The Best Air Purifiers for Allergy Relief

Air purifiers help eliminate dust, dander, pollen, mold, and other airborne contaminants that contribute to respiratory issues. The best air purifiers will improve your home's indoor air quality with a top-notch filtration system and have a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR).

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Best Air Purifier for Allergies

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Nobody wants to breathe in dust, dander, pollen, and mold. Unfortunately, though, the air in our homes is loaded with these pollutants, thanks to poor ventilation and the use of household chemicals, gas-burning appliances, and smoke-producing tobacco products. Once airborne, these irritants often act as allergens.

Air purifiers are designed to improve the situation by catching contaminants and removing them from the air. The best air purifiers draw air through one or more filters. The filtration traps the impurities before recirculating clean air back into the room. The higher the quality of a filter, the better it can remove dust, animal dander, pollen, mold spores, and other pollutants from the air.

  1. BEST OVERALL: Alen FLEX Air Purifier
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier
  3. BEST UPGRADE: Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
  4. BEST IN TECH: Coway Airmega 400
The Best Air Purifiers Option

Photo: amazon.com

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Air Purifier

Filtering Options

  • HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters are the most effective at catching airborne irritants that plague allergy sufferers. These filters are certified to trap 99.97 percent of all particles of a certain length (0.3 microns or larger). The downside of HEPA filters is their replacement cost. Look for a purifier that incorporates additional filters to trap larger particles before they reach the HEPA filter. That can ultimately help your HEPA filter last longer.
  • Carbon filters can reduce the amount of some volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are gaseous particles often found in paint, varnish, cleaning products, carpeting, wood preservatives, and other common household items. These filters can also remove odors. But they, too, must be replaced every few months to maintain effectiveness. For best results, carbon filters should be included as part of the prefiltering system in units that also contain HEPA filters.
  • Ozone-producing air cleaners claim to work by increasing oxygen molecules and activating negative ions to eliminate harmful airborne bacteria. The Environmental Protection Agency has determined, however, that ozone is detrimental to the human respiratory system. For that reason, some health experts discourage the use of ozone-producing air cleaners and their use is often regulated.
  • Ion-exchange technology and electrostatic technology can increase the effectiveness of filter-type air purifiers by attracting particles through static electricity and trapping them. When combined with HEPA filtering, these products can be quite effective. They require frequent cleaning, however, to keep them working well. Some ion-exchange and electrostatic purifiers can emit harmful ozone as a by-product of purifying the air, so check the purifier’s operating manual (or the information on the box) to ensure that your purchase does not emit ozone.

Capacity

Air purifiers are tested and rated according to the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) scale, which indicates the volume of air that a particular machine can clear of a given size of particle, as measured in cubic feet per minute. The higher the rating, the greater the efficiency.

  • 25 to 450 removes pollen
  • 10 to 450 removes tobacco smoke
  • 10 to 400 removes dust

The purifier’s box and the owner’s manual should indicate the machine’s air-cleaning capacity according to room size.

Total Cost

When shopping for a purifier, consider the filter replacement cost as well as the machine’s initial price. An inexpensive unit that requires expensive replacement filters may not be a bargain.

Air purifiers with HEPA filters range from the small and low-priced all the way up to high-capacity models with multiple filtering systems that treat large areas. To increase the useful life of any HEPA filter, take additional steps to keep the air clean, such as vacuuming and dusting daily, banning indoor smoking, and limiting the use of candles.

Technology Features

Most modern air purifiers have some impressive technology incorporated into them. Multiple speed settings, programmable day and night cycles, sealed systems for noise reduction, and remote controls are common features for many brands.

Our Top Picks

We looked at factors like filtering system, capacity, tech features, total cost, and more to determine the best air purifier options.

Best Overall

The Best Air Purifiers Option: Alen FLEX Air Purifier
Photo: amazon.com

For relief overnight, you need an ultra-quiet air purifier like the Alen FLEX Air Purifier, featuring WhisperMax technology that limits noise to a soft, almost pleasant hum. The manufacturer does not perform CADR testing but emphasizes the unit’s high-capacity HEPA-Pure filter, designed to trap airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. Treating rooms up to 700 square feet in area, this purifier operates in four modes, including sleep mode, all while its sleek design (available in 14 designer colors) allows the unit to look at home in your space. Purchase replacement filters separately and change out once every six to nine months.

Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Air Purifiers Option: Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier
Photo: amazon.com

Despite its relatively low price tag, the Winix doesn’t skimp on features or effectiveness. Of course, it removes dust, pollen, and smoke, delivering competitive CADR numbers for each. But it also goes further than many air purifiers. For one thing, its Winix PlasmaWave technology filters out disagreeable odors and chemical vapors. For another, its Smart Sensor reads the air and automatically modulates the air purifier’s fan speed up or down as needed. Filter replacement costs are lower than that of many competitors, which is a plus considering replacement may be necessary as often as four times per year.

Best Upgrade

The Best Air Purifiers Option: Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
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Entertaining at home is nothing to sneeze at. Ensure easy breathing in a large great room or family room by purifying up to 700 feet of living space with the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier. Thanks to its combination of a high-efficiency HEPA filter, two pre-filters, and an activated carbon filter, the Rabbit Air achieves impressive CADR numbers: 200 for pollen, 193 for dust, and 180 for smoke. This unit has five daytime and operating speeds in addition to a night mode. The filter lasts a relatively long time, too, and typically only needs replacement once per year.

Best in Tech

The Best Air Purifiers Option: Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
Photo: amazon.com

Though it’s more expensive than the other options on this list, the Coway Airmega 400 is worth the upgrade for its impressive technology features. This model’s pollution sensor communicates indoor air quality in real-time via a brightly colored LED ring. Based on the current air quality, the Coway’s Smart Mode automatically adjusts its fan settings to provide the most effective and energy-efficient air cleaning action. This purifier can clean the air in a room twice in one hour, thanks to its fast and powerful dual suction. Best of all, it has a massive capacity of 1,560 square feet, so it’s perfect to use in any size room.