A blonde woman in yellow overalls and a white t-shirt, adjust the knob on an air purifier. The air purifier is on a tan ottoman and has steam coming from the top. Behind the woman are various plants.

Our 5 Favorite Affordable Air Purifiers for Your Home

by James Han

Many of us spend most of our time inside our homes — which means we’re more exposed to their unhealthy airborne particles. According to the EPA, certain pollutants have concentrations up to five times higher indoors, and with sources of contaminants ranging from household cleaning products to candle fumes, it can feel impossible to tackle air quality issues at the root level. Air purifiers have emerged as a promising option to help filter and sanitize indoor air, but there’s a wide spectrum of prices, functionalities and qualities to consider. So, what do air purifiers do, anyway? What makes an air purifier great? Read on to learn how they work, the differences between ionizer and HEPA air purifiers, and our recommendations for the best purifiers for home use.

What Do Air Purifiers Do?

Indoor air contaminants can come from pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold particles, personal care products, candles and more. While certain demographics — such as the very young, very old and those with respiratory problems — are the most vulnerable, poor indoor air quality can affect everyone. It can trigger allergies, irritate the lungs, exacerbate asthma and more. An air purifier removes particles and toxins by circulating the air in your home. Through a fan mechanism, it sucks in air and pushes it through at least one filter, which traps impurities, before releasing clean air back into your space.

While not an end-all, be-all solution for air quality issues, several studies have revealed that air purifiers indeed remove airborne contaminants and can have a positive impact on respiratory and vascular health.

The Most Common Types of Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can get marketed in a number of ways, and as you do your research, you’ll notice that there are two common types: purifiers with a HEPA filter and ionizers.

What Are HEPA Air Purifiers?

Typically made from a dense mesh of fine fiberglass threads, HEPA — or high-efficiency particulate air — filters are the gold standard of air purifiers. In fact, the government requires all HEPA filters to remove 99.97 percent of particles larger than 0.3 microns. They can easily capture pollen, pet dander and dust mites, but the consensus is a bit more divided when it comes to mold spores, bacteria, viruses and other tiny particles.

What Are Ionizer Air Purifiers?

Unlike the fan and filter mechanism of a HEPA purifier, an ionizer — or ionic air purifier — draws airborne particles to a charged metal plate inside by giving them an electrical charge. Essentially, ionizers release a steady stream of ions into the air around you. After particles have become charged, they naturally become attracted to the ionizing device. Many users are drawn to them because they work silently and don’t require filter replacements, but it should be noted that ionizer air purifiers don’t remove gases or odors, and release varying amounts of ozone, a harmful lung irritant and pollutant.

The Best Affordable Air Purifiers for Your Home

The air purifier you choose for your apartment or house depends on your needs. Do you want an option that has an aromatherapy component? Do you want to avoid buying new filters several times a year? Read on for our top five recommendations.

Best Value/Overall Air Purifier

We love the Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier Review as an all-purpose filter. It has a three-stage filtration process that includes both HEPA and carbon filters to successfully remove particulate matter. It works for rooms up to 86 square feet, and produces little noise. Filters need to be replaced every six months.

Best Air Purifier With Reusable/Permanent Filter

If you’re looking to economize or be more eco-conscious by purchasing an air purifier with a single, reusable filter, check out the Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Air Purifier. Like the Levoit, it features a three-stage filtration with HEPA and carbon zeolite filters for maximum cleaning, but its square footage is almost double at 160 square feet. It comes in a cheaper general-use option, but upgrade for about 30 dollars for optimal filtration if you have pets or allergies. Filters are cleaned by vacuuming.

Best Air Purifier for a Large Room

The Levoit Vital 100 Air Purifier is the best budget option for a large space. Its coverage is a whopping 500 square feet, and uses the same HEPA-and-carbon-filter technology as its other products. It’s also an energy-efficient option and has a nighttime option for its LED display so you can run it while you’re sleeping without having a light source in your room.

Best Air Purifier With Hot/Cool Fan

This is the most expensive option on our list, but the unique functionality of Dyson’s Pure Hot + Cool Link HP02 air purifier makes it a great choice for those who want to consolidate their appliances. It operates as a HEPA-based purifier, winter heater and summer fan all in one, with real-time air quality reports sent to your smartphone and wi-fi-enabled commands. Its 300-square-foot coverage is great for medium-to-large rooms.

Best Portable or Tabletop Air Purifier

The PARTU HEPA Air Purifier has a three-stage filtration process that comes with an option for aromatherapy — simply add a bit of water and essential oils to the sponge near the air outlet to release a pleasant fragrance through your room. This is a compact purifier that’s perfect for tabletop or desk use, but still boasts an impressive 100-square-foot coverage.

James Han is a writer, editor and content strategist based in Los Angeles. When he’s not deep in a Google Doc, you can find him reading, watching arthouse films and taking long walks.
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