The 12 Best Home Air Purifiers (Because Your House Is More Polluted Than You Think)

·6 min read

On a normal day, Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors. And, not-so-fun fact, the air inside is often more polluted than the air outside. Since we’ve been Cloroxing every surface and spraying Lysol like it’s our job, we’ve been thinking a lot about the germs, dust and bacteria in our breathing space. Cue the uptick in searches for a home air purifier (especially since we can’t cleanse the air with a disinfectant wipe). But do these devices actually do what they promise? Let’s investigate.

What does an air purifier do?

Think of an air purifier as a catchall for the microscopic dust and bacteria particles floating through your home. Using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, these machines remove harmful particles and allergens (think pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, smoke and even airborne bacteria that might come from human coughing or sneezing) from the air.

Ready to breathe a bit easier? Here are the ten best home air purifiers for filtering out dust, allergens and bacteria at a time when we need it most.

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1. Best Air Purifier for Mold: Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA and Eco Mode

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 361 square feet

  • Small

  • Quiet fan

  • Filtration system captures 99.97 percent of particles

  • Self timer for turning on or off

Cons:

Buy It ($249)

2. Best Multiuse Air Purifier: Dyson HP04 Pure Hot+Cool Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Extremely quiet

  • Can be set to a heating or cooling mode

  • Air quality is trackable on the app

  • Can control with Alexa

Cons:

  • Expensive

  • Not discreet looking

Buy It ($650)

3. Best Air Purifier for Allergies: Blueair Blue Pure 121 Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Washable filters

  • Three-part filtration system that rids air of 99 percent of impurities

  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Heavy (18 pounds)

  • Some reviewers report a subtle chemical scent when it's running

$440 at Amazon

4. Best Air Purifier for Large Rooms: Alen BreatheSmart Classic Large Room Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 1,100 feet

  • HEPA filter that captures up to 99.99 percent of bacteria, viruses, large particles and more

  • Color coded lights that determine the level of good or bad air quality

  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Larger than other air purifiers

$588 at Amazon

5. Best Air Purifier Under $100: LEVOIT LV-H132 AIR PURIFIER

Pros:

  • Affordable

  • Nearly 26,000 five-star reviews on Amazon

  • Lightweight

  • HEPA filter eliminates 99.97 percent of unwanted air particles

Cons:

  • Won't accommodate large rooms

  • Not discreet looking

$90; $80 at Amazon

6. Most Stylish Air Purifier: Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters

Pros:

  • Very quiet

  • HEPA filter which captures 99.97 percent of .3 micron particles

  • Stylish design

  • Discreet cord wrap

Cons:

$330 at Amazon

7. Best Air Purifier for Pets: Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Charcoal HEPA filter that traps pet hair and dander

  • Removes pet odors

  • UV-C light that kills airborne germs and bacteria

  • Slim shape

Cons:

  • Requires bulb and filter replacements

$229; $119 at Amazon

8. Best Air Purifier for Small Rooms: Molekule Air Mini+

Pros:

  • Sleek design

  • Speed control via app

  • Air quality sensor light

  • Can set up auto delivery on new filters for once a year

Cons:

  • Can only accommodate up to 250 square feet

Buy It ($499)

9. Best Portable Air Purifier: QUEENTY Desktop Air Cleaner with True HEPA Filter

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight

  • Plugs into computer or USB port

  • Eliminates 99.97 percent of dust, mites and other air particles

  • Very quiet

Cons:

  • Only accommodates up to 50 square feet

$16 at Amazon

10. Best Air Purifier/Fan Combo: Dyson Pure Cool, TP04 - HEPA Air Purifier and Tower Fan

Pros:

  • Controllable through Alexa

  • Air Multiplier technology circulates purified air through the room

  • Cooling option

  • Oscillates

  • Night Mode option for quieter filtration

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say it's loud

  • Expensive

$450 at Amazon

11. Best Air Purifier for Offices: KVV H13 True HEPA Filter Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 1,700 square feet

  • Filters 99.97 percent of pollution from air

  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Filter needs replacement every three months

$160 at Amazon

12. Best Air Purifier for Odors: LEVOIT Smoke and Odor Eliminator

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 900 square feet

  • Honeycomb activated charcoal filter eliminates odors from pets, mold, fire smoke and more

  • Removes 99.97 percent of dust, mites, pet dander and more from the air

  • Slim shape

Cons:

$180; $145 at Amazon

How can I tell if an air purifier is effective?

Just because we can’t see the dust and airborne bacteria floating around doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact, research from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that indoor air can be “more polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.” That point resonates even more if you’ve ever cleaned the air filter out of an AC unit or air purifier and have seen the grime firsthand. We’re talking about those grayish fluff balls that are a sneezing fit waiting to happen (you know the ones).

Does an air purifier reduce allergy symptoms?

Because an air purifier traps common allergens, it can also help reduce those annoying allergy symptoms (yep, including sneezing, itchy nose, watery eyes, the works). In another recent PureWow article, editor Sarah Vazquez explains, “According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, and with the season beginning a good two to three weeks earlier than usual across the country (thanks to our warmer than average winter) allergy sufferers are in for a long battle. While stocking up on your go-to allergy medication and soothing eye drops (we’re looking at you, Zaditor) is a must, there’s one product that should be at the top of your shopping list: an air purifier.”

How many air purifiers do I need?

Any number of purifiers is better than none. But in general, models are built to filter the air in a room of a specific size, whether that’s 200 square feet or 400. The experts at Blueair state, “For optimal results, your air purifier should be placed in the room where you spend the most time, or where the air quality is the worst. If your asthma or your allergies keep you awake at night, running your air purifier in your bedroom sounds like the best choice.” If you need it with you at all times, some compact purifiers are easily portable, making it effortless to move it from room to room.

It's also important to consider where in the room to place the purifier, keeping air flow and circulation in mind. The Blueair experts explain, “Air purifiers have an inlet where the polluted air is drawn in and filtered, and an outlet where clean air is pushed out. Place the air purifier where the air can circulate freely in, out and around the unit, away from walls, furniture and other objects that may stop the air flow.” They also recommend putting your air purifier at least four inches away from any potential obstacles but as close as possible to the pollution source (e.g., windows), while avoiding tucking it into a corner.

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