Not only for the good of your health, but that of your family too. Remember the tight seals and other measures you take to make your home energy efficient and comfortable? Well, this can also trap indoor air pollution from many diverse sources. This includes cooking fumes, cleaning vapors, pet dander, and dust just to mention a few. According to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, indoor air is 5 to 10 times dirtier than outdoor air. This is despite the majority of Americans spend close to 90% of their lives stuck inside their houses.
Investing in an air purifier is, therefore, one of the wisest decisions you can make. However, before you do, it is important to know what factors you need to consider in a good air purifier. Firstly, we will jump straight into our recommended models for different air purification needs and budgets. Then discuss the different technologies and features of air purifiers on the market.
Best Air Purifier Models
Based on the factors discussed below and other considerations, we have reviewed some of the best air purifiers on the market today. Go through our list of top picks below to find one that best suits your budget and clean air needs.
This is a reasonably priced unit with true HEPA filtration capable of capturing 99.97% of allergens and dust while eliminating bad odors at the same time. It is a great option for small to medium sized rooms. It has an efficient filter that goes for six to eight months without replacement.
The GermGuardian AC4825 can capture dust particles and allergens as tiny as .3 microns including household dust, mold spores, pollen, and pet dander. It comes with a charcoal filter that helps to reduce odors from cooking, pets, and smoking. The unit features UV-C light technology that combines with Titanium Dioxide to eliminate airborne germs, bacteria, and viruses. The CADR rating is over one hundred. If you are looking for a true HEPA air purifier for a medium sized room, this is definitely one of the best options you can find. Doctors highly recommend true HEPA filtration systems. This is because asthmatic individuals are more prone to fit attacks when exposed to indoor asthma triggers such as fine dust, pet dander, pollen, or mold spores.
Winix is a renowned brand in the air purifier industry. The company manufactures high-quality units featuring advanced 3-stage air cleaning technology. The PlasmaWave 5300 is an excellent example of Winix innovative approach to indoor air purification. The unit removes dust, odors, smoke, mold spores, pet dander, and just about every pollutant in between.
It uses PlasmaWave technology to effectively break down pollutants without producing harmful by-products. It is energy efficient and is, in fact, Energy Star approved. The 5300 is certified for use in rooms with a maximum size of 350 square feet but still performs equally well in a slightly larger room, especially when left to run for a long duration.
Some of its key features include 3-stage air cleaning technology, a built-in air quality sensor that can adjust fan speed depending on the number of pollutants present and doesn’t produce ozone or other harmful by-products. This is a perfect air purifier unit for larger rooms. It keeps the air in your interiors clean and free from unhealthy pollutants.
Dyson is a household name in the manufacture of bag-less vacuum cleaners but they make some of the best air purifier units too. The Dyson Pure Cool Tower Purifier is a fine example of the company’s offerings in the air purifier industry. It has a sleek nice look and provides a reliably high air flow to eliminate all forms of pollutants inside your rooms.
The unit comes with 10 different speed settings as well as an auto-mode that automatically adjusts the airflow speed according to the number of pollutants present in your living spaces. It has a night mode that runs at the lowest speed settings. This mode will dim the LED display unit. To achieve the best cooling and purifying effect, the unit oscillates and circulates purified air throughout the room.
It has a timer function that allows you to pre-set the purifier to turn on and off at a given time. You can even set up the unit straight from your mobile device using a Dyson Link app. It is a fully digital air purifier with a sleep timer which can be set to turn on and off in 15 minutes to 9 hours intervals. Its filter has to be replaced once every 12 months if you’ve been using it for 12 hours each day. If you are interested a highly digitalized compact unit that eliminates odors and other pollutants, the Dyson Pure Cool Tower is a great choice.
The Health Pro Plus is not just the best of the best units from IQAir but a favorite of air purification research specialists and experts. It is designed for spaces as large as 1,125 square feet. You can use it as an air purifier for the entire house with the confidence of knowing that the whole house will soon be filled with clean fresh air. It features HyperHEPA technology that makes it capable of eliminating ultrafine particles, which are known to cause respiratory problems among children and adults. It filters particles of every size including viruses, dust mites, pet dander, cigarette smoke, and all types of common allergens.
The HyperPlus Pro delivers up to 25% more clean air. The unit is certified to filter 99.5% of all indoor air particles including those as small as 0.003 microns. Its filter has 38% longer life and runs with 32% less noise compared to other models. It has the great reputation of being the quietest air purifier model in the world.
The unit is recognized by healthcare workers and doctors as the number one air purifier for people suffering from allergies and asthma. It is energy efficient. You would hardly imagine that for its capacity it only uses as much energy as the traditional light bulb. The HyperPlus Pro’s long-lasting filter comes with an LED display that shows you 4 stages of the filter’s life-cycle. This is a perfect unit for large homes and commercial facilities.
The relatively inexpensive Conway AP-1512HH comes in a sleek compact design and an ability to cover rooms of up to 326 square feet. The award-winning air purifier is CADR rated 210 and runs extremely quiet. It has five operation settings ranging from low, medium, and high to eco and auto modes. The eco mode is quite advanced. In this mode, the unit turns itself off until its sensor detects a change in the quality of the air then automatically turns itself on. This is a useful energy saving feature.
With a noise level of 24.4 to 53.8 dBA, the unit is barely audible when operating in low mode, which is perfect for night time when you want to get undisturbed sleep. The system incorporates an ionizer too. It eliminates bad odors to leave you with clean fresh smelling air. Other key features of the Conway AP1512HH include an air quality indicator, a filter change indicator, and a sleek compact design.
The Honeywell brand has many high-quality air purifier models but the 50250 is no doubt one of their units. It is a round shaped unit that fits perfectly well in any space. It is one of the best air purifier models in the under $200 price range.
One thing you’ll give this round unit I that it gets the air cleaning job done perfectly well. You can even use it for large rooms as well. It can handle any room size up to 400 square feet. Its 360 degrees airflow makes it perfect for big rooms as it can be placed anywhere within the room and still get the job done perfectly.
It also features a HEPA certified filter and has a CADR rating of 250, which is a steal at its price. You also get a 5-year warranty from Honeywell when you purchase this air purifier unit. If you want a versatile unit that can fit any space, comes with most of the key features of high-end units, and is reasonably priced, then the Honeywell 50250 is your best option.
This is a top air purifier choice for anyone who suffers from allergies or is simply worried about the quality of air he or she breathes indoors. In other words, everything you need to enjoy the clean fresh odorless air. You will be amazed at the efficiency in removing impurities from your indoor air.
The unit comes with a True HEPA filter capable of removing almost all the impurities from the air. Once you pass air through the filter, you’ll only find less than 0.03% of impurities left in the air. It also features a charcoal filter that’s quite useful for people who keep pets. The air purifier completely eliminates unpleasant odors and pet dander from your indoor environment. Another advantage of this unit is the fact that you’ll only have to replace its HEPA filter just once every six to eight months. It requires minimum maintenance. Best of all, it comes at a reasonable price despite having most of the bells and whistles found in other higher priced air filter models. It is definitely worth looking into when you are in the market for an affordable, energy efficient, and reliable air purifier.
The Philips Series 1000 AC1213/40 air purifier is a feature-rich unit designed for rooms with sizes of up to 200 square feet. The efficient filter is capable of capturing particles as small as 0.3 microns. This combines well with the digitalized unit that has a numeric display panel showng you the air quality of your room at all times. The extremely low noise level means it runs as quietly as a human whisper. At low mode, the unit is barely perceptible during operation. You can even get a variant of the air purifier that comes with Wi-Fi connectivity for easier monitoring and operation.
The Series 1000 AC1213/40 is a useful air cleaner to have in your home. Eliminating all types of airborne allergens, pet dander, pollen, house dust mites, odors, gases. Basically capturing 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns in the air that passes through its filter. This is achieved using AeraSense technology to detect the slightest change in indoor air quality. On detection the system immediately auto-adjusts its fan speed to ensure that you have the cleanest air at all times.
The air quality is shown to you in real-time via a color ring and a numerical indoor allergen index located on its dashboard. It has three automatic settings for air purification namely a General Mode, a NightSense Mode, and an Extra Sensitive Allergen Mode. The NightSense mode turns off lights and lowers fan speed when the room gets darker to let you sleep peacefully. The unit is designed for small and medium-sized rooms such as bedrooms and studies.
This is one of the best air purifiers in the filterless category. It is also quite effective against mold and mildew problems in your indoor air. Keep in mind that a majority of purifiers that come with filters are not as efficient against mold as filterless models such as the Airfree Onix 3000. It features a heated core that is capable of destroying a wide range of pollutants including mold, bacteria, dust mites, viruses, and every microorganism that has invaded the interior part of your home. The unit also has the advantage of saving you filter replacement costs. It doesn’t have a filter. It also runs quietly in the background and will never disturb your peace while you’re relaxing in the comforts of your home.
The PuriCare Tower air purifier from LG keeps you updated on the quality of air inside the room from a panel of color-coded LED lights. It is a highly digitized unit with a sleek design, easy to use controls, and has one of the quietest operations in air purifiers of its capacity.
The unit has been scientifically proven to be very helpful to people suffering from allergies and asthma breathe cleaner air and lead better lives. It is ideal for rooms with space sizes of up to 217 square feet. Other key features of this unit include Touch Controls for three fan speeds and Turbo, three operating modes namely Auto, Manual, and Sleep modes, a timer, child lock, and filter rims that have different colors for hygienic replacement. It is an Energy Star air purifier which means it has better energy efficiency, which saves you money in the long run.
What do air purifiers do?
An air purifier gives you a clean pollution-free indoor environment. It helps to reduce the concentration of allergens and other airborne pollutants inside your house. However, the efficiency and number of pollutants eliminated by the unit largely depends on its specifications and technology.
A Quick Look at Air Purifier Technology
Air purifiers come in different designs and technology. The most common technologies available on the market today are High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration, ozone generators, and electrostatic precipitators.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of air purification technology:
This is one of the most effective air purification technologies. It is capable of eliminating up to 99.97% of pollutant particles from your indoor air. HEPA air purifiers, however, require regular maintenance and filter replacements. The most popular HEPA brands include Alen, AllerAir, and Austin Air.
Electrostatic air purifiers
The only good thing about electrostatic air purifiers is that they don’t require filter replacements as regularly as HEPA systems. The downside is that they can only eliminate 30% of airborne particles in your indoor environment. Their efficiency in cleaning the air inside enclosed spaces is limited. Common electrostatic brands include Ionic Breeze, Pure Ion Pro, and Crane.
This is another powerful air purification technology that is capable of eliminating heavy odors and killing bacteria, molds, and any other microorganism inside your living quarters. The main disadvantage of this technology is that it is highly dangerous to your well being and can cause lung irritations. In fact, ozone purifiers are officially prohibited in the state of California. They are unsafe for residential use. Ozone brands include Air-Zone, EdenPURE, Ultra-Pure, and Crystal Air.
Additional features to consider
Besides the air purifier technology, other key features to consider include the following:
The unit’s pre-filter
A pre-filter is a removable layer of the main filter that arrests large particles such as hair and dust. The pre-filter helps to extend the main HEPA filter’s life. Most pre-filters can be removed and washed or vacuumed. They are cheaper to replace too.
A good air purifier should also feature an activated carbon which traps chemicals and gases from the air and helps to neutralize odors in your cozy interiors. It is an efficient toxin removal part of the air purifier filter and often comes combined with potassium iodide or zeolite.
Ultraviolet (UV) light is another important feature in an air purifier. UV light helps to neutralize bacteria thriving on the filters of the unit. The effectiveness of UV light depends on exposure time. Different models have different exposure periods.
Ionizers help to keep your indoor clean by charging airborne particles which causes them to clump together and form larger particles that can be easily removed. Larger particles are more easily captured. However, ionizers are not effective without HEPA filtration. They also emit ozone which makes it imperative to use ozone-safe ionizers only, especially in residential environments.
A digital filter life indicator
This is another useful feature that notifies you when the unit’s filter has reached its capacity and needs to be replaced. Filter life indicators show the actual usage of the filter and its capacity.
Automatic shut-off timer
There are air purifier models that come with a built-in timer which you can set to automatically shut off the air purifier after a given period of time. This is a useful energy saving feature.
Other Factors to Consider in the Best Air Purifier Unit
Here are a few more factors you’ll need to consider when shopping for the best air purifier.
The unit’s coverage area
Find out the unit’s coverage area and ensure that the square footage of the unit is the same or more than the square footage of your room. The unit should be able to cover your entire room for the best results.
The CADR score for air purifiers is a standard developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to show consumers the amount of filtered air an air purifier provides. The CADR score evaluates the efficiency of the unit in three parts namely smoke, pollen, and dust. A unit with high CADR score is more effective in eliminating airborne pollutants than one with lower scores. Not every air purifier has CADR scores but we recommend going for one that shows you its scores.
Air Changes Per Hour (ACH) is a rating that tells you how frequently the unit can exchange all the air inside the room. For instance, a unit with ACH rating of 6 for a room measuring 20×20 feet can exchange the air inside the room six times per hour. If you are allergic to specific particles or are asthmatic, you need a unit with ACH rating of more than 4, preferably 8.
HEPA air purifiers come in a wide range of prices, from affordable units designed for small spaces to high-end fully loaded units for large rooms. The type of unit you choose to purchase will depend on the size of room you intend to use it in. However, keep in mind that there are running costs too besides the initial cost. You’ll need to consider costs related to annual filter replacement and energy consumption. Talking of energy costs, we recommend getting a unit that is Energy Star rated.
The cost of filter replacement
HEPA air purifiers are among the best units you can get out there but before you purchase one, check how much it will cost to replace the filter. The carbon filter and other filtration media will also need to be replaced separately at different times. Remember filter replacement ensures that you get maximum service from your air purifier while maximizing the motor’s lifetime. Most manufacturers have included filter replacement as a primary condition in their warranties.
An air purifier is just like any other home appliance but the difference is that it should be kept running continuously at all times. It is therefore important to consider the impact of the unit on your utility bill before you purchase one. Different models use different amounts of electric power so check its kilowatt hour usage. A majority of good air purifiers use around 50 watts when running low and as much as 200 watts when running high.
The unit’s noise level
It makes no sense to replace air pollution with noise pollution. You need a peaceful quiet environment just as much as you need clean air. It is therefore important to check on the amount of noise the unit emits while running. Some units, such as BlueAir and AirPura, run extremely quiet. They are barely noticeable. However, most models are perceptibly loud when running at full power. A unit with thick carbon filters and slow fan speed delivers better filtration and lower noise level. In general, noise level is related to fan settings in most units. You may need to ask for a demonstration of the unit before you buy it to determine if you can live with its noise output.
Ozone is a potentially dangerous lung irritant especially for young children, the elderly, and asthmatics. We recommend that you avoid air purifiers that pollute your indoor air with ozone. Go for a unit that is CARB certified. CARB refers to the California Air Resource Board regulations. It is the strictest testing agency for consumer products. Simply ask if the unit is CARB compliant.
Air purifiers come with warranties but the warranty period differs from one manufacturer to another. For instance, the Austin Air model has a five-year warranty while other less expensive units have warranties of between one and three years. Take note of what is covered in the warranty. Ideally, it should cover the motor, the fan, and other electrical components. Ask what kind of customer action can void the warranty. Some manufacturers require the customer to replace the filter after a given period of time or void the warranty.
The air purifier brands and models discussed above come with different designs, features, room coverage area capacities, and budgets. The common denominator among them all is that they are high-quality models with the best features and functionalities. If you are looking for the best air purifier within your specific budget, you’ll definitely find one among our top picks.