Where To Place Air Purifier? (7 Golden ‘Best Place’ Rules + Bonus Tip)

Two identical air purifiers can have a completely different impact on the indoor air quality.

And it all comes down to where you place the air purifier.

Generally, you can increase the efficiency of the air purifier by up to 20% if you correctly place it. What is even more important, if you put it in a corner or behind a television, you can lose more than 50% of the overall air purifier capacity.

Some companies try to help you out with the air purifier placement. For example, Dyson air purifiers come with a ‘format’ in specifications; they are either ‘floor’, ‘desk’, or ‘tower’ units.

For all other air purifiers, we need to clarify this one thing:

Where is the room is the best place to place an air purifier?

To answer that, we need to concentrate on where in the room is the biggest:

  1. Concentration of pollutants (dust, smoke, mold spores).
  2. Indoor airflow (not in the corner; air purifier should be placed on the hallway where there is the highest air exchange within the apartment/house).

Based on this and many other factors, you should be considering 7 golden rules when figuring out where to place an air purifier.

Here’s the deal:

If we consider all 7 rules, we can help an air purifier do its job better simply by choosing the right location for it.

Be mindful of the bonus tip (you’ll find it below the 7 basic rules) connected with the air purifier being portable (you can and should move it around to achieve the maximum air cleaning effect).

7 Rules Of Where To Put Air Purifier (Or Where Not To Place It)

Where should I place my air purifier?

The 7 rules below are a mixture of recommendations of:

  • Where to put an air purifier.
  • Where NOT to put your air purifier.

Be mindful that you can gain 20% efficiency by placing an air purifier correctly. What is even more important is to know where not to place it; you can lose up to 50% of its air cleaning effect.

1. Place It Near Worst Air Pollutants (Smoke, Odor, Mold Source)

An air purifier should be placed where the concentration of pollutants is the highest. An air quality specialist would usually use an air quality monitor to measure where the pollutants are in abundance.

molding walls and air bourne mold spores
Molding walls in an old New York apartment. It makes sense to place an air purifier near the source of pollutants (mold, in this case).

However, we don’t need special help here. We can all use our senses to determine where the concentration of air pollutants is the highest. You can use:

  • Your eyes: Pollutants such as smoke and mold are clearly visible. Place an air purifier for mold near the mold infestation for better results. Place an air purifier for smoke near the smoking area. If you use the powerful Blueair air purifiers against wildfire smoke, move them closer to the windows where the wildfire is entering your home.
  • Your nose: Odor or foul-smelling air is a distinct indicator of a high concentration of unwanted air pollutants such as tobacco smoke or oil smoke.
  • Your allergy reaction: Do you get allergy reactions more often when in the bedroom than in the kitchen? That’s a good indicator that the concentration of allergens is higher in the bedroom. Note: Alen BreatheSmart is a new line of air purifiers, specially designed to improve sleep quality. Alen are the most exquisitely engineered air purifiers.

When placed close to the most problematic areas (with lower indoor air quality), the air purifier can improve air quality rapidly.

2. Put Air Purifier 3-5 Feet Off The Ground

Indoor air circulation has two specific directions:

  1. Horizontally: Door to door, for example.
  2. Vertically: Floor-to-ceiling movement of air, based on a slight difference in temperature.

You already know that hotter air will move toward the ceiling. Placing an air purifier off the ground (3 to 5 feet is perfect), you not only capture the horizontal indoor air movement but also expose an air purifier to the vertical air movement. Smaller Levoit and Coway units, for example, can easily be placed on the desk.

The best possible position for an air purifier is mounted on the wall. Wall-mounted air purifiers are mounted 3-5 feet off the ground and you can install them in places with the highest airflow (see #3). One of the best examples is the Medify MA-35 air purifier; here is how it looks mounted on the wall:

medify wall mounted air purifier with best air purifier position
Medify MA-35 is a wall-mounted air purifier (comes with a kit for mounting). It has the best possible position that maximizes its air purification capabilities (using advanced H13 HEPA filters; 290 CADR rating). You can get the Medify MA-35 here and mount it on the wall yourself.

In such a way, an air purifier has plenty of air at its disposal. It can suck it in the device readily and clean the air quickly.

In the office, you can put it on the office desk. Smaller units (under 10 lbs) like Okaysou air purifiers are most appropriate for that. In the bedroom, you can put an air purifier on a windowsill or even on the nightstand.

The best air purifier placement would be on the wall. Of course, to suspend it on the wall, you have to elevate and secure it in much the same manner you would hang a painting.

In short, keep an air purifier off the floor.

3. Put It In Places With Highest Airflow (Doorways, Walls, Near Window)

Air purifiers can suck in the air very effectively. However, making as much air as possible to the air purifier can help the air purifier clean the air quicker.

Placing an air purifier near a window, close to a doorway, and especially on the walls where the air moves make a lot of sense.

Moving air also has more large-sized pollutants. This is because moving air has enough energy to lift dust, mold spores, and other pollutants. It can carry it across our whole house; this is exactly what we want to prevent by using let’s say Winix or Honeywell air purifiers.

Capturing pollutants near entry points – like front doors or open windows – also presents the first line of defense again outdoor air pollutants that might otherwise be dispersed throughout our home.

4. Don’t Place Air Purifier In A Corner (Low Indoor Airflow)

On the other hand, putting an air purifier into a corner is a no-no. There is airflow is the lowest. By placing an air purifier in a corner, you prevent it from effectively purifying the air.

Obviously, the air quality in that corner might be splendid. Still, air quality in other rooms would not be affected as significantly as it could have been with proper air purifier placement.

you shouldn't place air purifier in a corner
Placing an air purifier in a corner impedes its ability to clear air effectively.

Here are 3 reasons that evidently make a corner the worst choice to place an air purifier at:

  1. Low indoor airflow.
  2. On the floor.
  3. Blocked in two directions.

By placing a purifier in the corner, you can seriously reduce its ability to function properly. For example, you would never put a Dyson HP01 air purifier in a corner.

5. Don’t Put Obstacles In Air Purifier Vicinity (Optimise Airflow)

Avaya from obstacles. You want airflow through the air purifier to be unimpeded.

Places behind the TV represent a tempting free space where you could put an air purifier. Do try to resist that urge; an air purifier should have at least 3 feet of space in all directions to function at its maximum capacity.

Another problem is usually with books. Air purifier increases indoor air quality. It’s only reasonable that people like to read books in a fresh air environment. However, we may place a bunch of books near an air purifier and thereby impede its ability to create the maximum airflow.

As a general rule, try to give air purifier space. The more space you give it, the easier and quicker it will do its job properly.

6. Avoid Places With High Humidity (Bathroom, Cooking Area)

High humidity means heavier air. For air purifier spells out problems because:

  1. Air purifier needs more energy to create airflow with heavy air.
  2. Humid air will reduce the capacity of filters (especially HEPA filters).

There are two places in our house that we think would be a good placement for an air purifier:

  1. Kitchen. Because of all the odors, obviously. If we boil water in the kitchen, the humidity will rise, and an air purifier will have a harder time functioning properly.
  2. Bathroom. While showering, the relative humidity can rise to above 90%. That kind of humidity will strain the capacity of the air purifier to the limit.

Obviously, the places with high humidity are also known as brilliant breeding ground for mold. Mold infestation will usually develop in the bathroom.

In such a case, a dehumidifier might be a better idea. You can also combine it with using an air purifier when you’re not actively using the bathroom (during the night, for example). Just remember that relative humidity should be below 50%.

Note: If you need to increase humidity (usually during the winter), you can look into the new Dyson Pure Humidify series air purifiers.

7. Don’t Put It Near Electronic Devices (TV, Stereo, Microwave)

When asking, ‘Where should I place my air purifier?’ we’re usually thinking about optimizing the airflow through the air purifier.

One thing to be careful about – and that doesn’t impede airflow – is the presence of electronic devices.

Things like TV, stereo, or microwave might be harmful to the function of the air purifier. It’s best to avoid placing a purifier near electronic devices. Sophisticated new tech air purifiers like Molekule Air or Airdog X5 might be especially vulnerable as far as electronic interference is concerned.

A minimum of 5 feet should be respected.

Bonus Tip: For Maximum Efficiency, Move Air Purifier Around

If you take into account these 7 rules, you’re good to go. You have an idea of where to put your air purifier in your bedroom, living room, or office.

Now here is a bonus tip: Air purifiers are portable for a reason.

They usually weigh less than 20 pounds and can be easily moved around. When looking at a perfect spot to place our air purifier, we want to maximize the indoor air that is available to them.

By moving an air purifier from the bedroom to the living room and baby room, for example, we are effectively increasing access to polluted indoor air. This can have a significant impact on how well the air purifier is utilized.

Just by moving it around, you can make a bigger difference in the effectiveness of an air purifier than placing it perfectly in a single room.

41 thoughts on “Where To Place Air Purifier? (7 Golden ‘Best Place’ Rules + Bonus Tip)”

  1. I live in a small studio. I smoke and don’t want the smoke to go out into the public hallway. Where do I place the purifyer

    Reply
    • Hello Shelley, the door that leads to the public hallway might be the best option. All the smoke that might escape there is neatly intercepted before it can enter the public hallway.

      Reply
  2. I live in an older 800 sqft rental condo in Florida. My allergies are terrible. Condo has central air with return air vent in hallway between an open living, kitchen, dining room and bedroom located in hallway ceiling leading to bedroom AC register air vents are also in ceiling of each room. Where should I put air purifier to get maximum effectiveness of air purifier?

    Reply
    • Hello Theresa, an air purifier should be put in the airflow to be most effective. The more air you can provide to your air purifier, the more air it can properly filter. Just make sure you don’t restrict the airflow to the air purifier.

      Reply
    • Yes, air circulation is actually a helpful safety measure for indoor airborne pathogens, if you can believe it. By itself, it won’t do much, but it’s still a part of a larger approach alongside distancing, symptom screening, and most importantly, masks. Covid-19 is spread through aerosolized particles (“droplets”), and the best way to visualize this is by thinking of what breath looks like on a very cold day – like a cloud of steam coming out of people’s mouth and nose. But, like smoke, that vapor stays in a closed space, so having the air moving around and filtering out will reduce possible infection vectors. Go for it.

      Reply
        • Hello there, theoretically ideal placement would be near the door and 3-5 feet of the ground. Practically, however, it’s easier to put it on a desk (for smaller devices) or just mount it on the wall. Medify MA-35, for example, is a good choice for a classroom since it has a high 290 CADR rating. You can read more about it in our article about the best wall-mounted air purifiers. Hope this helps.

          Reply
  3. If we feel like we don’t need to use it right now, can I keep it stored as is until next time we need it? Will the filter be okay in storage? Thank you for your help.

    Reply
    • Hello Kathryn, you can store it, of course, but inevitably the filters will gather dust like everything else you have to store for longer periods of time. It’s just unavoidable.

      Reply
  4. I have it near the sliding glass door in my living room…live on a busy street, lots of traffic, balcony opens to street…dogs run in and out..but it’s on floor and a large purifier.

    Reply
  5. This is the only article I have read that suggests placing an air purifier near an open window. All other suggested the room have closed windows and doors so the air purifier can be more effective and not be purifying outdoor air. I’m trying to figure out a good compromise between running an air purifier effectively AND having some fresh air in the room. Can you comment on this please.

    Reply
    • Hello Sylvie, having an air purifier work effectively and having some fresh air in the room is virtually impossible. If you want some fresh air, it’s best to put an air purifier near that window; it will at least partly remove air contaminants from the incoming air. The effectiveness of an air purifier, however, is not as high as it would be with a closed window; but that would also mean no fresh air. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  6. Hello. We bought ours because of the dirt and hair our dogs bring from the outside to our bedroom. The room itself is closed at all times because we have a minisplit running always. No windows are open and the door remains closed. Where is the best place to put the filter?

    Reply
    • Hello Luis, the dog hair and dirt are usually found on the floor; a pre-filter will take care of the bigger particles such as dog hair and dirt, and an activated carbon filter should get rid of the smell. It would make sense to put it on the bedroom floor where there is the biggest concentration of dog hair. The problem with bedrooms (or why we usually prefer elevated air purifier position) is because the bed usually restricts airflow when the air purifier is positioned on the floor. In your case, the bedroom floor would be the most optimum choice because most of the dog hair are located there.

      Reply
  7. Please help with this question–What are the best reasonably priced air purifiers for dust in a bedroom which is about 15′ x 12′? The dust is much worse than in the rest of the house.

    I want the best one I can get for the price. It doesn’t have to be the least expensive, but the most expensive ones would be out of reach.

    Thank you. I look forward to your answer, as I haven’t been able to find an answer in the research I’ve done.

    Reply
    • Hello Ellen, thank you for the questions. The most expensive air purifiers for a bedroom can cost more than $500, but those are meant for very large bedrooms. For a smaller one (15×12), you can get one for a reduced price. In your case, the Blue Pure 211+ might be useful (you can check it here as the #3 rank for best bedroom air purifiers). It costs a bit over $200 and it has a remarkably high dust CADR rating (350 dust CADR). That’s pretty much the most optimum choice for a price-performance bedroom air purifier. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  8. Hello,
    I live in a 900sqft, 14ft ceiling, open space. Three big windows are where most of the air flows through from the busy street – would it make sense to put it near those windows?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Olive, that’s the right thinking, yes. Putting it close to windows with ‘dirty’ air inflow is exactly the right air purifier positioning.

      Reply
  9. OK, I would like to know where to place the filter purifier? On the floor or on the table. I am looking at the ones that are about 3 ft tall. This is to put it into a lecture room. In other words, does it matter on the height where they are placed?

    Reply
    • Hello Quina, it’s important that the air purifier has as much space around it as possible. Elevating it – putting it on the table – is the preferred air purifier positioning. The reason why air purifiers are taller (3 ft tall, for example) is exactly that they work better if they are elevated. Hope this helps.

      Reply
  10. The directions for my Honeywell “the doctor’s choice” for an extra large room 465 sq ft purifier says don’t place on a light colored carpet. Place dark mat under. Why? Is it going to “spit” black stuff? How far will it “spit”? Even though it’s large I will place it on a kind of small 1 1/2 square foot table as you direct. I may have bought the last air purifier in the city!

    Reply
    • Hello Celeste, that’s one of the most interesting air purifier placement recommendations. Maybe it has something with leaving stains on the carpet? Or that dark mat absorbs more sunlight and it is a bit warmer? In any case, this recommendation does sound a bit silly.

      Reply
    • I’m not sure if this is the correct answer for your unit, but mine gets dust and dander stuck along the vents. So I’m thinking if it’s placed on light carpet, and drawing dust and dirt towards it, it will possibly leave a mark that if it sits will get ground into the carpet. Just a guess!!

      Reply
    • Hello Cecile, try to pinpoint where the outdoor pollution comes into your home. The windows or doors nearest to the street would be the first idea. If the pollution enters there, place one or several air purifiers at those points; they will act as kind of shields intercepting the pollution.

      Reply
  11. I’ve placed an air purifier near the window. However it is in a narrow space between the bed and window next to a standing fan. Is this a good place for the air purifier?
    Is there any way I can DM you the placement of the purifier?

    Reply
    • Hello Zaki, seems like the air purifier is a bit cornered. One possible better option would be to place it near the door into the bedroom. You can also elevate it a bit to improve its effectiveness.

      Reply
  12. I placed an air purifier in our laundry room to get rid of a laundry detergent that has very fine particles but it has just filled the room with the dust from the detergent and has made it worse. I moved the purifier into the living room which is next to the laundry room (no door) and now it has dragged the detergent through the whole house and every room is filled with the sickening minty smell of detergent. If I leave the air purifier on will it eventually get rid of all this dust and if so where would be the most strategic place to put it? Or will it make it worse?

    Reply
  13. I work in a classroom with one entry door and windows on the adjacent wall. I have 26 student desks that occupy most of the space in the center of the room. What would be the most effective location of the purifier in my room?
    Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Hello Minnie, given the design of the classroom, the airflow will most probably be the strongest between the door and the windows (especially if both of them are open). It would make sense to put it directly between the door and the windows, in the middle of the classroom. You don’t put it somewhere in the corner; its full effectiveness might be lost there.

      Reply
  14. Is it effective placing an air purifier in a garage? I’ve started exercising in my garage but have serious concerns about the air quality (dust, car exhaust).

    Reply
    • Hello TJ, if you have dust and car exhaust there, it makes a lot of sense to put an air purifier in the garage. While exercising, you have to do additional breathing and sweating. You can’t go wrong with this one; the garage air quality will undoubtedly increase.

      Reply
  15. The only place I can put my small air purifier is on my tall speaker in the bed room about a foot off the wall near a small fridge. Is that ok. It’s the only place I can put it and I like the way it looks there.The other one is in the kitchen on the counter about two feet from the wall about three feet from the oven. Will that work good there.The third one is in the bathroom in the corner but I”m moving it in the living room because you said it won’t work good in the corner.Haven’t figured out where yet Never thought it would be this hard to put them in places that would let them work better.

    Reply
    • Hello Sam, seems like an easy thing at first, yes. The position on the tall speaker seems to be pretty much ok. The place in the kitchen is also ok. It’s not advisable to put an air purifier in the bathroom due to higher humidity levels.

      Reply
  16. We live in a 2 story 1600sqft home. We first put our air purifier in the main living space downstairs. On an end table, but in the corner. It was about 2-3ft. away from wall and window. We also turned it so the intake vent was facing the center of the room. About a week ago we moved it upstairs, it’s sitting about 3ft. from the top of the stairs and about 2ft. from the railing that overlooks the living room. My question is, where should you place an air purifier in a two story house?

    Reply
    • Hello Rebecca, the placement in the main living space is great. The lower floor usually gets more airflow and also holds more ‘heavier’ particles; in theory, placing an air purifier in the lower story would be a smarter idea.

      Reply

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