The Best Air Purifiers 2021Updated on January 18, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about how we make money here.
If you have trouble sleeping at night or wake up unrefreshed even though you have a high-quality mattress, you may want to think about improving your indoor air quality with an air purifier. Did you know that indoor air quality can be ten times worse than outdoor pollution?
The combination of dampness, mold, viruses, bacteria, pesticides, chemicals from construction materials, and residue from cooking can build up in your home. Pet dander can also be an issue if you have pets. Ventilation can help in some cases, but if you live in an area that has a high level of pollution, you could be letting in more harmful substances from smog.
In this guide, we’ll review some of the best home air purifiers on the market. An air purifier can help you wake up feeling rested and alert, especially if you suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory conditions.
Our Top Picks
|Air Purifier||Whisper-quiet motor, easily moveable||See Best Price|
|5500-2 Air Purifier||Washable filter, competitively priced||See Best Price|
|Air Purifier||Sleep mode & auto settings, competitively priced||See Best Price|
|MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier||Wall mountable, light sensing auto-mode||See Best Price|
|AC5000 Air Purifier||Quiet operation for sleep, Energy Star rating of 125+||See Best Price|
Molekule Air Purifier
Why we like it:
- The Molekule uses nanotechnology to oxidize pollutants
- Easy setup
- Monthly financing
- Recommended for pet owners and people with respiratory issues
- Rating of 4.4 based on 642 reviews
The Molekule has a 360-degree design to clean the air in all directions. This air purifier uses nanotechnology to destroy pollutants 1,000 times smaller than traditional HEPA filters. The system has two filters: a pre-filter that skims out the larger particles and a patented photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO) filter that uses light-activation to break down smaller particles at the molecular level. The Molekule has a touch screen and an app so you can control it with your smartphone.
The Molekule home air purifier does not produce ozone and has been found to reduce dangerous ozone concentrations from smog. Molekule offers a 2-year limited warranty and only weighs 18 pounds, so it’s easy to move from room to room. This model cleans a 600 square foot room once per hour and smaller rooms 2 times per hour.
This air purifier is excellent for allergy sufferers and has a quiet motor for use in bedrooms. But if you are hypersensitive to smells, this might not be the air purifier for you. Although it has many great reviews, some people complain of strong odor when first turning on the machine.
Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
Why we like it:
- Washable Advanced Odor Reducing Carbon Filter (AOC)
- True HEPA filter captures particles as small as 0.3 microns.
- 3-stage air purification PlasmaWave Hydroxyl Air Technology
- Affordable price range
- 4.6 stars with 1,225 Amazon reviews
The Winix 5500-2 is suggested for rooms as large as 360 square feet, so this will clean the air well for most bedrooms. The Winix has been independently tested for Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), by the Association of Household Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). CADR measures how fast an air cleaner filters three commonly sized particulates. The AHAM rated this air purifier at 232 for tobacco smoke, 243 for dust and 246 for pollen which is an excellent rating for a 360-foot room.
The Winix 5500-2 has a three-stage purification system with advanced odor control carbon, a True-HEPA filter and PlasmaWave technology which uses hydroxyl ions, similar to UV light, to neutralize bacteria.
Works well to capture:
- Pet Dander
- Mold Spores
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Household Odors
The purifier has an odor sensor and an air quality indicator. The pre-filter and carbon filter can be cleaned and reused, and only need to be replaced once a year in most cases.
This unit has many positive reviews on Amazon with the only downside being a small amount of ozone being released when you use the PlasmaWave model, but it does meet the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) standards.
The light can be too bright for some users even in night mode. This can be fixed by simply covering the light with black tape. Winix products come with a one-year warranty.
LEVOIT Air Purifier
Why we like it:
- Sleep mode is extra quiet
- Meets the Department of Energy’s strict standards
- Three-stage filtration system with True-HEPA filtration
- 1-12 hour flexible timer function
- 100% ozone-free
- 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon with 64 reviews for the new LV-H133
The Levoit air purifier uses a True-HEPA filter which removes 99.7% of contaminants, even particles as small as 0.3-microns. This purifier has three-stage filtration. The first filter is a Fine Preliminary Filter designed for airborne bacteria including pet dander, mold, and fungi.
The second filter is the True HEPA filter that catches dust mites, microscopic particles, and pollen. The third Activated Carbon Filter absorbs household odors and cigarette smoke.
You can adjust the speed, turn the LED display off, and set schedules for air purification with the app for iPhone and Android. You can also set the Levoit to an easy to use auto-mode which uses a sensor to adjust the fan speed based on air quality.
The LV-H133 has a 40% higher efficiency rate than front-design air purifiers with its 360-degree surface. This purifier is priced reasonably and covers a room up to 538 square feet. Levoit also carries smaller personal air purifiers suitable for kid’s bedrooms. The filter needs to be changed every six to 8 months, depending on the air quality where you live.
The Levoit uses a Brushless DC motor, which means it’s efficient and uses less power than some of the other filters on the market. Levoit products come with a one-year warranty.
RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
Why we like it:
- Light sensing auto-mode for undisturbed sleep
- Energy star rating for a lower annual cost
- Five-speed ultra-silent motor
- Auto air quality monitoring
- Five-year no-nonsense warranty with free returns
- Amazon customer rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars with 682 reviews
If you are a light sleeper, the RabbitAir might be the choice for you as it is one of the quietest purification systems on the market. RabbitAir purification systems are very safe with an ozone level of 0.002 parts per million with the negative ionizer running, 25 times less than the California Air Resource Board’s safety standards.
The MinusA2 can be wall-mounted or stand-alone and has a soothing color display. It works in rooms up to 700 square feet, and it purifies the air once every 30 minutes. The filters last for 1 to 2 years with continuous use, which can save you money in maintenance costs.
The Energy Star rated RabbitAir MinusA2 comes with six stages of filtration:
- The pre-filter is washable and permanent, and traps and reduces large-sized particles, which preserves your HEPA filter longer
- The medium filter is designed for pollen, mold, and pet dander
- BioGS-HEPA filter traps allergens and particles 0.3 microns in size
- Customized filter: choose from a variety of customized filters depending on your needs
- Charcoal-based activated carbon filter reduces household odors
- Negative Ions (can be turned on or off). Beneficial negative ions freshen indoor air
GermGuardian AC5000 Air Purifier
Why we like it:
- True-HEPA filter
- 5-year warranty
- Germ and virus killing UV-C light
- Quiet white-noise setting
- 4.1 out of five stars on with 1,349 Amazon reviews
Amazon reviewers noted that this is air purifier works well on wildfire smoke, seasonal allergies, and asthma. The GermGuardian has a 3-in-one system:
- True-HEPA filter for dust, pollen, dander, and mold spores as small as 0.3 microns
- Optional ozone-free UV-C light kills airborne viruses and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
- Activated Charcoal Filter reduces odors from pets and cooking fumes
The white-noise setting is useful for restful sleep, and there are three speed settings. This air purifier is especially suitable for allergies because it cleans rooms up to 180 square feet 4 times per hour.
The GermGuardian is verified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and Energy Star certified. It has a California Air Resources Board (CADR) rating of 123 for Dust, 128 for pollen, and 116 for smoke. It has received excellent ratings for all the room sizes it is designed for. This air purifier has a 5-year limited warranty.
If you are sensitive to odors, you may want to test this air purifier before purchase because of the plastic smell on the first day or two of use. This purifier is very reasonably priced, but it may not last as long as some of the more expensive brands.
Air Purifier Buyer’s Guide
Next up in this air purifier review we discuss what to look for in design, construction, filtration, and what to consider when choosing an air purifier. It is important to consider your room size and the type of air quality issues you have before making a purchase.
The quality of the air when you are sleeping is important because this is the time when the body is rejuvenating and cleansing toxins from your system. The Glymphatic system in the brain, similar to the lymphatic system of the body, has to have fresh oxygen to keep the brain disease-free. Getting a good night’s sleep can literally save neurological health and prolong your life.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
Air purifiers clean the air in your home by drawing in polluted air using a system of internal fans. These fans trap the particles, allergens, odors, and contaminants in their various filters. There are many different types of filters used in air purifiers, and different combinations are better for different needs. Once the particles are trapped, the purified air is recirculated back into the room, leaving the contaminants inside the filters.
What Makes Air Purifiers Effective?
The level of purity of your air will depend on what type of unit you have, how many times per hour it circulates air in a given space, and the quality and types of filters used.
Room Size Effects Purification
For the filtration to be effective, you need an air purifier with enough capacity to clean all the air in a given room at least twice an hour. Some systems will clean the air up to 4 times per hour. The air purification systems we have reviewed here are all portable and can be moved from room to room, but there are larger whole house systems as well.
Most air purifiers use some combination of filtration technology:
- Mechanical pre-filters to catch larger particles
- HEPA filters to capture microscopic 0.3-micron particles
- Electrostatic filters, ionizers, activated carbon filters for capturing odors
- UV-C lights to disable bacteria and viruses.
What Pollutants Can Air Purifiers Can Remove?
Different air purification systems are better for different needs, and it also depends on the size of the room or house you intend to use the system in. People buy air purifiers for all kinds of reasons. In all cases, the goal is to reduce airborne contaminants in the home. Some of the main reasons people use air purifiers are:
- Cigarette Smoke: Secondhand smoke from cigarettes, cigars, and pipe tobacco can cause lung problems and even lung cancer. A HEPA filter and activated carbon can help.
- Smog: Air pollution can contain high levels of harmful ozone, fine particulates from car engines, and chemicals from fossil fuels. Smog can do permanent damage to the lungs. Air purification can capture toxins and fine particles from smog before they reach your lungs.
- Pet Allergens: Pet dander, bacteria from pets’ feet, and pet hair can be irritating to the lungs and harmful to children and infants. UV-light along with HEPA filtration can deal with these irritants.
- Dust: Particles from animals, human skin, and dirt from outdoors can be irritating to the eyes, sinuses, and lungs. Pre-filters and HEPA filtration can remove most of these irritants from the air in your bedroom.
- Pollen: Seasonal plants can give those sensitive to allergens runny and watery eyes, sneezing, sinus irritation, wheezing, and itchy throats. HEPA filters, pre-filters, and ionizers can remove pollen from the air.
- Mold: Mold is a microscopic spore fungus that can grow between walls, under furniture, under carpets, and in other hidden parts of your home. Mold can be detrimental to your respiratory health causing headaches, fatigue, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, sinus irritation, and asthma attacks. HEPA filtration and Photo Electrochemical Oxidation (PECO) can filter out a lot of microscopic mold particles.
- Odors: Odors from pets, cigarette smoke, and cooking can soak into furnishings and make your home smell unpleasant. Activated carbon filters work best for odors.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are many different types of air purifiers, all designed with the same goal of cleaning the air in your home. Each system has pros and cons. Depending on your needs, you can determine which combination of filtration is best for you.
Make sure that whatever air purification unit you purchase has the California Air Resource Board’s (CARB) safety standards for ozone and either a True-HEPA filter, BioSG-HEPA filter, or PECO filter.
Additional Air Purifier Considerations
Your final decision for an air purification system will depend on many different considerations. You will have to consider the price of the system and how often filters need to be replaced. Even more important are noise levels and effectiveness.
- Price: Portable home air purifiers come in a range of prices from around $200 to $800 dollars. Depending on your needs, a less expensive model might be just fine. Some of the more expensive models have financing and may be worththe extra money if you have a respiratory condition.
- Noise: If you are a light sleeper, noise considerations can be important. Depending on the types of fans and motors used, there can be a wide range of noise levels for purification units. Some units have more speed variation than others to choose from, which can help control noise.
- Effectiveness: The quality and types of filters can make a difference in how well the unit cleans the air in your bedroom. HEPA filters or PECO filters are a must for filtering out fine particles. All good purification systems will have these types of filters. Deciding on which additional filters you want will depend on what is most important to you: pollen, dust mites, bacteria, or odors.
- Style: Traditional designs have a boxy construction and usually have the filtration taking place only at the front of the unit, while some newer models have innovative 360-degree designs. Some options also have wall mounting options and different colors to choose from. Do you like a brushed metal look or simple molded plastic? It all depends on your home decor and personal taste.
- Coverage Area: Different models of air purifiers work best for specific square footage. If you have respiratory issues you may need the air in your bedroom filtered up to 4 times per hour. Check the independently tested Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) before you buy an air purification system. The CADR of your air filter should measure least two-thirds of the room’s area. Get more technical details with AHAM’s filtration rate guide.
- Filter Replacement: Some air purification systems have washable reusable filters for the prefilter and HEPA filter. Some companies have discount programs when you sign up for automatic filter replacements. Find out how often you will have to replace the filters so you know the true annual operating costs for running your air purification system.
- Ease of Use: Do you like to geek out with many choices for customizing your air purification schedule or would you rather have a system that senses air quality and automatically adjusts accordingly? Do you like having an app you can check when you are away from home or a sophisticated remote control? Be sure to check customer reviews for specifics on how easy the system is to operate before you buy.
- Size and Weight: Some air purification systems come on wheels or have handles and are easy to move from room to room while some are heavy-duty and are really meant to be kept in one place. Depending on your needs, this might be an important consideration.
Warranty and Returns: Some companies have a one year warranty and do not pay for shipping returns, while other companies have up to 5 years for the warranty and cover the cost of sending the equipment back. Make sure to read the fine print so you can try out a machine before you commit to keeping it.