Popular Mechanics; Courtesy Coway
The average human sheds eight pounds of dead skin each year. Gross, I know. While the dead skin we lose falls off in microscopic flakes, these flakes become one of the largest contributors to at-home dust buildup thanks to the fact that dust mites like to feed on them and, in turn, produce dust. That’s right, our homes may be filled with miniscule insects that feed off our naturally shed skin. In fact, the American Lung Association claims that 80 percent of homes in America have dust mites present in at least one bedroom. These facts, when taken together, don’t paint a pretty picture when it comes to at-home air health. To make matters worse, dust mites are the number one cause of year-round indoor allergens, and it’s not like we can just stop shedding our skin!
Thankfully, a good air purifier can help solve the issue of dust accumulation and improve the air quality in your home. However, between sifting through the seemingly endless air purifier models and becoming familiarized with the technical jargon that plagues air purifier product descriptions, finding the best one for your budget and needs can be a challenge. Keep reading this in-depth buying guide to learn more about what you should consider before buying an air purifier and which models may be best for you from industry experts and a lifelong customer—me.
Best Air Purifiers for Dust
The Expert: I am a trained furniture designer and woodworker who suffers from seasonal allergies. I’ve been using air purifiers for years to help keep my shop clean and my sinuses healthy, so I know how much a good air purifier can help. To round out my recommendations, however, I conducted extensive research into how air purifiers work. This included conversations with an air purification specialist, Chel, who’s an in-house expert at Alen, which has been at the forefront of the air purifier industry for more than a decade. I made sure to cast a wide net and considered product reviews, EPA air-filtration guidelines, and my own experience with air purifiers when choosing which models to include.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
In short, most air purifiers clean indoor air by pulling it through a filter which traps toxins and unwanted airborne particles before releasing the air back into the room. Many premium air purifiers rely on HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters, although there are other methods of purification that don’t rely on filters, such as ionic purifiers. Generally speaking, HEPA filters are made from fiberglass and are capable of trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns in some cases, which means that you can use an air purifier to reduce odors and even germs. Because dust is usually between 3 and 5 microns, air purifiers are an especially effective method of dust control. In order for a filter to meet HEPA standards, it must remove a minimum of 99.95 percent of particles from the air. While air purifiers that rely on standard HEPA filters or HEPA filters with additives reduce the need to dust frequently, they won’t completely eliminate dust particles that have already settled on surfaces, because they may not become airborne again without being disturbed by the duster or vacuum.
What to Consider When Shopping for an Air Purifier for Dust
What Size Space Do You Have?
Like air-conditioning and heating units, air purifiers are meant to purify a certain amount of square footage in a given room. If you’re looking to purify a 500-square-foot bedroom, an air purifier with a 250-square-foot capacity isn’t going to cut it. On the other hand, an air purifier with the capacity to filter 1,000 square feet is going to be overkill and will likely take up too much space. In fact, Chel, the expert I spoke to from Alen, recommended purchasing an air purifier that is rated for a room that is 200 square feet larger than the room you want to purify. She explained that going 200 square feet over the room size ensures that your new filter won’t have to run at max capacity all the time, which increases the life of the motor that sucks the air through the filter. Also, be wary of capacity claims from manufacturers without an established reputation and keep your eyes peeled for anything with an Association of Home Appliance (AHAM) certification, in which case you can rest assured that the capacity claim is accurate.
Smart Sensor Technology
One of the best features of a good air purifier is the fact that it can reduce the amount of time you spend dusting and vacuuming your space, and high-quality air purifiers should include a sensor that will tell you when you need to replace the filter, at the very least. Be on the lookout for air purifiers that automatically assess the air quality in your space and adjust the speed of filtration accordingly. The last thing you want to do is invest in a convenience-oriented product and have it turn into a hassle that requires more time and attention.
Cost of Maintenance and Upkeep
When it comes to HEPA filter air purifiers, the only ongoing cost is associated with replacement filters, which are essential not only to the purifier’s function but also its longevity. Depending on what type of HEPA filter you want, and how often you have to replace it, you may end up spending far more on your purification system than you originally intended. Replacement HEPA filters vary in price depending on what model purifier you have, and you can expect to find replacement filters for as low as $30 and as much as $130.
Because air purifiers are often placed in the most frequently used areas of the house, such as the bedroom, living room, and office, it’s important to make sure that whichever one you purchase doesn’t interfere with your day-to-day activities. I keep my Tredy air purifier in my room and can attest to how important it is to get a purifier that doesn’t produce a lot of noise, especially if you are a light sleeper. Although this isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, the larger the purifier’s capacity, the more likely it is to create a level of noise that bothers you due to the sheer volume of air that is being pulled through the filter each minute. Before purchasing your new air purifier, check the decibel rating in the product description; some purifiers are rated as low as 24 dB. For reference, the average whisper volume is 30 dB.
Third Party Certifications and Tests
Unfortunately, the at-home air-purifier market has more than a few cases of deceptive marketing and dubious claims. Between knock-off HEPA filters that prioritize profit margin over quality and overstated capacities, finding an air purifier with stats you can trust can be a challenge. Thankfully, there are a few certification labels that can help alleviate any potential worries.
First and foremost is the Energy Star seal, which will be displayed on the packaging. Chel informed me of the fact that air purifiers “work best when they run 24/7,” which means you may see an increase in your monthly electricity bill. Energy Star–certified air purifiers are 40 percent more energy efficient on average than their uncertified competitors. Also, you can check the annual electricity consumption for each Energy Star–certified model on the organization’s website.
Another trustworthy third-party logo/acronym you may come across is from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Products with the AHAM Verifide seal have been thoroughly tested for both quality and veracity of manufacturer claims. Most important, AHAM provides reliable and accurate suggested room size information and CADR (clean air delivery rate) ratings.
How We Evaluated These Air Purifiers for Dust
To find the best air purifiers for dust, I researched the most highly rated products across various brands and spoke with Chel, an air-purification expert at Alen. I made sure to include air purifiers that suit a variety of room sizes, design tastes, and purification needs. The selections I chose are based on my personal experience with my air purifier as well as customer reviews and product specs.
Coway Mighty AP-1512HH(W)
- Display lights can be shut off for nighttime use
- High CADR dust rating
- Excellent, award-winning design
- Energy Star certified
- Decibel Range: 24.4–53.8 dB
- Dust CADR: 246
- Suggested Room Size: ~350 sq ft
- Weight: 12.5 lb
The Coway Mighty is an excellent air purifier that doesn’t sacrifice good design and pleasing aesthetics for functionality. This is one of the rare air purifiers that you will want to display, which makes it easy to integrate into any room in your home. Displaying your purifier will likely mean placing it somewhere free from airflow obstructions, such as curtains and couches.
Best High-End Air Purifier
Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 Smart Air Purifier
- Works with remote control and Alexa
- Backwards airflow mode prevents air from blowing in your direction
- Decibel Range: 30–63 dB
- Dust CADR: 70
- Suggested Room Size: ~800 sq ft
- Weight: 11 lb
Dyson is known for precise engineering, high quality, and enduring design, and the TPO7 doesn’t disappoint in any of these areas. One of the coolest features of the Dyson TP07 is its fully sealed construction, which completely traps all pollutants and dust inside.
Best Value Air Purifier
Levoit Core 200S
- Activated carbon additive reduces odors related to smoke and pets
- Small footprint allows it to be placed on desktops and bookshelves
- Relatively small suggested room size
- Decibel Range: 24–48 dB
- Dust CADR: 118
- Suggested Room Size: ~190 sq ft
- Weight: 6.6 lb
If you’re on a bit of a budget and are looking to purify a relatively small space, such as an office or dorm room, the Levoit Core 200S is a great choice. Although the 200S is cheaper than most, affordability doesn’t come at the expense of technology, such as voice-assistant compatibility. Also, the 200S is better suited for quiet environments thanks to its low decibel rating and the neat soft-white night light that’s built into the top.
Best Budget Air Purifier
Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier
- Triple-filtration system
- Great for small spaces
- Energy efficient
- Costs less than $3 per month to run it 24/7, on average
- Relatively large footprint compared to its suggested room size
- Decibel Range: 25–50 dB
- Dust CADR: 40
- Suggested Room Size: ~130 sq ft
- Weight: 6.5 lb
High-quality air purifiers aren’t always expensive. The LV-H132 is a personal air purifier that’s intended for small spaces or to be used in tandem with another purifier. While using two may seem silly, if you’re trying to keep your space free of clutter, choosing two smaller purifiers that you can easily stow away may be worth considering. The Levoit’s triple-filtration system includes an ultra-fine pre-filter as well as an H13 HEPA filter with activated carbon, which is surprising given the price
Best Air Purifier for Large Rooms
Alen 75i Air Purifier
- Subscription service option available
- Large purification capacity, yet not large and obtrusive
- Decibel Range: 25-49 dB
- Dust CADR: 347
- Suggested Room Size: 1,300 sq ft
- Weight: 27 lb
If you’re looking to purify a large space and don’t want a loud, bulky machine, you should consider the 75i. In addition to the convenient replacement-filter subscription service, the 75i comes with a lifetime warranty that ensures complete replacement as long as the filters are changed on a regular basis.
Best Desktop Air Purifier
Germ Guardian AC4100 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
- Some users find this unit to be too loud
- Decibel Range: 40–63 dB
- Dust CADR: 56
- Suggested Room Size: 78 sq ft
- Weight: 5.15 lb
This air purifier has a function-forward aesthetic and is designed to sit on your desktop so you can breathe clean air while you work. Also, the AC4100 includes an activated charcoal additive that helps reduce odors and other large airborne particles as well as a unique UV-C light that helps eliminate airborne germs and viruses.
Best Portable Air Purifier
Pure Enrichment PureZone Mini Air Purifier
- 12-hour battery life
- Convenient carry handle helps with portability
- The height is adjustable with a simple turn of a knob
- Lots of colors to choose from
- Despite portability, air purifiers are less efficient in open-air spaces
- Small suggested room size
- Decibel Range: 30–50 dB
- Dust CADR: 80
- Suggested Room Size: ~55 sq ft
- Weight: 0.6 lb
Unfortunately, dust collects outside of the home as well, in public areas such as coffee shops as well as private ones, such as cars. Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, boat, or car, this little air purifier provides powerful purification from a small package. Of course, effectiveness of portability is limited by the fact that all air purifiers are less efficient when used in open-air spaces.
Best Mid-Size Air Purifier
Tredy Air Purifer
- Small legs lift the purifier off the ground for stronger airflow
- Automatic mode analyzes air quality in real time and adjusts the purification speed accordingly
- The highest fan setting is quite loud
- Decibel Range: 28–58 dB
- Dust CADR: 100
- Suggested Room Size: 200 sq ft
- Weight: 6.6 lb
I purchased this air purifier when I moved into a new, dust-covered apartment in New York City. Before I got it, I was having regular sneezing fits, and dusting was a tortuous task because of how much debris it kicked up. Now, I only have to dust once per week, and nine months into using it, I haven’t had to replace the filter yet. My favorite feature is the color-changing light ring, which allows you to see the air quality in your space without having to get up.
Air Purifier Maintenance Tips With Air Purification Expert, Chel, from Alen
PM: What does CADR mean and is it important?
Chel: CADR stands for clean air delivery rate and is a common, although not universal, industry metric that measures the volume of clean air produced per minute on the highest setting. CADR ratings tend to fall between 60 and 450. Generally speaking, the higher the CADR the more efficient the air purifier is. A general rule of thumb is that your CADR rating should be no less than two-thirds of the room’s total area.
PM: How much maintenance do air purifiers require?
Chel: Quality air purifiers are actually quite low maintenance. Aside from replacing the filter, which takes only a few minutes once you have the replacement, I recommend vacuuming the intake vents once every 6 to 8 weeks, or as needed, to remove built up dust and dander.
PM: Can I clean and reuse a HEPA filter?
Chel: Unfortunately, HEPA filters cannot be cleaned and reused under any circumstances. For this reason it’s important to consider how often you have to replace the filter. Once the filter has reached its capacity to purify it should be placed into a plastic bag, sealed, and thrown away. Sadly, HEPA filters cannot be recycled, especially once they are saturated with dust and other undesirable particles.
PM: Are there any other types of filters?
Chel: While there are numerous non-HEPA filters on the market, none of them have the same standards of testing and none are classified as hospital grade. While this doesn’t necessarily mean that other filters are inherently worse, it does mean that you may be investing in unverified information. I recommend sticking to HEPA filters because of the rigorous standards they have to meet.
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io