My platonic other wife, Kylie Belachaikovsky, was complaining to me the other day about how her house smells like cat urine and teenage boy. There are no teenage boys living in her home. That’s just the stink she puts off. She was wondering if there was a way to destankify her home in the cold months when opening the windows puts you at risk for ending up like Jack Nicholson at the end of The Shining. Clearly, she needed an air purifier.
To help her and other disgusting people, I have put together this comprehensive guide on how to shop for air purifiers, and I will give my recommendations for the top models worthy of your money dollars.
Your Indoor Air Is Covered in Pollution
For one of my real jobs, I had to research and write about indoor air pollution. What I learned will curdle your blood. You are breathing in miniature pieces of your pets, dust, plants, ungodly chemicals, and more. It’s a miracle that you’re alive to read this. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to clear the air without shelling out hundreds or even fractions of hundreds of dollars for an air purifier. You might try:
- Opening a window, unless pollen and other allergens like to have their way with your lungs
- Cleaning the air filter on your AC
- Stop storing toxic chemicals, like glue, pesticides, and solvents, on your dinner table
- Clean and use your exhaust fans
- Don’t burn garbage (or anything else) in your living room (or anywhere else inside)
- Quit smoking and rip sweet cottony vape plumes instead
- Keep houseplants since they naturally filter the air until you kill them
- Vacuum every hour on the hour (or at least vacuum often) with a carpet sweeper that has a HEPA filter
What to Think about When Buying an Air Purifier
You wouldn’t just marry the first woman you see. Of course, the first woman you saw was probably your mother, and she’s great and all, but you need to shop around, especially if you aren’t even into women. You also need to shop around for air purifiers. Here are some things to consider as you do your shopping:
Do you want complete silence? If you are regularly blasting the best adult contemporary jams throughout your home, noise levels won’t matter. On the other hand, if you’re going to use your purifier in a library, choose something quiet. You can reduce noise and increase efficiency by running a larger model on a low speed.
How Much Do You Clean, Bro? We don’t clean in the Brains household unless people are coming over, and even then, we only clean the areas they might come in contact with. However, I do clean our air filters when they need it. We have too many animals and allergies to not do that. Be ready to clean your filters on the reg. Also, factor in the cost of replacing the filters when choosing a unit to buy. Filters might cost you anywhere from a Hamilton to a Benjamin.
Does It Have a HEPA Filter? Many of the best air purifiers have HEPA filters. Scientists have yet to discover what HEPA stands for, but they do know that it can capture the tiniest of particles, and the filters cost almost as much as the air cleaner itself and have to be replaced every year.
It Works Well, But at What Cost? For electricity and filter replacement, you can expect to spend a couple hundo per year for the portable models. To cut down on these costs, look for units with pre-filters that get rid of the large particles before your HEPA filter has to get down to work. Main filters generally need to be replaced yearly and carbon filters quarterly. You can save money and anger climate change deniers by choosing an Energy Star qualified model.
Oh, the Features!
If you have zero experience with air purifiers, you may have the stupid idea that some models have insane features, like the ability to transform air pollutants into cheeseburgers that are dispensed fresh and delicious whenever you want them. (Please do this, manufacturers!) In the real world, though, these are some of the main features you will find:
- Dirt Sensor – If you’re a filthy person, some models will adjust the fan speed to account for the extra dirt.
- Remote Control – Because walking to the other side of the room just isn’t even possible sometimes.
- Ionizer – If the purifier has an ionizer, make sure it doesn’t produce ozone because this can irritate your lungs.
- Carrying Handle – If you aren’t fancy enough to have air purifiers in every room, choose a model that is easy to carry around with you.
- Programmable – You don’t need the air in a room to be breathable when you’re not in it. Save energy by programming it to turn on a little bit before you go in.
Can You Really Put A Price on a Nice Purifier?
Yes. Yes, you can. Since we cannot give you the exact price of each of the following models due to our agreement with Amazon, here is a general, intuitive pricing guide using $ symbols:
- $ = about $70 to $144.99
- $$ = about $145 to $214.99
- $$$ = about $215 to $360
You’re gonna have to do a little clicking on the models below if you want more precise prices.
Now that we’ve cleared the air, here are Brains Report’s recommendations for the top 10 best air purifiers:
- Captures 99.97% of impurities and particles as small as .3 microns
- Seeks and destroys formaldehyde with a NanoCaptur filter
- Energy Star rated
Tired of wheezing, sneezing, runny eyes, coughing guys, shortness of breath, and painful deaths? If so, the Rowenta Intense Pure Air Purifier is for you! They take advantage of our vaguely disturbing fascination with German engineering to sell us one of the most advanced air purifiers on the market. This baby has four filters, which for reasons outlined above is a blessing and a curse. Users like that on the lowest two settings it is essentially silent. Also, it will remove the smell of cat piss from your sty.
- True HEPA filtration captures 99.99% of the crud as small as 0.3 microns
- Washable odor-control carbon filter
- Uses “PlasmaWave technology” to disarm and neutralize gases, odors, bacteria, viruses, and mother-in-laws in the air
As the name suggests, the Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet is designed to make living with pets bearable. These filthy beasts poop, pee, shed, and vomit all over your home like a wild drunk. Well, this air purifier can help with the hair, but you’re still going to have to clean up the other messes. They just won’t smell as bad. Buyers with allergies have reported that this unit fixed their problems. Also, this model doesn’t appear to use much power, even when you run it on full power at all times.
3. Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover – $$$
- Good for large rooms up to 465 square feet
- 4 cleaning levels: turbo, allergen, general clean, and germ warfare
- Captures 99.97% of airborne particles that are 0.3 microns or bigger
It’s fitting that the organization that verified the test results for this air purifier has an acronym that sounds like someone clearing their throat. Nonetheless, AHAM verified the clean air delivery rate (CADR) performance of the Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover. It cleans about 300 cubic feet of air per minute. Verified purchasers find this unit runs much quieter than other models and even does an excellent job in humongous rooms. The biggest complaint is that the filters get expensive. I told you to watch out for that!
- 3 stage air cleaning
- Certified for rooms as large as 350 square feet
- One-year warranty and Energy Star approved
Winix has the most models on our list (three, all in the top 5). This is because they are an excellent manufacturer that focuses on products that make it easier to breathe in a revolting home. Many of the reviewers on Amazon were impressed with how the PlasmaWave 5300 Air Cleaner handles farts. You can eat all the chili you want, and this beauty will immediately go to work on your anal emissions.
- Has Winix’s PlasmaWave Technology
- Leaves 0.03% of pollutants in the air to clog up your lungs
- Automatically adjusts its cleaning to match the amount of toxic fumes in the atmosphere
The three stages the WAC5500 True HEPA Air Cleaner uses to make your home breathable are the odor-absorbing carbon pre-filter, true HEPA filtration, and the PlasmaWave. This model produces a nearly undetectable amount of ozone, runs quietly, looks really attractive if you’re into air purifiers, and it can detect and clean plastic out-gassing.
- Like other true HEPA filters, this captures 99.97% of particulate matter
- Svelte tower design
- Certified Intertek, which is not the company from Office Space
The GermGuardian AC4825 is the best air purifier you will find for under $100. The problem is that they require you to use their filters if you want the warranty to remain valid. Lame. The three purifying stages in the “3-in-1” name are the pre-filter and charcoal filter, the HEPA filter, and UV-C light technology with titanium dioxide, which kills airborne bacteria and viruses along with odor molecules.
- No filters to clean
- Mainly for mold control and removal and odor elimination
- Incredibly small
The Enerzen Commercial Ozone Generator is the bargain basement option. Not only is it the least expensive option on our list, but you don’t have to buy filters. The problem is that this is not going to get the smaller particles and there’s no HEPA filter. Also, it produces ozone, which may irritate you. Still, if your home is constantly on fire while simultaneously serving as a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and fungus, this is your best option since it will filter the smoke and odors.
- Filter check indicator that nags you when it’s time to clean the filters
- Easy to clean filters
- Operates quieter than a party goer with social anxiety
The owners of the Honeywell HFD-120-Q love it with a frenzy that rivals that of the most zealous fans of whoever 2018’s Justin Bieber would be. People comment on how the filters get rid of cigarette smoke, cat litter box, and cheeseburger odors.
9. Whirlpool Whispure Air Purifier – $$
- In a 500-square-foot room, it filters all of the air 4.8 times per hour (I counted)
- Four fan speeds, turbo, and sleep modes
- Has a 315 CADR (which is basically how many cubic feet of air it cleans in a minute)
Maybe it’s just me, but I have trouble visualizing square footage. I have to break it up into more manageable dimensions. For example, if a room is 500 square feet, I know that it’s the same size as a 25’-by-20’ room. I can envision 25 feet. Now that I got that “cool story bro” out of the way, the Whirlpool Whispure Air Purifier works well, but it does get a little loud. There are less expensive alternatives that work better on our list.
10. Blue Pure 121 Air Purifier – $$$
- AHAM rated for rooms of 620 square feet (31’ by 20’)
- Energy Star rated for low power usage
- CADR of 400
The Blue Pure 121 Air Purifier is the most expensive unit on our list, but it puts in a hard day’s work. On its highest setting, it makes quick work of cleaning the air, but it does get fairly loud. When you register your Blueair air purifier, it comes with a two-year warranty.
Do you have a friend whose house or apartment is so putrid it makes it unbearable to visit them? Send them this guide!