If you’re looking to rid your home of pet dander, dust, or pesky allergens, an air purifier may be just the item for you. Typically equipped with a filter system and germ-blocking UV-C light, these devices are designed to improve the quality of the air you breathe with the simple push of a button. Though there are many different air purifiers available on the market today, they’re far from created equal. Thankfully, there are ways to sort through the noise and land on the perfect air purifier for you.
In general, you’ll want a purifier that’s easy to clean, isn’t too noisy, boasts a number of speed options, and is sleek enough to blend in seamlessly with your home decor. Below, I’ll introduce you to five of my favorites, all of which I’ve tested!
The 5 Best Air Purifiers
- Editor’s Choice – Germ Guardian
- Best Design – Levoit Air Purifier
- Best Value – Hamilton Beach Odor Eliminator
- Most Features – Pure Enrichment PureZone
- Best Air Plug – Hamilton Beach True Air Plug
Editor’s Choice – Germ Guardian
Germ Guardian Air Purifier
The Germ Guarian has a 3-in-1 filtration system able to remove 99.97% of harmful particles from the air!
4.70 / 5
Built with a 3-in-1 filtration system, the Germ Guardian is perfect for any space that needs some serious purification. It’s got a robust build, which may not work for small apartments or bedrooms, but could be ideal for large family homes, especially ones filled with pets.
- My favorite thing about the Germ Guardian is its 3-in-1 HEPA filter. The HEPA designation ensures that the air purifier is able to remove 99.97% of harmful particles from the air.
- Set-up was also a breeze — the only thing you have to do is remove a thin layer of plastic from the filter, which is housed behind a snap-off panel on the back.
- The control panel is very user-friendly, and it’s easy to switch between the three fan speeds and turn on the UV-C light.
- The Germ Guardian is the biggest purifier on this list, so the size may be a detractor for those with a smaller space.
- Not necessarily a con, but the design is rather simple. If you’re looking for something a bit more techified, you may prefer one of the other options on this list.
Best Design – Levoit Air Purifier
Levoit Air Purifier
A compact design with easy to use functions, the Levoit is a great choice for the space conscious apartment dweller.
4.60 / 5
The Levoit air purifier is a cylindrical device outfitted with a calming UV-C light, three fan filters, and a special 3-stage filtration system. Compact enough to fit on a night stand or tucked away in a corner, this could be a great fit for a cozy apartment.
- I’m a big fan of the stylish design, which is refreshingly different from the boxier options you usually see on the Internet.
- I also liked its central light feature. Many other purifiers have a thin ring of UV-C light, but I enjoy the bright blue circle here, which can oscillate between either bright or dim with the click of a button.
- The buttons are also simple to use, activated as they are by gentle finger pressure.
- Changing the filter is a little cumbersome. The panel is located at the bottom of the purifier and took some finangling to open.
- The machine also makes a “beeping” noise every time a button is pressed, which could be bothersome to some users.
Best Value – Hamilton Beach Odor Eliminator
Hamilton Beach Odor Eliminator
Great no fuss option for those looking for a quiet air purifier so they won't be disturbed during the night.
4.50 / 5
The True Air purifier from Hamilton Beach is a no-fuss option for folks in search of something affordable and effective. An easily removable front panel and simple dial switch complete the ready-to-use aesthetic.
- One of the biggest pros is its $60 price point, which is incredibly competitive for its size and functionality.
- I also like how quiet the machine is. Though some people prefer the loud whirr of an air purifier, others might enjoy the gentle hum of this one.
- Additionally, I think this would make a great purifier for anyone intimidated by technology. The fan speeds are easy to read and labeled with words instead of numbers (Whisper Clean, Medium, and Quick Clean), so there’s no confusion about what setting you need.
- The exterior is made entirely of plastic, so gives off a less stylish vibe than some of the other options on this list. This air purifier is definitely more practical than design-forward.
- I’d also say that the mechanizations feel a bit clumsy. For example, the front panel clasp is secure, but doesn’t feel particularly durable.
Most Features – Pure Enrichment PureZone
Pure Enrichment PureZone
The Pure Enrichment PureZone air purifier has a number of great features so you can find your perfect setting to help you sleep through the night.
4.70 / 5
If a souped up control panel is important for you, consider the Pure Enrichment air purifier. Multiple fan speed options, UV-C light activation, and Sleep capability make this product great for techies, and one that also happens to be super easy to use.
- This has the most advanced control options of any other purifier on this list, allowing users to control the fan speed, get notified of filter changes, switch on the UV-C light, and set a sleep timer (for either two, four, or eight hours).
- It’s also incredibly easy to clean. Pop off the front panel and simply slide the 3-in-1 HEPA filter out of its pocket.
- The device also strikes a nice balance between soft and loud, hitting a sweet spot that really worked for me.
- The footprint is a bit wide, so may pose a problem for folks in tight spaces.
- Additionally, I’d say it has one of the weaker UV-C lights on this list, so if you enjoy a bright glow, you may want to go with another air purifier.
Best Air Plug – Hamilton Beach True Air Plug
Hamilton Beach True Air Plug
The True Air Plug from Hamilton Beach is a great air purifier option for those that are short on space!
4.20 / 5
The True Air Plug from Hamilton Beach could be an excellent go-to for folks who don’t need a large air purifier. Compact and complete with a scent attachment, this device packs a lot in its small frame.
- If you’re looking for something between an odor-reducing spray and a full-on air purifier, this could be a nice option, as it cleans the air without being too bulky.
- I also like the scent attachment! I tested out the Original Mountain aroma, and it had a very soothing perfume that wasn’t too strong.
- This plug is also super straightforward to use. All you have to do is plug it in and flip the switch on. Cleaning the filter is also easy, as the front pops off and the carbon filter falls right out.
- Understandably, this little guy isn’t going to do as much as some of the other options on this list, so if you need something more heavy-duty, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
- It’s also not the most beautiful purifier on the market, so may not be the right fit for your personal style.
How We Picked
Now that we’ve gone over all my picks, let’s take a second to talk about the methodology behind my selections. While any purchasing decision is going to be a personal one, there are a few factors you’ll want to keep in mind as you search for your very own air purifier.
- Design – An ideal air purifier should be functional without being too bulky, so you’ll want to make sure to grab something sleek and discreet for your space. The idea is that the air around you gets clean without you noticing the work being put in, so skip the bulky cleansers and opt for one that blends in to your home.
- Filtration – In my experience, the best purifiers are ones that feature a 3-in-1 HEPA filtration system, most of which include a layer of carbon insulation. These are the best at trapping germs and absorbing pet dander and dust, so will do wonders to clear your space of pesky airborne debris. It’s also important to find a device that allows for easy access of this filter for cleaning purposes.
- Control options – My preferred air purifiers include a number of different options for fan speed and UV-C brightness. Getting to optimize the look and feel of your device is crucial, so keep your eyes peeled for robust (yet user-friendly!) control panels.
- Price – Sure, you could spend upwards of $150 on an air purifier, but you don’t really need to. There are a number of fantastic options in the $50 – $100 range that are sure to clear up the air in your space without a problem.
Ultimately, you’ll want to decide what’s most important for you (price point, teched-out control panel, powerful fan, etc.) and go from there! And the list here is far from exhaustive — there are plenty of other great purifiers to research and explore.
Types of Air Purifiers
Aside from highlighting the major characteristics to look out for when buying an air purifier, I thought it might also be useful to talk about the most common types of air purifiers.
HEPA air purifiers use advanced technology to trap 99.97% of particles in the air, which makes them popular with consumers. The only downside is they can’t trap organisms smaller than 0.2 microns, so they’re not quite as effective at blocking airborne germs. Most HEPA filters are combined with other types of filters for optimized effectiveness, and are often incorporated into 3-in-1 styled filtration systems.
Activated Carbon Purifiers
These devices include a carbon filter layer and are particularly good at absorbing noxious odors from smoke and natural gas. While they’re still capable of trapping dander and other pesky allergens, they’re perhaps most effective at neutralizing odor. These types of filters are often paired with HEPA ones.
Purifiers with UV-C light are especially designed to target germs, as the light rays are able to obliterate micro-bacteria. This differs them from other types of filters, which are only able to capture organisms up to a certain size. If you’re mostly concerned with creating a hygienic space, you’ll want to keep an eye out for UV-C light.
Ionic Air Purifiers
Powered by small motors, these purifiers are designed to cleanse by emitting negative ions into the air. They’re extremely effective, but also run on the expensive side. One of the biggest detractors in my opinion is that they’re totally silent, which could be a deal breaker for those who enjoy the white noise created by more traditional air purifiers.
Regardless of the type of air purifier you go with, you’ll want to make sure it can meet the square footage capacity of the space you’re trying to clean. To determine the square footage of your room or home, simply multiply the length of said space by its width. Then, you’ll have a number you can size up against the one provided by whatever company you’re researching. In my experience, any decent air purifier should be able to power upwards of 150 sq. ft.
ACH and CFM ratings
Another important factor to keep in mind is a machine’s ACH and CFM ratings. Below, I’ll breakdown what each of these acronyms means and why they’re so important.
ACH – This acronym stands for Air Changes per Hour, and refers to the number of times per hour that an air purifier can exchange the air in a room. So, for example, if a device has an ACH rating of 4x, that means it can fully replenish the air in the room four times per hour. The higher number, the more efficient the purifier.
CFM – This acronym stands for Cubic Feet per Minute, which is similar to ACH, but refers to the purifier’s ability to move air throughout the space. Basically, the higher the CFM, the more effectively the machine is able to get clean air into your room or home. In general, you’ll want 100 CFM for approximately 200-250 sq. ft. of space.
Still stuck on which air purifier you should buy? No problem! I’ve got a few handy-dandy tips for you that might just make your decision-making process a whole lot easier.
- Keep your eyes peeled for the term HEPA! As I mentioned above, this designation means the filtration system is designed to remove 99.97% of germs, dander, and dust, so is usually a good indicator of a purifier’s power.
- I’d also stay on the lookout for purifiers built with UV-C light, a form of UV ray that’s reportedly “germicidal” aka effective at killing superbugs.
- Make sure to do some research into how often you’ll need to replace your filters. HEPA filters need to be replaced more often than carbon ones, for example, so you’ll want to pay extra close attention to the fine print to see how much extra money you’ll be spending on filter swaps.
- Weight is another big characteristic to consider as there’s a pretty wide range in the purifier market. If you move around a lot (or simply like changing up your interiors!), make sure you pay extra close attention to this spec.
FAQQ: Do air purifiers really work? A: Yes, they do! I know it can be hard to believe, but the majority of these devices actively work to clear your air of dander, dust, and other harmful particles. To make sure yours is functioning properly, check your filter after a week of use — chances are, you’ll notice it’s already packed debris.
FAQQ: What is the best air purifier on the market? A: It really depends on your specific needs. If you live in an area with a lot of outdoor allergens and have a house full of pets, for example, you may need an ionic air purifier that can capture even these smallest of microorganisms. If you live in a city and mostly want to block out noxious odors from your neighbors, one outfitted with a carbon filter may be your best bet.
FAQQ: Is it safe to use air purifiers? A: Most air purifiers are safe to use and do little to negatively affect the environment. If you notice your breathing has worsened since acquiring a purifier, return immediately and consult with a medical professional.
FAQQ: Is it okay to leave an air purifier on all night? A: Definitely, as long as you don’t mind the hum! If you do, I’d suggest looking for a purifier that’s got a “Sleep” timer, so you can turn it off while you doze.
Well folks, after going over my top picks and digging into a few helpful tips, we’ve arrived at the end of my guide to the Best Air Purifiers on the web! From tech-infused gizmos to budget-friendly cleaners, these products are designed to purify your space and leave your lungs positively pulsing with joy. Happy shopping!