The best air purifiers are quiet, compact and effective at clearing your air of any pollen, pollutants or dust. These handy appliances can also filter out any pet dander and even airborne viruses, so they’re useful in more ways than one. The result is a more pleasant environment, which is easier to breathe. Air purifiers are particularly useful if you suffer from allergies, be it hay fever or pets, and they can reduce symptoms at night as well. So, if you find yourself waking up with a blocked nose or itchy throat, you need to invest in one of these.
Some air purifiers even claim to protect against COVID-19 coronavirus by catching any particles which carry the virus, according to Consumer Reports. This is why air purifiers have seen such a surge in popularity since the start of the pandemic. If you’ve spotted a model which you really want, but it’s out of stock, try again in a few days or a week as brands regularly re-stock.
- Buying an air purifier? Here's what you need to know
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It’s worth mentioning that no air purifier will completely remove all air pollutants, and the result isn’t a replacement for clean, outdoor air, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. However, the best air purifiers will make a difference to the quality of the air in your home and improve respiratory health.
"When used along with other best practices recommended by CDC and others," the EPA says, "[air] filtration can be part of a plan to protect people indoors" from COVID-19.
But, which are the best air purifiers? We've done the research to find the top performers.
What are the best air purifiers?
Our extensive research compared over 30 brands and after assessing the strengths and weaknesses of each, we found the best air purifiers to suit every home.
We recommend the Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty as the best air purifier overall. It’s a strong performer considering its price point and offers an abundance of filters including a HEPA filter, prefilter, ionizer and odor filter. It’s also quiet in use, which is particularly important if you want to use it at night.
If you want style as well as substance, then the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ is worth considering. It’s available in a range of colors including pink, blue and yellow, so it really makes a statement. This air purifier is powerful, but is admittedly loud, so perhaps not one for the bedroom at night. It doesn’t feature a HEPA filter either, but BlueAir claims its filters are just as effective. Consumer Reports also noted that this model was one of the best for catching COVID-19 droplets in the air.
If you’re shopping on a budget, then the Levoit LV-H132 or the Blueair Blue Pure 411 are your best options. Both are affordable, but will make a difference to the quality of your air. IKEA’s new Förnuftig air purifier is also worth checking out. Although, you might need to buy more than one to see similar results to our winner.
The best air purifier you can buy today
The Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty is consistently ranked among the best air purifiers on the market — and with good reason. It's also one of the quickest to sell out at online and brick-and-mortar stores.
It's reasonably priced for how well it works, it's one of the quieter machines of its size, and it has most of the features we'd want in an air purifier, including a programmable timer, several fan speeds and a filter indicator light. As a result, it's a bit hard to find in stock right now.
Replacement filters are fairly cheap and energy costs relatively low, which makes the Coway one of the least expensive air purifiers of its caliber to maintain year to year.
Finally, the Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty is easy on the eyes. It comes in sleek black or white and is relatively compact compared with many other purifiers of similar performance, so it simply fades into a corner.
The Coway Mighty is one of the only purifiers we considered that has an ionizing function. The effectiveness and safety of ion filters is questionable (due to possible ozone production), but you can just turn this function off.
The Blue Pure 211+ is highly rated for its solid performance in removing dust, smoke and pollen from room air.
The Blueair's filters aren't true HEPA-certified, but they are still effective. They work by giving particles an electric charge, which causes those particles to stick to filter fibers.
The Blue 211+ pre-filter comes in five different colors, from eye-popping yellow to low-key gray, so you can customize the look for your space. The machine also has a filter indicator light to let you know when it's time to replace your main filter.
Possible downsides of the Blue Pure 211+ include more noise on lower speeds compared with similar machines, and relatively high purchase and maintenance costs. For example, it draws more power than the Coway on similar speeds (though it moves more air) and it is a bit louder and more expensive (both upfront and over time).
The Blue Pure 411 is like the 211+'s much smaller sibling. It uses similar filtering technology and features and comes in a variety of colors.
Where the Blue Pure 411 stands out is in price and efficiency. The purifier is inexpensive to buy (just over $100) and maintain (around $20 annually for replacement filters), and it uses significantly less energy than most other air purifiers we researched. The machine is also small, compact and quiet, making it a great choice for your bedroom.
The one thing to keep in mind is that if you plan to move your purifier from room to room, the Blue Pure 411 won't be very effective in larger spaces.
Coway's Airmega 400 is a high-performing air purifier at a high price, but reviewers generally agree that the trade-off is worthwhile. The Airmega 400 has a dual carbon + true HEPA filter, which allows it to clean the air in a large space over a short period more effectively than other machines.
Coway claims the Airmega 400 is good for filtering rooms of up to 1,560 square feet, but you'll likely get better performance in rooms that are half that size. If you put the purifier in a space up to the maximum recommended size, it'll do two or fewer air changes per hour.
The Airmega 400 is large but sleek, and it has convenient features like a programmable timer and a display shut-off to minimize disruption during sleep. There's also a "smart" version (the Airmega 400S) that you can integrate with an Alexa device or a mobile app.
Like its smaller cousin the Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty, the Airemega 400 was out of stock everywhere last time we looked. Hopefully, it will be available again soon.
The Austin Air Healthmate HM-400's main selling point is its high-performing and long-lasting filters, which handle everything from mold and pet dander to gas and chemical contaminants.
It isn't CADR-tested, but it gets high marks from reviewers for filtering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that come from household products such as paints, pesticides and air fresheners better than most other machines on the market.
In addition to being effective, Healthmate HM-400 filters last for up to five years. You can vacuum or clean the pre-filter periodically in that time as well.
Criticisms of the Healthmate HM-400 include a fairly time-consuming filter-replacement process as well as noisy medium and high fan speeds. The unit also doesn't have some basic features (such as a programmable timer or filter indicator light) that you'd expect even at a lower price, and it's fairly power-hungry.
While the Healthmate HM-400 is pricey, it's a good option if you have particular concerns about chemicals and odors.
Honeywell air purifiers get decent reviews across the board, and the HPA300 is a good unit for a fairly reasonable price.
It has among the highest CADR ratings for smoke, dust and pollen of the units we recommend, and it can filter slightly larger rooms effectively. It also has four speeds (compared with three on most units), a programmable timer and adjustable control panel lights.
The HPA300 is also portable, so you can move it easily between rooms. The HPA300 is also quieter at higher speeds than some other units.
Where the Honeywell HPA300 could fall short is in its filter-replacement and maintenance requirements. Both the true HEPA filter and pre-filter are disposable and must be replaced every six to 12 months.The HEPA filter is actually three filters that reviewers said can be tricky to get in the exact right spot.
The Levoit LV-H132 is an Amazon best-seller and the most budget-friendly purifier on our list. Reviewers said it does a decent job for the price, especially with pet odors. It's also a sleek machine that's lightweight, compact and portable, so you can easily move it around your home.
At this price, you can't expect bells and whistles — and the Levoit LV-H132 doesn't have any. There is no programmable timer, and the device's filter indicator light reminds you to check your filters but does not tell you when it's time to actually replace them.
You have to toss all three filters every six months to a year, as the pre-filter isn't washable. But two replacement sets will cost you just $30.
Reviewers report that the Levoit LV-H132 is fairly loud on higher settings, so sensitive sleepers may struggle to use this unit in their bedrooms. The buttons are also reportedly finicky — they may stick, freeze, or quit working altogether.
If you're looking for an inexpensive air purifier — or want several machines to cover multiple bedrooms in your home — the Levoit LV-H132 is a decent unit to start with. Truthfully, though, it's probably worth it to spend a bit more for a better device (like the Blue Pure 411) than to compromise with the Levoit.
The PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier is another popular (and budget-friendly) model among customers. It's small, sleek and unobtrusive, which makes it a good choice for those who care about aesthetics and decent performance.
What sets the PureZone 3-in-1 apart is its quiet operation. It's soft on lower settings and has an automatic timer that can shut the device off while you sleep. This makes it a good option for bedrooms and babies' rooms where noise and light disruption matter. The device comes with a five-year warranty, longer than other machines at similar prices.
The PureZone 3-in-1 has one of the lowest CADR ratings of the devices on this list (80 cfm) and reportedly has a weak fan that limits it to small spaces, but reviewers say that it's effective at filtering most common air particles.
Let's state the obvious: the IQAir HealthPro Plus is expensive. At around $900, it's several times the price of many other picks on our list.
But if you're serious about air purification, this machine is well worth your consideration. It uses HyperHEPA filters, which reportedly retain particles at a rate 100 times higher than standard HEPA filters, as well as a secondary filter for odors and gases.
The IQAir HealthPro Plus also covers a huge area (1,125 square feet) at two air changes per hour, and can do six per hour in a smaller room. Plus, it has six speeds, programming options, filter indicators and a remote control.
This purifier is a top seller and highly rated by experts at Allergy Buyers Club, especially for those who have allergies or other special health concerns that are affected by air quality. While it isn't CADR-rated, IQAir tests every unit individually and offers a 10-year warranty, double the time of any other device we recommend.
While the IQAir HealthPro Plus is larger, louder and pricier than most air purifiers, reviewers say it may provide the relief those with asthma, allergies and respiratory challenges seek.
IKEA entered the air-purifier arena in April 2021 with the Förnuftig, a very inexpensive and very attractive model that looks like a Danish-modern loudspeaker. The Förnuftig is so light (less that 8 pounds) and small (12 x 18 inches) that you can even hang it on the wall.
Even the operational costs are low. The Förnuftig comes with a HEPA-like filter for small particles — replacement filters are $5.49 each — and there's an optional activated-carbon filter for odors and VOCs that costs $9.99. You're looking at a total yearly outlay of less than $50.
Now for the downside. A single Förnuftig can really handle only the smallest rooms, those of 108 or fewer square feet. It's got a top CADR of 70 cfm, which barely clears the EPA minimum recommendations and is the lowest we've seen. And at 60 dB for the highest fan speed — the one that delivers the maximum CADR — it might get a little loud.
You could in theory just get two or three units, hang them around the house and see how you like them. Overall, the Förnuftig can't really go toe-to-toe with the best air purifiers — but at these prices, it may not need to.
The Levoit Core 400S is one of the most attractive air purifiers we've encountered, and its wide assortment of features and reasonable price (about $200) make it a worthy contender among models in the 400-square-foot range. If the robot EVE from the movie "Wall-E" could be an air purifier, this is how she would look.
The white cylindrical unit has a black vent on top through which the air flows, surrounding a circular control panel. At the center of the control panel is a digital readout telling you how clean your air is, as measured by the number of particles 2.5 micrometers or smaller per cubic meter. If it's very good, a ring of LEDs is blue; lessening degrees of air quality turn the LEDs green, orange or red.
Because the Levoit Core 400S tests your air quality, it can automatically adjust the fan speed to match. The Wi-Fi-enabled unit can be controlled via a smartphone app that lets you change fan speeds or set a timer or a schedule, whether at home or remotely. It's also compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
How to choose the best air purifier for you
There are dozens of air purifiers on the market, and it can be difficult to sort out which one is the best air purifier for your home size, health concerns and price. Here are a few factors to consider.
The best air purifiers compared
|List Price||Room size||Filter||CADR (cfm)||Noise level|
|Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty||$230||361 sq. ft||True HEPA||233/246/240||24.4-53.8 dB|
|Blueair Blue Pure 211+||$300||540 sq. ft.||HEPASilent||350||31-56 dB|
|Blueair Blue Pure 411||$120||161 sq. ft.||HEPASilent||105/120/120||17-46 dB|
|Coway Airmega 400||$650||1,560 sq. ft.||True HEPA||350||22-52 dB|
|Austin Air HealthMate HM-400||$595||938 sq. ft.||True HEPA||Unavailable||39.8 dB - 64.5 dB|
|Honeywell HPA300||$250||465 sq. ft.||True HEPA||300/320/300||Unavailable|
|Levoit LV-H132||$90||129 sq. ft.||True HEPA||110||Up to 50 dB|
|PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier||$100||200 sq. ft.||True HEPA||80||30-50 dB|
|IQAir HealthPro Plus||$900||1,125 sq. ft.||HyperHEPA||Unavailable||35-69 dB|
|IKEA Förnuftig||$55||108 sq. ft.||HEPA-like||70||29-60 dB|
|Levoit Core 400S||$220||400 sq, ft.||True HEPA||260||24-52 dB|
Air purifier CADR ratings
The effectiveness of an air purifier can be measured by the CADR (Clean air delivery rate). This number reveals its performance depending on a particular room size. The higher the number, the better it is at clearing airborne particles and the more effective it is at cleaning a larger space too.
The numbers translate to how many cubic feet of air the purifier can clean per minute. The standard goal is to clean a full room’s worth of air in 15 minutes. So, for instance, a 300-square-foot room would need an air purifier with a CADR of 200 or so, assuming ceilings were 10 feet high and any doors and windows were closed.
Some air purifiers come with different CADRs for smoke, pollen and dust, so you can see which it is most effective for.
Here are the minimum CADR ratings the Environmental Protection Agency recommends by room size:
|Area (sq. ft.)||100||200||300||400||500||600|
|Minimum CADR (cfm)||65||130||195||260||325||390|
Not every purifier is tested using the CADR rating system, but real-life reviews can give you a sense of a device's effectiveness if a rating isn't available.
Air purifier filter types
In general, you'll want to look for a purifier that uses a true high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter.
Government agencies and professional groups, including the EPA and the American Lung Association, recommend True HEPA filters as the standard for air purification. These filters trap 99.97% of particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size.
Some devices have HEPA-type filters, which work similarly but aren't held to the same performance standards. The IQAir HealthPro Plus uses a HyperHEPA filter, which is believed to capture even smaller particles than a True HEPA filter.
Your purifier will likely also come with a pre-filter (some you can clean, some you have to toss after a few months) that catches the big stuff like pet fur and human hair before it reaches the main filter.
Some devices have additional filters, like carbon or charcoal filters, that trap the petroleum-based gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Air purifier noise levels
Air-purifier noise levels range from nearly silent to steady humming, like an AC unit. Depending on the fan speed you're using and where you're placing your purifier, you may prefer a quieter device.
Air purifier added costs
Most of us don’t realise there’s ongoing costs to consider when buying an air purifier. For one thing, there’s the cost of replacing the filter, for another, there’s the energy use to power it. In terms of filter replacement, some models come with filters which last for years, but these can be very expensive to replace, while others can be less expensive to replace, but need to be changed more often. To calculate the overall cost, consider the frequency of replacing as well as the cost of a new filter. OneLife’s new air purifier never needs its filter replaced if you really want to save!
Next, there’s the cost of powering it to consider. Some of the best air purifiers we recommend are Energy Star certified and these will generally save you money in the long run. However, different speeds and settings will affect the energy use, which needs to be taken into account.
If your air purifier is designed to cover a large room and it comes with a powerful fan, it’s likely to consume more electricity, although efficiency can vary from model-to-model. Some air purifiers also come with an eco mode which is worth looking out for if you want to save on energy consumption and be more sustainable in the process. From our list, the Blue Pure 411 requires the least energy, but it only covers a small space, so always cross reference the energy use with the coverage.
Air purifier extra features
Some features are more nice-to-have extras than absolute requirements. In general, pricier purifiers come with more features, such as filter indicator lights, dimmable lights and programmable timers.
Only one of the devices we recommend (the IQAir HealthPro Plus) comes with a remote control, but we're not convinced that this adds a lot of value to the machine.
Should I get a smart air purifier?
Some modern air purifiers, such as the Levoit Core 400S, can be connected to the Wi-Fi and linked to an app on your smartphone. In doing this, you can control the air purifier remotely, including changing the fan speed or setting a schedule. For some air purifiers, the app will also breakdown the quality of the air and let you monitor it more precisely.
This can give you a much better understanding of what’s in your air and you can see the effect the air purifier is having on it too. Using the Dyson air purifier app for instance, you can see the different levels of particulate matter as well as any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen dioxide. This is usually displayed in a chart form so you can see where there’s been an increase in any air impurities.
This can be a useful feature to have, particularly if you want to better understand your air and want to source where your allergies are coming from. It’s also nice to see the evidence that the air purifier is making a difference.
Some apps will even display what the air is like outside as well, so you know not to leave when the pollen count is high or the general air quality is low.
How we picked the best air purifiers
To make our short list of air purifiers for consideration, we looked at top picks from Wirecutter, Consumer Reports, Allergy Buyers Club and others, and also noted the top-selling and most highly reviewed models on Amazon, Home Depot and Best Buy. We narrowed down our list to nine models based on features, price and other factors, including clean air delivery rate (CADR) ratings and noise levels.