Best Affordable Air Purifiers in 2021: Buying Guide

A quick look on the interwebz and you’ll learn that air purifiers aren’t the cheapest home appliance to have around. But what if we told you that you could pick up an air purifier without breaking the bank? Most of you might be wondering what the catch is.

There are air purifiers on every part of the price spectrum, including the cheaper end. And some of these affordable air purifiers work just as well as their high-end counterparts, albeit at a smaller scale. Below, we’ll share with you the best affordable air purifiers are and what makes them so great.

Our 5 Recommended Cheap Air Purifiers

  1. LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier

    The Core 300 is a desktop air purifier that does an outstanding job for such a compact device. Its cylindrical design allows for 360-degree purifying, so users don’t have to worry about ideal placement. You’ll find all of the basic controls on the top-facing panel, which includes a 6-hour timer, safety lock, and different fan speeds.

    Levoit Core 300
    Levoit Core 300

    Inside of the tiny Core 300, you’ll find an impressive H13 medical-grade True HEPA Filter that traps as much as 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size At most, it can only cover 215 square feet, which is ideal for bedrooms. Moreover, the Core 300 only generates about 24 dBA of noise.

    LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies Pets Hair...
    • Ozone Free: Levoit air purifiers avoid using UV-C light, an air cleaning method that research has shown can...
    • High Performance: Enjoy fresh air in 12 minutes with the Core 300 True HEPA Air Purifier. Featuring VortexAir...
    • Find Relief: Ease sneezing, congestion, and other allergy symptoms caused by airborne contaminants. The H13...

    Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  2. Okaysou AirMax8L Air Purifier

    The Okaysou AirMax8L truly surpasses all expectations of a budget-friendly air purifier. Not only does it come with an H13 True HEPA Filter, but it comes with an additional four filters to further remove tiny particles from the air—not to mention the activated carbon filter that removes foul odors.

    The AirMax8L is designed to purify 800-square-foot rooms with an average CADR of 210. It’s not the most powerful floor air purifier out there, but it certainly has no trouble removing common allergens in less time. Backed by a 5-year warranty, you can expect your Okaysou-made air purifier to outlast most other budget-friendly models.

    Okaysou AirMax8L Air Purifier with Washable...
    • 5 Stage ULTRA-DUO Filtration System-Combines Washable Pre-filter, H13 True HEPA Filter, Blue Filter, Honeycomb...
    • Premium Features - Advanced turbine motor with 45 vanes, creative internal structure and larger air inlet area...
    • Higher Performance- CADR is 210, AirMax8L circulates air up to 1.5x per hour in a room size of 800 sq.ft / 3x...

    Last update on 2021-10-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  3. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier

    When it comes to air purifiers, the South Korean brand Winix is a name you can trust. While the 5500-2’s reach is limited to just 360 square feet at maximum, its CADR figures go beyond the 230-CFM mark at about 4 air changes per hour. With triple-filter action, common allergens stand very little chance of making it past the filters.

    Winix 5500-2
    Winix 5500-2

    But perhaps what sets the 5500-2 apart from the other budget-friendly models is its built-in smart sensors. These sensors constantly measure air pollution density in a room, and after reaching a certain point, it’ll automatically turn on (and off). The Winix 5500-2 offers both convenience and unrivaled performance in smaller spaces.

    Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA,...
    • True HEPA filter captures 99.97% of airborne pollutants; dust mites, pet dander, pollen and other allergens as...
    • Washable AOC Carbon Filter, made from activated carbon granulars for removal of household odors. Decibels 27.8...
    • PlasmaWave acts as a permanent filter to safely break down odor, allergens, chemical vapors and other...

    Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  4. Levoit Core 200S Air Purifier

    If you’d like an air purifier that you can control with the sound of your voice, the LEVOIT Core 200S is arguably the best model. This handy appliance can receive commands via an Alexa or Assistant smart speaker, so you’ll never have to lift a finger. In addition, the VeSync smartphone offers real-time status reports regarding both the H13 True HEPA Filter and Activated Carbon Filter.

    True to LEVOIT fashion, the Core 200S produces near-inaudible noises on sleep mode. It’s not the most powerful desktop air purifier, but it hardly uses any energy to run on its highest fan speed.

    LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home, Smart WiFi Alexa...
    • Pure Air, Affordable Price: Our most popular air purifier series is back with an all-new smart model....
    • Genuine Replacement Filters: For the best performance and longest lifespan, use genuine Levoit replacement...
    • Effective Purification: The compact frame and 360° design help the Core 200S purify the air wherever you put...

    Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

  5. Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier

    The Coway AP-1512HH is unique in many ways. While its sleek black design definitely sets it apart, it’s doesn’t lack much in the performance department. Its CADR ratings are higher than 230 CFM in all three categories (dust, smoke, pollen), which isn’t surprising based on the size of the air purifier’s fan.

    Coway AP-1512HH
    Coway AP-1512HH

    The AP-1512HH is a 4-stage air purifier that also includes an optional ionizer that further boosts air-freshening performance. It also comes with a unique Eco Mode that utilizes smart sensors to automatically turn the device on and off based on pollution levels. In addition, there are two LED indicators that warn you when to replace the True HEPA Filter or the carbon filter.

    Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier with True HEPA...
    • Coway Mighty (AP-1512HH) is designed to accommodate room sizes up to 361 sq.ft (CADR: Dust 246 / Pollen 240 /...
    • 4 Stage Filtration System (Pre-filter, Deodorization filter, True HEPA filter, Vital Ion) captures and reduces...
    • Pre-filter is washable and permanent, designed to catch larger dust particles, The compact unit helps people...

    Last update on 2021-10-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Affordable Air Purifier: A Brief Buying Guide

When shopping for an air purifier, there are two major factors that will affect your purchase decision. Let’s briefly go over what those two factors are.

Room Size

The most important part of determining which air purifier to get is room size, or in other words, the device’s maximum coverage capacity. While you can find inexpensive air purifiers almost anywhere, the last thing you want is to purchase a model that can reach all four corners of your bedroom, home office unit, etc.

Simply put, affordable air purifiers are smaller appliances that come with smaller motors and fans. So, before settling on a model, make sure that the air purifier is equipped to purify the air in the room you wish to clean.

To do this, multiply the length and width of a room, then take that figure and compare it to the maximum area cleaning area. If the coverage area is larger than the area of a room, then it shouldn’t have any trouble purifying the air.

Design

Affordable air purifiers typically come in two varieties—desktop and free-standing. Desktop models take up very little space, but their compact designs mean a shorter cleaning range.

Free-standing or floor air purifiers are exactly what you would expect an air purifier to look like. They’re medium-sized appliances that rest in the corners of rooms that draw in large quantities.

The third not-so-common design among low-cost air purifiers is hanging models. They’re mounted on a flat, vertical surface, so they don’t take up any floor or tabletop space.

Each design has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, but if you want to get the biggest bang for your buck (in terms of performance and features), you should consider getting a free-standing air purifier.

Noise Levels

Modern-day devices are generally whisper-quiet. They produce anywhere from 32 to 77 dBa at any moment, depending on which fan speed is active.

Please note that an air purifier with lower noise levels is generally “weaker” than its louder counterparts. Again, your purchase decision should depend on the size of the room you wish to purify. Larger rooms require noisier air purifiers, in a general sense.

Additional Features to Look for in an Affordable Air Purifier

Here, we’ll go over the features and specs you should keep an eye out for when shopping for in an affordable air purifier.

CADR and ACH

Clean air delivery rate (CADR) and air changes per hour (ACH) are two figures that will give you a clear idea of how well an air purifier performs.

Regardless of the price bracket, you should try and find an air purifier with the highest CADR figure relative to its size. For instance, a free-standing model that delivers at least 200 CFM (cubic feet per minute) in all three CADR categories (dust, pollen, and smoke) denotes better, more efficient purifying performance.

As for ACH, you can do the math by calculating the volume of your room and dividing it by the maximum CFM output of your air purifier. For instance, if your living room is 15 x 20 x 8 feet (2,400 cubic feet), and your air purifier has a CFM rating of 250 CFM, then it can produce around 10 ACH (2,400/250 = ~10).

Single vs. Multi-Stage

Apart from the CADR and ACH figures, you should take a good hard look at the number of filters the device comes with.

A single-stage air purifier is an air purifier with a single filter inside, whereas a multi-stage air purifier contains at least two filters. The more filters the appliance uses, the better it can clean the air.

Let’s take a look at the types of filters down below:

  1. Pre-Filter: the first line of defense that traps a majority of large-sized particles, preventing them from clogging subsequent filters.
  2. Standard Filter: a simple filter typically made of a spongy material that’s washable but not completely reliable in removing microscopic particles
  3. True HEPA Filter: the best kind of filter you can get. They have the ability to retain particles as small as 0.3 microns with 99.97% efficiency.
  4. Activated Carbon Filter: typically the last line of defense, this type of filter removes foul smells in the air by absorbing and neutralizing odor molecules.

Optional Filters

An optional filter is a type of filter that you can turn on and off at will. There are two kinds of optional features you can get in your air purifier. Here’s a brief description of what they are.

  1. UV Light: a dedicated “kill chamber” within the appliance that exposes microorganisms to UV-C light, effectively destroying them at the molecular level. If the microorganisms don’t die, at the very least, they can’t reproduce.
  2. Ionizer: ionizers deliver a static charge to airborne particles, forcing them to adhere to the filters for enhanced cleaning performance.

Please note that both types of optional filters can produce ozone—a lung irritant—though some brands claim their UV-C and/or ionizer filters do not. To be on the safe side, only run these optional filters when no person or pet is present indoors and allow for several hours for the ozone to dissipate before re-entering your home.

Filter Lifespan and Replacement Indicator

How long a filter lasts—i.e., can maintain optimal purifying performance—will vary from model to model. In general, True HEPA Filters, even washable ones, have a maximum lifespan of between 6 and 12 months, though it depends on how frequently you use the air purifier.

You can manually count how many months have passed before purchasing replacement filters, or you can rely on an LED replacement indicator to warn you when the filter is nearing the end of its lifespan. They’re not always accurate, especially in affordable air purifiers, but it’s safer to replace a filter before rather than after it is no longer effective.

Smart Sensors

Smart sensors can go by a variety of different names, depending on the air purifier manufacturer. A smart sensor is a sensor built into the air purifier that constantly measures pollution concentration levels in the room.

After pollution levels reach a certain threshold, the air purifier will automatically turn on at the most appropriate, energy-saving fan speed.
You’ll mainly find this is premium air purifiers, though some brands offer air purifiers with handy smart sensors at a bargain.

FAQs About Affordable Air Purifiers

1. How much power does an affordable air purifier use?

Affordable price tags typically use very little energy per hour. The average range is between 20 and 100 watts per hour, which equates to about 1.3¢ per hour.

Multiply that by however many hours you run it per day, multiply that by 365, and you’ll have a rough idea of how much more you’ll have to pay to power your air purifier.

2. How long should I run my air purifier?

There’s no hard minimum or maximum hour-per-day figure you can rely on. You can simply follow your nose (and allergies) to determine whether you should leave it on or shut it off. Or you can simply let your smart sensor do all the calculating for you.

A good rule of thumb is to let your air purifier run for at least 12 hours daily.

3. What are the disadvantages of an affordable air purifier?

The disadvantages of an air purifier, affordable or otherwise, vary from model to model. A lack of features and excessive maintenance are two examples of why several affordable air purifier models didn’t make our list.

Also, keep a close eye on how frequently and how long you allow the ionizer and UV-C light (if available) to run.

4. Where can I keep my air purifier?

The design and style of your air purifier will tell you where you can place it, as well as the paperwork. Desktop air purifiers should be on top of a flat surface to promote the best inward airflow possible.

Floor models can be placed in a corner with their exhausts facing upward or uncovered to the back. As for cylindrical models, you can place them virtually anywhere you like.

Conclusion

And there we have it, ladies and gentlemen—our top picks and guide on how to buy an affordable air purifier. We hope you learned something new about air purifiers and are one step closer to making your final purchase decision. If you have any inquiries concerning which air purifier model to get, feel free to drop us a comment down below.

About the author

Hi I’m Alexander, founder of HouseholdMe.com and I’d like to say thank you for dropping by. Like most of you, the first thing I look at before buying something online is reviews or buying guides. By reading what other people say will help me gauge whether or not a product is good or not.  I am trying to help people find answers, solve problems, and get inspired.

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