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 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:
- Concentration of pollutants (dust, smoke, mold spores).
- 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.
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 and it will help correctly place one of the best air purifiers for allergies. 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:
- Horizontally: Door to door, for example.
- 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.
Not really. 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 Medify Air air purifiers, 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:
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) 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.
Here are 3 reasons that evidently make a corner the worst choice to place an air purifier at:
- Low indoor airflow.
- On the floor.
- 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 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:
- Air purifier needs more energy to create airflow with heavy air.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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 a 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 best air humidifiers for large spaces here.
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 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.
“Can you move my air purifier from room to room?”
Of course you can. 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. As we have written in the article about how many air purifiers you need here, you don’t necessarily need one for each room.
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.
If you find this article useful, you can read a similar one about where to place a humidifier here. The same basic positioning principles apply to humidifiers as well.
65 thoughts on “Where To Place Air Purifier? (7 Golden ‘Best Place’ Rules + Bonus Tip)”
Number 7 says “Do” place the air purifier near electronic devices but the explanation says do NOT.
Hello Sharon, you’re right, thank you for the heads up. We fixed it now.
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
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.
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?
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.
The air in the hall must enter your unit via a 1/2 inch gap under your entrance door. If you block this air flow with weather stripping it will defeat the ventilation to your unit. The system works by using a fan on the roof called a make-up unit, this fan pumps air into the hallways and then into the units through the prescribed 1/3 inch gap. Some people seal there doors to block noise not realizing they are chocking off the fresh air supply. When this air enters the unit it pushes the old air out the vents in the unit. This system is not perfect though, because wind and chimney effects, so that’s why an air purifier is also needed. Opening windows everyday for an hour is a must as well!
I have a hair salon would an air purfieur work, & help in our covid times
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.
Where would you place in a classroom with one door? Thank you.
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.
I would think the back wall of the room!
This will pull the air away from everybody including the teacher. If it is placed in the front the teacher will get all the bad air as it passes by to the purifier.
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.
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.
Can you remove the filter whilst unused and keep it dustfree in a ziploc bag?
Of course, that’s how you can keep the filter free of dust.
Is it recommend for use in a 10 x 15 bedroom. Should it be set up near or under a window.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
Hello Olive, that’s the right thinking, yes. Putting it close to windows with ‘dirty’ air inflow is exactly the right air purifier positioning.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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!!
I react very quickly to outdoor pollution, I live close to a busy commuting street. Where do I place best the air purifier?
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.
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?
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.
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?
Hello Lil, that’s pretty unfortunate. The best thing would be to put it into the laundry room, shut the door, and check in a few hours. To collect dust, the air purifier should have a HEPA filter, and to absorb the detergent smell, the air purifier should have an activated carbon filter.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
I’m buying a CLEANFORCE air purifier that covers 3000sqft….
Our house is 2600sqft with a foryet near front door that opens up into the living rm and kitchen( open floor)….the bedrooms are on each side in the halls…..where should I place the purifier in order to clean the air in whole house?…i would like it to reach bedrooms also…..i was thinking in middle of foryet?…that is the center of whole house…what do you suggest?
Hello Nonita, the center of the house would be the best place. The place with as much airflow as possible is the most optimum one. Be sure to open doors to all the rooms in order for that air to be accessible to the air purifier.
Thanks for info. I have a damp basement smell, sometimes mildew. Would I place it there or on first floor living level?
Hello Linda, it would be best to put it on the 1st floor. Air purifiers don’t really perform well in high relative humidity environments (especially activated carbon filter can get overwhelmed quickly). Hope this helps.
I have the pure zone elite 4-IN-1 True Hepa Purifier by Pore enrichment trying to figure out where to place it, it’s the tower, too tall to place on a desk I think, can it be placed on the floor in my bedroom near the window or door and do I open the door or not. I’m trying to help with my chronic cough.
Hello Angela, that’s a good air purifier. If you can have an open door, it would be best to place the air purifier near that open door (on the floor). An open door will generate airflow that will help your air purifier ‘reach’ more air, and remove the air particulates.
Hello, i have a 3-tier cat cage for my 5 cats. I live in a split-level house and the cage is on the top landing floor facing stairs. Every morning i have to vacuumed the top stairs because it filled with cat hairs and dust from the cat litter. Where should i put my levoit p350? On the floor near the cage/stairs or on the table across the cage? Thanks for the advise!
Hello John, the placement near the origin of the air particulates (cat hair, in this case) is the right move. Cat hair usually falls to the ground (unlike smaller air particulates) so it’s best to place the Levoit P350 on the ground. Hope this helps.
I have a wall mount unit. I planned on mounting it to the wall right next to a window. However, I am concerned that bc it is on the same wall immediately to the left of it, it will not get any air flow. Is this concern justified or will the outside air get to it?
Hello Nicholas, near the window you have high airflow. If there is a narrow corridor, the airflow will be increased (according to Bernoulli’s equation). It seems like a reasonable air purifier placement; the airflow will most probably be sufficient.
Is there any tips for using a air purifier upstairs compare to lower/downstairs?
Hello Steven, the same principles should apply for upstairs compared to downstairs. Theoretically, you expect heavier 10+ microns in diameter particles to have higher concentrations downstairs because they are heavier. The upstairs should have a relatively higher concentration of smaller particles (lighter, the warm air rising upstairs could take them with them). Having a HEPA filter in your purifier upstairs could potentially have a positive impact on the air quality upstairs; compared to a non-HEPA air purifier. Hope this helps a bit.
I have a small hair salon, my purifier has a fan speed. Would it be better to have the fan blowing toward me and my client? Or away. Assuming it is close to a door and 3 feet off the floor
Hello Emily, it doesn’t really matter. The air purifier captures airborne air particulates and cleans the air you breathe; the direction where it blows is not all that significant.
Hello I have Coway AP-1512HH units but they are on the floor, do I really need to raise them 3-5 feet? Is any amount of space under them better than none?
Hello Christine, lifting it up is perfect because the Coway air purifier can get as much access to air as possible. That being said, it’s nothing wrong if you leave it on the floor. Coway AP-1512HH has quite a strong fan and 240 CFM CADR value; it will be able to effectively suck in and purify the air in the room.
I have a GermGuardian 24 inches tall. The clean air blowing out is pretty strong. Should it be turned around so the air blowing out won’t be blowing directly toward you. It’s sitting on the floor. Should it be elevated ?? I always thought that where the air being sucked in should be facing toward me and my little dog…. right or wrong ??
Hi Vicky, every air purifier sucks in ‘dirty’ air and expels clean air. Is it a tower GermGuardian unit? 24 inches tall would suggest that; these tower air purifiers can be left on the floor. The point of having a tower-like structure is that you don’t have to put it somewhere higher than the floor for maximum effectiveness. The outcoming airflow carries the cleanest air but it will be adequately dispersed throughout the room. So, you don’t have to face the air purifier directly; that strong blowing is not enjoyable at all.
We just purchased a Winix D360 I have been reading comments about setting purifiers on a table. I have ours on the floor cause I don’t have a table to set it on when i move it to different areas of the house. So I just leave it on the floor! I could put it on the kitchen table so it will get both living and kitchen. But I’m not sure about that!! Your input would be appreciated!! Thank you sincerely Denise
Hi Denise, well, keeping the air purifier elevated is preferable. If you have the option to do that, why not? If you don’t really like the air purifier on the kitchen table, it’s also OK to leave it on the floor.