On a normal day, Americans spend 90 percent of their time indoors. And, not-so-fun fact, the air inside is often more polluted than the air outside. Since we’ve been Cloroxing every surface and spraying Lysol like it’s our job, we’ve been thinking a lot about the germs, dust and bacteria in our breathing space. Cue the uptick in searches for a home air purifier (especially since we can’t cleanse the air with a disinfectant wipe). But do these devices actually do what they promise? Let’s investigate.

What does an air purifier do?

Think of an air purifier as a catchall for the microscopic dust and bacteria particles floating through your home. Using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, these machines remove harmful particles and allergens (think pollen, mold spores, dust mites, pet dander, smoke and even airborne bacteria that might come from human coughing or sneezing) from the air.

Ready to breathe a bit easier? Here are the ten best home air purifiers for filtering out dust, allergens and bacteria at a time when we need it most.

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The 12 Best Home Air Purifiers

Bed Bath & Beyond

1. Best Air Purifier for Mold: Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA and Eco Mode

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 361 square feet
  • Small
  • Quiet fan
  • Filtration system captures 99.97 percent of particles
  • Self timer for turning on or off

Cons:

Designed to accommodate rooms up to 361 square feet, this stylish and surprisingly small air purifier is a favorite of Linda Chu, PureWow’s director of events. She says, “I have really bad hay fever, so I need air circulation since I can’t have my windows open. This air purifier is super quiet, and the auto feature makes it so I never have to turn it off.” It also has a four-stage filtration system that captures and reduces up to 99.97 percent of particles in the air, including pollen, pollutants and other allergens like dust, mold spores and pet dander. And as Chu mentioned, the purifier has a timer that allows you to set it for one-, four- or eight-hour cycles.

Buy It ($249)

Bed Bath & Beyond

2. Best Multiuse Air Purifier: Dyson HP04 Pure Hot+Cool Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Extremely quiet
  • Can be set to a heating or cooling mode
  • Air quality is trackable on the app
  • Can control with Alexa

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Not discreet looking

All of Dyson’s products are game changers, but Abby Hepworth, PureWow’s fashion editor, thinks this product is top-notch. She says, “I know it’s expensive, but I love my Dyson air purifier. It’s almost entirely silent, and it can also act as a heater and a fan. But really, the most fascinating thing is that you can track the quality of your air on the app (as well as the little screen on the purifier itself) so you can see exactly what it’s pulling from the air. Mine was a gift, but if you have the money to spend, this guy is really worth it.”

Buy It ($650)

Amazon

3. Best Air Purifier for Allergies: Blueair Blue Pure 121 Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Washable filters
  • Three-part filtration system that rids air of 99 percent of impurities
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Heavy (18 pounds)
  • Some reviewers report a subtle chemical scent when it's running

If you’re most concerned about allergies, this model from Blueair can help alleviate your symptoms. PureWow’s senior software engineer, Grace Kim, has this model and can’t stop raving about it. She says, “I have really bad sinus issues, in addition to allergies to dander and dust mites. This filter works like magic in cleaning and circulating my bedroom air. You can also wash and change the color of the outer mesh fabric, which makes it fun to customize. It also works well for background white noise, if you need it for sleeping.”

$440 at Amazon

Amazon

4. Best Air Purifier for Large Rooms: Alen BreatheSmart Classic Large Room Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 1,100 feet
  • HEPA filter that captures up to 99.99 percent of bacteria, viruses, large particles and more
  • Color coded lights that determine the level of good or bad air quality
  • Quiet

Cons:

  • Larger than other air purifiers

Remember when the Blueair experts said to put an air purifier in the room you spend the most time in? Well, this one reaches a whopping 1,100 feet, so it could essentially purify your whole home—or at least one of the floors. You can also choose which particles you want to filter out with models designed specifically for allergies and dust, mold and bacteria, pet dander and odor, and smoke and chemicals. One user explained its power, saying, “We live in a high-rise building and have about 1,200 square feet. We have placed the unit in such a way that it can pull the air from both large rooms at the same time. We noticed after only a few days how the amount of dust on the furniture diminished. After about a week, no more sneezing, and after about three weeks, no more congestion.”

$588 at Amazon

Amazon

5. Best Air Purifier Under $100: LEVOIT LV-H132 AIR PURIFIER

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Nearly 26,000 five-star reviews on Amazon
  • Lightweight
  • HEPA filter eliminates 99.97 percent of unwanted air particles

Cons:

  • Won't accommodate large rooms
  • Not discreet looking

You can take our word for it, or you can read through the 9,000 positive reviews. Either way, this under-$100 air purifier is highly praised for its quiet air technology, which means you can leave it running all night without interrupting anyone’s sleep. It’s also super effective at filtering out pet dander for those with allergies. One formerly sniffly user says, “This item is a life changer. I suffer from terrible cat allergies and awful sinus problems. My parents have a cat, which is how we discovered I was allergic, and nothing has ever helped. We bought this on a recommendation from a friend, and I was skeptical as I had tried so many different types of things to stop my constant asthma attacks, stuffy nose and constant eye streaming, let alone sleeping. I used this the whole week I was at my parents’ house and I slept all the way through the night, no waking up not being able to breathe, no allergic reactions and no getting sick when I arrived home.”

$90; $80 at Amazon

Amazon

6. Most Stylish Air Purifier: Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier with HEPA and Carbon Filters

Pros:

  • Very quiet
  • HEPA filter which captures 99.97 percent of .3 micron particles
  • Stylish design
  • Discreet cord wrap

Cons:

With over 2,000 five-star ratings, this air purifier is definitely a crowd favorite. One reviewer says, "We love our unit. We have found that it makes the air very crisp and clean, gets rid of our food smells and is very easy to use. The design is like a little mid-century modern unit but feels like a slick new design. The size is perfect for our 2,500 square feet office and it blends into our decor perfectly. We can't imagine going without it now." This sleek model's colors and shape will match seamlessly in basically any decor. Plus it's super quiet so it won't wake you up if it's located in your bedroom.

$330 at Amazon

Amazon

7. Best Air Purifier for Pets: Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Charcoal HEPA filter that traps pet hair and dander
  • Removes pet odors
  • UV-C light that kills airborne germs and bacteria
  • Slim shape

Cons:

  • Requires bulb and filter replacements

Being allergic to pets doesn’t make them any less cute, and it definitely doesn’t stop us from cuddling with a brand-new puppy. Or at least it doesn’t have to, thanks to this powerful machine. Featuring a charcoal HEPA filter, it easily traps the pet dander and hair that could trigger sneezing fits, and it even removes strong odors from puppy-training accidents. To top it off, the Germ Guardian also comes with a UV-C light designed to kill airborne germs and bacteria for an extra deep clean, making it a smart choice for homes without pets too.

$229; $119 at Amazon

Molekule

8. Best Air Purifier for Small Rooms: Molekule Air Mini+

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Speed control via app
  • Air quality sensor light
  • Can set up auto delivery on new filters for once a year

Cons:

  • Can only accommodate up to 250 square feet

Have you ever seen a cuter or more stylish air purifier? From the sleek, statue-like design to the felt handle for easy transporting, it will almost look like a piece of artwork on your nightstand. Plus, it’s super high-tech—you can control the speed from an app, whether or not you’re in the same room, which is ideal for keeping a sleeping baby, well, sleeping. This updated version of the original Air Mini now comes with an air particle sensor light on top that indicates "good" to "very bad" air quality so you can crank up the fan or lower it depending on the room. You can even get fresh filters delivered to your door every 12 months, so you don’t have to set a reminder to order them. And although it’s small, it’s super effective. One reviewer states: “The Molekule Air Mini+ has literally changed our lives. My 6-year-old son, who suffers from severe allergies and asthma, has been experiencing the benefits of the Molekule… After two days of using it we experienced what I call a miracle! He woke up being able to breathe through both nostrils, without any medication.”

Buy It ($499)

Amazon

9. Best Portable Air Purifier: QUEENTY Desktop Air Cleaner with True HEPA Filter

Pros:

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Plugs into computer or USB port
  • Eliminates 99.97 percent of dust, mites and other air particles
  • Very quiet

Cons:

  • Only accommodates up to 50 square feet

What better place to put an air purifier than right on our desk? This one is small enough to sit atop any surface, yet powerful enough to filter out 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, smoke, odor and pet dander. But the best part? It weighs in at just over one pound, making it super easy to pick up and tote from room to room with you. It also plugs right into your computer via USB cable. One reviewer uses it daily at the office to help with asthma symptoms. He says, “What I like about this product is the ease of use and how quiet it is to have at your desk. I am always answering phones or speaking to parents. This air purifier is very quiet, and it really does clean and purify the air in front of you. I had a very bad asthma attack at work after being outside with staff, [but] this little guy really helped.”

$16 at Amazon

Best Buy

10. Best Air Purifier/Fan Combo: Dyson Pure Cool, TP04 - HEPA Air Purifier and Tower Fan

Pros:

  • Controllable through Alexa
  • Air Multiplier technology circulates purified air through the room
  • Cooling option
  • Oscillates
  • Night Mode option for quieter filtration

Cons:

  • Some reviewers say it's loud
  • Expensive

If you don’t need the heating capabilities of the Dyson Hot+Cool, this Pure Cool model is the perfect alternative. Rachel Bowie, PureWow’s director of special projects, uses it in her son’s room to help monitor the dust. She says, “I’m a huge fan of the Dyson Pure Cool Air Purifier. We run it ’round the clock in our son’s room, and I love being able to keep watch over the air quality in his room via an app. Living in a city like New York, there is a ton of pollution, and this purifier keeps clear tabs on things like VOCs and other particles and gases it detects, which helps me breathe a bit easier—literally.” In addition to its being really stylish, you can also control it using Amazon Alexa to turn on auto mode and to get updates on the indoor air quality.

$450 at Amazon

Amazon

11. Best Air Purifier for Offices: KVV H13 True HEPA Filter Air Purifier

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 1,700 square feet
  • Filters 99.97 percent of pollution from air
  • Sleek design

Cons:

  • Filter needs replacement every three months

Allergy season? Pop this one in an open area and give your coworkers the peace of mind to work without sniffling every two minutes. With the ability to filter up to 1,700 feet, this purifier would filter your office air in just minutes. It's only ten pounds so it is easy to move around to wherever you need to in the shared space. We love white air purifiers for offices because they match the basic color palettes easily.

$160 at Amazon

Amazon

12. Best Air Purifier for Odors: LEVOIT Smoke and Odor Eliminator

Pros:

  • Accommodates up to 900 square feet
  • Honeycomb activated charcoal filter eliminates odors from pets, mold, fire smoke and more
  • Removes 99.97 percent of dust, mites, pet dander and more from the air
  • Slim shape

Cons:

Nobody likes their home smelling like leftovers for days or smoke from the neighbors burning leaves. This purifier helps remove any unwanted odors and removes all the dust and particles from the air. Control the flow, power and timer from an app on your phone and it will auto turn off after 12 hours so you can avoid it overrunning. It filters up to 900 feet so it would be perfect for an open area in your home.

$180; $145 at Amazon

How can I tell if an air purifier is effective?

Just because we can’t see the dust and airborne bacteria floating around doesn’t mean it’s not there. In fact, research from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows that indoor air can be “more polluted than the outdoor air in even the largest and most industrialized cities.” That point resonates even more if you’ve ever cleaned the air filter out of an AC unit or air purifier and have seen the grime firsthand. We’re talking about those grayish fluff balls that are a sneezing fit waiting to happen (you know the ones).

Does an air purifier reduce allergy symptoms?

Because an air purifier traps common allergens, it can also help reduce those annoying allergy symptoms (yep, including sneezing, itchy nose, watery eyes, the works). In another recent PureWow article, editor Sarah Vazquez explains, “According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, and with the season beginning a good two to three weeks earlier than usual across the country (thanks to our warmer than average winter) allergy sufferers are in for a long battle. While stocking up on your go-to allergy medication and soothing eye drops (we’re looking at you, Zaditor) is a must, there’s one product that should be at the top of your shopping list: an air purifier.”

How many air purifiers do I need?

Any number of purifiers is better than none. But in general, models are built to filter the air in a room of a specific size, whether that’s 200 square feet or 400. The experts at Blueair state, “For optimal results, your air purifier should be placed in the room where you spend the most time, or where the air quality is the worst. If your asthma or your allergies keep you awake at night, running your air purifier in your bedroom sounds like the best choice.” If you need it with you at all times, some compact purifiers are easily portable, making it effortless to move it from room to room.

It's also important to consider where in the room to place the purifier, keeping air flow and circulation in mind. The Blueair experts explain, “Air purifiers have an inlet where the polluted air is drawn in and filtered, and an outlet where clean air is pushed out. Place the air purifier where the air can circulate freely in, out and around the unit, away from walls, furniture and other objects that may stop the air flow.” They also recommend putting your air purifier at least four inches away from any potential obstacles but as close as possible to the pollution source (e.g., windows), while avoiding tucking it into a corner.

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