Whether you’re a parent, a pet owner, or just a regular meatbag with a pair of lungs, it’s vital to have good air quality at home. Unsurprisingly, an air purifier is the best tool to keep your air clean.
Indoor air pollution has been identified as a serious health risk by the EPA, and there’s a good chance that the inside of your home is teeming with nasty particles. These particles and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) can come from poor ventilation, pets, mold, smoke, perfumes, new furniture, and outdoor pollution.
While you could improve your air quality by opening a window or replacing your A/C’s air filter (do that too), a dedicated air purifier will ensure that the air you’re breathing is as clean as possible.
The thing is, there are a ton of air purifiers on the market, and they’re all suited for different situations. Some air purifiers only work well in a single room, while others provide whole-home coverage. Some purifiers (and their replacement filters) are expensive, while others are relatively cheap. That’s why we’ve taken the time to find the best air purifiers for everyone’s needs.
Another thing to keep in mind that we’re mostly focusing on traditional, fan-based purifiers and will specifically mention if a filter has an ionizer. Ionic air purifiers “clean” the air by releasing negatively charged ions, which draws in nasty particles. Do you know how static-covered balloons stick to walls? That’s basically how ionic purifiers work. The thing is, they don’t get rid of dust, and they’re bad for people with asthma.
The Best Budget Pick: The GermGuardian AC4825 ($80)
The GermGuardian AC4825 is an affordable, straightforward air purifier that looks like a space heater or a standing fan. It has a coverage of 167 square feet (a large bedroom), a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and a built-in UV-C (blacklight) to kill germs and viruses that might be in your air. It also has three fan speeds and a filter-change light, which is handy if you don’t like to crack open your air filter every few weeks.
Because of the GermGuardian’s odd shape, you can’t use it with standard A/C filters. Instead, you have to buy GermGuardian branded filters. They’re a little expensive, so if you expect to go through a lot of filters (you’re an indoor smoker, or you live with ten cats), then it may be worth getting a larger air purifier that takes cheaper filters, like the Pure Enrichment air purifier.
The Premium Pick: The Alen BreatheSmart Classic ($689)
If you’re looking for an air purifier that can quietly clean the air throughout your entire home (or workplace), then you should check out the Alen BreathSmart. This air purifier has a room coverage of 1,100 square feet, quiet fans, a single large HEPA filter, and a built-in air quality monitor that routinely checks for nasty particles and VOCs. And while the BreathSmart’s filters are a bit expensive, they should last for a year of regular use.
The Alen BreathSmart is clearly intended for whole-home air purification (with a price tag to match), but its shining feature is its “auto” option. It has a built-in air quality monitor, so it can automatically increase or decrease its fan speeds to match the quality of your air. This makes it particularly great for office settings, or for anyone that hates to fuss with an air purifier throughout the day. It’s also worth mentioning that this model has an ionizer, but it can be turned off if you don’t like it.
For Smarthomes: The LEVOIT LV-PUR131 ($190)
The LEVOIT LV-PUR131 air purifier is ideal for smarthome fans, or for anyone who wants to track and program their air purifier on the fly. It comes with a VeSync app for remote programming, and it can be used with Google Assistant (but not Alexa or IFTTT).
The LEVOIT LV-PUR131 has a coverage of 322 square feet, a pre-filter for pet hair, a carbon filter to neutralize odors, and a HEPA filter to catch harmful particulates and VOCs. This air purifier doesn’t work with standard A/C filters, so you have to buy filters from LEVOIT, which are a little expensive. That being said, these filters routinely go on sale, and Amazon sometimes offers a bi-yearly LEVOIT filter subscription at a discount.
For Small Rooms: The LEVOIT LV-H132 ($88)
Looking for a small, stylish air purifier? The LEVOIT LV-H132 might be what you’re after. This one-foot-tall air filter may look like a futuristic garbage can, but it’s a premium air purifier at a super affordable price. It has a coverage of about 130 square feet (the size of a bedroom), a pre-filter for pet hair, and a true HEPA filter to eliminate VOCs and nasty particulates. It also has three fan speeds, a built-in night light, and a plastic bag dispenser for hands-free filter removal (looking more like a futuristic wastebasket).
Due to the size of this air purifier, you can’t use it with everyday air filters. Instead, you have to buy LEVOIT filters. They aren’t too expensive, but it’s a hurdle that can be annoying to deal with.
For Medium Sized Rooms: The Pure Enrichment Purifier ($100)
The Pure Enrichment air purifier is small, stylish, and effective. It has a coverage area of 200 square feet, three built-in filters (HEPA filter, carbon filter, and a pre-filter for pet hair), and UV-C (blacklight) mode to kill any bacteria that might be in your air. This air filter also has a timer setting, but it doesn’t have any built-in scheduling or smarthome features.
Filters for the Pure Enrichment purifier are reasonably priced at $17, and they last for about six months with regular use.
For Washable Filters: The Honeywell HFD-120-Q ($160)
Don’t want to pay for replacement filters? The Honeywell HFD-120-Q comes with a money-saving washable air filter, so it practically pays for itself over time. Not to mention, it has a coverage of 170 square feet, so it’ll work well in nearly any bedroom, kitchen, or bathroom.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Honeywell HFD-120Q doesn’t have any fancy pre-filters or activated carbon filters. While pre-filters aren’t necessary for a unit with a washable filter (pre-filters extend the life of traditional filters), the lack of a carbon filter means that the Honeywell won’t neutralize odors as well as some other air purifiers. It does, however, have an always-on ionizer, which as we noted earlier may not be great for people with asthma.
The No-Fuss Pick: The Elechomes UC3101 ($200)
The Elechomes UC3101 is a great, no-fuss air purifier. It has a coverage of 350 square feet (ideal for a living room), two built-in air quality monitors, and an “auto” mode that adjusts fan speeds depending on your air quality. Plus, it contains four different air filters (HEPA, carbon filter, antibacterial cloth, and a pre-filter for pet hair). This air purifier is ideal for people who want an always-on air purifier, or for people who want a lot of coverage from their purifier.
While the Elechomes UC3101 is a simple and easy air purifier, its filters are a bit expensive. They run for $50, but they should last for about a year with regular use.