Which air purifier is best?

Maintaining your home’s air quality is vital to your health, particularly if anyone living in it has asthma or other respiratory conditions. Besides removing allergens and impurities from the air you breathe, a good air purifier can also help clear airborne contaminants that cause disease. When you’re looking for a powerful, effective air purifier, Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier with HEPASilent Filtration is a top choice. 

 

This article was reviewed and approved by Ketia Daniel, the BestReviews Cleaning Expert.

 

What to know before you buy an air purifier

Its method of air purification

You’ll see many terms thrown around in descriptions of air purifiers: HEPA filters, carbon filtration, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation and photocatalytic oxidation, to name a few. While each method has its proponents, the most common in-home air purifier is HEPA, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air. It is a mechanical filter that can remove up to 99.97% of all airborne particles. HEPA filtration air purifiers tend to work reliably and not release any ozone, which can worsen bronchitis and coughing. If you choose an air purifier with a filter, make sure to change your filters as often as is suggested for your model. This keeps your air as clean as possible.

The cost of replacement filters

If you do end up going with a HEPA air purifier, it’s tempting to only look at the cost of the machine itself when deciding if it’s in your budget. But another thing to consider is the cost of filters, which can add up in a machine that recommends a filter change every few months. To keep costs down, look for an air purifier with lower-cost filters or ones that are washable. 

Certification

You can get a sense of an air purifier’s energy efficiency if it has an Energy Star rating on it. Look for a verified seal from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, which gives information on the device’s clear air delivery rate through a voluntary certification process.

What to look for in a quality air purifier

Noise at top operation

Some air purifiers produce a pleasant hum of background noise, while others can be downright intrusive. Be sure to test the air purifier in the environment and at the rate you’re most likely to run it. If you’re sensitive to noise or plan to run the air purifier in your bedroom, be sure to look for one that’s on the quieter side of the spectrum. Look online for the device’s decibel level before purchasing, and compare it with the levels emitted by other common appliances. For example,  a computer averages about 40 decibels, or a bathroom exhaust fan is usually around 55. 

How many square feet it will clear

Packaging and the manufacturer’s website will contain how many square feet a given air purifier will clear. Don’t try to get an air purifier to clean a larger area than it’s intended for, as there won’t be sufficient air circulation for it to clear the full space. It’s usually advisable to go a bit above the square footage you’re looking to clear (get an air purifier certified to clear a 500 square foot area for a 300 square foot area, for example) to make sure the full area is cleared. Where possible, rely on independent assessments of the square footage capacity of an air purifier, like those released by consumer advocacy organizations.

Its footprint

While its efficacy is the top concern, you also should consider an air purifier’s overall size and how well it blends into the decor of the room where it’s placed. Tall, slim units are key in areas where floor space is scant.

How much you can expect to spend on an air purifier

You can buy a good small-room purifier for less than $200, but over $500 for a potent device that clears 700 square feet or more. 

Air purifier FAQ

Will an air purifier remove bad smells?

A. If the smell is airborne, like smoke, then an air purifier rated for the size of the room being cleared will make the smell disappear. If a scent is from particles that are too heavy to be airborne, like a damp rug, then the air purifier may help with overall air quality but will not remove the smell completely.

Where in the room should I place an air purifier?

A. Place it in a spot of the room where air circulates freely and away from cramped quarters or corners. Certain electronics, like microwaves and televisions, can cause interference, so place the air purifier a reasonable distance from them. If there’s an obvious odor source in the room, keep the air purifier near it. 

What’s the best air purifier to buy?

Top air purifier

Blueair Air Purifier

Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier with HEPASilent Filtration

What you need to know: This powerhouse is AHAM-rated to clear an area of 698 square feet every 12.5 minutes, removing 99.97% of airborne pollen, dust mites, pet dander and other particles down to 0.1 microns.

What you’ll love: The odor removal with this unit is fast and noticeable. It’s got filters that remove VOC and cooking odors. 

What you should consider: This is not the quietest unit on the market. According to the manufacturer, it operates at 62 decibels on its high setting, which is just a bit quieter than a window fan on high.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top air purifier for the money

WinixD480True HEPA 3-Stage Air Purifier

WinixD480True HEPA 3-Stage Air Purifier

What you need to know: This purifier puts air through three filters and is AHAM-rated to work in rooms up to 480 square feet.

What you’ll love: It has slim and sleek lines and a modern look and effectively clears a room of pollutants and smells. 

What you should consider: With three stages of filtration, there are three different filters to replace, which can get expensive over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Home Depot 

Worth checking out

Dyson Pure Cool Air Refresher & Fan

Dyson Pure Cool, TP01 HEPA Air Refresher & Fan

What you need to know: This has an off-timer and ten different speeds for unobtrusive, quiet operation.

What you’ll love: It’s got an appealing, futuristic design, and it gets the job done in most average-sized rooms, although the manufacturer only lists “large” as the room size it clears but not specific square footage. It only takes up 7.7 by 7.7 inches of floor space, as most of its bulk is vertical. It is 41 inches tall. 

What you should consider: It does not list an AHMA rating on its packaging, so without a specific square-footage rating, it can be tough to know if this will work on your larger rooms.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Maria E. Andreu writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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