“Air pollution” is a phrase we often hear in the news, and something that feels we are mostly powerless to effect. The recent rise in the number of air purifiers coming onto the market show consumers are taking back control where they can. We can’t control the quality of air we breathe outside, but inside our home and workplace is a different matter.

Poor air quality can affect those with respiratory problems as well as a person’s sleep. Indoor air pollution can include anything from dust, smoke and pollen, to mould and animal hair, to outdoor air pollution that has filtered inside via ventilation.

According to a YouGov survey commissioned by Blueair, clean air “helps to promote deep sleep and people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution are 60 per cent more likely to sleep poorly than those living in areas with cleaner air.”

So, the benefits of cleaner air are obvious, but the differences between the many air purifiers on the market are not. To help you navigate the process of choosing the right product for your needs, we’ve tried and tested a wide variety of at-home purifiers. We did this over the space of several weeks, in both small and large rooms, to make sure we could confidently assess the improvement to the air.

We judged each product on how easy it was to set up, its size and how well it worked accordingly in each space. We also looked at the available settings, if it had a high efficiency particulate air (Hepa) filter, any noise it made, and the actual improvement of air quality through the clean air delivery rate (CADR).

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Blueair blue pure 411

Founded in Sweden, Blueair has a whole range of innovative air purifiers. This product is small but powerful, designed for smaller rooms up to 15m2. We really liked its simple set-up with one button control – you just need to plug it in and turn it on. With three speed settings, this is a no-fuss purifier which completely filters room air every 12 minutes. We really felt the air was fresher to breathe, and in particular, it removed cooking smells when placed in the kitchen.

Noise was an important consideration while testing, and we found the lowest setting on this product was quiet enough to have on while sleeping, so you can wake up feeling dust and allergen free. This air purifier was also one of the most attractive products we tried out, and if you’re not a fan of the blue coloured pre-filter, there are a range of other colours to choose from, so you won’t have to hide it in the corner of the room. Its compact and lightweight design means it’s easy to move around the house, or even travel with.

Compared to other purifiers we tested, this was easy to maintain, with an indicator light that turns red to let you know when you need to change the filter (normally after six months of use). The pre-filter was really simple to clean, you can actually gently vacuum clean it or, as we did, wash it in the washing machine. Finally, we were impressed that it uses just 1.5 watts of power, making it very energy efficient if you’re going to have it on for long periods of time.​

Dyson pure hot+cool

This three in one design not only purifies but can also heat and cool the air in your room. It comes with a handy remote, but what we really liked was the easy to use and quick to set up Dyson Link app, which can be downloaded to a phone or tablet. From this you can control the purifier, including the mode, the oscillation, airflow direction and speed, as well as setting a timer.

We really liked this feature, as you can turn it on as you head back from work, knowing that the air at home will be fresh and free from polluters by the time you arrive home. Air quality reports are sent directly to your phone, or you can see this in real-time on the purifier display which is very reassuring.

With a Hepa and carbon filter, Dyson promises this product removes 99.95 per cent of allergens, and over the course of a week we found it made a big difference to our allergies. The heating feature is also very effective, even in larger spaces. This is a great choice if you’re looking to buy a multi-purpose product that won’t impose on your room.

EletriQ EAP100D

If you’re worried about air pollution at your office, but your company won’t invest in a purifier, this is the product for you. It’s small in size, so it can easily be placed on your desk, and it has a very simple operating system compared to other purifiers, but this is reflected in the cheaper price point.

The touch display shows you the room temperature and humidity, and there are two fan speed settings. We found the sleep mode to be very quiet, so your colleagues definitely won’t complain about noise. We did find (as stated in the instructions), the filters needed cleaning every couple of weeks, but this was straightforward to do.​

Philips Series 3000i

With a minimalist design, this air purifier was definitely one of the more stylish products we tested and we felt it would easily fit into most home interiors (although it was larger than we expected it to be). It comes with a thorough instruction manual, and it was relatively easy to set up asides from some wifi connectivity issues. Of all the products we tested, this purifier was able to remove the smallest size air particles, up to 0.003 nanometre, which means that it is extremely effective if you suffer serious allergies or if you have animals in the house.

This product also comes with a useful app for easy control, and we really liked the notifications it sent which alert you to any changes in the air such as allergen levels and gases, which the purifier then automatically adapts to combat. The colour display was easy to understand, changing according to the quality of air. If you’re happy to spend a little more money, this is a very effective end energy efficient choice.

Homedics total clean 5in1 air purifier medium AP-T30

This product was another firm favourite. Simple to set up, you just need to take it out of the box, plug it in and you’re ready to go. The company promises the true Hepa filtration system removes up to 99.97 per cent of airborne allergens – being allergic to dust, and with a dog in the household, we really noticed the difference very quickly; no more sniffing or sore eyes. The timer feature was great to have, allowing you to choose between two, four, eight, or twelve hours, and it has several display options for night mode.

We also thought the essential oils tray was a nice extra touch – you can filter your favourite aromas through the purifier, making for an even better night’s sleep. As with all of the products we tested, the purifier did make some noise, but the lowest setting was absolutely fine to have on while sleeping, making a gentle humming noise. This product wasn’t as attractive as others we tested, but it was a very effective purifier, at an affordable price point with a three year guarantee.

Dimplex DXAPV3N air purifier

This air purifier was one of the smaller products we tested, and could easily fit on your bedside table or the corner of any surface in your living space. With a combined carbon and Hepa filter, it removes smoke, pollen, dust and pet dander from the air, however we found it worked best in a smaller size room as it’s not super powerful. Easy to set up, we liked the design and that it comes with a three year guarantee, however it was fairly noisy, so you probably wouldn’t want to sleep with it switched on.​

Blueair classic 405

If you’re looking for a product that works in a larger space, this is a great choice as it can be used in a room up to 40m2 in size, effectively removing dust, smoke and pollen. Featuring their own silencing technology, it was definitely the quietest purifier we tested when set at the lowest speed – you could happily sleep with it next to the bed. This purifier is quite large, so you’ll need to make sure you have a space in mind for it and you won’t want to be regularly moving it around the house as it’s reasonably heavy (15kg) – it would be great if it had wheels for easier transportation.

The product was simple to set up, but it is also wifi enabled, so if you download the handy Blueair Friend app, you can control it easily from your phone. As this is large we could quickly notice the air quality difference and felt less allergic – this took less than an hour on the medium setting. This product is recommended by asthma Allergy Nordic for those suffering from asthma, and it also comes with a five year warranty which is nice to have.

Bionaire BAP600-060

We liked this compact air purifier, especially as it’s very energy efficient, using only 33 watts of power. This would be another good choice if you’re looking to use a purifier at work, and its inoffensive design means it can easily be placed on a corner or bedside table. We found it a little noisy when on max speed, but it did seem to work quickly, noticeably purifying a small room within an hour. The company states that you’ll be fine using this for a room size up to 30m2, but as the product is small, we found it took a long time for it to work effectively in this sized space.

The verdict: Air purifiers

If you’re looking for a simple, reasonably priced air purifier that won’t impose in your home, it has to be the Blueair blue pure 411. If you have more cash to spend and more serious allergies, go for the Dyson pure hot + cool – it’s versatile, looks great, and also offers powerful heating and cooling. For a smaller and cheaper air purifier give the EletriQ EAP100D a go.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.