The Best Air Purifier: 2020 Ultimate Buyer Guide

Did you know that the average American spends the majority of their life indoors? On average, we spend close to 80-90% of time either in our houses, in a place of work, or in other indoor locations such as bars, restaurants, and gyms.

With that in mind, getting the best air purifier makes a lot of sense for you and your family.

After all, spending so much time inside means we’re leaving ourselves susceptible to dust, dander, and other damaging particles that can trigger allergies, asthma or general respiratory problems. The most advanced air purifiers can also capture and remove viruses and germs.

Investing in good quality air purifiers can help reduce -if not completely eliminate- those problems by attacking over 99% of airborne contaminants, leaving the air inside our homes fresh and clean.

Best Air Purifiers 1 air purifierWith the air quality in our homes containing up to five times more pollutants than outside, installing one of the 2020 best air purifiers in your property can prove to be an invaluable investment in your long-term health

So far, so good, but with so many options out there, how do you find the perfect purifier for your property?

Simple:

You dive into our complete buyer’s guide on the best air purifiers currently on the market.

Below, you’ll not only find our picks of the years’ best value-for-money air purifiers but also our answers to your most pressing questions about keeping your home free from harmful air particles.

The Best Air Purifier

Best Air Purifiers 2 Keep Home Clean
Your home may look fresh and clean, but without one of these top air purifiers installed, that air may be full of all kinds of microscopic contaminants that air purifiers could help you get rid of

AIR PURIFIER COVERAGE CADR RATING
1. IQAir HealthPro Plus  1,125 square feet 300
2. Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier 775 square feet 500
3. Coway AP-1512HH 360 square feet 240
4. Germ Guardian AC4825 3-in-1 167 square feet 125
5. Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover 450 square feet 300

1: IQAir HealthPro Plus HyperHEPA Air Purifier

IQAir have held their own at the forefront of the air purification industry for over half a century, so it’s no surprise to find their critically-acclaimed HealthPro Plus HyperHEPA Air Purifier at the top of our list.

So what is it about this particular model that makes it so good?

For one thing, there’s the coverage.

The HealthPro Plus can keep the air clean in spaces of up to 1,125 square feet,  (104.5 square meters), making it the perfect choice for larger rooms.

The best part is that covering such an immense amount of space doesn’t mean compromising on power or performance. The HealthPro Plus Air Purifier takes the usual HEPA  filters to a whole new level thanks to IQAir’s patented Hyper HEPA filter technology which finds and captures even the smallest of toxic particles right down to 0.003 microns.

Ultimately, this makes it at least 100 times more effective than a purifier with a standard HEPA filter and allows IQAir to boast of offering proven medical-grade air filtration. As you can imagine, this makes it an optimal choice for anyone dealing with severe allergies or homes where your family or loved ones smoke indoors.

Still, few things in life are perfect and the HealthPro Plus is no exception. The biggest drawback is the cost. With most retailers, you may be looking at paying several hundred dollars more for this model than some of the others on our list, but in our estimation, it’s well worth the investment if you have the budget for it.

Why we like it:

  • Advanced Hyper HEPA filters
  • Covers spaces up to 1,125 square feet
  • Low energy consumption keeps running costs low.

Why we don’t:

  • An expensive air purifier that may be out of reach of those with more modest budgets

2: Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier

Best Air Purifiers 3 Smoke
With its dual HEPA filter and activated carbon filters, the Blueair Classic 605 HEPA filter and activated carbon filter can eliminate both contaminating air particles and strong smells such as cigarette smoke 

The Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier is the only device we’ve featured today that doesn’t rely solely on a HEPA filter. Instead, it combines the HEPA filter with an activated carbon filter which means that, unlike other models, it can eliminate both health-impacting particles and pungent odors.

The dual filter action also helps it to tackle larger spaces without relying on large amounts of power. With a CADR rate of 500 Cubic Feet Per Minute (CFM), this exceptional purifier is capable of cleaning the air in medium spaces up to 775 square feet with its HEPA filters.

In tests, it reduced the air of toxic particles by 99.5% in just half an hour, rising to 99.97% within the hour and continued to completely recycle the air five times per hour, making it a very solid performer indeed.

The most exciting feature of the Blueair Classic 605 is the Amazon Alexa integration. It does come with a smartphone app that you can download for free and use it to control every aspect of your purifier, but if even that’s too much, you can always connect it to your Amazon Echo smart speaker for voice-powered control.

The high CADR rate and high square feet coverage of this one do make it one of the best air purifiers but, as with our number-one ranked model, the price tag is where the Blueair Classic lets itself down. The high price of replacement filters may also be off-putting.

What we like about it:

  • Incredible performance for its size
  • Great for medium-large spaces

What we don’t:

  • Expensive running costs may place it outside the budget of some homeowners

3: Coway AP-1512HH

The Coway AP-1512HH frequently earns rave reviews as one of the fastest-performing air purifiers on the market, attacking 99.32% of harmful air particles in the space of half an hour.

As you’ll see below, our number-five ranked Honeywell True Allergen Remover does perform somewhat better, removing 99.78% in the same amount of time, but it does so thanks to a noisy fan that really knocks it down a mark or two.

Meanwhile, the Coway AP-1512HH remains incredibly quiet while continuing to do a great job, especially when it comes to destroying the kind of dust-filled environments that attract common household bugs.

After another half an hour, this 240-CFM purifier reached a pollutant reduction rate of 99.84%, making it a leading contender when compared to any of the other models on our list today.

Aesthetically speaking, we also think the Coway AP-1512HH is one of the best-looking air purifiers we’ve come across, making it a great choice for those spaces where you want clean, pure air without having a big, ugly box ruining that interior design you worked so hard on.

Why we like it:

  • Quiet fan
  • Small, compact design blends in with most interior spaces

Why we don’t:

  • Slightly higher than average running costs
  • Doesn’t perform as efficiently as other air purifiers on this list

4: Germ Guardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System

Best Air Purifiers 4 Bedroom
As the smallest purifier on our list, the Germ Guardian 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System is better suited to small and medium-sized spaces such as bedrooms.

If there’s one thing that becomes immediately obvious when looking at Germ Guardian’s best-selling AC4825 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System, it’s that this isn’t going to be the best air purifier for everyone.

Standing just 22 inches tall and weighing only seven pounds, this won’t be much use to you if you’re looking for a whole-home cleaning system or something to eat up the pollutants in a large living space.

For bathrooms, bedrooms, and other small-medium spaces, it may be just the thing.

The key feature of Germ Guardian’s flagship product is a multi-setting option, moving between a 108-CFM option that’s good for clearing away foul-smelling tobacco smoke to a more powerful 125-CFM level that keeps pesky pollen at bay.

In between, the 118-CFM option handles dust and dander well, eliminating 91.5% of pollutants within half an hour. Though that may seem slow compared to other models on our list, it did reach 99.7% within the hour, making it highly competitive with other leading brands.

Elsewhere, we’re big fans of the activated charcoal filter, a unique feature that eliminates all kinds of odors from the usual cigarette smoke and pet smells to cooking fumes and cleaning products.

All in all, Germ Guardian’s 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System maybe best air purifier for small rooms, but for bigger spaces, you’ll be better off looking elsewhere.

Why we like it:

  • Small, lightweight design makes it ideal for small spaces
  • Low cost

Why we don’t:

  • Not suitable for larger spaces

5: Honeywell True HEPA Filter Allergen Remover

Best Air Purifiers 5 Allegies
As the name suggests, the Honeywell True HEPA Filter Allergen Remover is the best air cleaner for allergy sufferers.

Critics of the Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover will often point to its somewhat noisy fan as a good enough reason not to buy it. Admittedly, if you’re sensitive to noise then this might not be the best air purifier for you.

However, if you’re the kind of person who can easily tune out background noise, or if you’re looking to place your purifier in a space where the sound of the fan won’t be an issue, then you’ll definitely find a lot to like about this high-performance air conditioner.

One of the most efficient purifiers on our list, the Honeywell Allergen Remover boasts a Clean Air Delivery Rate of 300 CFMs, enabling it to eliminate some 99.78% of airborne particles across a 450 square foot room inside half an hour.

After that, the purifier continues to keep the air fresh and free from allergens, tobacco odors, pet dander, mold, and other toxic particles.

Very easy to use, the Honeywell comes with an auto-off timer option so that if you do need to reduce the amount of time you use it for, you can do so automatically.

It also includes three different cleaning settings so that you can fine-tune the amount of power it uses. Given that the Honeywell typically costs more to run than other models, this is a welcome addition indeed.

That aside, this is a great quality air cleaner that gives our previously listed Coway a serious run for its money.

Why we like it:

  • Exceptional air-cleaning performance.

Why we don’t:

  • Noisy fan
  • More expensive than other leading air purifiers

How to Choose Air Purifiers

Best Air Purifiers 6 Clean Air
Installing an air purifier allows you to enjoy that clean, fresh air feeling you usually only get outdoors, all without leaving the house.

We’ve given you our pick of the best air purifiers currently on the market. We’ve told you what kind of spaces each model is suitable for, and even how clean it will make the air in your home, but there’s no reason why you have to choose exclusively from our selections.

There are hundreds of different air purifiers out there, so you’ll always benefit from doing your research, weighing up the pros and cons, and picking a product that perfectly meets your needs, your space, and your budget.

Not sure where to start?

The following in-depth air purifier buyer’s guide answers all your key questions and then some, outlining everything you need to know to ensure the purifier you bring home represents solid value for your hard-earned money.

What Does an Air Purifier Do?

The short answer is that an air purifier does exactly what it says on the label:

It purifies the air around you.

The longer answer is that it cleans the air of harmful microscopic particles that would otherwise end up in your lungs and can cause all manner of allergies, respiratory issues and other problems.

Even if you don’t have a noticeable health issue, dust, pollen, and other pollutants will still be damaging your lungs to some extent. A good quality purifier will find and capture even the smallest of those pollutants and reduce as much as 99.9% of them so you’ll soon notice a marked difference.

Why use an Air Purifier?

Best Air Purifiers 7 Paint
Chemicals from household paints are one common cause of air pollution in the home.

There’s an outdated myth that purifiers are only needed in homes with pets or cigarette smokers as pet dander and tobacco are two of the most common household air pollutants.

While it is certainly true that a purifier will target the toxic particles caused by these problems, they also do far more.

From bathroom mold, bacteria, and airborne viruses to pollen, plant spores, and pesticide toxins, a purifier will eradicate any problematic particles. That includes Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), the harmful chemicals found in paints, so if you’ve recently renovated your home or done some DIY work, you’ll certainly benefit from turning on the purifier to remove Volatile Organic Compounds.

Choosing the Right Air Filter

Not all air purifiers are made equal. The more time you spend researching the different options out there, the more you’ll come to notice that different brands use different air filtration technologies to clean the air.

Each one works in a slightly different way and produces slightly different results, so it’s worth paying attention to the filter used by your preferred model and considering whether it’s the right option for you.

The four key types of air filtration are:

1: HEPA Filters

All of our top five air purifiers use HEPA Filters (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filtration system, though one (the Blueair Classic 605) does use it in conjunction with a carbon filter, more of which later.

There’s a good reason for this:

High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters are the absolute best of the best when it comes to air filtration, capable of targeting and eliminating 99.97% of microscopic particles, even those as tiny as 0.3 microns.

The HEPA filters do this by drawing in the air, trapping troublesome particles in a thick paper filter and then redistributing the clean, pollutant-free air.

This process can remove all of the standard pollutants such as pollen, pet dander, hair, dust, and smoke. However, unlike other types, it isn’t so effective at eliminating smoke.

Be mindful that if you’re buying this type of air purifier, it should have a “True HEPA” label somewhere either on the product itself on the packaging. This is because there are some models out there that will say they have a “HEPA-like filter” which is often nowhere near as effective.

2: Carbon Filters

Carbon filters work by releasing a harmless activated carbon into the air. This carbon is full of millions of microscopic pores that absorb gasses and smells.

Unfortunately, carbon filters do very little -if anything- to remove dust, pollen or other airborne contaminants that are damaging to your health, but if strong odors are your biggest bugbear, a low-cost carbon purifier may be just the thing.

The reason we like the aforementioned Blueair Classic 605 so much is that it combines an activated carbon filtration system with a True HEPA filter so that you get the best of both worlds – no smells and no pollutants.

3: Ionic Filtration

Ionic-based purifiers work by releasing charged ions into the air which attach to pollutant particles and drag them down onto the floor and surrounding surfaces.

This can be very effective in zapping away super-small, 0.01-micron-sized particles, but it does mean that you’ll then have to go around and clean all the surfaces or thoroughly vacuum the floor to completely eliminate the particles altogether.

One alternative, of course, is to buy an ionic filtration purifier which includes an electrostatic plate. The plate is meant to catch the articles, but even then you’ll still have to clean it regularly.

This typically works out as a cheaper option, particularly compared to air purifiers with HEPA filters, but it does require more work.

4: Ultra Violet (UV) Light Filters

UV filters are unique as you’ll rarely -if ever- find a purifier that only uses this type of filter. Instead, they’re usually added into True HEPA filter models to provide a specific functionality:

Eliminating germs, viruses, and bacteria.

They do this by emitting UV-C band light from within the purifier which attacks and destroys contaminants but is entirely harmless to human beings and pets.

Finding a purifier with an additional UV light feature can be especially helpful if you’re bringing a newborn baby into your home as they can be more susceptible to illnesses caused by everyday household bacteria.

CADR Ratings: What You Need to Know

Best Air Purifiers 8 Dust
An air purifier’s effectiveness at removing dust is one of the things measured by its CADR rating 

Throughout this guide, you’ll notice that we’ve consistently referred to a ‘CADR’ rating, but what exactly does that mean?

CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) is a measurement devised by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) that helps consumers determine how well a purifier can clean the air in a room of a certain size.

When doing your research, you’re likely to find that purifiers come with three different numbers included in its CADR rating. For example, it may be that a product says “CADR: 200/250/180.”

This is because CADR measures a product’s effectiveness at dealing with three different types of pollutants:

  1. Dust
  2. Tobacco smoke
  3. Pollen.

The higher the number, the better your purifier is at getting rid of that particular contaminant. This can be very helpful when it comes to determining the best product for your situation.

Let’s say one purifier has a CADR of 200 for dust and 250 for tobacco smoke and another has 250 for dust and 180 for tobacco. If you have smokers in your household, the first option may work out better, whereas if yours is a predominantly smoke-free home, you don’t need as high a CADR rating for smoke.

Likewise, if you find two purifiers that cover a similar-sized space, the one with the higher CADR rating will usually prove to be the better purchase.

Frequently Asked Questions About Air Purifiers

Best Air Purifiers 9 Cough
If you find yourself coughing more than usual, that may be a good sign that you have poor air quality in your home.

How Do I Know If I Have Poor Air Quality in My Home?

The simple truth is that the air quality in most modern homes is less than ideal. Sadly, this is an unintended consequence of the move towards better energy efficiency.

Today’s homes are designed to keep cold-weather getting into your home and preventing any heat from escaping. Unfortunately, this means trapping the air inside your home too, along with all the dust, allergens and other toxic particles that get caught up in it.

What’s more, things such as varnish, non-natural cleaning products, and even the smoke from scented candles can all contribute to poor air quality.

There are other telltale signs too.

If your allergies are acting up or you find yourself coughing and wheezing a lot, that’s a good indication that you could do with cleaning out the air in your home.

If you’ve recently invested in home improvements, that could also be a factor. The smell of paint, carpet adhesive, and other materials can get into the air, often finding their way into your home heating and ventilation system and being circulated backout throughout the house.

Of course, it’s also worth noting that if you have a pet, then general pet dander (tiny flecks of shedded skin) will also reduce the air quality, making an air purifier an even more essential part of your home.

Should I Run My Air Purifier All Day?

Yes, you should.

The moment you turn off your purifier, all manner of pollutants begin creeping back into the air throughout your home. Within just a few short hours, that air will be back at the same low quality that it would be if you’d never run an air purifier in the first place.

It’s for this reason that most leading models are specifically designed to operate 24/7 and keep the air clean right around the clock.

Though some people are quick to balk at the idea, most experts even recommend keeping your air purifier running even when you’re not home.

Think about it:

If you’re gone all day with the purifier switched off, you’ll eventually come back to a home where the air is full of harmful allergens and other contaminants and then have to sit there in that polluted air for several hours while your purifier gets to work on cleaning it again.

In other words, the relatively small cost of running your air purifier all day is well worth it to ensure constantly clean air.

How Much Does it Cost to Keep an Air Purifier Running 24/7?

Less than you might think. Many of the best air purifiers on the market have been built to use up as little power as possible, meaning there’s only a minor impact on your home energy usage.

If you want to work out the exact cost of running the air purifiers, you can always do a simple bit of math.

For this, you’ll need to know two things:

  1. How many kilowatts your device consumes
  2. How much you pay for one kilowatt-hour of energy.

You then multiply those two by the number of hours to work out your running cost.

Here’s an example:

You buy an air purifier with 60W (0.06 KW) of power consumption and your kilowatt-hour rate is 0.10.  There are 720 hours in a 30-day month, so:

0.06 x 0.10 x 720 = $4.32.

So that’s $4.32 per month for consistently clean air in your home.

Final Thoughts: Not All Air Purifiers are the Same

While budget may play a big part in deciding which air purifier you end up being, it shouldn’t be the only factor.

More than anything else, what you should really be paying attention to are your individual circumstances.

If you have asthma, find yourself coughing and wheezing a lot, or are worried about other respiratory problems, then a purifier with a high CADR rating for dust will be better suited than one designed with pollen or smoke reduction in mind.

If it’s your allergies that are causing you grief, then a high pollen CADR may be more appropriate.

And if you don’t have any specific health issues but simply want to ensure long-term health for you and your loved ones? A True HEPA filter with the highest average CADR rating you can afford will do the trick.

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