Robotic Vacuum Icon Breathe easier! Find the Best Air Purifier for your home with our 2019 ratings of top-selling models

updated: September 16, 2019
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What does an air purifier do?

The best air purifiers use a quiet fan that sucks in air, moving it past one or more filters, which capture pollutants such as smoke, dust, and mold in your house. Read reviews to discover how well certain models handle specific allergens.

The air they blow back out into the room should be much cleaner than before. Filters are created from materials such as paper, mesh, or fiberglass which need to be cleaned or changed regularly.

Coway AP-1512HH

Some air cleaners have ionic technology, meaning they attract pollutants with negative ions, which makes them heavy so they fall out of the air and can be swept or dusted away. Other technology is less common, but includes UV light, electrostatic attraction, gas cartridges, and water.

Air purifier benefits

According to the EPA, our indoor air can be up to 5X more polluted than outdoor air, so an air purifier could be beneficial for any homeowner.

If you have allergies or asthma, an air purifier with a HEPA (High Energy Particulate Arrestance) filter could help you breathe easier. For lingering odors in your house, one with a carbon filter will freshen the air.

High Energy Particulate Arrestance
HEPA Filtration

Some of them even capture and neutralize airborne viruses and bacteria, which could be a big help during cold and flu season. They can also help you sleep when you’re sick by cleaning the air of all the stuff that worsens congestion, sinus headaches, and sneezing.

But do air purifiers really work?

Yes, but they’re not a magic cure to a cleaner home. If you don’t do regular cleaning, vacuuming, dusting, and disinfecting, an air purifier won’t make much of a dent. Used in conjunction with thorough cleaning practices, an air purifier will go a long way in keeping your clean home free of air pollutants.

What is the best air purifier?

Look for models that are Energy Star certified with either washable or affordable replacement filters. Noise is another thing to consider, as you may want to run an air purifier while you sleep or work. Larger units that can be run at several fan speeds will provide the most versatility for rooms of various sizes. You also want one that’s portable enough to move from room to room.

Philip Owens - Air Purifiers Expert
The Coway Airmega 400 earned the top spot in our reviews. This new model is great for large spaces. It has advanced technology and combines a HEPA filter with activated carbon to capture up to 99.97% of airborne particles and 99% of volatile organic compounds. It has 5 fan modes, including a smart mode that adapts to the air quality in your house and is super quiet.
Philip Owens
Air Pollution Expert

What is CADR, CFM, and ACH?

Air changes per hour

You’ll see these terms a lot when reading through product descriptions. Here’s what they mean. CADR stands for clean air delivery rate. It’s a measure of how quickly an air purifier can clear the room of certain pollutants, usually listed for pollen, dust, and smoke.

An air purifier with a CADR of 300, for example, can clean a 300 sq. ft. room faster than a model with a CADR of 200.

Purifiers with a CDR of 300 and above are usually the most efficient in removing pollutants.

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute, which is simply how CADR is measured.

You may also see the term ACH, which stands for air changes per hour. This is how many times a purifier can clean all the air in a room in an hour. If you see an air purifier with a 5X ACH rating, this means the machine can clean the full volume of a room’s air 5 times per hour.

More
We’ve listed several top-rated models for every price range. Read our reviews to help you find the best air purifier is right for your house and family.

Top-Rated Air Purifiers That Really Work – 2019 Reviews & Ratings

Large Room & Office Friendly
Coway - Airmega 400 Purifier
Our rating: 9.9
Price: High
Most Customizable
Rabbit Air MinusA2 - Air Cleaner/Purifier
Best for Allergy Sufferers
Alen BreatheSmart Purifier
Coway AP-1512HH
Our rating: 9.4
Price: Low
Relieves Wildfire Smoke
Blue Pure 211+
Our rating: 9.2
Price: Average
The Odor Destroyer
Winix 5500-2
Our rating: 9
Price: Low
Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
Our rating: 8.9
Price: Average
Good for Cigarette Smokers
LEVOIT Air Purifier Large Room
Good for Cold & Flu Season
AeraMax 300 Large Room Air Cleaner
Our rating: 8.7
Price: Average
– Prefilter;
– HEPA filter;
– Activated carbon;
– Whisper quiet;
– Ideal for large rooms/offices up to 1560 sq. ft.;
– Flat-screen design;
– Artistic panels;
– Choice of 4 custom filters;
– Can be wall or flat-surface mounted;
– Ideal for rooms up to 700 sq. ft.;
– Quiet;
– Slim, stylish design, 10 colors;
– Choose from 4 custom filters;
– Ideal for large rooms/offices up to 1,100 sq. ft.;
– Compact, stylish design;
– Affordable unit and filters;
– Automatic eco mode;
– 3 timer settings;
– Ideal for rooms up to 361 sq. ft.;
– Square, compact design;
– 360-degree airflow;
– Choose from 5 prefilter colors;
– Ideal for small rooms up to 540 sq. ft.;
– Budget-friendly;
– Unobtrusive design;
– PlasmaWave ionizer;
– Auto sleep mode;
– Ideal for rooms up to 360 sq. ft.;
– Basic operation;
– True HEPA filter;
– No smart tech;
– Ideal for rooms up to 465 sq. ft.;
– Affordable;
– Air quality sensor;
– 12-setting timer;
– Auto sleep mode;
– Ideal for rooms up to 322 sq. ft.;
– Touch-screen controls;
– True HEPA filter w/ antimicrobial treatment;
– Activated carbon;
– Ionizer;
– Ideal for rooms 300 – 600 sq. ft.;

Air Cleaner - Airmega 400
Dual filter, multi-mode operation that’s whisper quiet and stylish
Coway Airmega 400
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Our rating: 9.9
Price: High
Our Choice

Quiet even on high speeds, the Airmega 400 is a stylish air purifier that has two layers of filtration, a timer, and several operating modes. Automation and smart tech allow this model to adjust its speed to whatever is best for the air quality around it.

The Airmega 400 is ideal for rooms up to 1560 square feet. Dimensions: 14.8”W x 22.8”H x 14.8”D. Weight: 24.7 pounds. Colors: White or graphite.

Max CFM: 410. CADR (pollen, dust, smoke): 350.

ProsThe Good

This air cleaner can clean 24,960 cubic feet of air per hour. It has a 66 W fan motor, is Energy Star-certified, and runs at 120 V (60Hz). It has a washable prefilter for large particles and a Max2 HEPA filter with activated carbon.

It’s super quiet from about 22 dB (computer) on low to 52 dB (normal conversation) on high. A 1-year warranty covers internal malfunctions. The motor and electronic parts are covered for 5 years.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

This model is rather expensive, and it takes up about as much room as a small nightstand. The Max2 filters aren’t cheap either, but only need to be replaced about once a year. There’s no automatic sleep mode, nor can it be controlled via mobile app.

The air quality sensor light is really bright, so it could keep you awake at night unless it’s in sleep mode.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Pet owners really noticed a difference with this machine, even those with severe pet allergies. Customers also commented on how much better they slept with less stuffy noses.

A few customers complained of a chemical smell that came out of the air purifier while running it. However, another customer noted that there is a plastic lining around the HEPA filter inside the machine. If not removed, it can produce a strong smell.

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • Coway Airmega 400S
    Price: High

    Like the Airmega 400 the 400S is ideal for large rooms and office spaces. This air purifier comes with added mobile app control (iOS & Android) and Alexa integration. The 400s also adds an automatic sleep mode and a schedule function. It has 4 timer settings (1, 2, 4, and 8hr) whereas the 400 only has 3 (1, 4, & 8hr).

    Other than those features, the dimensions, filters, and operation are basically the same. The 400s is usually more expensive than the 400, however.


  • Coway Airmega 300
    Price: High

    Ideal for smaller spaces up to 1,256 square feet, the Airmega 300 is also smaller than the 400. Dimensions are 13.6”W x 21.2”H x 13.6”D. It comes with the same Max2 filter system and has the same timer settings as the 400 (1, 4, & 8hr). There is no automatic sleep mode as in the 400S & 300S, nor does it integrate with mobile app or Alexa.

    This air purifier is the cheapest of the Airmega line and comes only in white.



Rabbit Air MinusA2
Stylish design with customizable filtration and efficient automatic operation

The RabbitAir MinusA2 is a unique design that doesn’t look at all like an air purifier. It resembles a flat screen TV and can be mounted on the wall if desired. The front panel can be customized to feature a number of famous artworks or animated characters.

Ideal for rooms up to 700 square feet. Dimensions: 21.4”W x 20”H x 7”D. Weight: 19.4 pounds. 5-year manufacturer’s warranty.

CADR: 171 pollen; 173 dust; 166 smoke

ProsThe Good

Six stages of filtration fit into a slim design, including a customized filter that allows you to choose between germ defense, toxin absorber, pet allergy or odor remover. It also has a negative ion generator and an automatic mode that runs based on air quality.

Automatic light sensors dim the front screen of the air cleaner when the room darkens. It’s Energy Star certified, runs quiet between 21 – 46 dB, and operates between 7 – 47 W at 120V (60Hz).

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The negative ion generator produces a small amount of ozone at about .002ppm, which is 25X less than the .05ppm maximum concentration set by the California Air Resource Board. However, this can be turned off if not desired.

The 4 custom filter options don’t all come with the unit (comes with only 1). There is no smart app or timer setting despite the techy appearance. Filters can be expensive when replaced every 6 months.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers love that this air purifier doesn’t look like an appliance. They agree that it’s expensive, but feel that it’s worth it for the high-quality, customized filtration, automated sleep mode, and air quality sensor.

Some customers felt that at 7”thick, it seemed too bulky mounted on the wall. Others noted that it didn’t seem effective in removing cigarette or cigar smoke. A few customers were missing wall mounting brackets in the box.


Alen BreatheSmart Customizable
Slim, stylish design for large rooms and allergy sufferers

This fashionable air purifier from Alen BreatheSmart features a front panel that can be one of 10 different colors, including solid colors, faux wood, metallic, and textured. Automatically detects air quality to adjust cleaning power to one of 3 modes.

Ideal for large rooms and offices up to 1,100 square feet. Dimensions: 17.75”W x 26.75”H x 10”D. Weight: 21 pounds. Filter life: 8 – 9 months.

Max CFM: 286. CADR (pollen, dust, smoke): 300.

ProsThe Good

The shallow, upright air cleaner doesn’t take up much space in a bedroom, living room, or office. The locking control panel and child-safe vent make it safe to run around kids and pets. Choose between 4 HEPA filters for various environments.

Includes an ionizer, lights-out sleep mode, and is very quiet quiet between 41.5 dB (low) to 56 dB (turbo). It’s Energy Star certified and runs at 105W at high speed on 120V.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

It may take up a lot of space in small rooms as it needs plenty of wall clearance to circulate air. Though their filters are advertised as HEPA, they are actually HEPA-type filters and not True HEPA. The company claims it would restrict airflow too much with True HEPA.

The ionizer produces a trace amount of ozone, but can be turned off if you don’t want it. The 4 different custom filters must each be purchased separately and can be expensive.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Many customers commented that they have slept better with this air purifier in their bedrooms at night. Allergy sufferers noticed a marked difference in how well they could breathe.

A few customers experienced fans that were very noisy. Some thought the filters were too expensive for not being True HEPA. Customer service can be hit or miss. Getting hold of someone via phone or email has been frustrating for some customers.


Coway AP-1512HH Air Purifier
Affordable, good performance that fits in with any decor
Coway AP-1512HH
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Our rating: 9.4
Price: Low

The Coway Mighty air purifier has a 4-stage filtration system including washable prefilter, True HEPA, deodorizing, and ionic. Besides the usual pollen, dust, and other allergens, this one also captures volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Ideal for rooms up to 361 square feet. Dimensions: 16.8” W x 18.3”H x 9”D. Weight: 12.3 pounds. Colors: White or black. Warranty: 3-year limited. Filter life: 1-year (HEPA), 6 months (carbon).

CADR: 240 pollen, 246 dust, 133 smoke.

ProsThe Good

The compact size and super quiet fan make this a great option for bedrooms. It’s also a very budget-friendly air cleaner and resembles a small speaker, so it won’t look like an appliance. After 30 minutes of detecting clean air, it switches to energy-conserving eco mode.

Includes a 3-setting timer (1, 4, & 8hrs) and filter replacement indicator. This Energy Star certified unit runs at 77W with a noise level between 24.4 dB to 53.8 dB.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Like all models with ionizers, this one produces a trace amount of ozone. The top light also can’t be turned off, so it may bug you while you sleep. It may also not be obvious, but you need to remove plastic from the interior filters before you operate it.

There is no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection, no mobile app or Alexa integration. It’s pretty basic as far as controls. The instruction manual is lackluster in explaining anything beyond how to plug it in and turn it on.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Customers appreciate the affordable filters. Many said it helped a lot with dust and controlling allergy symptoms. It also performed well for a variety of odors, including cooking, wet dog, candles, perfume, etc.

Several customers said it was too loud on the highest setting and that it vibrated so much, it scooted across the floor. It’s possible that they forgot to take the filters out of the plastic wrap since that’s not obvious from looking at it or stated in the manual.


Air Purifier - Blue Pure 211+
Simple one-button operation with 360-degree airflow in 5 color choices
Blue Pure 211+
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Our rating: 9.2
Price: Average

This budget-friendly air cleaner from Blueair is fairly basic in terms of operation, but comes with a wraparound fabric prefilter offered in 5 color choices. It has one-button operation and is compact enough for small spaces.

Ideal for rooms up to 540 square feet. Dimensions: 13”W x 20”H x 13”D. Weight: 12.5 pounds. Filter life: approximately 6 months.

CADR (pollen, dust, smoke): 350.

ProsThe Good

A 360-degree air intake allows this machine to clean the air in one room up to 540 sq. ft. 5 times per hour. Comes with 3 fan speed settings and 3 levels of filtration including a HEPA-type particle filter and activated carbon.

The outer decorative prefilter is machine washable (air dry) or can be vacuumed. The unit is Energy Star certified, runs between 30 – 60W, and is quiet at 31 – 56dB.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

This unit lacks True HEPA filters. Filters must be changed every 6 months or so, which can get pricey. There are no tech-lover extras such as timer or scheduling settings, no air sensors to detect air quality, and no sleep mode.

No warranty information is included in the owner’s manual except for “Warranty: Local Regulations.” The prefilter fabric is somewhat thin and could tear easily if caught on sharp objects (cat claws, etc).

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Several customers who experienced local wildfires said this air purifier greatly helped with the smoke that invaded their homes. Many loved the simple, one-button operation and that it is more affordable than others.

Some customers noted a strong chemical/plastic scent coming from the unit after first using it. At least one customer noted they couldn’t get it shipped to CA due to CARB laws, but Blueair says this unit is CARB compliant.


Winix 5500-2
A budget-friendly unit that blends in well with office decor
Winix 5500-2
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Our rating: 9
Price: Low

This budget-friendly unit from Winix is fairly unobtrusive in that it’s small and resembles a computer case or other such office equipment. With True HEPA filtration, it has several automatic options that make it a set it and forget it kind of air purifier.

Ideal for rooms up to 360 square feet. Dimensions: 8.2”D x 15.0”W x 23.6”H. Weight: 15.6 pounds. Filter life: 1 year.

Max CFM: 240.14. CADR: 246 pollen, 243 dust, 232 smoke.

ProsThe Good

A lightweight air cleaner at just over 15 pounds, it’s easy to move this model around. Four fan speeds with smart sensors adjust for air quality. One unique feature is PlasmaWave, a type of ionizer that creates hydroxyls to neutralize bacteria, VOCs, odors, and gases. There’s also a remote control and automatic sleep mode.

The Winix 5500-2 is Energy Star certified and runs quiet between 28 – 58 dB. It operates at 70W and comes with a 2-year warranty.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

The PlasmaWave ionizer may emit trace amounts of ozone, but it can be turned off if you don’t want it. Replacement filters can be expensive. They only need replacing about once a year. However, the prefilter is a bit fragile and could fall apart when you’re washing it.

There is no Wi-Fi connectivity or other smart controls apart from the remote control, which is pretty basic. Don’t expect miracles with the air quality sensors either.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Several customers are happy with how well this air purifier handled odors from pets and cooking. Many felt that it performed really well for the low price. They also appreciated the easy to clean filters.

Some customers received units that were dead upon arrival or stopped working within a couple months. Others claimed the smart sensors didn’t detect bad air quality when in an obviously polluted environment.


Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover Air Purifier
Basic operation with impressive dust and allergen filtration

Honeywell is a well-known brand of many electronics, including air purifiers. This model features a sleek console design with a carbon prefilter and True HEPA filter. It won’t make much of a fashion statement, but it’ll get the job done.

The HPA300 is designed for rooms up to 465 square feet. Dimensions: 20.8”D x 22.38”H x 10.83”W. Weight: 17 pounds. Warranty: 5-year limited. Filter life: 1 year.

CADR: 300 pollen, 320 dust, 300 smoke.

ProsThe Good

This air cleaner has 4 fan speeds, including a turbo clean setting and 3 timer settings (2, 4, & 8hrs). For rooms up to 465 sq. ft. it can clean the air up to 5 times an hour. The lighting on the control panel is adjustable between bright, dim, or off. At just 17 pounds, it’s easy to move to different rooms.

The unit is Energy Star certified with a fan that runs from 40 – 130W. Filters are moderately priced.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

No air quality sensors or automatic sleep mode. There’s no remote control or mobile app. It’s all basic push-button operation. For the price, that’s a bit of a downer. The higher fan speeds, such as the allergy setting, can be annoyingly loud, so are probably not good for sleeping.

It only comes in basic black, but there is a white offered under a different model number (HPA304). It’s the exact same machine.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Many customers are happy with how well this air purifier works to trap dust and allergens. They’re breathing better and sleeping better at night. Most people like the simple operation.

Several customers said it’s not good for odor control. In fact, some complained of a plastic smell from the machine that never went away. The touch control panel is confusing and doesn’t sense when the buttons are tapped for some people.

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • Honeywell 50250-S
    Price: Average

    The 50250-S is designed for smaller rooms (up to 390 sq. ft.) than the HPA300. It has 3 fan speeds, a cylindrical shape, and is offered only in white. Includes the same carbon prefilter and True HEPA filters, but with an added dirty filter indicator. This one also adds SurroundSeal technology to minimize air leaks. It’s a little heavier at 20 pounds, but smaller overall at 18”D x 19”H x 18”W. Includes a 5-year warranty.



LEVOIT Air Purifier Large Room
Slim design with automatic features ideal for small rooms

Designed for small spaces such as bedrooms and living rooms, the LV-PUR131 air purifier has a 3-stage filter system with prefilter, True HEPA filter, and activated carbon filter. Sensor technology and a wide range of timer options make this one a set it and forget it appliance.

Ideal for rooms up to 322 square feet. Dimensions: 7.2”D x 18.5”H x 14.5”W. Weight: 11 pounds. Warranty: 2 years w/ lifetime support. Filter life: 6 months.

CADR (pollen, dust, smoke): 135

ProsThe Good

The design allows for an alternate bigger air filter if so desired. Yet it’s slim and won’t take up much space. It has several auto controls such as a timer up with 12 settings and an air quality monitor that adjusts the fan to one of 4 speeds. There’s also a sleep mode.

It runs quiet at ~ 52 dB at the highest level and runs at 40 W max. Filter replacements are very affordable.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Filters only last around 6 months, so those costs could add up. The motor can run hot after months of use. It will struggle to clean the air in any room over its stated limit (322 sq. ft.) within an hour.

The filter reset button is awkward to access. You have to stick a pencil (or similarly sized object) through the grill to push the button. There’s also a WiFi version, but it’s a LOT more expensive.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Several customers were happy with how this model handled cigarette smoke and cooking odors, which some air purifiers struggle with. They love how quiet it is. Many people slept better with less congestion with it running in their bedrooms.

Some customers felt the air quality sensor wasn’t accurate. A few noted the prefilter is not secured well and can fall off while moving the machine. Odor and allergen performance wasn’t great for a few customers.

Take a Look At These Alternative Models:
  • LEVOIT Air Purifier
    Price: Low

    The LV-H132 is a budget-friendly air purifier with a cylindrical design and comes in either black or white. Built for really small rooms, it only covers about 129 square feet. It has the same 3-stage filtration system as the LVPUR-131, but runs even quieter at 50 dB max. It uses less power too at only 28 W but has no filter replacement indicator or auto shutoff. This machine is smaller too, at 8.5”D x 14.5”H x 8.5”W.



AeraMax 300 Large Room
Simple touch-screen operation, good germ filtration, and easy-to-change filters
AeraMax 300 Large Room
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Our rating: 8.7
Price: Average
Our Choice

The AeraMax 300 air purifier has a simple touch screen on the front of its sleek, modern style case. It has a True HEPA and carbon filter, plus an ionizer. The four-stage filtration process includes antimicrobial treatment and automatic air-quality sensor to adjust the fan as needed.

Ideal for rooms 300 – 600 square feet. Dimensions: 16”W x 25”H x 8”D. Weight 13.5 pounds. Color: white. Warranty: 3-year limited. Filter life: 1 year.

CADR: 188 pollen, 196 dust, 191 smoke.

ProsThe Good

A built-in handle allows for easy portability. You can manually adjust the fan speed to one of 4 settings or let it run on auto. Includes an Aera+ mode for peak allergy and cold seasons.

PlasmaTRUE tech produces an ionized field to remove pollutants via negative ions. The HEPA filter has AeraSafe antimicrobial treatment to prevent microbial growth. This unit runs on 120V at 60 Hz and produces 35 – 55 dB of noise.

ConsThe Not-So-Good

Though CARB-certified, the ionizer does produce trace amounts of ozone, but it can be turned off if not desired (press & hold the button until the light goes off). There is no automatic sleep mode and no timers.

There is no washable prefilter or reusable filter. The carbon filter lasts about 3 months, while the HEPA filter may last a year. Also, the lights can’t be turned off, so it could be bothersome at night.

Customer OpinionWhat Customers Say

Several commented that this air cleaner was simple to operate and to change the filters. They were happy with how it removed odors, including smoke and pet odors. Others reported decreased illnesses and allergies.

Customers agree that it can be noisy, especially at high fan speeds, plus the bright lights keep some people from using it at night. They wished it had a sleep mode. Several customers noted that it didn’t perform well with dust.


Do air purifiers really make a difference?

Air Pollution

From charcoal miner masks in the 1850s to the evolution of HEPA filters in the 1940s, people have been looking for ways to clean the air where they live and work. Today, we have access to a wide range of air purifiers. They come in various price ranges with various functions.

But it’s important to know that air purifiers are not a quick fix for indoor air pollution. Before you even shop for an air purifier, you should follow most, if not all of these practices, especially if you suffer with allergies or asthma:

Caution!
  • Make sure your HVAC system has clean filters.
  • Don’t smoke inside.
  • Use a vacuum with HEPA filtration.
  • Vacuum thoroughly and often.
  • Limit burning of candles and wood fires.
  • Store volatile chemicals (solvents, pesticides, etc.) in airtight containers away from living areas.
  • Dust often and keep all doors/windows closed to minimize allergens.
  • Change sheets and pillowcases often.
  • Use allergen-blocking pillow and mattress covers.
  • Run exhaust fans while cooking and in bath and laundry rooms.

If you’re doing all those things and still suffer from allergies, or if your home has lingering unpleasant odors, or if cold/flu season hits your family hard, then an air purifier could be the answer to your prayers.

Do HEPA air purifiers really work?

High Efficiency Particulate Air Model

When shopping for air purifiers, you’ll see the acronym HEPA and True HEPA thrown around a lot. What’s the difference? HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. A certified True HEPA air filter is made from multi-layered, ultra-fine fiberglass threads with gaps of different sizes. The filter is pleated and sealed airtight in a frame.

Both True HEPA and HEPA-type filters capture particles of different sizes in one of 3 ways:

  1. Impaction – Large particles crash into the first layer of fibers.
  2. Interception – Mid-sized pollutants may make it past the first layer but then as soon as they touch a fiber, they’re caught.
  3. Diffusion – Fine particles zigzag through and get caught a little deeper into the filter but eventually hit and stick to a fiber.

To be certified as a True HEPA filter, it must remove at least 99.97% of particles with a diameter of at least 0.3 microns.

Anything else is a HEPA-like or HEPA-type with no set industry standard. They’re made from the same materials and look similar. But they may not be dense enough to capture 99% of all particulates, plus they may not be airtight.

For severe allergies and asthma, your best bet is to invest in a unit with True HEPA filtration. They’ll perform well with your solid particulate allergens such as pollen, dust, and dander.

Do HEPA filters remove smoke and other odors?

True HEPA filter
A True HEPA filter can remove particles as small as 0.3 microns

Smoke particles usually are 0.3 – 0.5 microns, so a True HEPA filter can be a good line of defense if you or your loved ones (or neighbors) are smokers.

It won’t remove all the lingering odors from smoke, however, nor will it remove other odors from pets, cooking, etc. That’s where activated carbon filters come in. They’ll capture those smelly ultra-fine compounds that the HEPA filter misses.

Are air ionizers harmful? What do they do anyway?

Air Ionization

Ionizers work by sending out negatively charged ions (called anions). These attract positively charged ions (called cations). When they combine, they become too heavy to be suspended in the air. So the particles fall to the floor and other flat surfaces, where they can then be swept or vacuumed away.

Pretty much every air purifier that has an ionizer will produce trace amounts of ozone, well within federal and state health standards. Most people won’t be affected by this at all. In fact, many appliances produce trace amounts of ozone.

On the flip side, ozone generators are specifically made to produce large amounts of ozone. The ozone is fantastic at removing odors, especially smoke and other stubborn smells. Hotels use them to clear cigarette smoke from their rooms sometimes.

However, ozone is a lung irritant. For those with severe asthma or other respiratory conditions, it would be wise to avoid ozone generators altogether and avoid the ionizer feature in an air purifier.

The good news is, many models have ionizers that you can turn off, so it won’t be an issue.

As far as benefits, many studies show that ionizers can reduce dangerous mold spores and bacteria and are particularly helpful in high-risk places like hospitals, clinics, etc.

Do I need an air purifier, dehumidifier, or a humidifier?

All of these products can reduce allergens and other pollutants, but not in the same way. Let’s compare their functions:

Air Purifier

Purifier
What they’re for?
Removes airborne particles and pollutants via air filters
What they’re best at?
Reduces pollutants that can aggravate allergies & asthma
Works best to remove?
Dust, mold spores, pet dander, germs, smoke.

An air purifier does nothing to affect your home’s humidity. It only cleans and recirculates the air, whether it’s dry or damp. A dehumidifier works to reduce the humidity in the room to an ideal level of < 50%. A humidifier adds moisture to the air to reach an ideal of at least 45%.

Dehumidifier

Dehumidifier
What they’re for?
Pulls moisture from the room’s air to lower the humidity level
What they’re best at?
Relieves allergy symptoms and reduces damp, musty smells
Works best to remove?
Mold, dust mites, mildew
Humidity needed
> 50%

While a dehumidifier has filters that can capture some allergens, it’s not really an air cleaner. It’s best at reducing damp-feeling air, as well as musty odors you may find in basements or cellars. It can also help reduce dust mites by removing the moisture the little buggers need to live.

Humidifier

Humidifier
What they’re for?
Adds moisture to the air to increase the humidity level
What they’re best at?
Relieves sinus congestion, allergy flare ups, nosebleeds, snoring, dry skin, hair & eyes
Works best to remove?
Increased humidity reduces all airborne particles
Humidity needed
< 45%

Humidifiers reduce problems excessive dry air can cause, particularly in winter. Really dry air can host more airborne pollutants. Adding humidity makes these particles heavy, so they won’t float around and end up in your nose. The extra humidity can also ease dry nasal passages to relieve congestion, nose bleeds, and snoring.

For overall better air quality, general odor reduction, and allergy relief, an air purifier is what you need. If you live in a humid climate, want to rid an area of musty smells, or control dust mites, a dehumidifier will be better. If you suffer from wintertime dry nasal passages, skin, or hair, a humidifier will make you more comfortable.

What are the best air purifiers for allergies, smoke, pets, and more?

Some specific needs benefit more from some types of air purifiers than others.

Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
Here are a few common ones:
  1. Allergies – Look for those with True HEPA filters and multiple layers of filtration.
  2. Asthma – True HEPA will be your best friend here as well, but also look for those that tackle smoke and VOC (volatile organic compounds), which can be asthma triggers.
  3. Smoke – Activated carbon filters combined with True HEPA go a long way in removing smoke odors. Ionizers can also help.
  4. Pets – True HEPA again, but also purifiers with prefilters. The prefilters will capture a lot of pet hair and dander before it even reaches the inner filters. That will prolong your HEPA filter life. Activated carbon filtration will help with stubborn pet odors.
  5. Lingering odors – To remove musty smells or cooking odors, a high quality HEPA filter plus activated charcoal can work wonders. If you’ll be using it in a damp area such as a basement, look for a model such as the AeroMax 300 with antimicrobial treatment to prevent mold from growing on the filter itself.


What should you look for when shopping for an air purifier?

There are many things to consider when buying an air purifier. Here are some of the most important criteria:

Size & Capacity

Size

If you need an air purifier for a large room or office, you can probably get away with a larger model. For a bedroom or small living room or kitchen, you’ll need something more compact. Smaller air purifiers are usually cheaper too.

Some models are wall-mounted, which makes them innovative space savers that won’t take up any floor or surface area such as the Rabbit Air MinusA2.

Try to find an air purifier designed for a room with a larger area than your target space. It’ll be able to run quieter at a lower fan speed.

Noise level

Noise

Many models list the noise level in decibels for various speeds. High or turbo fan speeds will be much louder than low or sleep mode fan speeds. This is good to know if you’re planning on using it in bedrooms. You’ll want a model that is whisper quiet at night.

Or you may need a quiet unit running in your office so it won’t disturb your work or phone calls. Those that can run at around 20 – 30 decibels on low speed or sleep modes may be so quiet you will barely notice them. Anything above 60 decibels may be louder than a normal conversation or vacuum cleaner.

Design

Design

If you’re picky about your home’s decor, the design of an air purifier might be an important factor. Some resemble an appliance or office equipment, which might fit in if you’re using it in an office space or kitchen.

Others are more artistic with customizable decorative panels such as the Rabbit Air MinusA2 or the Alen BreatheSmart, which has 10 choices of colors and patterns to fit in with any decor.

Price

Price

Air purifiers come in a wide range of prices. But more expensive doesn’t always mean better. Take the Dyson Pure Cool Link, for example. For what it does, you’ll pay more for the name than the functionality.

First, look for models that provide what you need. Then look for those little extras that will make your life easier. Things like automatic sleep mode, mobile app or voice control, reusable prefilters, light dimmers, timers, etc. shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.


Air purifier maintenance

Maintenance

To get the most out of your air purifier, it’s very important to follow setup and maintenance EXACTLY how it says to in the owner’s manual. When operated properly, air purifiers are completely safe.

Keeping those filters cleaned and changed out regularly is the most important thing you can do to keep your machine running efficiently. A clogged filter cannot capture pollutants. It will blow them back in the air, or the fan could overheat, or both.

Be sure you always take off the plastic covers on the filters before operating the machine. Some people miss this, then report a bad chemical smell. Don’t be like these people.

Also, make sure you’re placing the filters in correctly – not backwards or upside down – and get the filter housing all the way closed before turning on the machine. Otherwise, you’ll have air leaks, which will diminish the cleaning capacity.

What air purifiers can’t do

Almost every model on the market does at least an adequate job of catching dust and pollen. But what many of them miss are VOCs (volatile organic compounds) like fumes from paints, glue, cleaning products, etc.

They also cannot capture radon. You’ll need a radon mitigation system installed by a certified radon removal contractor.

As mentioned above, air purifiers also don’t remove or add to a room’s humidity. You’ll need a humidifier or dehumidifier for those functions.

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