When searching for air purifiers, you may get overwhelmed by the different types of filters that you can find on any major retailer’s website. Some of the most popular air purifiers on the market contain a true HEPA filter. How do you decide which one you want? The answer depends on several factors, including your home size, budget and your reason for wanting an air purifier. Below, we take a look at the top-selling air purifiers at six major retailers so that you can decide which HEPA air purifier is right for you.
Buying a HEPA air purifier at Walmart
Walmart’s website carries three popular air purifier brands—Honeywell, Holmes and Germ Guardian—that offer a selection of relatively low-cost true HEPA air purifiers. Three of the most popular models sold online at Walmart are:
- Honeywell True HEPA:50250-S: This Honeywell air purifier, sold for $197.99, can be used in rooms up to 390 square feet. Its clean air delivery rate (CADR) is 250 for smoke, dust and pollen, meaning that it can remove particles of that size at a rate of 250 cubic feet per minute. It offers three cleaning settings and uses a long-lasting HEPA filter that can be vacuumed to extend filter life. The manufacturer suggests replacing the filter every three to five years. This model also contains a carbon pre-filter that helps remove odor-causing gases from the air and should be replaced every three months.
- Holmes Allergen Remover Air Purifier Mini-Tower with True HEPA Filter: At only $61.27, this air purifier is intended for smaller rooms up to 85 square feet. It contains a washable pre-filter to capture larger particles and a true HEPA filter for smaller particles. The unit also features an optional ionizer. Replacement filters, some of which contain baking soda to help with odor removal can be found for under $20 on the manufacturer website.
- GermGuardian AC5000E 3-in-1 Air Purifier with True Hepa Filter: This air purifier contains a true HEPA filter, an activated charcoal carbon filter that helps reduce odors, and UV-C light technology meant to target airborne bacteria, viruses, germs and mold spores. This GermGuardian model is $99.99 and, with a CADR of 125+, it is intended for use in medium to large rooms. The manufacturer suggests replacing the true HEPA filter every six to eight months. They also note that regularly changing the charcoal filter may help extend the life of the HEPA filter. Replacement HEPA ($37.99) and carbon filters ($15.99 for four) can be found on the manufacturer’s website.
Buying a HEPA air purifier at Costco
Like Walmart, Costco is known for offering customers lower prices on the products that they want and need, including air purifiers. Though your local Costco store may not have as many options as their online store counterpart, you still may be able to find a true HEPA air purifier that works for you. The top models sold on the Costco website include:
- Philips 2000 Series True HEPA Air Purifier with Allergen Mode: This air purifier contains a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, and it is recommended for medium to large rooms. The “allergen mode” feature allows the product to detect and automatically respond to increases in airborne allergens. Its display features a color ring and numerical indicator that allows you to assess the current air quality in a room. Replacement HEPA filters can cost over $60, and replacement carbon filters are around $40. This Philips air purifier is a “Member Only Item” so the pricing information is only available to Costco members.
- GermGuardian 22″ True HEPA Air Purifier, with UV Sanitizer & Odor Reduction, 2-pack: This $159.99 listing comes with two identical air purifiers. In addition to HEPA and carbon filters, this model contains UV-C technology to target germs. This product is recommended for small to medium rooms, and the manufacturer suggests changing the HEPA filter every six to eight months. Consumer reviews indicate that this air purifier may be too noisy for some people.
- Dyson Pure Cool Link, Air Purifier & Fan, TP02: This model, which retails at $399.99, is one of the pricier options that Costco offers. However, unlike other air purifiers, this model includes Wi-Fi capabilities and is Alexa compatible. Certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), this Dyson air purifier monitors, records and responds to current air conditions. Additionally, you can use the Dyson Link app to control the air purifier with your smartphone.
- Winix C555 Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology: At 229.99, this air purifier features not only HEPA and carbon filtration,but also PlasmaWave Technology that “creates Hydroxyls to instantly neutralize viruses, bacteria, VOCs, odors and gases; while emitting no harmful ozone,” according to the manufacturer’s website. Recommended for rooms up to 360 square feet, this unit is generally quiet unless the fan is turned to the highest setting.
Buying a HEPA air purifier for Amazon
When searching on Amazon, you can easily compare the specifications of similar brands and models to find one that you prefer. Some of the highest-rated air purifiers on the Amazon marketplace are:
- Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier: This air purifier can be found for $169.99 and contains HEPA and carbon filters paired with Winix PlasmaWave technology. This combination of filtering methods allows the purifier to trap airborne pollutants such as dust mites, pet dander and pollen, as well as remove odor-causing VOCs from the air. The unit comes with a remote and is equipped with Smart Sensors that automatically detect and react to changes in air quality.
- LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home with True HEPA Filter: This Energy Star-certified air purifier uses a three-stage purification system that includes a pre-filter, carbon filter and true HEPA filter that filter out dust, pollen, smoke, odor, mold spores, pet dander and other airborne pollutants. Available for $167.99, this model is recommended for medium to large rooms. Replacement HEPA filters cost around $30.
- GermGuardian AC4825 22” 3-in-1 Full Room Air Purifier: This GermGuardian air purifier model, regularly $149.99, is available to Amazon Prime members at $79.99. The HEPA filter traps airborne dust, pet dander, mold spores and plant pollens, while the carbon filter helps remove odors from pets, smoking, cooking and wildfire smoke. The optional UV-C light technology helps reduce the presence of airborne bacteria, viruses, germs and mold spores. Most reviews reported a noticeable improvement in air quality within the first week of use.
Buying a HEPA air purifier at Home Depot
Unlike other major retailers, Home Depot also allows customers to rent an air purifier. The HEPA Air Scrubber contains HEPA and carbon filters and is recommended for use in a room up to 1000 cubic feet. It can be used to purify the air during any construction project, even the renovation of spaces that have been damaged by fire, mold or sewage.
If you are interested in purchasing rather than renting an air purifier from Home Depot, some of their most popular options are:
- Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover: This compact air purifier, designed for medium-sized rooms, uses true HEPA and activated carbon filters to remove airborne particulate matter as well as odors and VOCs. Available for $219.00, this model features four cleaning levels and an automatic shut off timer. It uses two HEPA filters, available for around $30 each, that should be replaced about once a year.
- Winix 5300-2 Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology: This model, available at Home Depot for $139.86, uses carbon and HEPA filters paired with PlasmaWave technology to remove airborne particles, VOCs and unwanted odors from the air in your home. The model is designed to be used in medium-sized rooms up to 360 square feet. This unit has good reviews, though some users report a difficulty getting it to absorb odors.
- Germ Guardian 3-in-1 Pet Pure True HEPA Air Purifier System: Like other GermGuardian models, this air purifier uses HEPA filter and carbon filters, as well as UV-C light technology to remove pollutants from the air. However, it contains an added microbial agent called “Pet Pure” whose purpose is to prevent and slow the growth of mold, mildew and odor-causing bacteria on the filter’s surface. This unit is available for $112.63 on the Home Depot website.
Buying a HEPA air purifier at Lowe’s
The Lowe’s website allows you to browse their wide selection of air purifiers and have your purchase shipped to a store near you at no additional cost. Best-selling air purifier options from Lowe’s include:
- Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link 10-Speed 300-sq ft True Hepa Air Purifier: The highest-rated air purifier on the Lowe’s website, the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link uses HEPA and carbon filters to remove airborne pollutants and VOCs from the air. What makes this model unique is its ability to heat and cool any room of up to 300 square feet using purified air. Available for $599.00, this unit also allows you to view real-time air quality reports and remotely control your air purifier on the Dyson Link smartphone app. The Hepa filter ($69) should be replaced every six to twelve months.
- Winix PlasmaWave 4-Speed 360-sq ft True HEPA Air Purifier ENERGY STAR: This best-selling air purifier is $135.79, and offers the three-stage filtration found in the Winix models listed above. The manufacturer claims the device can also sense and respond to changes in the air quality of your home. Eighty-two percent of reviews give this unit five stars, and there are not any reviews below three stars on the Lowe’s website.
- Idylis 3-Speed 193-sq ft True HEPA Air Purifier ENERGY STAR: A Lowe’s-exclusive product, this air purifier is one of the highest-rated and best-selling models offered by the store. The unit contains HEPA and carbon filters as well as UV-C sanitizer. Available for $129.99, the Idylis air purifier is Energy Star certified and designed for rooms up to 300 square feet. Replacement filters range from $25 to $30 on the Lowe’s website.
Buying a HEPA air purifier at Target
The Target website offers an easy-to-sort search feature that can help you more easily find the right air purifier for you. You can also find air purifiers inside many Target stores, though the selection will probably be less extensive than that offered online. The most popular true HEPA air purifiers on the Target website include:
- Honeywell True HEPA Air Purifier HPA101-TGT: This compact air purifier is recommended for medium-sized rooms and uses both carbon and HEPA filters. It features four cleaning levels and an automatic shut-off setting. At $134.99, the unit is one of the highest-rated on the Target website, with 98% of purchasers saying that they would recommend this Honeywell air purifier.
- Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier: The Pure Enrichment air purifier uses a pre-filter, HEPA and carbon filters, and UV-C light sanitization. This compact model, available for $99.99, boasts whisper-quiet performance and effectiveness in rooms up to 300 square feet. Replacement filters are $14.99 on the Target website.
- PureZone Elite 4-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier: Available for $149.99, this air purifier is designed for rooms up to 500 square feet. It uses a four-stage filtration process made up of an active carbon pre-filter, a true HEPA filter, a UV-C light with photocatalyst filter, and an ionizer. You should note that ionizers can produce harmful ozone, and the manufacturer’s information on this model does not mention whether it complies with ozone emission standards. Replacement HEPA filters for this model may not be available on the Target website, but they can be found at other retailer websites for around $30.
True HEPA vs. other air purifier technology
HEPA filters consist of a sheet of dense fibers that are designed to trap 99.97 percent of all particles that are 0.3 microns in size. This type of filter was designed to trap allergens such as pollen, pet dander, dust and mold spores, and is generally ineffective against gases. On the other hand, carbon filters, usually made with activated charcoal, can capture odor-causing gases such as VOCs, but they cannot remove particulate matter from the air. For this reason, many options on the market include a combination of HEPA and carbon filters that work together to remove particulate matter and VOCs.
Air purifiers with ionizers can trap airborne particles and those that use ozone generators can remove VOCs from the air, but both types of technology have safety considerations because of the concentrations of harmful ozone that they release into the air.
Molekule PECO technology can purify the air in your home without the shortfalls of the above filtration methods. Instead of simply trapping pollutants on a filter where they are left to grow and multiply, PECO destroys them at the molecular level so that they do not reenter the airstream again.
When it comes to choosing a HEPA air purifier, there is no one-size-fits-all best option. Things to consider when purchasing an air purifier include:
- Your budget
- The cost of maintenance and replacement filters
- The sizes of the rooms in your home
- The allergens that you are sensitive to
- The technology in the air purifier
- Any harmful byproducts produced by the air purifier
For example, a standalone HEPA filter is a common option for those looking to relieve allergy symptoms caused by pet dander or pollen, but the addition of a carbon filter is a better choice for those looking to remove VOCs and other odor-causing gases from their home. It is worth it to take the time to research how the different air purifier options relate to your needs and budget.