Our homes are loaded with dust mites, pet dander, pollen, and other indoor air pollutants. Poor ventilation and the use of household chemicals, gas-burning appliances, and tobacco products all contribute to less-than-healthy indoor air. Even worse, once airborne, these irritants can irritate allergies and asthma. Fortunately, air purifiers for allergies can reduce the number of airborne pollutants in a home so the whole family can breathe more easily.
Air purifiers act as filtration systems, catching contaminants and removing them from the air. Ahead, learn about some of the most important features to look for when shopping for the best air purifiers for allergies as well as our top picks.
- BEST OVERALL: Blueair Blue Pure 411+
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Winix 5300-2 True HEPA Purifier With PlasmaWave
- BEST LUXURY: Rabbit Air MinusA2 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier
- BEST FOR AIR CIRCULATION: Dyson Pure Cool TP01 Purifying Fan
- BEST PERSONAL: Honeywell HPA100 True HEPA Air Purifier
- BEST WITH HEATER: Dyson Pure Hot+Cool HP01 Purifying Heater and Fan
- BEST FOR BEDROOMS: Coway Airmega Mighty AP-1512HH HEPA Air Purifier
- BEST FOR LARGE ROOMS: Bissell air220 Purifier With HEPA and Carbon Filters
- BEST FOR PET OWNERS: Levoit LV-H133 True HEPA Air Purifier
- ALSO CONSIDER: Alen BreatheSmart FLEX True HEPA Air Purifier
How We Chose the Best Air Purifier for Allergies
Those who suffer from allergies know that the right air purifier can ease respiratory problems while creating peace of mind. Selections for the best air purifiers for allergies depended upon their filtration type, square feet covered, noise level, airflow and filtration settings, and added special features included by select brands.
We researched the most sought-after air filtration systems in their respective categories and discovered that activated-carbon, UV, and HEPA air purifiers were among the most popular filtration types on the market. Not only do these types reduce the dust, pollen, and volatile organic compounds in your home’s air, but select models are also capable of reducing odors and eliminating toxic particles of 0.1 microns in size.
With this efficiency, keep in mind that many of the above picks are made for a certain size of space, ranging from 185 to 1,060 square feet depending upon where filtration is needed. Most also come with noise levels under 59 decibels (which is the volume of a typical conversation) and as low as 17 decibels (which is nearly silent). For added convenience, many air purifiers come with multiple modes or settings including an automatic or night mode.
Finally, some of the above air purifiers are made with multistep filtration, are compatible with mobile apps, have built-in air pollution sensors, or are portable air cleaners that can be moved from room to room.
Our Top Picks
This list of products takes into consideration factors like filtering systems, capacity, tech features, and total cost to determine the best air purifier options on the market.
While some larger models are bulky and difficult to move from room to room, this Blueair Blue Pure is a lightweight and portable air purifier, weighing just 3.4 pounds. Despite its small size, it’s extremely effective at filtering air in rooms as large as 185 square feet every 12 minutes.
The Blue Pure purifier uses HEPA Silent filtration technology, which purports to be quieter and more energy efficient than true HEPA filters while still filtering 99.97 percent of particles of 0.3 microns or larger. An activated carbon filter in this Blue Pure helps to eliminate odors. It’s extremely quiet, operating at 17 decibels on its lowest setting and 46 decibels on the highest.
- Type: HEPA
- Room size recommendation: 185 square feet
- Noise level: 17 to 46 decibels
- Filters every 12 minutes; ideal for most offices, living rooms, and bedrooms
- HEPASilent filtration technology; limited noise pollution compared to similar purifiers
- Energy Star certified; uses less energy than an average LED light bulb on lowest setting
- Lightweight, portable design; this air purifier can be picked up and placed wherever needed
- Does not have an automatic mode; requires programming for every use
Get the Blueair air purifier for allergies at Amazon or Target.
Despite its relatively low price tag, the Winix 5300-2 air purifier doesn’t skimp on features or effectiveness. Of course, it removes dust mites, pollen, and smoke, delivering competitive Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) numbers for each. But it also goes further than many air purifiers. It comes with a true HEPA filter and features three-stage filtration.
Winix PlasmaWave technology filters out disagreeable odors and chemical vapors, while a 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.
- Type: Activated-carbon filter and HEPA
- Room size recommendation: 360 square feet
- Noise level:Unspecified
- Captures 99.99 percent of allergens including pollen, dust, smoke, pet dander, and other fine particles
- CADR tested and Energy Star certified, ensuring long-term reliability and cost savings
- Built-in dual air-quality sensors measure and adjust fan speed in real time
- Filters included; this air purifier is budget-friendly compared to similar options
- Some users report manufacturing defects with the models they received
Get the Winix air purifier for allergies at The Home Depot, Target, Best Buy, or Winnix.
Entertaining at home is nothing to sneeze at. Ensure easy breathing in a large great room or family room by purifying up to 815 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 prefilters, and an activated-carbon filter, the Rabbit Air achieves impressive CADR numbers: 171 for pollen, 173 for dust, and 166 for smoke.
This unit has five operating speeds in addition to a night mode. The filter lasts a relatively long time, too, and typically needs filter replacement only once per year.
- Type: HEPA filter and activated charcoal filter
- Room size recommendation: 815 square feet
- Noise level: 25.6 to 51.3 decibels
- 1 HEPA filter, 1 prefilter, and an activated-carbon filter included
- This CADR-tested model filters out pollen, dust, and smoke particles
- Versatile operation; includes 5 operating speeds and sleep mode, which is great for bedrooms use
- Filter replacement is only required once a year from user
- Expensive price point compared to similar air purifiers for allergies
- Some users report manufacturing defects with the models they received
Get the Rabbit Air air purifier for allergies at Amazon or Rabbit Air.
It sure looks cool, but another cool thing about the Dyson Pure Cool is that it pulls double duty as a smart air purifier. Use it to remove allergens from indoor air year-round and also use it to cool off with a breeze on warm days. The unit boasts 10 speed settings, including a nighttime sleep mode.
It’s Dyson’s “smart” capabilities that make it stand out, though. After downloading the Dyson mobile app, users can turn the air purifier on and off from their smartphone, program an operational schedule, and view real-time air-quality reports.
Dyson does not provide CADR numbers for its air purifier, but because it features a True-HEPA filter, we know it is capable of removing up to 99.97 percent of airborne allergens as small as 0.3 microns. Replacement filters, sold separately, should be used for 6 to 8 months.
- Type: HEPA
- Room size recommendation:Unspecified
- Noise level:Unspecified
- 10 speed settings included, which is ideal for most home environments
- This smart air purifier is compatible with the Dyson mobile app
- Filters fine particles as small as 0.3 microns in size
- Filters last for 8 months; limited filter changes compared to similar options
- No CADR testing was conducted; filters can be costly when it’s time to replace them
Get the Dyson Pure Cool TP01 air purifier for allergies at The Home Depot, Target, Best Buy, or Dyson.
The Honeywell HPA100 true HEPA air purifier is a compact, powerful appliance that is capable of filtering the air in spaces of 155 square feet, which is perfect for those who require a personal air purifier. Not only does this Honeywell model act as an air purifier, but it also functions as a fan or space heater, depending on the weather. Choose from low, medium, and high cleaning levels depending on indoor air-quality needs and rely on the Turbo setting for quick air-cleaning needs.
It also comes with an easy-to-access control panel for changing the current settings and scheduling the timers (2, 4, and 8 hours offered). Plus, this pick has an automatic shut-off feature and is an Energy Star-certified model for excellent energy efficiency. To keep air quality in check, this model has filter-change reminders for both the HEPA prefilter and main filter. Finally, this Honeywell air purifier comes with a built-in light that can be dimmed at night or can become a night light.
- Type: HEPA
- Room size recommendation: 155 square feet
- Noise level:Unspecified
- HEPA filter and prefilter are included for improved air quality
- Compact size; can fit on shelves, side tables, desktops, and other spaces
- Works as an air purifier, fan, and space heater if required
- Has an automatic shut-off function; also has 2-, 4-, and 8-hour timers built-in
- Energy Star certified; excellent energy efficiency option compared to similar air purifiers
- This model does not purify as much space as other comparable models
Get the Honeywell air purifier for allergies at Amazon, Best Buy, or CVS.
The Dyson Pure Hot+Cool HP01 is a powerful appliance that is capable of filtering the air in spaces as large as 800 square feet. Not only does this Dyson purifier act as an air purifier, but it also functions as a fan or space heater, depending on the weather. It’s capable of automatically detecting airborne particles and reporting them so users have a full picture of their home’s air quality.
Using a sealed HEPA filter, this Dyson purifier captures 99.97 percent of allergens as small as 0.3 microns. The filter should be swapped out once per year. It features 360-degree oscillation, 10 air-speed settings, and a nighttime mode that operates quietly with a dimmed display.
- Type: HEPA
- Room size recommendation:Unspecified
- Noise Level:Unspecified
- Filters particles as small as 0.3 microns as well as dust and pet dander
- Also functions as a fan or space heater; great all year round
- 360-degree oscillation covers the entire room; suitable for large homes
- Some users report manufacturing defects with the models they received
- Base gets hot when in use; not a great feature in the summer
- Expensive price point compared to similar air purifiers on the market
Get the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool HP01 air purifier for allergies at The Home Depot, Target, Best Buy, or Dyson.
For many, quiet operation is a top concern when shopping for a bedroom air purifier. That’s what makes the Coway Airmega Mighty AP-1512HH such an excellent choice. Despite having a coverage area of 361 square feet—which is large enough for most bedrooms—it operates quietly at just 24 decibels when on the lowest setting. Even when working at full power, it produces only 53 decibels of sound.
It’s also extremely effective at filtering out allergens because of its four-stage filtration system, which includes a prefilter, a deodorization filter, a true HEPA filter, and a vital ion filter. A pollution sensor evaluates air quality and displays the air-quality level using LED lights. The auto mode automatically selects the fan setting based on the air quality in the room. The fan even powers off after 30 minutes if the device fails to detect any pollutants in the room.
- Type: HEPA
- Room size recommendation: 361 square feet
- Noise level: 24 to 53 decibels
- 4-stage HEPA air purifier filters most common household pollutants and allergens
- Built-in pollution sensor for automated filtering; affordable price point compared to most options
- Some users report manufacturing defects in the models that they received
Get the Coway air purifier for allergies at Amazon, The Home Depot, or Coway.
The Bissell air220 purifier’s three-layer filtration system, which includes a fabric prefilter, a HEPA filter, and an activated-carbon filter, can remove more than 99 percent of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns from a 1,252-square-foot room.
The manufacturer’s CirQulate System monitors and provides colored-coded air-quality feedback and then adjusts to the appropriate fan speed. The Bissell air220 purifier will refresh all the air in the room within an hour and will eliminate pet dander and odors, smoke, dust, pollen, hair, and general household odors.
The filters are easily accessible from the front of the machine, so the appliance can rest directly against a wall and out of the way of foot traffic. A rear cord storage and concealment feature keeps the cord out of the way.
An automated feature on this smart air purifierwill set the fan to whisper-quiet operation and dim the display to create a peaceful environment for sleeping people and pets. As a bonus, its stylish design, with a midcentury exterior and retro wire stand, can fit into just about any home’s interior theme.
- Type: HEPA filters and activated carbon filters
- Room size recommendation: 1,252 square feet
- Noise level: Whisper (decibel measure unspecified)
- 3-layer filtration system tackles the most common air pollutants and allergens
- Removes 99 percent of airborne dust and other particles from a home’s air
- Color-coded air-quality monitor allows users to see their home’s air quality at any time
- Compact design; great for rooms that are tight on space
- Not Wi-Fi compatible; limited portability and quite heavy; does not have wheels
Get the Bissell smart air purifier for allergies at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Best Buy.
Pet owners require serious air-quality control, especially if there are allergy sufferers in the home. The Levoit LV-H133 air purifier uses a three-step filtration system, which includes a washable preliminary filter that traps large particles of dust and hair. A true HEPA filter captures small particles of pet dander and hair along with other pollutants and allergens. Not only that, but the carbon filter works to absorb odors to keep rooms smelling fresh.
Because of its tower shape, it works well in large spaces, purifying the air in a 442-square-foot room in just half an hour. The Auto Mode monitors air quality and adjusts the fan speed accordingly to save energy. On the lowest setting, the purifier is nearly silent at just 25 decibels.
- Type: HEPA and activated-carbon filter
- Room size recommendation:442 square feet
- Noise level: 25 decibels
- 3-step filtration system: washable preliminary filter, HEPA filter, and carbon filter
- Suitable for large spaces like living rooms, kitchens, and basements
- Automatic mode enables laser dust sensor, which detects airborne contaminants and adjusts fan speed accordingly
- Limited portability; heavier than comparable air purifiers on the market
Get the Levoit air purifier for allergies at Amazon.
For relief overnight, you need an ultra quiet air purifier like the Alen BreatheSmart FLEX, 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, the FLEX 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 any space. Purchase replacement filters separately, and change them out once every 6 to 9 months.
- Type: HEPA
- Room size recommendation: 700 square feet
- Noise level:25 to 50 decibels
- Catches particles as small as 0.3 microns in size; ideal for most homes
- 4 built-in modes for flexible operation; available in 14 colorways, matching various types of decor
- Suitable for long-term use; filters last for 6 to 9 months
- No CADR testing was conducted; filters are sold separately and can become costly over time
Get the Alen air purifier for allergies at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Alen.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Air Purifier for Allergies
While it’s easy to assume that all air purifiers perform similarly, several factors affect their functionality. The best air purifiers for smoke and allergies have HEPA filters, are the correct size for the space, and operate quietly. Keep reading to learn about some of the most important qualities to consider when shopping for the best air purifiers for allergies.
Types of Air Purifiers
Air purifiers come with different types of filtration, and some are more suitable for alleviating allergy symptoms than others. Some of the terms to be on the lookout for include HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, negative-ion and ultraviolet technology, and ozone-emitting purifiers. Each has its benefits and considerations.
HEPA Air Purifiers
If an air purifier has an industry-standard allergies and asthma, it can remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne particulates at a size of 0.3 microns or larger, which includes pet dander and small smoke particles. To put that into perspective, a micron is only 0.00004 of an inch in length, so HEPA air purifiers will trap even microscopic particles that are too small to see with the human eye.
Be aware that because they’re so dense and efficient at trapping tiny particles, HEPA filters tend to clog quickly, and HEPA replacement filters are on the pricey side compared to other types of replacement filters. However, if the air cleaner has one or more prefilters to trap larger particulates, the costly HEPA filter will often last longer—up to 2 years or more—before replacement is necessary.
Activated-Carbon Air Purifiers
Air purifiers with carbon filters keep odors to a minimum. Activated charcoal, the filter’s main ingredient, can filter out whiffs of wet-dog or litter-box odors to help keep the home smelling fresh. Activated-carbon air purifiers also can come with additional air filters within the same unit, working double duty to remove odors and trap airborne particulates.
A carbon filter often serves as a prefilter before a primary HEPA filter or another type. Depending on quality, a carbon filter also will remove smoke and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air and can get rid of cooking odors and many types of chemical smells.
UV Air Purifiers
Air purifiers with ultraviolet (UV) technology are designed to kill microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria. They perform the task by drawing the air past a strong UV light stream that destroys the microbes.
By itself, a UV purifier will not trap pet dander or fur; however, some UV air purifiers also feature a HEPA or other type of filter. If this is the case, they can trap and remove pet fur and pet dander in addition to destroying airborne bacteria and viruses.
Negative-Ion Air Purifiers
A negative ion is an electrically charged oxygen molecule with an added electron. Negative ions occur naturally after events such as lightning strikes or as a result of bright ultraviolet sunrays. A negative-ion air purifier artificially produces negative ions, and rather than drawing in air and trapping contaminants, this type of air purification injects invisible puffs of negative ions into a room.
The negative ions are drawn magnetically to airborne particles, and they bond with the particles. As a result, they are too heavy to remain airborne, so they subsequently fall to the floor or furniture. While this process removes debris from the air, it doesn’t remove it from the room altogether, so sitting on the sofa or a chair can bring the home’s residents into contact with the contaminants.
Some people like the smell of ozone and associate it with thunderstorms since lightning creates ozone in the atmosphere. Ozone generators emit ozone into a room. Often, they’re used in conjunction with negative ion purifiers, but the verdict is still out on whether they’re beneficial.
According to the EPA, inhaling ozone might be detrimental to the human respiratory system and can result in symptoms such as coughing, difficulty breathing, and throat irritation. As is the case with negative-ion purifiers, ozone generators don’t remove pollutants from the room; they just give the room a fresh-rain scent.
Air purifiers are labeled for specific room sizes, which are described in square feet. Calculate the square footage of a room by multiplying the length by the width. If you’d like to buy one air purifier to handle multiple rooms, add up the square footage for each room.
These machines are also labeled with a CADR. This value is influenced by filter efficiency and airflow in cubic feet per minute (cfm). The higher the CADR rating, the faster the unit can deliver clean air. CADR values can reach a maximum of 450 for smoke and pollen, while 400 is the highest score for dust.
While CADR is a standard for air purifier performance in the U.S., the values can be misleading for purifiers that contain filters other than standard HEPA filtration. Some manufacturers design air purifiers to circulate a lot of air at a faster rate, filtering only the larger contaminants. The CADR test does not take into account gasses, odors, or VOCs, which are targeted by carbon filters.
Another figure to keep in mind is the number of air changes per hour. This number shows how many times per hour the entire air volume of a room will be filtered. The rating may be shown for a different room size than the product’s “filters up to X square feet” statement, so be sure to read the fine print.
Energy Star is a joint program of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE). The program’s goal is to help customers, businesses, and industries save money and protect the environment using energy-efficient products and practices.
An Energy Star certification means that the unit uses less energy than standard products. These certified energy-efficient appliances usually have lower operating costs and create less air pollution than standard equipment. Look for the blue Energy Star logo to find certified products.
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a national system managed by the EPA that is used to measure and report air quality. AQI is affected by five major pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act: particle pollution, ground-level ozone, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. A benefit of using a home air purifier is that it can improve the AQI inside the home.
The AQI ranges from 0 to 500, with high values indicating greater air pollution levels. Good indoor air-quality conditions fall in the 0 to 50 range. Unhealthy values start at 100, indicating that the air is a moderate health concern for sensitive groups, including people with lung or heart disease, older adults, and children. Air is considered unhealthy for everyone if the AQI value is greater than 151, with the risks of adverse health effects increasing until conditions are deemed hazardous between 300 and 500.
If you live in an area associated with higher levels of air pollution, such as a city or town with industrial factories, power plants, or chemical facilities, awareness of the AQI is especially important. Certain home air purifiers feature an air-quality indicator, which typically uses an infrared beam and sensor to detect particulate matter. Some smart air purifiers are capable of automatically adjusting in response to higher- or lower-detected air-quality levels.
Some air purifiers are designed for travel. These small, portable air purifiers can help users sleep better in a new environment by reducing exposure to pollutants. These devices perform the same function as larger devices but are sized for smaller rooms. The best air purifiers for travel have a minimum CADR of 217, which is suitable for an average hotel room size of about 325 square feet.
Handles and caster wheels make it easier to move the machine when needed. Variable-speed options allow users to increase or decrease filtration power in response to changing conditions, like when there’s a fire in the fireplace. Remote-control ability using a smart-device app makes it easier to adjust the operation from other places in the home or away from home.
Cost and Filter Replacements
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 small and low-priced 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.
Different comfort and convenience features can make a good air purifier even better. Popular features include quiet operation, easy access for filter maintenance, smart technology, and more. Noise output is important for some users as well.
- Smart technology: Various smart technologies help home air purifiers perform efficiently and maximize user control. Onboard air-quality sensors can automatically adjust the output of the unit in response to the air quality in a home. Bluetooth connectivity, smart-device apps, and compatibility with personal digital assistants allow users to monitor air-quality conditions and control the unit while away from home.
- Filter change indicator: Filters need to be replaced periodically, so it helps to have indicator lights that remind owners when it’s time for a change. Changing a filter tends to be easier when filter covers and access points are located near the top or front of the machine and are fastened with magnets or sliding latches instead of screws.
- Functionality: Some air purifiers have additional functionality, acting as humidifiers, that help alleviate problems caused by overly dry air. They may also feature heaters or fans. Some units include a built-in night light that makes them particularly suitable for bedroom use.
- Noise level: Noise level can be an important factor when selecting an air purifier. Many air purifiers operate at about 60 decibels, about the same noise level as a normal conversation. Quiet air purifiers operate at a noise level below 55 decibels, making them a better alternative for bedrooms and home offices. There also are quiet models that operate at 25 decibels or lower.
Though you now know more about air purifiers, you might still have questions about how to use them. The following are answers to some of the most common questions about how to select and maintain an air purifier. For whole-house air purification to be successful, consider a wide range of solutions—from using the air cleaners in this lineup to growing air-purifying houseplants that help clean the air.
Q. Which type of air purifier is best for allergies?
Allergy sufferers should purchase a true HEPA air purifier, which filters out 99.97 percent of irritants the size of 0.3 microns like mold, dust, and pet hair, thus reducing allergic reactions and improving the air quality in your home.
Q. Is a humidifier or air purifier better for allergies?
While both of these machines are capable of doing wonders for a home’s air quality, a humidifier improves the moisture in a home’s air preventing dry sinuses and sore throats. However, air cleaners and purifiers actively remove harmful bacteria, particles, and allergens from the air making them the better choice for allergy sufferers.
Q. What air purifiers do doctors recommend?
Most doctors will recommend any air purifier with a HEPA filtration system including a prefilter. Standing for high-efficiency particulate air, a HEPA filter clears 99.97 percent of allergens in a home to reduce allergens, asthma, and irritated sinuses.
Q. Do air purifiers help with seasonal allergies?
While an air purifier can’t wholly eliminate seasonal allergy symptoms, it can remove a significant amount of irritating pollen, dust, and dander from the air in your home, thus reducing the causes of seasonal allergies.
Q. Do HEPA air purifiers help with asthma?
HEPA filters reduce a high percentage of particles in the air that are 0.3 microns in size or larger, making the air much safer for those who suffer from asthma. Most HEPA filtration systems are capable of reducing the risk of asthma attacks by 25 to 50 percent.
Q. Can air purifiers make allergies worse?
Most air purifiers on the market are designed to trap airborne toxins like dust and pollen to help reduce allergy symptoms. However, ozone-generating air cleaners are known to leave allergens in your space rather than trap or neutralize them, which can still manage to aggravate allergies.
Q. Which brand of air purifier is the best?
When shopping for an air purifier, consider a product from a reputable brand like Coway, Levoit, Blueair, or Dyson.
Q. How do air purifiers work?
Portable air purifiers have a fan that sucks air in and moves it through a prefilter, purifying filter(s), or system(s). While the air enters the machine, so do fine bacteria, particles, pet dander, and odor. The debris-free, cleaner air is then pushed out into the room.
Q. What is the difference between air purifiers and dehumidifiers?
Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air and most do not have a filtering step. Alternatively, air purifiers have filters or other methods to remove contaminants like dust, particles, pet dander, and other bacteria from the air.
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