The last couple of years have been really bad for air quality, no matter where you live. From everyday pollutants to wildfire smoke and a once-in-a-lifetime airborne plague, there are a lot of very good reasons to be worried about the air quality both inside and outside your home. The best air purifiers are a great way to filter out allergies, dust, and other airborne particles from the air and stop them from adversely affecting you and your family.
Most recently, the massive West Coast wildfires have sent a smoky haze all the way from Seattle to New York City. In Manhattan, thousands of miles away from the forest fires, the air quality index reached dangerously high levels of 170. Across the country, the hazy skies reminded Americans just how dangerous poor air quality can be. And then there’s the deadly coronavirus, which is still disrupting lives in so many ways.
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 air purifiers are becoming an ever-present appliance. The best air purifiers can purify the air inside your home, which can actually be more polluted than the air outside, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Nowadays, you certainly don’t have to be a germaphobe to be afraid of the air you breathe. For this reason, we’ve put together a list of the best air purifiers to keep the air in your home breathable and safe for all.
Do Air Purifiers Work?
The first and most obvious question is do air purifiers actually work? 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. Of course, you get what you pay for.
Air purifiers work by pulling air through a series of filters that eliminate indoor pollutants and odors, leaving healthy, clean particles behind. Can air purifiers help you achieve cleaner air in your home? Yes, but the process is more complicated than simply switching on an air purifier 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 and filter styles to choose from, 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. According to the EPA, these filters are rated to filter out particles 0.3 microns in size and larger, which in theory includes airborne coronavirus droplets and many types of common pollutants. Thus, they are extremely effective at purifying the air inside your home or workplace.
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. By choosing a HEPA filter for 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:
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. (And if you’re only interested in checking out the best HEPA air purifiers, we have a shopping guide for these products as well.)
1. Dyson Pure Cool Link TP04 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 bladeless 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 99.97% of particles from the surrounding atmosphere.
Easy 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. This smart air purifier reports pollution levels in real-time on an LCD screen, and you can also control this smart home device via the Dyson Link app. Starting at $529, 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.
Dyson Pure Cool TP04 Smart Air Purifier (Dyson.com)
Dyson Pure Cool Link TP04 Smart Air Purifier (Walmart)
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 $50, 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 odors, 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 25 decibels 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.
TaoTronics HEPA Air Purifier
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 Amazon 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, and the $300 price is perfectly reasonable when compared to other large air purifiers from brands like Dyson or Molekule.
ON SALE NOW!
Blueair Blue Pure 211+
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, including 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.
Read More: The Best Air Purifiers for Pets
Guardian Technologies GermGuardian
5. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto Large Area Air Purifier
BEST NEW PRODUCT
Similar in design and function to the Pure 211+ featured above, the new Blueair model has a few noteworthy advantages. Both of these HEPA air purifiers are recommended for large rooms that need consistent filtration. However, the 211+ Auto will automatically adjust its settings to changes in the air quality. In addition, it has a three-color LED display that indicates the current air quality based on fine particle (PM2.5) concentrations. While the original 211+ is on sale, it’s a smarter purchase for your money, but if you are willing to spend a little more, the 211+ Auto is a fantastic alternative.
It’s designed to completely filter the air every 12 minutes in spaces up to 550 square feet, or five times per hour. It’s got an intuitive auto mode that automatically adjusts based on real-time sensor readings of your environment. It’s also made with HEPASilent technology that uses less energy and products less noise, tapping out at 56 dB on high. It’s got 360-degree air intake and even has a carbon filter inner layer that traps odors as well as VOCs, allergens and chemicals in the air.
Read More: The Best Portable Air Purifiers
Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Air Purifier
6. 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.
Read More: The Best Car Air Purifiers
Levoit Compact True HEPA Tower Air Purifier
7. 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+.
Molekule Air Large Room Air Purifier
Molekule Air Mini
8. Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
BEST FOR LARGE SPACES
If you’ve got a studio, loft apartment or other large space to purify this machine is built for that. Coway’s Airmega system can cover rooms up to 1,560 square feet, and cleans the air up to twice per hour. It’s got a Max2 filter inside in addition to activated carbon and HEPA filters that capture and reduce up to 99.99% of particles in the air from pollen to pollutants and allergens. It can also reduce the presence of 99% of volatile compounds and fumes like NH3 and CH3CHO.
The brightly colored LED ring on the front is an air quality indicator light that’ll alert you when the air quality is diminished, and it’s built with five fan modes including smart, sleep, low, medium and high. The noise level is super quiet at low speeds, and taps out at 43.2 dB at the highest setting. It also has a three-setting smart mode that’ll adapt the mode automatically based on the surroundings, and has a timer for 1, 2, 4 and 8-hour settings as well.
Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
9. 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.
Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA
10. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA
While Winix air purifiers lack the sleek modern design of some competitors, the brand ranks up there in popularity 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 27dB, which means it won’t distract you during the day or keep you awake at night.
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA
11. 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 only extends 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.
Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Air Purifier
12. 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.
Pure Enrichment PureZone
13. 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.
Airthereal Pure Morning Air Purifier
14. Blueair Blue Pure 411 Auto Small Room Air Purifier
BEST FOR SINGLE ROOMS
This air purifier is also from Blueair, and is made small for use in a single room in your home. It’s been third-party tested for its performance with things like pollen, dust and smoke, and is also made with HEPASilent technology that removes 99.97% of airborne particles. It’s designed to completely filter the air in a guest room, nursery or home office up to 190 square feet every 12 minutes on high. It also has the intuitive auto mode that adjusts to real-time conditions in the environment, and operates super quietly at 18-48 dB depending on the speed. Similarly to the brand’s larger air purifiers, it’s made with 360° air intake and has indicator lights for the air quality, a filter replacement indicator and the auto mode setting.
Blueair Blue Pure 411 Small Room Air Purifier
15. Medify Air MA V2.0 Air Purifier
Standing 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.
Medify Air MA V2.0 Air Purifier
16. 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.
Hathaspace Smart True HEPA Air Purifier 2.0
17. 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.
Rabbit Air MinusA2 HEPA Air Purifier
18. 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.
Alen BreatheSmart 75i
19. 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.
IQAir HealthPro Plus Home HEPA Air Purifier
20. Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier
Designed to accommodate smaller rooms, the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier features a four-stage filtration system to fight pollen, pollutants, and more. Made with three fan speeds, the compact design comes with a LED timer, filter-life indicator, and an eco-friendly auto-stop feature that shuts it down when no pollution is detected for 30 minutes. The quiet operation and light shut-off make it a great and unobtrusive appliance for any room.
Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier
Do Air Purifiers Help With COVID-19?
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. COVID-19 particles are usually just 0.1 microns in size; however, they are usually attached to droplets or orther particles that are 0.3 microns in size or larger. Advanced filters, such as HEPA filters or N95 masks, are capable of filtering out particles 0.3 microns in size and larger, so in theory they should have no problem removing most coronavirus particles 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 kill viruses instead of catching them like HEPA filters. Combining an air purifier with a UV light or ionizer may be the most effective way to deal with COVID.
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. Getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, washing 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.
Do Air Purifiers Help With Wildfire Smoke?
Due to extreme drought and record-breaking temperatures across the West Coast of the United States, wildfire season has already begun. A few weeks back, swaths of the country that don’t usually experience these natural disasters felt the effects, when the smoke traveled across the country through the atmosphere and caused historically bad air quality in places in New York. This has everyone, coast to coast, on alert and looking for ways to protect themselves from the harmful effects of breathing in smoke-laden air.
The CDC explains in a statement released on their website that wildfire smoke can “irritate your lungs, cause inflammation, affect your immune system and make you more prone to lung infections, including SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”
They recommend protecting yourself and your loved ones from the effects of wildfire smoke by creating a cleaner air space at home, and an air purifier built with an air filter rated HEPA, MERV-13 or higher is a great way to do that. They also mention that wearing an N95 or KN95 respirator “can provide protection from wildfire smoke and from getting and spreading COVID-19.” However, they also stipulate that these masks should still be reserved for healthcare workers in a healthcare setting.
Many of the air purifiers on this list are equipped with a HEPA filter and are designed to improve the air quality in your space when the air quality outside is poor, or dangerous. Be sure to choose one designed to cover the size of your space, so it can work effectively and keep you and your family as safe as possible.