You put effort into keeping a clean home, but it’s easy to overlook the indoor air quality, which can be more polluted than the air outdoors. Contaminants like dust, smoke, organic compounds, allergens, bacteria and dander from your beloved pet might be swirling around without you even realizing it. Good ventilation helps, but the best air purifiers can make an enormous difference in the quality of the air in your home.
Between its cutting-edge technology, large cleaning radius and modern good looks, the Molekule Air … [+]
It can be challenging to find a purifier that works the way you want, fits your lifestyle, falls within your price range and doesn’t look like an outdated radiator. When in doubt, it’s best to turn to tried-and-true brands and products with excellent user reviews. You’ll also want to consider what size room the unit is capable of purifying and aim look for units with a HEPA filter (which stands for high efficiency particulate air) that removes at least 99.97% of air pollutants down to 0.3 microns.
We’ve evaluated the following air purifiers by their efficiency (how many germs they claim to suck up), capacity (how much space they can keep clean), appearance (is it aesthetically pleasing?) and price. From basic models to state-of-the-art machines, here are our picks for the best air purifiers on the market right now.
Best Air Purifier Overall
This Air Purifier Gets Top Marks For Performance And Aesthetics
Molekule Air Purifier
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- Pros: PECO destroys pollutants 1,000 times smaller than those in HEPA tests,
- Cons: Expensive
This pick from Molekule is one of the priciest on the list, but for serious allergy-sufferers, it may be a worthwhile investment. “Air purifiers with traditional filters (like HEPA) are able to capture 99.97% of mold spores, pollen, dust, bacteria and other airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns,” explains the brand’s co-founder, president and chief technology officer Dilip Goswami. “What they’re not able to do is capture VOCs—airborne chemicals that mostly derive from off-gassing of building materials or products in our homes or things like everyday cleaning products. Molekule’s proprietary technology, photo electrochemical oxidation (PECO), not only tackles VOCs, but also uses oxidation to destroy indoor air pollutants at molecular levels.”
The materials used to create the Molekule aren’t just functional; the design is sleek and elegant, featuring a leather handhold strap and a machined aluminum case. Molekule stands behind the unique technology in its air purifiers (and points to more than a dozen tests that demonstrate the efficacy of the technology).
It’s worth mentioning that the brand has a newer model, the Air Pro, designed for extra large spaces up to 1,000 square feet. If you’re looking for the same sophisticated design for a bigger space, that might be the model worth investing in. Or you can opt for one of the Air Mini models, mentioned above, which purifies up to 250 square feet.
Best Air Purifier For Bedrooms And Offices
A Cost-Effective Option With A Built-In Night-Light
- Pros: Three-stage filtering, compact, inexpensive
- Cons: No wireless or connected features, filter replacement can be expensive over time
Compact enough to fit on your desk and designed to filter up to about 129 square feet, this compact Levoit model is equipped with a HEPA filter that removes 99.97% of dust, pollen, smoke, odor, mold spores and pet dander. It’s an excellent inexpensive option that eschews technology like UV and ionization more commonly found in this price range. Instead it features a three-stage filtration system that includes a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. And three fan settings let you control the speed and volume of the purifier.
While this air purifier was designed for use in the bedroom (its fan is ultra quiet and it features an optional soft blue night light with two brightness settings), it’s quite portable and can be moved from room to room if needed. Aesthetically, it wouldn’t be out of place on your nightstand with its white or black case and sleek design. Though its capacity is on the smaller side and it doesn’t have as many features as other air purifiers on this list, it’s hard to beat the price. That said, if you want a little more square footage, the brand’s Core 300 model works in rooms up to 219 square feet for around $100.
Best Air Purifier For Allergies
Four Different Cleaning Levels Let You Control Air Quality
- Pros: Auto-off timer, visual indicator to change filter
- Cons: Visually unappealing, limited to small rooms
This Honeywell HPA100 might not look like much—it has all the visual appeal of a space heater—but Honeywell, no doubt, is hoping you’ll care more about what it can do. This model is designed for medium-size rooms (about 155 square feet) and features a true HEPA filter for guaranteed removal of 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns. Honeywell says that its fan can filter the air in the room five times an hour.
It’s one of the more configurable air purifiers on this list. The control panel on the top of the unit lets you set up to four different cleaning levels (which affect the fan speed and overall noise level) and has an auto-off timer option so it doesn’t run continuously. The panel also indicates when it’s time to change the filter, and it has multiple brightness levels so you can dim it at night or when you don’t need to see it.
Best Compact Air Purifier
A Compact Air Purifier With A Small Spacial Footprint
- Pros: Compact design, four-step filtration process
- Cons: Expensive for the coverage space
The Coway Airmega AP-1512HH consistently gets high ratings across the board. This compact air purifier employs a four-stage filtration process that combines a pre-filter, a deodorization filter, a true HEPA filter and a Vital Ion filter that helps remove up to 99.7% of contaminants, including volatile organic compounds and odor from the air. While it’s filtering, it communicates your air quality in real time through its brightly colored LED display. And thanks to its auto mode, if it doesn’t sense any pollution for 30 minutes, the fan will automatically stop to conserve energy.
Because it’s small in size, this particular Coway model was designed to cover up to 361 square feet of space. For reference, that’s the size of a typical bedroom. If you’re looking for a whole-house air purifier, the Alen BreatheSmart is a better choice, but the Coway Airmega does an excellent job in smaller rooms and, with a decibel rating of 24.4 dB to 53.8 dB, it does it really quietly.
Best Air Purifier For Pets
Its Easy-To-Clean Filter Is Perfect For Capturing Pet Pollutants
- Pros: Covers 1,500 square feet, 5-in-1 filtration system that effectively eliminates pet dust and dander
- Cons: Has a large footprint, expensive
If you have pets, you need the Hathaspace Smart True HEPA Air Purifier 2.0. This large capacity air purifier—it can replace the air in a 1,500-square-foot room up to 24 times per day—features a 5-in-1 filtration system that eliminates more than 99% of allergens and pollutants, like pet dander and the dust from a litter box. It also has an activated carbon filter that removes smoke, odors and gases and a cold catalyst filter that eliminates VOCs and harmful chemicals found in cleaning products or other household items, like candles or plug-ins.
It has a washable pre-filter that keeps pet hair away from the HEPA filter to improve performance and increase life expectancy. And, it’s easy to clean—just take it out, wash it down and it’s ready to start purifying again. It also has a filter replacement reminder that pops up to let you know when it’s time to order new filters, a convenient feature that ensures you never go without clean air.
Best Air Purifier For A Large Space
An Aesthetically-Pleasing Unit That Can Purify An Entire Floor
- Pros: Covers an enormous 1,300 square feet, configurable color panels
- Cons: Has a large footprint, expensive
Looking to cover a lot of square footage? Not a problem with the Alen BreatheSmart 75i Large Room Air Purifier. This air purifier cleans up to about 1,300 square feet twice an hour without making a lot of noise. In fact, Alen claims the technology in the BreatheSmart is twice as quiet as that of its key competitors, even on Turbo speed.
The Alen BreatheSmart features a HEPA Pure filter that is certified to capture 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.3 microns. This works in combination with the device’s Laser Smart Sensor, which also detects airborne particles down to 0.3 microns, to effectively clean your air of dust, pollen, allergens and dander.
It measures about 27 inches high and 18 inches wide, with a control panel on top that includes an air quality indicator light which always reflects the real-time purity of the room’s air with an easy-to-read display. And you can choose from among 14 different colors and panels to find one to match your home’s interior.
Most Stylish Air Purifier
A G00d-Looking Option That Blends In With Your Decor
- Pros: Can match color to room decor
- Cons: There is no timer or automatic shut-off
If you’re looking for a snazzy looking device for modestly sized rooms, this Blueair model may well be the way to go. It’s designed for spaces up to about 160 square feet, and Blueair claims it can filter that space five times an hour.
This three-stage air purifier combines mechanical filtration with an electrostatic filter and, to reduce odors, an activated carbon filter. It comes with two washable pre-filters designed for filtering out particles, pet dander, smoke and more. That said, be aware that while Blueair claims the system filters 99% of pollutants and it’s had its performance independently verified by the AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers), the filter itself isn’t HEPA-certified, if you’re looking for that particular seal of approval.
Visually, Blueair made sure that this purifier doesn’t look like an ordinary appliance. It has an interesting design that splits the device into two contrasting colors—colors that you can change depending upon the filter you install. A single button turns it on, off and varies the fan speed, but there’s no display or status on the device, nor is there a way to set an on/off timer.
Best Smart Air Purifier
An Option That You Can Control With Your Phone
- Pros: App- or voice-controlled, works in rooms up to 403 square feet
- Cons: May seem too complicated if you’re not technologically inclined
What’s so “smart” about the LEVOIT VeSync Core 400S? Namely, this model connects to the VeSync app, which allows you to control the device and read real-time data about the air quality in your home. The the unit can also be synced with voice assistants and is equipped with an aptly named Auto Mode, which automatically adjusts the fan speed to ensure clean air and energy conservation.
In addition to its techie capabilities, the Core 400S has all the essential features you want in an air purifier, like a HEPA filter with the ability to remove air pollutants down to 0.3 microns. It offers a wide cleaning radius too, circulating air in rooms up to 403 square feet five times per hour.
Best Multi-Use Air Purifier
- Pros: Can effectively take the place of three devices (air purifier, humidifier and cooling fan)
- Cons: Expensive
While the Dyson Purifier Humidify + Cool is admittedly expensive, it replaces three different devices with its purifying, humidifying and cooling capabilities. True to the Dyson name, it performs with efficiency and cutting-edge technology, including sensors that constantly monitor the air. In addition to containing a HEPA filter that eliminates 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns, it also has an activated carbon layer that filters odors and VOCs. It also sanitizes the water used to humidify with ultraviolet light, ensuring your air stays as pure as possible. You can set the fan to Breeze mode, which offers a cooling airstream as it purifies and humidifies, or switch to Backward Airflow mode for improving the air without a chill.
This tech-forward device has app and voice control capabilities, plus a built-in LED screen that displays air quality results. If formaldehyde concerns you (found in common household cleaners, scented air fresheners and more), there’s an upgraded model that specifically targets the stuff.
Do Air Purifiers Really Work?
Yes. Air purifiers use filters to trap particles like dust, smoke, pet dander and mold. The best air purifiers are so effective that they can remove up to 99% of pollutants and contaminants from indoor air. However, it’s important to make sure you’re changing the filters regularly or your air purifier won’t be as effective.
Air purifiers come in all shapes and sizes, and even work in fundamentally different ways. Most have what’s known as a mechanical filter, and are generally very effective at removing pollutants like dust, pollen, mold and bacteria, plus all airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger.
So, what does that all mean? “When purchasing an air purifier that is advertising a reduction in particulate/pathogens down to o.3 microns, they are referring to a HEPA filter being inside of the air purifier,” says Kevin Boltz, national director of engineering at Transwestern, a development company. “HEPA stands for ‘high efficiency particulate air’ and is typically used in hospitals, clean rooms, labs, etc.”
There are other kinds of air purifiers as well. Some, for example, generate an ionic field, which emits negatively charged ions that attract positively charged ions and causes them to fall out of the air. That sounds effective, but many of these devices create ozone, which has its own health concerns.
Regardless of the underlying technology, keep an eye out for how large of a space an air purifier can handle. Many models specify Air Changes per Hour for a given size room. Or you might see air purifiers refer to their CADR (clean air delivery rate), which measures how much clean air they deliver per minute.
Can You Run An Air Purifier 24/7?
Yes, it’s safe to run your air purifier 24/7. Since air quality is constantly changing, air purifiers are designed for continuous use. Some air purifiers have smart technologies that read air quality in real time and automatically adjust settings to help conserve energy when purification isn’t needed.
Should I Sleep With An Air Purifier On?
Yes. Air purifiers remove dust, odors and allergens that can hinder your breathing and interrupt your sleep. Sleeping with an air purifier on can help clean the air while you snooze, contributing to a more restful night’s sleep.
How Often Do You Need To Change An Air Purifier’s Filter?
It depends on your air quality. Most manufacturers recommend that you change your filter every three to six months, but if your indoor air is really polluted you may have to change your filters more often.