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Best Air Purifier For The Money  
Everything You Need to Know to Get a Great Air Purifier at a Great Price
Top Five for the Money (Based on our Frugal5 Formula)
How do we pick these products? We spend many hours doing unbiased research to only give you the highest rated products at the best price. We first come up with a list of features, which you can see below, that we feel the majority of people will need. We then look for the highest quality products with these features and only show you the top five with the best value. Our mission is to provide you with the best five options based only on the facts. Don't see the product you were thinking about getting? Click here to calculate it's frugal score.
Hunter 30090 True HepaHoneywell 50150 Pure HEPA RoundHoneywell 17000 Long-Life Pure QuietCareHoneywell HHT-011 Compact with Permanent HEPA FilterFellowes Quiet with True HEPA Filter AP-230PH
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Product Rating
Average Price
Cheap ($60)
Cheap ($114)
Cheap ($113)
Cheap ($49)
Cheap ($140)
Frugal5 Score
Additional Info
130 Square Foot
225 Square Foot
168 Square Foot
85 Square Foot
230 Square Foot
Multi Speeds with Auto
Features Needed
CADR Rating
- Replaceable
- Replaceable
- Replaceable
- Washable
- Replaceable
Quiet Operation
True HEPA Filter
- Replaceable
- Permanent
- Replaceable
- Permanent
- Replaceable
- 5 Years
- 5 Years
- 5 Years
- 3 Years
- 5 Years
Features Not Needed
Filter Monitor
- Optional
What You Need To Know In 5 Minutes

Most people buy air purifiers to help them with allergies. But you don't need allergies to want cleaner indoor air. The tighter the insulation in your home, the more likely you are to have poor indoor air quality, especially if you have a lot of carpets in your home. The market for air purifiers is saturated with machines that sound good, but don't really clean the air very well. Make sure you choose the right type of technology, the right capacity and the lowest tolerable noise level.


HEPA stands for "high-efficiency particulate arresting." To fit that definition, a filter must trap air particles as small as .3 microns, and it must capture 99.97 percent of them. If a machine claims to have a HEPA or HEPA-type filter, double check the fine print. Machines with "True HEPA" on the box are the only ones that you can be certain fit the capabilities you are looking for. 

A permanent filter is a useful feature, but you must take care that it is labeled “true HEPA permanent filter.” Also, machines with this feature often have carbon pre-filters to protect the HEPA filter. Those filters are rarely permanent and need to be replaced regularly for odor control. If odors aren't a problem, you only need to replace them once a year. Machines with permanent filters cost more, but they more than pay for the difference over the life of the machine.


Look for a machine with a CADR rating. CADR is the rate of clean air delivered by the air purifier to your room per minute. Choose a machine with a rating that is two-thirds the size of the room you are looking to purify. Calculate estimated square footage by multiplying the room's width times its depth. So, if your room is 10 feet by 10 feet, the square footage is 100 and you want a CADR of about 70 (66 rounded up). CADR assumes you have 8-foot high walls. If your ceiling is higher, consider the amount of space that adds and look for a CADR twice the room's square footage. Only choose machines with this rating to be sure you are getting what you pay for.


Fans that run at higher speeds clean the air more quickly, but they also make more noise. Because most people put air purifiers in their bedrooms, the one place they spend at least 8 hours of every day, a loud fan might be troublesome for a light sleeper. Some consumers solve the noise problem by running the machine during the day while they are at work and turning it off once they return home. The air quality remains improved for many hours after shutting it off.

Filter Monitor

Many models will advertise the fact that they include a filter monitor. You only need to change HEPA filters once a year, so mark your calendar and don't worry about this feature. 

Ozone, UV and Ionizers

Many manufacturers will try to tell you that special air ionizers, ozone makers and UV lights will boost a purifier's effectiveness. However, ozone can actually hurt your lungs, the level of UV products for non-commercial machines isn't effective enough and ionizers (when used by themselves) deposit allergens all over the room. The only proven effective air purifying method is HEPA filtration, so skip machines with these bells and whistles. 

Brands and Pricing

Honeywell is certainly the most prolific maker of air purifiers, but has more consumers that complain about noise. It’s not clear if Honeywell purifiers really are noisier, but those very sensitive to white noise should take this into consideration. Hunter and Fellowes also make excellent machines. 

How much you pay for one of these machines largely depends on the size of the room it will be used in. Plan to spend at least $50 for a machine to clean a smaller room. For larger rooms, expect to pay two to three times that. 

Choosing the Right Air Purifier

If you are uncertain about what size you need, err on the side of getting one too larger rather than too small. Look for one that isn't too noisy, has a true HEPA filter and a CADR rating. Permanent filters are a good feature, but hard to find in affordable machines. 

Features You Need
CADR Rating, Pre-filter, Quiet Operation, True HEPA Filter, Warranty
Features You Don't Need
Filter Monitor, Ionizing, Ozone, UV
What You Should Pay
Between $48.62 - $140.00
Top Of The Line Price
Over $1,000.00