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9 Best Air Purifiers for Clean Breathing (2022)

Architectural Digest 10/10/2022 Audrey Lee

If you’re prone to coughing and sneezing indoors, your air quality could be to blame—and that's where the best air purifiers come in. These powerful machines will rid your home of airborne dust mites, pesky dander, and other airborne pollutants. 

We put leading air purifiers to the test to find out which ones truly deserve the title of best. Ahead, discover the purifiers that came out on top, complete with thorough reviews based on our editors' in-home tests. 

Jump straight to any individual review or check them all out. (And scroll to the bottom for our quick tips for picking out the best air purifier for your home!)

  1. Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde
  2. Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Air Purifier, Heater, and Fan
  3. Coway Airmega 250 Smart Air Purifier
  4. Blueair Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier
  5. My Happi Air Purifier
  6. Sans HEPA 13 Air Purifier
  7. Levoit Core 400S Smart True HEPA Air Purifier
  8. Bulex Air Purifier
  9. Bissell Air Purifier
© Provided by Architectural Digest

Dyson Purifier Humidify+Cool Formaldehyde

$940.00, Dyson

Tester: Rachel Fletcher, commerce editor

My space: I have pretty intense dust and fragrance allergies and I work from home a lot these days with a large dog in an old building. It’s not an exceptionally dusty space, but we live on a block with a decent amount of car traffic and I’m pretty much always obsessing about the air quality. If I start sneezing or waking up with a sore throat, I want answers!

Area coverage: The Humidify+Cool is meant to work in a single room at a time (it was previously tested by Dyson in an 81 cubic feet chamber), and I placed it in my bedroom, which is the smallest room in my home.

Filter replacements: Filter replacements cost $79.99 and it’s recommended that they be replaced once every year. Installing them initially was quite quick–they snapped into place fairly easily.

My experience: It’s rare to find a machine that can purify your air, humidify it, and cool down a space all in one–so I was impressed right off the bat. An update to earlier Dyson models, this machine does all that and aside from getting rid of the usual particles, it also removes formaldehyde (which can cause even more irritation to your eyes and throat) from the air.

The Humidify+Cool has a HEPA filtration system and a separate carbon filter detects formaldehyde. I guess it could be due in part to my obsession with clean air, but, so far, the Dyson has reported good air quality every time I’ve checked in–the only exceptions being after I’ve lit candles or cooked something on the stovetop. But when the air quality has dipped below ideal levels, it doesn’t seem to take much time for the purifier to do the job once I turn up the fan speed (it should be noted that this model also has an auto purify setting that will kick into high gear if the quality dips, but it is a little loud for my taste so I tend to keep it on a lower setting).

While I hate having an app for literally every device in my home, installing the Dyson Link app really did make installation a snap. And I love being able to check in on the air stats (temperature, particle level, humidity level, etc) whenever I want. You can also control the fan speed, oscillation range, and set timers from the app.

As for specific features I appreciate, filling the water tank from the top is a huge plus and it’s large enough that it doesn’t have to be refilled every day. I also appreciate the night mode setting, which makes everything a little quieter and less bright.

What I would change: This may be a misconception about the purpose of a humidifier, but I am used to really intense humidifiers that emit visible plumes of moist steam all night long. This is not that. The humidity that the Dyson model generates in the house is definitely a healthy and reasonable level (most sources recommend 30–50% humidity, and the Dyson, at its highest humidity setting, hovers around 60%), but if you are like me and want more targeted humidity in the super dry winter months, this is not the machine for you and you might want to stick to separate devices for purifying, humidifying, and cooling.

The bottom line: Aside from the note above, this is a really expensive device, coming in at more than $800. That said, it might actually save you money in the long run if you don’t want to buy a purifier, a fan, and a humidifier individually and you want a powerful device for each activity. I’d recommend it if you have deep pockets and not a ton of challenging air pollution situations to combat on the regular.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Air Purifier, Heater, and Fan

$670.00, Best Buy

Tester: Audrey Lee, commerce writer

My space: I’m always looking for ways to protect myself from anything that could flare up my eczema and dust allergies, but once pollen gets thrown into the mix, all bets are off. While I do a pretty good job of catching the visible aggressors with dusting and vacuuming around my house, it’s difficult to monitor microscopic allergens and airborne contaminants, so I’m usually left sniffling or itching during transitional seasons.

Area coverage: Dyson’s Purifier Hot+Cool is great for medium to large rooms and can easily cover an area of up to 315 square ft (2860 cubic feet) if not more, according to tests conducted by Dyson. I kept mine in my bedroom, which is about 170 square feet. 

Filter replacements: Filter replacements run about $80 from Dyson, though cheaper alternatives do exist from outlets like Amazon (just know these off-brand versions have been reported to work to varying degrees). The filters easily snap into the chamber-like base of the purifier and Dyson recommends replacing your filters when you’re alerted by the app or every 12 months, whichever comes first.

My experience: In addition to a small remote control, there’s also the Wifi-enabled Dyson Link app, which you can download to your smart device. I usually detest having to download an app to get the most out of my tech and appliances, though the Link app made setup a breeze; plus, if you own more Dyson home products it’s easy to manage them all in one place. 

The purifier itself works like a dream, and I noticed within a week of use that I felt noticeably less congested. The intuitive device uses a 360° filtration system that implements a combination of activated carbon to remove potentially harmful gases and odors from the air and a HEPA H13 filter to capture 99.97% of particles. I appreciated that the Hot+Cold has an auto mode, which continuously monitors room temperature and indoor air quality, while also running the fan or heat to the degree of your choosing.

When you first turn on the purifier, it immediately starts assessing the surrounding air quality, and you can monitor any fluctuations in general air quality, particles smaller than 2.5 microns (PM2.5), particles smaller than 10 microns (PM10), volatile organic compounds usually from air sprays or aerosol (VOCs), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), as well as temperature and humidity. I was particularly fond of this feature and frequently looked at these charts to see how the levels would rise or decrease over long periods of time.

Visually, the Dyson purifier definitely grabs attention with its sleek, modern design—a big draw to me when incorporating it into my space. Noise was never something that bothered me, though it emits louder sounds when the fan/heater is on a higher level or if it’s working to clean the air in a more polluted space. Besides its impressive air purification skills, the device doubles and triples as an oscillating smart fan and heater with adjustable airflow which I became hugely hooked on during winter (on account of some drafty windows in my room). With the ability to set your desired temperature, the heater can make a closed space feel noticeably warmer in very little time (my room size is average and I would say it took under 10 minutes).

The bottom line: I really love this air purifier because I can feel and see it working (via the app). At $650 a pop, this air purifier is definitely a splurge. Are there other air purifiers out there that work just as well at a lower price point? Probably—but I would say it’s the combination of a high-quality air purifier, fan, and heater that make this one worth its price.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

Coway Airmega 250 Smart Air Purifier

$325.00, Amazon

Tester: Nick Mafi, features editor

My space: Luckily, the air quality in my home is pretty good and I don’t smoke nor do I live with any animals. I will say that I live in Brooklyn and my windows face a street. So, naturally, some dust from the street does find its way into my apartment.

Area coverage: My apartment is 814 square feet and I have the air purifier unit located in the center of the apartment, next to a wall. At this size, the purifier can and does cycle and clean the air that spans the entirety of the space. (It can clean air in large spaces up to 930 square feet.)

Filter replacements: New filters cost about $79 and replacing the pre-filter (the first of four filters) is very simple. You simply pull the washable pre-filter out of the device, clean it, allow it to properly dry, then slide it back into place.

My experience: My experience with the air purifier to date has been a very good one. When turned on, it is very quiet. This is important because I typically turn the unit on while having friends over for dinner. I do this to create an extra level of protection in my apartment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the noise level of the product is important, so as not to drone out people speaking at the table. Fortunately, it’s not an issue with this machine. The design of the product is great, too. It almost looks like a fancy, sort of futuristic speaker. In fact, it’s turned into a bit of a dinner table conversation, as people often don’t immediately guess that it’s a purifier.

In terms of the technology, Coway’s unit has a four filtration system, which in and of itself is kind of incredible. I mean, how often do we get four layers of protection for anything? The first layer is for the larger dust particles or pet hairs. Then, the second layer involves capturing the small particles that made it through. The third layer is carbon activated, which means it can extract carbon dioxide and other harmful chemicals from the air. The fourth and final layer involves the capturing and containment of viruses and bacteria.

In terms of smart features, I was impressed with how I could control everything from the tap of a button on my smartphone. The app also allows me to set a timer for the duration that I’d like the purifier to stay on, while also providing a detailed report on the air quality in real-time.

The bottom line: I would recommend this air cleaner to anyone who is in the market. At this time, when clean air in your home is so important, this air purifier is a must for those who can afford it. I think the fact that this filter involves four layers of protection, and that the fourth actually contains and extracts 99.999% of viruses and bacteria is phenomenal. All the more so that it can do it in the midst of a global pandemic. And as we are starting to learn how to “live” with the pandemic as part of our daily lives, having a state of the art air purifying system is all the more important. By paying $350, you are providing you and your family the safety and security to invite friends and family to your house, with much needed peace of mind, too.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier

$120.00, Amazon

Tester: Zoë Sessums, digital design writer

My space: Currently, I live in a house with two cats and a wood stove, so there is often some kind of fur, dander, and smoke in the air. I’ve also found that my gas stove puts out a decent amount of VOCs every time I cook, which isn’t great. Essentially, I find my allergies constantly shifting so I’m always trying to pay attention to the air in my house.

Area coverage: I use this air purifier in my bedroom (roughly 130 square feet), since it’s best for small spaces (up to 161 square feet).

Filter replacements: The filter replacements are only $20—you can even buy a replacement pre-filter (the sleeve on the outside) for only $8—and it is incredibly easy to replace. I didn’t even need to look at the instructions, so I’d say it is very intuitive.

My experience: I really like this purifier because of how quiet it is and how there are minimal bright indicator lights to bug me at night (I really need a totally dark room). It’s also a very unobtrusive object—it tucks into a corner quite easily and has various outer sleeve color options if you do want it to pop in a room. While it doesn’t have a ton of extra features or buttons, I enjoy how simple and efficient it is—when you want a great little air purifier for your room, this is the way to go. It’s also easy to clean—I’ve used a vacuum on it and I’ve hand washed the pre-filter/cover.

According to Blueair’s website, the purifier is ENERGY STAR rated to use less energy than the average LED lightbulb, so you can keep it running all day without using too much energy. It also has a three-part filtration system, so the fabric pre-filter catches large particles like pet hair and dust and then the combination particle and carbon filter uses a layer of activated carbon to filter light household odors from pets, cooking, and smoking, while the main particle filter removes airborne particles like pollen, dust, and pet dander.

The bottom line: At $120 (or less when it's on sale!), I think this air purifier is worth the price. It’s an ideal option for a smaller space or single room, and with its ultra quiet operation, it is a great pick for a bedroom.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

My Happi Air Purifier

$120.00, Bed Bath and Beyond

Tester: Elise Portale, senior social media manager

My space: I live in a prewar apartment that is absolutely loaded with dust, not to mention that I have a cat (and light cat allergies), so my air quality is suspect for sure. My apartment is also a studio, which means that any weird smells, whether they’re from the kitchen or litter box, are inescapable if not dealt with immediately.

Area coverage: The My Happi purifier can cycle air in spaces up to 500 square feet, which is perfect since my studio is less than 400. While the appeal of bedside purification was tempting, I opted to place My Happi in the kitchen, where garbage smells, cat food odor, and other symptoms of my pandemic lockdown depression reigned supreme.

Filter replacements: Filters for the My Happi cost $35, and wow! They’re insanely easy to replace. The My Happi is literally a canister—you open up the bottom, take the old filter out, set the new one in, and close it up. I’ve had water pitchers harder to work with. You can even “subscribe and save,” getting the filters automatically delivered to you every 6 months at a 10% discount.

My experience: As someone who has never had an air purifier before, I was a little intimidated and wasn’t totally convinced it would be worth the hassle of taking up space in my small apartment. But I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well it handles kitchen odors in particular. The key to the My Happi is the five-layer HEPA filter, which catches all sorts of particles in the air. It’s kind of incredible how much coverage this purifier has given how small the unit is—a huge plus, given I have so little square footage to give up to an appliance like this. Along those same lines, this thing is the quietest, which is ideal for a studio. If the air quality gets bad for some reason (the LED indicator changes color to indicate this), the fan picks up speed and can get quite loud, but it’s usually only for a moment or two. I’m so happy with this purifier that it’s really hard to think of any improvements. If only it could work double duty as a humidifier, then me and my eczema could be truly happy.

The bottom line: If you need a purifier, this is the one, I’m telling you. It’s so easy to use and maintain, and with such a tiny footprint to boot. If you’ve got a smaller space like I do and the thought of another appliance taking up space stresses you out, My Happi is for you. It’s barely bigger than a cookie jar and after a time, you’ll stop noticing it entirely. What you will notice is that bad smells, allergies, et cetera, don’t seem to bother you as much. It’s really a small thing that makes a huge difference.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

Sans HEPA 13 Air Purifier

$460.00, Sans

Tester: Sophia Herring, associate editor

My space: My boyfriend is a smoker so the air quality isn’t always the best in the apartment. I usually kick him out when he wants a smoke but regardless, the smell lingers. I’m super sensitive to everything: I’m asthmatic, I have pollen allergies and super intense dust allergies. Whenever I sleep in an old house, I can feel it the next morning. I wake up very congested.

Area coverage: The purifier has air coverage up to 1,560 square feet every hour, or 780 square feet every half hour. I have mine in the living room which has about 800 square feet.

Filter replacements: You will be alerted when it’s time to replace the filter and each provides about three months of continuous use. Replacements cost $39.99 and slip right in so it’s super easy.

My experience: This purifier is an amazing find. The design is super unobtrusive and fits seamlessly in front of a white wall without much visual obstruction. It’s also very quiet—so much so that I frequently forget it’s there.

I appreciate it most whenever we cook, and the fumes and smoke fill up the living room (since our kitchen is windowless and relatively unventilated). Each time, the Sans blinks and signals an upward motion, telling us where the air impurities were. It has a HEPA 13 medical grade filter, which is said to remove 99.97% of air bacteria. Within no time, it clears the smells and the fumes. It’s particularly amazing in winter, when the last thing you want to do is keep the windows open for the freezing cold air to clear everything out.

The bottom line: For those who are willing to splurge on a durable purifier to stand the test of time, I definitely recommend it (I would love for it to come in different sizes someday!). The filtration system is really high-end, and the quietness is not something you always get with purifiers. It also has a bunch of other great qualities such as auto-cleaning, U.V. light self-sterilization, and an air quality display to keep you in the know. Although not all of this is needed, having it has been a very welcome added bonus.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

Levoit Core 400S Smart True HEPA Air Purifier

$220.00, Amazon

Tester: Rebecca Grambone, associate social media manager

My space: No matter how much I dust my bedroom in my apartment, the wooden floors always seem to get dusty the next day. I live with two other roommates and my bedroom is attached to a hallway that we all are constantly walking through to get to the bathroom or the laundry area. I’ve realized recently that having a bedroom near a “high traffic” area of the apartment may be the culprit behind my dust issue, especially if people are walking through after having been outside.

Area coverage: The effective range of the air purifier is 403 square feet and can be used in larger areas, however purification will take longer. I used it in my bedroom, which is approximately 12 feet by 13.

Filter replacements: The filter replacements for this particular model cost around $50. I haven’t had to replace my filter yet since it lasts about 12 months. However, when you first take the air purifier out of its delivery packaging, you have to remove the filter from a plastic covering and place it back in the purifier. I found this process super simple since all you have to do is twist the bottom portion of the purifier off, remove the filter, put the cleaned filter (or a new one) back in, and then twist the bottom portion back on.

My experience: After about a week using the air purifier in my bedroom (along with regular dusting), I noticed that I wasn’t waking up with puffy eyes anymore. This may sound cliché, but the air in my room felt crisper and definitely cleaner. I specifically liked the Auto Mode feature that adjusts the fan settings automatically based on the current air quality in the room. I also appreciated the Sleep Mode feature that keeps the air purifier operating quietly by using a fan speed lower than low speed, this way I could use it throughout the night without the sound disrupting my sleep. I found it interesting that this air purifier has a 3-Stage Filtration system: the first is a pre-filter that captures larger particles such as dust and pet fur, the second is a H13 True HEPA filter that “captures at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in size,” and the third is a custom high-efficiency activated carbon filter that absorbs smoke, odors, and fumes. Each of these filters also serves the purpose of maximizing the filter’s life which I find makes this purifier a good investment. 

I was also impressed with other high-tech features such as the VeSync app, which allows you to control the air purifier from your smartphone by connecting it through Bluetooth. Having access to the app allows you to easily view the air quality in the room you have the air purifier set up in with words like “good” or “very good.” You can also view the air purifier’s filter life, as well as set up features such as “Auto Clean,” which turns the air purifier on automatically when the air quality is bad and “Auto Stop,” which automatically turns the air purifier off when the air quality is good. I also found it helpful that the app lets you view how long you’ve had the air purifier running as well as how much air has been purified. You can visibly see the job getting done! 

For someone who really isn’t that tech savvy, I found everything to be easily accessible. Sometimes products add all this extra tech just as a bonus, but I truly felt that each and every tech feature that this air purifier had to offer was functional and beneficial.

What I would change: One downside of this air filter is that it’s definitely on the larger and bulkier side and you definitely need to have the space for it, especially since the manual recommends keeping it 15 inches from anything surrounding it.

The bottom line: Overall, I found this air purifier very effective! I would recommend this specific product to anyone who is looking for more of a high-tech option that will definitely get the job done. However, you definitely have to have the space for it, as it is not a sleek and sexy option compared to other air purifiers on the market that are on the pricier side.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

Bulex Air Purifier

$129.99.00, Amazon

Tester: Kristi Kellogg, contributor

My space: We live in a three-story townhome in Los Angeles. I use the Bulex in our living room. In addition to the Bulex Air Purifier, we also use a robot vacuum daily in this room to cut down on pet dander and dust in the area. 

Area coverage: The Bulex is a powerful air purifier that can clean an 808 square foot room in in one hour, which it makes it the perfect fit for our downstairs living room, which is part of a large, open floorplan. It’s tucked into the corner of the living room area, which is where my husband and I spend most of our time (along with our pets). Since we spend so much time there, I wanted to make sure this area could always have purified air.

Filter replacements: The Bulex has a filter reset reminder on the touch panel screen that will conveniently remind you when it’s time to replace it. The Bulex filters are designed to last for 2,000 hours  apiece, depending on the air quality in the area. It’s worth noting that the Bulex HEPA filter has 161 folds that offer triple expansion compared to a normal HEPA filtration area, which gives each filter a long lifespan.

My experience: I’m obsessed with it. I always wondered if air purifiers worked and, after using this, I can confidently say that they do. I feel like the air literally smells better after I use it—but that might just be my imagination. I don’t use it everyday, but whenever we have company, I make sure to turn it on so the air is extra fresh and the level of airborne germs can be reduced. I also make sure to turn it on any time after I clean the house so that the smell of cleaning solution is aired out more quickly.

One of my main concerns was cutting down the pet dander it the air, which the purifier does with ease. It also cuts out other particulate matter including allergens, dust, and smoke from the air. The fact that it eliminates smoke is a really nice feature that comes in handy when there are wildfires nearby, which normally leave the whole house smelling smoky. It has a four-stage purification system (most purifiers only have three), and LED touch panel, timer settings, and automatic filter replacement notifications. 

The bottom line: I definitely would buy this again. Of the two air purifiers I own, the Bulex is my favorite. It’s more expensive, but Amazon is currently offering a $60-off coupon which knocks the price down to just $70 total. As long as that coupon is active, I would hands-down go for this air purifier—especially if you need an air purifier for larger rooms.

© Provided by Architectural Digest

BISSELL MYair Air Purifier

$93.00, Amazon

Tester: Kristi Kellogg, contributor

My space: We live in a three-story townhome in Los Angeles. I use the Bissell in the bedroom where my husband, two dogs, and I sleep. 

Area coverage: The Bissell is designed for small spaces around 100 square feet. The bedroom I use it in is a bit bigger, but I can attest that the Bissell nonetheless makes a noticeable difference in the quality of the air. 

Filter replacements: Bissell recommends replacing the air filters every three months, and the process is easy and intuitive. OEM replacement filters are available on Bissell, and generic replacement filters can be found on Amazon.

My experience: This was the first air purifier I ever bought. I purchased it in the height of Covid, and it gave me peace of mind that the air in our bedroom was fresh and clean. It’s always worked great and left the air in the room feeling crisp and well circulated. It’s also impressively quiet. Even on the highest setting, it’s still not loud and the “low” and “whisper quiet” speed settings are even quieter, of course. I also love how compact it is: It’s less than five pounds, stands 12" tall, and has an has an 8” diameter. I personally have it in white, but it’s also available in blue and lavender.

The bottom line: This is a solid choice, and I’ve always been happy with it. When it’s on sale, the price goes as low as $74—and that’s pretty hard to beat! If you need an air purifier for a bedroom, dorm room, or office, this is a super solid choice. And I think the lavender or blue would be so nice in a kid’s room (and if you leave the optional glowing light on it can double as an energy-efficient night light).

4 Things to Keep in Mind When Shopping for Air Purifiers

Now that you know some of our favorite air purifiers, it's your turn to go shopping. Whether you stick with one of our top picks or branch out, these are the things we recommend keeping in mind when choosing an air purifier. 

  • Consider the area coverage. 

    Not all air purifiers are created equally. While some devices like the My Happi are designed to purify small rooms, others (like the Coway’s AirMega series ) are designed to cover up to 930 square feet. Before you buy an air purifier, consider where you're going to be using it. That will help you pick the right air purifier for your space.

  • Look for top-tier filtration systems.

    The most important thing about any air purifier is how well it filters the air. The gold standard is the HEPA filter. So, what is a HEPA filter? HEPA stands for “high efficiency particulate air" and any filter with this designation can trap 99.97 percent of particles that are 0.3 microns. According to Coway, HEPA air filters were originally created to capture radioactive particles during atomic bomb tests in World War II. Today’s HEPA filters—usually made out of maze-like, interlaced glass fibers—are used to trap air contaminants like dust, mold, and pollen.

  • Factor in the cost and frequency of air filter replacements.

    Replacing your air filters when it’s time is crucial in ensuring your air purifier is performing at its highest efficiency. We’ve outlined the cost and process of replacing filters for each of these units—from the more cost-effective Blueair to the splurge-y Dyson—but strongly recommend you check out the cost to maintain your air purifier before hitting “add to cart.”

  • Last but not least, find an air purifier that will blend with its intended surroundings.

    The main factor in any air purifier is, of course, how well it cleans your home air. But ideally, you can find a low-profile, well designed air purifier that will fit your home aesthetic (it will, after all, be on display).

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