Best HEPA Air Purifiers | 2017 Edition
What is it you're looking for in an air purifier?
Something that will relieve your pollen or pet allergies? Freedom from bad smells and smoke? Quiet operation that won't disturb your sleep?
You probably already know that air purifiers are not all alike. Some models work better on certain types of pollutants. They come with a variety of different features, and there's a wide range of prices.
Whatever your reason for buying an air purifier, rest assured that there is one out there that will meet your unique needs. My hope is that this review will help you narrow down your choices and find the right one for you.
So, let's get to it. I've chosen five of today's most popular air purifiers at different price points and dealing with different indoor air problems.
First you'll find a table where you can quickly compare the main features. Then you can read mini reviews of each of the five models. I've also included links to individual reviews, in case you'd like more in-depth information.
If you're pressed for time, you can jump to whatever interests you in the Quick Navigation. Or just scroll down to read the whole article.
Best HEPA Air Purifiers Comparison Table
Germ Guardian AC5000E
Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 (SPA-550A)
Alen Breathe Smart
193 sq ft
465 sq ft
283 sq ft
550 sq ft
1100 sq ft
CADR (smoke/ dust/pollen)
6.1 x 9.5 x 27.25
11 x 11.7 x 13.2
8.9 x 16.5 x 21.9
9.8 x 16.6 x 22.2
10 x 17.8 x 26.8
3-5 yrs (HEPA)
3 months (pre-filter)
Energy Star Rated?
Avg Retail Price
Best Air Purifiers of 2017: Mini Reviews
Okay, here the details about each of the models. They're listed in order of the average retail price - least expensive to most expensive.
Best Air Purifier Under $150: GermGuardian AC5000E
The GermGuardian AC5000E 3-in-1 Air Cleaning System is the least expensive of my top air purifier picks. There are a couple of reasons for the lower price.
First, it has a lower CADR (125) than the others, so it doesn't cover a very large area. It's good for rooms up to 193 square feet. That's the size of a medium-size kitchen or small to medium-size bedroom.
Also, there's nothing fancy about the AC5000E. No automatic timer or remote control or any other frills. Just a knob to turn it on to one of three speeds and a button to switch the UV-C light on and off.
It's called 3-in1 because it uses three different technologies to target different contaminants in the air:
- a carbon filter for odors
- a true HEPA filter for tiny particles like dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and pet dander
- a UV-C light that kills germs and bacteria in the air. It's the same type of technology that hospitals use.
You can vacuum off the pre-filter, but you have to replace the combination carbon/HEPA filter every 6-9 months. An indicator light on the unit tells you when it's time to replace it.
- simple to use
- gets rid of odors
- reduces dust and allergens
- UV-C light is bright
- loud on high speed
Warranty: 5 years
Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.5 x 27.25 inches
Best choice for: small rooms and for those on a tight budget
Best Air Purifier for Allergies & Asthma: Honeywell HPA300
The HPA300 True HEPA Whole Room Air Purifier with Allergen Remover is a budget-friendly air purifier that has earned a high rating from Consumer Reports.
It does an excellent job of filtering out smoke, dust and pollen, and can cover an area up to 465 square feet.
With four speeds and a programmable timer, you can set it to run exactly how you need it. It also has an indicator that tells you when it's time to replace the filters.
This is a great choice for bedrooms because it's quiet and because you can dim the LED display light. It's not going to interfere with your sleep.
The HEPA filter lasts for 3-5 years, but you'll need to replace the pre-filter every 3 months. Those pre-filters will run you about $15 each, or about $60 a year. Just keep that in mind if you're considering this model.
- excellent circulation
- dimmer control for LED display
- recommended by Consumer Reports
- easy to use
- pre-filter has to be replaced every 3 months
- black color shows up dust and hair clinging to front
Warranty: 5 years
Dimensions: 11 x 11.7 x 13.2 inches
Best choice for: allergies and asthma
Best Air Purifier for Dogs, Cats, Pet Hair & Pet Dander: Winix WAC9500
The Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet True HEPA Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology is a good all-around air purifier, but it's especially effective for removing pet hair, dander and odors.
This purifier puts air through five stages of cleaning:
- washable pre-filter that collects a ton of pet hair, lint, etc.
- carbon filter for odors and VOCs
- CleanCel antibacterial treatment
- true HEPA filter for airborne allergens like pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and dust
- PlasmaWave technology creates hydroxyls that neutralize bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants in the air
It has a decent CADR - 183/182/194 (smoke/dust/pollen) - and covers an area up to 283 square feet. That's about the size of an average family room or large bedroom.
Smart Sensors on the WAC9500 can detect dust, odors and light and adjust the fan speed automatically. It also has a handy remote control and a filter replacement indicator.
- remote control
- pre-filter and carbon filters are washable
- excellent VOCs sensor
- uses PlasmaWave technology
- no handles to pick it up
Warranty: 12 months
Dimensions: 8.9 x 16.5 x 21.9 inches
Best choice for: pet hair, dander, and odors
Best Quiet Air Purifier for Bedroom: Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0
If you're looking for an exceptionally quiet air purifier, then you'll want to check out the Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier (SPA-550A).
The secret to the quiet operation is the Brushless Direct Current Motor (BLDC), which is more efficient and more powerful than traditional brushed motors. It also makes a lot less noise.
Another feature that sets the Rabbit Air apart is its special BioGS HEPA filter. It traps airborne allergens like any HEPA filter, but it goes a step further.
Normally, the allergens continue to build up and build up, but the BioGS filter works to reduce the trapped particles. That means that the filter will last longer than a regular HEPA filter would.
This model uses four stages of filtration:
- washable pre-filter that traps large particles, lint, and hair
- activated carbon filter for reducing odors and VOCs
- BioGS HEPA filter that traps allergens as small as 0.3 microns
- negative ion generator to fortify the air (can be turned off)
Other notable features include:
- remote control
- timer (can be set for 4, 8, or 12 hours)
- air quality sensor and automatic fan speed adjustment
- filter life indicator
The Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0 does an excellent job of clearing the air of allergens and odors in spaces up to 550 square feet.
You can wash and reuse the pre-filter, but the other two filters will need to be replaced every 18 months - if you run it continuously. If you only run it 12 hours a day, the filters can last up to 3 years.
- super quiet
- attractive modern design
- long filter life
- simple to use
- power button stays lit at night
Warranty: 5 years plus 90-day money back guarantee
Dimensions: 9.8 x 16.6 x 22.2 inches
Best choice for: bedroom and nursery or anyone who wants an extra quiet air purifier
Best Air Purifier for Large Rooms: Alen BreatheSmart
The Alen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier is the most expensive one in this list. When you take a look at the features, you can understand why.
It has a CADR of 300, and it covers up to 1,100 square feet. That's equivalent to a large kitchen, large dining room, and large living room, combined. A huge area!
Not only that, but it's customizable. You can choose from 4 different HEPA filters to deal with specific air quality issues.
- HEPA-Pure for dust, pollen and pet dander
- HEPA-FreshPlus for VOCs, chemicals and smoke
- HEPA-Silver for bacteria, mold spores, and dust mites
- HEPA-OdorCell for neutralizing odors
There are also 14 different front panel covers to choose from, so you can match it to your decor.
The BreatheSmart has other nice features, too, including these:
- a SmartSensor that detects particles in the air and adjusts the speed of the fan to suit
- 4 fan speeds in addition to auto, plus a timer
- WhisperMax technology to reduce high pitched noise
- ozone-safe ionizer to improve efficiency
- a filter life timer so you know when it's time to replace it
Note that the filter is a HEPA type, not a true HEPA. But it still removes 99% of particles in the air, as opposed to the 99.99% that you get with a true HEPA.
Alen designed it this way because a true HEPA filter tends to restrict air flow. A restricted air flow requires a more powerful - hence noisier - motor to move such a high volume of air. Most people would not tolerate the noise, so they opted for the HEPA type rather than true HEPA filter.
The pre-filter can be washed or vacuumed and reused. But, the HEPA filter has to be replaced every 6 to 18 months, depending on how dirty your air is and how much you run it.
- quiet on low
- easy to read display
- can turn off display lights
- large size
- loud on higher speeds
Warranty: lifetime plus 60-day money back guarantee
Dimensions: 10 x 17.8 x 26.8 inches
Best choice for: large rooms and open areas
Air Purifier FAQs
What is CADR?
CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. It tells you the volume of air that a purifier delivers and how effective it is at filtering smoke, pollen and dust. The higher the numbers, the better, so be sure to compare the CADR when you're choosing between air purifiers.
What does HEPA stand for?
HEPA is an acronym for High Efficiency Particulate Air. A HEPA filter is made of a fine mesh material that traps tiny particles when air is forced through it.
True HEPA filters trap up to 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size. HEPA type filters capture up to 99% of particles 2 microns and larger. If your main air quality issue is airborne allergens, you'll want to choose an air purifier with a True HEPA filter.
Where should I put my air purifier?
If you only have one air purifier, you'll probably want to put it in the room where you spend the most time. Or if there's one room in particular that has bad quality air, you could put it there.
As far as placement in the room goes, remember two things: air flow and safety.
Keep it out of the way so that people don't trip over the cord or run into the device.
That said, you don't want to stick it in a corner or right up against a wall. Most air purifiers need at least a foot or two of space around them for maximum air flow. Your user manual will tell you how much space to allow.
Also, if you're dealing with smoke or other odors, it will work best if you can put it close to the source of the problem. The closer it is, the quicker it can pick up the offending particles.
You'll also find that your air purifier will work more efficiently if you keep the doors and windows shut.
How often should I run my air purifer?
It's best to run the air purifier continuously. If you choose a model with multiple speed settings, you can have it run on low while you're away from home to save energy.
Conclusion: Which air purifier is best?
So now it's decision time. How do you decide which air purifier is best for you?
There are three basic factors to consider:
- the type of allergen or pollutant that you want to eliminate
- the size of the room
- the cost
Take another look at the features and find the one that best matches your criteria.
To sum it up one last time, here are the best advantages of each of the 5 models (if you click on the link, it'll take you back up to the mini review):
- best most affordable air purifier: Germguardian AC5000E
- best air purifier for allergies and asthma: Honeywell HPA300
- best air purifier for pets: Winix WAC9500
- best (quietest) air purifier for bedrooms: Rabbit Air BioGS 2.0
- best air purifier for large rooms: Alen Breathesmart
All of these models are available from Amazon. If none of these still seem like the right fit, you can click here to check out all the available HEPA air purifiers at Amazon.