As we head into allergy season in the Northern hemisphere, now is a good time to be taking a look at our guide to the best air purifier. While the jury is out on the overall health benefits of these air-cleaning boxes, there is no doubt that many allergy sufferers swear by them. If you've decided that what your room needs is a concerted shot of air cleaning, it's time to have a look at our pick of the best air purifiers.
This ranking ranges from serious devices from the likes of Blueair, that will please air purifier, er, purists to more stylish efforts from Dyson, Philips and more. There's even a cheap bedside model for a bargain price. If you're inclined to purify the air that you breathe at home, now is a good time to invest in a purifier. Read on for our reviews of the best air purifiers to buy now.
Looking for something slightly different? We also have guides to the best humidifiers (for dry air), and the best dehumidifiers (if you're struggling with damp). Of course, if you just want to keep the air moving and cool things down a bit, we also have a guide to the best fans and, for posh people, the best Dyson fans – several of which are also air purifiers, so we have now come full circle.
The best air purifiers in order of preference
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The Blueair HealthProtect 7470i air purifier is dazzling, not to mention big. It’s smart too and features real-time pollutant tracking of fine particles (PM1 - 2.5), as well as smoke, gases, bacteria and viruses.
On top of that the Scandinavian appliance can also catch coarse particles (PM10) such as dust, pollen and spores. There’s voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Home, or the unit can be controlled remotely using the Blueair app.
Due to its size, the Blueair HealthProtect 7470i is able to purify rooms up to 62 sq m. while it's also very user-friendly. For example, the booklet-shaped filter has been so designed to avoid you having to touch the grubbier areas of the internals. So, if you’ve got a hatred of dust and dirt then the Blueair looks set to be a good friend. That's why it won Best Air Purifier in this year's T3 Awards.
• Read our full Blueair HealthProtect 7470i review
Meaco produces an excellent range of cooling fans and dehumidifiers that we have reviewed over the years, but this is the first air purifier we’ve received from the UK-based company. And, for the price, it’s well worth checking out. Like all the best air purifiers, the Meaco is equipped with laser technology to monitor the air. This means it will increase suction and expulsion whenever it detects higher incidences of poor air quality brought about by smoking, pet dander, kitchen smells or summer pollen. The really good thing about this model is that it pulls air in from all sides – most air purifiers have a single air intake area which misses some of the invisible pollutants floating around – and that can be considered a major bonus.
The MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76x5 is good for rooms up to 30 square metres and comes with an H11 HEPA filter, Wi-Fi app connectivity and a rather attractive – and informative – multi-coloured top-mounted opaque interface that keeps the user informed of localised PM (Particulate Matter) levels. It’s easy to use, pretty decent looking for an air purifier and effective against 99.97% of the airborne crap that’s floating around. It’s very reasonably priced, too.
Also known as the HP09, this is the best Dyson fan, purifier and heater to date. Dyson has made setup and use of this so slick and easy, via both the app and the remote. As the name suggests, this machine can deal with formaldehyde, which may be of use if you have recently repainted or brought new furniture. However the HP09 also deals very ably with less esoteric pollutants, from PM2.5 particles to gases from cooking and cleaning, allergens and the rest.
When it's cold, the heater part of the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Formaldehyde is very welcome and of course, this is also a cooling fan when it's too hot. Compared to its tall, elegant and largely white predecessor the Dyson Pure Cool, this is a less attractive device, but it's also a more effective and versatile one. Top marks. If you want something that's versatile in a slightly different way, there's also the Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool, which is a humidifier and fan as well as an air purifier. What they need to come up with now is an absolute monster of a machine that's a purifier, humidifier, fan and heater all in one. And maybe it could also dehumidify, and act as a hairdryer too. Check our Dyson discount codes to save on your order.
• Read our full Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Formaldehyde review
The AEG AX3 is compact and, as such, is ideal for a smaller room such as a nursery or home office. It's pleasingly quiet as well, with a minimum noise level of 26 dB when used in Sleep Mode function, and 50 dB when the fan is pumping out at maximum speed.
Despite being small, the AX3 doesn't skimp on features, with a Smart mode that uses a laser particle sensor to detects changes in air quality and automatically adjusts the fan speed for optimum air cleaning and levels of comfort.
It's efficient too, with the spiral outlet creating an upward cyclone that distributes the cleaner air efficiently and without disturbance. AEG claims it can reach an area of up to 40m2 (based on Swedish regulations of air changes per hour), which is very impressive considering this is such a compact device. Just don't mistake it for a paper bin or Bluetooth speaker.
If you want something a bit sexier than your average air purifier, and don't need the fan function of the Dyson, look no further than the latest incarnation of the Philips Series 3000i – AC3033/30 to its friends. It stands even higher than the Blueair Classic 480i at 64.5cm but is overall way smaller, with a neat cylindrical appearance that resembles a very stylish pedal bin, or a Dalek made over by Joseph Joseph.
Cleaning performance is impressive, with an average size bedroom going from particle-riddled to pure – at least according to the screen and app of the 3000i – in about 20 minutes. Philips claims an effective cleaning area of 104 m sq for the 3000i, thanks to its 360º cleaning circle. However, unless you can place the device bang in the middle of the room, and not trip over it, I'm not sure you'll ever get that kind of coverage. Realistically, it's going to go near a wall or even in a corner, where much of its 360º field of influence is rendered moot.
In night mode this cylindrical air purifier at least as quiet as the Blueair, and the size and appearance of it make it far more suitable for bedroom use. However, it also needs a lot more maintenance as you have to vacuum off the filter every month or so. That's not a lot of maintenance, granted, but the Blueair seems to require absolutely none.
Okay, we're not going to lie, a big part of the reason we like AEG AX7 so much is because of the way it looks. This large air purifier looks more like a Bluetooth speaker, with interchangeable fabric covers and optional legs, which you can change to suit the decor of your room. You can even mount it on a wall, so it doesn't take up precious floor space, or, alternatively, carry it to different rooms using the luxe leather handle.
The AX7 is powerful, too, with a five-stage air purification system enables the capture of up to 99.93% of particles 2,5 micrometer in size and up to 92% of common Volatile Organic Compounds. The AX7's air flow system combines 360-degree air intake – covering the edges of the front panel and a 3D fan. AEG claims it can purify a room in just seven minutes, although there are lots of asterisks after that claim.
Finally, the AX7 works alongside a pretty decent companion app, called AEG Wellbeing. It allows you to control and schedule specific tasks, as swell as keep track of you air quality.
Undeniably a hefty thing, the Blueair Classic 480i is a big hitter in every way. With a HEPASilent filtering system that uses both mechanical and electrostatic filtration, it simply needs to be set up in a suitable space and then left until the app tells you the filter needs replacing. Once set on Auto mode, this Swedish made machine will monitor the air quality and flick between its three power settings as required. It then returns to standby mode once the air has been made pure.
That's about all you need to know, really. The two lower power settings are very quiet and the maximum suck level is only needed when things get very serious. The Blueair Classic 480i comes with a HEPA particle filter, but you can upgrade to a SmokeStop filter with a carbon layer. That's for if you want to use the 480i as additional kitchen extraction, or have a house full of smokers.
It seems to us that if you want to get an air purifier, there's not much point settling for half measures. This big unit looks quite like something you'd find in an industrial setting, and it also works like one. The sheer lack of maintenance involved is another huge plus.
Dyson's Pure Cool tower purifying fan aka TP04 is not only the best Dyson fan you can buy, it's also a highly effective air purifier. It senses and captures VOCs and 99.95 per cent of fine particles, allergens and pollutants, then spins down and awaits the next onslaught of air-borne foulness.
The dual filters – one for smoke, one for particles – last for about a year, and Dyson's app is pretty effective these days, with reliable control in and out of the home and via Google Home or Alexa, with a compatible speaker. Our only reservation is that we do not find the app's warnings of bad air terribly soothing. It goes red and plasters the word 'EXTREME' across your phone screen if you so much as burn some toast.
• Update: you can now get the Dyson Pure Humidify+Cool. As you can probably guess, it is the Dyson Pure Cool, with the added bonus of a humidifier.
A premium look for the new Hoover H-Purifier makes it instantly appealing but the feature set and performance quickly backs up its aesthetics. A minimalist appraoch to the controls make it even more inviting, even though there's plenty on offer to suit all kinds of room scenarios.
Setup is quick and easy, with the power switch, Wi-Fi indicator and diagnostic readings displayed on the unit, plus the core Sleep, Auto and Max operational settings on show too. You can get more from the supporting app hOn app, which gives a much bigger picture on what the appliance is doing for your air quality although the unit functions quite merrily if you can't be bothered with it.
Despite this being the middle option in the new Hoover air purifier range performance is solid. There are three levels of filtration and its H-Trifilter setup includes a HEPA (H13) filter, which Hoover claims can tackle 99.97% of particles up to 0.3 microns.
The unit has also been tested by the British Allergy Foundation, which has given it the seal of approval while the Clean Air Delivery Rate (or CADR) dust rating is 330 m3/h. If you’re so inclined there’s also a diffuser, which can circulate 100% natural essential oils or probiotics.
Read our full review of the Hoover H-Purifier 500.
According to some statistics, air on the road can be ‘15 times worse than off-road outdoor air’. Of course you could just close the windows and whack on the air-con which is likely to have a pollen filter built in. But when did you last change the filter? Unless you have a newer car with a factory-fitted HEPA filter incorporated into the air-con system, chances are at least some roadside pollutants will be sucked right in. And what if you travel with your dogs in tow or you puff like a chimney when driving?
What you probably need is a compact in-car air purifier like this small-form model from reputable Swedish manufacturer Blueair. At just 20 x 20 x 10cm, the Cabin P2i’s black fabric covering is designed to blend in with most cars’ interiors. To use, simply strap it onto the rear side of the front seat headrest and plug it into the car’s 12v lighter socket. Its replaceable HEPASilent filter is said to purify the air in the cabin in ‘less than six minutes’ with five air changes per hour, and that could well be true because this writer definitely noticed that the air in the car’s cabin smelled sweeter after about 15 minutes of use. According to Blueair, the Cabin P2i provides ‘95% filtration efficiency against PM 2.5, formaldehyde, benzene, tire wear, pollen, dust and industrial emissions’ and I won’t argue with that.
Rather like the best home models, the Cabin P2i’s fan speed ramps up whenever its built-in sensors detect higher levels of particles in the air and thankfully it’s pretty silent so you’re unlikely to hear it, even when directly behind your head. It will also relay air quality info to your phone via the Blueair Friend app.
If you’re concerned about the air that you breathe when out and about, the Cabin P2i (opens in new tab) is a worthwhile consideration and not just for cars but also campers, RVs and caravans.
Do air purifiers really work?
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor air quality can be two to five times – and occasionally up to 100 times – more polluted than the air outside. Indeed, you only need shine an ultra bright torch indoors with the lights off to see a whole swathe of allergy-inducing crap floating about in the beam: dust, skin particles, pet dander, smoke, pollen… aircraft, UFOs, ghosts… all sorts of weird gubbins.
An air purifier basically works like a vacuum cleaner, gently sucking in the air around it and trapping the pollutants it captures in a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air). Cleaned air is then expelled back into the room. A few purifiers will also electrically charge (ionise) the air molecules during the process, which is also said to help further improve the air we breathe. We're not at all convinced by that, but if it makes you happy, great.
There is zero evidence that anyone will live longer because they buy an air purifier. However, if you suffer from asthma, hay fever or any sensitivity or allergic reactions to particles (or are simply hung up on hygiene), you could benefit from buying one.
For most people, there are probably 'well-being' as opposed to true 'health' benefits to having an air purifier, comparable to using a water purifier. No, drinking tap water in most western countries is probably not going to harm you, but using a filter makes it more pleasing to drink. The same holds true for air purifiers.