • Noise may bother others in public spaces
More Details

LG PuriCare Mini specs: Three-stage filtration | Intertek filter | Bluetooth | Noise: 30dB | Personal space: Up to 43 square feet 

The LG PuriCare Mini is a tiny smart air purifier that measures just under eight inches long but packs a punch: It can last up to eight hours on a single charge. The small size allows you to bring it anywhere from a train or plane, to a coffee shop, or your office. 

It only has two buttons on the top for easy control, but it also has Bluetooth connectivity to control from a nearby mobile device using the LG Puricare Mini app. If your battery does run out, this smart air purifier comes with a USB charging cable to plug it in.

What is the best air purifier?

The best smart air purifier is the Levoit Vital 200s since it combines all the best features for improved air quality at a great price. It features an H13 True HEPA filter as part of its three-stage filtration system, can filter the air in a standard bedroom (up to 380 square feet) in only 12 minutes, and is quiet enough to stay on all night while you sleep. This smart air purifier is a breeze to set up, and the mobile app by VeSync is also quite easy to navigate. 

However, different preferences for price, coverage area, and noise level can affect which best air purifier is ideal for your situation. Here's how the best air purifiers stack up:

Smart air purifiersZDNET's takePriceCoverage areaNoise level
Levoit Vital 200S Best overall$1901,900 square feet24-54dB
Coway Airmega IconSBest stylish air purifier$589649 square feet21.7-49.3dB
Levoit Core 200SBest for a budget$90183 square feet24-48dB
Rabbit Air A3Best for large areas$7501,070 square feet20.3-51dB
Toshiba Air PurifierBest for lingering odors$300483 square feet30dB
LG PuriCare MiniBest portable smart purifier$20043 square feet30dB

Which is the right air purifier for you?

Choosing the right air purifier for you will depend on what your needs and priorities are, along with your budget. You may prefer a fashionable option or a quiet one, or you may not care what it looks like, just how well it does, or where you can install it. Either way, there's a choice out there for your needs. 

In addition, 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 convenient to operate at all hours.

Choose this air purifier...If you want...
Levoit Vital 200SA powerful, easy-to-use, and affordable smart air purifier, regardless of room size.
Coway Airmega IconSImproved air quality without sacrificing style.
Levoit Core 200SA compact, 360-degree output air purifier to fit any side table or nightstand.
Rabbit Air A3A whopping six-stage filtration with different design and installation options from standard air purifiers.
Toshiba Air PurifierOne of the best options to remove unwanted odors in your home or office.
LG PuriCare MiniA portable air purifier that you can take anywhere for travel or work.

How did we choose these air purifiers?

To choose the best air purifiers from the hundreds on the market, I looked at several important factors. Air change per hour (ACH) is one measure to check, as it determines how many times the air purifier can filter the air in a room in one hour. 

I also considered how powerful the best air purifiers are, especially to determine what room size they're better suited for. Many air purifiers, like the Levoit models, can clean almost any room, and they'll just take longer to finish the work for larger rooms. Other more compact options, like the Toshiba air purifier or the LG PuriCare Mini, don't have the most powerful motors, so they're more efficient in smaller spaces. 

Besides size and ACH, the incorporation of HEPA filters was an important deciding factor. Short for high-efficiency particulate air, it's a pleated mechanical air filter that 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 I took into account include design, price, personal experience, and customer reviews. 

Do air purifiers help with dust?

While air purifiers cannot get rid of all the dust on the surfaces of your home, with frequent use, they can reduce the dust in the air and you may notice dust less often. As a result, they can help prevent or reduce dust allergies. 

In addition to air purifiers, using your vacuum cleaner at least once per week can help you remove dust from your home, especially if you have pets.

Can air purifiers prevent the spread of viruses?

With flu season in full swing and society on the tail-end of a global pandemic, the demand for air purifiers has gone up. But do they actually work to stop the spread of viruses?

According to peer-reviewed medical studies, HEPA-filtered air cleaners can remove over 99.97% of airborne virus particles, especially when combined with other measures, even in school environments. Though it can help, the use of air purifiers alone isn't enough to stop the spread of illnesses like COVID-19, as they focus on removing potentially infectious aerosol particles from the air. Other measures, like masking and social distancing, must be followed in conjunction with air cleaners to make them effective at preventing the spread of illnesses.

Where to place an air purifier?

When shopping for an air purifier, keep in mind where you'll be using it. There isn't a plug-in air purifier that can clean the air inside an entire household (unless it's a small living space) -- so 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 air in a room that size. A tabletop model is best for small spaces like a nursery or bathroom. A floor model can handle larger areas and may be portable enough to be moved from one room to another. 

What is a HEPA filter?

A HEPA filter is short for high-efficiency particulate air filter. 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.

HEPA filters are commonly used in the medical field due to the powerful filtration they offer. Activated carbon filters are also common in air purifiers and are effective at removing odors from the air.

How often will I need to change a filter?

An important consideration for air purifiers 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. After all, they are capturing and trapping harmful particles, such as mold spores and bacteria. 

Some air purifiers feature washable filters, which make maintenance easier. 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.

Some modern purifiers 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. 

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 ACH rate and recommended room size. Most air purifiers will list the rate they circulate the entire volume of the room per hour by square footage.

And if you have an oddly shaped room, you might consider placing two smaller air purifiers to maximize air circulation. 

Are there alternative air purifiers to consider?

We chose air purifiers for both small and large rooms. However, if these options don't work for your needs, here are a few other choices to consider: 


Blueair Blue Pure 211+

This air purifier is quiet, sleek, and fit for spaces up to 550 square feet in size.

View at Best Buy


Shark HE601 Air Purifier

The Shark HE601 Air Purifier is a runner-up for the best air purifier for large spaces.

View at Amazon


Aroeve Air Purifier

This air purifier is another excellent choice for cleaner spaces on a budget.

View at Amazon

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