9 Best Air Purifiers

9 Best Air Purifiers

16
Hours
Researched
87
Products
Evaluated

After 16 hours of research evaluating 87 products, we picked GermGuardian 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction as our top choice.

You'd be amazed--and probably disgusted--at what you're breathing in! Research shows, indoor air can actually be deadlier than outdoor air. 

This is crazy:

There are billions of particles floating in the air: dust, dirt, pollen, pollution, germs, bacteria, food particles, oils, and more. With every breath, you're putting those pollutants into your body.

What can you do about it?

Simple: get the best air purifier available! If you haven't studied air purifier reviews, you are at risk of buying an air purifier that is not effective at cleaning the most harmful contaminants.

This is where a HEPA air purifier comes into play when evaluating the best air purifier options. Air purifiers remove contaminants from your air, making it as clean and safe to breathe as possible.

If you get seasonal allergies, have respiratory difficulties, suffer from asthma attacks, or just want to clean up your air, it's a good idea to get an air purifier for your room, office, and home.

Want to know the best part?

We've researched the best air purifiers. After reading thousands of air purifier reviews, comparing the pros and cons, and testing a select few, we've created a list of the absolute best. 

Best Air Purifiers

  • 9. Dyson Pure Cool Link WiFi-Enabled Air Purifier
  • 8. Winix PlasmaWave 5300-2 Air Cleaner
  • 7. Surround Air XJ-3800 Intelli-Pro Air Purifier with Photocatalytic Filter HEPA/Carbon Filter and Germicidal UV Lamp
  • 6. Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean Oscillating Air Purifier
  • 5. Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
  • 4. Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier
  • 3. Blueair 403 HepaSilent Air-Purification System
  • 2. HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
  • 1. GermGuardian 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction

Best Wifi Air Purifier

#9

Dyson Pure Cool Link WiFi-Enabled Air Purifier

Best Wifi Air Purifier: Dyson Pure Cool Link WiFi-Enabled Air Purifier
Get from Amazon
104 Bought
Performance
9.5
Operation
9.5
Value
9.0
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
80 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Makes the air crisp and clean
  • App shows improvements in air quality after consistent usage
  • Tall and skinny design requires little floor space

Super stylish in any space.

The filter only lasts about 6 months and costs around $70 to replace. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

The air purifier is designed for medium to large spaces, making it ideal for use in a family room, office, or bedroom. The True HEPA air filter will eliminate 99.97% of dust and allergens as small as 0.3 microns, and the carbon pre-filter will help to deal with odors. 

This purifier also comes built with a fan to keep you cool in the summer. And, not to worry, there are no fast spinning blades so it's safe for little fingers or paws. 

Operation

9.5 / 10

The thing that sets the Dyson apart is the Dyson Link app. Using wifi, it gives you real-time air quality reports. And, allows you to remotely control your purifier.

Another feature we love, is the ability to choose between 10 airspeed settings. The Dyson also has a night time mode and sleep timer. So you can sleep soundly without having to worry about whether or not you turned it off. 

Value

9.0 / 10

At $499, this is definitely a high-priced purifier. And, although it may seem like a high price to pay to purify one room, it gets the job done. You can actually see the results right on your smartphone. 

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Value Air Purifier

#8

Winix PlasmaWave 5300-2 Air Cleaner

Best Value Air Purifier: Winix PlasmaWave 5300-2 Air Cleaner
Get from Amazon
240 Bought
Performance
9.5
Operation
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
82 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Excellent for heavy dust, allergens, and pet dander
  • Fairly quiet operation on lower settings; not too noisy, even on highest speeds
  • Energy Star Certified; uses less than 75 watts at highest speed

Want cleaner air, but not suffering from crazy allergies? Need a cost effective air purifier that can cover a large room (up to 350 square feet)? Well look no further than the Winix Plasma Wave.

  • 3-stage air cleaning unit removes indoor pollutants and odors
  • Built-in air quality sensor adjusts fan speed automatically
  • Energy Star approved; 1-year limited warranty

Has a plastic odor and the PlasmaWave makes a clicking noise.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

The air purifier is designed for spaces up to 350 square feet, making it ideal for use in a family room, office, or bedroom. The True HEPA air filter will eliminate 99.97% of dust and allergens, and the carbon pre-filter will help to deal with bad smells.

Thanks to the air quality sensor, you will always know when it's time to turn the settings up or down according to the particles in the air. If your room is filled with heavy dust or allergens, you'll need to run this air purifier on Turbo Speed to really see the results you want.

But once the air is clean, you can turn the speed down to the lower settings and keep the air fresh and free of dust/germs/allergens.

Operation

9.5 / 10

The Energy Star Certification on this air purifier ensures that you waste as little energy as possible. It consumes just 2 watts on Sleep Mode, and 36 watts on the High Speed setting. Even if you have to turn it to Turbo Mode, it only consumes 73 watts. Definitely a "green" appliance!

This isn't going to solve all your dust problems--you'll still need to vacuum and change your bedding. However, it will help to keep your air clean and breathable, eliminating the majority of floating dust, pollen, dander, and chemical particles.

The self-cleaning feature will ensure that your purifier lasts for as long as possible.

Value

9.5 / 10

At $170, this is a mid-priced purifier. It's not so expensive that it has to deliver clean room-grade purification, nor so cheap that you get low quality operation. It's an excellent value appliance for a very reasonable cost.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Best Ionic Air Purifier

#7

Surround Air XJ-3800 Intelli-Pro Air Purifier with Photocatalytic Filter HEPA/Carbon Filter and Germicidal UV Lamp

Best Ionic Air Purifier: Surround Air XJ-3800 Intelli-Pro Air Purifier with Photocatalytic Filter HEPA/Carbon Filter and Germicidal UV Lamp
Get from Amazon
244 Bought
Performance
9.5
Operation
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
84 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Generates minimal ozone; less likely to trigger asthma attacks
  • Operates with very little noise
  • Ideal for medium to large-sized rooms; can easily handle 600 square feet

We know you're tempted to breeze right past this one, we were too. But, you shouldn't - and it's not because the price tag makes you happy. This air purifier alerts you when the filter needs to be replaced; ncludes Hepa filter, activated carbon filter, pre-filter, germicidal UV Lamp, ionizer, and electronic dust collection grid; and, clinical tests show, the Intelli-Pro outperforms the Consumer Reports Top-Rated Air Purifier.

Difficult to clean and the odor filter provides limited efficiency.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

This ionic air purifier is designed to not only kill off bacteria and germs, but eliminate a lot of odors and allergens. The odor-killing element is less than optimal, but you'll find it will clean your air beautifully.

Install it in a medium- to large-sized space (think dining room and kitchen, large living room, or master bedroom), and you'll have clean air in no time.

It's more than just an ionizer, but it comes with a built-in HEPA filter to ensure the cleanest air possible. With the UV lamp to kill of pathogens, you've got a clean, safe home.

There are seven types of filters, including a photocatalytic filter, an electrostatic dust collector, and a pre-filter. Dust and allergens be gone!

Operation

9.5 / 10

The unit is designed to "self-monitor", meaning it will alert you to the device's performance, let you know how clean the air is, and tell you how much dust, allergens, and pollen are in the air. Additionally, there is an indicator light to tell you when it's time to change or clean the filters.

The ionic air purifier runs fairly quietly, and you'll find that it consumes far less energy than other competing models. The sensor technology in the unit will automatically raise or lower the fan speed according to the odors and particles in the air in order to save energy. It generates less ozone than other ionizers, meaning it's safer for those with asthma.

Value

9.5 / 10

At $191, this is a low-cost appliance that gets the job done! The built-in features and multi-filter system will ensure that your home is clean and free of allergens, with as little fuss as possible.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Quietest Air Purifier 

#6

Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean Oscillating Air Purifier

Quietest Air Purifier : Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean Oscillating Air Purifier
Get from Amazon
27 Bought
Performance
9.3
Operation
9.2
Value
9.0
Overall
92%
92 % Editor Score
87 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Rotates to help circulate airflow
  • Easily washable permanent filters
  • Extremely powerful yet quiet

The Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean Oscillating Air Purifier is one of the quietest air purifiers on the market. The powerful fan circulates and filters the air every 12 minutes, effectively removing 99% of airborne allergens.  

Some users state it doesn't work 100% at removing extremely fine dust. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.3 / 10

This oscillating air purifier works to remove 99% of airborne allergens quietly. The 3-step filtration system captures ultra-fine particles like dust, pet dander, pollen, and smoke. The ionizer works to charge the filtered air with negative ions to help boost cleaning power and ultimately freshen the air. 

The HFD-120-Q  effectively circulates the air up to 5 times an hour and removes up to 18 times more pollutants than ionic air purifiers. Works well in multiple room sizes, circulates the air more or less depending on the size of the room. 

Operation

9.2 / 10

This purifier comes with a permanent washable filter - which means you'll never have to repurchase a new filter. This purifier works to improve the quality of the air you breathe. There are three cleaning levels, and you can turn oscillation on or off. 

Value

9.0 / 10

This purifier is durable, with many users stating it's lasted them for many years and is still going strong. You can purchase this machine on Amazon for $144.99 - an excellent value for a long-lasting purifier. 

Overall Editor Score

9.2 / 10

Best Compact Air Purifier

#5

Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier

Best Compact Air Purifier: Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
Get from Amazon
15 Bought
Performance
9.4
Operation
9.3
Value
9.2
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
89 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Easy portable design
  • Kills 99.97% of germs, pollens, and dander
  • Quiet operation

This Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier is compact and easy to move around to different rooms in the house. It works quietly, allowing you to relax while it kills 99.97% of germs, pollens, pet dander, house odors, and dust! 

Not suitable for large rooms, works better in smaller areas. 

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.4 / 10

The True HEPA filter captures 99.97% of dust, pollen, smoke, mold spores, house odors, and pet dander. Say goodbye to house allergens! The UV-C light works to destroy micro-organisms like bacteria, germs, and viruses. 

This is a very quiet air purifier, with a noise level at just 30dB. So your air will be sanitized quietly, allowing you to sleep and let this machine take care of the rest! This machine is compact and easily portable, allowing you to move it from room to room to purify the air. 

Operation

9.3 / 10

The intuitive control panel offers 3-speed settings (low, medium, high), 2-, 4-, 8-hour timer settings, a filter reset indicator and UV-C light mode. 

This machine makes for super easy setup - within minutes of taking it out of the box. You get an air purifier, a 3-in-1 HEPA filter, a user manual, and customer support available seven days a week. 

Value

9.2 / 10

Initially, set at $99.99, you can snag this purifier for $79.99 on Amazon. This air purifier comes with an industry-leading 5 Year Warranty so that you can buy in confidence. 

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Air Purifier for Small Rooms

#4

Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier

Best Air Purifier for Small Rooms: Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier
Get from Amazon
101 Bought
Performance
9.5
Operation
9.5
Value
9.0
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
91 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Simple, practical air purifier with 3-stage filteration 
  • Eliminates any odor - even after cooking
  • Perfect for small spaces

Simple to operate and really gets the job done.

Designed to purify small spaces, but unfortunately the dimensions of the Levoit aren't so small (9.7 x 9.8 x 14.6 inches).

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

The air purifier is designed for spaces up to 86 square feet, making it ideal for use in a small bedroom or office.

The Levoit has a three stage filteration system that is truly impressive. The fine preliminary filter helps neutralize airborne bacteria, pet dander, mold & fungi.

The True HEPA air filter will eliminate 99.97% of dust and allergens. As a bonus, the carbon pre-filter will help to deal with unwanted odors. 

If your room is filled with heavy dust or allergens, you'll want to use this air purifier on High Speed. But once the air is clean, you can turn the speed down to the lower settings and keep the air fresh and free of dust/germs/allergens. 

Operation

9.5 / 10

To operate, the Levoit has five simple buttons on the top of the purifier. These buttons allow you to turn the purifier on and off, adjust the nightlight, and control the three fan speeds.

What really sets the Levoit apart from the rest, is that it quietly operates throughout the night, and has a gentle night light with two brightness settings. Not to worry though, if nightlights aren't your thing, you can switch it off. 

Value

9.0 / 10

At $90, this is a farily affordable purifier. It's not so expensive that it will drain your wallet, nor so cheap that you get low quality performance.

It's an excellent air purifier for a very reasonable cost. Keep in mind that filter change intervals are every 6 months and will cost around $30.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Air Purifier for Medium to Large Rooms

#3

Blueair 403 HepaSilent Air-Purification System

Best Air Purifier for Medium to Large Rooms: Blueair 403 HepaSilent Air-Purification System
Get from Amazon
317 Bought
Performance
9.5
Operation
9.5
Value
9.0
Overall
93%
93 % Editor Score
93 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Simple, practical air purifier with reliable HEPA air filter
  • Very quiet on the lower settings
  • Pre-charges the dust particles so they stick to the filter

This air purifier from Blueair is quite sexy. It's got that smooth styling that wants to cuddle up with your Apple products. 

Designed for rooms up to 365 square feet and to fit beautifully into your home decor. Highly efficient HEPASilent® technology captures 99.97% of particles. And the winner of Excellent Swedish Design award.

Fan is very noisy on highest speed setting.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

This air purifier is designed to handle rooms of up to 365 square feet, with a CADR of 240 cubic feet of air per minute--making it perfect for a bedroom or home office.

The HEPASilent filter will eliminate 99.97% of smoke, dust, pollen, and bacteria particles from the air, down to 0.1 microns in size. The air purifier has an ion particle-charging chamber that will charge the particles as they pass through, ensuring that they stick to the air filter more effectively. The result: cleaner air!  

There is a detachable timer that sounds an alert if the filter is in need of changing, and changing the filter is beautifully simple. The lightweight filter is portable (weighing 33 pounds) and easy to move to any room in your house--thanks to the built-in carry handle.

Operation

9.5 / 10

On the lowest fan setting, the air purifier runs at a volume barely above a whisper. However, be warned that there is a noticeable hum if you turn it onto the highest speed. It's energy-efficient and built to last.

The device looks beautiful, and its elegant Swedish design will fit in with any modern décor.

Value

9.0 / 10

$550 may seem like a high price to pay for a filter that can only handle one room at a time, but for those who want to ensure the cleanest possible air it's a worthwhile investment.

Overall Editor Score

9.3 / 10

Best Air Purifier for Extra Large Rooms

#2

HealthPro Plus Air Purifier

Best Air Purifier for Extra Large Rooms: HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
Get from Amazon
436 Bought
Performance
9.5
Operation
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
96 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Noticeably decreases dust and allergens
  • Can be programmed to run automatically; remote-controlled
  • High-quality HEPA filter eliminates 99.97% of particles in the air

If you truly want clean air, you need to consider the HealthPro Plus Air Purifier. Rated the most effective air cleaner for allergies by Germany's consumer foundation, it quietly cleans up to 900 sq. ft. room. Remote control, integrated timer, and filter life monitor are all added perks.

High price tag and customer service isn't the greatest.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

If you're looking for a quality air purifier to eliminate dust from your home, you'll love the HealthPro Plus! It's designed for whole-home use, and has a very high Clean Air Delivery Rate.

It's built using a hospital-grade HEPA filter which will eradicate 99.97% of the dust and particles in your air. You'll never have to worry about indoor allergens, dust, and germs again.

Asthmatics and those who suffer from seasonal allergies will benefit from using this device in their homes. The unit will NOT eliminate the need for vacuuming, but those who vacuum regularly will find that their air is significantly more breathable.

It comes with a built-in fan to circulate the air, ensuring that the purifier filters out as many particles as possible. The air purifier is designed to control odors and gas, helping to improve the smell of your home.

Operation

9.5 / 10

What makes this bad boy a great choice? Not only is it fully programmable with a timer, but the remote control makes it easy to turn on/off and select one of the three speed settings from anywhere in your house. The monitor will let you know when it's time to clean or switch the filter.

The Hyper HEPA filter will eliminate particles without generating ozone, so asthmatics have nothing to worry about. The device is built with German quality, meaning it will run for years to come.

Value

9.5 / 10

At $900, this is a high-priced air purifier, to say the least. However, for those who need clean air (especially during allergy season) and don't mind paying a bit more, the hospital-grade Hyper HEPA filter on this device is worth every penny.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Best Overall Air Purifier

#1

GermGuardian 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction

Best Overall Air Purifier: GermGuardian 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction
Get from Amazon
696 Bought
Performance
9.5
Operation
9.5
Value
9.5
Overall
95%
95 % Editor Score
98 % User Score

Why People Love it

  • Beautifully quiet, even when the fan speed is turned to high
  • Eliminates the majority of odors (food, nail polish, smoke, cigarette, etc.)
  • Excellent for those with allergies and asthma

We've got plenty of ideas why this is an Amazon #1 Bestseller in HEPA Filter Air Purifiers. For a start, there's the appealing price tag to consider. 

Captures 99.97% of allergens with True HEPA filtration including dust mites, pet dander, plant pollens. It also reduces odors from pets, cooking and smoking with activated carbon. And, the UV-C light works with filter to kill airborne bacteria, viruses, and mold spores.

Lackluster customer service and return policy. Additionally, some models release a bad odor.

Expert Ratings

Performance

9.5 / 10

Built with a True HEPA filter, this air purifier eliminates 99.97% of allergens, dust, and particles from the air. It can filter particles as small as 0.3 microns, meaning it will eradicate pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and dust effectively.

The beauty of this bad boy is that it's an odor-killer as well, thanks to the charcoal filter. It will deal with unpleasant scents easily, leaving your house smelling fresh and clean.

The fact that it's not an ionizer means it will kill odors without infusing the air with asthma-triggering ozone. The CADR is 100+, and it can handle up to 155 cubic feet of air per minute.

It's built for small to medium-sized rooms (bedroom, office, small living room, etc.). Thanks to the UV-C light technology built into the purifier, it will kill off bacteria, germs, and viruses.

Operation

9.5 / 10

If you hate the hum of appliances running in the background, this is the air filter for you! It's whisper-quiet on the medium speed, and makes very little noise even on the highest speed setting. You can watch TV, read a book, talk, or sleep without being bothered by excessive noise.

It looks like a simple tower fan, and it will take up very little space in your rooms. The indicator light will blink when you need to replace the HEPA filter or UV-C light bulb, and the Energy Star rating ensures that this is a low-power consumption appliance.

Value

9.5 / 10

The $90 price tag on this bad boy is DEFINITELY a plus! You get a quiet air purifier that will leave your home smelling fresh, while also eliminating particles from your air. It's simple and has few frills, but it gets the job done! Well worth the investment.

Overall Editor Score

9.5 / 10

Faveable Ratings: 9 Best Air Purifiers

9 Best Air PurifiersPerformanceOperationValueOverall
GermGuardian 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction Thumbnail
Best Overall Air Purifier
#1GermGuardian 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
HealthPro Plus Air Purifier Thumbnail
Best Air Purifier for Extra Large Rooms
#2HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
Blueair 403 HepaSilent Air-Purification System Thumbnail
Best Air Purifier for Medium to Large Rooms
#3Blueair 403 HepaSilent Air-Purification System
9.5
9.5
9.0
93
Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier Thumbnail
Best Air Purifier for Small Rooms
#4Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier
9.5
9.5
9.0
93
Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier Thumbnail
Best Compact Air Purifier
#5Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
9.4
9.3
9.2
93
Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean Oscillating Air Purifier Thumbnail
Quietest Air Purifier 
#6Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean Oscillating Air Purifier
9.3
9.2
9.0
92
Surround Air XJ-3800 Intelli-Pro Air Purifier with Photocatalytic Filter HEPA/Carbon Filter and Germicidal UV Lamp Thumbnail
Best Ionic Air Purifier
#7Surround Air XJ-3800 Intelli-Pro Air Purifier with Photocatalytic Filter HEPA/Carbon Filter and Germicidal UV Lamp
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
Winix PlasmaWave 5300-2 Air Cleaner Thumbnail
Best Value Air Purifier
#8Winix PlasmaWave 5300-2 Air Cleaner
9.5
9.5
9.5
95
Dyson Pure Cool Link WiFi-Enabled Air Purifier Thumbnail
Best Wifi Air Purifier
#9Dyson Pure Cool Link WiFi-Enabled Air Purifier
9.5
9.5
9.0
93

Faveable Expert Tips

Do Air Purifiers Really Work?

There’s the million dollar question that everyone wants answered! But before we get to that, you need to understand HOW air purifiers work:

  1. Dirty air is pulled into the purifier by the fan built into an intake grill.
  2. Dirty air passes through various filters, which remove pollutants, dust, allergens, and contaminants.
  3. Filtered air is expelled via another fan and distributed into the room.

Pretty simply process, right?

The effectiveness of the air purifier is determined by the types of filters used (see Types of Air Purifiers below), but most purifiers can effectively deal with dust, smoke, and pollen—all larger particles that can easily be trapped by the filters. On the other hand, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which come from gaseous pollutants, paints, adhesives, and cleaning products, are not removed from the air.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Air purifiers use filters to remove particles and pollutants. If you don’t change the filters regularly—every 3-6 months—the purifiers won’t work properly to filter the air.

Do Air Purifiers Get Rid of Odors?

Some air purifiers are able to eliminate odors—pet odors, fumes, cigar/cigarette smoke, etc. However, the basic, standard purifiers aren’t designed to deal with odors.

You see, the basic purifiers are made using High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filters, which are designed to eliminate pollen, allergens, dust, and contaminants in the air. Odor particles, however, are not trapped by the HEPA filters. If your purifier has only an HEPA filter with no additional filtration systems built in, it may help to reduce odors, but it won’t eliminate them altogether.

To deal with odors, you need special additional filters designed to neutralize the odor particles. Activated Carbon Filters are the most commonly-used filters for dealing with odors, as the odor particles are adsorbed by (or bond with) the charcoal particles and are neutralized.

Do Air Purifiers Help With Dust Mite Allergy and other Allergies?

A lot of air purifiers are touted as appliances to help you deal with allergies—pollen, dust, pet dander, and so on.

The highest-grade HEPA filters are able to filter out up to 99.99% of airborne particles (including allergens) down to 0.3 microns, which means they’re highly effective at eliminating the things that could be triggering your allergies.

That being said, air purifiers will only work to remove allergens from the air if there is no other way for allergens to get into your home. For example, if you have pets at home, the purifiers can only eliminate so much dander before your pet sheds all over again. If you have a window open, the pollen will float inside and contaminate your air. If you have a home filled with dust, no amount of filtration will clean the air because you’ll kick up more dust every time you step or sit. An air purifier will work in enclosed spaces, but it’s up to you to prevent more allergens from entering your home.

As for dust mites, remember that purifiers can only deal with particles floating in the air. Dust mites do not remain airborne, but they build up on your bed, pillows, sheets, furniture, and carpets. Because they aren’t in the air, they can’t be sucked into the purifier, so they can’t be eliminated. Despite what some marketing campaigns claim, the average purifier is incapable of dealing with dust mites.

Can Air Purifiers Remove Mold Spores

Mold is one of the most common allergens, especially in climates with a lot of rainfall, humidity, and moisture. Mold particles are usually 3 to 100 microns in size, but some can be as small as 1 micron. Thankfully, most HEPA filters can remove particles as small as 0.3 microns, so you can be sure they’ll deal with mold spores in the air. Some filters even come with antimicrobial treatments that can prevent mold spores from reproducing in the filtration systems.

The problem is that the mold spores in the air are really just a symptom of the real problem: mold in your walls, attic, ceiling, floors, etc. The air purifier can cleanse the spores floating in the air, but the mold in your house will just release more spores. Think of it as a Band-Aid over an open wound—you need to get rid of the mold once and for all, then the spores won’t be a problem!

Types of Air Purifiers

Understanding the various types of purifiers and filters will help you know what options are available. First, let’s start with the types of appliances you can use:

Whole-House Purifiers – Think of this as an addition to your home HVAC system. They’re installed as part of the HVAC system, and they work to clean the air of your entire house all at once. They don’t do as thorough a job as smaller purifiers, but they can clean the whole house—making them great for those with severe allergies.

Portable Air Purifiers – These are the standard options for most people. They’re small enough to be portable and highly effective at eliminating particles (up to 99.97% down to 0.3 microns, if they use HEPA filters), but can only handle one room (or space) at a time.

Whole House Filters – These are attachments that are installed on furnaces and other openings in your home, and they are designed to filter any particles from the air that passes through them. However, they don’t usually come with built-in fans, and they’re less thorough at cleaning the air than either of the other two options.

There are a surprising number of filtration system options to choose from for your purifiers and filters:

HEPA – High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance filters are made with multiple layers of filtrating materials, which makes them the most effective at dealing with mold, dust, pollen, and other airborne particles. They can handle up to 99.97% of particles larger than 3 microns.

Carbon – Carbon filters are made using very porous activated carbon, which adsorbs (bonds with) the particles in the air. They’re more effective than HEPA filters at dealing with smoke, odors, and gases, and they can collect particles down to a molecular level. However, they’re not as effective for pollen, dust, and mold.

Titanium Dioxide – Also known as TiO2 filters, these use titanium dioxide to filter out germs, odors, and smoke. They’re typically used in commercial and hospital-grade air purifiers.

Ionizers – Ionizers create electrical charges that cling to the particles in the air, which grounds them and kills viruses and bacteria. They do not filter out particles, but simply cause them to fall to the ground. This means that the dust, pollen, and mold is still present, just clinging to your floors and carpets, where they can be vacuumed up easily. However, they may produce ozone, which can be dangerous for your health (see the next section).

Ozone – These air purifiers pump ozone into your home, and the ozone oxidizes the rust, mold, mildew, and particles in the air. It can deal with odors highly effectively, as well as allergens, pet dander, and other contaminants. However, it carries some potentially serious health risks (see the next section).

UV – These purifiers use ultraviolet light to kill off pathogens and bacteria in your home via electromagnetic radiation. They can kill off yeast, fungi, viruses, mold, and bacteria highly effectively. Sadly, they don’t deal with dust, odors, allergens, or any inert solid particles floating in the air.

Filters – Some filters use fiberglass, cotton, foam, or special synthetic fibers to filter out particles. The dense material only allows tiny particles through, so all the larger particles (including mold spores, allergens, dust, and so on) are trapped within the filters. The large surface area of the filters are effective at cleaning a lot of air at once, but they aren’t as efficient as HEPA filters.

What You Need to Know About Ozone

Ozone may help to filter out the particles in your air, but can be quite hazardous to your health. According to the EPA, “The same chemical properties that allow high concentrations of ozone to react with organic material outside the body give it the ability to react with similar organic material that makes up the body, and potentially cause harmful health consequences.”

The EPA’s list of “harmful consequences” includes:

  • Lung damage
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing
  • Throat irritation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Worsening of chronic respiratory diseases, like asthma
  • Compromised immune response to respiratory infections
  • Respiratory difficulty

Remember how ozone can quickly oxidize the particles in the air and cause them to “decay”? That’s what happens to the cells in your body when they’re exposed to ozone. The EPA’s stance is that even low amounts of exposure to ozone can be dangerous, leading to the above symptoms.

The California Air Resources Board has a list of “Potentially Hazardous Ozone Generators Sold as Air Purifiers”, appliances that emit large quantities of ozone. The ARB recommends that you avoid using these generators for your health’s sake.

Air Purifier Buying Guide

When planning to buy an air purifier, take a moment to consider:

Room Size – The size of your purifier will determine the amount of air it can clean. Smaller purifiers should be able to handle up to 155 square feet, roughly the size of a small room. Larger tower purifiers have a capacity of 300+ square feet, the size of a family room or bedroom. Some can handle up to 500 square feet, which makes them ideal for living rooms and larger, wide-open spaces. Think about what rooms in your house need to be purified, and buy an appliance that is the appropriate size for the space.

Filtration Systems – The list above (in “Types of Air Purifiers”) will help you decide which filtration system works best for your specific needs—allergies, mold, germs and bacteria, odors, or dust.

Noise Level – If you run a purifier in a room where you work or sleep, you’ll want to find one that’s as quiet as possible. Larger units can be set to run on lower speeds, and they’ll generate far less noise than a smaller unit running at top speed.

Operating Cost – Not only will your monthly electric bills increase, but you’ll need to budget in the cost of replacing filters. HEPA and carbon filters can be pricey, so expect to pay anywhere from $20 to $100 for a replacement. Consumer Reports estimates an annual running cost of up to $200.

Frequency of Cleaning – To keep the filtration system running well, you need to change or clean the filters at least every 3-6 months. A dusty, clogged filter won’t work to clean your air!

CADR – The Clean Air Delivery Rate is a third-party testing measure that lets you know how effective the purifier is at churning out clean air free of airborne particles. The higher the CADR number, the faster your purifier can clean the air going through its filter.

  • For small rooms, get a CADR of as high as 97
  • For medium rooms, get a CADR between 98 and 130
  • For large rooms and spaces, get a CADR higher than 130

Here are a few of the features to consider when shopping for an air purifier:

Multiple Speeds – You don’t always need to run it at full blast. A multi-speed appliance lets you crank it up during allergy season and turn it down low to run quietly while you’re sleeping or working.

Fan – Consumer Reports tested fan-less air purifiers and found that they didn’t work as well as purifiers with built-in intake fans.

Servicing Indicator – A light or alert that lets you know when it’s time to clean or replace the filter is a very useful feature! After all, a clogged or dirty filter doesn’t work as well as a clean one.

Dirt Sensor – Some air purifiers have these built-in sensors that the adjust fan speed according to the presence of particles in the air. A great feature to help you reduce energy costs!

Programmable Timer – With this feature, you can set the purifier to run for a specific amount of time before switching off. This will help you clean the air in a room before or while you use it, but reduce energy costs significantly.

Ionizer – If you want to use an ionizer to attract particles (like static electricity), make sure it doesn’t generate ozone! 

Where to Set Up Your Air Purifier

The placement of your air purifier will have a huge effect on how efficiently it’s able to clean the air in whatever room it’s in.

If you’re using a portable purifier (instead of a whole-house appliance), you should put it in the room where it’s needed most. This is typically the bedroom, office, or living room, as those are the rooms where you spend the most time.

  • For overnight allergies, run the purifier in your bedroom at night.
  • For pet allergies, run the purifier in the living room or wherever you and your pets hang out.
  • For homes with smokers, run it wherever you want to get rid of the smell of smoke.

You want to find a place for your air purifier that is out of people’s way (so they don’t kick it, trip over it, or knock it over). However, if you put it in the corner of a room or against the wall, you could drastically limit air flow to the intake. This means you’ll get less purified air, reducing the effectiveness of the appliance.

As a rule of thumb, always make sure there is a foot or two of clearance between the purifier and the wall—on both input and output sides. The closer the purifier is to where you are, the faster you get clean air.

Note: It’s recommended that you avoid placing purifiers on or near other electronics. The electronics may work on similar wavelengths to the purifier, and it could cause interference with your TV, stereo, or microwave.

Remember, the purifier will only really do its job well if all of the doors and windows are closed and there’s no way for outside pollutants and allergens to get inside. Your purifier can’t clean all the air in the great outdoors. It’s only capable of cleaning one room (or house) at a time, so make sure to prevent any outside air from filtering in if you want to speed up the cleaning process.

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Article Staff

Marina is a California girl and former Idaho resident who is currently living her best life in the Seattle area with her husband and newborn baby. She has a BA in Journalism from Boise State University, as well as a M.Ed from Western Washington University.

Marina has a passion for running, hiking, brunching and, of course, all things home decor. When she isn’t writing, Marina loves to be with family and friends, preferably in the outdoors.

Marina covers everything from health and beauty to babies and women. If the product is in one of these categories, she's likely tried it. For all beauty + mom advice, she's your go-to girl. Want to be friends? Follow her on Instagram: @mrswiersma

Editor Jenna Holtz
Researcher Ronnie Langston
Art Director Cherry Barbacena

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