A year ago, if you thought about air purifiers at all, you probably filed them away in the “nice to have” category of your mind. Before 2020, a lot of people, myself included, thought air purifiers were a waste of money and space. It really is wild how much has changed in so little time, because finding an air purifier in stock and available for purchase online is no easy task. Dyson, which makes the best HEPA air purifiers, is completely sold out of its popular Pure Cool air purifiers, and even sites like Amazon have limited supplies left.
A lot of the world is spending more time indoors this summer, but now our indoor time is about to double with colder weather on the horizon. And, given the fact that experts predict that we’re entering an age of pandemics, social distancing and at-home entertainment could become the new normal. On top of that, a vicious wildfire season has blanketed much of the United States in a haze of smoke, with air quality reaching dangerous levels all along the west coast this September. For all these reasons, a HEPA air purifier is looking like a pretty good investment right now.
However, and this is important, not all air purifiers are worth your hard-earned money. A lot of sketchy companies are trying to take advantage of the surging interest in air purifiers, especially HEPA air purifiers.
What Are HEPA Air Purifiers? And How Do They Work?
If you’re planning on purchasing an air purifier, your best bet is to go with one that uses a HEPA air filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air, and according to the EPA, a HEPA purifier should remove 99.97% of pollutants trapped in the air of your home. In theory, these filters should remove dust, pollen, bacteria and fungus particles as small as 0.3 microns (for reference, the Mayo Clinic reports that the coronavirus particles are 0.12 microns in size). N95 face masks also filter particles down to 0.3 microns.
The best HEPA air purifiers capture dust, pollen, germs, bacteria, mold and other airborne particles. Even if your region is suffering from dangerous air quality levels due to forest fires or some other disaster, HEPA air filters can help you clean the air inside your home. Because kids, pets, seniors, allergy sufferers and asthma patients may be especially sensitive to changes in air quality, air purifiers are quickly becoming a hot commodity. Of course, these devices require regular cleaning to properly work, and replacement HEPA filters will be needed periodically. These devices are usually the size of a large fan, and the best HEPA purifiers can be easily moved from room to room as needed.
For many Americans, HEPA air purifiers have become less of a want and more of a need. Whether you’re worried about the coronavirus, smoke from forest fires or good old-fashioned pollution, these are the best tools we have to improve the air quality inside our homes. Of course, that also means that these devices are increasingly hard to find.
The Best HEPA Air Purifiers of 2020, Reviewed
If you want to buy an air purifier for your own home or office, then you should place an order while you can. However, that doesn’t mean you should rush out to order any product you can find marketed as a HEPA air purifier. We recommend purchasing these appliances from trusted brands and retailers. You should also make sure you can easily find and purchase replacement HEPA air filters that are compatible with the model you choose, otherwise the benefits of your purifier will be shortlived. For good measure, you might also want to invest in an air quality monitor as well.
Below, you’ll find SPY’s picks for the best air purifiers for sale in 2020. In a few cases, the products are currently back-ordered, although you can still pre-order your machine for the next available shipment. You’ll see that we’ve listed a couple of our favorite purifiers from Dyson, which has a well-deserved reputation for innovative product design, as well as some lower-cost alternatives. A Honeywell air purifier is another popular option, and there are also quality options from lesser-known brands like Winic and RabbitAir.
If you’re ready to snag your very first air purifier, here are a few options that are worth the buy.
1. Dyson Pure Cool TP04 Purifying Fan
We have to say we are surprised that there are still Dyson Pure Cool TP04 purifying fans available on Dyson’s site right now. In recent months, it’s been a real rarity. Dyson is world-renowned for its exceptionally powerful, tough-as-hell vacuum cleaners that have the ability to deep clean even the toughest-to-clean carpets and surfaces, so don’t be surprised that they also make the most impressive air purifier on the market. The Dyson Pure Cool TP04 has the ability to sense pollution in the air in real-time to capture ultrafine pollutants and blast out purified air using Air Multiplier technology. A sealed 360-degree HEPA filter and activated carbon filter work together to capture airborne particles at all angles, making sure no harmful entity in the air goes unnoticed. The fan also oscillates at a full 360 degrees. You can even connect the Dyson Pure Cool TP04 to your phone to get intelligent reporting right at your fingertips through the Dyson Link app.
The purifier is remote-control operated, has both regular and cooling options to make it usable even in the winter and a night time mode that delivers the same purifying effect with a quieter, dimmed approach. A few colors are available, but as of now, only a few are in stock. The Dyson Pure Cool TP04 goes completely above and beyond any other casual pollutant-capturing purifier, making that potentially bank-breaking price well worth the splurge. If the price tag gives you pause, we reviewed the pros and cons of the Dyson Pure Cool earlier this summer.
2. Dyson Pure Cool TP01 HEPA Purifier
The Dyson Pure Cool TP01 Purifying Fan is the slightly more affordable little sister of the Pure Cool TP04. It still has a majority of the same qualities with a little differentiation. This purifier doesn’t have the same smart features as the higher priced model, but it has the same HEPA air filter so that you can breathe easy again. Like the TP04, the TP01 is usable all year round with cooling options in the summer and regular air options during cold weather. It has a HEPA filter that catches 99.97% of unwanted germs and pollutants in your vicinity and has the ability to work its way even around larger rooms. The fan oscillates at 90 degrees to influence and manage air quality more effectively. Additionally, the TP01 has the ability to blast 77 gallons of air out into your house per second. Unlike the TP04, the TP01 is currently not available on Dyson’s site, so if this one’s calling your name, Amazon is your best bet.
3. Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier
With the majority of true HEPA air purifiers skyrocketing well over $100, it’s a real treat knowing that there is an option under triple digits that effectively purifies your home’s interior the way most alternatives do. Meet the Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier, an affordable air-purifying alternative to Dyson Pure Cool purifiers. Like Dyson, Germ Guardian has a HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of germs, dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores and other allergens found inside its range. This machine is also built with something a lot of air purifiers simply don’t have: a UV-C light. This is the same germ-fighting lights used in those nifty UV phone sanitizers.
The Germ Guardian is also an odor killer by providing an activated charcoal filter to help reduce pet odors, cooking fumes and smoke smells. It’s incredibly quiet and has three speed settings depending on how much power you need. Because the Germ Guardian is an affordable air purifier option, these machines are currently high in demand and won’t be back in stock on Amazon until late September (although it’s currently in stock at Walmart). Nonetheless, we recommend purchasing now to reserve your spot once they’re back in stock in anticipation of colder weather.
4. PurOxygen P500 Air Purifier
I was lucky enough to receive a sample of the PurOxygen P500 Air Purifier a few months back during the height of my anxiety over the pandemic, and let me say, it completely changed my life. This 6-stage advanced purification system puts my mind at ease tremendously by sneaking right in the corner of my living room and making almost no noise at all as it runs. I set the timer to just a few hours so my apartment’s air feels squaky clean day in and day out.
It comes with a remote control but I honestly prefer walking over to it and pressing the buttons up top. The P500 air filter removes 99.98% of airborne contaminants which is awesome for those suffering from allergies in their home or worried about the coronavirus. It’s a 100% must-buy.
5. Molekule Air Large Room Air Purifier
We’ve written about Molekule Air’s large room air purifier before, and it’s a sleek-looking gadget that will effectively fight indoor air pollution. This purifier has Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) nanotechnology, which it used to remove viruses, bacteria, VOCs, allergens and mold from the air. True, it doesn’t have the classic HEPA filter, but PECO air purification is a more than worthy HEPA alternative. Experts say that PECO air filtration can capture particles just 0.001 microns in size, while also destroying organic matter and filtering volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air.
Plus, the Molekule air purifier looks really cool. So not only will it filter the air, but it will also double as a piece of modern home decor. The PECO air purifier comes with a natural leather handle, making this portable enough to bring from room to room whenever you need it. While it works great anywhere in the home, the Molekule Air air purifier is exceptional for larger spaces. Molekule promises that its PECO air purifier can trap particles up to 1000x smaller than HEPA filters, which is pretty dang impressive. Note that this thing is also quiet — you can easily get some shut-eye even if it’s on full blast. Similar to the Dyson, you can even control speeds and such directly on your phone.
When we first wrote about the Molekule, we thought that it might be a little overpriced. Of course, now that the west coast is on fire, we feel differently. But if the Molekule Air is out of your price range, you can opt for the Molekule Air Mini for half the price.
6. Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
BEST ENERGY SAVING
Although the best HEPA air purifiers can help spare your lungs, it will not help your electricity bill. We have to be frank, the more you use your air purifier, the more you’re going to see that bill rise. The Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier tries to combat your rising electric bill by making sure each unit is Energy Star certified to keep your energy usage at a minimum — even if you’re using your air purifier 24/7. Aside from that, the Rabbit Air can filter the air of a 625 square foot room completely in just two hours. To diminish odors, the air purifier also has an activated charcoal filter that lasts up to three whole years, too.
Like the options listed above, the Rabbit Air is also incredibly quiet to ensure you aren’t creating noise pollution in your own home. It has an award-winning design that’s backed by a five-year warranty and 24/7 technical support.
7. RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
BEST SPACE SAVER
Nine times out of ten, air purifiers tend to be bulky as hell, but that’s not the case at all with our second RabbitAir inclusion. The MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier is a skinny little thing that can lay against or mount right onto any surface. It covers rooms up to 700 square feet, and like our previous air purifier, it saves energy in the process, meaning it won’t spike your electric bill. There is a pre-installed charcoal-based activated carbon odor eliminator that destroys the smells of smoke, pets, cooking and VOCs easily. The various filters inside also remove both large and microscopic particles including dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, viruses and bacteria.
The design on this thing is incredibly futuristic, and it’s made to look like a flat-screen television. With the included screen, you can choose to decorate the background with images featuring designs by Monet or even Hello Kitty, which is awesome for children’s bedrooms if your kids suffer from asthma or serious allergies. You can even display a custom image of your own.
9. Honeywell HPA101TGT True HEPA Air Purifier
BEST FOR SMALL ROOMS
For rooms around 150 square feet, look no further than this HEPA air purifier from Honeywell. Though it lacks a sleek modern design, this Honeywell HEPA air purifier can easily squeeze itself onto your desk or countertop. Like all of the best HEPA air purifiers, this Honeywell product has the power to filter and circulate the air within a room five times per hour, which is impressive given its small size. It also has an automatic shutoff option so you don’t waste power. This popular air purifier comes with four settings including germ, general clean, allergen and turbo. It’s a great option for smaller apartments, offices, studios and bedrooms in homes.
9. Levoit Compact True HEPA Tower Air Purifier
Maybe you don’t need to purify your whole house. If you’re more focused on bedrooms, bathrooms or personal office spaces, look no further than this mega compact HEPA Tower Air Purifier from Levoit. Yeah, it kind of looks like a wireless router, so don’t get confused, but it still purifies air in rooms up to 129 square feet with top-notch quality. The Levoit comes equipped with a charcoal-carbon filtered to eliminate odors and a HEPA filter to trap 99.97% of unwanted dust mites, pollen, mold, pet dander, as well as other small particles and pollutants.
At just over a foot tall, this is easily the most compact at-home HEPA air purifier on our list, but don’t be fooled, it does a ton of damage to indoor air pollution. It even comes with an extra filter when the first one needs to be replaced. Additionally, the Levoit Compact True HEPA Tower is ozone-free, meaning it’s much safer for the environment than the majority of air purifiers on the market.
10. Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier
BEST SMART SENSOR
While the Winix 5300-2 air purifier won’t be back on sale on Amazon until late October, we recommend that SPY readers keep this one on their radar. This in-demand air purifier has a true HEPA filter that catches 99.97% of airborne pollutants with five different settings, which include a sleep mode for silent operation at night. The machine contains PlasmaWave, which works as a permanent filter to safely break down odor and pollutants without producing harmful ozone. This machine is best suited for medium- to large-sized rooms and is AHAM verified to operate in spaces that are up to 360 square feet (about the size of a typical hotel room). Additionally, this air purifier uses a smart sensor to gauge and adjust its fan speed as needed. Although it might be on the bulkier side, that pricepoint is way too fair to pass up on, so make room in your living space ASAP.
Winix’s most popular air purifiers are currently back-ordered on Amazon, so if you can find one of these models in stock, don’t hesitate to place your order before they sell out.
11. High-Performance Personal Air Purifier
While we don’t recommend this one for the home, if you have to travel for any reason, you might feel safer carrying this personal air purifier. This personal air purifier is designed to be worn around your neck like a necklace or clipped onto your shirt to create a three-foot barrier of clean air around your personal space. The device is TSA-approved, so if you’re flying, you can feel free to bring it directly on your flight. Please note that this air purifier does not contain a HEPA air filter. According to Sharper Image,a “constant stream of healthy negative ions forces airborne pollutants” away from your face. While we can’t attest to the effectiveness of this device, if you’re nervous about traveling, it might be exactly what you need to help calm your nerves.