The Best Air Purifiers – The Ultimate Guide to Find The One that Fits Your Needs
Most people buy air purifiers in the hope of minimizing the quantity of dust, smoke and pollen in the air. Those who go for the more expensive air purifiers produced by reputable brands will actually increase the air quality in their home. On the other hand, buying cheap and generic products won’t lead anywhere as those models normally don’t perform as advertised.
Below you can read our general buying guide for air purifiers and the brief review of the top devices that money can buy in 2016.
Buying guide – Things to consider before buying an air purifier
Room Air Purifiers
As the name implies, these devices are for purifying the air of a given room in the house. They are not appropriate for making the air in the whole house cleaner. These are also options to go for in house with no forced-air heating or cooling. This article focuses on this type of air purifiers as this is the more commonly used one and require no special features in the house (like forced-air heating/cooling).
Whole-House Air Filters
This type is ideal for those who already have forced-air heating and cooling system in their home. These are special filters that can be popped into the already existing device. It also needs to be replaced regularly for maximum efficiency. We will not elaborate more on this filter in this article.
There is a variety of manufacturers that make great air purifiers, which makes for good competition and the buyer thus benefits in the end. Some of the brands worth mentioning are Winix, Airmega, GermGuardian and Honeywell.
This indicates how much space the given device is capable of effectively filtering, which is a very important consideration. You need to have a good approximation of how much space there is in the room(s) where you will use the air purifier as it determines the models you can choose from. Logically, the more room the air purifier can cover the more expensive it will be.
Features a Room Air Purifier May Have
Any device with a remote control makes its usage much more comfortable. You don’t want to go to the air purifier anytime you want to make adjustments.
This is something that not all models have. What this feature does is that the sensors built in the purifier can determine the level of dust in the air and the device will adjust the fan speed accordingly.
Talking about fan, this is one of the most important features of the best air purifiers. Only those devices perform well use a fan to circulate through the air. The cheaper ones don’t have a fan but use the natural circulation of air, so they generally perform poorly. Even though the ones equipped with a fan are a little louder, you should definitely go for one of them.
The smaller, lighter models usually come with a carrying handle that makes moving them easy. Some of the heavier ones which would be difficult to lift may have wheels.
Ionizers attract particles through a process similar to static electricity. If the model you choose has a built-in ionizer, it is great. It will surely increase the performance of the device. However, please be aware that certain ionizers may produce such ozone that is a possible lung irritant.
Another feature like the remote control, no explanation needed here. Models that have a programmable timer make the user’s life more comfortable.
In the more advanced air purifiers you can adjust the speed. You can set it to a higher speed by day and to a lower one at night – this way you can also reduce the noise it makes when you go to bed.
There is no “things to consider” list without cost: both the purchase price plus the recurring costs.
Purchase price: The purchase price is the most straight forward type of cost. You know how much you want to spend on the air purifier and you will find the model that fits your needs. The price of air purifiers can be anywhere between 50-800 dollars. Although you can purchase an air purifier for considerably less than $100, I wouldn’t recommend you to do so. Don’t forget: You are looking to improve the quality of air in your home. You can find affordable HEPA yet high quality air purifiers in the 100-200 dollars price range. Details later.
Recurring costs: Here I have to mention two things: electricity and filters. This is an electric device which certainly means that it consumes energy. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone looking to buy an air purifier. The cost of filters is a different matter altogether. Many people don’t consider it before buying a purifier. The models that come with a HEPA filter have the highest cost when it comes to filter replacement. The replacement of such filters can range anywhere from 10 to up to 100 dollars depending on what model we are talking about. The bad news is 1. You should definitely go for an air purifier with a HEPA filter as this is the best one, and 2. Most HEPA filters need to be replaced on a yearly basis – so, it will mean a constant cost. If you want to reduce the yearly cost of maintaining your air purifier, you should consider buying an air purifier with a cleanable HEPA filter. There are some models available with this feature.
I have already touched on the importance of noise level in the “Features” part. I believe it is worth going into details to understand why it is important how much noise a specific device makes. Let’s consider that you will buy an air purifier that works with a built-in fan, which generates more noise compared to devices with no fan. As already mentioned better models come with adjustable speeds which makes noise control possible. Still, it may happen that the most silent mode of one device is still louder than another model. If you want to buy an air purifier for your bedroom, the noise level is definitely something to consider.
The 5 Best Air Purifiers with Brief Reviews
After going through what you should consider, let’s see which are the best devices overall.
Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology
- Remote control or control panel operation
- Auto dim feature – depending on the amount of ambient light in the room the device will automatically display either the normal bright LED or a dimmed LED
- Weight: 24.3 pounds
- Dimensions: 5 x 8.9 x 21.9 inches
- Batteries: 2 AA batteries required (included in the package)
- HEPA filtration
- Washable advanced odor control carbon filter
- Washable pre-filter: extends the life of the expensive HEPA filter
- Smart sensors and Auto-Mode
The list of strengths of this air purifier is extensive. Let’s see the most important ones. The 9500 uses a 5-stage filtration process to almost completely eliminate the hair, dander and odor of your pet. This device definitely lives up to its “Ultimate Pet Air Cleaner” name. It is not a big device compared to its power and how much air it can filter. You can carry it from one room to another with ease. One of the biggest advantages of this model is the washable pre-filter. It filters the bigger pieces of dust, pet hair etc. It means that a lot of these materials don’t even reach the HEPA filter. Why is it important? Simply because you want your HEPA filter to last as long as possible. They are not washable and when not usable anymore, they need to be replaced. They are expensive to replace so, believe me, you want that washable pre-filter.
Price is definitely one of the cons as this machine costs over 200 dollars. This is not cheap considering that most quality items cost anywhere between 100 and 200 dollars. However, I cannot mention anything else when it comes to the weaknesses of the Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner, other than how it looks. I don’t think it is a nice design, but that view of course is subjective. Keep in mind that it is built of quality materials and has all the functions and features that an air purifier may possibly have.
This Winix air purifier is the best choice if you are ready to spend more than 200 dollars on your future air purifier. In this price range it doesn’t have much competition. It stands out from the market of air purifiers with the quality of materials used, the number of extra features and its capability of cleaning the air from pollen and other harmful stuff you don’t want to breathe in.
AIRMEGA 400S The Smarter App Enabled Air Purifier
- Smart mode (auto-speed, Eco, sleep)
- Enabled for iOS, android (speed control, indoor air quality monitor and report, outdoor air quality monitor, filter life-time monitor, scheduler, etc.)
- Room coverage: up to 1,560 sq. Ft
- Weight: 7 pounds
- Dimensions: 14.8 x 14.8 x 22.8 inches
- Wattage: 66 watts
- Warranty: Five-year manufacturer’s limited warranty
- Filters: Washable Pre-Filter+Max2 Filter Set (Activated Carbon+Green True HEPA)
- Adjustable fan speed: Sleep, Low, Medium, High
First and foremost I really like the design of this device. If you spend this amount of money on something that you will see every day and your visitors will see, wouldn’t you want it to look good? It is stylish, modern looking and you can see at first sight that this is not a cheap piece of machine. When you start reading about the features of this device, the first thing that you will probably notice is how big the room coverage is, more than 1,500 square feet! This explains the price of this air purifier which is pretty much the only weakness (if price can be a weakness anyway) of the Airmega 400s. Go and check for yourself: most air purifiers with similar dimensions are able to cover typically a tenth and maximum a fifth of what the 400S covers. It is outstanding. It also comes equipped with all the features an air purifier can possibly come with in 2016.
The Airmega is expensive. Nothing else to mention here. If you have this much money to spend on an air purifier this is the one to go for. It really is close to perfection.
I can only repeat myself. The AIRMEGA 400S The Smarter App Enabled Air Purifier is one of the best air purifiers available on the market today, if not the greatest. If you have the money, don’t think twice. Read some customer reviews, for example here and decide yourself whether this is what you need or not. Although we didn’t choose this as the best air purifier in 2016, that is simply because we also had to take into consideration the price factor. Otherwise, it would have been no question that the AIRMEGA 400S is the definite champion of air purifiers.
GermGuardian AC4825, 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System with True HEPA, UV-C and Odor Reduction, 22-Inch
- Dimensions: 7 x 10.2 x 21.5 inches ; 7 pounds
- Weight: 10.7 pounds
- True HEPA filtration
- Odor reduction
- Energy Star qualified
- Ultra-Quiet operation
- Indicator lights for filter and UV-C Bulb replacement
- UV-C lights: they kill bacteria and viruses in the air that goes through the device
- Room coverage: up to 155 sq. feet
The GermGuardian AC4825 is the best-selling air purifier on Amazon.com, having many great reviews. It is quite simple why: Compared to its cheap price (under 100 dollars) it offers a lot of great features that are usually included only in more expensive models. GermGuardian is a manufacturer that makes good quality products and you cannot go wrong purchasing one of them. This is the same with this air purifier. It has a true HEPA filter and it is also equipped with more than one pre-filter, which helps to lengthen the life of the expensive HEPA filter. It also operates quietly: you can leave it running in your bedroom even at night.
I also have to mention how extremely light this air purifier is. It weighs just over 10 pounds which makes moving it from one room to another an easy task.
The fact that it has the odor reduction feature means that it can be an ideal choice for pet owners who want to get rid of the odor caused by their beloved pet(s).
The most significant disadvantage of the AC4825 is the room coverage, which is not that great. It is efficient in rooms of up to 155 sq. ft. with closed doors. Is this enough for you? Great, then you should definitely consider this air purifier. Are you on a budget? Then don’t look any further. You won’t find any other air purifiers offering these many features for such a low price. Plus it has great reviews, for example here on Amazon.com. If it is not enough for you, I’m afraid you need to look for a more expensive model.
The short conclusion of the GermGuardian AC4825, 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System is that it is the best value air purifier in 2016 with no doubt. For its price it offers more features and more reliability than any other purifiers.
Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover, 465 Sq Ft, HPA300
- Dimensions: 1 x 13 x 24 inches
- Weight: 21 pounds
- True HEPA air purifier
- Room coverage: 21′ x 22′ (465 sq. ft.)
- Activated Carbon Prefilter to reduce odor
- Electronic filter replacement reminders (very thoughtful feature)
- Electronic controls: 3 cleaning levels plus Turbo cleaning setting
- 2, 4, & 8 hour timer
- No ozone produced by the HEPA filter
If you suffer from allergy you may already know the brand Honeywell. They produce different kinds of products with the objective of easing the life of those suffering from any kind of allergies. Honeywell produces a range of air purifiers (also dehumidifiers etc.). The HPA300 is their solution for medium to large room sizes. I would say that they are in the same league with Winix as a brand, both quality and price-wise. Which one should you choose from the two?
As already mentioned in the “Features” part, it is equipped with a true HEPA filter which is expected from an air purifier produced by Honeywell costing as much as it does. It also comes with a pre-filter. I cannot overemphasize enough this feature. First, it helps get rid of unpleasant odor. Second, it “takes over some of the job” from the HEPA filter which significantly extends the life of the expensive HEPA filter.
You can choose among 3 different cleaning levels plus you have the Turbo Clean setting. It also comes with a timer which is expected in this price range.
To sum up the biggest advantages: it filters allergens really efficiently, it has impressive room coverage, and Honeywell is a reputable brand.
Time to see what the Honeywell HPA300 doesn’t do that well. It is noisy especially in Turbo mode. This is quite a disadvantage if you want to place the device in your bedroom. This is something you definitely should think about when choosing the air purifier that best fits your needs.
The replacement of a true HEPA air filter is costly, and you have to buy one on a yearly basis. However, this is not unique for this model. All air purifiers coming with true HEPA air filter will have this yearly cost. A pre-filter helps but having a pre-filter doesn’t mean you don’t need to replace the HEPA filter. It just lasts longer, that’s all.
The HPA300, just like the Winix WAC9500 costs over 200 dollars. This is a lot of money for some people. Not everyone may afford it. There are cheaper but still good options out there, but if the price is within your range, I think you should go for either of these two.
Lastly, there are complaints about it not being enough effective at getting rid of unwanted odor.
As I have mentioned earlier, Honeywell is competing with Winix as a brand when it comes to air purifiers. As for the HPA300, you can look at it as the competition of Winix. They are in the same price range and they are brands with really good reputation. Here comes the question: if you have got between 200-250 dollars to spend on your future air purifier which one should you buy? This is a tough question as it is hard to find any weaknesses in these two devices. Let’s leave this question to the end of this article where I will make my pick as the best air purifier in 2016. (If you have already read the homepage, you should already know which one is the winner.)
Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air Cleaner Model
- Dimensions: 3 x 8.5 x 21.7 inches
- Weight: 20 pounds
- Batteries: required, 2 AA batteries included in the package
- No remote control
- Room coverage: up to 350 square feet
- No ozone produced by the HEPA filter
- Air quality sensor adjusts fan speed automatically
Another air purifier in the list from Winix, as I wanted to review a more affordable model of theirs. This one is also really good. You know already what I think about the brand (and not just me but thousands of customers). Let’s see what this air purifier can do.
PlasmaWave technology: This is quite interesting. It means that the PlasmaWave 5300 safely breaks apart odors, allergens, chemical vapors, and other indoor pollutants at the molecular level, without producing any harmful byproducts.
It has a modern and clean look. If you care about the design of your flat/house, this is also something you should think about. Is the air purifier I buy going to fit the design of my home?
There is no remote control for this model, which is something to consider at its price point. It also makes a significant amount of noise which would be relevant particularly if you intend to place it in a bedroom
I would say that you should choose this air purifier of Winix if you cannot afford or simply don’t want to be spending more than 200 dollars on its next level product. However, you will definitely have to compromise on certain things/features if you go for this one. Choose wisely.
Our Pick: Winix WAC9500
Which air purifier you should choose comes down to your budget and preferences. Once you know your budget, you know what your options are. Then you have to think about your preferences. What is your main purpose with buying the given product? There is no perfect air purifier. The ones that are close to perfection are not affordable for most. The ones that are affordable for most but are still expensive perform very well at 1-2 things and are acceptable for others. An air purifier may be really good at getting rid of odor and removing allergens but at the same time it may be loud when functioning. Another may be silent but cannot get rid of odor and pollen as well as others. You get the picture.
Why the Winix WAC9500? Simple. Taking into consideration all the factors such as price, odor removal, allergen removal, noise levels, and brand, this is the best choice. Around the middle of this page you can read the detailed review of it.