The Best Air Purifiers of 2023, Tested by HGTV Editors
Breathe deeper in your home by adding a top-rated air purifier that reduces dust, mold, pet dander, smoke and odor.
Our Top Air Purifier Picks
- Best Overall: Blueair Blue 311 Auto Air Purifier
- Best Budget: LEVOIT LV-H132 HEPA Filter Air Purifier
- Best for Small Rooms: Blueair Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier
- Best for Odor: Alen FLEX Air Purifier for Dust, Mold and Pet Odors
- Best for Large Spaces: Blueair Blue 211+ Auto Air Purifier
- Best Smart: LEVOIT Core 400S Smart WiFi-Enabled Air Purifier
- Best for Nurseries and Kids' Rooms: FridaBaby 3-in-1 Air Purifier, Sound Machine and Night Light
- Best Portable: Germ Guardian Pluggable UV-C Air Purifier
Concerned about the air quality in your home? Air purifiers can work wonders to reduce common pollutants like dust, pet dander, smoke and other harmful particles from the air. Air purifiers are especially helpful for people who suffer from allergies or who live in areas where wildfires and smoke are common.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
Air purifiers work by pulling air into the machine at the base to go through a filter (or sometimes multiple filters) to catch particles and pollutants. Then the clean, filtered air is released back into the room from the top of the machine. Purifiers use mechanical filters like HEPA filters, ionizers, UV light, activated charcoal or a combination of these types to clean the air. A true HEPA filter removes 99.97 percent of particulates measuring 0.3-micron diameter and is the most reliable and effective type of filter to use. Watch out for marketing jargon, though; if a manufacturer claims a product uses a "HEPA-like" filter, it's possible the machine doesn't meet the 99.97 percent threshold to be considered a "true HEPA" filter and won't be as effective in your home environment. So are air purifiers worth the money? Purifiers with a HEPA filter work well on dust, pollen, pet hair, smoke and other larger particles, but they aren't as effective on gases from things like paint and cleaning supplies. They're also most effective on airborne particles, meaning if pet dander or dust has settled on upholstered furniture, those particles likely won't make it through the purifier. In short, an air purifier is one tool to improve your home's air quality, reduce odors and alleviate allergy symptoms, but it shouldn't be the only one. Other things like frequent vacuuming (snag one of our favorite robot vacuums or vacuums for pet hair to make it easier), changing your home's HVAC air filter frequently, opening windows when painting, using milder cleaning products when possible and other preventative measures can also improve your home's air quality.
What to Look for in an Air Purifier
Beyond price, the main factors to consider when purchasing an air purifier include noise level, energy use, the size of room size it can clean and the filter replacements it will require. If you plan to use a purifier in your bedroom, choosing a machine that has a low noise output and gives off minimal light is important to ensure it doesn't disrupt your sleep. Depending on how often you plan to run your purifier, it can require a lot of energy, so look for machines that are Energy Star rated. Bedrooms, playrooms, offices and living rooms are some of the most common rooms for purifiers, so considering the square footage capacity for the purifier will help you determine if the machine will work well in the space you plan to use it. Changing the filter(s) on an air purifier is key to ensuring that it operates effectively, so don't forget to factor in the cost of replacements before purchasing. Manufacturers usually provided a rough estimate of how often filters should be replaced with consistent use, but a bonus feature to look for is a filter replacement indicator. This is an especially nice bonus feature if you might use the purifier infrequently and don't want to worry about remembering when you need to change the filters. We've considered all of these elements when researching and testing our top air purifier picks from reputable brands.
For a great all-around purifier, this Blueair Blue 311 Auto is our top pick. Designed for small to medium rooms, this purifier uses HEPASilent dual filtration technology, plus a fabric pre-filter that's machine washable to trap smoke, dust, viruses, pet dander and light household odors, according to the manufacturer. Our tester says the controls are easy to operate — there's one button you simply tap to cycle through the different mode options: auto, night (low), everyday (medium) and boost (high) mode. Ranging from 23 to 53 decibels, our tester thinks every mode except boost mode is quiet enough to sleep with, and she noticed a significant reduction in odors in her home near her cats' litter box. Since this Energy Star-rated purifier comes with an auto mode, it's a great option if you're concerned about energy use as this mode uses a particle sensor and light indicator to recognize if the air is good (blue light), moderate (orange light) or polluted (red light) and adjusts the fan speed accordingly. We also love that this purifier features a filter replacement indicator light in case you forget to change the filter after six months to a year of consistent use, as recommended by Blueair. Though a purifier is a utility product first, we appreciate the more discreet design that Blueair's purifiers have since the pre-filter covers, available in several colors, make them look a little less stark in a living space.
Our Editor Says: "I have it in my catchall room (office/gym/storage) with the cats’ litter boxes, and normally I notice the pet odor, but having the BlueAir in here made the litter box scent much less noticeable and almost completely absent."
At under $100, this budget-friendly, top-rated air purifier from LEVOIT is a great value for small to medium bedrooms, offices or living rooms. This purifier has a three-stage filtration system consisting of a pre-filter, a HEPA filter and a high-efficiency activated carbon filter to capture allergens, pet hair, dander, smoke, mold, odor and large dust particles as well as airborne contaminants as small as .3 microns. The controls are easy to use, and with three fan speeds to choose from, the lowest setting is quiet enough to use in a bedroom overnight. This model does come with a nightlight option, but you can also completely turn off the control lights, too. The manufacturer recommends cleaning the pre-filter every two to four weeks to maintain its effectiveness and replacing the HEPA and carbon filters every six to eight months with consistent use. Our biggest complaint about this purifier is that it's white plastic with a large logo, meaning it's less discreet and doesn't blend in as well as our Blueair recommendations.
Our Editor Says: "I love that the lowest setting is quiet enough to use while sleeping, and there's an option to turn off all of the control lights if you're sensitive to lights at night. Plus, this thing is great for reducing odors — you could barely tell when I cook salmon for dinner with this machine running."
Another solid, budget-friendly buy is Blueair's Blue Pure 411 air purifier. It features a three-stage filtration system, starting with an interchangeable, washable pre-filter that catches larger particles like dust and pet hair. It comes with two pre-filters, one blue and one gray, but you can buy more colors separately to best match your home's decor. After the pre-filter, the air passes through both a particle and activated carbon filter which catches virtually every airborne particle: pollen, dust, pet dander, mold spores, smoke, allergens and bacteria. It features one simple control button that allows you to switch from low, medium, high and off and is whisper quiet on its lowest setting. And while the upfront cost is on the lower end compared to most top purifiers, this Energy Star-rated pick will also save you money over time thanks to its low energy usage and affordable replacement filters, which should be replaced every six months with consistent use. While it doesn't feature fancy bells and whistles or smart technology (though a $20 upgrade to the Blueair Blue Pure 411 Auto model gets you a purifier that can adjust its mode based on the particles it sense), this purifier gets the job done and would be perfect for small to medium bedrooms and offices.
Our Editor Says: "This purifier works wonders on odors. I accidentally spilled tea tree oil in my bedroom and the scent overwhelmed the whole room. I turned this baby on its medium setting and let it run overnight, and in the morning, the odor was barely noticeable. I love how low-profile and sleek this purifier is, too — I can tuck it in a corner and barely notice it."
Another upgrade pick that's great for large spaces, this Alen FLEX purifier is a good option if odor is your main concern, especially if you have pets and are trying to purify a larger space. The purifier uses an H13 true HEPA filter and removes dust, dander, allergens, pet fur and odors. It can work in small to large rooms, but because it is more expensive than our other recommendations, this purifier would be more than you need for a small bedroom or office. It'd be worth the upgrade if you plan to keep it in a medium to large living room, have a more open concept house or have multiple pets since it can clean 700 sq. ft. every 30 minutes. Our tester who has two cats and one dog tested this purifier next to her cats' litter boxes and noticed a significant reduction in odors. The manufacturer says the filter can last up to a year, depending on use, but replacing the HEPA filter is pricier at $99 each. The design of this purifier is also unique since you can choose from six finishes for the front panel, including a few faux wood styles. While our tester says it still very much looks like a purifier and is large, depending on your wall colors and where you plan to place it, one of the many finishes could help it blend in your space better than a basic white or black purifier. Our tester appreciated the handle on the top that makes it easier to move around and the pink noise, which is a lower tone than white noise, it emits because it sounds like a gentle rainfall. She also noted it'd be quiet enough to sleep near on all settings except the boost mode and the controls are straightforward and easy to use. The display features a filter indicator, timer (2, 4 or 12 hours), a speed control (4 settings) and a lock button to save the control panel’s settings as-is. You can also turn off the display completely, which is great for sleeping near it.
Our Editor Says: "I placed this in the room with my cat’s litter boxes and didn’t scoop for an entire day to see if it truly works on pet odors, and it does. It keeps my space smelling fresh, which is very important to me."
If you need a large purifier for a basement, home gym or any space that maybe doesn't get as much foot traffic as your primary living spaces, the large all-white LEVOIT model above may be a sufficient option. However, if you do care about aesthetics and need a purifier for your main living space or studio apartment where you'll see the purifier all the time, it may be worth spending a little more to get a purifier that doesn't stand out quite as much. This Blueair Blue 211+ Auto model operates the same way as our best overall pick, with the same one-touch control and four mode options, but it's rated for spaces up to a whopping 2,640 square feet — it can quickly clean spaces around 550 square feet in about 12.5 minutes, but it can clean up to 2,640 square feet in 60 minutes on boost mode, according to the manufacturer. This model also comes with a filter replacement indicator, so you don't have to worry about remembering when to change out the filters. And like our top overall pick, this model features a sleek washable pre-filter fabric cover, available in several colors, to help it blend in as best as possible.
Our Editor Says: "I was doubtful this purifier would work on my partially finished basement that's about 1,000 square feet, but after running it on boost mode, it quickly reduced the persistent musty basement smell that often comes with an 80-year-old house. Now, it's a much more pleasant space to be in."
If you're someone who prefers your devices to be as smart as possible and appreciate features like voice control, this Levoit air purifier is a good option. It will work well in almost any size room, purifying a 403 sq. ft. room 5x per hour and a 990 sq. ft. room 2x per hour. This Energy Star-rated purifier uses a three-stage filtration process that includes a pre-filter, H13 true HEPA filter, which traps viruses, bacteria, pollen, dust and pet dander, and a custom high-efficiency activated carbon filter that helps neutralize odors, cooking and wildfire smoke and VOCs. Our tester, who has a cat and dog, noticed a significant reduction in pet odors in her home and also experienced fewer allergy symptoms while using the purifier. Replacement filters do cost $40 but only need to be replaced about once a year, and the purifier has a built-in filter replacement indicator to alert you when it's time and a display for the percent of filter usage remaining. Choose from four fan speeds, including a sleep mode that operates on the quietest setting and turns off the display. There's also an auto mode that will adjust the fan speed based on the air quality, indicated by a ring on the purifier — Blue means very good, green means good, orange means moderate, red means bad. You can also set a timer, set schedules, turn off the display and even lock the display to prevent curious little hands from accidentally adjusting the settings. With three ways to control it: touch controls on the device, connected smartphone app or voice control via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, our tester says operating this purifier can be as simple or as smart as you want it to be. Another nice thing about this model is that it's only just under 11 inches in diameter and 20.5 inches tall, meaning it has a smaller footprint than other options and is a bit easier to find a spot for.
Our Editor Says: "I could easily buy this for my grandma and be confident she could operate it at its simplest level, but I can also use it in my own home with all the smart features and make it as customizable as possible."
If you're a new parent, you're probably familiar with FridaBaby products, which HGTV editors are big fans of, including this multipurpose air purifier. With so many new products to register for and add to your home as a new parent, this purifier pick is an efficient option because it works as a purifier, sound machine and night light for your child's room. Rated for small rooms up to 150 square feet, it uses a true HEPA filter and activated carbon filter to remove smoke, odors and other pollutants from the air. Our tester added this purifier to her 11-month-old son's nursery and noticed it reduced smells from the diaper pail and even seemed to minimize the number of days her son would wake up with a stuffy nose. Before using the purifier, her son typically had a stuffy nose every time he woke up in the middle of the night or morning, but he only had one did twice during the first week she used the purifier. With simple, easy-to-use controls, the sleek and compact machine features four light color options, two sound options (ocean and white noise) and 2-, 4- and 8-hour runtime options for the purifier. While our tester liked the sound machine and night light features overall, she did notice the sounds seemed quieter than other sound machines like Hatch's that she's used. The brand recommends changing the filter about every three months with consistent use, and while they're only $16, that is a bit more frequent upkeep than our other purifier recommendations.
Our Editor Says: "I loved that it was a 3-in-1 product. I think it’s such a big selling point, especially for parents who know they’ll need these things but don’t want to buy three separate products."
For small spaces like bathrooms, laundry rooms, litter-box rooms or hotel rooms, a plug-in air purifier you can easily move is a great option. The UV-C light helps kill airborne viruses such as influenza, staph, rhinovirus and reduces 99.97 percent of airborne particles and allergens including dust mites, pet dander, pollen, smoke, mold and bacteria. Since there's no filter, you don't need to worry about replacing filters frequently, but the UV-C bulb does need to be replaced every 4,000 to 5,000 hours or 10 to 12 months, depending on use. As a con, it’s not as quiet as our tester anticipated. There’s a noticeable hum that you can hear when you enter the room, but it becomes white noise after you get used to it. She thinks you could definitely sleep with it on, and the soft hum may actually help you sleep if you're a fan of noise machines.
Our Editor Says: "I put this in an outlet near my cats’ litter boxes, and I’ve definitely noticed a difference (aka the smell doesn’t knock you out when you enter the room). An out-of-town guest even said she couldn’t tell I have cats — that’s a BIG win."