After more than 120 hours of testing we are pleased to introduce our top pick for the best air purifier for 2017, the Alen Breathesmart. This powerful air purifier covers rooms up to 1,100 square feet, comes in 14 panel colors to suit your home's design theme, is surprisingly quiet and comes with a lifetime warranty.
Our mid-end budget pick, the Coway AP-1512HH is another award-winning air purifier for 2017. It has CADR ratings of 210 for dust, smoke and pollen and has a 4-stage filtration process.
Our bargain budget pick, the GermGuardian AC5000E 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier may be less powerful than our other top picks, but still packs a punch. Its CADR ratings for dust, smoke and pollen is 125, sufficient for basic protection. Air purifiers like this model are able to clean the air from harmful pollutants, toxins, and even allergens that could upset your health. When you want to be sure that your family is breathing the healthiest air possible, you should be sure to check out our bargain budget pick with the Germ Guardian.
Table of Contents
- How to Size Your Air Purifier
- Air Purifier Buying Guide
- Top Pick
- Step-Up Pick /Best Whole House Air Purifier
- Mid-end Budget Pick
- Bargain Budget Pick
- Best Air Purifier for Pets
- Best Air Purifier for Smoke
- Best Air Purifier for Allergies
- Best Air Purifier for Dust
- Best Air Purifier for Mold
- Best HEPA Air Purifier
- Best Ionic Air Purifier
- Best Room Air Purifier
- Best Air Purifier and Humidifier
How to Size Your Air Purifier
One of the most common questions is how large an air purifier coverage capacity you need. First, read the description of the air purifier for an indication of the recommended maximum coverage area.
The coverage area you see in the product descriptions typically refer to the space within which an air purifier can filter the air 5 times an hour. This is also known as air changes per hour or ACH. This metric is always tied to the volume of the space within which an air cleaner operates in. For example, the Alen Breathesmart, our top pick, is suitable for use in rooms up to 1,200 square feet. This means that it is capable of cleaning the air in a 1,200 square feet room 5 times an hour.
The more contaminated or polluted the air, the higher you need the ACH rating to be. To give you a range, a 5x ACH rating will be sufficient for most residential environments. An 8x ACH rating may be needed for commercial environments, while a 10x ACH rating will be needed for industrial environments. At the most extreme end of the spectrum, hospitals and other critical environments will need a 12x ACH rating.
To figure out how large an air purifier you need, identify where you would need the air to be purified. For most people, spaces include each bedroom and the living room. Next, figure out the size of each of these rooms to determine the size of the air purifier you need. If you get an air purifier with a large coverage area, depending on the layout of your house, you may just need one air purifier placed in the living room to purify your entire house.
Air Purifier Buying Guide
Once you have figured out how to size the air purifier, there are many other factors you should also consider when buying an air purifier.
Coverage Area: This is the area over which your air purifier will be able to clean the air at least 5 times an hour. When considering how powerful an air purifier you need, this is a key criteria. No point getting an air purifier for a small room if you are really trying to purify your entire living room.
CADR Rating: Also known as the Clean Air Delivery Rate rating, this is a standard industry metric that allows you to benchmark different air purifiers on their ability to remove dust, smoke and pollen. Look for CADR ratings of at least 100 when picking an air purifier.
ACH Rating: As explained above, the Air Changes Per Hour rating is closely tied to the size of the space the air purifier operates in. Most manufacturers default this to 5x for the coverage area advertised, but check the fineprint just to be sure.
Ozone Emission: Ozone emissions can be harmful to the lungs overtime. Unfortunately, most air purifiers claim to emit minimal ozone but not all air purifiers emit absolutely no ozone. Always check just to be sure.
Pre-Filter: Look at whether your air purifier comes with a pre-filter, and if it does, whether it can be vacuumed. Pre-filters help block larger particles and protect the core HEPA filter, which can be more delicate and used to filter out finer particles. Often, pre-filters may be coated with activated carbon or other materials to help absorb smoke smells and other odors.
Noise: Some air purifiers might work like a charm but can be very distracting if they generate very loud white noise. Check for their noise levels and whether other customers have been able to sleep well.
Warranty: Most air purifiers will come with at least a 3-year warranty. Look for this as a bare minimum you should accept. Any lower than this and the quality of the product might be suspect. Some manufacturers even offer lifetime warranties.
Best Air Purifier 2017: Top Pick
Of all the air purifiers we reviewed, only the Alen Breathesmart comes with unlimited lifetime warranty. This air purifier covers rooms or houses up to 1,100 square feet, more than enough for most living rooms. It comes with 4 speed settings, does not emit ozone and under normal operation is extremely quiet, generally barely audible.
The standard filter the Alen comes with is a HEPA-Pure filter, which is the standard HEPA air filter capable of removing 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. If you need additional filtration power, this best Alen air purifier also has the following more advanced filters you can choose from:
Activated Carbon filter: This filter is good for light odors such as cooking smells and smells from common household chemicals.
HEPA-Silver Filter: This filter is more advanced than the basic filter, and is capable of removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from cleaning products.
HEPA-FreshPlus Filter: This is an advanced filter option that is suitable for removing strong odors such as those from heavily polluted air, chemicals and paint.
Step-up pick /Best Whole House Air Purifier
For those of you who simply want the most powerful air purifier the IQAir HealthPro Plus would be the best air purifier for you. Manufactured in Switzerland, the IQAir is designed for perfection and of top engineering quality. Trusted by hospitals and winner of multiple awards internationally, the IQAir is extremely energy efficient and is our top choice for the best whole house air purifier and a step-up pick. It uses a HyperHEPA filtration system, which allows it to filter out particles as small as 0.003 microns. This means it is 100x more effective than ordinary HEPA air purifiers.
IQAir uses a 4-stage filtration process:
1. Pre-Filter: the pre-filter protects the core filters by first removing larger particles such as pet dander, pollen and dust.
2. Activated Carbon Filter: the carbon filter is the best defense against pesky odors. Activated carbon absorbs odors easily and also traps any volatile organic compounds. V5 filter, a specialized gas and odor filter that can remove a large variety of chemicals and odors.
3. Pelletized Chemisorption: the pelletized chemisorption filter is extremely powerful and takes care of chemicals that most other air purifiers will not be able to capture. This filter makes the IQAir the best air purifier for formaldehyde.
4. HyperHEPA Filter: this final filter captures ultrafine particles including viruses and bacteria
Mid-End Budget Pick
The sleek-designed Coway AP-1512HH has won numerous awards and is relatively inexpensive. It covers rooms up to 326 square feet and has a CADR rating of 210. It is extremely quiet and comes with five settings (low / medium / high / eco / auto). On Eco mode, the air purifier will turn itself off until it detects a change in air quality, helping you save energy. On low mode, the unit is barely audible and is perfect for sleeping. It also comes with an ionizer mode that allows you to generate negatively charged air.
We love the Coway because it simply works – no weird smells, no nonsense, just clean air that smells fresh.
Best Air Purifier: Bargain Budget Pick
For those who suffer from allergies or are worried about how clean their air at home is, the Germ Guardian AC5000E offers everything that they are looking for. This air purifier did a great job in our tests of removing impurities from the air. It also worked great at making the air smell fresh and clean which is always a nice added feature. It runs quietly and does not cost much to run.
The True HEPA filter that is featured on this best Germ Guardian air purifier is great and is successful in removing nearly all impurities from the air. In fact, only about 0.03% of impurities are found in the air after it has passed through this filter. Additionally, the added charcoal filter is great if you have pets because it can quickly and effectively remove unpleasant odors from the air. Another great thing about this air purifier is that the actual filter only needs to be replaced every six to eight months which means that there is little maintenance with its use.
Best Air Purifier for Pets
The Winix WAC9500 is able to wipe out 99.99% of all pollutants from the air and is specially designed for those who live with pets and those who may have pet allergies. This best air purifier for pets actually can remove particles as small as 0.3 microns. Plus, this exciting air purifier features the special PlasmaWave Technology which helps to neutralize viruses, gases, and other pollutants in the air. The pre-filter captures pet hair and other large particles easily. It is washable so you can just clean and re-use it too which makes it easier to maintain and less expensive.
Best Air Purifier for Smoke
Even if you are a non-smoker but you have a neighbor or roommate who smokes, chances are your room or apartment will still smell of smoke. The best way to deal with the situation is to remove the source, but should that not be possible, getting the best air purifier for smoke is your best bet. The Blueair 503 is a powerhouse with clean air delivery rates of 375 for dust, smoke and pollen. It is designed for rooms up to 580 square feet. If volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and formaldehyde removal are also important, this air purifier also shines in these aspects.
To make the Blueair 503 even more powerful, Blueair has a separate specialized Smokestop filter you can order that works wonders against VOCs, heavy gases and smoke. The filter contains activated carbon, magnesium dioxide and copper oxide, a potent mix that traps smoke particles and tobacco extremely well.
Best Air Purifier for Allergies
If you are dealing with various kinds of allergies, the RabbitAir is your best air purifier for allergies. It is very well-built, durable, and features a six-stage air purification process (pre-filter, medium filter, HEPA filter, customized filter, charcoal filter, negative ions). It comes with four advanced filter options (odor remover, pet allergy, germ defense, toxin absorber) and covers rooms up to 700 square feet. The air purifier is certified to emit zero ozone, and has CADR ratings of 208 for pollen, 200 for dust, 193 for smoke.
The filter is long-lasting and only needs to be changed once every one to two years. In the interim, all you need to do is to vacuum the pre-filter occasionally.
Best Air Purifier for Dust
If dust is the issue, consider getting the Oransi Max, the best air purifier for dust we have reviewed. One of our reviewers unfortunately lived near a construction site and the Oransi Max was what she used to protect her family from the dust that would accumulate in the house everyday even with most windows closed. This air purifier was rated #1 in testing conducted by an independent Clemson University study, and comes with a sturdy 10-year warranty. The Oransi Max works well in rooms up to 600 square feet, has a CADR rating for dust, smoke and pollen of 230, and produces white noise that is barely audible. This air purifier is very stylish and fits well in any contemporary living room or bedroom.
Best Filterless Air Purifier for Mold
If you have a mold or mildew problem, you need the Airfree Onix 3000 air purifier. When dealing with mold, take note that most air purifiers with filters would not be effective over the long term. Instead, you need a filterless air purifier like the Airfree Onix 3000. This best air purifier for mold contains a heated core and uses heat to destroy microscopic spores, mold, dust mites, bacteria, viruses and any other microorganisms you may want to get rid of. An added advantage of using a filterless air purifier is that there are no filters to replace – which could represent significant savings over time. The Airfree Onix is also completely silent.
Best HEPA Air Purifier
If you are on a shoestring budget and need something that you can afford then check out our pick for the best HEPA air purifier. The Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier can safely and easily remove 2 microns and 99% of the particles that are in the air. This is a great choice because of its low cost for those living on a budget or for those who do not think that they need an air purifier. In fact, this is probably one of the best starter models that you can buy to see how it can change your life and the lives of those who are living in your home.
For those who are living on a budget, the idea of an air filter might only seem like a dream. Not anymore, the Holmes HEPA Type Desktop Air Purifier offers you everything that you are looking for in an air purifier without breaking the bank. This air purifier will remove 99% of the airborne particles. However, you are not going to get the benefit of better smelling air as this one does not have an odor eliminator. You can also use a number of different sized filters with this one which is nice because when you are on a budget, you will have choices to try and find the best deals.
The O-Ion B-1000 Permanent Filter Ionic Air Purifier has everything you need to breathe clean fresh air at home. It can remove up to 99% of the toxins in the air. It has a number of different types of filtration that your air goes through before you are breathing it, which means that you have cleaner air to breathe. It also helps you to have air that smells better since it has a carbon filtration system. Its UVGI technology kills germs, bacteria and other allergens effectively.
This model removes a little less impurities from the air but it is offered at a better price. It still helps to make homes smell great, even if they have pets, and ionizes the air which can help make it easier to breathe.
Best Air Purifier for Allergens
If you’d like a step-up from your regular air purifier and need something that gets rid of allergens effectively, then you have to check this out. It comes with a UV sterilizing function that destroys the molecular structure of bacteria, and is ideal for those suffering from allergies. The Biota Bot uses 7 stages of purification and with its charcoal filter removes formaldehyde, smoke and pet odors from your living surroundings. We also liked the sleek design - nice addition to any living room.
Best Room Air Purifier
The Honeywell True HEPA 50250-S air purifier is amazingly popular on Amazon, with over 2,630 customer reviews and an average 4-star rating. It contains a glass fiber HEPA filter and a carbon activated pre-filter, and has CADR ratings of 250 for dust, smoke and pollen. Unlike many other air purifiers, the unit is able to take in and discharge air from any angle. The 360-degree protection makes placement easy for this air purifier, the best room air purifier we have come across. This Honeywell air purifier is one of the most value-for-money we have seen.
Best Air Purifier and Humidifier
Looking for the best air purifier and humidifier? The Venta Airwasher 2-in-1 humidifier and air purifier is an outstanding 2-in-1 unit. It is compact and efficient, suitable for spaces up to 200 square feet. This unit is also filterless, instead using water to purify and humidify the air. This means you will save significantly on filter replacement costs over time. German engineered, this air purifier humidifier combo is hygienic, clean and low maintenance and a steal.
There are numerous air purifiers available out there, but we think the Alen Breathesmart is probably the best air purifier for most people, with its high clean air delivery rate, WhisperMax technology and unlimited lifetime warranty.