The Best Cheap HEPA Air Purifiers of 2019

Not all air purifiers are created equal.

Electrostatic models, sometimes called ionic air purifiers, are the worst of the bunch. They produce ozone, a respiratory irritant. Avoid them.

Whole-house filtration systems are the most effective (and expensive) type of air purifier. But, they aren't an option for apartment dwellers and a single dirty air filter can spread allergens throughout an entire home!

Portable HEPA filters are more effective than ionic air purifiers and cheaper than whole house systems. These small units may help those who suffer from asthma, dust- or pet-allergies. Clinical data suggests that they are only effective in the room in which they're placed, however.

There is mixed data on whether an air purifier is effective at filtering smoke. Some studies say that the fine particulates in smoke (linked with cancer) can be filtered. Other studies say that filtering doesn't work. There is no substitute for a smoke-free home, but those who are exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke (or wildfire smoke) may benefit from an air purifier.

Coway's AP-1512HH air purifier is beloved (and Wirecutter's top pick for five years straight): It sells for around $200 and sometimes for as little as $133. Consider setting a price alert for this model if you're not in a rush to buy something. Otherwise, here are the best-reviewed HEPA air filters that have sold for $100 or less in the last 12 months:

Buyer Beware

Don't buy an air purifier unless you're certain that you can buy replacement filters for a reasonable price. Some Amazon customers who bought off-brand air purifiers were horrified to learn that the replacement filters they needed cost as much as the unit itself!

Good Price: $100 | Great Deal: $70

This air purifier is quiet, effective and easy to use, according to several Amazon customers. Some reviewers were bothered by the bright lights on top of this unit (and had bittersweet feelings that these lights can be turned off, but only at the lowest fan speed). A few upset customers say their unit produced a plastic-like smell or grew louder over time.

Good Price: $51 | Great Deal: $45

Several Amazon customers say that GermGuardian's air purifier removed unwanted odors and helps them sleep better. A few customers were surprised by the cold breeze that this unit produces. Many reviewers say that this unit is loud (especially at the highest fan speed). 


John DeFeo