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Research has shown indoor air quality is often significantly worse than that outside, which is why it's no surprise that air purifiers are such a popular purchase among homeowners. These devices work to remove microscopic particles from the air, saving potentially harmful molecules like dust, mold, smoke, and more from entering your lungs.
If you're looking for an air purifier to help improve the air quality in your home, the following are the best options available today, all of which will help you breathe a little easier.
Best Overall: Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Allergen Remover
One of the most efficient, highly-rated air purifiers available right now is the Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover. This device helps remove more than 99.97 percent of airborne particles from large rooms, effectively improving indoor air quality.
This top-rated air purifier from Honeywell is effective on particles as small as .3 microns, and it will capture things like pollen, dust, mold, pet dander, smoke, and germs. It's effective in rooms up to 465 square feet, and it can circulate all the air in a given area up to five times an hour. Plus, it comes at a great price and helps reduce allergies and sickness during the colder months.
"After running the purifier overnight in a living room, we awoke the next morning to find the room smelling fresher and one allergy sufferer was significantly less congested. After a few days of continued evening use, the filter showed signs of effectively trapping dust and dog hair."—Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Best for Pets: LEVOIT LV-H132 Compact True HEPA Air Purifier
If someone in your home has allergies, it may irritate them to have pet dander floating around in the air. A great product to capture pet dander and other irritating particles is the LEVOIT LV-H132 Air Purifier.
This model has a three-stage filtration system, including a true HEPA filter, that removes 99.9 percent of dust, pollen, smoke, mold spores, and pet danders. It can filter out particles as small as .3 microns, and it can be used in rooms as big as 85 square feet. Not only does this model reduce airborne irritants, but it eliminates pet dander and odors, as well.
"We tested the purifier in a bedroom with two people and a shedding Bassett hound, running it overnight for a week. Following our initial run, we turned it off for a few nights to compare the difference in air quality. While we didn't notice any significant difference during the week it was running, we could certainly tell during the off-days that the unit had indeed been doing its job when it was on. Without it, the room smelled mustier and we woke up with scratchier, itchier throats."—Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Best Budget: Guardian Technologies GermGuardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier
High-end air purifiers can cost up to several hundred dollars, but you don't need to break the bank to get a quality product. One great budget option is the GermGuardian AC4825 22-inch 3-in-1 Full Room Air Purifier, which delivers the same air-purifying power for a fraction of the price.
This model uses a HEPA filter to capture 99.9 percent of allergens, including pet dander, mold spores, and pollen. It also uses a charcoal filter to reduce common odors from pets, smoking, cooking, and more, and it boasts optional UV-C light technology that can kill airborne bacteria and germs.
"This model’s unique Ultraviolet-C light does require a blue light to be on, which could be distracting to a sensitive sleeper. Thankfully, this feature is optional and can be turned on and off by the push of a button. In terms of noise, this is a very quiet machine with three different levels of speed. Even on the highest setting, the purifier is no louder than white noise. For everyday use, we found the lowest setting to be sufficient and silent."—Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Best for Smoke: Elechomes EPI236 Pro Series Air Purifier
If you live in an area where there are frequently wildfires or have someone in your home that smokes, you know how permeating the odor can be. However, you can combat the smell of smoke and clear allergens from your air with an air purifier that has multiple types of filters to keep your air feeling clean. In the case of this model, that means a HEPA filter for dust, pollen, and pet dander, plus a carbon filter for smoke and odors, and a pre-filter to catch larger particles and keep them from clogging the filters.
Of course, there is more to an air purifier than just the filters. This pick has a sleep mode that's extra-quiet, and a timer if you'd like it to turn off after a certain amount of time. There's also an auto mode that will react to the air quality in the room, increasing the fan speed if the sensor detects more pollutants in the air.
Best for Allergies: TruSens Air Purifier
When you're looking to rid your room of allergens, make sure the air purifier you pick has a HEPA filter. These types of filters trap at least 99.97 percent of particles in the air, so you're not breathing in pollen, dust, or pet dander that may irritate your allergies. But this air filter does more than just trap allergens with one filter. It also has a pre-filter to catch much larger particles to keep your filter working for longer, and a carbon filter to get rid of smoke, pet, and cooking smells that may also irritate your nose or lungs. Finally, it has a UV light to help kill bacteria in the air.
This air purifier also wins points for its features, which go above and beyond. Topping that list is the air quality indicator that flashes yellow and red if the air quality in the room decreases. It gets this data from both the purifier and the included SensorPod air monitor that can be placed across the room to make sure your entire living space is clean.
Best for Mold: Guardian Technologies GermGuardian True HEPA 5-in-1 Air Purifier
While microscopic, mold particles can be harmful to your health if you breathe them in over a prolonged period of time. If you're concerned about mold in your home, it might be wise to invest in the GermGuardian True HEPA 5-in-1 Air Purifier.
This air purifier uses a HEPA filter to capture 99.97 percent of dust and allergens as small as .3 microns, and it boasts UV-C light technology to kill airborne bacteria, germs, and mold spores. It's effective in rooms up to 180 square feet, as it can circulate the air up to four times per hour. It noticeably clears dust and other particles out of the air, although it's a bit louder than other “silent” models.
Best for Bedrooms: Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
If you're going to put an air purifier in your bedroom, you probably want it to be quiet enough that it won't disturb you while you sleep. If this is the case, you should definitely look into the Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier, which is virtually silent during operation.
This air purifier has a four-stage purification and deodorization system that includes HEPA filtration. It can be used in a room up to a whopping 550 square feet, and it traps particles as small as .3 microns with a 99.9 percent efficiency. The Rabbit Air purifier is great for reducing the buildup of common allergens such as dust mites, mold, pollen, and pet dander, as well as bacteria and viruses, making it a solid investment for any bedroom.
Beyond its effectiveness, this unit looks sleek and modern, so it won't be an eyesore in your home.
Best Design: Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool PH01
If you aren’t afraid to spend a little extra on a high-end product, you can't beat the design and performance of the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool PH01. The latest release from Dyson, it acts as an air purifier, humidifier, and cooling system all in one compact tower.
This product from Dyson uses a HEPA filter to capture 99.97 percent of microscopic particles, as small as .3 microns, but it does more than that. It automatically detects the temperature and humidity level in the room and adjusts accordingly to keep you feeling comfortable. With the Dyson Link app, you can adjust the modes (the PH01 boasts a night mode, fan mode, backwards airflow mode, and more) without getting up from the bed.
Best for Small Rooms: Blueair Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier
Whether you're trying to clean your air of pet hair and dander, trying to diminish the amount of smoke or VOCs in your home, or you just want to make sure you're filtering out every day allergens like dust and pollen, this model from Blueair is a great pick.
The air in your room goes through three stages to get clean: a machine washable pre-filter (that comes in a series of colors on Blueair's website if you feel like matching to your surroundings), a carbon filter to neutralize odors, and a HEPA filter to trap irritating particles. While the third filter is what really "cleans" your air, the other two will make your air look and smell cleaner, which is a huge bonus.
The washable filter is easy to remove and clean whenever you notice it needs a rinse, and the internal filter needs to be swapped out about once every 6 months if you have the air purifier in the right sized room. This Blueair model is designed for rooms 161 square feet and smaller.
The best overall air purifier is the Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Allergen Remover. It's a top-rated model that helps remove more than 99.97 percent of airborne particles from large rooms. It has a lot of extra features that reviewers find useful, like the automatic shut-off timer and LED indicator light. If you’re looking for an air purifier that’s specifically designed for smoke, go with the Elechomes EPI236 Pro Series Air Purifier (view at Amazon), which boasts a pre-filter, a carbon filter, and HEPA filter to keep the air clean.
What to Look for in an Air Purifier
A larger room requires a higher-capacity air purifier. This is measured by clean air delivery rate, or CADR, which indicates how many particles are filtered and how fast. For the most effective air purifier, choose one that has a CADR rating that’s at least two-thirds the size of the room. (A 100-square-foot room would have a CADR rating of at least 67.)
Air purifiers clean a room’s air at different intervals over the course of one hour. This is called air change per hour, or ACH rate (which varies from 2-6). An ACH rate of 2 means the air will be cleaned every 30 minutes, an ACH rate of 4 means the air will be cleaned every 15 minutes, and an ACH rate of 6 means the air will be cleaned every 10 minutes.
There are three main types of filters: HEPA filters, charcoal or active carbon filters, and washable filters. HEPA filters are most effective at reducing common allergens (pet dander, pollen, and dust), but charcoal or active carbon filters remove irritants like smoke or cooking smells more effectively. Washable filters are more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly since the entire filter does not need to be replaced.