Best Air Purifier

With more people working from home, increased pollution, more wildfires and a global pandemic driven by airborne virus particles, fresh, pure air is something of a hot commodity these days. Perhaps unsurprisingly, demand for air purifiers has increased sharply in recent months.


If you are one of the many people who have decided it’s time to buy an air purifier, you need to ask yourself this question:

“What is the best air purifier?”

The answer is important because air purifiers vary widely in quality and capabilities, and when you want clean air, you certainly don’t want to settle for a system that’s just OK. Understandably, you want the best air purifier – the one that will let you and your loved ones breathe easier indoors no matter what’s happening with the air quality outdoors.

Here’s what’s covered in this guide to finding the best air purifier:

At Air Oasis, our mission is to help our residential and commercial customers find the best air purifiers for their unique situations. That’s why we have put together this in-depth guide on the subject. Read on to learn more, and reach out to us if you have any questions.

1. Why Use an Air Purifier?

Are air purifiers really necessary? We sure think so. Using an “air cleaner” has long been best practice in medical facilities and other places where health is a key concern. Some of the earliest technology has evolved and is still being used, such as true HEPA filter and other HEPA filtration systems. Portable air purifiers bring with them a ton of potential benefits and uses. Let’s explore a few:

Remove Airborne Pathogens

The common cold, the flu and even COVID-19 can all become airborne. If a sick person enters your home and coughs, sneezes or simply breathes, they may release a viral or bacterial pathogen into your indoor air. Aerosolized pathogens can remain airborne for hours in poorly ventilated areas. That means they’re just hanging out in the air, waiting for you or your family to breathe them in and become infected.

Enter air purifiers. Many of these devices are highly rated for their ability to remove airborne pathogens. And while an air purification system shouldn’t be the only measure you take to protect your family from COVID-19 and similar health threats, it can certainly help, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Decrease Allergies

Pet dander, dust, pollen, mold, mildew, fungus, smoke are all a type of allergen. The list of indoor allergens is a long one. And if you suffer from allergies, you don’t have to be told how quickly allergies can ruin your day.

Will an air purifier help with allergies? Absolutely – one comprehensive study that reviewed 15 past studies on air purifiers and allergies found that portable air purifiers provide broad benefits to those with asthma, allergic rhinitis and similar conditions. Filtering the air flow in your home alleviates airborne pollutants, dust mites , smoke particles, gaseous pollutants, pet odor and much more.

HEPA air purifiers are typically the best air purifiers for allergies, but some devices are rated better for reducing certain types of allergens. We discuss the best air purifiers for allergies in more detail below.

Reduce VOCs

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals found in many home products, such as paint, carpet, oil, varnishes, adhesives, cleaning products, air fresheners and more. These chemicals enter indoor air through a process called off-gassing, meaning they are released over time as a gas. Scientists have identified more than 1,200 types of VOCs, but some of the most common in our daily lives are 1,3-butadiene, xylene, toluene, tetrachloroethylene, methylene chloride, formaldehyde, ethylene glycol and benzene.

Because there are so many VOCs that can come from so many different sources, the effects of exposure to VOCs can vary widely. In the short term, VOC exposure has been tied to worsening asthma symptoms, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches and irritation of the throat, nose and eyes. Over the long term, VOC exposure has been linked to nervous system damage, harm to the kidneys, liver damage and cancer.

There is no safe level of exposure to VOCs. However, young children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems face the greatest risks from exposure. The good news is that the best air purifiers are specifically designed to remove gases like VOCs from indoor air. An activated carbon filter is considered the gold standard for reducing VOCs with an air purifier.

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Improve Sleep

Think back to a time when you couldn’t breathe well. Maybe you had a lung infection or a similar respiratory health issue. Getting through the day was hard enough, but when it came time to go to sleep, you probably had some trouble. Sleep and the ability to breathe easily are inextricably linked to each other.

Generally, that’s how air purifiers improve sleep. By taking irritants and allergens out of the air, these devices keep you breathing easy and sleeping deeply. Also, the low, soothing sound of an air purifier running at night can serve as white noise, which has been shown to promote better sleep.

Promote Long-Term Health Through Clean Air

We have already discussed some of the short-term health benefits of air purifiers, but these devices can also promote long-term health. For example, keeping your indoor air clean means reducing exposure to radon and asbestos, both of which have been linked to lung cancer after long-term exposure.

Unfortunately, people are exposed to countless potentially harmful substances in the air they breathe every day. Air quality researchers have identified thousands of these potential threats, but much remains to be learned – we could be exposed to harmful substances for years without ever realizing they were in the air and they were harmful. A top-rated air purifier provides a sort of security blanket to keep all of those potential threats under wraps. Talk about peace of mind.

2. How to Choose the Best Air Purifier for Your Home

The benefits of air purifiers are clear, but Googling “best air purifier” and buying the first option you see is not a good strategy. There are thousands of types of air purifiers to choose from, and each model brings different benefits, drawbacks and levels of performance. To choose the perfect air purifier for your family or business, you will need to weigh all of these factors.

How Will You Use Your Air Purifier?

Consider how you will use your air purifier. Will you run it constantly or only occasionally? Do you want it to remove smoke and particulate matter from wildfires or pollution sources, or is it meant to get that nasty pet dander out of the air and away from your lungs? Will the air purifier need to clean the air of a large, open office space or a single room in your home?

How you will use your air purifier will help you decide which type of air purifier to buy. Once you have identified exactly how you intend to use your device, make sure the features of the device you purchase match your needs.

Air Purifier Features

In the decades since the first home air purifiers were sold, air purification has come a long way. Experts have innovated to produce multiple air-purifying technologies, and as tech has advanced, so have the features available on consumer air purifiers. 

But just because a feature is available doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have it. When you’re searching for the best air purifier for your home or business, it’s important to understand which features are available and which ones are must-haves for you. 

The following are some of the newer, more cutting-edge features available on top air purifiers:

  • Touch screen controls
  • WiFi-enabled device control
  • Ability to connect to the device via a mobile app
  • Digital alerts about air quality or device maintenance
  • Auto sensors that enable the device when certain air quality parameters are met
  • Dark mode for nighttime use
  • Real-time air quality monitoring and digital display
  • Internal germicidal light technology
  • Fanless purification (air multiplier)
  • Energy-conserving “green mode”

The Look and Placement of Your Air Purifier

When you’re concerned about filtering dangerous particles and keeping your family healthy, the aesthetics of your air purifier may seem like a trivial concern. The basic function of the device is, of course, the most important aspect, but keep in mind that air purifiers are sizable devices that may be visible in prominent places inside your home or business.

So, it may be worthwhile to consider the look and placement of your air purifier as you shop for the best option. If your indoor space is highly curated with a look that will suffer from the insertion of a bulky air purifier, consider some of the sleeker options or even a central air purifier, which is hooked in with your HVAC system and mostly out of sight.

If you’re not too concerned with the effect of an air purifier on your home’s signature look, then you may want to prioritize power and function over style. There are plenty of options to consider, but for any air purification device you are seriously considering, it’s a good idea to try to picture it in the exact location it would go to see if it’s a good fit.

Need help finding the best air purifier for your unique needs? Go to our Air Purifier Comparison Page.


3. What’s New for Air Purifiers in 2021?

People may not keep up with new air purifier releases and technology like they do with cars, but it’s still important that you pay attention to the developments in air purifier technology to see whether buying a newer device might provide some highly desirable features and benefits.

Here are some of the key air purifier features to look for in 2021:

  • Mobile apps. No air purifier has any business calling itself a “smart” air purifier unless it is connected with an intuitive, functional mobile app. The app should allow you to control an air purifier’s settings from your phone, whether you are in the other room or in another country. Also, the air purifier app should be able to send you alerts when there are potential issues with your device or the air quality in your home.
  • Air quality sensors. Older and less functional air purifier models tell you almost nothing about your home’s air quality. They simply recommend running the device and leave it at that. In this day and age, with the technology we have available, that’s unacceptable. The best air purifiers in 2021 feature real-time air quality sensors that can tell you exactly where the air quality in your home stands. And the top models take that a step further by allowing you to set them to turn on, increase fan speed or turn off when certain air quality parameters are met.
  • Blended air purification technologies. In the past, consumers often had to choose between mechanical filters and ionizers or carbon filters and ultraviolet (UV) filters. Because each air purifier technology can have its own unique strengths and weaknesses, choosing only one leaves some potential benefits of an air purifier on the table. The best air purifiers in 2021, however, will blend technologies. For example, the iAdaptAir® air purifier uses HEPA, carbon, UVC and ionization to clean your indoor air.

4. How Air Purifiers Work

In case you haven’t already picked up on this, air purifiers are driven by technology. Each class of purifier uses a separate technology to clean the air, and the best air purifiers contain a lot of separate technologies to make extremely desirable and user-friendly features a reality.

In this section, we’ll take a look at all of the available air purifier technologies, how they work and their pros and cons.

HEPA Air Purifiers

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air purifiers push air through a filter made of fine, dense fibers with a fan. To qualify as a HEPA filter, a mesh filter has to be able to filter particles that are 0.1 micrometers or larger in diameter. At those sizes, HEPA filters can remove smoke and gas particles from the air with relative ease.

HEPA Air Purifier Pros and Cons

HEPA air purifiers are some of the most common air purifiers on the market. Considered highly efficient and usually affordably priced, HEPA air purifiers shine when it comes to availability, reducing allergens and cleaning the air without emitting byproducts.

The benefits of HEPA purifiers are strong, but there are some potential drawbacks:

  • HEPA air purifiers don’t filter everything. While most viruses and respiratory droplets that carry them are larger than the 0.1 micron minimum for HEPA filters, some VOCs can pass through because gas particles are much smaller than the gaps in the filter’s fibers.
  • Because HEPA filters are so effective, they get clogged relatively quickly – especially if you have a pet in the house. Expect to change your HEPA filter somewhat more often than you would with other types of air purifiers. Some HEPA filters are washable and reusable.

Ionic Air Purifiers

Ionic air purifiers are among the most impressive air purifier types when it comes to sheer technology. These purifiers work by releasing ions into the air. These polarized ions bind with particles in the air to neutralize them.

Some ionic air purifiers use bipolar ionization to clean the air. The ions released into the air are short one electron, causing them to seek out other molecules and atoms to bind to them and swap electrons. This neutralizes gases, VOCs and some viruses.

Cold plasma air purifiers work in a similar way, except they then trap neutralized particles in a plasma filter.

Ionic Air Purifier Pros and Cons

Ionic air purifying technology is often combined with other air purification methods to reduce some of the cons that can come with an ionization-only purifier. While these purifiers are often affordable, compact and effective at neutralizing small particles in indoor environments, they fail to filter some allergens, such as pet dander, unless they are combined with a HEPA or similar filter.

For those concerned about airborne pathogens, however, an ionic air purifier may be the way to go. This style has been the go-to for many medical facilities trying to limit the spread of pathogens indoors.

Ultraviolet Air Purifiers

It’s rare to find an air purifier that uses UVC technology alone. Most often, you will find that the best air purifiers combine UVC technology with forced-air technology like a HEPA filter. Here’s how it works: the unit draws air inside it, where it will be exposed to UVC light in an internal chamber. Photons in the UVC light alter the molecular makeup of pathogens and microorganisms to neutralize them.

Ultraviolet Air Purifier Pros and Cons

If you manage to find a standalone UVC air purifier, the biggest downside you will encounter is that the unit doesn’t filter dust and other matter out of the air – instead, it simply neutralizes the potential pathogens in the air and sends the inactivated matter on its way.

However, the most common configuration – UVC and HEPA or a similar technology – gives you an added layer of protection. Whatever small percentage of harmful matter the standard filter fails to remove will have to then survive UVC light exposure if it wants to reach your lungs intact. And that isn’t likely to happen.

Electrostatic Air Filters

Also called electronic air filters, these devices charge particles that enter them with static electricity. If you’ve ever seen a helium balloon stick to your shirt or your hair stick up when charged with static electricity, you can understand how this technology might filter larger particles from the air. By charging the particles with static, the electrostatic air purifier causes those particles to stick to the inside walls of the filter chamber, removing them from your indoor air.

These devices are usually larger units that attach to your home’s heating and cooling system to filter the air before it circulates through the system.

Electrostatic Air Filter Pros and Cons

Electronic air filters don’t actually require filters that you have to replace, so that’s a plus on the cost side. And these devices are typically effective at removing the larger particles that are so commonly behind allergies, such as pet dander and dust.

However, this technology does not work well to remove the smaller particles from the air, such as VOCs and odors. But by cleaning the filter plates regularly, you can ensure that the air purifier is operating at peak efficiency for those larger particles.

Central Air Purifier Systems

Central air purifiers purify the air in your entire home because they are fully incorporated into your heating and cooling system. Also called HVAC air purifiers and whole-house air purifiers, these systems can use one or several air-purifying technologies, including ionization and electrostatic filters.

Central Air Purifier Pros and Cons

You won’t see this air purifier, but if you suffer from severe asthma or allergies, you will feel it when you notice you’re having a lot fewer allergic reactions and asthma attacks. The chief downsides of central air purifiers are higher average costs and a lack of portability.

5. Best Air Purifiers by Intended Use

Maybe you’re not a technologically inclined person who is interested in all that air purification technology that the Air Oasis team finds so exciting. That’s OK! Sometimes, you just want to know whether an air purifier is going to do what you need it to do. We get that – that’s why we have compiled this list of best types of air purifiers for specific uses.

Best General Purpose Air Purifiers

For the best all-around air purification, it’s hard to go wrong with a HEPA air purifier. True HEPA filters are certified to remove 99.97% of airborne particles like dust, pollen, bacteria and mold that are larger than 0.1 microns. That means you get wide-ranging coverage with a HEPA.

For added protection from a wide variety of other contaminants, pollutants and viruses, consider a model that combines a HEPA filter with other technologies. For example, the iAdaptAir® HEPA air purifier uses a HEPA filter with ionization, germicidal UVC light and carbon filtration.

Best Air Purifiers for the Money

When you’re looking for the best air purifiers, you’re going to see some high prices. But there are budget-friendly options that work well. Keep in mind not just the initial cost but the cost of filter replacement over time. HEPA filters can add to the overall cost of the air purifier as time passes, but filterless options like electrostatic air purifiers don’t have that issue.

The IonicAir™ UVC Purifier, for example, uses UVC and ionization technology to purify your indoor air without the need for replacement filters. This top-rated air purifier comes with free shipping and the ability to reduce up to 99% of contaminants, mold, germs, odors and allergens.

Best Air Purifiers for Allergies

HEPA air purifiers are considered the best air purifiers for allergies. That’s because their filters actually pull air – and the allergens it contains – through a dense filter. Another effective air purifier for reducing allergens in your home is the electrostatic air filter, which traps allergens by charging them with static electricity and causing them to stick to internal filter plates.

In third-party studies, Air Oasis air purifiers proved effective against many common types of allergens. Within 20 minutes, our air purifiers reduced fine dust and particulate matter from cigarette smoke to almost nothing. And in 10 minutes, our filters were able to remove 92% of mulberry pollen.

Best Air Purifiers for Pets

Our fuzzy friends give us a lot to love, but they pose at least two indoor air quality issues: pet allergens and pet odors. Most top-of-the-line air purification systems will help with these issues, but any pet owner knows the amount of pet hair and dander one little cat or dog can generate requires some heavy-duty purifying.

The best air purifiers for pets are those that can handle larger particles like hair and pet dander while also taking care of the smaller, invisible particles that cause odors. An air purifier that combines the hair- and dander-capturing strength of a HEPA filter and odor-eliminating prowess of ionization is likely to be your best bet.

Best Air Purifiers for Mold

The problem with mold and fungus is that they can grow almost anywhere. That means removing spores from your indoor air is about more than simply capturing them in a filter because they are often just as happy to grow on the filter. UVC light and ionization, on the other hand, actually neutralize mold and fungus by altering their molecular structure, rendering them permanently inactive.

Air Oasis air purifiers can stand up to mold and fungus. In one study of our air purifiers, 99.99% of aerosolized fungus was removed from the air after running the device on high for 10 minutes. In another study, one of our air purifiers was run inside a building that had visible mold on the walls, floors and ceilings. Five days later, the mold was reduced by 97%.

Best Air Purifiers for Removing Odors

Chemicals, gases and VOCs are the most common culprits behind indoor air odors. But pets, allergens and mold can also play a part. If you’re not sure where the odor is coming from, you will likely want the broad-spectrum protection that comes with a HEPA-certified, multi-technology air purifier. That way, you can rest assured that your air purifier is up to the task of removing the odor from your home – no matter the cause.

Best Air Purifiers for Nurseries

Breathing clean, safe air is critically important to babies’ development. Their young and sensitive lungs feel the impacts of VOCs, mold and similar contaminants at least twice as hard as adult lungs.

To pick the best air purifier for your baby’s nursery, you will need to keep a few considerations in mind:

  • Make sure the air purifier does not release ozone, which can harm your baby’s health. Some UVC and ionizing air purifiers create a small amount of ozone and release it, but Air Oasis air purifiers are completely ozone-free.
  • A little white noise from the air purifier is fine – in fact, it can even help your baby sleep better – but make sure it’s relatively constant and not too loud.
  • Look for an air purifier that is app-enabled so you can turn it on or change settings without having to tiptoe into the room while your baby is sleeping.
  • Make sure the display light on the unit is not too bright or that it can be dimmed or turned off.

Best Air Purifiers for a Quiet Home

With HEPA air purifiers, there is almost no way to completely avoid some noise, although some models are worse than others. In most cases, this noise fades into the background, but if it’s something you just can’t handle, consider alternative air purifier types.

Air purifiers that don’t actively use a fan to draw in and push out air will tend to be more quiet. An HVAC air filter, which is completely hooked into your home’s heating and cooling system, shouldn’t be any noisier than your current air conditioner. Meanwhile, UVC and ionizing air purifiers tend to be on the quieter side because they don’t have to force the air through a filter.

Best Air Purifiers for Stylish Homes

Small, sleek and compact air purifiers tend to be the best options for those style-conscious folks who care about breathing clean air. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that portable air purifiers need to be a certain size in order to perform all the functions they promise to.

However, you may be interested in a stationary air purification system that won’t cramp your home’s style. You have two options: an electrostatic filter that hooks into your HVAC system or a whole-home system that is 100% integrated with the heating and cooling system in your house. Neither of these types of air purifiers will be visible to you or your guests unless you go looking for them.

Best Air Purifiers for Small Rooms

If your chief concern is filtering the air in your bedroom at night, you can get away with a smaller portable air purifier. Our IonicAir™ UVC Purifier is among the most compact high-performance models on the market, and covers up to 600 square feet.

Best Air Purifiers for Large Rooms

When you need to clean the air of a large room, multiple rooms or your entire home, you need to go big and consider combining multiple air purification technologies in one unit. The larger portable options can reduce a wide variety of contaminants in large spaces when they combine HEPA, ionization, UVC and carbon filtration.

If parts of your home are relatively cut off from one another, keep in mind that you may need to move your portable air purifier from room to room. Alternatively, you could consider a whole-home air purifier or HVAC-linked electrostatic air purifier to cover your entire home all at once.

Best App-Enabled Air Purifiers

The best air purifiers in 2021 are usually going to be able to connect with a smartphone app. In our modern, connected world, we shouldn’t have to settle for less. Whole-home systems may not be compatible with a smartphone app, but the best portable units like the iAdaptAir® are WiFi-enabled and accessible via a convenient mobile app.

6. Worst Air Purifiers: Devices to Avoid

The Air Oasis team loves talking about the best air purifiers, but it would be dishonest if we pretended that all air purifiers are perfectly safe and equally effective. That simply isn’t true. In fact, many air purifiers from other companies have been recalled over the years. Here are some high-profile examples of air purifier recalls:

  • Daikin Streamer air purifiers. These devices posed a fire hazard due to a circuit board that could overheat.
  • Filtrete™ room air purifiers. The part of these air purifiers that generated ions could overheat and catch on fire.
  • IonizAir™ Table Top Air Purifiers. A removable cartridge in these air purifiers could overheat and posed a fire hazard.
  • Perfect Air Ultra™ Air Purifiers. Due to a capacitor that could overheat, electrical arcing could occur inside a connecting wire. This defect posed a risk of electrical fires.

To keep up with air purifier recalls and make sure your device is safe, search for your air purifier model on the Consumer Product Safety Commission website.

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7. Best Air Purifiers FAQ

To find the best air purifier for your home or business, you have to do some investigating. That requires asking a lot of questions. Below, we have provided the answers to the most common questions we get about air purifiers.

What Do Air Purifiers Do?

Air purifiers use one of several available technologies to remove or neutralize gases, odors, pathogens and particulate matter in indoor air.

Do Air Purifiers Actually Work?

Air purifiers do work, but how well they work depends on whether you have the best air purifier to meet your needs. For example, if you want your air purifier to remove dust and pet dander from the air, a high-quality HEPA or electrostatic air purifier will work well, but an ionization-only purifier won’t be as effective.

Can an Air Purifier Help with Smoke from Wildfires?

Yes! According to the EPA, many types of air purifiers can remove hazardous substances associated with wildfire smoke. HEPA filters are particularly effective for this application.

Can Air Purifiers Filter Viruses Like COVID-19?

HEPA, ionic and UVC air purifiers can be highly effective against airborne pathogens like COVID-19. Because true HEPA filters have to be extremely effective in filtering particles down to 0.1 microns in diameter, they can remove most viruses from the air they filter. However, an air purifier is only one tool to use against COVID-19. Social distancing, masks and other safety measures are still recommended.

How Do HEPA Filters Work?

HEPA air purifiers work by drawing indoor air inside of the unit (usually via a fan), where it is forced to pass through a HEPA filter made of extremely dense fibers that catch dust, hair, dander, and even some gases and viruses. The filtered air is then released from the unit and circulated back into the indoor space.

How Often Do I Need to Change My Air Purifier’s Filter?

For the best results, follow the instructions that come with your air purifier. Generally speaking, most air purifier filters will need to be changed every three to six months, depending on how often you run the machine and what the machine is having to filter.

Also, keep in mind that some filters are washable and reusable, and electrostatic air purifiers don’t have filters (although you need to clean the internal plates that capture charged particles).

Can You Run an Air Purifier All Day?

In many cases, running an air purifier all day is actually recommended. The best air purifiers are designed to withstand constant use, and this method is one of the best ways to ensure that your indoor air quality is high at all times.

Is It OK to Sleep with an Air Purifier On?

Absolutely. Nighttime is one of the best times to run an air purifier. Not only does this clean the air you are breathing while you sleep peacefully, but it also creates a nice background of white noise that can promote sleep.


8. Get the Best Air Purifier for Your Home with Air Oasis

Air Oasis has only one goal: to help you find the air purifier that will meet and exceed your expectations for clean air in your home, business or any other indoor space. This guide is one part of that effort, but we have many other resources available. And we offer helpful incentives like lifetime warranties, no-hassle 60-day return policies, zero-interest financing and free shipping on all orders.Still not sure which is the best air purifier for you? Check out our Air Purifier Comparison page. Ready to buy? Shop for air purifiers now.

If you still have questions or need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to our air purification experts. Give us a call at (806) 373-7788 or click the Contact button at the bottom of this page.

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