Three home air purifiers.
Photo: John Walsh/Consumer Reports

Air purifiers have changed quite a bit since the carbon filtering systems first introduced in the 1860s. And each iteration has come with significant innovations. Over time, this helpful home appliance has become smaller, smarter, and more attractive. In a COVID-19 world, it quickly became a highly sought-after device. But while the pandemic introduced yet another reason to want cleaner, fresher indoor air, a reimagining of portable home purifiers and their accessibility for all consumers has been going on for years. 

Consumer Reports does not rate air purifiers on aesthetics, size, or app compatibility, but we do take note of the emerging trends within the market. Misha Kollontai, who oversees testing of air purifiers at CR, says that more home air purifiers are aiming to be a design element. “I think part of that might be because if you’re really focused on purifying your air, you’re probably looking to make it a mainstay in your living space,” Kollontai says. Along with more visually appealing designs, Kollontai says he’s also seeing a greater focus on interactivity with apps and on portable models that you can take with you on the go. 

More On Room Air Purifiers

Looks and features aside, the greatest tell of a good air purifier is a powerful filtration system. The most effective models are efficient at keeping your home clear of the particulates that can make you or your family sick, typically with the help of a forceful fan and a HEPA filter. Two of the models in our roundup get an Excellent rating for removing particles on a high setting and a Very Good rating when set on low. Our pick for a small air purifier doesn’t rank nearly as high on filtering particles, but its lightweight and easy-to-use design does earn high marks. Plus, the convenience makes it a standout. All three exemplify the cutting edge trends in portable air purifiers. Check out CR’s air purifier ratings and reviews to see how they fare in all our lab tests. 

Smart Features

WiFi-connected models that you can monitor via a smart­phone app let you see a live particulate matter (PM) reading for your indoor air, as well as the levels of pollutants being filtered out. Some manufacturers, such as Blueair, offer models with extra sensors that can determine the indoor air quality. The app, which doubles as a remote control, also lets you set schedules for the device and alerts you when your filter needs replacing.

Quick Take

Blueair HealthProtect 7470i

Price: $640

Dust, pollen, smoke removal (high)
Dust, pollen, smoke removal (low)
Ease of use
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Sleeker Styling

An air purifier is a visible part of your room that’s running all the time, so you’ll want it to both work well and look good (or at least fade into its surroundings). New designs are increasingly more streamlined and aesthetically pleasing. The Samsung Cube, for example, a top performer in CR’s tests, will soon offer custom styling options like a range of colors and with a herringbone or striped front. It’s already available in silver and white.

Quick Take

Samsung Cube

Price: $550

Dust, pollen, smoke removal (high)
Dust, pollen, smoke removal (low)
Ease of use
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Smaller Sizes

There are now many compact—even portable—models on the market. LeVoit and PureZone offer options small enough to use in a car, and LG’s PuriCare Mini Air Purifier is so petite that you can carry it around your wrist. Note that CR does not test air purifiers in confined spaces like cars or planes; the smaller models we’ve tested typically end up with lower Overall Scores because they can’t offer as powerful filtration as their larger counterparts do.

Quick Take

Levoit Pet Care Core P350-RAC

Price: $120

Dust, pollen, smoke removal (high)
Dust, pollen, smoke removal (low)
Ease of use
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Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the August 2021 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.