Home Air Purifier Reviews & Buying Guide
Choosing your air. Buying a quality home air purifier, we can make one of our most basic biological needs as healthy as possible.
Analyzing and comparing 45 different air purifiers, we narrowed the field down to the eight best units. We invested over 12 hours into research and another 21 to creating this buying guide list.
The Airmega 400S is inarguably the best air purifier on the market. This unit combines superior air filtering performance with the latest technology to monitor and adjust its own settings.
It’s main technological advantage is its real time air quality monitoring and reporting. The Airmega 400S continually samples the air as it filters and determines the level of pollutants in that air. On the front of the unit is a circle of LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes). This circle of lights will change color with changes in the healthiness of the air, making it simple to tell at a glance how clean the air in the room is at any given time.
When in “Smart Mode,” the Airmega 400S will help you save energy by automatically turning itself off when the air quality reaches optimal levels
Another technological innovation of the Airmega 400S is that it gauges how much its air filter has been used and determines when it needs to be changed. The vast majority of air purifiers with a filter monitor simply determine how long the filter has been installed and produces a reminder when a certain amount of time has passed. This can be a good rule of thumb, but doesn’t take into account how much use the filter has actually seen. In other words, one could turn the air purifier on a single time, let it sit for several months and turn it on again to have it tell you the filter needs to be changed. The Airmega 400S actually keeps track of the time the air purifier has been active, giving the owner a much more accurate gauge of when the filter is really in need of replacement.
The Airmega 400S is also WIFI enabled and comes with a companion app for iOS and Android phones. With this combination, the owner can be anywhere there is cellular service and check the air quality in the home, adjust settings on the unit or schedule the 400S to begin actively purifying the air at a certain time. With this feature, one can be at work and ensure that home is a haven with clean, pure air waiting.
The Coway AP-1512HH Mighty packs a range of different filtration types into a single package to get the air as clean as possible.
The first stage is a coarse filter for heavy dust, hair and similar large particles. This coarse filter is washable, allowing the user to keep the majority of the larger pollutants out of the air and out of the more exacting HEPA filter.
Stage two is a carbon filter to screen odors out of the ambient air. This odor filter is effective enough that some owners of the unit warn people to turn it off if there are odors you want to preserve. For example, someone who wants to create a warm, welcoming atmosphere with the scent of oven fresh cookies in the room might find that the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty totally eliminates all their hard work.
Lastly, the unit features a true HEPA filter to take tiny particles, germs and mold spores out of the air.
The Winix 5500-2 PlasmaWave was designed to keep the air in small to medium sized rooms clean, and comes with a couple of unique features that make this air purifier strongly worth considering.
First, the Winix 5500-2 features a 3 stage filtration system: coarse filter, charcoal odor filter and true HEPA filter. While virtually all air purifiers that have a coarse pre-filter allow them to be washed, the ability to wash the charcoal odor filter of the 5500-2 is a relatively rare advantage. For situations where there is a great demand on the charcoal filter, like purifying air in the room where the family cat’s litter box lives, being able to wash and keep the charcoal filter working at its best efficiency is a great boon.
Another thoughtful feature built into the Winix 5500-2 is its night mode. The unit has LED status indicators on the front to let the owner know when filters need changing, what speed the fan is running, etc. Most people who have experience with LEDs know that if it is bright enough to see in the daytime, it is bright enough to be blinding and distracting in the dark. With night mode enabled, the LEDs on the unit are dimmed to tolerable levels.
Honeywell is a household word among those with severe allergies because they make quality products that effectively clean the air, and the Honeywell HPA300, one of its most popular air purifier models, is the perfect example of this.
The HPA300 operates on four settings: germ, general clean, allergy and turbo clean.
Germ is the lowest fan setting and features nearly silent operation. This setting is, as the name implies, a gentle filtering of the air to remove airborne pathogens via the HEPA filters. This setting is not necessarily going to produce life changing differences in air quality. It is, rather, for those who want the peace of mind of germ reduction in a unit that is nearly silent.
General Clean is a step up in airflow and noise. While still very quiet, this setting moves and filters more air through the unit. The setting exists on the Honeywell HPA300 as a good balance between effective air purification and quiet operation for those without allergies or other respiratory issues.
One glance at the Breathe Fresh Air Ozone Generator and it will become clear that you’re not dealing with your run of the mill air purifier. Where most products in this category are housed in light plastic, the Breathe Fresh Air is housed in hardwood, making it look like an actual piece of furniture. The performance is just as different.
First, let us look at how the performance is similar to other units. The Breathe Fresh Air has a HEPA filter that screens particles and germs that are too small to see with the naked eye from the air, just like most products in this category.
However, the main difference that sets the Breathe Fresh Air apart from the competition is that it produces ozone (360 mg/hour). This can be an area of confusion for many people who are looking for this type of air purifier. On its lowest setting, the unit produces a level of ozone that is safe for a healthy person to breathe. The higher setting is for a shock treatment to eliminate serious odors.
The Honeywell 17000-S QuietCare does not come equipped with features you won’t typically find on other air purifiers in its category, but it’s still a solid unit backed by Honeywell’s long track record of quality. One thing that can cause confusion is a discrepancy within the description where the HEPA filter is sometimes referred to as permanent, but Honeywell recommends annual replacement. For the filter found in the Honeywell 17000-S QuietCare, what most consider washing will actually ruin it, since the fibers that compose it will dissolve into a matted mess if subjected to too much moisture.
Because of this, washing the 17000-S QuietCare’s filter should only consist of brushing it off or vacuuming the surface of it to remove collected debris. At this point in time, there is really no permanent true HEPA filter, so in this case the name is just something they chose to call it instead of a real description.
Allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues do not discriminate based on income. Because of this, many who suffer such afflictions find themselves in the market for a quality air purifier with as small a price tag as possible. While cheaper models exist on the market, we picked the GermGuardian AC4825 as the best budget model because of its combination of effectiveness and affordability. This is one of the very few air purifiers you can buy for under $100 that not only contains a HEPA filter but also an Ultraviolet light system to kill germs trapped in the filter.
The unit is about the size of a typical tower fan and is extremely quiet. This low noise level does come at a price, though. The GermGuardian AC4825 is not going to move enough air through the filter to deal with large areas.
Whether you are looking for a way to reduce allergy symptoms from airborne contaminants in the home or simply want to experiment with a home purifier without breaking the bank, the GermGuardian AC4825 is an excellent choice.
The O-Ion B-1000 is an air purifier that can help reduce dust and pollen within a room and comes in as unobtrusive a package as possible.
Instead of the typical air filter’s system of using a fan to force air through a fiber filter that traps small particles floating in the air, the B-1000 uses an ionic attraction system. This system creates a negative charge on the dust collection surface. When tiny particles pass near the collection surface, they tend to stick to it (the same way clothes stick together due to static). Using this system, there are a couple of additional benefits:
First, the system imparts that negative charge even to particles that fail to stick to the collection surface. Once back in the general atmosphere of the room, these negatively charged particles will stick to other particles in the air, making the mass of them heavy enough that they will fall to the floor to be dusted or vacuumed.
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Air Purifier
Selecting the right air purifier can encompass looking at several factors. Knowing what those factors are and how they affect the unit’s effectiveness and convenience can help decide on the perfect air purifier.The key points to consider are:
Within the realm of household appliances, very few issues cause such heated debate as Ozone generation in an air purifier. There are two hard facts about ozone:
We breathe it every day. If you breathe too much for too long, it will kill you.
To understand why there is such contention, it is important to know how Ozone production is supposed to make air purifiers more effective.
Ozone is a very reactive molecule made of three Oxygen atoms. The third atom is “loosely” connected to the others. When it encounters some other substances, it has a tendency to detach itself from the Ozone molecule and form a new molecule with the encountered substance. The remaining two Oxygen atoms stay stuck together as the kind of Oxygen we breathe.
The idea here is that toxic substances that are affected in this way will become new, non-toxic substances. Even harmful bacteria can be killed by the process as the Ozone changes some substance they need to continue living and breathing. Ozone in nature is produced in great quantities during lightning storms, creating a distinctive odor some people love.
This all sounds great, right? So, why the controversy?
Any stroll through any health related store will inundate a person with the term ‘anti Oxidant’ – the process Ozone uses to neutralize toxins and kill harmful microorganisms, yeah, it’s the same process that health supplements seek to prevent. In other words, if the claims of slower aging and other benefits of anti Oxidants are true, an ozone producing air purifier will hasten aging and exacerbate medical conditions.
The presence of Ozone in an area definitely reduces odors. Whether it is risky to breathe levels of Ozone similar to those found in nature for a long period of time is in the realm of opinion. For what it is worth, California (which tends to be the most stringent state where such things are concerned) does not allow the sale of air purifiers that produce Ozone.
Whatever your opinion on the matter, an Ozone production is definitely not a replacement for a true HEPA filter. At best it is a positive addition to the air cleaning ability of said filter.
The concept behind adding an air ionizer to an air purifier is to add a negative electrical charge to the air that passes through the purifier. This charge will cause particles that float into the space to stick together until they are too heavy to float then fall out of the air as dust.
The benefits are longer lasting filters on the purifier, thanks to the particles that are now not being trapped in it and fewer particles stuck to our lungs. The drawback of ionization is more dust to clean in the space.
Many people (understandably) confuse ionization with Ozone production. Ozone production almost always ionizes the air to some degree, but not all ionizers produce Ozone. If you want a filter that features ionization but would prefer no Ozone production, look for a list of ionizers that can be sold in California.
A true HEPA filter does more than take dust or pollen out of the air. It also traps mold spores and potentially harmful bacteria. Such things should die on the filter, but there is always that chance that they will survive and form a colony there.
Air purifiers that feature a UV light system subject air passing through to intense Ultraviolet light to kill any tiny organisms that happen to be floating in that air.
Ease of Cleaning
Some air purifiers are built around the concept that people will want to simply throw away and replace clogged filters, while others are engineered to allow people to easily remove and clean filters.
The first option is easier and less time consuming. The second costs less because filters need to be replaced less frequently. If one option is far preferable to the other, make sure to get an air purifier that suits it.
Some people find a constant background hum to be relaxing. Others find themselves constantly thinking, “What is that sound? It’s driving me crazy!”
While most air purifiers are in the same neighborhood in terms of the noise they make, if you are bothered by light white noise (like a computer running in the background), pay special attention to this aspect during your air purifier selection.
If you get an air purifier to clean an area that is more than it is rated to handle, one of two things will happen:
It will still be able to get the job done, but will do so by burning extra electricity and at such a high speed that the fan will make approximately as much noise as a small helicopter during takeoff. Or, it will burn the electricity and make the noise without getting the job done.
Be sure the air purifier you select has the filtration capacity to handle the space. *NOTE – in situations where the air is extra dirty, like living in a city with a severe smog or pollen problem or near a business that produces great quantities of dust, a purifier may even struggle to clean the space it is rated to handle. In such cases, it could be a good idea to get a purifier rated for a bigger space.
Having healthy air to breath is one of the fundamental requirements of life. By paying attention to the functions of different air purifiers, you can choose one that lets you and your family breathe air that is exactly as clean as you choose.