large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Best air purifiers 2022: Don’t let your allergies get the best of you

Cut down on pollen, smoke, dust and make your home environment full of clean air with our ranking of the best air purifiers, all fully tested

The oft-overlooked aspect of health is the air that we breathe at home. While we all have an idea of how bad the air outside can be, particularly for those of us living in cities and dealing with pollution, the air inside can be just as toxic. From harsh cleaning chemicals to pet dander and pollen coming in, the air at home may not be as clean as you’d expect.

The answer is to get an air purifier. These devices are basically fans that suck in dirty air, clean it in a filter and pass out nice clean air on the otherside. From reducing allergy incidents to making it easier to breathe and sleep, an air purifier can make a massive difference to your life. Here, we’ve rounded up the best of the models that we’ve tested.

The ability to clean the air is important, so we test how long it takes to remove test allergens and harmful particles from the air. While this is a useful test for purifier quality, we also believe that air purifiers should be easy to use and, where possible, automatic.

To do this, we use our air purifiers in a normal environment, and tell you how easy they are to set up and how reactive they are to a variety of harmful particles. Purifiers with a greater range of sensors generally do better here, as they’re more reactive; cheaper purifiers only monitor for dust, so you air may have other harmful particles in it.

How we test

Learn more about how we test air purifiers

To demonstrate the quality of cleaning, the majority of air purifiers come with Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) ratings for smoke, pollen and dust. The higher the score, the better the performance. And, the individual ratings help you choose the right purifier for your needs. However, not all manufacturers quote CADR ratings and, instead, quote the percentage of particles below a certain size: the higher the percentage and the lower the quoted particle size, the better.

Some – but not many – air purifiers are capable of removing Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from the air, too. These are harsh chemicals that can be found in everything from old furniture to cleaning sprays. To test an air purifier’s performance, we use a three-second burst spray from a can of insecticide – a source of particulate matter and VOCs – directed into the middle of the room. With the air purifier placed in a corner running at maximum, we time how long the air takes to return to normal, using a separate air-quality monitor.

We also light a smoke pellet and time how long it takes until our Nest Protect tells us that the air is safe again.

We also test the sound levels of purifiers, running at minimum and maximum speeds from a distance of 1 metre.

Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde

The best air purifier for all-year use
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Works all year round
  • Powerful purification
  • Excellent smart controls

Cons

  • Expensive

Every time Dyson launches a new purifier, it seems to add more features to it. Arguably, the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde is the most useful product of the lot: it’s a fan, it’s a heater for the colder months of the year, and it’s also a purifier. New to this model is the formaldehyde sensor.

This detects the dangerous gas, which can be released by old furniture, and ramps up the fan speed. Inside the fan is a catalytic filter that turns formaldehyde into water and CO2; this converter never needs to be replaced.

Alongside this, there are sensors for PM2.5 and PM10 dust, VOCs and NO2. This combination of sensors, plus the filters to deal with harmful particles, makes the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde more responsive than much of the competition. Leave it running on Auto mode, and this purifier will ramp its fans more often, as it’s capable of sensing more things wrong in the air.

As with other Dyson products, this is a smart product, so you can control it with your phone, or voice via Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Putting the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde through our tests, we found that it cleaned our room from the harmful particles generated by a smoke pellet in just 10m 39s: that’s faster than the older model and one of the best results from an air purifier that we’ve seen.

As a fan, it’s powerful to: 3.8m/s of airflow at 15cm on maximum, dropping to a gentle 0.69m/s on the quietest setting, delivering just a very gentle breeze. Heat mode ramps up the fan speed a little, but the onboard thermostat turns the fan off as soon as your desired room temperature has been reached.

The overall combination of quality cleaning, sensors and all-year-round use makes this the best overall air purifier, with only the price likely to hold some people back.

Full review: Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Mila Air Purifier

The best air purifier for flexibility
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Powerful automation modes
  • Sensor controlled cleaning
  • Cleans the air fast
  • Choice of filters

Cons

  • No voice control
  • Can be slow to ramp up fan speed

If there’s one issue we experience with most of the air purifiers we test, it’s that they’re not designed to meet your specific requirements. The Mila Air Purifier fixes that, and has a range of filters that you can buy, each designed for a specific job.

The Big Sneeze, for example, has an H13 HEPA filter designed to capture allergens, such as pollen. The Overreactor gives you hospital-grade H14 HEPA filter and 1.25lbs of carbon filter to extract gasses and VOCs, such as Formaldehyde. Finally, the Critter Cuddler has the Mila Sock, which picks up pet hair. Filters range in prices between $59 and $99 and last for six months.

Built like a piece of scandi furniture, the squat Mila Air Purifier looks great. You can just turn it on and let the auto mode – which uses a combination of PM, VOC and CO2 sensors to detect air quality and adjust the fan automatically – do its thing.

It’s by connecting the purifier to your Wi-Fi and smart app that you really get the main benefits from it, however. Here, you’ll find a load of smart modes. Bubble Boy mode lets the purifier rip, pushing its cleaning to maximum levels. Housekeeping Service ramps up to maximum when the purifier spots that a room is empty. Quiet mode drops fan speed when you’re in the room. Sleep mode turns off the screen and reduces fan speed during your set sleep time. The Turndown service ramps up an hour before you go to bed, again taking the timings from the bedtime you set in the app. Finally, Whitenoise mode throws out some soothing sounds from the fan while you sleep.

It’s a shame that there’s no voice control, and this purifier doesn’t support Alexa nor the Google Assistant.

Performance is good, too. Although the fan was a little slow to ramp up after I’d lit the smoke capsule, the Mila Air Purifier still cleaned my air in 10m 39s, which is similar to that of the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde.

A purifier only, the Mila Air Purifier is a great choice if you want lots of clever cleaning modes and the choice of filter to suit your specific needs.

Blueair Classic 405

The most powerful air purifier
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Excellent cleaning performance
  • Very quiet
  • Simple controls

Cons

  • No built-in auto mode
  • Quite expensive

To look at the Blueair Classic 405 doesn’t look like much: it’s a rectangular, plain-looking box. Get past the exterior, which is easy to do when you consider that you’ll likely tuck this product out of the way, and there’s a lot to like here, as this is one of the most powerful air purifiers that we’ve tested.

Shipping with this model is the SmokeStop filter, which is designed specifically to capture smoke particles, which is handy if you live in a house where people smoke. Each filter lasts around six months, after which it needs to be replaced for a whopping £105. However, if you can opt for the standard HEPA filter, which does the same thing but doesn’t capture gasses or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) for £65.

The Blueair Classic 405 has some of the best Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) ratings, with test results of 476 (Smoke), 510 (Dust) and 510 (Pollen). These suggest that this air purifier is designed for people with particularly bad allergies. In our own tests, we found that the Blueair Classic cleaned out the smoke from a smoke pellet in 5m 41s – the fastest that we’ve seen.

Control of the purifier is simple via the control panel on the front, which lets you set one of three speeds. You can also hook the purifier up to your Wi-Fi network and control it via your phone. This model doesn’t have an air quality sensor built in, so there’s no auto mode. If you have an external air quality sensor, you can use IFTTT to control the purifier automatically.

If you suffer from allergies or are in a house where people smoke, the high-performance Blueair Classic 405 can easily clean anything up to a 40-square-meter room.

Full review: Blueair Classic 405 review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Ikea Starkvind

The best budget air purifier
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Funky design options
  • Simple to use
  • Cheap, smart upgrade

Cons

  • Can be slow to ramp up fan speed
  • No remote control with Ikea app

Who wants an ugly air purifier taking up their homes? Well, nobody if we’re being honest. Hand it to Ikea to fix this problem, with the Starkvind. Designed to blend into your home, this model comes in two versions. The standard version (pictured) looks a bit like a drum, standing vertically on legs and decked out in black or white material.

Then, there’s the side-table version, which is the same unit, only it has a solid top and long legs, so it can be used as a sidetable. That’s the ultimate way to make an air purifier fit into your life.

Internally, the filter is in three parts: there’s a pre-filter that you can vacuum of larger particles, such as hair, then two filters that can’t be cleaned, with one for gasses and odours and one for particles. Replacements cost a reasonable £27 and should last for around six months.

The Ikea Starkvind can be controlled via the simple dial on top. Turn it to a manual fan speed (one to five) or use the auto mode, which uses a PM sensor to watch for dust. That makes this purifier a little less responsive than the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde, which has a greater range of sensors, so can respond automatically to more threats, during our tests.

If you have an Ikea Tradfri Gateway, you can hook the Starkvind up to your home network and control it via the app, including setting schedules as well as taking manual control. There’s, bizarrely, no option for remote control through the Ikea app, although you can add this functionality by switching to HomeKit control.

Performance was good in our tests: our smoke pellet was cleared out in 11m 57s, although it took a full 25m until the app reported that the air was fully clean. This purifier was also a little slow to ramp up fan speed to full in order to deal with the smoke.

If you mainly want to deal with small particles, such as dust and other allergens, then the Ikea Starvind is a neat air purifier that will blend into your home.

Full review: Ikea Starkvind

Reviewer: David Ludlow

Ikea Starkvind, £179 at Ikea

Shark Air Purifier 6 HE600UK

The best air purifier for dust
rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star rating-star

Pros

  • Fast air purification
  • Automatic mode
  • Clear display

Cons

  • No smart controls
  • Only measures PM

There’s no messing about with the Shark Air Purifier 6 HE600UK: it’s a huge air purifier, with a massive filter and lots of fans, designed to clean the air quickly. Filters should be replaced every 12 months (or when the filter light turns on) and cost a reasonable £69.99 each.

The Shark Air Purifier 6 HE600UK doesn’t have any smart features, and everything is controlled via the remote control. This can sit on top of the purifier, although a magnetic mount would make it easier to store without risking of losing it.

The filter can absorb small particles (99.7% of those down to 0.3 microns), odours and VOCs. However, there’s only a PM sensor in this machine, so it will only respond and ramp up fan speed automatically when it detects smaller particles. If you want a more responsive air purifier, the Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Formaldehyde is a better choice.

Air quality is shown on top, running from 100% (the best) and dropping down. In auto mode, the purifier will turn off automatically once the air is clean, saving power.

We tested the Shark Air Purifier 6 HE600UK by lighting a smoke pellet. It took just 6m 30s for the Nest Protect to say the air quality was good, and only 9m 46s for the air purifier to show full air quality again. Both are very fast results.

If it’s mostly dust particles and allergens, such as pollen, that you want to deal with, this air purifier is very fast. However, it’s very large, taking up a lot room.

Full review: Shark Air Purifier 6 HE600UK review

Reviewer: David Ludlow

We also considered…

We’ve reviewed

73

Fan

See all reviews

FAQs

What can air purifiers do?

Air purifiers use a fan to pull in dirty air at one end, remove pollutants, and output clean air at the other end. The exact pollutants that can be cleaned depend on the technology used. All of the air purifiers we’ve tested here use a HEPA filter, which will capture a minimum of 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3µm in size. Also known as particulate matter, these particles can penetrate your lungs causing respiratory problems, particularly in allergy sufferers.

Particulate matter sources include dust, with cleaning likely to disturb dust and throw it into the air, pet hair and dander, smoke and pollens. HEPA filters are no good where dust has settled, since the filters can remove only airborne particles. In other words, you still need to clean effectively. HEPA filters also have a lifespan, after which they’ll need to be replaced. The exact timing will depend on the air purifier and how dirty your air is, but expect to buy a new filter between three months and 12 months of operation.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are harmful chemicals that are often found in cleaning products, paints, and some beauty products. VOCs are also found in some manufactured products, such as synthetic carpets and old furniture. Most air purifiers can’t touch these pollutants; those that can, can’t filter all VOCs.

Instead, you’re better off with an air monitor, such as the excellent Foobot, to monitor your home to see what’s giving off VOCs. Where possible, switch to less harmful products. Some models of air purifier also have an ionisation option. These use negative ions, which causes particles to stick to surfaces – such as wall or floor. Ionisation has been shown to reduce the risk of some viruses. Ionisation on its own isn’t particularly effective, so always combine with a proper air purifier.

What else should I look for?

All air purifiers use a fan of some description, so look for one that runs quietly enough for your intended use. We measure sound at maximum and minimum settings to help you choose. An automatic mode that ramps up the fan when the purifier detects dirty air is useful, as you can leave the purifier to do its job. You need to match the air purifier you buy to the size of room or space that you want to keep clean. Purifiers are rated by the square metre, so buy one that’s big enough.

Finally, you can look out for the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), which tells you how effective the purifier is at different types of allergen, compared to introducing clean air. For example, an air purifier with a CADR score of 190 for dust particles is as effective as adding 190 cubic feet of clean air per minute. In short, the higher the CADR rating for each type, the better. And, CADR scores are comparable across all products, helping you make the right choice.

CADR has three main ratings to help you decide: smoke uses very small particle sizes of 0.09 to 1µm; dust has particle sizes of 0.5 to 3µm; and pollen uses particle sizes of 5 to 11µm. It’s best to choose your air purifier based on how effective it is at the pollutant you want to remove. Hayfever sufferers, for example, should choose an air purifier that’s efficient for pollen removal.

Finally, since air purifiers come in different sizes, the CADR rating should equal (or exceed) 2/3 of your room size in square feet. A 135-sqft room would need CADR ratings of 90 or above, for example

Trusted Reviews test data

You can see a breakdown of the test data we collected reviewing all the air purifiers in this list. The main metrics you should look for are sound and how quickly it cleaned up a smoke pellet during our checks.

Sound (low)
Sound (high)
Time to clear smoke
Air speed 15cm (low)
Air speed 15cm (high)
Air speed 1m (high)

Comparison specs

You can see a full breakdown of all products mentioned in this guide’s specs in the table below.

UK RRP
USA RRP
EU RRP
CA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Release Date
First Reviewed Date
Model Number
Voice Assistant
Remote Control
Smart assistants
App Control
Filter type
Filter life
Max room size
Smoke CADR
Dust CADR
Pollen CADR
Number of speeds
Auto mode
Filter replacement light
Fan Type
Oscillation
Timer
Night Mode
Heat mode

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.