Air purifiers are, essentially, 3D Roombas.
Roomba will vacuum the floor (2D space) and make sure we don’t get our feet dirty. Air purifiers do much the same job in 3D space; they increase the air quality in our homes and protect our lungs.
Effectively, air purifiers vacuum in the indoor air, remove the always present air pollutants and make sure we don’t breathe stale and low-quality air. Because they clean everything from small to big rooms, and even whole houses, we can consider them to be kind of like 3D Roombas.
EPA put the need for an air purifier quite clearly:
“Americans, on average, spend approximately 90 percent of their time indoors, where the concentrations of some pollutants are often 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.” (EPA on Indoor Air Quality)
Most people already see the need for breathing cleaner air. Air purifiers are the best home devices we have to increase indoor air quality (AQI) from as high as 400+ to below 50 (considered “good” air quality):
The real question is this:
Which is the best air purifier to buy?
In 2021, you can find over 1000 different air purifier models on the market. They have different designs, filtration systems, specs (CADR rating, max. airflow), noise levels, track-records, and so on.
We sieved through the 529 air purifier database by AHAM (an independent organization that tests air purifiers) to find the very best air purifiers in 2021.
If this is your first time buying an air purifier, you should learn a thing or 4 about how to choose the best air purifiers for your home. That’s why we have created a short 4 point air purifier buying guide to help you get acquainted with air purifier specifications.
Here’s the deal:
If you already have a basic understanding of what to look for in an air purifier, you can skip to the whole best air purifier spec-by-spec comparison here:
You’ll find an air purifier comparison table to compare and contrast and make sure to read the individual review of an air purifier you’re about to buy.
4 Factor Air Purifier Buying Guide For First-Time Buyers
It’s impossible to find the best air purifier without knowing some specifications relevant to air purifier operation.
Air purifiers remove dust, pollen, smoke, mold, pet dander even some bacteria and viruses from indoor air. The simple representation of how they work is this:
Air Purifier = Airflow + Filtration System
An air purifier is nothing less than an HVAC device that creates airflow through the filtration system. The important specifications steem from this basic operational principle. How well an air purifier will do its job depending primarily on:
1. Filtration System (Heart Of Every Air Purifier)
Air purifiers differ in the quality of the filtration system. The best air purifiers will have H13 HEPA air filters (Example of a model: Alen BreatheSmart 75i) or HyperHEPA filters (Example of a model: IQAir HealthPro).
All air purifiers will have several layers of filters (we talk about multi-stage filtration system). These include HEPA filters for small particulates (dust, smoke, pollen, etc.), carbon filters for odor removal, pre-filters to capture larger pollutants like pet dander.
Here is a neat infographic that illustrates what benefits each filter brings:
2. How Do We Test Air Purifier Efficiency? (CADR Rating, Coverage Area, Max. Airflow)
To test how well an air purifier removes indoor airborne pollutants, AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) have devised a test that includes a 1,008 cubic feet test chamber. The effectiveness of an individual air purifier in independent testing is expressed as CADR rating (the scale goes from 0 to 450).
CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. The higher the CADR testing, the better job an air purifier will do.
In simplified terms, CADR tells how effectively an air conditioner can reduce:
- Smoke particles with sizes between 0.9 and 1.0 μm (Smoke CADR).
- Dust particles with sizes between 0.5 and 3 μm (Dust CADR).
- Pollen particle with sizes between 5 and 11 (Pollen CADR).
To produce a high CADR rating, an air purifier is required to have a high max. airflow and a solid filtration system.
Based on the CADR rating, air purifier manufacturers calculate the recommended coverage area for each unit (based on the 2-5 ACH – Air Changes per Hour).
Here is the statistical analysis of coverage area (529 air purifiers analyzed):
3. Noise Levels
The most popular room where we place an air purifier is in the bedroom. We normally leave it on all the time; even during the night.
In general, top-rated air purifiers should have a silent operation (below 60 dB). For comparison, here is how silent 50-60 dB actually is:
4. Price And Reliability
Air purifiers can easily cost as much as $1,000. You can even find some air purifiers below $200. Here’s why you should avoid buying a cheap air purifier:
Air purifier’s performance is correlated with price more often than not.
Higher price tag air purifiers have better filters, higher CADR rating, and, above all else, are reliable.
Cheaper ones tend to have a lower CADR rating, a basic filtration system, and are prone to break down.
Brands like Alen, IQAir, Molekule, Blueair, and Coway have a good track record, a valid AHAM rating, and are produced in the US, Germany, Sweden, and other European countries.
List Of Best Air Purifiers In 2021 (Compared And Rated)
- Best Air Purifier In 2021 For Bedrooms: Alen BreatheSmart 75i
- Best Air Purifier For Allergies (With Medical-Grade Filtration): IQAir HealthPro Plus
- Best Air Purifier For Smoke: Hathaspace 5-in-1 HSP002
- Best Air Purifier For Mold And Germs: Molekule Air
- Best Whole House Air Purifier: Blueair Classic 680i
- Most Innovative Air Purifier With Washable Filters: Airdog X5 With Ionic Wind Tech
- Best Air Purifier For Pets: RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra
- Best Desktop Air Purifier For Offices: IQAir Atem
- Best Price-Performance Air Purifier: Coway AP-1512HH Mighty
(scroll right, and down)
1. Best Air Purifier In 2021 For Bedrooms: Alen BreatheSmart 75i
|Coverage Area:||1300 sq ft (2 ACH)|
|Max. Airflow:||347 CFM|
|Filters:||H13 Medical Grade HEPA + 3.6 lbs B7 Activated Carbon|
|Noise Levels:||25-49 dB|
|Dimensions:||11.5 x 27 x 27 inches|
Alen BreatheSmart 75i is the most well-balanced air purifier. It’s a quiet, high-performance device with medical-grade H13 HEPA filters with well-rounded specifications.
This is the best air purifier because it doesn’t only improve indoor air quality (it does that exceptionally well, of course). The BreatheSmart is a line of air purifiers are designed to improve sleep quality. The 75i model was tested in a sleep quality study by SleepScore Labs. Here’s the outtake:
“Participants reported falling asleep faster and felt more rested the next day when using Alen purifiers at night.” (SleepScore Labs study findings)
Here are the well-balanced specs:
Alen BreatheSmart 75i has a high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of 350. It achieves such a high level of air purification with the 347 CFM airflow. At 2 ACH, it can cover 1300 sq ft.
For a very thorough air purification – recommended for allergy-prone individuals – you should go for 5 ACH. At 5 ACH, the coverage area is 520 sq ft (size of larger bedrooms).
The true heart of the 75i model is the perfect air filtration system that includes two of the best air filters:
- H13 medical-grade HEPA. This is an advanced HEPA filter that can remove 99.99% of all airborne particulates larger than 0.1 microns. That includes allergens, dust, smoke, mold, certain bacteria, and so on.
- B7 activated carbon filter. Designed to remove undesired odors; here the mass of the filter is very important. Alen BreatheSmart 75i has a 3.6 lbs B7 activated carbon filter; a massive filter for odors.
The key to BreatheSmart 75i are the very low noise levels. Remember, Alen designed this air purifier for sleeping, and the 25-49 dB noise level interval makes the 75i one of the quietest air purifiers. That’s why it’s the best air purifier for large bedrooms.
In all regards, the Alen BreatheSmart 75i is the most well-rounded air purifier, perfect for people who really appreciate perfectly clean air. If you add the minimalistic design, you will easily find it to be the best air purifier in 2021.
2. Best Air Purifier For Allergies: IQAir HealthPro Plus
|Coverage Area:||1125 sq ft|
|Max. Airflow:||300 CFM|
|Filters:||4-Stage With Superb HyperHEPA filters|
|Noise Levels:||22-57 dB|
|Dimensions:||11.5 x 27 x 27 inches|
For allergy-prone people, all air pollutants may present a potential problem. To avoid as many problems as possible, you should increase the indoor air quality as much as possible. IQAir HealthPro Plus is an air purifier that most thoroughly removes air pollutants for a maximal increase in indoor air quality.
Specifically, IQAir HealthPro Plus is capable of removing air pollutants that are too small for other air purifiers to pick up. In fact, compared to an average HEPA air purifier, IQAir HealthPro Plus is about 100x more effective as far as the size of air pollutants is concerned.
Why is IQAir HealthPro Plus so good even at removing those smallest particles that may cause allergies?
IQ HealthPro is rated as the best air purifier for allergies and asthma because it has a HyperHEPA filter. This filtration system can remove particles that are as small as 0.003 microns. Here’s how HyperHEPA compares to normal HEPA filters:
- HEPA = Good; removes up to 0.3-micron sized air pollutants.
- H13 medical-grade HEPA = Better; removes up to 0.1-micron sized air pollutants.
- HyperHEPA by IQAir = Best; removes up to 0.003-micron sized air pollutants (100x smaller than HEPA filter).
You can read more about HEPA filters in general here, and about scientific studies of how air purifiers can effect allergies here.
In short, the IQAir HealthPro Plus is the most thorough air cleaner and thus the most appropriate air purifier for allergies.
In addition to HyperHEPA filter, the 4-stage IQAir HealthPro Plus filtration system can achieve a 2.5 PM CADR rating of 300 with 300 CFM maximal airflow. That’s enough to cover up to 1125 sq ft large area.
With a below 60 dB silent operation and extraordinarily thorough air purification, the IQAir HealthPro Plus is literally a life-changing air purifier for allergy-prone people. You can read the short review below or you can check the in-depth IQAir HealthPro Plus review here:
3. Best Air Purifier For Smoke: Hathaspace 5-in-1 HSP002
|Coverage Area:||1500 sq ft (2 ACH)|
|Filters:||5-Stage With Double Prefilter|
|Noise Levels:||30-60 dB|
|Dimensions:||9 x 16.5 x 27 inches|
It doesn’t matter if it’s wildfire smoke or cigarette smoke; having a smoke smelling home is a bother. Air purifiers are designed to remove that smoke; some are better than others at that job, of course. Of the better air purifier for smoke, the Hathaspace HSP002 with a 450 smoke CADR rating is the best.
The 450 smoke CADR rating is the very thing that makes the Hathaspace HSP002 the ultimate smoke-removal air purifier as we’ve written here already. AHAM independently test air purifiers; specifically, they measure how good they are at removing 3 particular air pollutants; dust, pollen, and smoke.
The 450 smoke CADR rating is the highest possible CADR rating an air purifier can get. That makes the Hathaspace HSP002 not only the best air purifier for smoke but one of the best-selling air purifiers in the market (because, you know, a lot of people are bothered by smoke-filled homes).
Why does Hathaspace HSP002 remove smoke so well?
The whole point is in a well-protected H13 medical-grade HEPA filter. It can remove smoke and other air pollutants much better than an ordinary HEPA filter:
- H11 HEPA removes 99.97% of particles that are 0.3-microns in size.
- H13 HEPA filter (the one that Hathaspace HSP002 has) additionally removes 99.95% of particles that are 0.1-0.3 microns in size.
A lot of smoke particles have sizes between 0.1 and 0.3 microns (they are very small and that’s why smoke easily floats through the air).
To protect the precious H13 HEPA filter, the Hathaspace HSP002 employs two pre-filters that filter out larger particles like hair, pet dander, and so on.
Hathaspace HSP002 can cover areas up to 1500 sq ft at 2 ACH. However, for high-performance 5 ACH cleaning, you should put in an area of 600 sq ft or less. In such spaces, the 5-stage Hathaspace filtration can work with the highest efficiency.
The one drawback is the 60 dB noise level at the highest fan speed setting. Obviously, Hathaspace HSP002 needs to be very powerful to remove all the smoke particles, and if you set it up to maximum, it produces more noise than your average fridge (fridge is about 50 dB).
All in all, the exceptionally high smoke CADR rating makes the Hathaspace HSP002 the best air purifier for smoke removal. It’s also one of the best-selling air purifiers because of the very reasonable price tag:
4. Best Air Purifier For Mold And Germs: Molekule Air
|Coverage Area:||600 sq ft (2 ACH)|
|Filters:||NASA-level PECO Filtration|
|Noise Levels:||41-65 dB|
|Dimensions:||8.25 x 8.25 x 32 inches|
There is a ton of buzz about Molekule Air on social media. Everybody loves the exceptional minimalistic design of this air purifier. However, the true heart of Molekule Air is hidden beneath that beautiful silver cover: it’s the revolutionary PECO filter that single-handedly makes Molekule Air the best air purifier for mold and germs.
Mold spores are flying around and they only need some humidity and a wet surface to start the unwanted mold growth. The job of pretty much every air purifier is to capture as many mold spores as possible to minimize the likelihood of mold growth. If you don’t know how mold growth looks like, you can read our article about mold inspection and testing here.
Here’s why the Molekule is the best air purifier for mold:
It’s about the PECO filter. HEPA filters just capture mold and mold spores; the PECO filter literally fries them. PECO stands for PetroElectroChemical Oxidation. With a powerful 80 W UV light bulb and catalyzing element, Molekule Air can create hydroxyl radicals that break the mold, certain bacteria, and viruses apart with ease.
PECO is a NASA-developed technology that found it’s way into Molekule Air. The germicidal nature of UV light is well-documented. Some air purifiers use only UV light bulbs, others more advanced use PCO tech. PECO tech that Molekule Air uses is the most advanced germicidal technology.
In short, it’s not only about the aesthetic design with Molekule Air. It’s a powerful mold-eliminator that protects your home from mold, some bacteria, and even viruses. You can read more about the elimination studies in the Molekule Air review here and air purifier for mold in general here.
Molekule Air is not without its shortfalls that seem directly from the advanced PECO technology. These PECO filters are louder than HEPA filters (can generate up to 65 dB noise levels). Due to new technology, we also don’t have AHAM’s independently verified CADR rating.
All in all, the Molekule Air might just be the most aesthetic air purifier, but it’s way more than that. Under the silver hood is the NASA-level PECO filter that literally fries mold; something rarely any other air purifier is capable of doing. That makes the Molekule Air the best germicidal air purifier for mold:
5. Best Whole House Air Purifier: Blueair Classic 680i
|Coverage Area:||698 sq ft (5 ACH)|
|Max. Airflow:||650 CFM|
|Filters:||HEPA Silent + Dual Protection|
|Noise Levels:||32-62 dB|
|Dimensions:||26 x 20 x 13 inches|
It’s not unusual to have an air purifier in every room. Of course, having one air purifier in the bedroom, the second kids’ rooms, and the third in the living room does involve quite a lot of wiring and filter changing. To avoid having 3 or more devices, you can invest in one big one. Of those whole-house air purifiers, the Blueair Classic 680i is the best one by far.
Blueair is a Swedish air purifier producer known for exceptional engineering, reasonable prices, and minimalistic Scandinavian design. Blueair Classic 680i the model that has been rated the best whole-house air purifier in the last several years for a number of reasons.
First of all, the Blueair Classic 680i specs surpass the AHAM’s scale. It has a 450 CADR rating because the AHAM scale only goes up to 450; in practice, Blueair Classic 680i is even more capable of removing dust, smoke, pollen, and other air pollutants. Consequentially, the coverage area at 5 ACH is 698 sq ft; because that’s where the AHAM scale end.
Secondly, it uses Blueair’s patented HEPASilent and DualProtection filters. HEPASilent, for example, is an electrostatic barrier that charges the incoming air pollutants. These electrified dust particles are then easily attracted to the filters. That makes Blueair filters both more efficient and airy at the same time; allowing for the superpowerful 650 CFM airflow.
Based on these powerful specs, the Blueair Classic 680i is the perfect air purifier for the home. You’ll only need one device to circulate the air throughout the house and increase the overall indoor air quality.
6. Most Innovative Air Purifier With Washable Filters: Airdog X5
|CADR Rating:||200 (at 2.5 PM)|
|Coverage Area:||400 sq ft|
|Max. Airflow:||200 CFM|
|Filters:||5-Stage Filtration With TPA Filter|
|Noise Levels:||22-63 dB|
|Dimensions:||26 x 12 x 12 inches|
There is no lack of innovation in air purification technologies. According to MIT Technology Review, Airdog X5 is one of the top innovations in recent years (you can read more about the specifics of ‘Ionic Wind’ tech Airdog X5 here).
Why should you care about innovations?
Because they solve problems; one at a time. Airdog X5 was designed when looking for a very specific problem with air purifiers: the $100s spent on yearly filter replacements. All filters, from HEPA, activated carbon, and even pre-filters, need to be changed 1 or several times per year.
Engineers that created the Airdog X5 have figured out a way how to avoid paying for replacement HEPA filters and, effectively, save up to $200 per year. They have used known ‘Ionic wind’ technology and designed the so-called Ionic Field filter (a vital component of the 5-stage TPA filtration system).
Long story short, this filtration system does the same thing as a HEPA-based filtration system as far as removal of dust, pollen, and smoke from indoor air is concerned. One big difference, however:
Airdog X5 has washable filters. Water and soap.
The ability to use just water and soap to wash air purifier filters is revolutionary. Air purifiers last for about 5 years; within those 5 years, you can spend more than $1,000 for filter replacement. With Airdog X5, you have to spend $0 on replacement filters.
That’s a big difference.
With such significant long-term savings, the Airdog X5 is one of the most affordable air purifiers. The initial cost is about $600, a little much for a 200 CADR air purifier with a 400 sq ft recommended coverage area.
However, if you budget in the replacement filter savings, you’ll spend way less for an air purifier during its lifespan. In short, the Airdog X5 is the best air purifier with washable filters and one of the biggest recent innovations in the air purifier industry.
7. Best Air Purifier For Pets: RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra
|Coverage Area:||350 sq ft (4 ACH)|
|Max. Airflow:||187 CFM|
|Filters:||6-Stage Thorough Filtration|
|Noise Levels:||20.8-45.6 dB|
|Dimensions:||24.02 x 22.64 x 9.84 inches|
Who doesn’t love pets; they’re fluffy, cute, and playful. They do – I’m looking at you, cat – leave their hair everywhere. A room with a cat or a dog in it has, on average, lower air quality than a petless room. To remove all those pet dander and fluff that some people are allergic to we can use the best air purifier for pets – the RabbitAir MinusA2.
The name of RabbitAir MinusA2 might suggest this is an air purifier for rabbits. It actually is for rabbits (as well as cats and dogs, not for hedgehogs because they don’t leave fluff, only spikes) but the ‘Rabbit’ is the name is because this is one of the quietest air purifiers with 20.8-45.6 dB noise levels.
With pets in the house, we have two problems air purifier for pets should solve:
- Pet dander and fluff floating in indoor air. This can settle on our skin, in our eyes, and may cause irritation.
- Pet smell. Pets do urinate and have their own specific smell; in most cases, we humans don’t really like that.
In order to solve these 2 problems, the best air purifier for pets must fulfill 2 important requirements:
- Quality pre-filter that captures larger particles (dander, fluff). RabbitAir MinusA2, for example, is one of the very few air purifiers with 6-stage filtration (this includes a highly capable pre-filter that protects the other 5 filters).
- Capable activated carbon filter. This is the filter that adsorbs undesirable odors; you pretty much know which ones.
On top of that, the best pet air purifier RabbitAir MinusA2 includes the optional ‘Pet Allergy’ filter that presents an additional barrier for all pet dander that might cause an allergic reaction.
Specs-wise, the RabbitAir MinusA2 is a small room air purifier with 350 sq ft coverage (at 4 ACH), 200 CADR rating, and 187 CFM. Very reasonably balanced specification; the crowning jewel specification are the record-low noise levels (20.8-45.6 dBA). In short, RabbitAir MinusA2 is as quiet as a bunny and well worth the cost if you have pets at home:
8. Best Desktop Air Purifier For Offices: IQAir Atem
|Coverage Area:||150 sq ft|
|Max. Airflow:||39 CFM|
|Filters:||HyperHEPA filters (0.003 microns)|
|Noise Levels:||35-55 dB|
|Dimensions:||11.77 x 5.51 x 12.44 inches|
The new mini desktop air purifiers are all the rage in 2021. With so many people working from home offices, the home office air purifier is a good idea if you want to breathe cleaner air. There are 100s of newly developed mini personal air purifiers; however, no one can even come close to the IQAir Atem.
IQAir Atem might be the most exquisitely designed personal air purifier. With such an aesthetic air purifier on your desk, you could even feel the presence of beauty and people interested in it. However, when it comes to improving the quality of air, we should look past the design and into the filtration system: this is actually the best aspect of the IQAir Atem.
If you look at IQAir HealthPro – a larger anti-allergy air purifier made by the same company – you can see how HEPA (good), H13 HEPA (better), and HyperHEPA (best) goes. The IQAir Atem is the only personal air purifier with a HyperHEPA filtration system, capable of removing even the very smallest 0.003-micron air pollutants (the ones that may cause allergic reactions).
With 35-55 dB noise levels interval, it’s quite silent, even on a high setting. IQAir Atem a very little air purifier that can produce 39 CFM which is enough for up to 150 sq ft offices or rooms.
All in all, the IQAir Atem is by far the best personal desktop air purifier for home office. It does come at a cost but it can filter out particles that are 100 smaller than what a standard HEPA desktop air purifier can. That makes it perfect even for allergy-prone people.
9. Best Price-Performance Air Purifier: Coway AP-1512HH Mighty
|Coverage Area:||361 sq ft|
|Noise Levels:||24.4–53.8 dB|
|Dimensions:||9.6 x 16.8 x 18.3 inches|
Coway AP-1512HH might be the last on LearnMetrics list of best air purifiers but it’s far from the worst. Quite the opposite; the Coway AP-1512HH is one of the top-rated air purifiers, based on performance.
AHAM testing, as well as other independent tests, has shown that the true price-performer. It has a relatively high CADR rating of 246 and quickly removes airborne pollutants such as dust, smoke, pollen, mold, and other potential allergens.
In fact, it has quite a large recommended coverage area of 361 sq ft. You can check some larger and smaller Coway air purifiers here.
The problem with high-performance air purifiers are usually higher noise levels. Coway has managed to keep the noise levels of Coway AP-1512HH within the 24.4–53.8 dB interval. Compared to other air purifiers, this is one of the quieter air purifiers.
The best part is the price: The best air purifiers do cost plenty over $500. Coway AP-1512HH might not be the best of the best, but it has a very good performance and it costs about $250. It’s true that it has a standard HEPA filter (nothing fancy) in its 4-stage filtration system. That does reduce the cost somewhat.
In short, the Coway AP-1512HH is the most performance you get on a budget:
Air Purifiers FAQ
How Do We Test Air Purifier For Efficiency?
In order to compare top-rated air purifiers, we need independent testing. Air purifiers are tested by AHAM (Association Of Home Appliance Manufacturers) in accordance with the ANSI/AHAM AC-1 procedure. This is a ‘Method for Measuring Performance of Portable Household Electric Room Air Cleaners‘.
Air purifiers are tested on their ability to remove the 3 most common air pollutants and a 0-450 CADR rating is given for:
- 0.09-0.1 micron smoke particles.
- 0.5-3 micron dust particles.
- 5-11 micron pollen particles.
In practice, every air purifier is put in a 1,008 ft3 chamber with polluted air. AHAM measures how quickly and thoroughly a unit filters these air pollutants out. Based on this, we get smoke CADR, dust CADR, and pollen CADR rating.
Based on the average CADR rating, AHAM gives a recommended coverage area for each unit with a range from 0 to 698 sq ft. Blueair Classis 608i, for example, has the top 450 CADR rating and 698 sq ft coverage area.
It is, however, important to understand that CADR rating is basically a measure of how well a HEPA filter does its job. Advanced HEPA filters like H13 HEPA by Alen BreatheSmart 75i and HyperHEPA by IQAir remove even the smallest air pollutants; this won’t reflect in the average CADR rating but it’s important to understand the sheer low-diameter filtration capability of advanced H12+ HEPA filters.
How Do Air Purifier Work?
Air purifiers have only one job: to remove as many air pollutants as possible and thus increase the indoor air quality as much as possible.
For that, they use two vital components:
- Fan to generate airflow. The fan sucks in the polluted indoor air.
- Filtration system to remove air pollutants. The most common filter composition is pre-filter, HEPA filter, and activated carbon filter. Some air purifiers can include ozone generators as well for germicidal effect.
Polluted indoor air is run through the filters. Each filter has a specific job and it removes specific air pollutants. Pre-filter, for example, removes larger particulates such as hair. HEPA filter removes smaller particulates and activated carbon filter removes odors.
That’s the basic principle air purifiers are built upon. For a more detailed explanation, you can check the LearnMetrics article about the inner workings of air purifiers here.
Do Air Purifiers Really Work?
Air purifiers work very well for the job they are meant to do: removing air pollutants and increasing indoor air quality.
Of course, some air purifiers are better at removing air pollutants than others. The ones with an advanced HEPA filter (H13, HyperHEPA), for example, do a better job of removing air pollutants than ordinary HEPA air purifiers.
What we usually look for are the benefits of breathing healthier and less polluted air. The use of air purifiers and allergies, asthma, odor removal, and so on are well documented. You can look into scientific studies connecting air purifiers with specific benefits in our in-depth essential air purifier guide.
Some air purifiers even have their own studies that show how well they work. Alen BreatheSmart 75i, for example, has a detailed study of how it positively affects the sleeping quality (study made by SleepScore Labs).
The capability of air purifiers to remove mold, bacteria, and viruses is often discussed as well. HEPA filters alone usually only capture these germs. Germicidal air purifiers like Molekule Air are more successful and have been dependently tested to have a net positive effect on germ removal.
Are Air Purifiers Worth It?
The best air purifiers can easily cost more than $500. That’s quite a high initial price and you have on-going costs for replacement filters.
The real question, however, is how valuable breathing cleaner air is. We spend more than 80% of our life indoors. Every breath we take can be more or less polluted. Most people do prefer breathing purer air.
Usually, the higher cost of an air purifier is connected with the higher capability of air pollutants removal. HyperHEPA filters used by IQAir Atem, for example, are capable of removing a range of the smallest particulates (down to 0.003 microns) that cheaper air purifiers with only a standard HEPA filter cannot.
All in all, breathing cleaner air is good for us. The cleaner the air the better. Air purifiers are the best devices for improving indoor air pollutants; even a $1000 air purifier would be worthy if it means your lungs will have an easier job breathing cleaner air.
What Is The Best Air Purifier On The Market (2021)?
LearnMetrics continually screens all air purifiers and regularly updates the list of the best ones. The basic specifications we need to base the quality of an air purifier are CADR rating, max. airflow, and noise levels to name just a few.
In 2021, the new Alen BreatheSmart 75i is the best air purifier on the market. It is the most well-balanced and well-rounded air purifier with high performance and quiet operation.
It is, however, important to understand that some air purifiers might be better than the 75i model for specific purposes. For allergy-prone people, for example, it’s useful to have a HyperHEPA filter by IQAir HealthPro because they can remove particulates and potential allergens that are as small as 0.003 microns.
The best air purifier for smoke removal (wildfire smoke included) is the one with the maximum 450 smoke CADR rating: Hathaspace HSP002.
In short, the best air purifier – Alen BreatheSmart 75i – is the best choice for most people.
Can Air Purifiers Help With Cigarette And Wildfire Smoke?
Of course. Smoke – be it wildfire smoke, cigarette smoke, or even cigar smoke – is comprised of two components:
- Smoke particles.
- Gaseous smoke molekules – smoke odor.
HEPA filters in air purifiers more than capable of removing smoke particles. In fact, AHAM even measures smoke CADR rating; the capability of air purifiers to remove smoke particles.
For cigarette smell or wildfire smoke smell – gaseous molecules – air purifiers use activated carbon filters. These adsorb the undesired smell onto their surface.
Air purifiers with heavy activated carbon filters (like Alen SmartBreathe 75i with 3.7 lbs activated carbon filter) and high smoke CADR rating (like Hathaspace HSP002 with the maximum 450 smoke CADR rating) are the best for smoke removal.
Can Air Purifiers Remove Mold And Mold Spores?
Mold is one of the hardest things to get rid of. That’s why it makes sense to minimize the likelihood of mold growth even occurring. Air purifiers help you with mold by removing mold spores from indoor air.
If the mold spores are left to float around, they can find a high-humidity wet surface and start to grow there.
All air purifiers that include HEPA filters can capture mold spores. However, the best thing is to completely destroy mold spores (that’s how you avoid mold growth on HEPA filters). Molekule Air, for example, uses the most advanced PECO technology for mold and germs removal.
How Often Should HEPA Filters Be Replaced?
Almost all air purifiers include HEPA filters, and they have to be replaced from time to time. Standard filters, like the one used by Coway AP-1512HH, need to be replaced every 4 months or so.
4 to 6 months is a standard lifespan for HEPA filters.
The best air purifiers can, however, use more durable HEPA filters. Alen BreatheSmart 75i, for example, has reliable filters that need to be replaced once every 12 months.
The even better solution are air purifiers with washable filters. The best one of those is the revolutionary Airdog X5; you don’t need to replace filters, you just use water and soap to wash them and save more than $100/year on HEPA filter replacement.
Do Air Purifiers Use A Lot Of Electricity?
Not at all. Air purifiers are low-wattage devices. Even the most powerful ones don’t draw more than 200 W.
The bigger they are, the more electricity they use; this is a general rule. You can use this air purifier power calculator to estimate how much electricity a specific air purifier will use.
As a general rule, an average-size air purifier, running on maximum setting for a whole week will spend about $1 worth of electricity. In short, not all that much.
How To Properly Maintain An Air Purifier?
In order to function properly, an air purifier has to be properly maintained. Air purifiers are fortunately low-maintanance devices.
You can clean it like you would clean a television. Just mop it down and be careful about it.
The one thing that does require your full attention are the filter replacements. Once the filter is full, it needs to be replaced. If it’s not replaced, the dust and other particulates caught in the HEPA filter, will be blown out into indoor air again.
When to replace air purifier filters?
All the best air purifiers have an indicator light that turns red when you have to replace filters. Be mindful not to buy an air purifier without a filter replacement indicator. It’s pretty much impossible to accurately tell when a filter needs to replaced.
Imagine 6-stage filtration and figuring out from which filter the weird smell is coming from. Indicator is a must feature for air purifiers.
Can You Put A Furnace Filter In An Air Cleaner?
Furnace filters can be HEPA filters; they may even have a MERV 14+ rating. However, it’s not advisable to use furnace filters in air purifiers. Here’s why:
Every air purifier has a specific filter texture and dimensions. Those filters are the heart of an air purifier. Every brand has a specific filter (with a specific model number) that is compatible with a specific air purifier.
It’s quite impossible to use furnace filters in air purifiers. You might pick the right dimension and even properly replace the filter. But it’s almost impossible to measure how well the furnace filter is performing in an air purifier without an AHAM chamber or some sort of smoke chamber.
Where Should I Place My Air Purifier?
The air purifier should be in the room where you spend most of your time. The best rooms to place air purifers in are:
- Living room.
- Kids room.
Bigger air purifiers can cover several rooms at once. Smaller air purifiers, however, are designed to cover just one room (300 sq ft or less). In such a case, you’ll need more than 1 air purifier in your home, if you want to cover the whole home.
The placement of an air purifier is also important. If you put it in the corner, the air purifier will have problems achieving it’s maximum specified airflow. You can, however, increase the effectiveness if you place an air purifier correctly. To properly place your air purifier, you should read the 7 rules about air purifier placement here.
Should I Sleep With An Air Purifier On?
Yes, that’s the point. We spend 8 hours per day sleeping. It makes sense to place an air purifier in the bedroom and have it turned on while we sleep.
An air purifier will continually increase bedroom air quality. That means that we breathe cleaner air throughout the night.
You should sleep with an air purifier on; just be careful about certain drawbacks. Air purifiers do produce some noise and have some lights.
The best air purifiers to sleep with are the ones will low noise levels and dim-the-lights feature. Alen BreatheSmart 75i was specifically designed as a quiet air purifier for improving sleeping quality. It also has a dimming feature.
Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive?
Are purifiers can cost up to $1,000. You can also find one for less than $100. But there a major difference in filtration systems.
Materials used, size, brand, and design can all increase the cost of an air purifier. However, the core of every air purifier is the filtration system; HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, and other germicidal filters.
The real reason why some air purifiers cost up to $1,000 is that good HEPA filters themselves are expensive. Standard HEPA filters are affordable; but if you have an air purifier, you would really like to have the best filtration.
H13 HEPA filters (medical-grade) are expensive but very useful if you are prone to allergies. The most advanced HyperHEPA filters (like the ones IQAir uses) are a wonder of filtration technology. They do, however, cost a pretty penny.
In all cases, an air purifier should perform the function of removing as much of indoor air pollutants as possible. If you truly want to breathe high-quality air, the high cost of air purifiers (the ones with H13 HEPA filters, for example) is worth the cost.
Is It Safe To Leave Air Purifier On All Day?
Air purifiers are meant to run 24/7. They are very well equipped to remove air pollutants from the air itself; they cannot, however, reduce the pollutants on your carpet, couch, bed, floor, and so on.
These particulates readily transfer from the floor to the air and an air purifier should be left on all day to continuously remove all newly airborne particles.
Air purifiers are designed with that in mind. That’s why it’s 100% safe to leave an air purifier on all day, every day.
If you have additional questions about air purifiers, you can pose them in the comments below. LearnMetrics regularly updates the list of the best air purifiers. We are also open to suggestions, reviews, or other details about specific air purifiers – you can share your model and opinion in the comments below.