If you suffer from conditions such as asthma or allergies, a consumer air purifier can help remove contaminants and improve overall indoor air quality in your home. The best air purifiers can eliminate impurities such as dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and dust mite feces that cause uncomfortable or difficult breathing. In addition, they are also helpful for reducing second-hand smoke from tobacco or cannabis use that can pose short or long-term health risks.
Most standard air purifiers today work with high-efficiency particulate air filter technology (HEPA filters) to remove up to 99 percent of potentially harmful particles found in the air we breathe. These types of filters were introduced in the 1950s after being employed by the United States’ Manhattan Project to control airborne radioactive contaminants — which means they should be more than equipped to disinfect the air you breathe around the house.
Depending on your needs, the best air filters come in a variety of price points and square footage reach to purify small to medium rooms, and even larger spaces or entire floors. However, even the best air purifiers perform optimally in conjunction with regular maintenance and keeping a clean home. So if you’re thinking about improving your quality of breathing around your home, these picks should help get you started.
— Best Overall: Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 Air Purifier
— Best For Allergies: Blueair Blue Pure211+ Air Purifier
— Best for Large Rooms: Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
— Best for Small Rooms: Honeywell HPA100 HEPA Air Purifier
— Best Smart: Mila Air Purifier
— Best Affordable: Holmes Desktop Air Purifier
How We Picked the Best Air Purifiers
In evaluating the models that made our list, we chose primarily trusted brands with decades of name recognition among consumers. We reviewed approximately two dozen of the best air purifiers before narrowing down to our five picks, based primarily on customer ratings and reviews. Not a single product on this list received less than a 4.5-star rating — because we take your respiratory health very seriously, and the products we chose should reflect that.
As such, filtration systems were another factor we honed in on. Nearly all of the products featured HEPA-style filtration systems or came very close in the efficiency of air quality output. Ease of filter replacement was another critical consideration. Not only did we want to ensure that these air purifiers had replacement filters that were easy to swap out, but that the replacements were likewise either affordable or had comparable aftermarket options.
With the wrong product, you otherwise may find yourself doubling or tripling the initial cost of your investment in replacement filters — possibly within months if you aren’t careful.
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The Best Air Purifiers: Reviews & Recommendations
Best Air Purifier Overall: Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 Air Purifier
Why It Made The Cut: Create a cleaner, healthier home with a purifier scientifically proven to capture the tiniest particles as small as allergens and bacteria.
— Weight: 7.9 pounds
— Power source: A battery
— Coverage area: Up to 300 square feet
— Doubles as a cooling fan in summer
— Dyson Link app provides real-time air quality reports
— Attractive modern design
— Noisy operation on higher settings
— Costly replacement filters
Keep your home cool in warmer months while removing impurities from the air all year round with the Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 Air Purifier. The 360-degree, vacuum-sealed glass HEPA filter removes 99.97 percent of allergens and pollutants, including pollen and bacteria as small as 0.3 microns, which works with an additional layer of activated carbon to capture household odors and potentially harmful toxins such as paint fumes.
Intelligent purification automatically monitors, reacts, and purifies the air you breathe and then provides real-time air quality reports to the Dyson Link app. This way, you can remotely control your environment from your smartphone, even when not at home. Though some folks find the daily operation of this Dyson air purifier to be rather loud, it does feature a nighttime mode that uses the quiet settings, and the LED display dims to ensure light sleepers won’t be disturbed.
Replacement filters are easy to change, compared to some models that require filters to be washed every month or so. According to the manufacturer’s specs, filters are intended to be replaced once per year, based on the average use of 12 hours per day. However, some budget-conscious consumers find that the filters must be changed more frequently and tend to be very expensive, on top of the pricey cost of the air purifier alone.
Best Air Purifier For Allergies: Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier
Why It Made The Cut: An activated carbon filter reduces and eliminates gases and odors from pets, smoking, cooking, wildfires, volatile organic compounds, and more.
— Weight: 13 pounds
— Power source: Corded electric
— Coverage area: Up to 540 square feet
— Washable fabric pre-filter
— One-button control
— Low energy consumption
— Filter is technically not HEPA-grade
— Large, round holes on the top may be unsafe for kids
Capture over 99 percent of airborne pollutants, including viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mold, bacteria, and more, with the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier. Filtering the air at a rate of approximately 4.8 times an hour, or about every 12.5 minutes, it’s the perfect way to effectively lower particle levels in sensitive areas you need the most, such as living rooms, family rooms, and playrooms. The activated carbon filter also reduces and eliminates gases and odors, so the air in your home will likewise smell fresh and clean while it purifies.
The washable fabric pre-filter offers the first layer of protection by catching larger contaminants from the air. At the same time, the particle filter captures charged airborne germs and allergens that stick to the filter media. Then, when it’s time to replace the filter, the single-button control alters you without the need to adjust settings and knobs. Instead, a built-in warning system glows red when it’s time for a change. It also runs pretty quietly at a sound level of 31 to 56 decibels and an Energy Star-rated consumption of 30 to 61 watts.
While the machine boasts an attractive design, parents of young children and pet owners may want to take note of the large holes on top, which are just big enough for tiny fingers or paws to get stuck. Another possible downside is that the filter is technically not HEPA-grade, so if you live somewhere with especially poor air quality, you may want to hold out for HEPA technology.
Best Large Room Air Purifier: Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
Why It Made The Cut: Cleans the air you breathe faster and more efficiently with a double suction system that provides up to an impressive 1,560 square feet of coverage for large rooms.
— Weight: 24.7 pounds
— Power source: Corded electric
— Coverage area: 1,560 square feet
— Trap airborne particles as small as 0.01 microns
— Three-setting smart mode
— Whisper-silent quiet operation
— Filter health button resets too easily
— Very heavy and cumbersome to move around
Designed to accommodate large room sizes up to 1,560 square feet, the Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier cleans the air at least twice per hour with an expert three-stage filtration system. The pre-filter catches contaminants such as hair and large dust particles, while the Green True HEPA filter combined with activated carbon traps 99.99 percent of fine airborne particles up to 0.01 microns in size and removes unpleasant or harmful fumes and odors.
You’ll know how the filters are working every minute of the day, thanks to a pollution sensor that communicates indoor air quality testing in real-time with a brightly colored LED ring. Likewise, the five-setting fan speed automatically adjusts based on the room’s air quality and lighting conditions, from smart, sleep, low, medium, and high. As a result, the noise level is practically silent at lower speeds, with it topping out at 43.2 decibels at its highest setting.
Again, the only downside for children and pet owners to be aware of is that the filter health button has a hair-trigger that’s easy to reset, causing the unit to think that the filters have been recently cleaned. Some users have remedied this by placing a small thin piece of plastic over the buttons. Another issue to be aware of when you’re looking for the best air purifiers is that the machine is very large and cumbersome and may require two people to move it.
Best Small Room Air Purifier: Honeywell HPA100 HEPA Air Purifier
Why It Made The Cut: Whether you have pets, allergies, or just stale indoor air, this purifier for small rooms will help deliver cleaner, fresher air so you can breathe easier.
— Weight: 8.52 pounds
— Power source: Corded electric
— Coverage area: 155 square feet
— Four air cleaning levels
— Turbo Clean setting
— Allergen Plus series
— Replacement filters are expensive
— Touch-based buttons are not intuitive
Provide cleaner, fresher air for small to medium-sized rooms up to 155 square feet such as bedrooms and nurseries with the Honeywell HPA100 HEPA Air Purifier. It comes with a HEPA filtration system that captures up to 99.97 percent of microscopic airborne allergens and particles. Dust, pollen, pet dander, dust mite debris, and smoke are no match for the four different cleaning levels that circulate air 4.8 times per hour, including the Turbo Clean setting for the toughest filtration jobs.
As part of Honeywell’s Allergen Plus series, the purifier earned the Energy Star label by meeting strict energy-efficient guidelines set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. For best performance, Honeywell recommends using only the company’s proprietary air purifier filters and that compatible aftermarket filter replacements are not guaranteed to offer the same performance or efficiency. However, many customers have found that third-party filter and pre-filter replacement kits provide the same, or a similar performance, for a lower price.
Another minor gripe among user reviews is that the buttons on the unit are touch-based and not intuitive, which tend to break faster and have more issues than mechanical buttons or interactive touchscreens.
Best Smart Air Purifier: Mila Air Purifier
Why It Made The Cut: If you don’t want to worry about futzing with different settings, Mila’s Air Purifier will keep the air in your apartment cleaner without you having to lift a finger.
— Weight: 18 pounds
— Power source: Corded electric
— Coverage area: 1000 square feet
— Understated design
— Can be controlled via an app
— Supports multiple types of filters
— Replacement filters are expensive
— Can be very sensitive
In our experience, many “smart” appliances, gadgets, and accessories are more trouble than they’re worth, Mila Air Purifier is a welcome exception to that rule. Instead of overwhelming you with too many options, or asking you an overabundance of questions, the Mila basically works right out of the box.
You’ll need to download an app and create an account, but the only thing the air purifier needs to know is whether you live in an urban or suburban environment, and the relative size of your room. From there, it’ll run a 60-second diagnostic to test the quality of the air around it, and silently get to work filtering the rest.
Mila bundles its air purifier with a “high-performance filter,” that’s designed to handle smoke, allergens, dust, pollution, and pet dander. The company offers additional filters designed to specifically target certain pollutants, but the high-performance one is a good catch-all. Mila recommends you switch out the filter every six months or so, which is what we’ve done.
What makes Mila’s Air Purifier special is its hands-off approach. The purifier’s automatic mode will automatically adjust the speed of its fans based on the level of pollutants in the air. Generally speaking, the automatic mode has been so silent that we haven’t had to turn it off at night.
The fans have kicked into high gear when the window was opened (that’s New York City for you), or when we’ve left the bedroom door open while cooking. In those instances, the purifier’s fans can get a little grating, but it’s a sign that it’s doing its job. This is something to keep in mind if you plan on keeping the air purifier in an open space with a lot of foot traffic or activities.
If you’ve put off getting an air purifier because of how annoying it is to manage (who really knows the difference between the low, medium, and high settings?), we can confidently recommend Mila’s. It’s one of the few pieces of smart-home gear that’s worked so well that we’ve never thought about replacing it.
Best Affordable Air Purifier: Holmes Desktop Air Purifier
Why It Made The Cut: The slim design is ideal for small rooms up to 109 square feet and can be placed vertically or horizontally anywhere, such as a table or desktop.
— Weight: 5.7 pounds
— Power source: Corded electric
— Coverage area: 109 square feet
— Three different speed settings
— Optional air ionizer
— Dual positioning design
— Bulkier than a tower-style air purifier
— Not the most attractive unit
Perfect for everything from dorm rooms to offices, the Honeywell HPA100 HEPA Air Purifier is best suited to improve the quality and freshness of a 10- by 11-foot room; or a total of 109 square feet of space. With three power settings, you can optimize the speed depending on your immediate needs. Simply select a lower speed while you’re at home for continued purification with less noise or a higher speed while away for maximum cleansing. Sliding switches control the power settings for ease of use, and the filters can be accessed through a pop-off cover.
To help clean air even more thoroughly and tackle tough odors, the unit comes with an optional air ionizer that binds negative ions to airborne smoke, dust, and pollen to form larger particles that can be captured more easily. In addition, the dual positioning slim design allows the unit to be placed vertically or horizontally to best fit your space, such as on a table or desktop.
However, even with the dual positioning design, some users find the air purifier bulkier than standing or tower options. It’s also not the most attractive unit compared to higher-end competitor brands, but you certainly can’t argue with the affordable price.
Things to Consider Before Buying an Air Purifier
Suppose you’re considering a home air purifier to help you reduce the amount of allergens, odors, and other airborne particles from your living space. In that case, the first thing you need to determine is what part of your house most needs to improve air quality. Then, you can choose an air purifier that best fits the space. For example, in a bedroom, you may need only an air filter that accommodates a capacity of only a hundred or a couple of hundred square feet. However, for an ample living space or open area floor plan, you’re going to be looking at any option that can tackle over a thousand square feet, or perhaps even a few units working in tandem with one another.
The second thing that you should determine when looking for the best air purifiers is what type of air pollutants you are looking to clean out of your home. If you suffer from pet or seasonal allergies, you can probably get away with a lower-end model to help you breathe and sleep easier. However, for people living with asthma or those who need high-performance air purification — such as anyone living in places where wildfires or other types of pollution are an issue — then you are going to want to go with something that traps even the finest dust and bacteria particles.
If your primary requirement for purchasing an air purifier is to reduce or eliminate smells and odors, you’ll want to check that the filter comes with an additional filter or layer of activated carbon built into the filtration system.
Q: Will an air purifier kill the coronavirus?
When used properly, the best air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants, including even some bacteria and viruses in a home or confined space. But a portable air cleaner is not equipped to kill the SARS-CoV-2 virus on its own.
Q: Should I leave the air purifier on all day?
For best practices to eliminate or reduce the air pollution in your home, it’s best to leave your air purifier on all day. Fortunately, there are no foreseen drawbacks to keeping your unit running all the time. However, it’s imperative to change the filters regularly, when they need to be replaced, to keep your air purifier running as optimally and efficiently as possible.
Q: Where is the best place to put an air purifier?
The best place to put an air purifier is near a window, doorway, or other high-traffic areas that produce a lot of airflow. The reason for this placement is that the moving air can cause dust, mold, and other particles to lift off surfaces and distribute around your house.
Related: Manage your appliances from anywhere with the best smart home devices.
Final Thoughts on the Best Air Purifier
Despite the siren song of the Dyson, our top pick for the best air purifier is the Coway Airmega 400. Of all the units we evaluated, the Airmega was most effective at trapping airborne contaminants and allergens, removing 99.999 percent of fine particles as small as 0.01 microns from rooms or areas up to 1,560 square feet. However, because not everyone needs such a powerful machine for smaller spaces, the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier is another good alternative. We love its sleek, Swedish design that best accommodates rooms up to 540 square feet.
This post was created by a non-news editorial team at Recurrent Media, Futurism’s owner. Futurism may receive a portion of sales on products linked within this post.
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