As autumn and the cooler weather approach and we continue switching our homes from airy sanctuaries to cosy caves, one thing we don't tend to think about enough is the quality of the air in our environment.
One easy way to fix this is with an air purifier, which have been gaining in popularity due to their promise of eliminating odours, pollutants and bacteria from the air.
Of course, 2021 has also been a year of thinking more about our health, as well as the health of those around us. For example, air purifiers are designed to eliminate nasty irritants, from smoke and pollution to dust and pet hair.
Some can also serve multiple purposes, which will comfort anyone reluctant to incorporate yet another bulky gadget into their living area. Instead, save space with something like the Dyson Pure Cool Me, which acts as a cooling fan, or something compact, like the Blueair Blue 3210.
Scroll down to see how we ranked the best air purifiers on the market right now or if you want cooling power without the purification element, check out our guide to the best fans.
The best air purifiers in 2021
Our first choice air purifier is this 3-in-1 machine that will cool, heat and purify the air in your home all at once. Far more than just an air purifier, it nonetheless promises to remove 99.95% of allergens and pollutants whilst also being ultra family-friendly with its lack of blades.
The triple use of the Dyson makes it useful all year round, as well as fantastic in the bedroom as you try to battle allergies in the spring and summer, or battle the chill during autumn and winter. The purifier has Auto and Sleep modes to help maintain air quality and temperature throughout the entire day (and night), without you having to so much as lift a finger.
We found the Dyson app incredibly easy to set up and use, as well as useful for tracking the temperature and air quality inside or outside at any time. The amount of information available makes it highly recommended for data junkies.
Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Dyson Hot+Cool Smart Air Purifier
A lovely-looking update from Blueair, the Blue 3210 prioritises style along with functionality, promising to rid the air in your home of allergens, dust, mould, pet dander, microplastics and any other tiny nasties floating away in the environment.
Many air purifiers claim to be ‘whisper quiet, but the Blueair Blue 3210 really means it. While testing, we barely noticed the device working away, even when it was working hard to clear the air after cooking or a spray of air freshener around the room (if you ever want to make sure your air purifier is doing something, that's the way!).
Often a lack of disturbance can make it hard to determine how much a purifier is actually doing. Still, we noticed a marked difference in food smells (tested in the kitchen area) and dust levels when using the Blue Pure 3210.
All in all, this offering from Blueair is one of the simplest air filters we've tested, and it's honestly the better for the lack of bells and whistles. Quiet and low on additional features, it might not suit those who like to look at data or connect their devices to their smart home, but it's a winner for everyone else.
It does all of this with the help of lovely interchangeable pre-filters (in dark grey, light grey, pink, green or pink), which add a pop of colour to your tech. This was absolutely the cherry on top for us, allowing us to switch up the look depending on where it was or just how we felt that day!
The colourful, elasticated pre-filters slip over the device to make it far more aesthetically pleasing than Blueair’s previous vibrant primary coloured machines and make it possible to match your device to the rest of your décor. The colours are very Scandi-style, inspired by a muted fabric that enhances the purifier’s appearance without sticking out too much in their environment.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Coming in second for best air purifier, the BlueAir Classic 480i may be one of the more expensive products on our list, but it proves to be worth the money (honest!).
The Classic 480i certainly makes its presence felt and is also the heaviest on our list, but that translates into an ability to purify the air in much larger spaces, and, on its lowest setting, it can be set to run automatically so as not to rack up your energy bills. In fact, it will use the energy of just four LED light bulbs over the course of a day.
The purifier uses HEPASilence filtration so, not only does it do a brilliant job of removing 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns, but it does so quietly. It delivers on this promise, having been awarded the Quiet Mark, which makes it ideal for any house room, including the bedroom. You will have to keep it on lower settings, however.
Still, this makes tackling things like summer allergies a breeze, ensuring you can sleep soundly and relax without worrying about the amount of pollen in your home.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the BlueAir Classic 480i
The Levoit Core 300 True HEPA air purifier might be free of fancy features like app compatibility. However, it still rates highly as a solid, basic model for those curious about which air purifier to buy for their home.
On its lowest level, the machine is quiet enough to sleep to, making it perfect for placing in the bedroom, and it’s also light enough to move around should you want to try it out in a few different areas. As with the Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier, replacement filters are a little expensive, but they cater specifically to needs such as pet hair, mould and bacteria removal.
All in all, while the Core 300 impressed us with its functionality compared to its smaller price tag, other models could cover more ground should you have the means to splash out a little more.
Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Levoit Core 300
If you want to keep cool while your air is being purified, then the Dyson Pure Cool Me Fan could be the best option for you. The device has been engineered to help improve air quality with a sealed filter that combines an activated carbon and glass HEPA layer that can capture gases and 99.95% of ultrafine particles.
The fan boasts 10-speed settings, Dyson Core Flow Technology that directs airflow and oscillation capabilities that aid clean air circulation around the room. It's also portable enough to be moved from room to room as needed and small enough to be placed on a bedside table overnight.
Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Recommended for those looking for an effective air purifier that won't cost the earth, the Dimplex DXAPV3N is a compact and well-designed machine that enlists carbon and HEPA filters to rid small rooms of unwanted elements in the air. It's small enough to sit on a bedside table, but be aware that it's not the quietest on our list.
The light blue design of the Dimplex looks great, with a small on/off switch on its side and a removable filter situated at the back of the machine. This all makes it super-easy to use and manage long-term, but those who are more interested in a smart purifier or something with more settings might want to look elsewhere.
Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars
How to choose the best air purifier for your home
How large/small does my air purifier need to be?
It’s a question on many buyers' minds since we only have so much real estate to dedicate to another smart device. The thing to pay attention to here is the capability of the air purifier rather than its physical bulk. So the best thing to do is measure the space in which you wish to place your purifier (in m2) and use that as a guide. Broadly speaking, the price moves up at the same pace, but there are bargains to be found.
Of course, if you’re lucky enough to live in a grand Edwardian or Victorian home, then it may also be worth allowing for this when you hone in on your options.
Do air purifiers remove smells?
While the best air purifiers do a good job of removing a whole host of unwanted things from the air around us, many people are keen to know how effective they are against smells. Whether that's cooking smells or the odours that come from our pets, if this is a problem in your home, you should look for a charcoal or carbon filter - both known to trap and eliminate common odours in the home.
How much should I spend on an air purifier?
The cost of the perfect air purifier is, again, very much dependent on how much you want it to do. If you already use a fan and/or heater in hot and cold months, respectively, then it could actually be better value for money to invest a little more in a multifunctional device.
Similarly, for a single room, we would recommend a budget of around £150 but, if your space is much larger, then £500-or-so should do the trick.