What's New in Home Air Purifiers
These days, the best home air purifiers don’t just remove pollutants—they're smarter, more energy-efficient, and sometimes even better-looking, too
Home air purifiers quickly became a sought-after device with the start of the pandemic, but they’ve been around since the 1860s. Over time, these purifiers—designed to clean the room they’re placed in, as opposed to a whole house—have become smaller, smarter, and more attractive.
Consumer Reports doesn’t 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. “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.
He’s also seeing a greater focus on interactivity and paired apps, as well as portable models.
Many models are also aiming to take away some of the guesswork that often comes with using an air purifier. For instance, there’s an uptick in designs with an indicator for when it’s time to switch filters—though it’s not yet clear whether that’s any better or worse than just swapping them out every set number of months. In addition, more home air purifiers now feature particle counters, which let users know if the particle count in a room is high.
In this article, we highlight three home air purifiers that balance a popular nice-to-have feature with solid cleaning capabilities.
CR members can learn more about how they rate in a range of areas (including cleaning capacity, noise, energy efficiency, and more) by exploring our comprehensive air purifier ratings. For tips on buying the best home air purifier for your needs, check out our air purifier buying guide.
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.
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, with a herringbone or striped front. It’s already available in silver and white.
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—so the smaller models typically end up with lower Overall Scores simply because they can’t offer filtration that’s as powerful as that of their full-sized counterparts, at least in the larger spaces we test in.
Editor’s Note: A version of this article also appeared in the August 2021 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.