An air purifier best at home is an appliance that eliminates contaminants from the air in a room to improve indoor air quality. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no device can completely remove pollutants or substitute for ventilation with clean outdoor air but the best air purifiers can help to improve respiratory health.
Based on hours of research, considering the number of brands, and going through various air purifier reviews by experts, also considered the best air purifier for smoke, we have picked Honeywell Air Purifier Portable and Coway Air Purifier AP-1512 Mighty as our top picks.
Best air purifier: Honeywell Air Purifier
Second-best: Coway Air Purifier 1512
Cheap air purifier: Germ Guardian AC4825
Also consider: Blueair Blue Pure 211+
What should you consider before buying an air purifier at home?
How to protect yourself when the air quality is bad – (AQI-Air Quality Index)
How does HEPA filter for air purifier work?
Best Practices: Do’s and Don’t
Honeywell Air Purifier best at Home True HEPA Allergen Remover HPA 300
The sheer size and weight of the Honeywell air purifier at home HPA300 were what struck us first during the setup. It weighs more than 17 pounds and it is designed for extra-large rooms. It has handles on either side which makes it easier to lift.
It has a multi-stage filtration process and comes with three HEPA filters as well as one odor-reducing pre-filter.
Operationally, it is one of the great air purifiers, priced at $250 features easy-touch controls that are simple to operate. Instead of having a low, medium, and high setting as with other purifiers we tested, the Honeywell air purifier has settings that vary based on one’s needs. It is also considered the best cheap air purifier for smoke.
- Room size: 465 square feet
- Weight: 21 lbs
- Dimensions: 18 x 9.3 x 22.5 in.
- Filters: Pre-filter + True HEPA filter
- CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 300 cfm / 320 cfm / 300 cfm
- Speeds: Four
- Warranty: 5 years
When tested, it was found that all settings worked exceptionally well for the Honeywell air purifier. The air purifier claims to be able to circulate all air in a large space five times per hour, which was valid. The filter also showed signs of effectively trapping dust and pet hair.
It has a two-step system: an outer carbon-activated filter designed to reduce odor, and three HEPA filters that screen particulate matter sized 0.3 microns or larger. The HEPA filters ensure the purifier can capture much smaller particles, like tobacco smoke or viruses. It has replaceable filters. It is recommended to change the pre-filter every 3 months, and the HEPA filter should be changed once a year.
The filters can be gentle clean by brushing away the dust and should never be washed.
The major issue with this air purifier was the volume. It is larger than most rooms and is a challenging task to discretely place. Some people have experienced a rattling noise which they find unacceptable. The “Turbo” setting produces a loud noise which has proven to be too noisy.
Second-best: Coway Air Purifier AP-1512HH
Air purifier best for large rooms, with great air purification performance, Coway air purifier AP-1512HH is rated greatly for its ability to remove dust and smoke odors from the air – making it a great fit for smokers and people having allergies. It is also considered the best cheap air purifier for smoke.
Priced at around $230, we observed that Coway has a sleek modern design that fits well into any room when compared to other air purifiers. Also, it runs quietly at lower speeds through the highest setting is a bit loud.
It has 4-Stage Filtration- three primary filters through which air passes the fourth stage is an ionizer that releases negative ions to clean up the air further and add a fresh smell to the room. It also includes LED indicator lights for air quality monitoring.
- Room size: 361 square feet
- Weight: 35 lbs
- Dimensions: 8 x 18.3 x 9.6 inches
- Filters: True HEPA + washable prefilter + odor filter + bipolar ion filter
- CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 223 cfm/246 cfm/240 cfm
- Speeds: Three
- Warranty: 3 years
Why it’s in our top pick?
It also features Auto mode and Eco mode and provides the flexibility to select the fan speed at one’s convenience. In the Auto mode, the air purifier automatically regulates the fan speed based on the current air quality.
If it detects odors from the kitchen or tobacco smoke, it automatically turns up the fan speed to increase performance and when the air quality improves, it switches to eco mode. The fan will shut down to save energy and reduce noise.
In Wirecutter tests, the Coway AP-1512 HH Mighty outperformed most other air purifiers even after the filter’s life span had passed. Replacement filters are fairly cheap and energy costs are relatively low, which makes them one of the least expensive air purifiers to maintain.
It maintains exceptional performance over the long term: When measuring its performance using filters that had been in use 24/7 for more than a year, it still cleaned the air as well as it did with brand-new filters.
The main issue with the Coway Air Purifier is the noise of the highest fan setting. We found the first and second settings to be adequate most of the time. For those few times, to turn on the highest setting it’s only for a short duration until the air clears and you can resume to a lower and quieter speed.
Germ Guardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier best for its price
Suitable for small and medium rooms, Germ Guardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier delivers an impressive performance making the house a comfortable place with clean and fresh air. It is compact in design and weighs 7 pounds.
We can’t say it’s “stylish” but it’s efficient. Not much of a modern-looking machine it is priced around $150 and features a tower design with a height of 22 inches. When compared to other purifiers of the same size, we noticed that the Germ Guardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier is reasonably priced.
- Room size: 155 square feet
- Weight: 7 lbs
- Dimensions: 7 x 10.2 x 21.5 inches
- Filters: Pre-filter (Activated Carbon filter) + True HEPA filter + UV-C Light
- CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 108 cfm / 118 cfm / 125 cfm
- Warranty: 3 years
After using the Germ Guardian air purifier in our home for a few weeks, the “3-in-1” feature a three-part air filtration process. First, the air is filtered through a prefilter—an activated charcoal layer which is a special type of carbon that catches larger particles and kills unwanted odors.
Second, a High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter, or HEPA filter, is used to catch fine, microscopic particles like pollen, dander, and dust. The third and final filtration system is also what makes the air purifier unique. It also uses Ultraviolet-C light (UV-C) that kills airborne bacteria and germs that are known to cause allergies and diseases.
Besides air purity, we were glad to note that its low-operation mode was designed to run quietly, making it ideal to use in most parts of your house including living rooms and bedrooms. For the sake of durability, we liked the fact that the parts are replaceable.
It has an indicator light that sends an alert to replace the parts. Replacing the filter and the UV-C bulb at the right time will enable the system to serve its purpose effectively. Its air-cleaning unit is designed to consume minimum energy and it is therefore energy-efficient.
It is unsuitable for large rooms. The air purifier is ideal for small rooms only. Their air cleaning effectiveness is lower when integrated into relatively large rooms. Also, some of the users have complained that the system produces an unpleasant plastic smell.
Also consider: Blueair Blue Pure 211+
Blueair Blue Pure 211+ is a lightweight air purifier when compared with others in the same range. The coverage area of about 540 square feet, and it seems like a good choice for large rooms. It promises low power consumption, three-stage filtration, quiet operation, and impressively clean air. Also, it comes with color customization options and a two-year warranty.
- Room size: 540 square feet
- Dimensions- 13x13x20 inches
- Weight: 13 lbs
- Filters: HEPA Silent filter + washable pre-filter
- CADR (smoke/dust/pollen): 350 cfm
- Speeds: Three
- Noise level: 31–56 dB
- Warranty: One year
Priced at around $300, this air purifier has an interesting filtration system- it has particle and carbon filters with HEPA silent technology. It is highly effective when combined with the 360-degree air intake and the powerful motor of the air purifier. It is suitable for highly sensitive people, who need extremely clean air due to allergies.
We observed that the Blue air purifier 211+ is operated with just one button, which harmoniously matches the design. The button adjusts the fan speed. Inside you can see the filter replacement indicator.
Just set the fan speed and allow the air purifier to do its work. It has been found effective in removing dust, smoke, and pollen at the highest speed and is efficient in quickly cleaning the air in the room.
The one thing we appreciate about this air purifier is it operates quietly. It is suitable for people who are sensitive to sounds. We noticed that even at the highest setting, this air purifier was almost silent making it a good choice for a bedroom.
The air purifier doesn’t have a True HEPA filter and claims its unique particle filter matches the performance of True HEPA filters. It lacks any sensors or smart options. Also, it has high initial and maintenance costs.
What should you consider before buying an air purifier best for your family?
Need for an Air Purifier:
When selecting an air purifier, first consider the indoor air quality needs. For air quality improvement, choose models with HEPA filters, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters, which eliminate 99% of common airborne allergens sized at 0.3 microns and larger. The airborne allergen includes pollen, dust, dust mites, mold spores, ragweed, and pet dander.
Size of the Air Purifier:
To choose the right size air purifier for your needs, consider the square footage of the room for which the air purifier is needed. If you have allergies then you should consider an air purifier’s air change per hour (ACH) rate.
ACH refers to the number of times an air purifier can filter the entire volume of air in the treatment space per hour. The rate of 4 air changes per hour ensures that the air purifier thoroughly cleans the air and filters out as many microscopic symptoms.
Placement of Air Purifier:
The placement of an air purifier is also an important aspect. Most purifiers have air intake either on the back or at the sides. Either way, it is advisable to leave some space on all sides of the air purifier for it to be able to efficiently take in the unclean air of the room and filter it. Never push the purifier against a wall.
Power of the Air Purifier:
An air purifier needs to be able to draw in and throw out at least a certain amount of air to fulfill the CADR (clean air delivery rates). The thumb rule with all air purifier purchases is simple- the more, the better.
How to protect yourself when the air quality is bad (Air Quality Index-AQI)
Air pollution is harmful to your health and clean air is important for survival. But sometimes living in an area with pollution and feeling helpless because hiding away inside the air purifier forever is not an option. The Air Quality Index (AQI) was created by the US Environmental Protection Agency which helps to monitor air quality to understand the impact it may have on our health.
Following are some simple, effective tips to protect you and your family from the dangers of air pollution:
- Daily check air pollution forecasts in the area you are living in. The forecasts can let you know when the air is unhealthy in your locality.
- Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution is at a high level. When the air quality is bad, walk indoors or use an exercise machine.
- Also, limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors if the air quality is unhealthy.
- Try to use less energy-generating electricity and other sources of energy create air pollution. By minimizing energy use, you can help improve air quality, curb greenhouse gas emissions, and encourage energy efficiency.
- Try to walk, bike or carpool. Use buses, subways, metros, or other alternatives to driving your car.
- Don’t burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of air pollution in many parts of the country.
- Avoid smoking in indoor areas and support measures to make all public places tobacco-free.
How HEPA filters work
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air
HEPA filters are available to everyone as it’s simple and cheap to buy. What it does is, it draws suspended harmful particles, bacteria, viruses, smoke, gas, and likes by a fan at high speed through a dense mat inside it that has different sizes of gaps in it.
It’s like, only air will make it through the thick, multilayered mat, rest of almost everything like these harmful particles will get caught in the filter.
How it actually works?
HEPA filter fibre catches airborne particulates in different ways. Majorly about 0.5 microns and above, particles less than 0.5 microns, and those below 0.1 microns. The largest size particles get caught by the filters when they impact it and get stuck to the fibre.
The second largest size particles, less than 0.5 microns, are picked up by blocking them when they try to flow around the fibres but come close enough to touch the fibres and get caught and stuck on them.
Ultra-small particles, below 0.1 microns, get bounced around and slowed by atoms and molecules present in the atmosphere inside the purifier, ultimately getting caught in a filter fibre.
Essentially, in this process, all particles get captured. According to HEPA standards, most of them mean 99.97 per cent capture.
Air Purifier Best Practices: Setup and maintenance
- Remove the plastic: Most air purifiers come with all filters properly installed. But if it’s sealed in plastic wrappers, do not forget to remove the plastic before turning your air purifier on. So unwrap the filters if it’s wrapped.
- Place them accurately: Place your purifier at least 20 inches away from the wall or any furniture in the room. Ideally somewhere in the midpoint of the room.
- One purifier per room: Get one purifier for each room if you want to clean the air in two rooms. It is not advisable to use one purifier for two rooms, as it won’t be effective in either of the rooms.
- Bad air conditions: Such as a nearby wildfire or extremely bad air quality on any given day when you feel difficulty in breathing, we recommend you run your purifier on high for at least two to three hours and thereafter put it back in normal mode.
- Keep doors and windows closed: You must keep all doors and windows strictly closed to get the best out of your air purifier. An open door will likely draw unfiltered air into the room that your purifier will not able to deal with. So run it with doors/windows properly shut.
- Clean the prefilter every month: For satisfactory performance, rinse off or even vacuum the prefilter once a month. Prefilter captures large particles like pet fur or hair or any other large air substance so it needs cleaning once a month.
- Filter replacement: Generally one year for HEPA filter replacement, however looking at worse air quality in some most prominent areas, it may be required to replace it in six months. Check the manual to be certain when to replace it