As spring and the warmer weather (finally) approach and we start thinking about switching our homes from a cosy cave to a light and airy oasis, 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. Air purifiers are designed to eliminate all sorts of nasty irritants from smoke and pollution to dust and pet hair.
Some can also serve multiple purposes, which will be a comfort for anyone who is reluctant to incorporate yet another bulky gadget into their living area. Save space with something like the Dyson Pure Cool Me, which also 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 to get prepared for summer, check out our guide to the best fans.
The best air purifiers 2021
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. It does all of this with the help of lovely interchangeable pre-filters (in dark grey, light grey, pink, green or pink), which stretch over the outside to add a pop of colour to your tech.
A lot of 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. This can make it hard to determine how much it’s doing, but we noticed a marked difference in things like food smells (tested in the kitchen area) and dust levels.
The colourful, elasticated pre-filters slip over the device to make it far more aesthetically pleasing than Blueair’s previous plasticy looking machines, and make it possible to match your device to the rest of your décor. All of the colours are very Scandi-style inspired with a muted fabric look that enhances the purifier’s appearance without them sticking out too much in their environment.
Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Another option from BlueAir which wins on value for money. It’s a top choice for small bedrooms or spaces up to 15m2 and will completely filter the air every 12-minutes, lowering particle levels and creating a comfortable home environment.
The air purifier is definitely small in stature, measuring 42cm in height, but is super quiet (which many reviewers love). The trio of speed settings get louder as you crank them up, but only reach a conservative 46dB. This makes it ideal for those who want something quiet enough to sleep through.
While working, it will remove three common particles - smoke, dust and pollen - which will go a long way towards helping to provide some relief to allergy sufferers.
Real Homes rating: 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’s one that 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 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, and this makes it ideal for any room of the house 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.
The Levoit Core 300 True HEPA air purifier might be free of fancy features like app compatibility, but 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 do cater specifically towards needs such as pet hair, mould and bacteria removal.
All in all, while the Core 300 impressed us with its functionality when compared to its smaller price tag, other models were able to cover more ground should you have the means to splash out a little more.
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 ultra fine particles. Examples of those pollutants are pollen and allergens, VOCs and household cooking odours.
The fan also boasts 10 speed settings, Dyson Core Flow Technology that directs air flow and oscillation capabilities that aid circulation of clean air around the room.
Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars
- Read next: the best dehumidifiers to eliminate damp air and condensation this winter
How large/small does my air purifier need to be?
It’s a question on many buyers' minds, since we all 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.
Are ozone air purifiers safe?
While you'll find plenty of ozone air purifier devotees, generally speaking, we do not recommend this type of air purifier. It can create dangerous levels of ozone, a gas that's a component in smog, in the home. Over-exposure to ozone can have adverse effects on the lungs and respiratory system.
Will an air purifier get rid of odours?
Some air purifiers can help eliminate smells, yes. If smoke, mildew or pet smells are an issue in your home, look for an air purifier with a charcoal or carbon filter, both of which are known to trap odours.
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.