If you want to improve the air quality within your home or just need to remove unwanted smells such as smoke then an air purifier could be the thing for you. Price and features vary between different models and brands so what are the best ways to choose the ideal air purifier for you?
We have put together this guide by researching the air purification market and choosing the best air purifier based on value for money, features, sales and online reviews. We also list other models that may be worth some consideration depending on your requirements and budget. At the end of this guide, there is also a handy checklist of what to look for when buying an air purifier.
Last update on 2020-02-23 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Levoit is a feature-packed, well-designed air purifier so it’s easy to see why its one of the best selling models available. It’s not the cheapest at around £60-£70 but we feel it’s worth paying that bit extra for the performance and quality. Although the brand name might not be instantly recognisable, Levoit is a US-based company that specialises in air purifiers, salt lamps and humidifiers.
As you would expect at this higher price point, the Levoit has a three-stage filtration system that draws the air across a fine preliminary filter, a True HEPA filter and finally an activated carbon filter. If you’re wondering what a “True HEPA” filter is then its a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that can remove 99.97% of particles that can be as small as 0.3 microns, whereas as “standard” HEPA filter can filter 99% of particles that are 2 microns or larger.
The activated carbon filters are the ones that reduce odours as the carbon has a large surface area that can absorb and remove contaminants and impurities from the air. A full replacement set of all 3 filters for this model is available for around £20.
This model has three fan speed settings allowing you to choose between extraction rate and noise level. The fan is not excessively noisy in use but you’ll probably want to keep it on the lowest speed setting if you are using the unit in your bedroom overnight.
The Levoit is a relatively small unit (although not compact) measuring 32cm high and 19cm in diameter (around 12.6″ x 7.5″). What we do like is the design, which instantly reminded us of an Amazon Echo Plus. On top of the unit are the simple controls including fan speed. There is also a button for the blue night light.
A couple more noteworthy features are the 2-year warranty and the fact that unit is supplied with a mains power cable, rather than a USB cable that can be found on some smaller and cheaper models. The Levoit is also ozone free as it does not use UV-C light or have an ion generator. The flow rate (Clean Air Delivery Rate) is also impressive at 68 cubic metres per hour, which is more than enough for large rooms in your house.
In summary, this is the air purifier we would recommend as the best one. Yes, it’s not the cheapest but the features, quality and performance help to justify the price tag.
Rigoglioso – not a brand name we are familiar with and a search online reveals nothing either. They are in fact a Chinese company that sells a couple of electrical products on Amazon. Although the RRP is similar to the Levoit, the offer price is usually up to 40% off this, making it significantly cheaper than the Levoit. Design-wise, it’s a similar appearance to the Levoit but smaller at 20cm in height and 12.5cm in diameter.
This air purifier does have a True HEPA filter and activated carbon filter with replacements available separately. There are no fan speed settings on this unit and the single top-mounted button is slightly confusing. Pressing it once turns the unit on but pressing twice puts it into sleep mode which reduced the brightness of the built-in light and turns the unit off after 8 hours. There is no option to completely turn the light off though.
Power is provided by a USB data cable which is supplied, but you’ll have to find something to plug this into, such as a phone charger plug. Noise levels are low but this is most likely down to the lower power of this unit.
This air purifier does a decent job of removing odours but you can clearly see why it costs less than the Levoit. Overall, a decent budget air purifier for use in smaller rooms.
Yes, this is the same Silentnight that makes bed and mattresses and the 38060 air purifier fits with the company’s aim of giving you a good night’s sleep. This model is another 3 stage air purifier that uses a fine gauge filter sponge, HEPA filter and activated carbon filter. A set of replacements filters are available.
While we don’t think it looks as good as the Levoit (or Purus) it more than makes up for that in features. As with the Levoit there are 3 fan speed settings but the Silentnight also includes a timer with preset shut-off times of 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours, making it ideal for using in bedrooms when sleeping or to purify a room when you are away from the house.
This model also features an ionizer and this can be switched off if anyone is concerned about ozone generation. Noise levels are relatively low (think low-speed fan noise) but can increase on the higher speed settings.
The Silentnight 38060 is around the same price as the Rigoglioso but in our view offers better performance and more features. It really comes down to whether you prefer the style (and more compact dimensions) of the Rigoglioso.
The Purus is a very stylish air purifier that reminded us of a Sonos speaker with its grey coloured air grilles. Again this is a 3-stage air purifier that features a True HEPA filter and charcoal filtration. Although the filter should last for 12 months and is removable we could not find any replacement parts online at the time of writing.
The Purus is slightly less expensive and marginally smaller than the Levoit. It features two fan speed settings but does without a light or timer function. Airflow rate is impressive though at 50 cubic meters per hour (the Levoit is higher a 68) making it ideal for use in large rooms. This model also comes with a 2-year guarantee.
In summary, the Purus has similar performance to the Levoit (although does not have the light or extra fan speed) and will look stylish in any room in your home.
Dyson has a range of air purifiers that also either cool and/or heat the air. Different sizes are available including desktop models for more localised purification and larger tower models for whole room use. Being Dyson, none of these models are cheap, with prices starting at around £300 and finishing north of £500.
We’ve chosen one of their more popular models, the Dyson Pure Cool in tower fan format. This is not a cheap piece of kit, even though it’s an air purifier and room cooler combined. It’s a big piece of kit, measuring just over 1 metre in height, but at least the base footprint is compact.
The Pure Cool uses Dyson’s Air Multiplier technology which results in an impressive airflow of 290 litres per second. The whole unit can also rotate through 360 degrees to ensure that the whole room is covered. This is an ideal air purifier for a large room.
We like the display on the Pure Cool as it monitors pollutants in real-time and displays this on a simple colour-coded line chart. Other handy features include the Dyson Link app so you can see all the temperature and pollutant information on one screen. A remote control, glass HEPA filter and sleep timer (choose between 15 minutes and 3 hours) is a given at this price but the ability to activate the Pure Cool through voice assistants is a nice touch.
There’s no hiding from the high price of the Dyson Pure Cool but if you are in the market for a sleek looking air purifier (that also doubles as a cooling fan) for a larger room, then this could be well worth adding to your research list.
More info: Check out our full review of the Dyson air purifier range.
HoMedics have a small range of reasonably priced air purifiers with the two more popular models being the entry-level version (AR-10A-GB) and the more expensive (and better equipped) tower model.
The entry-level model is around the same price as the Levoit and Purus models reviewed above, although in our opinion, we don’t think the HoMedics looks as good as the modern two models. With this being an entry-level model, you get enough airflow for an average size room (55m2 per hour) but features are limited to 3 speed modes and the removable (for cleaning) HEPA air filter.
Worth considering but we wouldn’t choose these over either the Levoit or Purus air purifiers.
The HoMedics tower air purifier is reasonably priced for this type (tower) at just over £100. Height is 71cm and the tower version has a higher airflow spec (85m2 per hour) for use in larger rooms. This model does rotate on its base but not a full 360 degrees. You do get a few more additional features though for your money.
There Is a neat top control display to control the speeds (3 settings) and timer (up to 12 hours). A remote control for these functions along with oscillation and the additional UV-C light (for killing bacteria).
In summary, the tower version is the one we would go for if you needed the extra purification capability.
The Philips Series range includes 3 well-equipped air purifiers that are suitable for most room sizes. The best-sellers are the 2000i and the 3000i (the entry-level Series 1000i is more suitable for smaller room sizes). Being a high-quality piece of kits, these air purifiers aren’t cheap. The Series 2000i sells for around £400 while the Series 3000I is getting on for £500.
Taking a look at the Philips Series 2000i (AC2889/60), you can see that a lot of effort (and expense) has gone into the purification technology. There is a multi-stage system (pre-filter and True HEPA filter) that can capture tiny airborne particle (as small as 0.3 microns). The Series 2000i also has a special allergen mode that monitors for pollen, pet hair and other irritants. If detected, it will then react by activating the purifier.
The unit itself is reasonably sized at 61cm in height although is quite heavy at 7.7kg. In terms of room size, this model is suitable for medium and large size room up to 79m2. There are lots of additional features on the Series 2, especially when it comes to operation. The air purifier has 5 fan speed settings, 3 different automatic modes, a colour coded air quality indicator light and a 12 hour timer. An app is also available so you can monitor air quality in your room plus this model can be activated by a voice assistant.
Yes, the Philips Series 2000i is an expensive piece of kit, but with the air purification technology on offer, it should definitely be on the research list for anyone who suffers from airborne allergies.
If you need an air purifier for a larger room then the equally well-specced Philips Series 3000i (AC3259/60) would be worth a look. It is suitable for rooms up to 95m2 and has the same features as the Series 2000i, although this a slighter larger unit (70cm).
In addition to vacuum cleaners and carpet cleaner, Vax also has a small range of air purifiers. One of the more popular models is the Vax Pure Air 300 (ACAMV101), which sits at the top of Vax’s current air purifier range.
The Vax Pure Air 300 is well equipped and sits in the middle of the air purifier price range at around £300. What’s good about this model is the room size that it can cover – a very large 120m2. This is a lot more than budget models and even more than a lot of expensive versions. To get this filtration capacity you have to sacrifice space and the Pure Air 300 measures 76cm in height, so consider where this may fit within your chosen room.
Although the filter removes up to 99% of airborne pollutants, it’s not washable so will need replacing around every six months (budget around £50 for a replacement). The air quality sensor is a useful feature as it monitors for pollutants and adjusts filtration speed accordingly. There is a quiet night mode plus 3 speed settings. The Pure Air 300 also has a timer that can be set from 1 hour to 8 hours.
In summary, the Vax Pure Air 300 is a great air purifier for those needing to use in a larger room.
More info: Check out our full review of the Vax air purifier range.
Bionaire might not be a brand you are familiar with, however, they do have a small range of affordable air purifiers. One of the most popular models is the Bionaire tower version (model BAP1700-IUK). This is similarly priced to the HoMedics tower version (see above).
The air purification room size is slightly lower on the Bonaire model though at 74m2 (compared to 85m2 for the HoMedics). Size-wise though, the Bionaire is slightly taller at 75cm but the unit does not oscillate. The Bionaire has a cleanable long-life HEPA filter which will save on replacement filter costs. Three filtrations speeds are available plus there is also the nice addition of an auto sensor which will constantly monitor for airborne particles and adjusts the filtration speed accordingly.
The Bionaire also has a built-in timer that can be set for up to 8 hours, plus a built-in ionizer is also part of the feature list. The model does without the remote control that included with the HoMedic alternative.
In summary, we think the HoMedics tower air purifier offers just that bit more value than this Bionaire, although it is still worth a look if you are considering an entry-level tower air purifier.
Bionaire also has another air purifier in their range, the BAP600. This is a good looking smaller desktop version that is suitable for rooms up to 22m2 (which is actually quite small when compared to the Levoit and Purus models reviewed above), so it’s more suited to bedroom use rather than larger family rooms.
The BAP600 has three-speed settings and an optional night light, and as with other smaller air purifiers, you don’t get a remote control. If you are looking for a stylish air purifier for a small bedroom, then its certainly worth considering the Bionaire BAP600 alongside the Levoit and Purus equivalents.
The key word in air-purifier which defines its function is – purify. Unlike the dehumidifier, it doesn’t remove moisture from the air, but rather many different types of toxins.
If you suffer from allergies like hay fever or have asthma triggered by dust mites, this is the machine you should be looking to invest in. They’re also good for filtering cigarette smoke out of the atmosphere as well as pollution from traffic, which if you live near a busy main road is quite often present in your home without you realising it. So if you’re walking around your house sneezing, wheezing or just feeling nasally stuffed up, you’re reading about the right product.
Even though you can’t see the pollutants in the air, you know there is something there because you’re reacting to it. They also deal with some things which may initially seem quite gross but sadly are a fact of life. If you have a dog or cat, they shed not only hair but tiny pieces of skin which can be harmful to your health. Human’s also shed skin cells. A good air-purifier can deal with all of that as well as removing mould spores and cold and flu germs from the air.
If you work in a busy office, it can be well worthwhile investing in a desk-sized model for those awkward moments when your work colleagues have a sneezing fit. You’ll get better protection with your own personal air-purifier than if you just turn your head away or don’t breath in.
Air-purifiers are, in a basic way, a bit like vacuum cleaners with increased effectiveness. They suck up particles from the air, rather than the carpet, before regurgitating lovely clean air for you to breath. Equipped with sensitive monitors internally, similar to a sniffer dog’s nose, they are capable of registering the level of pollutants in the air and begin working automatically if the reading is high.
While it may be difficult to believe they can actually remove such microscopically small specks from the air, they really do. In the best air-purifiers, the magic is worked by something called a HEPA filter, or high-efficiency particle absorber, which sits inside the air-purifiers inner workings.
This amazing filter is made of incredibly dense glass fibres which have gaps between them that are anywhere up to five hundred times finer than a human hair. When the air-purifier is functioning, a fan draws air inside and it then passes through the filter which catches just about everything, including a cold germ, before the filtered air is re-released into your room. Considering their efficiency, air-purifiers with HEPA filters don’t require much maintenance as the filter only needs changing every six months.
There are other types of air purifiers on the market which don’t have HEPA filters. Yes, they are more economical to purchase initially, but their effectiveness can be questionable and they’re not as efficient as those with HEPA filters.
Some air-purifiers have activated carbon filters. The stiff mesh, a bit like a thin black Brillo pad, is made of porous carbon and can capture a certain amount of pollutants from the air, but some allergens and a lot of germs are small enough to pass through the filter and so end up back in the room.
If you’re an asthma sufferer, you’ll want to consider avoiding any air-purifier which works by producing ozone. It’s possible they actually increase asthmatic symptoms rather than curing them. Ozone air-purifiers work by expulsing ozone gas into the air which then kills off the bacteria which produces bad smells. They don’t remove allergens or pet dander from the air but will exterminate mould spores.
You’ll need a good head for physics or chemistry to get a grasp of exactly how a negative ion air-purifier functions. Basically, it all boils down to how positives and negatives attract. A negative ion air-purifier produces ions which stick to the microbes in the air making them too weighty to float around. Yes, this type of air-purifier might remove allergens etc from the air, but it doesn’t remove them completely from the environment.
Air-purifiers which work with UltraViolet technology are great for zapping germs. Bacteria in the air which is drawn into the machine is killed off by the ultraviolet light inside. They’re ideal for sterilising rooms after bouts of sickness or used as a precautionary measure during flu epidemics. UV light on its own doesn’t deal with pollen, pet produced allergens or traffic pollution so this type of air-purifier is often produced with an additional filter system which increases its efficiency.
We’ve mentioned in the section above what a HEPA filter is and what are their benefits, but what does HEPA actually stand for? Well, HEPA is short for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and is basically an industry efficiency standard for high-performance air filters.
There are two standards of HEPA filters, and these are based on the number (percentage) of particles (greater or equal to 0.3 microns) that the filter must remove. The European standard is 99.95% and the tougher ASME, U.S. DOE standard is 99.97%. HEPA was first a trademark but is now a generic term for these high-efficiency filters.
Filtration system: Ideally you want to be looking at a three-stage system that has a fine preliminary filter, a True HEPA filter (that can remove 99.97% of small particles) and an activated carbon filter for removing odours. Also, make sure that the filters can be removed and replacements are available (and that they’re not too expensive – around £10 is a reasonable price). Here is a good resource for further reading on HEPA filters.
Fan speeds (and noise): Different fan speeds allow you to adjust the settings to the individual room requirements. They also allow you to put the fan on a quieter setting for use in bedrooms. The maximum number of speeds you’ll find is normally 3.
Filtration rate: For large rooms, you’re going to need an air purifier with higher airflow (measured in cubic metres per hour), such as the Levoit or Purus.
Size: Look for a more compact unit if you plan to use on a bedside cabinet. You’ll find most air purifiers are relatively small appliances.
Additional features: Some air purifier models have useful additional features such as timers and lights (just make sure you can switch the light off).
For a small room or bedroom, you only need an air purifier with a lower air purification room capacity (i.e. less than 30-50m2). Quietness is also key as you don’t want a disturbed nights sleep. Nice-to-have features would include a night-light (especially if in a younger child’s bedroom) and a sleep timer. The Rigoglioso is a good choice but make sure you have a USB plug socket and no standard mains cable is provided.
When we talk about “budget” in terms of air purifiers, we are typically looking at around the £50 price mark for a smaller, desktop version. Our current budget favourite is the Levoit Air Purifier (LV-H132) due to its performance and good looks.
If you suffer from asthma, then it’s best to look at an air purifier that removes a lot of allergens. Even better, look for an air purifier with an auto function that senses pollutants and then alters the purification speed accordingly. Due to the better technology involves you will probably be looking at one of the pricier models. The Vax Pure Air 300 is certainly one to consider.
Put simply, to remove cigarette smoke you’ll want to look for an air purifier that has both a True HEPA filter and can filter particle of size 0.3 microns or lower. Most of the air purifies reviewed above have this functionality.