Best air purifier: the best air filters and purifiers for cleaner air at home

The best air purifiers to give even the air you breathe a little spring clean, monitor pollution levels and keep your home healthier, from Dyson, Blueair and more

Included in this guide:

best air purifier: Blueair Blue 3210 in bright living room beside cream sofa
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(Image credit: Blueair)

As autumn and the cooler weather arrive and we continue switching our homes from airy sanctuaries to cozy caves, one thing we don't tend to think about enough is the quality of the air in our environment. The best air purifiers are an easy fix, gaining in popularity due to their promise of eliminating odors, 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 2021

Blueair Classic Series 480i 434 Sq. Ft. Air PurifierReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Blueair)

Best air purifier overall

Specifications
Room size: 434 sqft
Filters: HEPASilent, carbon
Filtration rate: 99.97%
Speeds: 4
Timer?: Yes
Smart?: Yes
Noise: 32-56dB
CADR: 280
Dimensions: 39.4 x 63.5 x 72.1
Weight: 42lbs
Reasons to buy
+Quiet+10 different speed settings+Easy to use and set up
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best purchase for those who don't own a smart phone-A little pricey (but worth it!)

Our pick for the best air purifier overall, the Blueair Classic 480i may be one of the more expensive products on our list, but it's one that proves to be well worth the cash.

Weighing in at 42lbs, the 480i makes its presence felt and is the heaviest device on our list, but that translates into the ability to purify indoor air in much larger spaces. Recommended for spaces up to 434 sqft, it promises to clear the room of pollutants every 12.5 minutes, and the DualProtection filter inside claims to remove odors four times faster than competitors.

You can set the purifier to auto mode, which users the in-built air quality sensor to react to dirty air in real-time, saving excess energy from being spent when it's not necessarily needed. The Blueair Classic 480i also has an Energy Star certification, meaning your energy bills and the planet won't take as much of a hit.

In fact, it will only use the energy of four LED light bulbs over the course of the day.

Blueair Classic Series 480i 434 Sq. Ft. Air Purifier

(Image credit: Blueair)

HEPASilence filtration is used here rather than a true HEPA filter, and Blueair claims this is what allows the purifier to operate more quietly and energy efficiency while achieving the same results. It's something all Blueair air purifiers have in common, as you will see further down this list.

Its Quiet Mark seal of approval suggests that it delivers on this promise, making it ideal for any room of the house including the bedroom. You will need to keep it on a lower setting if you want a good night's sleep, however.

You can even use the Blueair Classic 480i with Alexa, folding it into your nighttime or morning routine without lifting a finger. Or you can just use the Blueair app. 

Real Homes rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Blueair Classic 480i air purifier

DYSON Hot+Cool Smart Air PurifierReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Dyson)

Best Dyson air purifier

Specifications
Power: 6-40W
Room size: 269 sqft
Filters: HEPA, carbon
Filtration rate: 99.95%
Speeds: 10
Timer?: Yes
Smart?: Yes
Noise: 46-63dB
Dimensions: 30 x 8 x 5.1in
Weight: 12.1lbs
Reasons to buy
+Wide range of speeds+Compatible with Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomeKit+Also works as fan and heater
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Some reviewers found that the fan feature was not as strong as the heater/purifier

Our pick for the best air purifier overall, the Dyson Hot+Cool Smart Air Purifier has everything. Working as a fan and heater in addition to cleaning the air in your home, it can be used year-round and completely integrated with your smart home.

The purifier is compatible with Alexa, Google Home, and Apple HomeKit, so it doesn't matter which smart assistant your household has sworn allegiance to. You can use voice control or the Dyson Link app to view detailed air quality reports or change things like mode and speed - or you can use the remote.

The LCD screen on the device also displays some of this information, though it's a little hard to decipher and we much prefer the app view.

The company promises the removal of 99.95% of dust, allergens, and bacteria from your indoor air, and also claims to be the only air purifier that adheres to the HEPA H13 standard that prevents captured pollutants from leaking back out.

DYSON Hot+Cool Smart Air Purifier

(Image credit: Dyson)

It's not the quietest air purifier on our list, but it does have an 8 hours timer that will be useful if you want to use it in the bedroom at night. Simply set it to auto shut-off after a certain time, and you can rest peacefully knowing you won't be wasting electricity. Night mode also dims the display.

Unfortunately, the device isn't perfect, and the fan mode struggles to measure up to the efficiency and power of the heating and purification modes. Still, if you want cleaner air without messing with the temperature, you can set it to expel air gently from its rear, rather than blowing it into the environment.

Aesthetically, the Dyson Hot+Cool makes its presence known, so won't fit in with most decor styles, but it's otherwise fairly low maintenance, with the app letting you know when it's time to change the filter.

Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Dyson Hot+Cool Smart Air Purifier

Mila HEPA Air PurifierReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Mila)

Best large room air purifier

Specifications
Room size: 1000 sqft
Air flow rate: 447m3/hr
Filters: HEPA
Filtration rate: 99.6%
Smart?: Yes
Noise: 24dB
Dimensions: 12 x 12 x 15in
Weight: 18lbs
Reasons to buy
+Enormous amount of air quality data+Can clean rooms up to 1000 sqft+Lovely, minimalist design
Reasons to avoid
-Amount of settings may be overwhelming for some

The Mila Smart HEPA air purifier sets out to be a different kind of household device from the start, offering frankly unprecedented amounts of AQI and other data to the user while wrapping all of that science in a friendly, attractive package.

Claiming to be able to clear a room of up to 1000 sqft, we can attest that it is extremely effective in a studio space of 200 sqft within which everything from cooking to candle burning occurs (as well as being near a busy road). The Mila contains eight environmental sensors, including one for carbon monoxide, that closely monitor what is going on in your air before making quick work of resolving it.

You will get an alert on your phone (and the screen on top of the Mila) telling you when air is particularly icky either inside or outside, with the app set-up including an option to state where you live.

Mila HEPA Air Purifier

(Image credit: Mila)

For example, you can choose between 'urban', 'suburban' and 'rural', as well as 'house' or 'apartment', 'old' or 'new' and 'small', 'medium' or 'large'. All of this is taken into account by the app and impacts how the air purifier works. Even if it doesn't make a huge difference, it's still a nice touch that makes things feel a bit more personal.

While using the Mila in Automagic mode you will notice that it does a few things on its own. When you leave the house, for example, you will get a push notification saying that it is doing a deep clean. You can also choose for it to deep clean your air just before bedtime, or for it to switch to its quietest mode when you're in the room.

The amount you can do with the Mila is pretty astounding, but it's also a good air purifier to set up and forget about. Just set your desired air quality and let it work its magic.

Real Homes rating: 5 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Mila Smart air purifier

Blueair Blue 3210 Air PurifierReal Homes Rated Gold badge

(Image credit: Blueair)

4. Blueair Blue 3210 Air Purifier

Best air purifier for smoke

Specifications
Power: 2-10W
Room size: 183 sqft
Air flow rate: 210m3/hr
Filters: HEPASilent, carbon
Filtration rate: 99.7%
Speeds: 4
Timer?: No
Smart?: No
Noise: 18-48dB
CADR: 210 (smoke); 163 (pollen); 181 (dust)
Washable?: Pre-filter only
Dimensions: 16.7 x 7.8 x 7.8in
Weight: 2.7lbs
Reasons to buy
+Great smoke removal rate+Energy Star certified+Lovely color options+Auto mode adapts to air quality in real time
Reasons to avoid
-No timer feature-No smart home compatibility

A lovely-looking update from Blueair, the Blue 3210 prioritizes style along with functionality, promising to rid the air in your home of allergens, dust, mold, 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 actually 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 blue), which add a pop of color 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 colorful, elasticated pre-filters slip over the device to make it far more aesthetically pleasing than Blueair’s previous vibrant primary colored machines and make it possible to match your device to the rest of your décor. Blueair also claims that the pre-filters (which can be vacuumed and machine washed when they get grubby) help to extend the life of the other filters.

The colors 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 

BLUEAIR Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier

(Image credit: Blueair)

5. BLUEAIR Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier

Best air purifier for allergies

Specifications
Power: 1.5-10W
Room size: 161 sqft
Air flow rate: 220m3/hr
Filters: HEPASilent, charcoal
Filtration rate: 99.97%
CADR: 180 (smoke); 220 (pollen); 200 (dust)
Speeds: 4
Timer?: No
Washable?: Pre-filter only
Noise: 17-46dB
Dimensions: 16.7 x 7.8 x 7.8in
Weight: 3lbs
Reasons to buy
+High pollen removal rate+Also works well as a fan+Interchangeable coloured pre-filters+Quiet Mark + Energy Star certified
Reasons to avoid
-No timer feature-No smart home compatibility-Some reviewers complained about night light brightness-No air quality data

Blueair will feature more than once on this list, but this original, smaller Blue Pure 411 air purifier still ranks highly for us.

The purifier is basic with no smart features or even any data on air quality available to the user (though it does claim to monitor this), but it makes up for this by using a fraction of the energy of its peers and being simple to use for beginners and the tech adverse. Following this same idea, there is just one button on top of the device, which can be used to switch between four speed settings.

Surrounding this touch control is a light that will become red when it's time to swap out your filter, which the company says should happen every six months or so. In the meantime, you can give the pre-filter a clean by running the vacuum over it or popping it in the washing machine.

The filtering happens in a few stages, with the pre-filter on the outside catching larger particles, the activated carbon layer tackling odors from pets, smoke, cooking and smog from outside, and HEPASilent technology taking on dust, pollen, mold, and even bacteria and viruses (though it has not been tested against Covid-19).

It doesn't use a true HEPA filter, which is disappointing, but it should perform well for smaller tasks. The Blueair Blue Pure 411 is primarily designed for smaller spaces up to 15m2, so it probably won't do well against bigger jobs.

Blueair always seems to make sure that its products look nice in the home, and the Blue Pure 411 pre-filters are available in Diva Blue, Dark Shadow, and Saffron Red. Unfortunately, you will need to pay extra for the latter two variations.

We're personally not huge fans of the rather loud colors here, especially when compared to the Scandi-style of the Blueair Blue Pure 3210 (below), but if you like them, it's nice to have the option to change things up.

And if you suffer from hayfever or other allergies then, with a pollen CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of 220, this is a great choice.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Levoit Core 300 True HEPA Air PurifierReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

Best air purifier for bedroom

Specifications
Room size: 215 sqft
Air flow rate: 187m3/hr
Filters: HEPA, carbon
Filtration rate: 99.97%
Speeds: 4
Timer?: Yes
Smart?: No
Noise: 24dB
Dimensions: 8.7 x 8.7 x 16.2in
Weight: 8.5lbs
Reasons to buy
+Quiet+Customizable filters for different needs+Timer
Reasons to avoid
-No smart home compatibility

The Levoit Core 300 True HEPA air purifier might be free of fancy features like smart home compatibility, but it still rates highly as a solid, reliable, basic model for those curious about how an air purifier can improve their indoor air quality.

Thanks to QuietKEAP technology, on its lowest level the machine is quiet enough to sleep to, making it the perfect choice for placing in the bedroom at night. It's also light enough to move around should you want to try it out in a few different areas. You can also turn off the display light so it won't disturb you, and you can set the timer if you don't want it running all night.

Customizable filters are a unique selling point of the Levoit Core 300, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs. Filters include those specialized for pet allergies, toxin absorption, mold, and bacteria. The air purifier comes with the original filter, which is a good all-rounder that will suit most people.

The filters will last an average of 6-8 months, so you can easily switch it out for another variation when the time comes.

All in all, while the Core 300 doesn't cover as much ground as some other air purifiers on this list, it impressed us with its stripped-back functionality compared to pricier models.

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars | read our full review of the Levoit Core 300

Dyson Pure Cool Me Purifying FanReal Homes Rated Silver Badge

(Image credit: Argos)

7. Dyson Pure Cool Me Purifying Fan

Best small air purifier

Specifications
Power: 40W
Filters: HEPA, carbon
Filtration rate: 99.95%
Speeds: 10
Timer?: Yes
Dimensions: 40.1 x 24.5 x 24.5cm
Weight: 2.8kg
Reasons to buy
+Cools as it purifies+8-hour timer+Quiet Mark certified+10 speed settings
Reasons to avoid
-No app support

If you want to ensure you keep cool as your indoor air is being filtered, then the Dyson Pure Cool Me Purifying Fan could be the best option for you. The idea is that recycled air from ordinary fans isn't necessarily that good for us, so why not breathe air that's squeaky clean even in warmer months?

The device has been engineered to help improve air quality with a sealed filter that combines an activated carbon and glass HEPA layer capable of catching gases and 99.95% of ultrafine particles.

Like other Dyson products, the fan boasts 10 speed settings, and Dyson Core Flow technology directs airflow just right. The oscillation function allows it to move 70 degrees from side to side, and you can change the direction of airflow by manually adjusting and angling the middle of the dome.

The timer, compact size, and Quiet Mark certification make it a good choice for the bedroom, especially if you tend to run warm at night, but it's also portable enough to be moved from room to room as needed. 

Real Homes rating: 4 out of 5 stars

best air purifier: Blueair Blue 3210

(Image credit: Blueair)

How do I choose the right size air purifier?

It’s a question on many buyers' minds, since we all only have so much real estate to dedicate to another 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 sq ft) and use that as a guide. Broadly speaking, the price moves up at the same pace, but there are bargains to be found. 

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. 

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 then you should look for a charcoal or carbon filter - both known to trap and eliminate common odours in the home.

Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been part of the Real Homes ecommerce team in the UK since the start of 2021, after working for the last decade as a journalist across publications in technology, entertainment and more. In her spare time she's usually obsessing about space-saving and DIY hacks for small spaces, and how to affordably make a rental feel like a home.

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