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. Prices vary as wildly as their features and there are plenty of different models and brand. So, how do you choose the ideal product for you?
We have put together this guide by researching the air purification market and have chosen the best devices based on value for money, features, sales and online reviews. We also list other models that may be worth considering 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 2020-09-24 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
The Levoit is packed with innovative features and is tremendously well-designed. It’s easy to see why it’s 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 product 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.
Blueair purifiers have become synonymous with clean allergen-free air and 211 is another awesome product in the range. The unit is designed to remove pollutants like pollen and foul odours from the air in your home which has proven to help people breathe and sleep more comfortably.
This model has been carefully designed to provide several fan speeds that can be selected at the push of a button. Personal preference or the environment will dictate the need for higher fan speeds to help purify harsh indoor air.
A 3-stage filter level ensures that the user can capture all the usual contaminants.
The pre-filter is the first line of defence and removes larger sized particles. This filter is washable for persistent use. Additionally, they come in a wide variety of colours to suit your home decor. A particle filter constructed from polypropylene then removes all airborne particles and odour-causing contaminants. This can include pollen, mould, and cigarette smoke. The 211 purifier makes does an excellent job in removing contaminants from the atmosphere but it does not make use of a true HEPA filter. Maybe it’s one and only downfall.
The device has been tested and its performance was impressive. Although the 211 is not as efficient as a device fitted with a HEPA filter its results were, in fact, comparable. Which is even more impressive when you consider its price point. Additionally, the particle filter is inexpensive and easy to replace. Therefore we think this device is exceptional value for money.
The Blueair is quiet and can barely be heard on its lowest setting. However, it can be quite noisy at higher speeds which might be a distraction at night when you’re trying to sleep. It’s important to note here that this device is endorsed by the association of home appliance manufacturers and is energy star rated.
This model does have some disadvantages compared to the high-end devices that are available on this list. However, we believe its performance and ease of use make it a great candidate if you are looking for a device that gets the job done, nearly as good as a premium device for half the money.
Rigoglioso – not a brand name we are familiar with and a search online does not reveal much 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 model does have a True HEPA filter and an 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 product does a decent job of removing odours from your home but you can clearly see why it costs less than the Levoit. Overall, its a lower-priced, decent device 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 three stage device 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 three 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 use 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 device that reminded us of a Sonos speaker with its grey coloured air grilles. Again this is a 3-stage model 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.
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.
The keyword 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 generally improve air quality but 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, it means the air quality in your property is poor and you need to consider investing in one of the following products.
Even though you can’t see the pollutants in the air, you can often tell the air quality is sun standard when you’re inadvertently reacting to it. These types of devices 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-purifying device 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 unpleasant indoor 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 actively monitoring the air quality and will operate automatically if it needs to be improved. They are smart devices.
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 in something called a HEPA filter, or highly efficient 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 device 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. HEPA filter devices are the very best air purifiers.
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 the air quality they provide is incomparable to a device with a HEPA filter.
Some of the best 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 even then some allergens and 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 highly efficient 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. One of the best air purifiers for a tight budget is the Levoit Air Purifier (LV-H132) due to its performance and good looks.
If you suffer from asthma then clean air is vitally important. You will need to find an air purifier that removes most allergens. Even better, look for a product with an auto function that senses pollutants and then alters the purification speed accordingly. Due to the better technology involved, you will probably be looking at one of the pricier models. However, you will be getting the best air quality. The Vax Pure Air 300 is certainly one model worth considering.
Put simply, to remove cigarette smoke you’ll want to look for an air purifier that has a HEPA filter that can remove particles of 0.3 microns or lower. In our reviews above we have shown that most of them have this functionality.
We believe that these types of devices provide comfort and relief to those who have specific ailments like hay fever or asthma. Are they essential? Of course not but while we can’t see if they’re working we can definitely tell the difference in the air quality we breathe in and the absence of bad smells. Some of them can be extremely expensive and which model you choose is highly dependant on your situation. However, you can get some great results from a budget model.