The best air purifiers can filter out many of the most dangerous particles in your home. That's true whether you suffer from allergies, have pets who shed hair and dander, live with a smoker or simply want to breathe better.
Air purifiers may even offer some protection against the COVID-19 coronavirus, Consumer Reports recently found.
While no device can completely eliminate air pollutants or be a substitute for natural ventilation with clean outdoor air, the best air purifiers can improve respiratory health, according to the EPA.
That's especially true if you suffer from asthma or chronic allergies. Air purifiers with HEPA filters, or "HEPA-like" filters, will trap most airborne particles, including pet dander and pollen.
Airborne droplets that are expelled from the mouth or nose of someone infected with COVID-19 would also be trapped, although the rate at which the air is cleaned depends on the specific air-purifier model.
Some air-purifier filters have pre-filters attached to trap larger pet hairs before they get to the main filter, and you can usually remove and wash the pre-filter for extended life.
Meanwhile, many air purifiers have ionizers that use electrostatic attraction to get very small particles to cling to the filters, or ultraviolet lights to (in theory) kill bacteria and mold on dust. (Those would probably not be effective against the COVID-19 virus, Consumer Reports noted.)
Some of the best air purifiers use charcoal or carbon filters to trap odors and petroleum-based gases (otherwise known as volatile organic compounds).
Most air purifiers can be compared using their clean air delivery rate (CADR) numbers, which tell you how many cubic feet per minute the purifier can clean. The goal is to have all the air in a room cleaned in about 15 minutes, so a 300-square-foot room would need an air purifier with a CADR of about 200, assuming the ceilings were 10 feet high and the doors were kept closed.
- Buying an air purifier? Here's what you need to know
- 5 reasons you need an air purifier
- How do air purifiers work?
What are the best air purifiers?
Based on our research, which includes considering over 30 brands and studying dozens of customer and expert reviews, we've identified the top air purifiers for your home or office.
Our top pick is the Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty, a quiet model with a HEPA filter, prefiler, ionizer and odor filter. With its consistently strong performance for the price (including the cost of replacement filters), the Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty is the best purifier for most people.
The best-looking air purifier is the Blueair Blue Pure 211+, which comes in five color palettes including yellow, blue and pink. It's more powerful than the Coway Mighty, but is also a bit louder. It also doesn't have a HEPA filter, but Blueair insists its filters are even better. (Due to its high clean air delivery rate, or CADR, Consumer Reports included this on its list of models that would be most effective at cleaning a room of COVID-19 droplets.)
If you are on a budget, we recommend either the Levoit LV-H132, which retails for about $120, or the Blueair Blue Pure 411, which goes for about $90. Either will do nicely in your bedroom, though they may struggle in living rooms.
Parents of young children will appreciate the PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier, which is small, quiet and perfect for kids' and babies' bedrooms. It can also be put on a timer to shut itself off while the little ones slumber.
If you don't like changing filters, try the Austin Air HealthMate HM-400; its filters last up to 5 years. It also filters out the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) you'll get from paints, plastics and petroleum products.
Finally, if money is no object and clean air is critical to your health needs, the IQAir HealthPro Plus or the Coway Airmega 400 may fit the bill. Both are equipped to handle rooms of 1,000 square feet or more.
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.
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|
The best air purifier you can buy today
1. Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty
The best air purifier overall
Room size: 361 square feet | Filters: True HEPA + washable prefilter + odor filter + bipolar ion filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 223 cfm/246 cfm/240 cfm | Speeds: Three | Warranty: Three years
The Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty is consistently listed among the top-ranked and highest-regarded air purifiers on the market — and with good reason. 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.
In Wirecutter tests, the Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty outperformed most other machines even after the filter's life span had passed. 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. The reviewers also said the filter-replacement process is straightforward.
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.
What reviewers say
Wirecutter: "The Coway maintains its exceptional performance over the long term: When we measured its performance using filters that had been in use 24/7 for more than a year, it still cleaned the air as well as it did with brand-new filters. Finally, its compact form, quiet operation, and display-shutoff feature make it especially well suited to bedrooms."
Amazon: "Love the colored air-quality indicator and the auto feature, so it kicks on when something is detected in the air, but is in standby the rest of the time (there are also several continuous settings). It's aesthetically pleasing as far as air purifiers go."
2. Blueair Blue Pure 211+
The most attractive best air purifier
Room size: 540 square feet | Filters: HEPASilent filter + washable pre-filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 350 cfm | Speeds: Three | Noise level: 31–56 dB | Warranty: One year
The Blue Pure 211+ is highly rated by Wirecutter, Consumer Reports and others 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. In Wirecutter tests, the 211+ reduced particulates by more than 99% when operating on high.
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).
What reviewers say
Consumer Reports: "Especially effective at removing dust, smoke and pollen at its highest speed, important for quickly cleaning the air in the room."
Wirecutter: "It's not our pick because it hasn't proven the test of time like the Coway...This said, our initial findings suggest that it's an excellent purifier, with a clean, modern design (and five color options) that looks good in most spaces."
3. Blueair Blue Pure 411
The best air purifier for small spaces
Room size: 161 square feet | Filters: HEPASilent filter + washable pre-filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 105 cfm/120 cfm/120 cfm | Speeds: Three | Noise level: 17– 46 dB | Warranty: One year
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.
What reviewers say
Wirecutter: "The 411 is also very easy to live with, and especially to sleep or work near — important considerations for a purifier that's meant for bedrooms and offices."
Home Depot: "Great air purifier with a simple design. I use this on one side of my main house level and love it. It is small, quiet and essentially has three filters which take an array of 'contaminates' out of the air. It is also light and easy to move around. It provides great air quality for a good price."
4. Coway Airmega 400
The best air purifiers for large spaces
Room size: 1,560 square feet (maximum) | Filters: Dual true HEPA/carbon filter + washable pre-filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 350 cfm | Speeds: Four | Noise level: 22–52 dB | Warranty: Five years
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. In Wirecutter tests, the Airmega 400 completed 8.8 air changes per hour in a 350-square-foot room and four in a 770-square-foot room. 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.
What reviewers say
Wirecutter: "If you have severe allergies or other health issues related to airborne particles, or if you need to purify the air in a seriously large space, we recommend Coway's Airmega 400. In our tests, its twin filters have consistently proven to be one of the highest-performing purifiers available...The Airmega 400 works faster than our other picks, too."
Allergy Buyers Club: "Does a great job of keeping a pet haired open-concept family room/kitchen/dining room relatively dander free. Did my first pre-filter cleaning last week and it captured quite a bit of stuff...Much easier to breath and you can see the changes in air quality based on the front panel LED display."
5. Austin Air HealthMate HM-400
The longest-lasting filters
Room size: 938 square feet | Filters: True HEPA + large pre-filter + medium pre-filter + carbon filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): N/A | Speeds: Three | Noise level: 39.8–64.5 dB | Warranty: Five years
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.
What reviewers say
Wirecutter: "In our past tests for VOC/odor/molecular-pollution removal, the Austin's 15-pound activated-carbon and zeolite (an adsorbent mineral) filter bested all other air purifiers by a wide margin, and our research has not revealed another purifier that matches it."
Allergy Buyers Club: "Even though I have only used it for a short time, it has taken out the natural-gas smell that has permeated my apartment. It has also helped tremendously with my allergies."
6. Honeywell HPA300
A good value pick among air purifiers
Room size: 465 square feet | Filters: True HEPA + disposable pre-filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 300 cfm/320 cfm/300 cfm | Speeds: Four | Warranty: Five years
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. Consumer Reports found that this unit is very effective and quiet at its lowest speed, so it won't be too disruptive in a bedroom or even in the background elsewhere in your home. The HPA300 is also quieter at higher speeds than some other units, although Wirecutter tests measured noise at 62 dB on the highest setting.
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.
What reviewers say
Consumer Reports: "Effective at removing dust, smoke, and pollen at its lowest speed, which matters if you'll run the unit in your bedroom at night...Not especially quiet, but among the quietest air purifiers when on its highest speed."
Best Buy: "It's still more expensive than most of the competition, but you get top-of-the-line results without spending almost a grand in cash. Our whole home smells noticeably better all the time."
7. Levoit LV-H132
The best air purifier for very tight budgets
Room size: 129 square feet | Filters: True HEPA + disposable pre-filter + carbon filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 110 cfm | Speeds: Three | Noise level: 50 dB max | Warranty: Two years
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.
What reviewers say
Amazon: "We also have hardwood floors, so the dust, dander, and pet hair get kicked up very easily. This air purifier has made a world of difference!"
SafeWise: "This personal air purifier has a stylish design and is portable enough to easily move from room-to-room or from home to office."
8. PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
The best air purifier for nurseries and bedrooms
Room size: 200 square feet | Filters: True HEPA + disposable pre-filter + carbon filter + UV-C light | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 80 | Speeds: Three | Noise level: 30–50 dB | Warranty: Five years
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.
What reviewers say
Amazon: "Very attractive and functional piece of hardware. You can tell this is a quality piece right out of the box just by the decent weight of the product. It is not cheaply made. Got that luxury look to it; with touch-sensitive buttons, smooth top grill, and white all-around finish."
Home Depot: "I bought it for my baby niece for her nursery...We turn it on before she goes to bed on a higher setting and then when she is ready for bed we just touch the SLEEP button and it lowers down to a quieter level, turns off the ultraviolet light, sets the automatic timer to shut itself off after 8 hours and turns off the outside blue lights on the buttons."
9. IQAir HealthPro Plus
The best air purifier for allergy sufferers
Room size: 1,125 square feet | Filters: HyperHEPA + disposable pre-filter + V5-cell gas & odor filter | CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): N/A | Speeds: Six | Warranty: 10 years
Let's state the obvious: the IQAir HealthPro Plus is expensive. At around $900, it's more than twice 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.
What reviewers say
SafeWise: "When it comes to purifying the air for allergies and asthma, the IQAir HealthPro Plus gets the job done. Its HyperHEPA filtration catches particles one hundred times smaller than standard air filters, which means less airborne pollutants flying around your home."
Allergy Buyers Club: "The IQAIR Healthpro & Healthpro Plus are the ultimate air purifiers for persons with health issues of a magnitude requiring absolute clean air...We are very impressed IQAir provides actual, not theoretical, claims for each and every air cleaner they produce."
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.
Air purifier CADR ratings
Most air purifiers have a clean air delivery rate (CADR) number that helps consumers understand how effective the device is in a certain room size. The higher the number, the more particles the purifier can remove, and the larger the space it can clean.
Some devices have different ratings for smoke (the smallest particle), dust and pollen (the largest particle). 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 gases, VOCs or odor compounds.
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
The purchase price of your air purifier is one thing. Ongoing filter replacement and energy costs are another. For example, some machines have filters that last for years but are expensive to replace, while others work with filters that are cheap to purchase but have to be changed frequently.
You'll also want to consider the cost of electricity. Some of the best air purifiers we recommend are ENERGY STAR certified, but each pulls varying amounts of power on different fan speeds.
Devices for larger rooms and with higher speeds tend to use more electricity. although this isn't a hard-and-fast rule. Some devices also have eco modes. The Blue Pure 411 requires the least energy, but it covers only a small room.
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.