Top 10 Air Purifiers

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Air purifiers are brilliant at removing particulates from the air you are breathing and some even tackle unwanted gasses like odours.

Whether it's hay fever inducing pollen, asthma triggering dust, pet dander or bike maintenance fumes the right air purifier can make all the difference in your home, workshop or garage so we've picked ten of the best to get you started.

You might also like our face mask test.

The Best Air Purifiers:

1st

Blueair Classic 480i

Blueair Classic 280i

Price: £600 - £630

Filters: £40 - £65 Polymer Fibre HEPA, £105 HEPA + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

Blueair are a Swedish company who specialise in air purifiers and their Classic range is arguably the best you can get for the home or garage. Unlike the Dyson offerings they don't do anything except purify the air but if that is your primary concern they are well worth a look. The 480i will replace the air in a 40 m² room every 12 minutes.

It has three manual speed settings from roaring to the whisper quiet setting you will mainly leave it on and it achieves this by using a large fan and filter. When powered on it defaults to auto, starts at setting three and works down to setting one as the onboard dust and smell sensors calculate how bad each level currently is in the room.

You can leave it on the default auto setting where it will constantly adapt to the air quality or manually set it to level one, two or three. The sensors are very sensitive and respond quickly to a spray of deodorant or dare we say a little wind!

We Like

  • Solid industrial design
  • Virtually silent running on the lowest setting
  • Recyclable and naturally antibacterial polymer filters
  • 6 month filter life when used 24 hours every day (4,380 hours)
  • Optional filter with Activated Carbon
  • LED brightness setting
  • Wifi control via app
  • Button child lock
  • Timer function

Weight: 15 kg (33 lbs)

Dimensions: 59 cm Height, 50 cm Width, 28 cm Depth

Sound Level: 32 - 52 dB(A)

Colours: White

Summary

The Classic 480i is a very effective air purifier for large rooms, quiet to run and economical both on power and filter replacements. Check out this quick video review.

2nd

Blueair Classic 280i

Blueair Classic 280i

Price: £460 - £480

Filters: £40 Polymer Fibre HEPA, £60 - £70 HEPA + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

The Blueair Classic 280i is the smaller brother to the 480i and will replace the air in a 26 m² room every 12 minutes. That's perfect for an average bedroom or study.

It has three speed settings and when powered on it works down the settings as the onboard dust and smell sensors calculate how bad each level currently is in the room. Most of the time it will run whisper quiet on setting one, only jumping up to the higher settings if the sensors detects anything out of the ordinary.

The filter covers the entire back of the unit, behind a metal mesh door and it's this large surface area combined with a large fan behind the filter that make it so quiet. Filtered air is pushed out the top and you can see the dust /odour sensors on the side. The plastic sensor panel can get a little dusty over time so it's helpful to give it a clean now and again.

We've been running the older Classic 270 for the last four years here and absolutely love the difference it makes to our hay fever and asthma! It's also light enough and small enough to move from room to room as required.

We Like

  • Solid industrial design
  • Virtually silent running on the lowest setting
  • Recyclable and naturally antibacterial polymer filters
  • 6 month filter life when used 24 hours every day (4,380 hours)
  • Optional filter with Activated Carbon
  • LED brightness setting
  • Wifi control via app
  • Time function

Weight: 11 kg (24 lbs)

Dimensions: 53 cm Height, 43 cm Width, 21 cm Depth

Sound Level: 32 - 56 dB(A)

Colours: White

Summary

The Classic 280i is a very effective air purifier for your average garage / bedroom / study / kitchen, very quiet on the lowest setting, super easy to move around and very economical to run. Check out this quick video review and this video showing the inner workings.

3rd

Dyson Pure Hot + Cold

Blueair Classic 280i

Price: £550 - £680

Filters: £60 360° HEPA Glass Fibre + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

The Dyson Hot + Cold HP04 air purifier, heater and fan combines several useful functions into one stylish unit with capacity to filter 290 litres of air per second in a 27 m² room.

It's at the premium end of the spectrum but you should get a lot of use out of it, from keeping cool without much noise in the Summer to heating just your immediate area in the Winter, all while thoroughly filtering the room air.

We Like

  • Cool remote control which magnetically attaches to the top
  • Screen showing which pollutants have been detected
  • Room temperature setting
  • Diffuse mode which sends air out the back
  • Night mode which minimises noise and dims the display
  • Pet and child friendly fanless design
  • App to control all the functions
  • 350° rotation

Weight: 8.7 kg (19 lbs)

Dimensions: 76 cm Height, 25 cm Width, 25 cm Depth

Sound Level: 46 - 64 dB(A)

Colours: White / silver

Summary

While it isn't the best outright air purifier the ability to heat, to cool with a fan and the overall aesthetically pleasing design make it worth considering. Check out this quick video from Dyson and this video review.

4th

Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

Price: £600

Filters: £65 360° HEPA Glass Fibre + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

The Dyson Humidify + Cool PH01 is essentially the same as the Hot + Cold but substitutes the heating functionality for a 5 litre self cleaning water reservoir and evaporator.

It can filter up to 320 litres of air per second but with the added advantage of the hydrated air cooling you more effectively in Summer and potentially making the air easier to breathe for those with asthma / allergies compared to dry air.

We Like

  • Automatically maintain a set moisture level in the air
  • UV cleaning to kill 99.9% of bacteria in the water reservoir
  • Silver strands woven into the evaporator to prevent bacteria growth
  • Screen showing which pollutants have been detected
  • Pet and child friendly fanless design
  • App to control all the functions

Weight: 8.3 kg (18 lbs) [without water]

Dimensions: 92 cm Height, 31 cm Width, 31 cm Depth

Sound Level: 46 - 64 dB(A)

Colours: White / silver

Summary

If you are mainly after air purification and don't really need the heating available on the HP04 then the PH01 makes a lot of sense. It's cheaper and humidified air is better for conditions like asthma. Check out this quick video from Dyson.

5th

IQAir Atem Car

IQAir Atem

Price: £390

Filters: £80 270° HEPA Glass Fibre + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

Swiss firm IQAir are up there with Blueair when it comes to air purifier know how and the Atem moves the game on considerably. Atem is German for breath in case you were wondering and it will filter up to 62 m³ per hour on the highest app setting.

The main use cases are inside a car, where it will clean the air 20 times per hour and with the accessories on your desk enveloping you in a clean air bubble. It's shipped with the car mount and 12V adaptor.

We Like

  • 99% filtering efficiency
  • Air sensor with auto on
  • Incredibly quite operation
  • Manufactured in Germany
  • Ability to run from an optional battery pack
  • Optional desktop stand and air guide
  • Optional carry case
  • Minimal power use
  • App for control
  • 3 fan speeds (4 with the app)

Weight: 1.9 kg (4 lbs) [without attachments]

Dimensions: 10 cm Height, 30 cm Width, 30 cm Depth

Sound Level: 35 - 55 dB(A)

Colours: Black

Summary

It's quite expensive to buy and the filters aren't cheap, but it's a fully featured air purifier that you can take with you from desk to car! Game changing.

It may not have the overall filtering capacity of some others on this list but the ability to take it with you and to filter the air in your own personal space make it worth considering.

Check out this quick video and this video to see it in action in a car setting.

6th

Blueair Pure 221

Blueair Pure 221

Price: £350

Filters: £50 - £65 360° Particle Filter + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

The Blueair Pure 221 is the larger of two new smaller and trendier purifiers from the Swedish firm. It has one simple button on the front, three speed settings and can filter the room air 12 times per hour.

It's designed for rooms up to 50 m² and can filter 350 m³ of air per hour. Note that the filter isn't a true HEPA filter like the more expensive Blueair products, which filter out 99.9% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size, but it does filter out 99% of particles and the Carbon filter tackles odours. For many that will be more than enough filtering performance.

We Like

  • Changeable pre-filter colours
  • Decent air filtering capacity
  • Light and portable
  • Cool mesh top
  • Pretty quiet
  • Solid build

Weight: 7 kg (15 lbs)

Dimensions: 51 cm Height, 33 cm Width, 33 cm Depth

Sound Level: 31 - 56 dB(A)

Colours: Black, blue, yellow, pink, grey

Summary

Unlike the smaller 411 the bottom half has a metal mesh frame to keep it stable, which the changeable pre-filters slide over, although this does make it a touch heavier.

It lacks advanced functionality like air quality sensors, timers and wifi control but offers high capacity purifying at a competitive price while looking quite stylish. Note that it's much bigger than it looks in the pictures!

Check out this quick video review.

7th

Blueair Pure 411

Blueair Pure 411

Price: £130

Filters: £20 - £25 360° Particle Filter + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

The Blueair Pure 411 is the baby of two new smaller and trendier purifiers from the firm, targeting a lower price point and lower filtering capacity than their more industrial models. It has one simple button on the top to cycle through the three speed settings.

It's designed for rooms up to 15 m² and can filter 120 m³ of air per hour. Note that the filter isn't a true HEPA filter like the more expensive Blueair products, which filter out 99.9% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size, but it does filter out 99% of particles and the Carbon filter tackles odours. For many that will be more than enough filtering performance.

We Like

  • Really light and portable
  • Changeable pre-filter colours
  • Super quiet operation
  • Stylish top mesh
  • Cheap filters

Weight: 2 kg (3 lbs)

Dimensions: 42 cm Height, 20 cm Width, 20 cm Depth

Sound Level: 17 - 46 dB(A)

Colours: Black, blue, yellow, pink, grey

Summary

It's essentially a covered 360° filter with a fan stuck on top but if you want a competitively priced and stylish product from a company who specialise in air purification, without the purifying capacity of the more expensive models then it's a solid option.

Also it lacks some of the more advanced functionality like air quality sensors, timers and wifi control but offers pretty solid purifying performance at a competitive price.

It's also one of the quietest options on this list, making it perfect for bedroom use while you are sleeping. Check out this quick video review.

8th

Vax Pure Air 300

Vax Pure Air 300

Price: £230 - £280

Filters: £40 - £50 360° HEPA

What Is It?

The Vax Pure Air 300 ACAMV101 is a competitively priced air purifier which removes up to 99% of airborne pollutants from a reasonably sized room in your home at roughly 300 m³ per hour.

Like the Dyson models it uses a circular HEPA filter and draws in air from both sides of the base however it doesn't have a Carbon filter.

We Like

  • Lightweight plastic construction
  • Night mode with dimmed LEDs
  • Sensor controlled automatic output
  • 5-speed manual output level
  • LED ring turns red when air quality is bad
  • Countdown timer
  • Ionizer function
  • Remote control

Weight: 8.5 kg (19 lbs)

Dimensions: 71 cm Height, 30 cm Width, 30 cm Depth

Sound Level: 55 - 76 dB(A)

Colours: White

Summary

It doesn't offer the filtering power of the Blueair models, the added heating /cooling / humidifying functionality of the Dyson models or a Carbon filter for gasses but at this price point it's hard to ignore for dedicated air purification duties and it looks stylish to boot.

It's also noisier than the more expensive models on this list so if you want to sleep in the same room as your purifier the Blueair models might be worth a look. Check out this quick video.

9th

Vax Pure Air 200

Vax Pure Air 200

Price: £190 - £230

Filters: £40 - £50 360° HEPA

What Is It?

The Vax Pure Air 200 AC02AMV1 is a 20 cm shorter version of the Pure Air 300 designed for smaller rooms. It has a less powerful fan and lacks the ionizer function.

We Like

  • Lightweight plastic construction
  • Night mode with dimmed LEDs
  • Sensor controlled automatic output
  • 5-speed manual output level
  • LED ring turns red when air quality is bad
  • Countdown timer
  • Remote control

Weight: 6.7 kg (15 lbs)

Dimensions: 51 cm Height, 30 cm Width, 30 cm Depth

Sound Level: 45 - 65 dB(A)

Colours: White

Summary

Of the two Vax models the Pure Air 200 might actually make more sense because the Ionizer function on the 300 doesn't really add much over the HEPA filter, the lighter weight makes it easier to move from room to room and the Pure Air 300 is reported to be really quite noisy on the higher settings.

10th

Blueair Cabin P2i

Blueair Cabin P2i

Price: £250

Filters: £27 360° HEPA + Activated Carbon

What Is It?

The Blueair Cabin P2i is a brand new car focused purifier which uses both HEPA and Carbon filters alongside an electrostatic element. It is designed to be strapped to the back of the driver's headrest, then air is sucked in all four sides and pushed out the back edges at a top rate of 43 m³ per hour.

Power is provided by the car 12V socket and the device can be directly controlled from the dial on the adaptor. You even get a USB socket on the 12V adaptor and on the purifier to serve the front and back of the cabin.

For such a small purifier it has some big features in the way of wifi for app control, a timer and integrated air sensors.

We Like

  • Stylish woven outer
  • 4.5 m power cable
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Cheap filters
  • Carry handle
  • Super light
  • Quiet

Weight: 1 kg (3 lbs)

Dimensions: 20 cm Height, 20 cm Width, 10 cm Depth

Sound Level: 35 - 55 dB(A)

Colours: Black

Summary

Blueair have a huge pedigree when it comes to air filtration but they are new to the small purifier and car purifier games. Having said that you can expect a high level of filtration and the woven outer makes it look quite at home in a car. Check out this quick video and this unboxing video.

What Does A HEPA Filter Do?

HEPA Filter

HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air and HEPA filters are made up of incredibly fine threads which are only 0.001 mm wide. The threads are tangled together like spaghetti and then sandwiched together between two layers of material to form a filter. The two main types of HEPA filter are made using glass or polymer fibres.

These filters are often folded many times to increase the available surface area for filtration. Some HEPA filters, like those in a Dyson hoover, are design to be washed with water and re-used but the type found in air purifiers are usually designed to be thrown away after six months or so of use because they permanently trap the particles.

These filters are the core element that makes air purifiers work by trapping over 99.95% of airborne particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, mould spores and smoke particles. They don't trap odours, gasses or volatile compounds though so are often combined with an activated Carbon filter.

The best purifiers are set up with the fan behind the filter so it pulls air through it, rather than pushes air into it. This protects the fan from getting clogged up with dust, hair and larger particles.

What Does An Activated Carbon Filter Remove?

HEPA Filter

Activated Carbon is essentially charcoal, like you would use to fuel a barbecue and is useful because it has a highly porous and therefore absorbent sponge like structure. It's also used in Brita water filters for similar reasons.

It's added as a second filter after a HEPA filter in air purifiers to remove odours, gasses and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as cigarette smoke and fumes from chemical cleaners / paint.

The Carbon is usually formed into small pellets and held in place across the filter using a honeycomb like structure. If you pick up a filter and shake it you can hear all the pellets knocking around inside each honeycomb section. Some cheaper Carbon filters are more like a felt type material that is coated with Carbon.

How Do UV Light Air Purifiers Work?

Ultraviolet light is one of the three wavelengths found in sunlight and the one that is most harmful to living things like viruses, bacteria, dust mites and mould spores.

You can't see or feel the three bands of ultraviolet light, named UV-A, UV-B and UV-C but they carry a lot of energy and are dangerous to the DNA in anything living. That's why sun cream filters out UV-A and UV-B.

UV-C light is the most energetic and is sometimes used as an additional step on top of HEPA filters in large industrial air purifiers, but is slightly overkill for home air purifiers. It destroys the DNA that simple organisms like bacteria need to live. Check out this quick video.

Generally speaking a UV step doesn't add much over a decent HEPA filter so it's not really a function you need to look for in a home purifier.

You can even buy UV mobile phone sanitiser pods, which are effective because the phone can be left under the UV light for around 5 minutes, giving the light energy plenty of time to work.

What Are Ionizers And Do They Work?

Ionizers use electricity to emit lots of negative ions into the air which then attach to positively charged particles like pollen, dust, bacteria and smoke. Once charged the pollutants end up sticking to the nearest surface they can find, removing them from the air.

They sound like a good idea however a HEPA filter setup does a better job because it actually traps the pollutants in the filter rather than re-distributing them around the room's surfaces for you to touch later. Having said that simple ionizers are really cheap and don't have the costs associated with changing filters every six months.

How Did We Rank Our Top Ten?

We looked at all the popular air purifiers you can buy new and picked the top contenders, taking into account filtering performance, technology, functionality, style and value for money.