I’ve Tested Over a Dozen Air Purifiers and These Are My Favorites

published Oct 6, 2020
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Air Humidifier machine with Air Purifier indian Rubber tree
Credit: skaman306/Getty Images

Air pollution is a serious problem, and believe it or not, indoor air quality can be much worse than the air outside. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), single or repeated exposure to a pollutant, such as tobacco products, household cleaning products, and even excess moisture, can cause irritation, dizziness, headaches, and fatigue. Long-term effects can include respiratory ailments and other types of diseases. So even if you live in a relatively unpolluted area, you can still be impacted by poor indoor air quality.

Personally, secondhand smoke is my kryptonite, and I swear I can smell it a quarter of a mile away. In addition, dust, pollen, and pet dander are some of the common indoor air pollutants that can wreak havoc on your system if you’re either sensitive or allergic to such contaminants. The most effective way to improve your air quality? Invest in an air purifier. Over the past few years I’ve tried over a dozen small, medium, and large air purifiers, and I have some thoughts on which ones are the best (after all, they don’t come cheap). If you’re ready to splurge on one for your household, these six options are my absolute favorites.

1 / 6

I love the Molekule Air Mini because it’s small enough to be portable, yet big enough to make a significant difference. The Air Mini is about 12 inches high so you can set it on a table, and it has a natural felt handle which makes it easy to transport from room to room. Unsurprisingly, it works best in small rooms (up to 250 sq. ft.) and is really easy to use: You just touch it once to turn it on, and each time after that, you’re touching it to increase the fan speeds. There are five fan speeds in all—the first three speeds are relatively quiet, although the last two can drown out my TV’s audio. Unlike other air purifiers that use HEPA and carbon filters, Molekule uses a PECO Purification system unique to the brand. Without getting too technical, the nanocatalyst-coated layers of the filter destroy pollutants. It may sound like something out of a SYFY flick, but just know that it works! There’s also an option to connect the air purifier to your smart phone and control it remotely, but I’m never that far away from it.

2 / 6

The TruSens purifier gets a lot of points because of its sleek design. It’s 28 inches high, but since it’s so slim it doesn’t take up a lot of space. It's kind of similar to my washer and dryer in the sense that it lights up and makes a melodic sound when you turn it on, although only the turbo speed is really noticeable. Unlike other models, the TruSens uses 360 degree filtration that combines an activated carbon filter and a HEPA filter. One really neat feature is the SensorPod. It works by placing the remote air quality monitor across the room from wherever you place the air purifier. Then, the two items will communicate with each other and the purifier will display the air quality level, and automatically adjust the fan speed as needed. However, you can also control the fan speed manually. Other options on the display include the ability to set a timer if you want the purifier to run for a certain number of hours, and you can also turn off the display illumination. Smart!

3 / 6
was $199.99

The LG PuriCare Mini resembles one of my portable speakers—it’s about 8 inches tall, and sits on my desk without getting in the way. All three speed settings are pretty quiet, but you'll know it’s working because you can actually see the dual fans if you hold it up to the light. A fun feature is that the sensor on the top turns different colors to let you know if the air is clean, polluted, or somewhere in-between. This air purifier is ideal when you don’t have access to a power outlet or if you’re on the go. Once you charge it, the battery lasts for up to eight hours, and the stylish leather strap lets you transport it without fear of dropping it. Another neat feature is the app, which lets you control the device remotely and view the battery level status, pollution history, filter change indicator, and other types of information. It's even certified by the British Allergy Foundation, and you can tell it works as well as a much larger machine.

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Home Depot

The BlueAir Pure 211+ has two unique features: a washable pre-filter, and the ability to actually customize the pre-filters. You can choose from several colors—it ships with Dark Shadow and Diva Blue, but you can also buy it in Lunar Rock, Crystal Pink, and Buff Yellow. It's pretty compact, standing at 20 inches high and able to purify larger rooms up to 540 sq. ft., plus it has an impressively energy-efficient filtration system. There are three settings: Low is quiet, medium is barely noticeable, and high is definitely noticeable. But since it cleans the air so quickly, it won’t take long until you’re back to the lowest setting again. The one button design means you’re not fidgeting with knobs and modes, and you can also monitor quality via your smartphone, utilize voice control with Alexa, and receive automatic filter change reminders.

5 / 6
Best Buy

Another one of my favorites is the Wynd Plus Personal Air Purifier, which uses a medical-grade filter. Standing just 7 inches tall, it can actually sit in my car’s cupholder, making it perfect to take wherever I go. It also comes with a “kickstand” so it can also be tilted on its side like a fan. There's even a removable sensor on the bottom that can either be used with the device or on its own to provide data. In addition, the app lets you control the air purifier remotely, or automatically adjust the fan speed. The app also provides real time air quality readings, and lets you know how your personal air quality compares to regional averages.

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It’s expensive, but the Alen BreatheSmart 75i is perhaps my favorite one. First of all, it cleans up to 1,300 sq. ft. When you consider how much space other air purifiers clean, the price might actually be a bargain since you don't need to buy a purifier for every room. And for someone like me who loves choices, there are plenty of them. For example, you get to choose your panel color (options include white, graphite, brushed stainless, oak, espresso, or rosewood). And since the panels are removable, you can always get another style when you want to change up the look. In addition, you get to choose your filter type based on your specific need: pure, fresh, pet, or heavy odor. It's tall (27 inches) but not bulky, and of the 5 speeds, only the highest one is moderately loud. The display panel on the top is pretty straightforward and the air quality ring will turn one of 5 colors to alert you of the air. It's very powerful and heavy duty, using True HEPA air filters plus the option to turn on the ionizer (I don’t). Possibly my favorite features, though, is the 3-phase filter notification. Instead of just walking by one day to see that it’s time to change the filter, the 75i gives you a heads up so you’ll know when the filter is good, when it’s around the halfway point, and then when it needs to be replaced.