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The 6 best air purifiers: Breathe easier now

What is the best air purifier? ZDNet's top choice is the Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier. We analyzed the size, filtration, and sound levels of some of the top air purifiers below.

The best air purifiers can 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. 

However, all air purifiers aren't created equally. This guide will walk you through how to choose one of the best air purifiers available now.

Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier

Best air purifier overall

Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier

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.


  • Portable size
  • 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

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Air Purifier


Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Air Purifier

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

Germ Guardian AC4825E Air Purifier

Best virus killer

Germ Guardian AC4825E Air Purifier
Germ Guardian

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
  • Quiet operation
  • 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

Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier

Best larger option

Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier

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 the 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

Levoit Core 200S Smart Air Purifier

Best small option

Levoit Core 200S Smart Air Purifier

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 setting a schedule to adjusting 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

Pure Enrichment PureZone Mini Portable Air Purifier

Best mini option

Pure Enrichment PureZone Mini Portable Air Purifier
Pure Enrichment

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. 


  • Travel size
  • HEPA filtration
  • Rechargeable using a USB cable
  • Runs up to 12 hours per charge


  • Limited to purifying 54 square feet per hour

What is the best air purifier?

The best air purifier is the Levoit Core 300 air purifier since it can cycle the air in a room in as few as 12 minutes, and is super quiet so you can use it at night while you sleep. It's compact size is also a plus, but even though it is small, it still has a powerful three-phase filtration system.

Air Purifier


Filtration System

Room Size

Levoit Core 300



Up to 219 square feet

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH



Up to 361 square feet

Germ Guardian AC4825E



Up to 743 square feet

Winix 5500-2



Up to 360 square feet

Levoit Core 200S



Up to 183 square feet

Pure Enrichment PureZone Mini



Up to 54 square feet

Which is the right air purifier for you?

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. 

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 comfortable to operate at all hours.

Choose this air purifier...

If you want...

Levoit Core 300

The best overall option

Coway Airmega AP-1512HH

An award-winning air purifier

Germ Guardian AC4825E

An air purifier that can kill viruses 

Winix 5500-2

A larger air purifier 

Levoit Core 200S

A compact option to purify air

Pure Enrichment PureZone Mini

A portable air purifier to bring anywhere

How did we choose these air purifiers?

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. 

Do air purifiers help with dust?

While air purifiers cannot get rid of all the dust in the air, with frequent use, they can reduce the dust in your home and you'll notice you have to dust less. 

Where to place an air purifier?

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. 

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.

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. 

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.

Are there alternative air purifiers to consider?

Here are a few other options to look into: