Breathe clean air with the 10 best air purifiers for allergies

While warmer spring and summer weather is a welcome change after a long winter, it’s also the harbinger of allergy symptoms. Unfortunately, our homes contain a surprising number of airborne allergens, contaminants, and other pollutants, so if you want to freshen up the musty air that you and your loved ones are breathing, it’s a good idea to invest in a high-quality air purifier. Pollen, mold spores, and pet dander are just a few of many things that can cause your allergies to flare up when the weather warms up. Things like dust mites and ragweed can even cause issues in the fall and winter, seasons typically not associated with allergies. And if you cook at home, smoke, or have pets, an air purifier is a savvy buy any time of year.

When shopping for a quality air purifier, the main things to look for are true HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filtration capability and what’s known as the CADR, or the clean air delivery rating. True HEPA filters are typically found on a larger air filter and are a must-have if you suffer from allergies, as these remove 99.7 percent of particles from the air down to a size of .3 microns. Non-HEPA (sometimes confusingly advertised as “HEPA”) filters will still remove 99 percent of particles down to 2 microns, however, and are fine options for non-allergy sufferers or if you’re looking for smaller desktop air purifiers.

Air purifiers are typically CADR rated for smoke, dust, and pollen, with each number reflecting how large of a space the unit is capable of covering while still completely turning the air over in a room four times every hour, which is the optimal frequency to ward off allergies and asthma. You can determine the space that an air purifier can clean by multiplying the CADR ratings by 1.5; for example, a unit with a CADR rating of 300 is suitable for cleaning the air four times per hour in a space as large as 450 square feet.

Other features to look for in a good air purifier, such as washable pre-filters, custom filters (for cigarette smoke, odors, pet allergies, etc.), timers, air quality detectors, and so on, all depend on your needs and budget. So whether you suffer from allergies or just want to freshen things up around your home, we’ve picked out the top 10 best air purifiers for allergies to help you breathe easy this spring and summer.

Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier — $203

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We’ve featured the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty before, and for good reason: It’s one of the best units available today and punches well above its weight when it comes to value. The aptly named Mighty utilizes a true HEPA filter, making it ideal for those with allergies and/or asthma. CADR ratings of 233 for smoke, 246 for dust, and 240 for pollen allow the Coway AP-1512HH to effectively cycle the air four times per hour in an area of around 360 square feet. If you’re looking for an air cleaner that will make your indoor air cleaner than ever, the Coway Mighty is our top pick for you.

One very nice modern feature on the Coway is its air quality sensor, which automatically adjusts the purifier’s output depending on the presence of ambient particles, pollutants, and odors. At $203 from Amazon, this HEPA air purifier is a tough value to beat.

$203 | Amazon

$203 | Walmart

Winix 5500-2 PlasmaWave Air Purifier — $151

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Winix is another household name in the world of air filtration, and its purifiers come with some unique features that put them ahead of much of the competition. The three-stage 5500-2 uses a true HEPA filter along with Winix’s patented PlasmaWave technology, which attacks airborne microbial pollutants and breaks them down on a molecular level. If you’re wanting to allergy-proof your home and improve the indoor air quality, going after dust mites and other pollutants at a the molecular level will produce the best results.

The Winix 5500-2 is a great choice for users who need something that can clear out medium- to large rooms, as this unit is CADR-rated for areas of up to 360 square feet. The high-value 5500-2 air purifier can be yours for $151 from Walmart after a $128 discount.

$151 | Walmart

$299 | Amazon

Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet Air Purifier — $211

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Houses with furry family members have some extra needs when it comes to air filtration, and if you’re a pet owner suffering from pet allergies, it’s hard to beat the Winix WAC9500. The ultimate pet allergen purifier features an impressive five-stage filtration system that includes a pre-filter, HEPA filter, CleanCel anti-bacterial filter, and an Advanced Odor Control filter, along with PlasmaWave. Rather than having a single carbon filter for large particulates and odors, the WAC9500 splits the process up between two different stages to better manage hair, dander, and smells from your pets.

It’s also CADR-rated for spaces as large as 280 square feet, so it’s great for medium-sized areas such as apartments or living rooms. The Winix WAC9500 rings in at $211 from Amazon after a $139 savings, making it not only an excellent air cleaner, but also a great deal.

$211 | Amazon

Honeywell 50250-S Air Purifier — $131

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Honeywell products are highly recommended by physicians, a pedigree that is well-deserved. The beefy Honeywell 50250-S boasts a CADR rating of 250, making it suitable for rooms as large as 390 square feet. This purifier also boasts some unique features: The 360-degree design is great for circulating air throughout larger spaces, and the true HEPA filter can be vacuumed and reused for between three and five years, saving you a chunk of change on replacement filters.

The Honeywell 50250-S was named the best air purifier overall in our review roundup and, at $131 from Amazon after an $80 discount, is arguably the best value you’re likely to find on a larger unit – especially when you consider the extra savings that the washable HEPA filter provides.

$131 | Amazon

$131 | Walmart

GermGuardian AC5250PT Air Purifier — $100

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Don’t let its price fool you: The three-stage AC5250PT air purifier offers great filtration capabilities, with a charcoal prefilter that captures odors and large particles, a true HEPA, and GermGuardian’s trademark UV light filter that zaps airborne allergen bacteria and mold spores. A clean forced-air delivery rate of 125 makes this unit suitable for spaces of up to 187 square feet, so it’s a perfect small room air purifier, especially considering its relatively small size.

A 50 percent discount on Amazon shaves $130 off the price, letting you score the GermGuardian AC5250PT for an affordable $100. If you don’t want to spend a ton of money, this is a great basic three-stage HEPA purifier that will take care of most people’s needs.

$100 | Amazon

$100 | Walmart

Hamilton Beach TrueAir Desktop Air Purifier — $50

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Moving into smaller desktop-friendly air purifiers brings us to the excellent Hamilton Beach TrueAir. This shoebox-sized unit offers near-HEPA filtration, removing 99 percent of airborne allergen particles down to 2 microns in size and efficiently clearing the air in rooms as large as 140 square feet. It’s perfect for bedrooms, bathrooms, offices, and other personal spaces, and best of all, the permanent filter is washable and re-usable.

If you don’t need a true HEPA filter — and don’t want to fuss around with buying replacement filters — the Hamilton Beach TrueAir is an efficient and economical choice at just $50 from Amazon. With its washable filter, the TrueAir can easily pay for itself within a year.

$50 | Amazon

$67 | Walmart

Holmes HAP242-NUC Desktop Air Purifier — $39

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Another great desktop purifier is this handy unit from Holmes, which was named the best budget air purifier by our review team. Although the TrueAir’s permanent washable filter is handy, it limits the custom filtration capabilities of the unit. The Holmes desktop air purifier can use custom filters for odors, pet dander, smoke, and more, and you can even get true HEPA filters for it if you need them – something the TrueAir lacks.

The Homles desktop option is the most affordable model on our roundup, too, ringing in at just $39 from Amazon.

$39 | Amazon

Levoit LV-H132 Desktop Air Purifier — $90

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Most desktop air purifiers don’t feature true HEPA filtration (at least not out of the box), so if you want a modern unit that is compact but can still offer full-featured filtration, then the Levoit LV-H132 is for you. The three-stage system features a prefilter (to capture larger particles), a true HEPA filter, an and activated carbon filter, which work together to eliminate smoke, odors, allergens, and other contaminants from the air.

Its small size makes it ideal for spaces like bedrooms, and it runs quietly so you can use it at night and enjoy the gentle white noise making air changes while you sleep. The Levoit desktop purifier goes for $90 from Amazon.

$90 | Amazon

Airmega 400S Smart Air Purifier — $646

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Another one from the folks at Coway is the powerful Airmega 400S, which combines unrivaled area coverage with high-tech smart features. The unique modern design of this air purifier lets it cover a whopping 1,560 square feet with true HEPA filtration. Smart features include real-time air quality monitoring, Alexa compatibility, and Wi-Fi connectivity for easy voice and smart device control via the companion app.

The Airmega 400S is a bit expensive at $646 (after a nice $203 discount), but it’s the most powerful air cleaners on our roundup and is the best one for tech-savvy users who want a unit capable of cleaning the air in a very large space.

$646 | Amazon

$625 | Walmart

Rabbit Air MinusA2 — $550

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Another great option for pet owners (and just about everybody else) is the Rabbit Air MinusA2, which features customized filtration capabilities. This modern-style air purifier can stand on your floor or can be mounted on your wall thanks to its thin profile, and it can use specialized filters to eliminate germs, odors, pet dander, and airborne toxins from your environment. Patented six-stage BioGS HEPA filtration technology delivers unrivaled air quality in a large area of up to 700 feet.

The ultra-quiet and customizable Rabbit Air MinusA2 is one of the most full-featured air purifiers on the market today and comes in at $550. You can select which specialized filter you get out of the box on the product page, and the unit is compatible with all Rabbit Air replacement filters.

$550 | Amazon

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