Air quality matters when it comes to protecting your lungs from pollen, smoke, dust and other toxins. We've tested top air purifier brands to find the best ones.
If you're looking for relief from spring allergies, to protect yourself against airborne toxins or to improve the air quality of your home for any reason, you may consider adding an air purifier to the mix. We tested several air purifiers and landed on the $203 Honeywell Home Allergen Plus as the best air purifier for the money, and the best overall air purifier for most people.
Air purifiers help you filter out allergens and other pollutants from the air, and they can help make life easier for those with allergies or other respiratory conditions, especially if you put your air purifier in the right place. Even if you don't have any issues breathing easy, having an air purifier for your home can offer peace of mind that you're breathing the cleanest air possible within your specific living conditions.
Read more: The Best Spot to Put an Air Purifier
Air purifiers for home use are small appliances that use one or more of a variety of technologies to filter particulate matter out of the air, including dust, allergens and viruses, recirculating cleaner air back into your living space. Air purifiers employing HEPA filters -- defined by the US Department of Energy as high-efficiency particulate air filters that are capable of removing at least 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns -- are the most numerous and most highly rated type available. Most air purifiers are equipped to handle one or two rooms, with a few models that claim to purify the air in an entire home.
After considering the space you need to cover, choosing a HEPA air purifier from among many popular models is largely a matter of budget and space you're looking to purify. With that said, Honeywell's Home Allergen Plus 300 XL tops our list as the best air purifier for most people. But there are air purifiers better suited for particularly large and small spaces, and given that an air purifier will likely live in your living room or bedroom, aesthetics may be just as important as bottom-line value. With these matters in mind, we've rounded up the best air purifiers for home use in 2023.
As we mentioned, this formidable model tops our list as the best overall air purifier. Honeywell's workhorse air purifier has the largest number of favorable reviews at the lowest price -- nearly 30,000 positive ratings on Amazon -- for the amount of space it covers. An easy reference guide makes it simple to put to work right out of the box, and the model includes regressed handles for easy placement around the house, which is extremely useful if you're frequently moving your air purifier into whatever room you're in.
In our testing, we also found it to be the quietest air purifier of the bunch. Even at its top setting of Turbo mode, it was quieter than your average fan and noticeably quieter than the rest of the air purifier field. The simple user interface also offers timed settings, with auto-off after two, four or eight hours.
Blueair's line of Blue Pure air purifiers are small, sleek, powerful, and easy to use -- essentially a "plug and play" operation for those who want to get set up without diving into the instruction manual. We found this to be the most user-friendly of the models we tested. The Blueair Blue Pure 211 Plus Auto is an updated version from the already popular 211 Plus model, with the addition of auto mode, which uses an integrated particle sensor to adjust the speed based on actual air quality, and offers an LED air quality indicator.
Otherwise, the extremely simple interface has settings for low, medium and high, and that's it. It's one of the smallest models available for large room air purification, with a cylindrical design that allows for 360-degree air collection; a low bells-and-whistles option with high efficiency, low-to-moderate noise, and a customizable prefilter sleeve that's available in five different colors to match your vibe. A dual-part HEPA and activated carbon filter can also help with odors from pets, cooking and smoking.
Beyond being one of our favorite machines to operate, it has a soft, modern aesthetic that integrates into a space better than some other air purifiers in the bunch.
Coway's AP-1512HH is among the only air purifiers on the market that utilize both a HEPA filter and ionic technology to remove different kinds of particles in different ways. (See below under Buying advice for the details behind the different kinds of functionality.)
When testing the Coway Airmega, our favorite feature of the compact model is its energy-efficient eco mode. When the air quality in the room remains purified for more than 30 minutes in eco mode, the fan turns off to conserve energy, turning back on when particles are again detected. (The auto mode of most other models adjusts the fan setting according to actual air quality, but never off.)
Coway's Airmega AP1512HH model is one of the most striking designs available in air purification, with a retro, almost chrome look, available in both black and white models. Depending on your aesthetic, you could potentially disguise this as a speaker in your home entertainment setup. The newer AP-1512HHS model only comes in one color and loses the ionizer function, but for $70 more you can also get a wi-fi-enabled model with voice control.
Small but mighty, if you're looking to test out the efficacy of an air purifier in a small space in your home, Blueair's petite, Blue Pure 411 Auto is one of the highest-performing models you can buy for the lowest cost. (For even less money, the 411 model without auto mode is also highly rated.)
It has similar functionality to the Blueair 211+ Auto model above -- auto mode, customizable color, 360-degree filtration, and activated carbon for odor assistance -- just in a smaller package designed for smaller spaces, such as a kid's bedroom or home office. Blueair also makes a medium-range 311 series for spaces up to 340 square feet.
If you're committed to whole-home air purification, the Coway Airmega 400S is the device for the job. Capable of managing a space of up to 1560 square feet, this model can take on a small home unto itself or a full apartment or a single floor of a larger home. It's not cheap compared to other home air purifier models, but if you're seriously managing allergies, wildfires, or aggressively smoking neighbors in your living situation, it should earn its keep.
While it is a large and boxy device that you'll have to make space for, its power capability seems worth it, plus even as a large and sturdy device it manages to look almost mid-century in design. For your money you're also getting all the bells and whistles: Wi-Fi capability allowing for voice or app control; smart, sleep, and eco settings; plus real-time air quality monitoring.
While Levoit's EverestAir Smart True model hasn't been on the market long enough to factor in user ratings, it is worth considering, as Levoit's range of products consistently take a place on a variety of best air purifier lists, and the EverestAir model brings several new features to the table that may be interesting for those who are comparison shopping. Most notably, because of Levoit's new proprietary filtration technology, this model has the highest CADR (clean air delivery rate) score among the purifiers on this list. (See more about CADR under "How we tested'' below.)
It comes with a higher price tag, but can also tackle more space than other, similarly-sized air purifiers on this list. In terms of additional functionality, the EverestAir Smart True slides side to side on caster wheels, and includes an adjustable vent fan, allowing it to be tucked under certain spaces such as kitchen counters without disrupting its efficacy. The clean air monitor display also gives a satisfying percentage reading of the air quality.
|Model||Blueair Blue Pure 211 Plus Auto||Honeywell Home Allergen Plus 300 XL||Coway Airmega AP-1512HH||Blueair Blue Pure 411 Auto||Coway Airmega 400S||Coway Airmega 240||Levoit EverestAir Smart True|
|Size||20.5 x 13 x 13 in||22.3 x 20 x 10.8 in||16.8 x 18.3 x 9.6 in||6.7 x 7.9 x 7.9 in||14.8 x 22.8 x 14.8 in||16.7 x 22.8 x 8.3 in||18.9 x 8.5 x 23.2 in|
|Room capacity||550 square feet||465 square feet||361 square feet||190 square feet||1,560 square feet||403 square feet||558 square feet|
|Settings||Low, medium, high, auto||Low, medium, high, turbo||Low, medium, high, auto, eco, ionizer||Low, medium, high, auto||Low, medium, high, auto, eco, sleep||Low, medium, high, auto, eco, sleep||Low, medium, high, auto, turbo, sleep|
|Special features||None||Timer||Wi-Fi, voice control, timer||None||Wi-Fi, voice control, timer||Timer||Wi-Fi, adjustable vent|
|Replacement filter cost||$70||$35 HEPA filter, $30 prefilter||$57.49 filter, $25 prefilter||$24||$129 for 2 HEPA filters, $25 prefilter||$84||$100|
|Energy draw||38W||Not available||77W||10W||66W||60W||70W|
We tested each of these models over the course of several weeks, evaluating their available features, ease of use, and noise level at various settings while looking out for any glaring operational problems. In the end, available power versus price was the biggest factor in picking the best air purifiers for 2023 but secondary considerations such as size, volume, sturdiness and aesthetics also played a part.
The field of air purifiers was narrowed based on some of our previous picks from the last round of testing, other models that were vetted by review sites, the newest models available by trusted brands and those that achieved extremely high user ratings (4.7 out of 5 and above) across a variety of retailer sites where air purifiers for home are sold such as Amazon, Target, Best Buy, Lowe's and Bed Bath & Beyond.
Outside of a lab environment with controlled conditions and variables, air purifiers are difficult to test accurately in terms of how well they perform at cleaning the air. However, third-party certifications that do test these models in controlled lab environments are becoming standard practice, and you can expect that air purifiers with HEPA filters will filter what they claim to filter when used appropriately. Additionally, all of these brands show an AHAM Verifide Clean Air Delivery Rate, which indicates how much air can be processed in a given time frame, as well as the particle size various models are capable of filtering out of the air. (The smaller the particle, the more effective the air purifier.)
The primary consideration in purchasing an air purifier for home use is how much square footage you're trying to cover. Trying to save money by purchasing a smaller air purifier than what you actually need will just give you disappointing results. The air purifiers on this list all have extremely high proficiency, so any one of them will effectively clean the air in your home, provided they are the correct size and placed appropriately, and with the filters and pre-filters maintained accordingly.
After room capacity, the amount of space the device itself takes up may be important based on the geography of your room and where you're hoping to put it. When considering your budget for an air purifier, you might also want to consider the cost of replacing the filter roughly every six months.
While this list consists only of HEPA air purifiers, which are the most available and highest functioning models on the market, several of them utilize more than one type of filtration technology. In order to better understand those aspects of your air purifier, or if you want to consider another type of air purifier, here is a breakdown of all of the different methods of air purification technology:
HEPA air purifiers: Standing for "high efficiency particulate air," air purifiers with HEPA technology use a fiberglass filter that traps particles of a certain size out of the air.
Activated carbon air purifiers: Where HEPA filters manage solid particles in the air, most of the air purifiers on this list also include activated carbon technology (which is the same thing as activated charcoal), whose porous nature helps filter gases or volatile organic compounds out of the air. Gases in your home air typically present themselves as odors from pets, cigarettes or cooking.
Negative ion air purifiers: Ionic or negative ion air purifiers work by using high voltage to give an electrical charge to particles or molecules in the air, which causes them to clump together, and then seek out positively charged molecules with which to bond. Certain models that utilize this type of technology also include a positively charged collector plate that the ionized particles will stick to, taking them out of the air. (Without a collector plate, these particles are no longer circulating in the air, but may hang on surfaces in order to be cleaned or vacuumed out of your home.) Most models employing this technology don't use fans, which requires more time to filter the air in a room, but also make for extremely quiet conditions. Molekule and Dyson make popular models that utilize variants of this type of technology.
UVGI air purifiers: "Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation" air purifiers are similar in mechanical function to HEPA air purifiers, in that they use fans to recirculate the air in order to purify it quickly. Inside the device, UVGI air purifiers rely on shielded ultraviolet light to neutralize dust and allergens. This type of technology is not available in air purifiers for home use, however, and is typically employed in larger systems available for public settings such as office buildings.
There's a good amount of research and expert guidance that goes into choosing the best air purifier for you and your family. First consider how much you can comfortably invest in air purification. Will you need an ionic air purifier or a full home filtration system? Do you want a purifier with an activated carbon filter? We're here to answer those questions and help you sort through your options.
For some people, having an air purifier in the house may be more of a necessity than a luxury. If you live in an area where allergy season tends to wreak havoc or where wildfires and smoky skies are common, an air purifier can seriously help improve the breathability of the air in your house. However, with so many different models on the market, it can be difficult to know which is the best air purifier for your home and your needs.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, plus an increase in wildfire activity, we are all becoming more aware of air quality. (Arguably severe allergy sufferers have always been aware of air quality.) While having an air purifier isn't a failsafe against COVID-19 -- you are more likely to get the virus from repeated close contact with someone in your home than from particles lingering in the air long enough to get filtered out -- they can be especially effective for those with asthma or allergies.
Depending on your living conditions, if there are numerous pollutants affecting the air in your home, the cleaner air and increased airflow that air purifiers provide can potentially make a big difference for the quality of life (and air) of those in your household. If you're thinking of getting an air purifier and want additional reassurance, it may be worth speaking to your doctor or allergist.
Read more: Do Air Purifiers Protect Against COVID-19? What About Wildfire Smoke?
HEPA stands for "high efficiency particulate air" and is a type of filter standardized by the US Department of Energy for filtering particulate matter of a specific size out of the air by utilizing a maze of interwoven glass fibers to trap those particles. HEPA air purifier models use fans to suck air into the device in order to trap microscopic particles in the air, which can include dust, bacteria, viruses, pollen, smoke and mold, and recirculates the clean air back into the room via a vent. HEPA standards are different in the US and Europe, with the US standard requiring HEPA filters to filter 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size out of the air. Coway includes an excellent breakdown of this type of filtration on its website.
Air purifiers do not affect the level of oxygen in the room in any way. Your air purifier is recirculating the air already in the room and cleaning it by passing it through a filter where microscopic, solid particles are removed. It is neither removing nor adding additional oxygen into the space. Air purifiers are also not the same as freestanding air conditioners, though the increased airflow from an air purifier may make the air in your home appreciably cooler.
Firstly, you want to make sure to put your air purifier in a room that is equipped to handle, size-wise. As for placement within the room, a central location will make for the most efficient air purification. In order to avoid tripping over it, however, it's fine to put your air purifier in a more discreet location, just be sure to understand where its input and output vents are located and make sure those pathways aren't blocked. Near doorways and vents that are also creating airflow may help with your air purifier's efficiency.
How often you need to change the filter on your air purifier depends on several factors, not the least of which is how polluted your air is to begin with, and how often and at what speed you are running your air purifier. Most air purifiers have a multistep filtration system, including a prefilter in addition to the HEPA filter, which in some cases may be washable, and is used to capture large particles such as pet hair. Taking good care of the prefilter will help extend the life of the HEPA filter. Most of the brands on this list recommend changing the filter every six months. A few suggest every year, largely depending on the size of the HEPA filter and the prefiltration system. New filters and prefilters can often be purchased from the same retailers that sell the air purifiers, or they can be purchased through the brands' websites, some of whom offer subscription programs for replacement filters at a discount.
The short answer is yes. HEPA air purifiers capture virus particles, removing them from the air. But don't count on air purifiers to protect you from virus particles if you're cohabitating with a contagious person. When CNET spoke with Richard Shaughnessy, director of indoor air research at the University of Tulsa, in 2022, he said transmission of COVID usually happens due to close contact with an infected person. If you're sitting on a couch and chatting with someone who is infected, an air purifier across the room isn't going to remove all the harmful particles exhaled before they have a chance to reach you.
In addition to our picks above, other HEPA cleaners such as the $100 Levoit Core 300, the $70 Bissell and the $100 GermGuardian all offer only so-so power for their prices. The IQAir HealthPro Plus wasn't among the devices we tested, in part because we were looking at more affordable options. But IQAir's $799 air cleaner is one of the few devices on the market to contain multiple kilograms of activated carbon, which will filter out odors and gaseous pollutants much more effectively than most consumer air cleaners under $1,000.
Two devices feature an ionic filter: the Coway AP-1512HH mentioned above and the $175 Sharp FPK50UW. The Sharp's CADR rating is only 259 square feet, which is significantly lower than Coway's and not great for the price.
You may have heard of another air purifier called Molekule, which grabbed headlines for its attractive design and proprietary filtration technology back in 2017. But the Molekule presents a complicated problem: Its maker claims its proprietary PECO air filter destroys airborne particles much smaller than 0.03 micrometer, but it filters air at such a slow rate that, even if the company's claims are accurate, it cleans the air very inefficiently compared with HEPA air purification models (as Consumer Reports rightly pointed out in its highly critical 2019 review).
We have tested but don't currently recommend the $500 Molekule Air Mini Plus as a result of these problems, as well as a 2020 decision by the National Advertising Review Board to force a retraction of many of Molekule's misleading advertising claims. That said, the air purifier does appear to address a problem that most HEPA filtration cleaners simply don't: the presence of gaseous pollutants in the home. Such pollutants have plenty of sources, whether from paint, furniture, cleaning solutions or even some composite boards. For that reason alone, Molekule's eye-catching brand is worth keeping tabs on -- especially since the company merged with AeroClean, a pathogen elimination technology company, in October 2022.
Dyson's devices offer a similar but slightly different problem. Some of its air purifiers, such as the Dyson Pure Cool TP04, which we also tested, use a HEPA filter, but provides no CADR. A Dyson spokesperson told us, "CADR as measured by some current methods is not an accurate representation of a real home," and thus the company has developed its own testing procedures "to replicate a more realistic setting." That includes a testing room that has over double the footprint of AHAM's testing rooms, along with nine sensors placed around the space (versus AHAM's single sensor). The Dyson TP04, perhaps unsurprisingly, performs well according to Dyson's own metrics.
In addition, the Dyson TP04 air purifier features a handful of extra goodies, including an oscillating fan to help circulate clean air around larger rooms, an app with home air quality data and a small but nifty display. Our tower fan reviewer really liked these features of the TP04. But is all that worth the price bump from, say, Coway's purifier?
For most people, the answer is likely no -- especially considering that Dyson's devices haven't stacked up especially well against the competition in third-party testing, such as Wirecutter's, where the TP04's performance was in line with the far more affordable Blueair 411.
Still have more questions about air purifiers and whether you're ready to buy one? Check out our full air purifier FAQ for more info.