Top 5 Best Air Purifiers Reviewed For 2016
The days when air purifiers were a “novelty” item you’d see at Sharper Image, and only actually used by the chronically ill or germaphobes, are long gone. Today, most people understand that the presence of allergens and pollutants in their home can cause real health problems, and sales of home air purifiers are at an all-time high.
Choosing between the many types of air purifiers on the market can be extremely confusing. There are carbon pre-filters and HEPA filters, electrostatic precipitators and ozone generators – and that’s just scratching the surface. The easiest way to narrow down your choices is by consulting our list of top 5 best air purifiers, in which we sort out many of the differences between models.
All set? Here we go.
1. IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier
The IQAir HealthPro Plus is the best air purifier available for those suffering from allergies, asthma and chemical sensitivities, and is widely used in hospitals and other medical facilities. It was famously used to help control the 2003 SARS outbreak in Hong Kong, and IQAir has been selected by the American Lung Association as its sole educational partner in the air purifier industry.
The HyperHEPA filter and four-state filtration system in this air purifier work to remove ultrafine particles as small as 0.003 microns, such as viruses, dust mites and pet dander – primary causes for the breathing difficulties suffered by those with asthma and allergies. The IQAir also has a new V5 filter to remove chemicals and odors from the air, improving performance even more than in the past. The controls on this unit are easy to operate from either the machine itself or a remote control, with complete pre-programming options as well as status and filter life indicators.
With the most-powerful fan in the units we’ve highlighted here, this air purifier delivers more clean air per minute than competitive purifiers but at a pretty steep price. The IQAir retails for a little less than $1,000, requires expensive pre-filter, odor and HyperHEPA filter changes regularly, and is not very energy-efficient. And those costs don’t normally cover an entire home; the coverage area for the HealthPro Plus is approximately 1000 square feet so it’s only suitable for large room or apartment use unless you live in a small house.
Overall, this IQAir purifier is a great choice, but only if you can justify the cost. Those who are buying an air purifier for medical reasons are most likely to appreciate a HealthPro Plus, despite its price.
A closer look at the IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier:
- Dimensions/weight: 15 x 28 x 16 inches, 35 pounds
- Coverage area: 1000 feet
- Filtration: Prefilter, HyperHEPA, V5 odor/gas
- Speeds: 6
- Maximum air exchange rate: 300 CFM
- Ozone-free: Yes
- Approximate price: $899
- Warranty: 5 years
2. Alen Breathe Smart HEPA Air Purifier
The Alen Breathe Smart doesn’t filter the smallest particles in your home’s air quite as effectively as the IQAir, because it uses a standard HEPA filter; it also doesn’t have a separate odor filter. Nevertheless, it will remove almost all of the common contaminants which cause common health and breathing problems from an area up to 1100 square feet, at a price that’s several hundred dollars lower than the HealthPro Plus. Its CADR ratings (which measure removal of contaminants) are among the highest of all purifiers on the market.
A wonderful feature of this Alen model is its intuitive smart sensor, which can continually sense the amount of pollution in the air and adjust the fan accordingly. If you’d prefer to operate the unit in timed or manual modes to save energy you can do that as well (although this air purifier is Energy Star certified), and there’s also a night setting which lowers both the fan speed to reduce noise, and the brightness of the LED indicators. There’s also a filter monitor.
One feature that you should know about is the Breathe Smart’s optional ionizing unit, which is a controversial subject. Atoms that have been charged by the ionizer can more efficiently trap air particles, but ionized air can also cause breathing problems for those with sensitive or compromised lungs. The inonizer on the Alen can be easily turned off, though, if you prefer to operate the unit without it.
This air purifier is very effective, and a good choice for those concerned about their health and the quality of the air they breathe but not suffering from serious chemical sensitivities or allergies. It’s also attractive, with a high-tech look and seven front color panels to choose from.
The details of the Alen Breathe Smart HEPA Air Purifier:
- Dimensions/weight: 18 x 27 x 10 inches, 21 pounds
- Coverage area: 1100 feet
- Filtration: HEPA
- Speeds: 4
- Maximum air exchange rate: 286 CFM
- Ozone-free: Selectable
- Approximate price: $600
- Warranty: Limited lifetime
3. Rabbit Air MinusA2 Air Purifier
The Rabbit Air is a good “compromise” air purifier. It only provides maximum coverage for rooms up to 350 square feet and can only cover 700 square feet at less effective operating levels, for about $100 less than the Alen Breathe Smart. But it offers customizable filter options allowing you to specifically target the purification system at toxins, germs, odors, or pet dander. If any of those issues are a major concern for you or your family, you may be very willing to compromise on a purifier’s coverage area and price.
There’s no compromise on the quality of the MinusA2’s performance, however. There are five other filters built into the system including a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. Working in tandem with your choice of custom filter, they do an outstanding job of cleaning the air of particles and contaminants. There is also an optional ionizer for the air leaving the machine – the manufacturer claims, though, that it does not produce ozone.
One drawback is that there is no programmable functionality with this Rabbit Air model. There are several advantages, though. There is a handy air quality sensor indicator which shows you how well the air purifier is working, the unit is one of the quietest on our list, and the MinusA2 is attractive and easily mountable on the wall.
This isn’t the machine to choose for a spacious living room with floor-to-ceiling windows, but it’s definitely worthy of consideration for smaller rooms where there are specific types of pollution or contaminants to filter.
More info on the Rabbit Air MinusA2 Air Purifier:
- Dimensions/weight: 24 x 22 x 10 inches, 19 pounds
- Coverage area: 350 feet (700 feet at half ACPH)
- Filtration: Six-stage including HEPA and customized filters for toxins, germs, odors, or pet dander
- Speeds: 5
- Maximum air exchange rate: 187 CFM
- Ozone-free: Yes, according to manufacturer
- Approximate price: $460
- Warranty: 5 years (parts and labor)
4. Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier
Now, for a quality smaller room air purifier with a more palatable price tag. The Coway AP-1512HH is a compact unit designed for full operation in rooms a little bigger than 300 square feet, and has a four-state filtration system that includes a HEPA filter to remove small particles and other contaminants, plus an odor filter. The Mighty Air Purifier also uses an ionizing system which can be turned off if desired, although the company says the ozone that’s created by the system is minimal at best and the unit has been approved under California’s strict standards. All of that, for a price about half of the Rabbit Air.
This purifier also has an air quality indicator but goes a step further than the MinusA2 by using the detected air quality to either increase fan speed if needed, or turn off the unit when no particles have been detected for half-an-hour. In addition, it’s very quiet compared to most competitive models.
We’d give the Coway an “A” for pollen and dust, a “B” for allergens and a “C” for odors. Those aren’t bad grades at all for an energy-efficient, $250 machine.
- Facts and figures for the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier:
- Dimensions/weight: 16 x 18 x 9 inches, 15 pounds
- Coverage area: 325 feet
- Filtration: Four-stage including HEPA and odor filters
- Speeds: 4
- Maximum air exchange rate: 267 CFM
- Ozone-free: Free or minimal levels, according to manufacturer
- Approximate price: $250
- Warranty: 3 years limited
5. Honeywell 50250-S Round Air Purifier
A solid, round unit that’s HEPA certified, the Honeywell 50250-S is ideal for those who want to move an inexpensive air purifier from room to room as needed. It is slightly larger than the Coway, but sells for a bargain-basement price around $150. It features a glass-fiber HEPA filter and carbon-activated pre-filter for well-above-adequate removal of contaminants, and its round design (while not particularly attractive) circulates the clean air 360 degrees throughout the 390 square feet it can cover.
There’s no air quality monitor and the purifier is not programmable, but there is a sensor that determines how many pollutants the filters have captured and tells you when they should be changed. This is a loud machine, but it does the job at a cost that just about anyone can handle.
What you need to know about the Honeywell 50250-S Round Air Purifier:
- Dimensions/weight: 18 x 18 x 19 inches, 21 pounds
- Coverage area: 390 feet
- Filtration: Two-stage including HEPA filter
- Speeds: 3
- Maximum air exchange rate: 250 CFM
- Ozone-free: Yes
- Approximate price: $150
- Warranty: 5 years limited
If you are investigating Air Purifiers you might also want to consider reading about the Top 5 Best Humidifiers.