Best Air Purifiers of 2018

John Carlsen ·
Smart Home & HVAC Editor
Updated
We maintain strict editorial integrity when we evaluate products and services; however, Top Ten Reviews may earn money when you click on links.

We tested 10 air purifiers to find the quietest, most energy efficient model, and we compared their Clean Air Delivery Rates with industry standards. Although the Coway AP-1512HH doesn't have the best filter performance, we found it to be the best air purifier for most people. It has a balanced set of features, including timer and auto modes that clean your home's air only when necessary. It's portable and one of the lightest units we tested, weighing around 15 pounds. Lastly, it is one of the most energy efficient air purifiers out there. 

Best Overall
Coway AP1512HH
While there are purifiers that do a better job cleaning air, the Coway AP-1512HH's design balances portability, features and filter effectiveness well, making it the best air purifier for most people.
View on Amazon
Best Value
Honeywell HPA300
The Honeywell HPA300 has a simple design and lacks many features you find on more complex air purifiers. However, that makes it more affordable, and it has better filter performance than most competitors.
View on Amazon
Best Filtering
Whirlpool Whispure
The Whirlpool Whispure is the best air purifier for removing airborne particles from your home, which its excellent CADR scores show. It's also the most powerful air purifier we tested.
View on Amazon
Product
Price
Overall Rating
Cleaning Capabilities & Modes
Convenience
Energy & Certifications
Number of Cleaning Stages
Sleep/Quiet Mode
Ionizer
Auto Mode
Maximum Power Use (watts)
Certifications
Estimated Annual Electrical Cost
Remote Control
Noise Level (Highest Speed)
Timer & Scheduler
Weight
Warranty
Pollen Removal CADR
Dust Removal CADR
Adjusted Area Coverage (square feet)
Smoke Removal CADR
Air Changes per Hour
$186.00Amazon
9.3 8.8 9.8 9.8
4
N/A
Optional
79
Energy Star, CARB
$27.68
N/A
58.3 dB
15.41 lbs
3 Years
240
246
360
232
4.03
$243.14Amazon
9.3 8.9 9.6 9.4
2
N/A
N/A
102
Energy Star, CARB
$35.74
N/A
55.1 dB
19.6 lbs
5 Years
401
325
490
316
4.80
$249.00CJ
9.2 9 9.6 9
2
N/A
131
Energy Star, CARB
$45.90
60.6 dB
18.58 lbs
5 Years
300
300
465
300
4.10
$215.27Amazon
9 8.5 9.6 9.1
2
N/A
N/A
N/A
127
Energy Star, CARB
$44.50
N/A
63 dB
16.8 lbs
5 Years
300
320
465
300
5.00
$459.99Amazon
8.9 9.8 7.6 9.4
5
Always On
110
Energy Star, CARB
$38.54
59.5 dB
N/A
19 lbs
1 Year
343
298
451
291
4.56
$273.74Amazon
8.9 9.6 7.6 9.4
5
Always On
110
Energy Star, CARB
$38.54
65.1 dB
N/A
19.4 lbs
5 Years
343
298
451
291
4.35
$549.95Amazon
8.7 8.8 8 9.9
6
Optional
62
Energy Star, CARB
$21.72
57.3 dB
N/A
19.4 lbs
5 Years
208
200
299
193
3.27
$219.99CJ
8.5 7.5 9.3 9.5
2
N/A
Optional
N/A
101
Energy Star, CARB
$35.39
N/A
62.4 dB
17 lbs
1 Year
251
229
318
205
3.23
Best Overall
The Coway AP-1512HH is an excellent purifier for bedrooms and kitchens, since it can clean air in rooms up to 360 square feet. Although this is bigger than most master bedrooms, it's not as effective in large spaces such as family rooms.
Its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) scores are below average compared to the other purifiers we tested, meaning it removes indoor pollutants less effectively than models like the Whirlpool Whispure and Honeywell HPA300, though it's still capable of cleaning indoor air. The Coway's four-stage filtration process includes a washable pre-filter for large particles as well as a carbon filter for odors, though we found it might not remove strong odors quickly. The third stage is a HEPA filter that captures the smallest particles such as cigarette smoke and pollen. The final stage is an optional ionizer, though we don't recommend using this feature since it can produce trace amounts of ozone, a harmful gas. Although the Coway doesn't have a sleep or quiet mode, its auto mode senses the air quality in the room and fine-tunes the settings. You can also set a timer to run for one, four or eight hours. At its highest setting, the Coway only produces 58 dB of sound, so you can run it while you're home without too much noise. This machine weighs 15 pounds and is the second-lightest air purifier we tested. This air purifier is Energy Star certified and rated to use up to 79 watts, making it one of the most energy-efficient models we reviewed. The company's three-year warranty is shorter than that of the best air cleaners but average among air purifiers.
Pros
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Energy efficient
  • Automatic filter controls
Cons
  • No sleep mode
  • Shorter warranty than competition
  • Below-average filter effectiveness
$215.48Amazon
Read the full review
Best Value
Unlike most large air purifiers, the Honeywell HPA300 is quiet and has a low-profile design. However, it’s missing many of the features you find on other models.
Overall, the HPA300 is more effective at removing indoor pollutants than our top pick from Coway, which is evident in its high CADR scores, particularly the one for dust. The Honeywell HPA300 has a simple, effective design and is more affordable than the Coway, though not by much. Although we tested cheaper air purifiers, their cleaning effectiveness and CADR scores were too low to be considered a better value than this Honeywell unit. This air purifier has a dust CADR of 320, which is one of the best scores of the models we tested – only the Whirlpool Whispure has a higher score. It also removes smoke particles better than most air purifiers, with a CADR of 300. Its pollen CADR score is average for the air cleaners we tested. This unit is effective in rooms up to 465 square feet, making it the second most powerful air cleaner we tested. In addition, it can make five air changes an hour, the most in our review, by circulating a room's air once every 12 minutes. The Honeywell HPA300 performs well, but it keeps costs down by not having convenience features such as an auto mode that adjusts settings based on a room's air quality, a shut-off timer or a remote control. These are nice to have but aren't necessary, and the HPA300 does well enough without them. However, it has an excellent five-year warranty, which the longest available among air purifiers.
Pros
  • Excellent filter effectiveness
  • Five-year warranty
  • Simple design
Cons
  • No timer
  • No sleep mode
  • No remote
$199.99Amazon
Read the full review
Best Filtering
The Whirlpool Whispure AP51030K is quite capable of cleaning large rooms of up to 490 square feet. This makes it the most powerful air purifier we tested, though it's useful in large and small rooms alike.
Its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) scores are the highest of all the purifiers we reviewed, which means it has the most effective filtering system for removing smoke, dust and pollen from indoor air. The Whispure's HEPA filters meet rigorous requirements to catch the smallest airborne particles. However, it only has two cleaning stages, so you might need to replace or clean the filters more often. This is the quietest air purifier we tested – it only produces 55 dB of noise on its highest setting, which is quite low. In addition, it has a sleep mode, which saves energy and makes it even quieter at night. However, the Whirlpool Whispure doesn't automatically adjust settings based on the air quality in your room like the Coway AP-1512HH. This is also the heaviest air purifier we tested, weighing nearly 20 pounds, which makes it less portable than the Coway.
Pros
  • Exceptionally effective filter
  • Quieter than competition
  • Five-year warranty
Cons
  • No automatic filter controls
  • Not as energy efficient as top pick
  • Heavier than other models we tested
$255.76Amazon
Read the full review

We have tentative plans to test air purifiers later this year.

Since our last update, the following product is now available to purchase: The Dyson Pure Cool TP04. This model is similar to the Dyson Cool tower fan, but with added HEPA and activated carbon air filters. (Released in March 2018 for $549.99)

Why Trust Us?

As we prepared for this review, we contacted the American Lung Association, the California Air Resources Board and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). We spoke with experts and read research from each of these organizations to get a good picture of whether air cleaners are useful and for advice on choosing the best one.

We also asked who benefits from cleaner indoor air. For example, we spoke with Janice Nolen, assistant vice president of national policy for the American Lung Association. She said "people with asthma or allergies, especially children and teenagers, and older adults or people with cardiovascular problems."

However, Nolen also told ShopSavvy that "removing the source of the pollution problem or adding ventilation [is] far more effective than plugging in a device." After taking steps to remove pollution sources and ensure good ventilation, Nolen suggests using an air purifier as a supplement to filter out airborne particles that can intensify asthma, allergy symptoms and cardiovascular conditions.

How We Tested 

We tested 10 air purifier models from the following brands: Coway, Electrolux, Heaven Fresh, Honeywell, Idylis, Kenmore, RabbitAir, Vornado, Whirlpool and Winix. Because we don't have a reliable way to test air purification, we used the CADR scores provided by AHAM to judge effectiveness. Instead, our in-house testing focused on noise levels and energy use.

To test the home air purifiers’ noise levels, we ran each machine at both its lowest and highest settings and measured how loud it was using a sound meter. Our tests revealed noise levels on low settings averaged around 30 dB, about the volume of a whisper. When we tested the highest settings, we found an average around 60 dB or greater, about as loud as a conversation.

Noise levels matter most when you plan to use an air cleaner in your bedroom since loud machines can interfere with sleep patterns. However, if you use it in the kitchen during the day, noise levels aren't as much of an issue.

Our second test tracked how much energy an air cleaner uses on its maximum settings and what sort of effect that might have on your energy bill. We found these machines are inexpensive to use daily, as the least efficient purifier only costs around $60 a year to run, or $5 a month.

What Else to Look for in an Air Purifier?

Although CADR scores mostly measure purifier effectiveness, they can also tell you what room size a machine can handle. AHAM takes the smoke CADR score and multiples it by 1.55 to get an air purifier's suggested room size.For best results, an air purifier should cover a larger room than the one you use it in. Using an air purifier in a room larger than it can handle often makes it less effective or useless.

Air Changes per Hour
This is how much air the purifier can clean in an hour, and it shows the machine’s airflow. The more times air passes through a machine's filters, the more likely they are to catch previously missed dust or pollen. To illustrate this, if you use a purifier rated for 500 square feet in a room that's 250 square feet, you essentially make two air changes every hour.

HEPA Filters
The most important filter in an air purifier is the HEPA filter, which removes 99.97 percent of 0.3-micrometer particles and must meet rigorous regulations and industry standards. Each air cleaner we tested uses HEPA filters. To prevent larger particles from reaching and blocking the HEPA filter, many air purifiers also use carbon pre-filters and other secondary filters that are easier to maintain.

Ionizers
Ionizers charge particles as they move through the machine so they attach more easily to a filter or any other surface, thus removing themselves from the air. Ionizers are fairly common in air purifiers but controversial, as they produce trace amounts of ozone.

"Ozone is an outdoor air pollutant," Nolen told ShopSavvy, "and it's a very dangerous pollutant that causes asthma attacks and has been linked now to cardiovascular disease and certainly causes premature death."

Due to the risks associated with ozone, the American Lung Association does not recommend using ionizers in your home. We suggest choosing an air cleaner without an ionizer or with one that you can turn off. We did not include it in our scoring.

More Guides to Help You Live Healthier:

id:945