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What criteria are required to determine the best air purifier for a dorm room? First, you’ll want to consider the size of the unit. Depending on the size of your room, and if you have a roommate, you might prefer a desktop air purifier rather than a floor model to save on precious square feet. Or, you may consider a fine plug-in air purifier that goes directly into the wall outlet. Traditionally, dorm rooms tend to be small. A large floor unit might be impractical because it can take up a lot of space.
Additionally, you’ll want to consider which air pollutants are an issue and find an air purifier with a filtration system that’s rated to effectively and efficiently remove those contaminants. Other features, like quiet mode or even an app-based control panel, can make your air purifier more intuitive and easier to use. There are lots of top-rated air purifiers to choose from. Keep reading our buying guide on the best air purifier for dorm rooms to learn more.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air purifier has a small footprint, so it’s suitable for dorm rooms and apartments. Its powerful four-stage filtration system is ideal for unpleasant smells, dirt, and microorganisms.
The GermGuardian AC4825E air purifier has a stylish design that will add charm to any dorm room. This device has a four-stage filtration system that includes an effective HEPA air filter for removing dust, pollen, and allergens. It has a UVC light that eliminates viruses, bacteria, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Rated at 55W, this air filter is efficient and safe for dorm rooms. However, this device produces a slight burning smell.
This GermGuadian AC4825E air filter has a coverage of 743 sq. ft. per hour, so it’s suitable for both dorm rooms and apartments. A prefilter traps large particles. This device also has an activated charcoal filter for fighting odors. With a freestanding vertical design, this air purifier has a small footprint that’s suitable for desks and narrow spaces. The air purifier is easy to take apart for cleaning or replacing filters.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air purifier has a powerful system that removes a wide variety of pollutants. The device has a quiet fan that is suitable for dorm rooms.
The Levoit LV-H132 air purifier has a sleek design that brings a feel of modern charm to any dorm room. This ozone-free air purifier is safe to use in living spaces. It uses an environmentally responsible UVC light to purify the air. This air purifier is also suitable for people with asthma and allergies. With whisper-quiet performance, this device is ideal for nighttime purification. However, this device produces a slight burning smell when the fan speed increases.
This fine Levoit air purifier has three fan speeds to help users change between aggressive purification and quiet performance. It has nine different certifications for safety. The device is quite efficient and is unlikely to significantly impact the energy bill. Its three-stage filtration system includes an H13 air filter, which removes dust, pollen, pet hair, and other particles. An ambiance of blue light instantly transforms the mood in the room.
Award: BEST FOR NIGHTTIME PURIFICATION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air purifier comes with an effective air filter that will work for people with allergies and asthma. A delay switch-off timer and filter replacement indicators provide convenient operation.
The Honeywell HP100 air purifier is ideal for rooms of up to 155 sq. ft. This air purifier has a HEPA filter that eliminates small particles and allergens. It has four customizable fan speeds. Its freestanding vertical design occupies a small space, so this device can be installed on shelves or small tables. This device is effective in removing pet hair, VOCs, and odors. However, some units have a very slight burning smell when set to Turbo mode.
This Honeywell HPA100 air purifier has an intuitive control panel, which allows adjusting settings easily. A Check Filter indicator lets users know when it’s time to replace or wash the filters. Featuring an auto power-off timer with delays of up to 8 hours, this device offers effortless operation. It has a dimmer button that reduces the brightness of the purifier’s light as needed. A Turbo mode removes pollutants very fast.
Award: BEST FOR LARGE DORM ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: Featuring a high CADR, this air purifier is suitable for spaces of up to 1,600 sq. ft. It’s ideal for large dorm rooms and apartments. The unit has advanced features for user convenience.
The Medify MA-40 air purifier is the device of choice for people in large dorm rooms. This air purifier has a high CADR, so it cleans up the air in rooms of up to 1600 sq. ft. in just 1 hour. It’s more than adequate for dorm rooms, and it is also suitable for apartments. The HEPA H13 filter on this model removes particles down to 0.1 microns. However, this device is a bit loud at high fan speed settings. For a unit with an ultra-quiet operation, you’ll want to read our Austin Air Healthmate HM400 review.
This Medify MA-40 air purifier is ETL-listed and ENERGY STAR-certified for efficient operation. It has a durable filter that lasts about 3,000 hours or six months. The air purifier has a touch control panel that allows users to adjust several parameters. A child lock prevents children from tampering with this device’s operation. It also has a 0-8 hour delay timer for putting the operation on autopilot. It has a sleep mode that’s especially suitable for dorm rooms. Users can choose from three fan speeds, depending on whether they want to maximize filtration or minimize noise.
Award: BEST FOR SMALL DORM ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air purifier features three filters that effectively and efficiently remove unpleasant smells from living spaces. Its sleek design will add visual interest to any dorm room or apartment.
The Pure Enrichment PureZone air purifier blends pleasant aesthetics with effective filtration. It uses a three-stage air filtration system that includes a prefilter, activated carbon filter, and HEPA filter, capturing small and large particles. The air purifier uses a UVC light to remove disease-causing organisms. Its three-speed fan allows precise control. This device is very efficient and has a stylish white finish that will stand out in any room. However, this device is rated for rooms of just 200 sq. ft., so it struggles to clean the air in larger rooms.
This Pure Enrichment PureZone air purifier has top-facing controls that enable users to change settings without a hassle. A delay timer for 2 hours, 4 hours, and 8 hours enables setting this device to switch itself off to save power. The device opens easily, so accessing filters for washing and replacement is a snap. It’s portable and easy to carry around. With a compact build, this device is ideal for small dorm rooms.
Award: BEST FOR LARGE MULTI-OCCUPANT DORM ROOMS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This air purifier is recommended for very big spaces, so it’s the device of choice for large dorms with more than one occupant. It has a color-coded air-quality indicator for convenience.
The Hathaspace HSP-001 uses a multi-stage filtration system to eliminate odors and pollutants from rooms, making it a top-rated HEPA air purifier unit. This device is rated for spaces of about 700 sq. ft., making it a good choice for larger dorm rooms, apartments, and homes. It’s good for smoke, odors, VOCs, and much more. The device enables users to control the built-in light as needed. However, the air quality indicator on this device occasionally gets stuck in red, displaying misleading results.
This Hathaspace HSP-001 air purifier has a color-coded air quality display that alerts users about the level of pollution in the room. Its five-stage filtration system includes a HEPA filter to remove air particles as small as 0.1 microns. It has relatively quiet fans, which is good for dorm rooms and bedrooms. An Auto mode enables this device to operate on autopilot. It also has a sleep mode that will appeal to students.
Even though you might use the search phrase “dorm air purifiers”, know that these are essentially just regular air purifiers used for college dorm rooms. Just like any other interior space, dorm rooms can have poor air quality. Everything from offensive odors like old gym clothes and burnt food, and of course cigarette smoke can all make indoor air stale and unpleasant to breathe. With awful smells like this, there’s no question as to why you should get an air purifier for your dorm room.
Add in the potential that you might have a roommate and there are plenty of contributing factors that can lead to poor air quality. For instance, lots of dust can make your dorm room unpleasant, but the good news is that there are lots of air purifiers that are perfect for dust. A good air purifier for odor can remove pollutants as well as trap odors depending on the filtration technology it uses.
Additionally, considering that you’re potentially living in a shared space, you might also want to consider investing in an air purifier with germicidal functionality to help remove harmful pathogens from the air. Typically, you can opt for an air purifier with a UV light function or an antimicrobial coating on the primary filter to aid in removing pathogens.
There is no significant difference between air purifiers designed for smaller spaces like dorm rooms and those intended for use in the home, like the best air purifier for large rooms. In both scenarios, these units work similarly to help remove various pollutants from the air to improve indoor air quality.
Just like with standard air purifiers, you can find great college dorm air purifiers with varying filtration methods. This includes HEPA, activated carbon, UV light, and even ionizers. The right filtration method is going to depend on the contaminants that are present in your dorm room.
And just as with air purifiers for the home, you’re going to need to focus on the CADR or clean air delivery rate score to ensure that you’re picking a unit that’s compatible with the total square footage of your dorm room. In short, you’ll want to get a great HEPA air purifier for a dorm room that matches the room size.
The general recommendation is that you should pick a unit that’s rated for a room that’s slightly larger than where you plan to place your air purifier. But considering the communal nature of dorm rooms, you also need to consider the human element.
If you have a roommate, they may or may not be on board with incorporating an air purifier into the room. A floor model — while efficient — may be too big for the room. And considering that dorm rooms aren’t always spacious, a large air purifier can take away from essential floor space for other furniture. In that case, you’ll want to stick with a small air purifier for a dorm room instead.
The size of a good dorm room air purifier is one aspect that sets it apart from a home air purifier. If you have a roommate who refuses to give up precious floor space for a unit, you might need to settle for a less obtrusive desktop model. Size is not the only thing that matters when it comes to choosing air purifiers. How do you know what brand to choose or what the best Dyson air purifier is? It can be hard to narrow down your choice.
Dorm room air purifiers work just like traditional air purifiers. They usually feature a pre-filter and a primary filter. The pre-filter is located near the intake and helps to remove larger particles from the air, helping to extend the primary filter’s lifespan.
The air purifier relies on a fan to help draw air into the primary chamber where it is passed over the filter and additional particles are removed from the air. The cleaned air is then released back into the room through the outtake.
More importantly, you need to determine which air filter is the best for a dorm room air purifier that removes impurities. If dust particles, smoke, and pollen are your biggest concerns, a HEPA air purifier filter is best as it can remove particles as small as 0.03 microns.
For students that want to remove stale odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), an activated carbon filter is the best option. However, you’ll want to ensure that the filter contains several pounds of carbon for the best results. While air purifiers with ionizers can also control odors, they don’t completely remove them from the room. This means that once the ionizer mode is deactivated, the odors may return.
To remove pathogens, you should opt for an air purifier that contains a UV light feature or has a primary filter with an antimicrobial coating. But with UV light, you’ll want to ensure that the light stays on for several minutes to ensure that pathogens are effectively destroyed.
Dorms can have all kinds of odd smells. And even normal irritants like pollen and dust can accumulate and create poor indoor air quality. Considering that your dorm will be your temporary home for several months every year, creating a more comfortable environment is important.
The actual air purifier devices can last for years before you need to replace them. But the more important factor is that the filters must be replaced consistently throughout the year. This represents additional work for you, as well as a fixed cost to purchase replacement filters.
Depending on the filtration system, the cost and replacement timelines can vary. HEPA filters tend to be the most expensive to replace, costing as much as $200 for each filter. Yet, they only need to be replaced every six to 12 months.
Activated carbon filters should be replaced more frequently — every three to six months. But these filters are significantly cheaper to buy, costing no more than $50 per filter. And for best results, you should periodically wash the prefilter if your air purifier has one.
As we’ve mentioned previously, a prefilter can help to reduce the total workload your primary filter must support by removing larger airborne particles from the air before entering the main filtration chamber.
There are a few factors that are of particular importance if you’re shopping for a dorm room air purifier. In particular, you’re going to want to pay attention to the size of your unit, and the filtration method that it employs. However, other factors which are important for any air purifier should also be considered.
Air purifiers come in a variety of sizes. But you’ll want to pay attention to the size considering that many dorm rooms are quite small. If you have limited floor space, the last thing you want is to create a cluttered environment where you and your roommate have to hop around an air purifier.
Alternatively, if your roommate refuses to have a floor model, you can opt for a desktop air purifier. While these aren’t useful for fully cycling through all of the air in your dorm room, they can be useful for purifying the air immediately around you. This might be a solution for someone who spends limited time in their dorm room.
For the best fit, you need to match your air purifier’s filtration method to the pollutants in the air. HEPA filters are best for dust, pollen, smoke particles, and mold, with the ability to remove airborne particles as small as 0.03 microns in size.
Activated carbon filters are best for removing odors and VOCs. UV light is best if you’re concerned about pathogens — as long as the light lasts for several minutes. Ionizers can help with neutralizing odors, but are not as effective as activated carbons and can also potentially create ozone as a byproduct. If you live with a pet in your dorm room or your roommate has one, consider a filter that can handle reducing pet dander alongside airborne contaminants. The dorm room space that college students usually start with is on the smaller side, so it’s important to clean those particulates.
You want to ensure that you pick an air purifier that’s designed to effectively move air. You should ideally look for a unit with a CADR score that’s slightly higher than what’s necessary based on the total square footage of your dorm room.
By default, dorm rooms usually aren’t large. This means that if you pick an air purifier that’s too noisy — even in the lowest speed settings — you might find it too loud to run consistently. Ideally, look for a silent air purifier that features quiet or sleep modes which means that the fan won’t emit more than around 50 decibels while in operation.
Remember that the actual air purifier unit can last for long periods without needing to be replaced. But the air filters must be replaced regularly. HEPA air purifier filters must be replaced every six to 12 months while activated carbon filters must be replaced more frequently at three to six-month intervals.
Even if you’re incredibly tech-savvy, you still want an appliance that doesn’t require an advanced degree in engineering to operate it. Look for easy-to-use control panels. In some cases, you can even find air purifiers that rely on smartphone apps to operate them.