The last couple of years have been bad for air quality, no matter where you live. On the west coast, 2020’s fires caused many Americans to realize just how dangerous poor air quality can be, which remains true even when forest fires aren’t pumping out dangerous smoke. And then there was coronavirus. All over the world, this airborne virus has been disrupting lives in so many ways it’s hard to know where to begin. Nowadays, you certainly don’t have to be a germaphobe to be afraid of the air you breathe. For this reason, we’re on the hunt for the best air purifiers.
Even under the best circumstances, the air inside your home can contain mold, bacteria, viruses, dander, smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other potentially unpleasant pollutants. Many of these are either irritating to the lungs or result in unpleasant odors. Add in the age of airborne viral pandemics, and it’s easy to see why an air purifier is quickly becoming an ever-present appliance.
Do Air Purifiers Work?
The first and most obvious question is do air purifiers actually work? And a little frustratingly, the answer is not a simple yes or no. The best air purifiers can be very effective in filtering air pollutants, allergens and other toxic materials from the air, but as in many areas of life, you get what you pay for.
Air purifiers work by pulling air through a series of filters that eliminate indoor air pollutants and odors, leaving only healthy, clean air particles behind. Can air purifiers help you achieve cleaner air in your home? Yes. But, the process is more complicated than simply buying an air purifier, switching it on and expecting it to do 100% of the work for you. Functionally, cleaning your home remains important, especially if you want to rid it of as many allergens and potentially harmful particles as you can. It’s possible for some particles to sit on surfaces without being moved through an air filter, which is why an air purifier as a component of a multi-action approach to cleaning is the best course of action.
Given that there are different air purifier designs to choose from, including different filter styles, it’s important to be as informed as possible in order to buy the one which is best suited to your needs. One easy-to-follow piece of advice — look for HEPA air filters.
What is a HEPA Filter?
High-efficiency particulate absorbing filters or high-efficiency particulate arrestance filters are more commonly known as HEPA filters. While the name may sound complicated, functionally these filters are simply an incredibly intricate layer of fibers, which remove 99.97% of particles from air when it is passed through the filer. By choosing a HEPA filter in your air purifier, you can be confident that it’s doing the job intended. This efficiency is preferable for reliable air cleaning and the removal of common particles, which can include:
Do Air Purifiers Help With Covid?
At this time, the biggest question you probably have is about whether an air purifier can help with, or completely remove, COVID from the air.
It is possible for air purifiers to remove the COVID virus from the air. However, given the size of the virus sits somewhere close to a HEPA filter’s lower end of filtering capability, it may take more than a single pass to remove it. This means you’ll need to run your purifier for longer to allow for the air to pass through more times. This will increase the chance of COVID being removed.
However, air-cleaning devices with built-in UV lights or ionizers don’t catch viruses like HEPA filters; they kill them instead. Combining an air purifier with a UV light or ionizer may be the most effective way to deal with COVID in the air.
So should you buy an air purifier or UV light to fight against COVID in your home? It may not be beneficial to you if this is the sole reason for doing so. Wearing a mask, cleaning your hands and socially distancing are sufficient and should remain a priority. But, if you have someone who has tested positive, needs to quarantine or falls in the highly susceptible category, having a COVID-removing air filter may serve some benefit, even if it is only in the form of reassurance.
To help out our readers, we searched for the best air purifiers online in 2021, with options starting at just $80. Keep reading to find the best products from brands like Dyson, Honeywell and Winix.
1. Dyson Pure Cool Link TP02 Wi-Fi Enabled Air Purifier
We’ve written about Dyson’s popular Pure Cool air purifiers before, and they’re the best air purifiers for sale on Amazon or anywhere else — if you can afford them. Dyson packed a lot of sophisticated engineering into this device, which uses a HEPA filter to clean the air of bacteria, viruses, allergens and other indoor pollutants. A blade-less room fan powered by its own A.I., the Pure Cool will monitor the air quality as it simultaneously cleanses and cools the air inside your home. According to Dyson, it filters more than 99% of particles from the surrounding atmosphere. Quick to assemble and designed to offer multiple speeds and movement options, the Dyson Pure Cool is top of the line when it comes to home air purifiers. Starting at $500, this isn’t a particularly affordable solution, but despite the higher price tag, you’re still lucky if you can find Dyson Pure Cool air purifiers in stock.
2. TaoTronics HEPA Air Purifier
The TaoTronics HEPA Air Purifier is a no-brainer for anyone searching for an air purifying device on a tight budget. At under $80, you’ll get a device with an enhanced air purification system, capable of covering a space up to 161 square feet and removing 99.97% of indoor pollutants. This includes smells, molds, bacteria and pollen. The device sits just shy of 10 inches tall, which is ideal for desk use. It also features a timer setting as well as an ultra-quiet mode which runs at only 25dB and is therefore ideal for light sleepers. In addition, you can control the speed of the fan, the lights and the settings using the top-mounted control panel.
3. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier
BEST FOR LARGE SPACES
Coming to us from Sweden, the Blue Pure 211+ is a member of the 99% club, grabbing that amount of viruses, pollen, dust, pet dander, mold and bacteria from the air. Although it lacks a true HEPA air filter, it boasts a three-stage air filtration system and comes with two washable pre filters and an activated carbon filter to remove odors from the air. This device also features a futuristic-meets-minimalism design; however, this is also one of the largest air purifiers on this list, so it’s not a great choice for small homes or apartments.
With a stellar 4.7-star rating after more than 6,000 reviews, this is an effective and user-friendly air purifier that customers around the world love. The 211+ promises to filter room air five times an hour in spaces up to 540 square feet, which is more than your typical cheap air purifier. With an impressive design, easy-to-use one-button controls, low energy footprint and quiet fan, this is one of the best air purifiers of 2021, although the $300 price isn’t for everyone.
4. Guardian Technologies GermGuardian
BEST BEDROOM AIR PURIFIER
With a name like “GermGuardian,” you know this air purifier means business. The included HEPA filter can capture 99.97% of dust and allergens in your home. That includes pet dander, mold spores and plant pollens as small as three microns. In addition, the charcoal filter reduces common odors, like those from pets or smoking. And the optional UV-C light reduces airborne bacteria and viruses, keeping you healthier year-round. The 22-inch, three-speed tower can circulate the air in a room of up to 167 square feet four times per hour. Thanks to its ultra-quiet setting, it’s also one of the best air purifiers to keep in your bedroom. This machine has also earned a 4.7-star rating from Amazon customers after more than 33,000 reviews.
5. Levoit Compact True HEPA Tower Air Purifier
BEST PERSONAL AIR PURIFIER
For those who live alone or share a small space with a roommate, there’s no need to buy a whole-home air purifier. This super-compact HEPA Tower Air Purifier from Levoit is perfect for studio apartments, bedrooms, offices and other small spaces. In addition to its HEPA filter, which will remove 99% of indoor pollutants such as viruses and VOCs, the Levoit also has a charcoal-carbon filter that eliminates odors from the air. Easily one of the best air purifiers under $100, this 1-foot-tall device even comes with an extra air filter.
6. Molekule Air Large Room Air Purifier
For something a little different and fancier looking, choose the Molekule Air Large Room Air Purifier. It sports an attractive, canister-style design with a built-in handle for easy portability. Functionally, the device houses photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) nanotechnology, which goes beyond removal and actually destroys viruses, volatile organic compounds, allergens, bacteria and mold. The device is designed for rooms up to 600 square feet in size. Plus, it can be controlled via the touch-screen display, through a WiFi connection or via the accompanying smartphone app. For smaller spaces, you can also try the more affordable Molekule Air Mini+.
7. Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier
A big name in the air purifier and air conditioner business, Honeywell brings us the HPA300 True HEPA. It lives up to its name with a proper HEPA allergen remover able to clean rooms up to 465 square feet in size (about the size of a large hotel room). Its Turbo Clean mode both filters and circulates air in the room up to five times an hour in a properly sized room. Thanks to its lightweight and compact design, it’s easy to set up and move from room to room as needed.
8. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA
While Winix air purifiers lack the sleek modern design of some of its competitors, the brand makes some of the most popular air purifiers in the world along with trusted brands like Dyson and Honeywell. This in-demand air purifier has a true HEPA filter that catches 99.97% of airborne pollutants. 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). Best of all, this air purifier keeps noise to a quiet 27 decibels, which means it won’t distract you during the day and keep you awake at night.
9. Vremi Premium Large Room Air Purifier
This Vremi Premium includes a high capacity H13 HEPA layer to capture 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns. That H13 filter lasts three to five months longer than standard filters. When up and running, the Vremi cleans 700 square feet without breaking the 50-decibel mark, puts it in the middle tier in terms of noise (it’s still a lot quieter than most cheap air purifiers). The Premium is equipped with 0.66 pounds of activated carbon in its filter system to absorb odors from smoke, household chemicals and the usual airborne suspects. If you want a budget air purifier that still gets the job done, this is easily one of the best air purifiers under $150.
10. Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier
BEST FOR APARTMENTS
With color choices including white, espresso, graphite and oak and the super-slim design, you can be confident there’s an Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier to match your home decor. This compact air purifier will only extend 8.5 inches from the wall and is capable of purifying rooms up to 700 square feet every 30 minutes, removing pet dander, pollen, bacteria, mold, light smoke and other airborne annoyances. This purifier is ideal for bedrooms, living rooms and apartments and comes with easy-to-understand, intuitive controls. Furthermore, you can choose between four different fan speeds and make use of the light-off mode when you want complete darkness while still cleaning your air.
11. Pure Enrichment PureZone
The Pure Enrichment PureZone air purifier is as capable as all the rest of the devices on this list. What makes it stand out is its whisper-quiet operation and the ease and efficiency with which it can be used. The set up takes just seconds and Pure Enrichment also boasts excellent customer support seven days a week. The purifier itself comes with a 3-in-1 HEPA filter and UV-C light to destroy microorganisms.
12. Airthereal Pure Morning Air Purifier
BEST FOR SMALL APARTMENTS
The Airthereal Pure Morning Air Purifier is a seven-in-one device. That means it has seven different filters through which the air in your home will pass. These are the pre-filter, the true HEPA filter and the activated carbon filter, which also contains a nano mineral filter, cold catalyst filter, photocatalyst filter and a molecular sieve. The included UV-C LED helps to kill mold, bacteria and viruses and has a lifespan of over five years under normal use. The filters in this device do need to be replaced every six to eight months, but the indicator light will tell you exactly when a change is needed.
13. MEGAWISE Smart Air Purifier
BEST FILTER SYSTEM
The MEGAWISE Smart Air Purifier comes backed by positive ratings from over 95% of Amazon users. It incorporates a four-in-one purification system, comprising a fine preliminary filter, an EPA filter, an activated carbon filter and a HEPA filter, which removes dust mites, smoke and animal dander. An indicator light displays the quality of your air, ranging from green to red. Additionally, the highly efficient device changes your air up to five times every hour. Plus, it boasts a fan speed control, a check filter indicator and a timer button.
14. Medify Air MA V2.0 Air Purifier
Sitting 22 inches tall and sporting a clean, rectangular shape, the Medify Air MA-40-W V2.0 Air Purifier is a sizable yet stylish way to purify the air in your home. It comes with over 5,500 five-star ratings and is capable of clearing rooms up to 1600 square feet in as little as an hour. The powerful filtration system uses a triple-layer made up of activated charcoal, an H13 HEPA filter and a pre-filter for larger particles. In addition, the purifier sports three fan speeds, an eight-hour timer and a night mode. It’s also available in either black or white.
15. Hathaspace Smart True HEPA Air Purifier 2.0
The Hathaspace Smart Air Purifier has a slim design that won’t take up too much space. And unlike most air purifiers, it won’t just clean the air in a single room. This top-rated air purifier can filter the air in spaces up to 1,500 square feet using a five-stage filtration process. Not only will the HEPA filter remove germs and particulate matter from the air, but it will also help you get odors and allergens under control. The medical-grade HEPA filter will remove more than 99% of particles down to 0.1 microns in size including most viruses, dust mites, pet dander, mold, bacteria, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and smoke. Finally, because it’s an ENERGY STAR certified device, it won’t spike your power bill at the end of the month.
16. Rabbit Air MinusA2 HEPA Air Purifier
If you’re short on space or want a device worthy of open display, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 HEPA Air Purifier could be the choice for you. It’s capable of clearing rooms up to 815 square feet in size and uses six layers of filtration to clean, purify and deodorize the air in any room. It’s also supplied with a handy bracket for wall mounting as well as a remote for comprehensive control of the device. Furthermore, when you choose this WiFi-enabled purifier, you’ll be able to use the Rabbit Air App on your smartphone to switch the device on and off, change the fan speed and set its timers.
17. Alen BreatheSmart 75i
You can’t put a price on safety, and if you’re worried about the air quality in your home or apartment, then you’ll want the most effective air purifier for sale — no matter the cost. So if you’re looking for the best of the best air purifiers, then you’ll want to take a close look at the Alen BreatheSmart 75i. This high-tech purifier promises that it’s “backed by the smarts of NASA airflow engineers” and can clean the air in a 1,300 square-foot space every 30 minutes. With its compact and sleek design, the Alen BreatheSmart will easily handle large bedrooms, living rooms, offices, kitchens, basements and small homes, studios and apartments. Its HEPA filter will snag dust, dander, allergens, fur and household odors — while preventing the growth of mold and bacteria. Its Sleep Mode features a “lights out feature” to quiet the device and dim its light at bedtime.
18. IQAir HealthPro Plus Home HEPA Air Purifier
The IQAir HealthPro Plus Home HEPA Air Purifier is an impressive device, both in appearance and capability. It’s able to purify small to large rooms of up to 1,125 square feet in size. It features an advanced filtration system with IQAir exclusive HyperHEPA filters, which are capable of trapping particles as small as 0.003 microns. This top-rated device can be controlled using the built-in controls or the handy remote, which sports buttons for changing the fan speed and setting the built-in timer.