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The Best Air Purifiers of 2020

If you struggle with asthma or allergies, we have the top air purifiers to help you catch your breath. We chose air purifiers with HEPA filters that combat dangerous particles, allergens, pet dander, smoke, and other odors. We also looked at things that matter to savvy consumers, like size, warranty, and price.
Written by | Updated May 28, 2020
Best overall
Winix 5500-2 air purifierWinix 5500-2
  • Powerful odor elimination
  • Smart sensors
  • Powerful odor elimination
  • Smart sensors
Budget pick
Levoit LV-H132 air purifierLevoit LV-H132
  • Ozone-free technology
  • Price under $100
  • Ozone-free technology
  • Price under $100
Quietest purifier
PureZone 3-in-1 air purifierPureZone 3-in-1
  • Quiet operation
  • Five-year warranty
  • Quiet operation
  • Five-year warranty

Bottom line: Winix wins it all

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ranks indoor air pollution as one of the greatest environmental health risks.1 These pollutants include things like dust, pet dander, pollen, mold spores, bacteria, and viruses. Thankfully, modern air purifiers can help remove the myriad irritants from your home.

Our top pick, the Winix 5500-2, helps clean the air in large rooms up to 360 square feet, just larger than an average family room. The filter captures all kinds of particulates to cut down on itchy-sneezy allergens and bad smells from cooking.

Check out the rest of our guide to learn more about how we reviewed and chose our top-rated air purifiers. We also share buying tips to help you choose the best home air purifier for your needs.

Compare the best air purifiers

List price*
Max room size
True HEPA filter
Best overall
Budget pick
Quietest purifier
For odor removal
For allergies
Winix 5500-2 Levoit LV-H132 PureZone 3-in-1 GermGuardian AC4825 Honeywell HPA300
Winix 5500-2 air purifier Levoit LV-H132 air purifier PureZone 3-in-1 air purifier Germ Guardian AC4825 air purifier Honeywell HPA300 air purifier
$249.99 $89.98 $99.99 $149.99 $249.99
360 sq. ft. 86 sq. ft. 200 sq. ft. 155 sq. ft. 465 sq. ft.
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
Read review Read review Read review Read review Read review

*Amazon.com list price as of 05/28/2020 at 11:08 a.m. (MT). Read full disclaimer.

Our approach

We researched 20 different air purifiers to find our top five. We spent more than 15 hours comparing the pros and cons of each air purifier, from the types of filters used to how noisy each was. We consulted expert reviews and combed through hundreds of customer evaluations.

We looked at the needs of allergy and asthma sufferers as well as pet owners. We also considered industry standards from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers and interest groups related to air quality for people suffering from respiratory problems. For more information on how we review products, check out our full methodology.

  • 15+ hours researched
  • 20 products considered
  • 500+ customer reviews
  • 8 coffees consumed

Top 5 air purifiers reviews

1. Winix 5500-2: Best overall

Winix 5500-2 air purifier

Winix 5500-2

The Winix 5500-2 costs a little more than other single-room air purifiers, but it has lower costs for replacement filters—so your investment over time is less. Best of all, you get Winix’s proprietary PlasmaWave technology and smart air quality sensors. 

PlasmaWave technology works as a permanent filter that breaks down allergens, chemical vapors, and odors without producing any harmful ozone. Plus, smart sensors constantly test the air quality. Just set it to Auto Mode, and when pollutants are detected, the Winix 5500-2 automatically adjusts the settings to filter the air.

Unfortunately, the air quality indicator isn’t always reliable. We recommend using a secondary air quality monitor to make sure your readings are as accurate as possible.

Pros

  • PlasmaWave technology
  • Powerful odor elimination
  • Affordable replacement filters

Cons

  • Short warranty
  • Bright display lights
  • Unreliable air quality indicator

2. Levoit LV-H132: Budget pick

Levoit LV-H132 air purifier

Levoit LV-132

The Levoit LV-H132 is a personal air purifier with a stylish design. This portable air purifier moves easily between rooms or from home to office.

It has a three-stage filtration system that includes a True HEPA filter and activated carbon filter. The Levoit air purifier eliminates 99.97% of airborne pollutants, including dust, pollen, smoke, and pet dander—making it a favorite among pet owners.

Best of all, it’s a steal for under $100, which isn’t always the case when you’re looking for ozone-free operation.

We also like Levoit’s lifetime customer support and two-year equipment warranty. Definitely register this air purifier so you can take full advantage of the warranty. We’ve found complaints about sticky or non-responsive buttons fairly common.

Pros

  • Ozone-free operation
  • Lifetime customer support
  • Great reviews from pet owners

Cons

  • Glitchy buttons
  • Loud operation

3. PureZone 3-in-1: Quietest purifier

PureZone 3-in-1 air purifier

PureZone 3-in-1

If you’re looking for an air purifier that won’t keep you up all night, the PureZone 3-in-1 should be on your list. It has some of the quietest operation we’ve seen, and it comes with a five-year warranty. We also like that it uses a built-in ultraviolet (UV) light to kill pathogens and sanitize the indoor air, making it a good alternative to an ionizer.

But that silence comes at a price—the fan is pretty weak. Even though it claims to cover up to 200 square feet, we think it’s a little too weak to be effective. This air purifier is a better bet for a desk area or other personal space.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • Five-year warranty
  • Ultraviolet light to sanitize the air

Cons

  • Weak fan

4. GermGuardian AC4825: For odor removal

Germ Guardian AC4825 air purifier

GermGuardian AC4825

Eliminate smells from cigarette smoke, pets, and other air pollutants with the GermGuardian AC4825 air purifier. It’s also rated to remove irritants like dust and mold from the air. Just like our top pick from Winix, GermGuardian also has affordable replacement filters. This makes it cheap to maintain quality air cleaning without spending a ton on new filters.

We like the three-year warranty but found reports from customers who experienced a burning smell during operation. Faulty circuit boards seem to be the culprit, so we’re watching to see if the company does anything to eliminate the potential risk of fire.

Pros

  • Excellent odor removal
  • Three-year warranty
  • Affordable replacement filters

Cons

  • Not for large rooms
  • Faulty circuit board on some units

5. Honeywell HPA300: For allergies

Honeywell HPA300 air purifier

Honeywell HPA300

The Honeywell HPA300 air purifier targets and take out allergens. It covers everything from dust and pet dander to pollen, viruses, bacteria, fungi, and gasses. This unit filters air in rooms up to 465 square feet, more than any other purifier in our top five. It also has a generous five-year warranty in case something breaks.

But you might trade your allergies for stinky air. Customers complain about an unpleasant odor that comes from this home air purifier.

Pros

  • Powerful allergen removal
  • Great for large rooms
  • Five-year warranty

Cons

  • Weak odor removal

Other air purifiers we considered

Hamilton Beach 04384

No matter how much you love your fur babies, they can still make you sniffle and sneeze. Get rid of dander with the Hamilton Beach 04384 air purifier. If you’ve got a furry friend that tickles your nose and scratches your eyes, this air purifier is worth trying out.

Blueair Blue Pure 121

The Blueair Blue Pure 121 HEPA air purifier will take out airborne pollutants without spiking your power bill. Designed for efficient energy consumption, this large purifier can cover up to 700 square feet. Even though it comes with a higher price tag than most (just over $400), it uses washable pre-filters. That cuts down on your replacement costs over time.

Au naturel air purification

If you can’t afford an air purifier for every room, or if you simply have a green thumb that needs exercising, why not try out these plants that are known for their natural air-filtering qualities?

And if you doubt the air-cleaning effectiveness of a houseplant, rest easy in the knowledge that even NASA has approved the flora and fauna we recommend below.*

Spider plant

For people constantly fighting an irritated throat or nose, this easy-to-grow plant could be your salvation. Spider Plants help rid the air of formaldehyde, which can cause those symptoms.

Florist’s chrysanthemum

In addition to bright flowers, chrysanthemums take care of five nasty chemicals that pollute our air, including ammonia. Ammonia exposure can lead to coughing, sore throat, and eye irritation.

Variegated snake plant

Add an exotic flavor to any room, and knock benzene out of the air at the same time. A snake plant can help save you from side effects like headaches, eye irritation, and drowsiness.

Boston fern

Brighten and purify your home with a Boston fern. This common houseplant is known to help filter out xylene, which can cause mouth and throat irritation, headache, and dizziness.

*Some of the plants listed may be harmful to cats or dogs, so make sure they’re safe before taking them into a home with pets.

Final word

For the money, we think the Winix 5500-2 is the best home air purifier for most folks. It’s powerful enough to clean the air in large rooms and its replacement filters are cheap to replace. While it’s not a perfect product—we’re looking at you, air quality indicator—we can’t argue with the overwhelmingly positive customer reviews on how easy and effective this unit is.

Buying an air cleaner seems pretty straightforward, but depending on whether you need it to address health problems (like asthma) or to relieve allergies, the type you decide to take home makes a difference. Make sure you put your dollars where they’ll do the most good by reviewing these important air purifier questions.

Air purifier FAQ

What size of air purifier do I need?

Because air purifiers come in so many different sizes, you need to consider which room or area you want it to cover. To make it easy to find the right air cleaner, we broke them into three categories.

  • Personal air purifiers: Air purifiers that cover an area smaller than 200 square feet and can be used in small rooms, in an office, or at a desk.
  • Room air purifiers: Air purifiers that cover more than 200 square feet but less than 600 square feet. These can be used in larger rooms and common living spaces.
  • Home air purifiers: Air purifiers that cover more than 600 square feet. Because apartments or single levels of a home can be 600–1,000 square feet, we determined that this size of air purifier could cover the needs of an entire home.

What kinds of air filter should I look for?

The type of air filter in an air purifier impacts how well it does its job and how long it will last. Filters also impact the level of maintenance and ongoing costs over time. All the purifiers on our list have a main High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, a pre-filter, and a secondary filter. This combination provides maximum benefit for removing harmful airborne particles, pollutants, and household odors.

  • True HEPA filter: HEPA filtration is the gold standard of air purifier filters, and it’s recommended by the EPA, the American Lung Association, and the American Academy of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology.
  • HEPA-grade filter: These filters mimic True HEPA, but don’t meet the same standards. They tend to have shorter lifespans, which means more replacements.
  • Pre-Filter: This is the air purifier’s first line of defense, and it acts like a bodyguard for the main filter. These filters catch larger indoor air pollutants that would clog up the HEPA filter, like pet hair.
  • Secondary filter: These filters help extend the lifespan of the main filter. This is usually a charcoal or carbon filter specifically for fighting odors caused by volatile organic compounds and capturing gases too small for the HEPA filter to grab.

What extra features are available?

Extras can help make your air purifier more convenient or multipurpose. Some, like permanent washable filters, can also save you money over the lifespan of your air purifier. We’ve identified some of the most common features you may want from an air purifier.

  • Remote control
  • Multiple fan speeds
  • Filter change indicator
  • Air quality sensor
  • Washable filters
  • Programmable timer
  • Night-light
  • Light dimmer
  • Eco mode for energy efficiency
  • Handles to make moving easier
  • Wheels for mobility

Does it matter how loud the air purifier is?

Some air purifiers can sound like a jet taking off. If you plan to use your purifier near the TV or a napping baby, quiet operation is a top priority. While most of the air purifiers out there will claim to be quiet—or to have a quiet mode—you really can’t tell until you try it yourself. We’ve also gotten reports that most air purifiers get noisier over time.

If using a purifier while you sleep is important, consider finding one with a special sleep mode, or ask the company for specific information about the number of decibels for each fan speed and air cleaning mode. Some companies include this information in products specs, but most do not, which means you need to make a call or engage in some online chat.

What kind of maintenance is required?

Unfortunately, you can’t just plug and play with an air purifier. To keep it operating at top performance, you need to regularly clean and replace the filters. Depending on the types of filters your air purifier uses and environmental factors like the number of pets in your home, you may need to change filters more often than recommended by the manufacturer.

We found recommendations that ranged from every three months to once per year for changing filters. And different types of filters have different lifespans. Carbon filters may last six months, while the pre-filter only lasts for three months. You can find the typical life of all the filters included with your air purifier in the product specs or user manual.

What extra costs should I be prepared for?

An air purifier costs you more than the initial purchase price. Things to consider include the type and number of filters you need to change out and the electricity used. Make sure you understand the ongoing costs of your air purifier before purchase. Some use expensive filters that can cost you hundreds of dollars per year.

If electricity costs are a concern, look for an air purifier that has an “eco” mode or other setting that lets it use less power. According to Energy Star, the average room air purifier can use around 550 kWh of electricity per year—more than some newer refrigerators. To combat this, find an air purifier with an Energy Star rating. Energy Star certified air purifiers are 40% more efficient than non-certified models.2

Sources

  1. Environmental Protection Agency, “Care for Your Air: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality
  2. Energy Star, “Energy Star Certified Products, Air Purifiers

Disclaimers

*Amazon.com list price as of 05/28/2020 at 11:08 a.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Safewise.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.

Written by Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca is the lead safety reporter and in-house expert for SafeWise.com. She has been a journalist and blogger for over 25 years, with a focus on home and community safety for the past six. Rebecca spends dozens of hours every month testing and evaluating security products and strategies. Her safety expertise is sought after by publications, broadcast journalists, non-profit organizations, podcasts, and more. You can find her work and contributions in places like TechCrunch, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, HGTV, MSN, and an ever-growing library of radio and TV clips. Learn more

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