The top 4 air purifiers for dust, allergies, smells, and other contaminants

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, we spend 90% of our time inside, and our indoor environment can contain a variety of allergens and other irritants. Mold, pet dander, dust, and chemical emissions from daily household goods are examples. The Environmental Protection Agency believes that indoor air is two to five times more contaminated than outdoor air.
According to Ravi Pandey, MD, an internal medicine specialist on staff at many South Florida hospitals, an air purifier reduces the number of triggers for asthmatics and anyone with respiratory problems. He added that restricting viral transmission has a health benefit (but don’t expect it to reduce the chance of catching coronavirus ultimately).
When pollen counts are high or if you live in a location where smog or wildfires are regular, an air purifier can assist in cleaning the air when merely opening the window won’t be enough.
To find the best air purifiers, we tested 30 models (details on our testing procedures may be found here) and interviewed three specialists. The units we propose performed admirably in our tests are simple and have low long-term filter replacement and energy consumption expenses.

The Honeywell HPA300 HEPA Air Purifier is your best option if you need a strong air purifier for a medium-to-large space.

The top 4 air purifiers for dust, allergies, smells, and other contaminants
Amazon
  • 320 cubic feet per minute clean air delivery rate (CADR) (cfm)
  • 581 square feet is the recommended room size.
  • 17.4 pound weight
  • 9.25 x 20 x 22.25 inches in size
  • Yes, it is Energy Star-certified.
  • No, there is no automatic mode.
  • True HEPA and prefilter are the two types of filters available.
  • Filter replacement costs $79.99 each year.

Pros: Did the most fantastic job in our air purification test, was simple to set up and maintain, had a wide range of filters, was Energy Star-certified, was quieter than typical conversation, and had a low, upfront cost.

Cons: There is no auto mode, and it consumes a lot of energy.

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When it comes to combined performance in our volatile organic compound (VOC) and particle matter testing, the Honeywell HPA300 HEPA Air Purifier comes out top. It had cleared over 99 percent of the particle matter after a little over an hour of testing. At the end of the testing period, the VOC levels were also among the lowest.

While the AAFA hasn’t expressly certified it, these numbers indicate that it’s a good air purifier for allergy sufferers and others who are sensitive to other irritants.

The performance is even more astounding when you consider how quiet it is. Even at maximum volume, it is only 55 decibels, slower than a normal conversation. The HPA300 is no louder than ambient sound when set to low.

The setup was simple: simply remove the package and connect the unit. There’s also very little upkeep. Every three months, wipe the device down with a dry towel. Replace the three genuine HEPA filters widely available when the filter warning light turns on (about once a year).

There are certain drawbacks to the HPA300. While it is Energy Star certified, it had the most significant power usage of the units we tested when the fan speed was high. It lacks an auto option that adjusts the fan speed according to on the quality of the air.

If you can get the Honeywell HPA3300, which is frequently out of stock, it performs roughly identically to the HPA300 but uses less energy.

The Lasko LP300 HEPA Tower Air Purifier provides good purifying powers and minimal upfront and filter costs if you’re on a budget and want to clean the air in a tiny area

The top 4 air purifiers for dust, allergies, smells, and other contaminants
Amazon
  • 115 cfm CADR
  • 219 square feet is the recommended room size.
  • 9.8 pound weight
  • 7.3 x 10.3 x 21.64 inches in size
  • No, it is not Energy Star certified.
  • No, there is no automatic mode.
  • True HEPA and carbon filtration are the two types of filters available.
  • Filter replacement costs $49.99 each year.

Pros: In our tests, it did a decent job of eliminating VOCs and particulates, had minimal filter replacement costs, and was simple to maintain and move.

Cons: There is no auto mode, it consumes a lot of electricity and isn’t ideal for larger areas.

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The Lasko LP300 HEPA Tower Air Purifier is $65 less expensive than any other machine we examined, has the cheapest filter replacement cost, and weighs less than 10 pounds.

We discovered that it outperformed models costing three or four times as much. The Lasko air purifier quickly removed dust and particles from the air. Our air quality monitor didn’t detect any particle matter with 30 minutes left in the testing session. Though it didn’t work as well with VOCs, it did a good job of keeping the levels under safe limits.

The setup was simple and took approximately five minutes. The Lasko’s minimal weight makes it easier to transport from room to room, something you may need to do because of its low CADR, which makes it more suited for small spaces. Consider the LP450, which is only $16 more expensive but covers twice as much room.

Even on low, the Lasko was one of the few units we tested that was louder than ambient noise levels. It was a tad louder than a usual library at 45.6 dB on low. It was barely 51.6 decibels on high.

The greatest disadvantage of this device is that it consumes a lot of energy. This is most likely due to the lack of an automatic mode that adjusts to the air quality, which is still another flaw.

The Blueair DustMagnet 5410i Tabletop Air Purifier has an activated carbon filter in addition to a HEPA filter to help remove odors from smoke, pets, cooking, and other sources.

The top 4 air purifiers for dust, allergies, smells, and other contaminants
Amazon
  • 230 cubic feet per minute clean air delivery rate (CADR) (cfm)
  • 418 square feet is the recommended room size.
  • 15 pound weight limit
  • 12 x 12 x 22 inches in size
  • Yes, it is Energy Star-certified.
  • Yes, there is an automatic mode.
  • True HEPA and activated carbon are the two types of filters available.
  • Filter replacement costs $54.99 each year.

Pros: Has an activated carbon filter that removes odors, is one of the best at removing dust particles, is silent, has an auto mode, uses minimum power, has affordable filters, can be used as a nightstand, and has app connectivity.

Cons: Not great at removing VOCs, and it may be too big for simple travel.

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If you want your air purifier to be able to remove light scents, look for one with activated carbon filters. The Blueair DustMagnet 5410i was the only model we evaluated that had activated carbon, and it was also one of the best performers.

I let a contractor borrow it while he was remodeling a fire-damaged property to evaluate its odor elimination. While the purifier didn’t totally eliminate the smokey odor, he said it made working at home a little easier.

The DustMagnet eliminated 99 percent of particle matter in an hour and all of it in two hours in our tests. It accomplished so while being quite quiet (about as quiet as light traffic) and used very little electricity in comparison to the other machines we tested. Unfortunately, it did not perform as well in terms of removing VOCs, placing it in the center of the pack.

The DustMagnet was simple to assemble and is reasonably light, yet its massive size makes it difficult to transport. Above the fan, a little tabletop serves as a nightstand.

The app (available for iOS and Android) includes real-time air quality readings, air quality history, remote control, and scheduling, among other things. It also keeps track of the filter’s lifespan. Filters are inexpensive and may be found on the Blueair website (with a discount if you subscribe) and on Amazon.

With its data-rich interface, easy scheduling, and smart-home compatibility, the Blueair HealthProtect 7470i Smart Air Purifier strikes a mix between performance and silent operation, making it ideal for techies

The top 4 air purifiers for dust, allergies, smells, and other contaminants
Amazon
  • 270 cfm CADR
  • 513 square feet is the recommended room size.
  • 27.2 pound weight
  • 11.8 x 11.8 x 27.2 inches in size
  • Certified by the Energy Star: “Energy-efficient” according to Energy Star.
  • Yes, there is an automatic mode.
  • HEPA and prefilter filters are the two types of filters available.
  • Filter replacement costs $69.99 each year.

Pros: Among the best at removing VOCs and particulates from the air, inexpensive and widely accessible filters, silent operation, easy to clean, powerful enough for medium-sized rooms, informative and data-rich app, voice control

Cons: It’s heavy, it lacks handles, it’s difficult to connect to the app, and it slows occasionally.

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The Blueair HealthProtect 7470i Smart Air Purifier is the quietest and most technologically advanced device we evaluated. It’s about as loud as a quiet office at high speed. The 7470i is no louder than ambient sound when set to low.

The Blueair HealthProtect 7470i has a digital color touchscreen that allows you to control the appliance as well as monitor the temperature, humidity, and air quality for VOCs and three particle sizes.

The Blueair app (available for iOS and Android) puts data and functions at your fingertips, including the ability to create a schedule, wherever you are. Alexa and Google Assistant are also supported. For the most part, I found the app to be functional, however the data readouts sometimes take up to an hour to refresh. Additionally, connecting to the app during initial setup required several tries, adding 10 minutes to the setup time.

The HealthProtect 7470i contains a HEPA-type filter that looks like a partially open book and has an RFID chip that tracks the filter life (see our FAQ for more information on how this differs from a true HEPA filter). The filters are reasonably priced and may be purchased through the app or through major shops such as Amazon. Apart from replacing the filter, the only other maintenance required is cleaning or washing the two prefilters on a regular basis.

The Blueair purifier fared admirably in the air-quality testing. After the two-hour testing period, it had one of the lowest VOC readings and eliminated 99 percent of the particulate matter.

The power consumption of the units I tested was approximately average, which is impressive considering the mid-range CADR. Consider the HealthProtect 7770i, which can purify the air in a 760-square-foot room in 15 minutes, if you’re searching for a model that can cover a bigger area.

The Blueair HealthProtect 7470i is a touch too bulky for me to transfer from room to room with ease. With a weight of 27.2 pounds and no handles, this is a purifier you’ll want to keep in one place.

What else did we try?

I’ve evaluated 30 air purifiers in the previous year, and there are a few that we almost included in our recommendations that are still worth considering:

What else do we suggest, and why:

Under $250 air purifiers

Instant Air Purifier 300: The makers of the massively successful Instant Pot have made their first foray outside of the kitchen with this unit, and it’s a very affordable option. It was one of the most effective VOC removers, required little power, and was simple to clean and maintain. It was, however, one of the weakest at eliminating particulate matter, and it makes a lot of noise.

AP-1512HH Coway Airmega Mighty: We appreciate this purifier since it automatically adjusts the fan speed based on the air quality, resulting in low power consumption. However, it was noisy, did a poor job of eliminating VOCs, and was just average at removing particulate matter in our tests. Pre-filter, deodorization, true HEPA, and “vital ion” ionization are all included in the Airmega Mighty’s filtering system. The ionization function is not recommended (see why in the FAQ). Fortunately, you can turn it off manually.

Brondell Horizon O2+: This Brondell air purifier did an excellent job for the price, and I’d recommend it if our top budget selection isn’t available. In our tests, it was one of the best at removing particulate matter and was simple to maintain and clean. The major drawback is that it lacks an auto mode that adjusts the fan speed in response to air quality. This would have been beneficial because it uses a lot of energy.

Under $450 air purifiers

Coway Airmega 250: This is the best air purifier from Coway that I’ve ever used. The 250 was one of the most effective particulate matter removers. Thanks to the fan that adapts based on the air quality, it also used very little electricity in our tests. However, it failed to outperform any of the models in the aforementioned categories, and it was ineffective at removing VOCs from the air.

Mila: Mila is a low-cost smart air purifier with a range of filter options (available solely on the company’s website) based on the type of air quality problem you wish to solve. I put the Basic Breather and the heavy-duty Overreactor, which is a hospital-grade H14 HEPA filter, to the test. In our air purification testing, the Overreactor was in the center of the pack. The Basic Breather did an excellent job of eliminating particulates. But they were both loud, and there was nothing else that set them apart.

Auto Blueair Blue Pure 211+: Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Blueair Blue The Blueair Blue Pure 211+, which was our top recommendation in the previous version of this article, has been updated. The auto mode, which changes the filtering speed and strength dependent on the air quality, is the most notable addition. It did a good job of purifying the air while using very little electricity, but it was noisy, and the filters are pricey and only accessible through the Blueair website.

Air purifiers costing more than $450

Breathesmart 45i by Alen: The H13 true HEPA filter in this Alen air purifier is medical-grade, and it did an excellent job of eliminating particulate matter from our test environment. It’s also simple to assemble, transport, and maintain this model. Filter replacement, on the other hand, will cost you back around $140 each year, and it won’t help you reduce VOCs in the air.

Coway Airmega 400S: The Coway Airmega 400S is an appealing machine that scarcely makes any noise and regulates the fan speed dependent on the air pollution level, resulting in minimal energy use. It was demoted due to its below-average performance in our purifying tests, and its smart features aren’t as sophisticated as our new smart selection.

RabbitAir MinusA2: If there was a category for “most visually pleasing,” this model would win. We were underwhelmed by how well it cleaned the air. It was, however, simple to set up and maintain. Furthermore, the cost of filter replacement is low.

We don’t advocate ionizing air purifiers for most individuals, thus we propose the Alen BreatheSmart Classic Air Purifier (read why here). This type, however, allows you to turn the ionizer on and off, as well as provide HEPA filtration while the ionizer is not in use. The California Air Resource Board has also rated the purifier as ozone-safe. The Alen BreatheSmart Classic was the fastest in removing particulate matter in our air quality test. However, it performed poorly in terms of decreasing VOCs and consumed a lot of electricity to run.

What we don’t recommend and why we don’t recommend it:

PhoneSoap AirSoap: The AirSoap isn’t in our recommendations because it uses ionization to clean the air and there is no way to turn it off. The benefits of ionization are debatable, and the low quantities of ozone produced by AirSoap pose a danger of harmful health consequences. However, it performed well in our air purification testing, is quiet, does not require filter change, and is simple to set up and move.

Aura Air Mini: The Aura Air Mini, like the AirSoap above, uses ionization to clean the air. It’s one-of-a-kind since it’s only three inches deep, wide, and tall at 4.5 inches. On a single charge, it can last up to six hours. It’s intended for usage in compact places, although we’re not sure what applications it will serve. You wouldn’t want to use it in public since it could expose those who are sensitive to ozone. You already have a filtration system in your car.

The Dyson HP09 is a new model from one of the industry’s leading brands, and it does an excellent job of heating and cooling rooms up to 800 square feet. The only concern is that in our air purification tests, it was one of the weakest performers.

Honeywell Insight HPA5300B: I like how this air purifier looks, and it’s simple to maintain and use with readily available filters. It does, however, consume a lot of electricity and is quite noisy when running at high speeds. Furthermore, its efficacy in air purification tests was underwhelming.

We expected the IQAir Atem to be a nice compact alternative, however it fared badly in air purification testing and has expensive upfront and filter costs.

BetterAir Biotica800: Every 70 minutes, the Biotica800 sprays a probiotic mist for 30 seconds. During those 30 seconds, it runs quietly, and its electricity consumption was too low for our smart plug to detect anything. Our air quality meter, on the other hand, didn’t notice whether it did anything to clear the air.

Air System Plus by EnviroKlenz: This purifier is the heaviest and least visually pleasing of the bunch. The US Navy uses it because it’s built to take a hammering. However, at the end, it had the highest VOC reading. It lacked an auto mode, consumed the most electricity, and had the most expensive filter of the lot.

Questions and Answers about Air Purifiers

What is the purpose of an air purifier?

Pollen, pet dander, incense, cooking grease and smoke, and other contaminants can be removed from indoor air using air purifiers.

According to the EPA, air purifiers with a HEPA filter are an efficient way to remove particles from smoke and ash, and they can assist those with asthma or COPD improve their symptoms. They’re also a good technique to improve interior air quality during wildfires (as we experienced with the West Coast fires in 2020).

What are the things that air purifiers remove from the air?

The filter on an air purifier determines which pollutants it can remove from the air. Particulate matter ranging from 0.3 to 10 microns is removed by a HEPA filter. Bacteria, mold, pollen, dust, smoking, pet dander, and other contaminants fall into this category.

Gases, including VOCs, can be removed from the air using activated carbon filters and other specialized filters. Consumer items, paints, industrial solvents, refrigerants, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, gasoline, insecticides, cleaning supplies, and other products all produce these gases. There is no standard for testing the performance of gas-removing filters, unlike HEPA filters.

What exactly does HEPA stand for?

“High-efficiency particulate air,” or HEPA, is an acronym for “high-efficiency particulate air.” True HEPA filters, according to the EPA, can catch at least 99.97 percent of all 0.3 micron-sized airborne particles, such as dust, mold, germs, and pollen.

Are all of your recommendations real HEPA filters?

No. In general, we prefer pure HEPA filter units in our recommendations. Some “HEPA type” or even non-HEPA versions, on the other hand, operate just as well as or better than real HEPA filter types and include characteristics that make them a superior choice. If a model features a real HEPA filter, we make a point of mentioning it.

What’s the difference between HEPA-type filters and actual HEPA filters?

As previously stated, genuine HEPA filters can collect at least 99.97 percent of all airborne particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns, the EPA’s most penetrating particle size, implying that particles larger or smaller should potentially be easier for true HEPA filters to catch.

Because HEPA-type filters lack a standard, it’s critical to check for “genuine HEPA” wording to verify you’re obtaining a good filter.

Is it possible to block the transmission of the new coronavirus with an air purifier?

According to the EPA, a portable air cleaner alone is insufficient to defend against the new coronavirus. Running an air cleaner, however, can be part of a plan to protect you and your family when combined with other best practices recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including as hand washing and social distancing.

Can viruses, like as the coronavirus, be captured by HEPA or H13 purifiers?

According to Ravi Pandey, MD, an internal medicine specialist in South Florida, HEPA air purifiers aid but don’t totally eliminate the coronavirus. He goes on to say that the virus is smaller than what most air purifiers capture. The majority of viruses, including the coronavirus, have a diameter of 0.06 to 0.12 microns. HEPA filters are meant to filter out 99.97 percent of airborne particles with a diameter of 0.3 microns.

While an air purifier by itself isn’t sufficient, it can be used in concert with social distancing, hand washing, and mask wearing to provide further protection.

So, how can you get the most of your air purifier?

One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning’s brand manager, Bryan Buckley, advises having your air purifier on at all times. “Turning off the system prevents continuous air movement, which has an effect on air purification,” he explained.

According to Buckley, another recommended practice is to isolate the air purifier to a single room. “If you move the purifier from room to room all the time, you’re not keeping a consistent level of air quality,” he explained.

What is the best location for an air purifier?

You’ll probably want an air purifier in your bedroom, living room, or kitchen – these are high-traffic rooms, and an air purifier in your kitchen could assist eliminate smoke from cooking.

“Wherever you put the air purifier, make sure the clean air is blowing in the direction where people congregate,” Buckley said. To prevent fresh pollutants from entering, he advised avoiding walls and closing windows.

How frequently do you replace the filter?

This varies depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations; some recommend every three months, while others recommend every two years. In our guide, we outline the suggested replacement schedule for each model.

“Replacing your air purifier filters according to the manufacturer’s recommendations can help you get the most out of your system,” Buckley explains.

Can plants assist in the purification of indoor air?

Before you go out and buy a bunch of plants, think twice. Indoor vegetation does not remove major contaminants from the air, according to a 2019 study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology.

If you don’t have an air purifier, how can you keep your air clean?

Every year, massive wildfires erupt across the Western United States, destroying millions of acres of land, displacing hundreds of thousands of people, and blanketing communities hundreds of miles distant in ash and eerie orange sky. Air quality was on many people’s minds as a result of wildfires and the new coronavirus.

True N95 masks are still difficult to come by and should only be used by medical personnel, but there are several more generally accessible equivalents, such as KN95 masks, that can give adequate filtration. The CDC has revealed the results of several of these respirator assessments. Because there is a lot of misinformation and counterfeit products going around, make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller.

When wildfire season arrives, if you’re one of the lucky ones who has an air purifier, remember to clean it completely and frequently so it can perform its job. However, you’ll want to test and enhance your air for a multi-pronged attack on pollutants. Here are some tips on how to evaluate and improve indoor air quality, as well as some steps you can do to better clean your air:

Cleaning on a regular basis: When irritants gather on surfaces, they might trigger sneezing fits. Cleaning on a regular basis, including dusting and vacuuming, removes allergies and other contaminants. See our best vacuum cleaners, best robot vacuums, best budget vacuums, and best cordless vacuums recommendations for more information.

Ventilate: Installing ventilation fans in your bathroom or kitchen, as well as operating (clean) ceiling fans, are examples of this. Here are some of the greatest freestanding fans to help circulate clean air. To keep toxic air from entering your home, don’t open windows or doors.

Keep chemicals outside the house: Irritation is frequently caused by abrasive cleaners and other harsh chemicals. Keep them in your shed or garage, not in a place where you’ll be exposed to them on a frequent basis.

Is it worthwhile to invest in an air purifier?

Air purifier prices have risen dramatically in the recent year as a result of wildfires and the coronavirus outbreak. Fortunately, you may be able to save money by taking additional efforts to improve the quality of your indoor air. See our post on how to evaluate and improve indoor air quality for more information, as well as the answer above for some pointers.

If you clean frequently, store chemicals outside the house, and keep other irritants out of the house but still have poor indoor air quality, an air purifier is a good investment. Even the weakest air purifiers can enhance indoor air quality, according to our research. Our top picks do it quickly and effectively.

If cost is a consideration, we recommend the Lasko LP300 HEPA Tower Air Purifier. The upfront and filtering expenses are minimal. It also comes with True HEPA and charcoal filters. The sole drawback is its high energy expenses, which are due to the fact that it isn’t Energy Star certified and lacks an auto mode.

Ionizing air purifiers: Are they Safe?

The safety and efficacy of ionizers are hotly debated. Ionization technology is used in this sort of purifier to send out negatively charged ions that flow through the air and stick to surfaces in the home like the ceiling, windows, and floor.

Ionizers, on the other hand, have the potential to produce ozone, a lung irritant. According to Enesta Jones, a spokesperson for the US Environmental Protection Agency, “very modest levels of ozone can induce chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation” (EPA).

Consumers should avoid ozone-producing ionizers and observe all product directions, according to Jones. Keep an eye out for the UL 2998 Standard Certification. This indicates that the purifier has been certified by UL as not producing ozone.

We don’t advocate ionizers at this time because they are a relatively new technology that may make breathing in your house more difficult rather than easier.

Glossary of Air Purifier Terms

We use a number of terminologies in this article that you might not be acquainted with. The following are some definitions of phrases and acronyms typically used while discussing air purifiers:

ACPH/ACH: This is an abbreviation for “air changes per hour.” The majority of experts advise choosing an air purifier that can achieve three to five ACPH in the room. Based on four ACPH, we recommend room sizes in our advice.

CADR stands for “clean air delivery rate.” The CADR, which is usually expressed in cubic feet per minute or cubic meters per hour, indicates how much air a purifier can clean.

Cubic feet per minute (cfm) is an abbreviation for cubic feet per minute. The most common unit of measurement for how much air an air purifier can clean is cubic feet.

HEPA is an acronym for high-efficiency particulate air. True HEPA or HEPA-type filters are widely regarded as the industry’s gold standard. See our FAQ section for additional information.

VOCs are short for volatile organic compounds. These chemicals have a high vapor pressure and a poor water solubility. They are widely found in paints, art materials, adhesives, markers, furniture, pesticides, cleaning supplies, and other products made from refrigerants, medications, and paints.

Many people rely on an air filtration system to keep asthma and other respiratory illnesses at bay. Regrettably, a good one can set you back several hundred dollars. Our favorites, except from our budget pick, sell for well over $200. If you’re looking for a great deal on an air purifier, you’re in luck: most of our top options are reduced anywhere from $10 to $50 off retail pricing throughout the year. All-time low prices are more uncommon, appearing only on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Amazon Prime Day.

We’ve collected up the top air purifier offers to help you breathe easier. Discounts on our top picks can be seen below.


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