Best air purifiers—improve air quality in your home with our pick of the top models

The best air purifiers offer some legitimate health benefits, quietly filtering the air in your home, removing dust, allergens and even bacteria and viruses

Our selection of the best air purifier models on the market
(Image credit: Future)

Air pollution is now more prevalent than ever, and the best air purifiers are a fantastic solution to the problem—sifting out traffic fumes, pollen, and so much more from the air we breathe.

Over the past few years, air quality has become a focal point for health experts—the fact is, pollution is now considered to be part of a global health crisis. Airborne pollutants are as much of an issue indoors as out and, while ventilation is key, the solution might not simply be to leave doors and windows open (in fact, if you live near a main road, that can just add to the number of airborne pollutants in your home). And, the idea of flinging our doors open in winter? No, thank you. 

So in order to clean the air in our homes properly, air purifiers are often the best solution. Air purifiers work by using a fan to suck the air from your home, drawing it through high-efficiency particulate arrest (HEPA) filters and trapping particles, before recirculating the particle-free air back into the room. As a result, all of our picks are HEPA models. This helps to improve air quality, so you aren't breathing in as much of the nasty stuff that could be harming your health.

If you are considering buying one of the best air purifiers, we've tested a selection of the best ones on the market right now. Of the models that we examined, the very best air purifier was the MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76x5 because it hits the “Goldilocks” sweet spot—being neither too big nor too small. Additionally, it’s affordable, smart and can efficiently clean the air in a large room. 

It wasn’t a one-horse race, however. There were some pretty serious contenders for the top spot, in the form of the Blueair Blue Pure 411, which is small, affordable and cleans the air in a single room without smart controls, and the Philips AC3033/30 Air Purifier Series 3000i, which looked stylish and offered a long-lasting (and thus money-saving) filter.

How we tested the best air purifiers

No, we didn’t just read the specs from the manufacturers—we carried out our own tests to establish the best air purifier. Our tests used the expensive high-end industrial air quality meter, the Met One Instruments Model 804 Handheld Particle Counter. With this, we tested the room’s initial air quality, tested it again after the air purifier had been used at its top setting for an hour, then compared the two sets of results to establish how well the air had been cleaned. We focused on the PM10 and PM2.5 figures because these are the ones the World Health Organisation uses as benchmarks of air quality. These are particles measuring no more than 10 microns and no more than 2.5 microns respectively.

In order to thoroughly test the purifiers, we also examined value for money, noise, style and ease of use in all the products below.

What do I need to consider before buying an air purifier?

The first thing to consider when deciding on the best air purifier for you is the size of the room you want to use it in—there’s no point putting a design that purifies the air in a 15-square-metre room in an open-plan kitchen-diner that’s twice that size, as it just won’t be effective. 

Next, if you plan to move it between rooms, look at the size and weight, as well as its design—some air purifiers are much more modern and aesthetically pleasing than others. Finally, pay attention to extra features such as voice-activated control, air-quality data, and even heating and cooling functions, and decide whether these functions will make your life easier or are unnecessary additions that you’d rather not pay more for.

Almost all air purifiers use high-efficiency particulate arresting (HEPA) filters to trap offending dust particles and other pollutants. As this type of purifier relies on just the power of a fan to draw air from a room, remove particles via the HEPA filter, then recirculate clean air back into the room, they do not produce any ozone (something we do want to avoid as it can be harmful to our health). Models that are described as ‘ionising air purifiers’ use an electric charge and produce ozone as a result, so do take this into consideration when buying.

The best air purifiers as reviewed by our experts

MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76x5, one of our best air purifier picks

(Image credit: Meaco)

1. MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76x5

The overall best air purifier

Specifications
Weight: 4.6kg
RRP: £199.99
Dimensions: W30.3 x D27 x H49.7cm
CADR: 380m³/h
Noise levels: 25-56dB
Energy consumption: 50W
Reasons to buy
+Compact and affordable+Air-quality sensor+Smart controls
Reasons to avoid
-Not great looking-Cost of replacement filters

Our pick for the best air purifier overall, the MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76x5 is the smallest air purifier on test to boast an air-quality sensor and smart controls. While there’s a control panel and display on top, plus coloured lights to give a visual indication of air quality, the machine’s companion app adds remote control, air quality tracking, scheduling and even voice control to the offering. Talk about functionality.

For a smart air purifier it’s also compact and affordable. It’s not, however, all that beautiful—but what it lacked in looks it made up for in performance; it tested well, effectively cleaning the air in a 30m² room. Its three-layer filter includes HEPA and activated charcoal, to catch microscopic particles and gases. The filter will, however, need replacing every six months, so that’s an additional cost to bear in mind. Overall, the Meaco is hard to fault, as it's compact, affordable and has great smart controls.

See our full MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76x5 Wi-Fi air purifier review

Philips AC3033/30 Air Purifier Series 3000i, best air purifier

(Image credit: Philips)

2. Philips AC3033/30 Air Purifier Series 3000i

The best luxury air purifier

Specifications
Weight: 9.06kg
RRP: £450
Dimensions: W29 x D29 x H64.5cm
CADR: 400m³/h
Noise levels: 33-66dB
Energy consumption: 55W
Reasons to buy
+Good looking+Long filter life+Smart controls
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Quite large

There’s no getting around the fact that the Philips AC3033/30 Air Purifier Series 3000i is both large and pricey but, that said, it looks great and its filter lasts for years. Its top setting is loud but, thanks to its air quality sensor, you can put it on auto mode and it will work away as quietly as possible (dependent on the air it’s working with).

Like the Meaco, this air purifier has touch controls and a display on top plus colored lights to give a quick visual indication of air quality. And, again, you can use the app in multiple ways—as a remote control, to track air quality and for scheduling.

Its three-layer filter includes HEPA and activated charcoal, to catch microscopic particles and gases. The filter life is “up to 36 months”, which, if you read between the lines, means a big saving on replacement filter cartridges. The Philips performed well during testing, and is designed to clean the air in a 32m² area: that’s two good-sized rooms. Large it might be—but this stylish model is also low maintenance and simple to use, which is why it makes our list of the best air purifiers.

See our full Philips AC3033/30 Air Purifier Series 3000i air purifier review

Homedics TotalClean PetPlus AT-PET02A-GB Air Purifier

(Image credit: Homedics)

3. Homedics TotalClean PetPlus AT-PET02A-GB Air Purifier

The best air purifier for pet allergies

Specifications
Weight: 5.5kg
RRP: £199.99
Dimensions: 77 x 45.5 x 30 cm
CADR: 8.75 m³/h
Noise levels: 60dB maximum
Energy consumption: 25W
Reasons to buy
+Extra filtration for households with pets+Great price for the performance
Reasons to avoid
-Noisy at 60dB

If you're in need of an air purifier specifically for pet allergies, look no further than this model from Homedics. As well as the usual HEPA filters, this air purifier also includes two PetPlus odour filters, so it’s a great choice if you have several pets in the home, especially if they’re long-haired ones. It also has a carbon pre-filter, which will also help to get rid of any fur or hair from your pets that might irritate your eyes, nose and mouth. 

Granted, this isn’t the best-looking air purifier, but it’s tall and narrow in design, making it fairly discreet, and meaning it could easily fit into a smaller space in your home. It's also fairly lightweight at 5.5kg. The Homedics air purifier will filter a room up to 17.5 square metres, so it's ideal for an average sized room, and removes 99.97% of airborne allergens. One drawback is that it can be fairly noisy at 60dB, but on a lower speed it's much more manageable. 

Blueair Blue Pure 411, one of the best air purifier picks

(Image credit: Blueair)

4. Blueair Blue Pure 411

The best budget air purifier

Specifications
Weight: 1.5kg
RRP: £129
Dimensions: W20.3 x D20.3 x H42.4cm
CADR: 200m³/h
Noise levels: 17-46dB
Energy consumption: 1.5-10W
Reasons to buy
+Compact+Affordable+Quiet rotation
Reasons to avoid
-For single room, 15m²-No air-quality sensor

If you want a small, affordable, simple air purifier for a single room then look no further. At a fraction of the cost of the bigger models, this Blueair Blue Pure 411 air purifier performed well during testing. The obvious drawback is that its size means it’s only designed to clean air in a single 15m² room.

Should that be what you’re looking for, however, it’s good-looking and small enough that it won’t dominate a smaller room. You can even make it colorful with a range of fabric pre-filters to cover the bottom half. Its three-layer filtration includes Blueair HEPASilent, a quieter way to remove tiny particles.

There are no air-quality sensors or smart controls included in this model; while we didn’t miss the app option, the lack of sensor meant there was no automatic mode. That said, setting this up is simple enough—you just tap a button to select from three power levels (high power filters the air faster but it’s also louder). In most homes though, the low setting would suffice. This is the best air purifier for those on a budget.

See our full Blueair Blue Pure 411 air purifier review

AEG AX9 600 Connected Home air purifier, one of the best air purifier picks

(Image credit: John Lewis)

5. AEG AX9 600 Connected Home air purifier

The best air purifier for a style statement

Specifications
Weight: 7.9kg
RRP: £379
Dimensions: W31.5 x D31.5 x H72.5cm
CADR: 380m³/h
Noise levels: 17-49dB
Energy consumption: 41W
Reasons to buy
+Smart controls+Striking looking+Carry handles
Reasons to avoid
-Love-or-loathe design-Simplistic control panel

With its tall, grey, curvy five-sided shape and unusual leather-style handles, the AEG AX9 600 air purifier’s design is a little like Marmite—you’ll either love or hate it. While this was the largest air purifier we tested, its room-cleaning capacity was the same as the more discreet-looking Philips at 32m².

Its controls are divisive too; the app is excellent but the AEG’s touch panel doesn’t display air quality, instead indicating this via colored lights. The panel allows you to select intuitively from nine levels of power, but—as ever—the smart setting is best, as it means the machine is quiet most of the time. And as noise levels go, the AEG is relatively quiet.

An interesting feature comes with the filtration system: its five stages of filtration vary because you can choose from three cartridges, customizing filtration to prioritize pollen, odour or choose a good all-rounder.

The AEG performed well during testing, but we marked it down a little for its size and quirky structure. However, if you love the look of it, it won’t disappoint. It's an effective air purifier with a striking design, which would go with any kind of decor, from a traditional sage green living room to a modern, minimalist kitchen, which is why it's made our list for the best air purifier.

See our full AEG AX9 600 Connected air purifier review

Blue Air air purifier, one of the best air purifier picks

(Image credit: Blue Air)

6. Blueair Blue Pure Fan

The best air purifier for cooling as well as purifying

Specifications
Weight: 7.39 kg
rrp: £249
Dimensions: W33 x D28 x H38cm
CADR: 300m³/h
Noise levels: 31-56dB
Energy consumption: 30-61W
Reasons to buy
+Cooling fan+Stylish design+Compact
Reasons to avoid
-Pricier than equivalent air purifier-No air-quality sensor

The only model in our testing that also functions as a cooling fan, this Swedish design—the Blueair Blue Pure Fan—purifies the air at any time of the year but is especially useful in the summer. There’s no air quality sensor and no app, but the controls are simple. 

The floor standing design is stylish and, while filtration isn’t as good as dedicated air purifiers, it’s an excellent fan and it does a good job of cleaning the air in the room too. This is a model that’s well worth considering if you need a fan and suffer from hayfever or summer allergies when the doors and windows are open; it’ll clean the air in a 24m² room pretty well. Overall, it's a stylish fan that purifies air as it blows, making it perfect for the warm months. Perhaps the best air purifier for the summer.

See our full Blueair Blue Pure Purifying Fan review

HONEYWELL AIRGENIUS 5 AIR PURIFIER, one of the best air purifier picks

(Image credit: Honeywell)

7. Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Purifier

The best air purifier for low maintenance costs

Specifications
Weight: 8.2kg
RRP: £279.99
Dimensions: H74 x W29.2 x D29.5cm
CADR: 273m3
Noise levels: Maximum of 48dB
Energy consumption: 38W
Reasons to buy
+Washable filters+Smart looks+Great for large spaces
Reasons to avoid
-Includes an ioniser-Quite large in size

If you're after an air purifier for a large room or space, the Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Purifier is a great option to consider. It’ll purify the air of a 112-square-metre room too—so those of you with larger properties would do well to invest in this machine. 

While the filters on some models need to be replaced with new ones, the Honeywell’s are washable, meaning there’s no extra expense further down the line, which is why it's our best air purifier for keeping maintenance costs low. This model has five speed settings, including a clever seasonal allergen and germ reduction option. There's also a handy night light so you can operate your air purifier while you sleep. The Honeywell promises to catch up to 99.9% of microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns—including dust, smoke, and pet particles, and it's effective at doing just this.

What do air purifiers actually do? 

You might be wondering exactly how air purifiers work. They operate much like fans but, rather than simply circulating air, they pull it in and move it through a series of filters that collect (or trap) different sizes of airborne particles, before recirculating the air. The particles—everything from dust to microscopic particles such as smoke, pollen, odours and germs—are then trapped in the layers of the filter cartridge, reducing the pollutants in your home. And if you're wondering how to clean your air purifier, it's worth noting that even with the best air purifier, over time (and with use) these filters require maintenance—if they’re not reusable or washable, they’ll need replacing regularly for the air purifier to continue to function efficiently. 

Most air purifiers recirculate the air discreetly, so there’s no cooling breeze like that which you’d associate with a fan. As a side note, you can buy fans for warmer weather that also filter the air. And while these are great for the summer, they are of course less useful in colder months. It's also worth noting that in the air purifiers vs dehumidifiers debate, dehumidifiers are more useful for ridding your home of winter condensation than an air purifier.

Some air purifiers are small and simple—you just turn them on to your chosen setting and leave them to clean the air in your room. Others are known as ‘smart’; they contain a sensor that measures air quality in order to choose their own setting accordingly, and can also be connected to an app on your phone so you can control them remotely. Additionally, these apps usually allow you to keep track of air quality ups and downs.

What is the CADR—and why is it so important when it comes to air purifiers?

When choosing the best air purifier for your home, the other main consideration is how much air each model can filter—after all, one of the main air purifier benefits is that it rids your space of harmful pollutants. In order to measure how much air each model can filter, it is necessary to take a look at its Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). Measured in cubic metres per hour (m³/h), it refers to the volume of air that an air purifier can clean in the space of an hour. If you want really clean air, the gold standard is for all the air in the room to be cleaned five times an hour. 

It might help to dig out your tape measure. If, for example, your room measures 16m² (the room’s length multiplied by the width) and your ceiling is 2.5m high then you have a volume of 16x2.5 = 40 m³ of air. To clean it five times an hour you need a CADR that’s five times that number, so at least 200 m³/h. Look for a higher CADR if you want clean air in larger rooms and open-plan spaces. If this is a technical spec too far, don’t worry—we’ve done the maths for you in the reviews above.