Air purifiers are one of those under-the-radar household items that you think you can live without, but once you have one you can never go back. These mighty machines do a lot of work: they work to clear the air of allergens, pet dander, germs and even odors. And couldn't we all stand to breathe air that's just a little bit cleaner? We've rounded up our favorites from all price points and sizes to help you find the right purifier for your needs.
How This Works
Every week we bring new products into our "test lab" and have the whole office vote on their favorites, based on quality, appearance and price. The winners become the Top Picks of our Annual Guides, which showcase the best products of the year.
Maxwell Ryan, our Founder & CEO, oversees the field, throws in his vote as well, and then demonstrates the favorites in a video so you can see them with your own eyes. Come back every Thursday for a new edition of The Guide right here and in social with Maxwell's Instagram story!
Our Top Pick
I'm a huge air purifier fan, have owned many, and always keep one in my bedroom where you breathe the air the most. Personally, I believe that most purifiers will do a perfectly good job, and the trick is to find one that is quiet and that has the right shape for your home and a price you can afford. While I love all the purifiers we looked at this week - they all rock in their own way - we chose this small unit because it was the most practical for our readers and could work in many rooms. Aesthetically chic, well priced and smaller in scale, this year's prize goes to the Levoit Compact.
Our Best Air Purifier Posts:
- Two New Air Purifiers for Allergy Season (Plus a Super Cute Humidifier for Good Measure!)
- How to Shop for an Air Purifier
- Breathe Easier: How To Make Your Home More Asthma & Allergy Safe
- How To Make Winter Allergies Less Obnoxious
Perfect for medium-sized rooms, this tower purifier from GermGuardian has 3-in-1 functionality: it traps 99.97% of airborne allergens, fights odors and kills airborne mold. It's not the prettiest option, but its practicality and great price make it a top pick for us.
Another low-priced option for medium- and large-sized rooms, this option from Winix has a True HEPA filter and an odor-reducing carbon filter. Plus, Winix's PlasmaWave technology instantly neutralizes bacteria without emitting harmful ozone, and the Auto Mode feature adjusts the fan to filter air as needed, with a sleep mode for quiet nighttime performance.
This little purifier from Honeywell actually covers a lot of ground and is best for large and extra-large rooms. Features include a True HEPA filter, 360° air intake, three speeds and SurroundSeal technology that reduces the risk of air leaks. It's not as quiet as some of the other options, but offers straightforward air purifying at a budget price.
Coway's tagline for this purifier is "minimum space, maximum efficiency," which is fitting for this quiet little machine that boasts 4-stage filtration and a Vital ION system that deactivates bacteria in the air. The Coway is very hands-off as well, with an eco mode that turns the fan off once no pollution is detected for 30 minutes and automatic speed adjustment depending on the air quality levels.
Dyson is known for its innovative home products, and its True HEPA air purifier is no exception. Best for larger spaces, this purifier also acts as a fan in the summer and comes with its own app for monitoring your home's air quality wherever you are. Even better, the Dyson is now compatible with Alexa so you can talk to your purifier — the future of air purification is now.
Our top pick in the mid-priced category, the Blue Pure family is the energy-efficient and ultra-quiet air purifier from the experts over at Blueair. There are three sizes to choose from, but we tested out the largest — the 121, which covers 620 square feet. All the Blue Pure purifiers are Energy Star-certified for low energy consumption, and the 360° air intake ensures maximum Clean Air Delivery Rate. Plus, it's actually pretty stylish for such a big machine, with a couple different colors to choose from.
For a super customizable option, check out this purifier from Alen. With coverage of up to 1,100 square feet, this purifier isn't exactly small, but you can choose from a range of panel colors and designs that will complement your space. You can also choose from four different filters depending on your specific problem: dust and allergens, mold and germs, smoke and chemicals, or odor.
Our top pick on the high-end range, this purifier is the latest model from the pros at RabbitAir. Sleek and sturdy, it kind of looks like a TV — and can be wall-mounted like one as well. Unlike a TV, the MinusA2 works hard to keep your home healthy. It's WiFi-enabled and can connect to an app that tracks air quality, plus has four custom filters to choose from: germ defense, toxin absorber, pet allergy and odor remover.
If it's heavy duty you're looking for, then you probably can't do better than the purifiers from Austin Air. These purifiers are endorsed by everyone from medical professionals to the Red Cross, which uses Austin Air purifiers in disaster zones. These machines are built to last for years, and cover areas up to 1,500 square feet.
Another top-quality, heavily endorsed purifier, this pick from IQAir (the original air purifier company) comes with a ten-year warranty and Consumers Digest Best Buy Award. If that doesn't pique your interest, consider this: IQAir was chosen to fill Hong Kong hospitals during the SARS crisis, clear the air for the US Olympic team's living quarters in Beijing, and filter thousands of California schools.
What is a HEPA Filter (and Why Should I Care)?
In the air filter world, the HEPA standard has evolved as the go-to "good enough" quality level. Developed originally during WWII by the Atomic Energy Commission's Manhattan Project to clean radiation out of the air, the design evolved over a number of years into an affordable, mass-produced paper filter system that could be integrated into purifiers, vacuums and other units for commercial and residential use.
To qualify as HEPA by US government standards, an air filter must remove (from the air that passes through) 99.97% of particles that have a size of 0.3 µm.
"HEPA: High-efficiency particulate arrestance or HEPA is a type of air filter. Filters meeting the HEPA standard have many applications, including use in medical facilities, automobiles, aircraft and homes. The filter must satisfy certain standards of efficiency such as those set by the United States Department of Energy (DOE)." via Wikipedia
Other Good Resources:
- The Best Air Purifier — Wirecutter
- Air Purifier Buying Guide — Consumer Reports
- Top 10 Best Rated Home Air Purifiers For 2018 — Home Air Quality Guides
- The 7 Best Air Purifiers to Buy in 2018 — The Spruce