An air purifier is a great appliance to purchase if you have breathing sensitivities, allergies, or are concerned about environmental pollutants.

There are many air purifiers available for purchase, some that are portable and others that are installed in your home.

In general, it’s worth it to purchase an air purifier with the most effective filter to remove even the smallest particles floating in the air.

Note that air purifiers aren’t the only solution to maintaining a pollutant-free environment. Allergens like mold need to be remediated to reduce air contaminants.

Below are some air purifiers that may be useful for your needs. It really depends on your room specifications and preferences.

Purchasing an air filter doesn’t need to be complicated, but it’s important to know what’s available and what to measure before making a purchase.

Here are some questions to consider before purchasing an air purifier:

  • Are you looking to air-purify your whole house or just a room or two?
  • What types of pollutants would you like to filter?
  • What’s the size of the room where the air purifier will live?
  • How willing are you to replace or clean filters?
  • What’s the size, noise, and programing features you desire for your air purifier?

Consider what you want out of your air purifier. Do you want it to work in your entire house, or is there a particular room or two, such as a bedroom, that needs cleaner air?

Portable air filters come in many different sizes and units.

Permanent air purifiers are generally part of your HVAC unit and require regular filter replacement. Keep in mind that permanent air purifiers only work when the HVAC is in use, so it may not run if the temperatures are mild outdoors.

Running an HVAC during mild weather to filter the air may lead your utility bills to climb because of the machine’s extra use.

There are many types of air purifiers available for purchase, all of which filter different sizes and types of particles.

Keep in mind that pet hair is larger in size than fine particles from pollen, dust, or smoke. Your air filtration needs may be less if you’re primarily concerned with dander.

As a rule of thumb:

  • Pet hair and pollen are larger-sized particles.
  • Dust is a medium-sized particle.
  • Smoke is considered a small-sized particle.

In general, for allergens like pollen, dander, and smoke, you’ll want to look for high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters with both portable and permanent air purifiers. This type of filter traps large, medium, and small particles floating in the air.

Carbon filters target gases. They may be useful for filtering smoke and other contaminants in the air.

Many air purifiers contain both HEPA and carbon air filters.

If you choose to purchase a portable air purifier, know the size of your room. Air purifiers are only effective for certain sized rooms, so closely read the packaging to make sure the air purifier fits the square footage of your room.

You can find out the square feet of any room by multiplying the length and width of the room.

Portable air filters are measured by clean air delivery rate (CADR). This rating measures the size of the particles the unit filters and in what size room you can use it in. Larger rooms need higher CADR ratings to effectively clean the air.

For example, look for a CADR of 130 if your room is 200 square feet, or one with a 325 rating for a 500-square-foot room.

HVACs that filter the air are measured in MERVs (minimum efficiency reporting value).

Look for filters that are 10 or higher on this scale, no matter the particles you aim to filter. MERVs are measured from 1 to 20. You’ll need to regularly replace the filters for effective purification.

Below are some products you might want to consider to manage pollutants in your home.

Prices are designated as follows:

  • $: $200 or below
  • $$: $200 to $400
  • $$$: More than $400

Adding an air purifier to your home or room is a popular way to control allergies. One study found that filtering the air with an air purifier was the fourth-most common strategy for managing allergies.

No matter what you’re allergic to, selecting air purifiers with a HEPA filter will ensure that the air in your room is clean and pollutant-free.

Here are two products to consider for allergies.

Philips 1000 series

Cost: $$

• HEPA filter

• four settings

• automatically adjusts for sleep

• runs very quietly

Great for smaller rooms like bedrooms up to 200 square feet.

Blue Pure 211+

Cost: $$

• filters for particles and gasses

• multiple settings

• washable prefilter that captures pet dander and other large particles, which prolongs the main filter

• operates simply with the touch of one button

• 360-degree airflow

Works in medium-sized rooms, about 540 square feet. This unit is 16 pounds, which makes it difficult to move from room to room.

You may want to find an air purifier that features filters for both dander and odor. Pet hair may not require as fine a filter as other pollutants, but choosing one with a HEPA filter can ensure that you eliminate all unwanted particles in your room.

Here are two that may work best if you have pets in your home.

Levoit Core P350 Pet Care True HEPA Purifier

Cost: $

• low-cost option tailored to pets

• contains a HEPA filter for pet dander and a carbon filter for pet odors
runs quietly

• weighs 9 pounds and is small in size

Works in small-sized rooms like bedrooms or offices.

Honeywell HPA300

Cost: $$

• HEPA and carbon filters
four settings, including a “Turbo Clean” mode

• has a timer

• runs quietly

Works in a medium-sized room like a common area, which may be where your pets spend most of their time. It’s 17 pounds, so it may be best to keep it in one room.

You may wish to purify the air from tobacco smoke or other sources of smoke, such as wildfires. HEPA filters can help remove smoke particles from your room, which can be the most harmful aspect of smoke exposure.

Air purifiers featuring filters for gasses may also be helpful to remove the harmful aspects of pollution caused by smoke.

Levoit LV-PUR131 True HEPA Air Purifier

Cost: $

• uses a filter with three stages, including a prefilter, HEPA filter, and carbon filter, to trap particles and gases

• Wi-Fi capability for easy programming
can automatically adjust based on air quality
includes a sleep mode

• weighs 11 pounds, so it could be moved to another room if needed
features a timer

Works in a room up to 322 square feet.

RabbitAir MINUSA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier

Cost: $$$

• customized filter that traps 99.97 percent of allergens as well as gases from smoke

• sensors adjust the speed of the air purifier based on the environment
mounts on the wall

• very quiet

Works in large rooms of up to 815 square feet. This air purifier is on the expensive end.

So, there’s not actually a best air purifier for mold. This is because it doesn’t fix the root of the problem.

In fact, beware relying on an air purifier to help with a mold problem in your home. Mold grows in moist or wet spaces. You can run an air purifier to get rid of the mold in the air, but it won’t remove the source of the problem.

Address the source of the water and replace anything affected by mold.

Running an air purifier with a HEPA filter, like those recommended for allergies, will help trap mold particles, but you must get rid of the source of the mold to truly remove the pollutant.

Not all air purifiers are good for your health. Using a unit or filter that’s not regularly cleaned or maintained won’t work effectively. Also consider that some air purifiers emit ozone, which can cause irritation in your lungs.

These may include ionizers, uncoated or poorly coated UV lights, and plasma.

Make sure you’re keeping your room free of pollutants in other ways as well. Don’t let people smoke inside, regularly vacuum and clean, and ventilate with outdoor air from time to time, if possible.

There are many options of portable air purifiers available for purchase. Lower-cost models tend to work in smaller rooms, whereas larger units cost more but may cover the common space in your home.

You may want to consider installing an air purifier in your HVAC unit, which should be done by a professional. Utilizing an air purifier may help control particles and other pollutants in the air.