Air purifiers can help ensure you’re inhaling clean air in your home that isn’t oversaturated with pollen, dust, pet hair, and other airborne allergens. While there are many features to consider when purchasing an air purifier, its functionality, backed by a CADR rating, is the most important. Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro and a cleaning expert for The Spruce, tells us CADR—which quantifies how quickly an air purifier removes air contaminants in cubic feet per minute (CFM)—is an important spec to consider when purchasing an air purifier because it provides “an apples-to-apples comparison between machines that cut through the marketing smoke and mirrors to how well they really work.”
We’ve tested dozens of air purifiers in The Lab, where we used an air quality monitor to evaluate their effectiveness and a decibel meter to evaluate their noise levels. We also evaluated their ease of setup, value, design, and features. After testing the air purifiers, we sent 15 models home with volunteer testers, who used them over three months to evaluate their long-term performance and impact on air quality.
Our best overall pick is the LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Large Room, thanks to its inconspicuous yet feature-packed design, quiet operation, and ability to quickly improve air quality. This product has a CADR rating of 260 CFM, making it a quick, effective option for removing dust, allergens, and other particles from the air.
Based on our lab and real-world testing, here are the best air purifiers.
LEVOIT PlasmaPro 400S Smart True HEPA Air Purifier
Very quiet, effective operation
Alexa and Google compatible
Great app controls
Three-stage filter system
High mode can be noisy
Between its overall efficiency, quiet operation, feature-packed design, and smart home compatibility, the LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Large Room is the top pick among all the air purifiers we tested. This purifier relies on an H13 True HEPA filter, which is part of its three-stage filtration system. A pre-filter focuses on filtering larger debris such as lint and pet hair. The H13 True HEPA filter is capable of targeting 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses and filters a minimum of 99.97 percent of air particles with a 0.3-micron size, such as pollen. Finally, the carbon filter filters pollutants such as smoke, VOCs (volatile organic compounds), and various odors.
Our tester appreciated that this model came already assembled, only requiring the removal of the plastic cover from the filter, and that it was easy to connect the air purifier to the app by scanning a QR code. You can access plenty of features via the digital display, but the app also has user-friendly controls and offers access to even more features such as setting timers and schedules. And if you prefer to use voice commands over pressing buttons, this purifier is compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant. The different control options make this one of the more accessible options on our list.
After using this air purifier in her home for three months, our at-home tester said she loves how the air smells cleaner in her home. "Before [having the purifier], we had a damp smell in our entryway, and now, it seems to have disappeared," she said. "I've moved the air purifier from room to room, and I can tell a difference when it's on in a room versus when it's not. I feel like I'm breathing clean air!"
This purifier also has a sleep mode for quiet operation while you rest, but our tester found it's still incredibly quiet on low mode. However, the high mode can be significantly louder. You also needn't worry about it being an eyesore since it has a sleek silhouette and futuristic design.
Price at time of publish: $220
Coverage Area: 403 square feet | Dimensions: 10.79 x 10.79 x 20.47 inches | Filter Type: H13 True HEPA filter | CADR Rating: 260 CFM | Smart Capabilities: Alexa and Google Assistant
Toppin Comfy Air C2 Air Purifier
Very user-friendly controls
Lightweight and easily portable
Effective even on lowest setting
Loud on highest setting
Lower square-foot coverage
For its price point, this is a well-rounded air purifier that’s easy to use and set up, effective at improving air quality, and lightweight enough to move around. However, it does lack advanced features you find on other pricier models with smart home compatibility and app controls.
This model relies on an H13 True HEPA filter and offers you three fan settings to choose from. You can also set up a timer for two, four, or eight hours. It has an overall modern appearance, with a user-friendly digital display.
For assembly, our tester only had to remove plastic from the filter and insert its electrical adapter; the instructions were straightforward and easy to follow. Once the unit was up and running, we affirmed that it improved air quality within five minutes on the high setting and 10 minutes on the low setting. While the high setting cleans the air quicker, that setting produced a considerable amount of noise, which could disrupt your sleep or at-home movie sessions. We found no such issue with the light indicator, which also can bother light sleepers; you can turn it off without shutting down the air purifier.
Our at-home tester, who used this purifier regularly at three-hour intervals during the day, appreciated its minimal and sleek design. Without much upkeep, she said she could feel it improving the quality of her air. Her only critique was this model does not have an air quality indicator to automate the system and shut it off after reaching a certain purity level.
Price at time of publish: $100
Coverage Area: 215 square feet | Dimensions: 7.6 x 7.6 x 14.8 inches | Filter Type: H13 True HEPA filter | CADR Rating: 100 CFM | Smart Capabilities: None
Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 Connected Tower Fan
Intuitive app controls, smart features
10 power levels
Quickly removes smoke
Purifies and cools
Difficulties reattaching vented doors
This Dyson model has a heftier price tag than other models we tested. But it certainly purifies and cools your air, has a futuristic design, and is compatible with Alexa, Siri, and Google Home. It relies on an H13 HEPA filter, and our tester was impressed by its ability to dramatically improve the air quality within five to 10 minutes, as well as swiftly remove smoke. It has an impressive range of 10 speed settings. We noticed no noise on level 1 and only a fan-like sound on level 10. It has a night mode too, initiating quieter operation and a dimmed light display for disruption-free sleep.
This air purifier can oscillate, and we found its movements very smooth. The long, sturdy power cord is convenient, and removing the vented doors to check on the filter’s cleanliness is effortless. (However, we encountered some difficulty getting the vented door back on.)
You can use one of the compatible smart assistants with voice command to control this purifier. Or, you can also use the included remote, which is magnetic and fits into a little notch at the top of the purifier for easy storage. We found it was easy to connect the purifier to the app, and we appreciated all the useful information it displays, such as room temperature, humidity, and air quality history.
After using this all-in-one purifier and fan in her home for three months, our at-home tester was all in on this product. She said she loved keeping it on the auto setting and appreciated how sensitive the unit was to poor air quality. "The auto-purify setting senses me painting my nails from a ways away," she noted, "and that really made me realize how valuable this item is in our 70-year-old home. We love the fan settings as well because they're discreet and very quiet!"
Price at time of publish: $524
Coverage Area: Not listed | Dimensions: 4.72 x 8 x 41 inches | Filter Type: H13 HEPA filter | CADR Rating: Not listed | Smart Capabilities: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Best for Bedrooms
AROEVE MK04 Air Purifier
Effectively improves air quality
Easy-to-read air quality display
Filter cover could be more secure
Could be quieter on the highest setting
No pet hair filtration or VOC filtration
Our tester ran this AROEVE air purifier for a full 10 minutes on each available mode and marveled at how effectively it improved her room’s air quality after only two or three minutes. Pairing its efficiency with its quiet Sleep Mode and low-profile design, this is a perfect fit in bedrooms. It has an H13 True HEPA filter and relies on UV technology to further cleanse the air. (Note that this model lacks both pet hair and VOC filtration.) And while we felt that the filter cover wasn’t as secure as it could be, we appreciated how smoothly we were able to slide the filter in and out.
We found that overall, this purifier operates quietly, though, in high mode, it can be “as loud as a hair dryer,” reported our tester. But one reason we love this air purifier for bedrooms is its sleep mode, which can keep the unit running at a particularly quiet level when it’s time to rest. It also has a straightforward display, in which different colors of light let you effortlessly read the air quality. And if you’re worried about the light display ruining your sleep or forgetting to turn the purifier off, you don’t need to. The light display can be either dimmed or completely turned off, and you can set this model to automatically turn off after eight, 12, or 14 hours. In terms of design, this is a compact and minimalist-looking air purifier, so you don’t have to worry about it looking awkward in your room.
Our home tester ran this air purifier for at least six hours during the day on auto or set it to night mode in the evening. After using this air purifier in her home for three months, she said she has noticed that the purifier is removing dust, allergens, and other particles from her home. She also appreciates that the purifier's light system reports that the air is clean and enjoys using the night mode because of its quiet operation. She recommends the purifier to anyone who's looking for a reliable and low-maintenance model at a reasonable price.
Price at time of publish: $130
Coverage Area: 1,095 square feet | Dimensions: 13.5 x 7.5 x 17.25 inches | Filter Type: H13 True HEPA filter | CADR Rating: 300+ CFM | Smart Capabilities: None
Winix 9800 4-Stage True HEPA Air Purifier with WiFi & PlasmaWave Technology
Helpful in-app features
Four stages of filtration
Relatively quiet throughout
Extra step to set up app location
Most of the air purifiers we tested exhibited a considerable difference in noise level from the lowest setting to the highest. While the Winix 9800's turbo mode was considerably loud, the other settings were far more impressively consistent, registering 43 dB on a low setting to 57 on high. We found that running the unit on medium mode gave the optimum balance between efficiency and quiet. We also were impressed that the air purifier conveniently switches to sleep mode and operates even more quietly once it senses a room has gone dark.
You can control the air purifier via the unit's digital display, the app, or voice commands since it's Alexa-compatible. We had a difference of opinion as to the app's efficacy: Our at-home tester said she couldn't get the app to set up and preferred controlling the unit manually. On the other hand, though our lab tester said it was a bit of a hassle to set up, once she did, she could check in on the air quality, set schedules, join the filter club, review air quality history, and view the filter life. “Once I was able to set up the app, it was super easy and quick to use," our lab tester said. "I love [that] you can schedule time for it to turn on, and I think it was super effective in improving indoor air quality.”
Removing and cleaning the filter is easy, and this air purifier has four stages of filtration. First comes the pre-filter, which targets larger particles and debris. Then there’s the activated carbon filter, which tackles VOCs and odors, followed by the True HEPA filter, which filters 99.9 percent of allergens in the air. Finally, there’s the PlasmaWave Air Cleaning Technology. Our tester thought this filtration system did a great job improving the air quality and did so in only five to 10 minutes. It did not do as well at picking up pet hair. But still, our at-home tester said she noticed she coughed less after keeping this purifier on its lowest setting every day for three months.
She also echoed our disappointment at its rather boxy appearance (though at least it is still clean-cut and sleek), adding this model is certainly not the best for anyone with limited space. It is rather bulky, and she had to rearrange furniture to fit it into her home.
Price at time of publish: $280
Coverage Area: 500 square feet | Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.8 x 23.2 inches | Filter Type: True HEPA filter | CADR Rating: Not listed | Smart Capabilities: Alexa
Coway Airmega 400S Smart Air Purifier
Effective on all modes
Easy filter access
Alexa and Google Home compatibility
A bit noisier on high mode
Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant, this Coway air purifier is a great fit for smart homes and anyone who prefers to control their gadgets with voice commands. It also works with an app, which allows you to conveniently check in on the filter status and air quality, as well as set schedules from your phone. We wished the app were a bit easier to set up; other models allow you to scan a QR code for easy sync-up, which is something this model lacks.
However, this was a minor inconvenience given the usefulness of the in-app features. "You can monitor [the air purifier] on your phone, and it tells you the quality of the air in my house and when to change the filters and so forth," our lab tester said. We appreciate that in addition to an auto and sleep mode, this product also has an eco mode that runs only when it detects a decline in air quality.
The Coway Airmega utilizes a three-stage filtration system: a pre-filter for hair and larger dust particles; a Green True HEPA filter that targets smaller dust particles, viruses, mold, and bacteria; and an activated carbon filter that helps reduce VOCs and odors. It was very efficient at improving the air quality on the low setting, but it did an even better job on the high setting. It was quiet on the low mode and predictably a bit noisier on the high mode.
The device has a sleek, aesthetic square shape that makes a great fit for corners. The easy-to-read light indicator lets you know at a glance if the air quality is good, moderate, unhealthy, or very unhealthy. The filters are located on the sides, and we appreciate how easy they are to access. Although this model is slightly more expensive, our at-home tester said she appreciated the quality and detail of the air purity it offers. After using this model in her home for three months, she said it has definitely improved her home's air quality and she loves that she can control its functions through Alexa.
Price at time of publish: $606
Coverage Area: 500 square feet | Dimensions: 16.5 x 11.8 x 23.2 inches | Filter Type: True HEPA filter | CADR Rating: Not listed | Smart Capabilities: Alexa
Best Humidifier Combo
Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde
Quickly purifies air
Helpful setup video
Non-detectable noise levels
Compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri
Humidifier adds to required maintenance
Difficulties re-inserting filters
If you're looking for a device that wears many hats, this Dyson model can purify, cool, and humidify your air. You don’t have to worry about its multitasking detracting from its effectiveness as a purifier since we saw an improvement in air quality just five minutes into using this device. It uses an H13 HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, and it has 10 different power levels. We determined that the unit's noise levels unit range from non-detectable to the sound of a small fan on medium, with the noise becoming more noticeable around power level seven. There’s a night mode as well for quieter operation and a dimmed display when it’s time to sleep.
Configuring the water tank for the humidifier can be a little tricky if you don’t follow the directions, but once we viewed the instructional setup video, the process was easier to understand. (Keep in mind that adding a humidifier means added maintenance and cleaning needs that you needn't worry about with a traditional air purifier.) Also, after we opened this purifier’s vented doors, we struggled to re-insert the filter and close the doors.
Just like the other Dyson model in this roundup, the PH04 looks futuristic and comes with a magnetic remote control that can be easily stored on top of the fan. You can also opt to control it by app or with voice commands since it’s compatible with Alexa and Siri. In the app, you’ll be able to see reports on changes in air quality and humidity.
Also, like many other Dyson products, this air purifier comes at a high cost. However, our at-home tester agreed its quality and multi-functionality make this purifier well worth its price. "This product continues to improve my daily routine. It's helping with all the pet dander from my dogs, especially my lab (she sheds like crazy)," she said. "This also is great at cooling off any room we put it in and has definitely helped with mine and my partners allergies."
Price at time of publish: $890
Coverage Area: 400 square feet | Dimensions: 12.23 x 11.02 x 36.33 inches | Filter Type: H13 HEPA filter | CADR Rating: Not listed | Smart Capabilities: Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri
Best for Small Spaces
LEVOIT Core Mini Air Purifier
Compact and lightweight
No advanced features
Pairing its quiet operation with its small footprint, our tester dubbed it a “small but mighty product” since it still manages to effectively purify the air, despite its compact (6.5 inches long and 10.4 inches high), inconspicuous design. It has a pre-filter, personal HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter for a three-stage filtration system that tackles larger and smaller particles, as well as smoke, odors, and fumes. It also supports aromatherapy, allowing you to add essential oils so you can customize the scent of your space.
You can run it at a low, medium, or high setting, but otherwise, this model lacks the bonus features you find in other models. Our tester declined to hold the lack of features against it since the unit still does a great job at purifying the air and improving the air quality within 10 minutes on the high setting. On the low setting, we hardly noticed any noise, and while the high setting produced a bit more, it wasn’t enough to be a nuisance. The cord isn’t super long, so our tester suggests situating the air purifier on an end table or dresser. It has an overall minimalist, clean-cut look, so it can visually adapt to most interiors.
Our home tester ran this unit almost nonstop in her bedroom since receiving it and appreciated how she could set it and forget about it. Although the filter did not have a large amount of dust on it after an entire month of use, our home tester believed this purifier certainly made some difference in the level of dust in her bedroom. Overall, this is a great value pick, considering its price tag, style, and effectiveness.
Price at time of publish: $50
Coverage Area: 178 square feet | Dimensions: 6.5 x 6.5 x 10.4 inches | Filter Type: Personal HEPA filter | CADR Rating: Not listed | Smart Capabilities: None
Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
User-friendly digital display
If you’re looking for an Energy Star-certified product that effectively cleanses the air, this is the model to consider. Keeping a low profile wherever it's placed, the BioGS 2.0 performed well in our tests. It offers a four-stage purification process, with a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, an activated carbon filter, and a negative ion generator, which produces negative ions that help keep the air clean. The manufacturer says the HEPA and activated carbon filters last up to three years when used for 12 hours per day, so you shouldn't have to worry about replacing them too frequently.
Our long-term home tester said this purifier removed musty smells from her home efficiently, especially when compared with other smaller units she previously had in her home. "I literally could not love this air purifier more," she said. "It makes a noticeable difference in our basement. It's really helped us make better use of the space. "
You can choose between five speeds, and each speed is quiet; we found none distracting. You can also set a sleep timer for four, eight, or 12 hours. There’s a filter life indicator, so you know when it’s time to change your filters, as well as an air quality indicator on top of the purifier. Plus, the digital display’s lights automatically shut off when the device is idle. "I can tell the auto-detection actually works because whenever someone new enters the room, it turns on to rebalance the air at the ideal setting," our lab tester said. "It’s almost like having an air-purifying robot that thinks, acts, and cleans on its own."
We don't recommend this unit to someone who needs to avoid lifting heavy, bulky objects. That issue aside, the digital display is easy to read, and the overall unit is modern and attractive. For your convenience, it also comes with a remote.
Price at time of publish: $370
Coverage Area: 550 square feet | Dimensions: 16.16 x 9.8 x 22.2 inches | Filter Type: BioGS HEPA Filter | CADR Rating: 136 for smoke, 149 for dust, 162 for pollen | Smart Capabilities: None
Bissell air400 Professional Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters
Plenty of handy features
Sleek, user-friendly digital display
Quiet-mode noise almost undetectable
Pricey filter replacements
While the Bissell air400 model lacks app compatibility, we were impressed with its digital display functionality, as well as its intuitive range of features. For instance, when it gets darker in your room, this purifier automatically activates night mode and dims the digital display. It also has a one-, four-, or eight-hour timer option, an indicator for each of the three filters (pre-filter, HEPA filter, activated carbon filter) that lets you know when they need to be replaced, an air quality indicator, and an impressive range of five speed settings. “I was impressed that the digital display consistently matched our testing device for air quality," our lab tester said.
In our lab, this purifier had absolutely no issue clearing the air on low in only five minutes and seemed it could work well in a much larger space than in which we tested. Our long-term tester ran this product side by side with her other two air purifiers. "They all registered the same amount of particulates," she noted, "and the Bissell was much more efficient and quicker at cleaning the room versus a smaller one I had in the nearby dining room. It also doesn't clog quickly with dog hair, as some of the other designs do."
We found the noise virtually undetectable on quiet mode, though max mode produces enough noise to disrupt you while you chit-chat or watch TV. However, there are high, medium, low, and auto settings between those two, so you can decide which mode offers you your ideal balance between speed and noise.
This isn’t the best option for anyone looking for an inconspicuous model or working with a smaller space since it’s on the larger side. The filters also need to be replaced every six months, so that’s an added expense to keep in mind. However, our at-home tester noted that this purifier's filter performed much better than previous models they tried. "My favorite thing about this air purifier is its effectiveness and its high performance despite excess pet hair and dander," she said. "We have a Great Pyrenees who sheds an obscene amount every day. We haven't noticed any issues with the filter thus far and notice less dust and dander in the air and on surfaces." With its inconveniences aside, the digital display is nicely sized and easy to read, and this model only has a few button options, so it’s very straightforward to use.
Price at time of publish: $387
Coverage Area: 450 square feet | Dimensions: 16.13 x 9.75 x 24 inches | Filter Type: HEPA filter | CADR Rating: 279 for smoke up to 432 square feet | Smart Capabilities: None
Best for Pets
RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
Artistic design option
Very effective on high mode
Can be mounted to a wall
Requires you to unwrap a lot of filters
Lacks smart home compatibility
This purifier has five different filters, one being a True HEPA filter and another a customizable option. With the customizable filter, you can choose an option that homes in on germ defense, pet allergies, toxin absorption, or odor removal, depending on your particular concerns. With so many filters, you can expect to do a lot of unwrapping before you begin using your purifier, but all those filters work together to get the job done.
In our lab test, the purifier cleansed the air pretty quickly on low mode; on the high mode, it immensely improved the air quality within five minutes. "When it comes to purifying the air, it did a really nice job quickly," our lab tester said. "It also was great how quiet it was and that you could attach it to the wall.”
Our home tester kept this purifier on its auto setting while using it for three months and noticed it was especially helpful when she was sick and quarantined in her bedroom. "I like the comfort of knowing the air in my bedroom is good," she said. "I can't tell if it helps us sleep better to breathe better air all night, but I like to think that it does!"
We barely noticed any noise when the air purifier was operating in silent mode or quiet mode. We don’t even think the noise produced on the highest mode was enough to disrupt a movie-watching session.
Note that you can choose to control this air purifier via the digital display, the included remote control, or the compatible app and that the digital display’s lights automatically dim when it gets dark.
This model is unique in terms of aesthetics, allowing you to choose from solid colors, such as black and white, and also from artistic designs, such as Starry Night, Water Lilies, and Great Wave (for an added fee). It’s sleek, slim, and modern, with a straightforward display. Plus, it can be mounted on a wall, which is useful if you'd like to keep your air purifier out of your pet’s reach or to conserve floor space. While this model is definitely more expensive, our home tester said she couldn't imagine not having it in her home. "It wasn't something I really considered, but now I cant imagine not having it, if it broke I would buy another one," she said.
Price at time of publish: $600
Coverage Area: 700 square feet | Dimensions: 7 x 21.4 x 20 inches | Filter Type: True HEPA filter | CADR Rating: 166 for smoke, 173 for dust, 171 for pollen | Smart Capabilities: None
Out of all the air purifiers we tested, the LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Large Room was our favorite. It has an all-around great design with its effective air purification, intuitive smart and app controls, quiet operation, easy setup, and attractive appearance. If you’re looking for an option with straightforward controls and instructions and don’t mind having a model with less cutting-edge features, the TOPPIN Air Purifiers for Pets in Bedroom TPAP001 is our favorite budget pick.
How We Tested the Air Purifiers
To properly make selections for this list, The Spruce tested 38 different air purifiers in The Lab in Des Moines, Iowa, evaluating each unit’s effectiveness, noise levels, ease of setup, design, features, and value. We tested the air purifiers over two days and used data and hands-on, practical experiences from our tests to provide numerical ratings for each air purifier’s qualities.
To test each purifier’s effectiveness at cleaning the air, we set up five different-sized, zip-up-able indoor greenhouses we referred to as our air quality testing chambers. We used a decibel meter to quantify each air purifier’s noise levels in its lowest and highest operating modes. To evaluate the setup process, we timed how long each air purifier took to get up and running out of the box, based on the clarity of the instructions. We assessed each product's design, noting where it was best placed (corner, tabletop, etc.), how obtrusive it might appear in a room, and how agreeable it seemed to a typical home's decor. We considered whether the product's additional features, such as smart capabilities, added to its appeal. The final evaluation was whether all those results justified the price tag: the product's overall value.
Our air testing was complex but thorough. We took turns placing each air purifier in the tents. Before turning them on, we recorded baseline readings of each enclosure's air quality using a monitor and noted the initial PM 2.5 and VOC levels. Each tester released a clump of pet hair into the chamber and lit an incense match, allowing it to release smoke for approximately 5 minutes into the zipped-up tent. We measured and recorded the PM 2.5 level, then ran each purifier on its lowest mode for 10 minutes, re-recording the PM 2.5 from the air purifier and air quality monitor at the five and 10-minute marks. We repeated this entire test on each purifier's high mode. If the air purifier claimed to trap pet hair, we checked the filter to see if pet hair was captured.
If the air purifier had a VOC-focused filter, we tested its effectiveness. To do so, we let 4 ounces of mothballs sit for 15 minutes in the closed tent. We then used the air quality monitor to measure and record the level of VOC gases in the chamber. We ran the air purifier for 10 minutes, reading and recording the VOC level on our air quality monitor and the air purifier at the five and 10-minute mark.
After testing these purifiers in a controlled lab setting, we sent them home with volunteers, who used them in their homes for over three months. In addition to evaluating each purifier's performance in all the tested categories, we asked them to consider how it improved their day-to-day living (if at all) and whether they noticed any long-term impact on their lives.
What to Look For in an Air Purifier
You will notice three primary types of filters mentioned above: pre-filters, HEPA filters, and activated carbon filters.
Pre-filters typically target larger particles, such as pet hair and lint, while HEPA filters target smaller particles, particularly pollen, dust mites, and pet allergens. Look for an air purifier noted as having a “True HEPA filter.” True HEPA filters can capture 99.97 percent of particles with diameters of 0.3 microns and, according to the EPA, can capture even smaller particles. Our Best Overall choice, the LEVOIT 400S, and our Best Budget selection, the TOPPIN TPAP001, have T13 True HEPA filters. It’s important not to confuse True HEPA filters with HEPA-type filters: HEPA-type filters do not guarantee the same level of performance.
Some purifiers incorporate activated carbon filters into their systems, which target gases, and can help remove VOCs, odors, and smoke from the air. If you live in an area or home where you are frequently around harmful fumes—such as cities where there is lots of car exhaustion or unpleasant odors such as those that can sometimes come from pets—make sure the air purifier you consider, such as our Best Quiet choice Winix 9800, has an activated carbon filter.
Air purifiers are similar to heaters and air conditioners in that they have coverage capacity. Most air purifier product descriptions list the room size they are intended for in square feet, so you should have an idea of the area of the room you would like to use your device in before purchasing an air purifier.
If you plan to use your device in a large, open room, make sure the air purifier you consider is capable of properly monitoring and purifying the air across the entire space, not just a certain section. On the other hand, if you look to use your device in a smaller space, it could be a waste of money to invest in a product powerful enough to handle larger spaces. Our Best for Bedrooms pick, the AROEVE Air Purifier for Large Rooms, quickly cleared polluted air within two to three minutes of operating during our lab tests. Although it's recommended as our best for the bedroom pick, it could easily handle a larger room, such as a living room or kitchen, with a CADR rating above 300 CFM.
CADR stands for clean air delivery rate and refers to the volume of air, in cubic feet, that your air purifier can clean per minute. Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro and a member of The Spruce's Cleaning Review board, reminds us this spec, noted in cubic feet per minute (CFM), is tested and measured by using a purifier’s highest setting to clean air of dust, smoke, and pollen. Among the products we tested that list CFM, the Coway Airmega 400S (Best Smart) noted CADR ratings at 328 for smoke and dust and 400 for pollen. The AROEVE (Best for Bedrooms) reported an overall CADR of 300+. To experience the maximum CADR of an air purifier, you have to run it on its highest setting, which tends to be its loudest.
But while CADR is important to determine air purifier effectiveness, Homer advises not to focus solely on it. She says a lower CADR can sometimes correlate to quieter operation and a less-conspicuous design, which may be a greater priority for you, depending on your circumstances. Our best overall pick, the LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Large Room, has a CADR rating of 260 CFM, which makes it not only an efficient purifier but also an option with a quiet operation that shouldn't disturb your day-to-day routine.
Quiet operation is important because if you frequently use your air purifier throughout the day, it shouldn't disrupt your work, leisure time, sleep, and other day-to-day activities. Just as with fans and air conditioners, some air purifiers are quieter than others, producing more noise as their levels go up. Many product descriptions note, in decibels (dB), the sound produced by the purifier, and we've listed those in every product's Key Specs below the product description.
If you are particularly sensitive or easily distracted by noises, consider a model that has a quiet or silent mode. Many also have night modes, which activate a quieter operation or dim digital display lights to create a better sleep environment. Several of our picks, including our Best for Pets and Best Features options, the Rabbit Air Minus2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier and the Bissell Air400 Professional Air Purifier, respectively, offer silent modes. Our at-home testers said those made the purifiers' operations virtually undetectable. Note that if your air purifier starts to make more noise than you consider typical, one of your filters may need to be cleaned, replaced, or readjusted.
How do you clean an air purifier?
Every air purifier model is different, so carefully read the instructions on how to properly clean and care for it. Some HEPA filters are washable, and you can clean or soak them in water and reuse them. However, some reusable options are non-washable, and you may need to vacuum them instead. Homer suggests cleaning any metal-screen pre-filters with water or a vacuum. She notes that most disposable HEPA filters typically need to be replaced approximately every three months rather than washed and re-used.
To clean your air purifier’s exterior, Homer recommends using a microfiber towel lightly dampened with your favorite all-purpose cleaner. If you need to clean the interior, she warns that most manufacturers caution against using soap on any internal parts of the purifier since soapy residue attracts dust and may clog up the machine.
Regardless of whether you wash or replace your air purifier's filter, be sure to turn it off and unplug it before removing the filter.
Where should you place an air purifier?
Where you place your purifier varies. You may want to place it in a room where you’re particularly concerned about the air quality or know there is a higher concentration of air pollutants. Or you may want to place it in the room where you spend most of your time.
Regardless, make sure you place your air filter in an open space. Homer recommends that you read your air purifier’s instruction manual for any specifics on placements. “Most manufacturers will tell you to place the purifier on a flat surface, out of direct sunlight, so it doesn't overheat, and away from the walls, so air can circulate around it freely," she adds. "Some may also caution you to keep the unit away from TV and electronics, as they may cause electromagnetic interference that causes the purifier to malfunction.”
How long should you run an air purifier?
According to Homer, how long you should run your air purifier depends on the current air quality and how quickly new contaminants may be reintroduced. For instance, homes with pets or greater exposure to VOCs may need to run their air purifiers longer or at a greater frequency. Homer also warns that seasonal pollen surges may also require longer and more frequent cleanings.
Many air purifiers have eco mode options, which monitor the air quality and automatically turn the device off once it has properly improved the air quality. If your air purifier has an eco mode option, Homer recommends using it.
Why Trust The Spruce?
Sarah Toscano is a freelance writer for The Spruce, specializing in all things home tech. All the products in this roundup were tested in The Lab, where our product testers followed a rigorous testing methodology to properly evaluate each model. Additional follow-up real-world testing was done throughout the country by our volunteers. Prior to conducting our product test, considerable research went into deciding which air purifiers to test.
Sarah also consulted with Melissa Homer, chief cleaning officer at MaidPro and a member of The Spruce's Cleaning Review Board. Melissa has over two decades of professional cleaning experience, including education experience in the professional residential cleaning industry.
Emma Phelps, an updates writer for The Spruce, also added long-term testing insights to this roundup based on one month and three month results from our at-home testers.
What Is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce, we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally, we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.