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Last updated: September 18
Whether you’re trying to reduce your chances of getting sick, want to clear your space of smoke, or want to get rid of unpleasant odors, an air purifier is an essential device to have in any home or office, to keep your air clean and germ-free. The best air purifiers suck up particles, filter the potentially hazardous ones, and blow fresh air into your room. I’ve used an air purifier for the last six months, and I have noticed a surprising difference in how well I’m breathing (not to mention how much better I’m sleeping at night too).
There are many air purifiers out there, so it can be hard to know which one to get. Our guide explains what to look for, and recommends the best ones we’ve found.
What Are the Best Air Purifiers?
There are many factors to consider when choosing the right air purifier for you; below are the most important ones, which we considered while we were researching this list.
Size: Air purifiers come in all shapes and sizes, so we considered options that will stay in one room, and others that can be easily moved around.
Coverage area: An air purifier’s size and power will determine how big of a space it can cover. Some work best for an office desk or bathroom, while others can clean the air in a large basement. Our guide covers the entire spectrum, and it may make sense for you to get a couple of air purifiers for different purposes.
Particle size: Air particles — both good and bad — are measured in microns. The CDC says the most harmful air particles are between .9 and .3 microns because they can get through the human body’s natural defense system to damage your lungs, or get in your blood. We made sure that all of our air purifiers can filter out particles as low as .3 microns, so you don’t have to worry. These air purifiers help rid your space of everything from smoke to pollen to dust mites, and even smaller particles you may not be aware of.
Filtration system: Every air purifier uses its own multi-stage process to clean your air. They vary a little bit, but we only chose models that use an HEPA (high-efficiency particle air) filter. It’s a fine mesh filter that traps unwanted particles to keep your air clean. These filters generally have to be changed every six months, but some advanced air purifiers have indicator lights that tell you when it’s time for them to be changed.
Loudness: Air Purifiers use fans to suck in air, which means they’ll make some noise when they’re working. All of our picks have multiple fan speeds (the faster the speed, the louder the noise), but we took this into consideration in case you’re planning on running your air purifier while you sleep. To keep things in perspective, a conversation from three feet away is 60 decibels loud according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, a division of the United States Department of Labor.
Ionization: This feature allows a purifier to charge air with electricity to attract particles down to .1 microns in size. Unfortunately this has two side effects: humans aren’t supposed to breathe ionized air, so it could irritate your lungs, and it puts off pollutants that damage the ozone layer. California banned air purifiers with ionization for this reason. Two of the options in this guide do support Ionization, but you have the ability to turn it on and off.
Note: the coronavirus outbreak has led to a number of people stocking up on air purifiers to keep their spaces safe. Keep in mind that while an air purifier can help filter out germs and clean the air, it won’t completely prevent the spread of viruses. You’ll still want to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s tips for how to protect yourself.
1. Best Overall: PhoneSoap AirSoap
If you want a comprehensive way to clean the air in a large room in your home, the best option is PhoneSoap’s AirSoap.
PhoneSoap says its air purifier can clean an area up to 400 sq. ft., so it can cover an entire studio apartment, or a big living room or bedroom. It uses a custom filtration system that the company says can block particles larger than 14nm (Nanometre) in size, which can get through a traditional HEPA filter.
The AirSoap uses a custom made technology called Electric Wind™, which creates a plasma field to kill bacteria, an uses collecting plates made of graphene to remove the polarized particles from the air. Because it uses this proprietary cleaning method, the AirSoap doesn’t support ionization.
PhoneSoap says this process is comprehensive and “whisper quiet.” The company says its air purifier is also more energy efficient than most because its fan runs at a slower speed. Its cleaning abilities are top notch, but the the potential downside to the AirSoap is its size.
It’s 21.1-inches tall, 12.25-inches wide, and 10.6-inches deep, which is larger than any of our other recommendations. But, if you only want one air purifier in your home, or need one for a large room, it’s your best option.
2. Best For Mid-Sized Rooms: Filtrete Medium Room Air Purifier Console
Filtrete’s Medium Room Air Purifier Console is a great option for your kitchen or mid-sized bedroom.
The air purifier is 18.3-inches tall, 12.2-inches wide, and 9.3-inches deep, so you’ll need a fair bit of space for it, but it’s rated to clean rooms up to 170 sq. ft.. Although it’s fairly large, this air purifier has a handle built into it, so you can carry it from room to room more easily.
Filtrete doesn’t give any details about how loud its air purifier gets, but you can control its volume by switching to a lower fan speed. Doing that will make the air purifier less effective, though, so it’s a definite trade off. This air purifier doesn’t have an ionization mode, so you’ll have to rely exclusively on the efficiency of its HEPA filter.
If you’d like an air purifier that’s easy to operate, somewhat portable, and designed for mid-sized rooms, this model from Filtrete gets our recommendation.
3. Best For Small Rooms: LEVOIT H13
If you have a smaller room, and are willing to sacrifice a couple of extras for an air purifier that covers all the basics, LEVOIT’s LV-H132 is an excellent choice.
It’s 12.6 x 7.9 inches, and can cover rooms up to 129 square feet, which makes it an ideal choice for a bathroom or bedroom. Its small size comes with a big advantage: it only creates 25db of noise on its lowest setting. That’s less noise than a soft whisper from five feet away.
Despite its small size, this air purifier holds its own in most respects. It uses the same type of filter as higher-end models, and has three fan settings. It does not have an ionization function.
Its buttons, which are located on the top of the purifier, let you turn it on, change its fan speed, and check its filter. One nice touch: you can also adjust the brightness of its power light, so it won’t disturb you at night.