Using industry best practices and regulatory standards, we’ve developed a comprehensive list of the best air purifiers categorized by feature so that you, the consumer, can chose what’s best for you and your family.
In our air purifier comparison, we’ve set strict guidelines for each category to weed out poor performers and eliminate any hype.
To meet our qualifications:
- HEPA filters used by air purifiers had to meet minimum Department of Energy specifications requiring 99.97% removal of airborne particulates at 0.3 microns in diameter or larger
- Carbon filters required detailed specifications published by the manufactures listing a five-pound minimum of activated charcoal
- The minimum Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) requirement for smoke was 200
- Units employing air ionizers were measured based on ionization technology used – negative ion generation vs electrostatic discharge
- Air purifiers using ultraviolet light as a means to purify were selectively added to our list since the EPA warns against its ineffectiveness due to insufficient pollutant UV exposure
Having gotten that out of the way, on with the show.
- 1 True-HEPA Filtration
- 2 #1 Pick IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
- 3 #2 Pick Oransi Max HEPA Large Room Air Purifier for Asthma, Mold, Dust and Allergies
- 4 #3 Pick Airmega 300 – The Smarter Air Purifier
- 5 #4 Pick Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
- 6 #5 Pick Whirlpool Whispure Air Purifier
- 7 Activated Carbon Filtration
- 8 #1 Pick Airpura T600 Tobacco Smoke Filtration Air Purifier
- 9 #2 Pick IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
- 10 #3 Pick Airpura UV600 Air Purifier for Airborne Chemicals, Particles, and Micro-Organisms
- 11 #4 Pick Austin Air Healthmate Standard HM-400
- 12 #5 Pick IQAir GC MultiGas Air Purifier
- 13 CADR
- 14 #1 Pick Blueair Pro XL
- 15 #2 Pick Blueair 650E
- 16 #3 Pick Blueair 603
- 17 #4 Pick Whirlpool AP45030K Whispure Air Purifier
- 18 #5 Pick Electrolux EL500A
- 19 Connectivity
- 20 #1 Pick Airmega 400S – The Smarter App Enabled Air Purifier
- 21 #2 Pick Dyson Pure Cool Link
- 22 #3 Pick Winix HR1000
- 23 #4 Pick Honeywell Bluetooth Smart True HEPA Allergen Remover
- 24 #5 Pick Winix NK105 WiFi Enabled True HEPA Tower Air Purifier
- 25 Cost
- 26 #1 Pick Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
- 27 #2 Pick Coway AP-1512HH
- 28 #3 Pick Whirlpool AP45030K Whispure Air Purifier
- 29 #4 Pick Blueair 203 Slim HEPASilent Air Purification System
- 30 #5 Pick Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier
The term “True-HEPA” was coined as an easy way for buyers to identify HEPA filters meeting government performance standards. All True-HEPA air filters remove at least 99.97% of airborne particulates larger than 0.3 microns in diameter.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration efficiency is measured by the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) on a scale from 1 to 20, with a larger value indicating better adsorption.
Our top five selections in this category are ranked based on MERV ratings of the manufacturers’ standard HEPA filters.
#1 Pick IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
This thing is medical grade! It’s one of the most efficient HEPA air purifiers on the market. If you’re looking for an air cleaner that will alleviate allergy issues, the IQAir HealthPro Plus is King!
#2 Pick Oransi Max HEPA Large Room Air Purifier for Asthma, Mold, Dust and Allergies
Oransi filters have been rated as a top selection in one of the only comprehensive, university examinations of portable air purifiers. Have confidence in your buying decision with a 10-year manufacturer warranty.
#3 Pick Airmega 300 – The Smarter Air Purifier
Manufactured by Coway, the Airmega 300 provides quality air purification which can help decontaminate up to 1256 sq ft. While it’s not intended for larger rooms, the cleaner does an excellent job in smaller spaces like offices, or bedrooms.
#4 Pick Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
One of our personal favorites, the Honeywell HPA300 is an excellent economical choice for those searching for high performance with a relatively low cost of ownership.
#5 Pick Whirlpool Whispure Air Purifier
True-HEPA rated, the Whispure is an outstanding option for consumers looking to purify environments of most airborne contaminants. We recommend using this device in an area no larger than 488 sq ft for best results.
Activated Carbon Filtration
Carbon filtering adsorbs smoke and odors more effectively than other types of filtration methods. It’s low-cost to implement, and is typically included as part of the overall filtration process used in air purifiers.
Read More: Best Air Purifier 2019
Activated carbon is charcoal that’s been treated to achieve maximum surface area for adsorption of air pollutants. More specifically, a single gram of activated carbon has a surface area larger than 32,000 sq ft.
Selections in this category are based on the total weight of activated carbon filters used. The heavier the filter, the higher the rating.
#1 Pick Airpura T600 Tobacco Smoke Filtration Air Purifier
With 26 pounds of activated carbon (the most we’ve ever seen in a portable air purifier) the Airpura T600 is extremely effective at removing organic compounds, like VOCs, from the air. While the unit itself is advertised as a smoke filtration purifier, it’s much more than that – in fact, it’s one of the most capable air purifiers in the industry.
#2 Pick IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
The HealthPro Plus makes one of our top picks in multiple categories due to its expertly engineered filtration process. A carbon-hybrid pre-filter removes organics and gases, and the unit’s HEPA filter is medically-rated to remove airborne pathogens, viruses, and other nasty microbial contaminants.
#3 Pick Airpura UV600 Air Purifier for Airborne Chemicals, Particles, and Micro-Organisms
While we used a baseline of five pounds in activated carbon to develop this list, you won’t find any carbon filers in this category rated lower than ten pounds. The Airpura UV600 is a beast when it comes to removing pollutants adversely affecting health. Its activated carbon filter is 18 pounds of heft – that’s nearly 261,268,000 sq ft of surface area.
#4 Pick Austin Air Healthmate Standard HM-400
We’re huge fans of Austin Air products, and the Healthmate Standard is one of our favorites. It’s well made, employs a purely mechanical filtering method, and includes a 15-pound activated carbon filter that’ll snatch nearly every airborne particle in its way. The HM-400 is a beast well worth the investment.
#5 Pick IQAir GC MultiGas Air Purifier
Worried about VOCs, gases, chemicals, or odors? Not if you have the GC MultiGas Air Purifier. The unit’s H11 HEPA filter makes it hospital-grade, and the 12-pound carbon filter locks up just about anything that shouldn’t be in your air. Top all of that off with a 10-year limited warranty and you’ve got a unit that should outperform most, and last at least a decade.
The Clean Air Delivery Rate is an important metric, but only when used properly. If you’re shopping for a portable air cleaner, refer to the AHAM air delivery rate (CADR) to determine the room size the purifier can effectively treat.
Note: Multiply the CADR rate by 1.55 to determine the maximum effective square footage of the unit.
Read More: What is CADR?
It’s also important to compare CADR ratings between comparably priced models – the cheaper the air purifier, the more important the air delivery rate.
#1 Pick Blueair Pro XL
Blueair knows air purification. The company has some of the highest AHAM-rated air purifiers on the market, and the Pro XL is the Boss. It’s rated at 450 CADR for smoke (the highest attainable AHAM rating) in areas up to 1180 sq ft.
#2 Pick Blueair 650E
Another beast from Blueair, the 650E also has a 450 CADR for smoke. While the 650E is rated by its manufacturer for use in smaller areas (698 sq ft), it’s still one of the most effective units we’ve reviewed with regard to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturer’s Clean Air Delivery Rate.
#3 Pick Blueair 603
We told you that Blueair knows it’s air purification. Yet another top performer from the company, the Blueair 603 boasts a 415 CADR for smoke and can treat environments up to 698 sq ft.
#4 Pick Whirlpool AP45030K Whispure Air Purifier
The AP45030K from Whirlpool is an excellent indoor air purifier, rated by the AHAM with a CADR for smoke of 315 – easily beating other similarly sized models. If you’re on the hunt for an air cleaner for a home office, kitchen, or bedroom, we highly recommend this unit.
#5 Pick Electrolux EL500A
Low noise, automatic fan adjustments, and a five-stage, mechanical filtration process all help to make this an excellent choice for in-home air purification. Its CADR rating of 261 for smoke makes it a top performer amongst competitors, and let’s not discount the fact that it’s pretty cool looking too.
Gadgets are kind of our thing, you know. For this category we found the most advanced air purifiers when it came to smart features and home automation technology. If you’re on the hunt for an indoor air cleaner that can network with your smartphone, or home automation grid – these units are for you.
#1 Pick Airmega 400S – The Smarter App Enabled Air Purifier
The Airmega 400S led the pack in connectivity, boasting real-time air quality monitoring, filter life indication, automatic speed control, eco mode, and sleep mode. iOS and Android apps are available for remote operation and performance assessment, allowing users to schedule operation times, review air quality reports, and monitor maintenance requirements.
#2 Pick Dyson Pure Cool Link
Who doesn’t love Dyson products? The Pure Cool Link is a great air purifier for small rooms, doubling as a powerful fan, and it comes with some pretty sleek automation features too. Intelligent purification handles automatic adjustments for maximum purification, and reports findings to your iOS, or Android app. A night mode adjusts performance levels so that the unit isn’t too loud to sleep with, while still automatically optimizing fan speed for best results.
#3 Pick Winix HR1000
Winix’s HR1000 has smart sensors that monitor air quality, adjusting fan speeds without user intervention to optimize the unit’s air output. There’s also the Winix Smart application for smart devices that can be used to control the unit remotely, track air history, and view the air quality in real time.
#4 Pick Honeywell Bluetooth Smart True HEPA Allergen Remover
Honeywell is known for its automation, and the Bluetooth Smart True HEPA Allergen Remover is a good example of that. Users can connect via Bluetooth to the unit to adjust settings and operate remotely from an iOS or Android application. There’s also a proximity auto on/off function that we haven’t seen in other smart air purifiers which regulates power to the cleaner when entering, or leaving the 30-foot sensing radius. Pretty nifty.
#5 Pick Winix NK105 WiFi Enabled True HEPA Tower Air Purifier
Just like the Winix HR1000, the NK105 can be controlled from the Winix Smart app for iPhone and Android devices. The unit’s air quality sensors detect levels of contaminants and automatically adjust fan speed to ensure optimal air cleaning. As an added bonus, the NK105 includes a built-in VOC sensor.
Air purifiers can be expensive! Rightly so, if they’re doing what they should be doing – after all, these are appliances that regulate the quality of the air you inhale. There are air purifiers though that are competitively priced, meet performance standards, and offer quality features.
For this category we weighed cost to own, CADR ratings, and HEPA minimum standards to determine the best air purifiers for the money.
#1 Pick Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover
As in our Best Air Purifier 2016 review, the True HEPA Allergen Remover comes out as an awesome machine that provides superior performance for an entry-level price. The machine’s air purification process is purely mechanical, and automation features make operation and maintenance a breeze. Cost to own, $209.25.
#2 Pick Coway AP-1512HH
The Coway AP-1512HH is a champion among indoor air purifiers. In an independent study this bad boy held up against more expensive machines in over 80 hours of intensive testing. A four-stage filtration process and automated sensing programming ensures adequate runtime, and the Coway will turn itself off if pollutants aren’t detected for thirty minutes. Cost to own, $229.99.
#3 Pick Whirlpool AP45030K Whispure Air Purifier
You’re not going to find many bells and whistles on this air cleaner, but when it comes to performance this little guy is a champ. Out of the box, the AHAM CADR rating for smoke is 315, and we guarantee you’ll have more than a difficult time finding anything else at this price point that performs so well. Cost to own, $194.44.
#4 Pick Blueair 203 Slim HEPASilent Air Purification System
If you read through the True HEPA category, then you know what we think about Blueair – they know air purification. The 203 is a great machine, although outperformed by others in its category, that features many higher-end details that many similarly priced cleaners do not. Cost to own, $329.00.
#5 Pick Honeywell 50250-S True HEPA Air Purifier
If you’ve been digging online, then you’ve probably already come across Honeywell’s 50250-S air purifier. The model features an activated carbon pre-filter coupled with a long-life HEPA filter that can be vacuumed instead of replaced. It also has a CADR of 250 for smoke which is great for such a small purifier. Rated for 390 sq ft. Cost to own, $149.99.