The 10 Best Air Purifiers Worth Buying
Looking to eradicate germs, allergens, and assorted pollutants from your space? Here’s how to find the right air purifier for your specific needs.
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Clear the air—literally
The coronavirus pandemic has changed many things about how we live our daily lives. For starters, we’re wearing face masks, shopping for groceries online, and, for many of us, working from home. We’ve also become more hygiene-conscious and very aware of the different methods of germ transmission, including via respiratory droplets. While the CDC is currently examining how long these droplets can survive in the air, it’s clear that airborne transmission (especially in enclosed, crowded spaces with little ventilation) plays a big role with COVID-19. To reduce the potential spread, you might be wondering if you should invest in one of the best air purifiers on the market—and you’re not alone. Air purifier sales have risen over the past year and are showing no signs of slowing down; in fact, they are projected to grow by more than $8 billion over the next three years.
While air purifiers may able to capture bacterial and viral particles that are 0.3 microns or larger, that’s not the only reason to buy one. You might simply want to deal with the dusty, dank air in your home. “The air inside your home can actually be more polluted than outdoor air,” says Melanie Carver, chief mission officer for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). “We spend more than 90 percent of our time indoors, and that percentage is likely even higher given the additional amount of time most of us are spending inside due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Air purifiers can help reduce indoor air pollution by removing tiny particles, such as dust mites, pet dander, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), odors, pollen, and air pollution from outside. All of this can particularly help people who suffer from allergies. But before you buy, there are a few things you need to know.
What to look for in an air purifier
You want an air purifier you’ll actually use, so it’s best to choose one that’s easy to maintain. It’s also important to size it right for your room. But how else can you narrow down the thousands of models to find the best air purifier for you? Look for the evidence-based, scientific certification standard that air purifiers can earn, advises John McKeon, MD, founder and CEO of Allergy Standards Ltd. (ASL), which operates the certification program with the AAFA.
“To be certified, an air cleaner is tested on its ability to remove allergens and particulates from the air, and also to capture them. Many air-moving devices, such as fans, often just redistribute allergens onto walls and other surfaces,” Dr. McKeon says. “Some appliances can also produce relatively high levels of ozone and other harmful by-products, which have been shown to irritate those with sensitive airways. The Code of Federal Regulations sets a limit, and only air purifiers that meet this criteria are certified.”
For an air cleaner to be certified asthma & allergy friendly®, it must meet the following standards, says Carver:
It must reduce allergen levels in the air.
It must not introduce allergens back into the air. The air purifier needs to capture allergens on the filter and not redistribute them.
In the market for a humidifier, as well? Check out our list of the best humidifiers you can buy right now.
Air purifier maintenance tips
Each of these top air purifiers on Amazon has different care specifications, so be sure to read corresponding manuals, Carver says. As a general rule, though, “it’s important to replace or clean filters when needed—most recommend every three months. This keeps the product effective and also saves money.”
Another important note: Don’t put essential oils in your air purifier (or a humidifier or diffuser, for that matter) if you have asthma or allergies, as they release VOCs and can worsen symptoms, Carver adds. Adding these oils into an air purifier may also harm the machine itself if it’s not designed to diffuse essential oils—and few are.
Now that you’re up to speed, let’s get to the recommendations! And while you’re at it, find out the other tiny everyday changes you can make to cut back on air pollution.
Note: Prices listed were accurate as of press time; pricing fluctuations may occur.
Best air purifier for a large space: Dyson Pure Cool DP04 Air Purifier Fan
Energy Star–certified and able to clean and cool an 800-square-foot room, this HEPA filter air purifier promises to capture 99.97 percent of air pollutants. Aside from being beloved by the experts, this top-rated Dyson model also made Oprah’s list of favorite things—and it’s easy to see why. In addition to getting the job done, its smart technology sensors automatically react to changes in the indoor air quality and can alert you via the Dyson Link app. Here are more smart devices that are worth every penny.
Best air purifier for an apartment: LG PuriCare 3-Stage Filter Purifier
Of course, not everyone needs an air purifier that covers a lot of ground (or, more accurately, air). If you have a smaller space, look to the LG PuriCare. It eliminates almost all dust, pollen, and pet dander from a 251-square-foot room, and its easy-to-read digital display shows the overall indoor air pollution level (green is clean; red is poor). If you’re a pet parent, you should also check out our list of the 15 best vacuums for dog and cat hair.
Best air purifier for your bedroom: Samsung Cube Smart Air Purifier
If you’re a fussy sleeper, take note: This air purifier is about as quiet as they come. And, of course, it does what you need it to in terms of air purifying. Samsung’s True HEPA filtration says it can capture up to 99.97 percent of super-fine dust, allergens, and pet dander, and an activated carbon filter deodorizes any “off” scents in a 310-square-foot or smaller room. For a hands-off option, tap into the voice-control features that can take advantage of tools like Alexa to switch modes. If you have trouble sleeping, check out the sleep products Amazon shoppers can’t stop buying.
Best air purifier for the office: Dyson Pure Cool Link Air Purifying Desk Fan
Working from home, or looking to bring something to the office? Snag this Dyson that “never disappoints,” according to one reviewer. It’s just 17 by 11 inches, but it packs a major purifying punch. It also connects to the Dyson Link app for easy controls, and its Air Multiplier technology and oscillating fan amplify the air in the room to boost purified airflow. FYI, here’s what else kills bacteria—and what doesn’t.
Best air purifier for creative types: RabbitAir MinusA2
You’re not just limited to black, white, or metal with this flat-screen-esque model. You can choose a decorative cover inspired by classic masterpieces, cartoons, and more to spice up your space. In addition to doubling as a work of art, this RabbitAir can handle big rooms and even entire small apartments. It catches and reduces pollution from pets, smoke, and mildew for up to 700 square feet through its six-stage HEPA filtration and deodorization process. By the way, these are the silent signs that your home is an unhealthy place to live.
Best portable air purifier: LG PuriCare 360-Degree Air Purifier
At less than two feet tall and 13 inches around, this compact air purifier is a breeze to tuck into corners or to tote around your home. A two-filter cleaning system in this LG device catches up to 99.97 percent of air pollutants in a space up to 310 square feet. And it’s almost silent. Bonus: A circulating fan allows it to purify 360 degrees around the room, and the SmartThinQ Technology app lets you check air quality even when you’re not at home. How do you know it’s really good, though? It comes with a ten-year warranty, so chances are it’s going to be with you for a very long time. Speaking of which, did you know that these 30 Amazon products come with a lifetime warranty?
Best air purifier for techies: Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link HP02
“My allergic asthma has all but disappeared, and I actually haven’t been taking any allergy pills after a few days of running this unit,” one user says. That’s likely thanks to its HEPA filter, which removes 99.97 percent of allergens including mold, bacteria, pollen, and dust from the air, plus a second active carbon filter that traps VOCs like paint smells. This air purifier also tracks real-time air quality and responds accordingly, is simple to clean, and can be set on a sleep timer, if desired. This Dyson might be the perfect tech gift for someone on your list.
Best budget-friendly air purifier: Lasko HEPA Filter Desktop Air Purifier
By now, you’ve likely noticed that air purifiers can be expensive. But you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to get a good product. At under $70, this little guy is a steal, and while not yet asthma & allergy friendly® certified, it does have a HEPA filter, so it will capture the vast majority of potential air pollutants in a room up to 109 square feet. Place it on your desk when you’re working from home and you’ll soon be breathing easier: It promises to trap “The Invisible 8,” or the eight most common airborne irritants, including smoke, smells, VOCs, pet dander, and mold. Plus, find out the products proven to kill coronavirus on surfaces.
Best air purifier for battling bacteria: Germ Guardian Air Purifier
Invest an extra $22 and you can have this model, which comes equipped with a UV-C light that you flip on to help kill bacteria in the same room you’re purifying. With more than 28,000 near-perfect reviews on Amazon, the Germ Guardian earns raves for its built-in white-noise feature that will help lull you to sleep while it captures allergens, dust, and other airborne contaminants with its HEPA filter. Check out these other brilliant buys on Amazon with practically perfect reviews.
Best air purifier to neutralize smells: Levoit Core 300
With a three-filter system that can tackle up to 200 square feet, the VortexAir Technology and triple-layer HEPA filter process in this Levoit purifier filter pollutants and neutralize odors (caused by pets, cooking, or more) quickly and effectively. It’s also extremely quiet and efficient enough to earn an Energy Star certification. While not officially approved or endorsed by the experts, you can trust the thousands of reviewers who vouch for it on Amazon. Next, check out the other top-rated Amazon products you’ll use every day.
CDC: “Scientific Brief: SARS-CoV-2 and Potential Airborne Transmission”
Businesswire: “COVID-19 Impacts: Air Purifier Market Will Accelerate at a CAGR of Over 8% Through 2020-2024”
Melanie Carver, chief mission officer for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
John McKeon, MD, founder and CEO of Allergy Standards Ltd.
Breathe Better Air: “Can I Use Essential Oils in an Air Purifier?”