3 Years Later, I Still Swear by the LG PuriCare Mini Air Purifier—and It's 27% Off Right Now

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lg puricare mini review
  • Value: 17/20
  • Functionality: 17/20
  • Ease of Use: 17/20
  • Aesthetics: 19/20
  • Portability: 20/20

TOTAL: 90/100

As my phone, Nest Hub Max and daughter's preschool all sent me alert after alert that New York was ranking number worst air quality in the country, I dashed to my bookshelf to fire up one thing: the LG PuriCare Mini air purifier ($200; $146), a water bottle-sized device that detects and removes airborne particles as tiny as 0.3 microns in diameter (a claim four independent organizations tested and confirmed).

That's particularly noteworthy, considering the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends using a portable air cleaner to help clear air impacted by wildfire smoke. While you can see ash and smoke—which tends to be 10 microns or larger—the real concern, and the one that triggers air quality alerts, is any "particulate matter" that's 2.5 microns or smaller, which is invisible to the naked eye and can travel deep into your lungs and body, according to Oregon State University's Disaster Education Network.

Three years into owning the PuriCare Mini, I've actually bought a second device, and I can tell you honestly: Both work as well today as they did the day I unboxed them. Oh, and right now, the device is 24 percent off, ratcheting down the price from $199 to $153.

First, the Pros: It's Sleek and Easy to Use

Aesthetically, it's as sleek as an iPhone—peep that matte finish and leather carrying strap—and it's just as intuitive. There aren’t a ton of instructions or buttons or cables and cords, and setup is pretty simple, taking the intimidation out of using an air purifier. You just pop in the filter, power it up with the same kind of USB-C charger you might use for your phone or laptop, and you’re good to go. There’s a PuriCare Mini app you can use to fire it up and monitor the air quality—great if you prefer to stick to an air-cleaning schedule you can automate—but there are also a few buttons atop the device that let you choose how long (and how strong) its dual-motor runs.

As it runs, a thin light on the top of the PuriCare Mini glows from green to yellow to orange to red, depending on the quality of the air as it’s running. I soon found myself running the machine in every corner of every room in the house. No surprise: The nooks I dusted and vacuumed the least had the most particles in the the nightstand near my bed.

That said, due to the size of the device, it's best used in small spaces, like a bathroom, office, nursery or car. That hasn't stopped me from placing it on my nightstand, blowing cleaner air onto my face as I sleep, but for larger spaces, you're better off with a full-size model.

Lingering Question: Yes, It’s Working—but What Is It Doing?

While the whir of the fan, the green-to-red light and the app’s air quality reports let me know it was working, I still had questions about what it was actually doing for me. After two weeks of use, I realized my nose wasn’t congested at night, which made me feel like it really was removing dust and allergens from the air, but I wanted to do a deeper dive. Here are the highlights:

  • Its pre-filter and micro filter pick up dust that’s smaller in diameter than a strand of your hair. Much smaller, in fact: As mentioned, it picks up particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, whereas hair tends to be 50 to 70 microns wide. (Pollen and mold tend to be about 10.)
  • It can be helpful in clearing smoke and related odors. A 2021 study found that using an air purifier, in general, during a wildfire helped reduce small particles in the air by anywhere from 48 to 78 percent. Given the PuriCare Mini's size, it's more of an on-the-go line of defense; something you fire up in the car if you need to travel when air quality conditions are less than ideal.
  • It won’t totally protect you against COVID-19 and other viruses. While portable air purifiers can reduce airborne contaminants in your home, the EPA is clear that they, on their own, are not enough to protect you from COVID. It can be helpful as part of an overall plan to protect your home, provided you’re using it properly and following CDC guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting your space.
  • It helps clean your car (and fits in a cup holder). According to LG’s research, the density of dust in your car drops 50 percent after using it for 10 minutes.
  • It (unintentionally) doubles as a noise machine. This is not a feature of the PuriCare Mini. In fact, the brand touts that on low, the fan runs at 30 decibels—roughly the sound of a whisper—but I strangely enjoyed the quiet hum of the fan on high as I fell asleep. If someone’s watching TV loudly in another room, it won’t drown it out, but it’s a nice alternative when things are eerily quiet at home and you need something to quiet your mind.

The Con: The App’s a Bit Glitchy

Most of the time, I ignored the app entirely, just pressing a button on the PuriCare Mini when I wanted to run the purifier. And maybe it’s because my phone’s a few years old, but the app itself seemed to be running in the background, sending push notifications that it was “in use” even when the PuriCare itself wasn’t running. That said, you don’t really need the app to get what you want out of the purifier.

The Verdict: It Surpasses Its Hype

Yes, the PuriCare Mini has been certified by the British Allergy Foundation and product-testing company Intertek for its ability to remove fine particles and allergens. And yes, it was an honoree at the 2020 Innovation Awards at the Consumer Electronics Show. Those are reassuring, but it wasn’t until I started using it consistently that I started to genuinely see the benefits of using an air purifier. Now, I'm surprised at how often this tiny gadget has come in handy.

Do Air Purifiers Work? Yes—Now, Let's Clear the Air on Some Misconceptions

The PureWow100 is a scale our editors use to vet new products and services, so you know what’s worth the spend—and what’s total hype. Learn more about our process here.

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Candace Davison is PureWow’s vice president of editorial, overseeing food, home and major franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle in her 10+ years of digital media experience, though she has a weakness for baking (she has *opinions* on stand mixers), DIY-ing and gadgets, all of which she shares on PureWow and her social media accounts. Davison has published multiple cookbooks, and her work has appeared in O, The Oprah Magazine, House Beautiful, Good Housekeeping, Cosmo, Esquire and Delish, among other publications.

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candace davison bio

VP of editorial, recipe developer, kitsch-lover

Candace Davison oversees PureWow's food and home content, as well as its franchises, like the PureWow100 review series and the Happy Kid Awards. She’s covered all things lifestyle...