Best HEPA Air Purifiers Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Regardless of brand or cost, an air purifier with a True HEPA filter is the only kind to consider.

The term “True HEPA” is a technical one. It means the filter demonstrated in laboratory testing to meet this standard:

True HEPA = Removes at least 99.97% of air particles .3 microns and larger.

Those are tiny particles - .3 microns is about 118 millionth of an inch.

True HEPA filtration is the best defense against dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores and most other allergens and pollutants.

The True HEPA Air Purifier Buying Guide below has all the details about True HEPA filters and what they filter out of your air.

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Best HEPA Air Purifiers

Our Guarantee: The air purifiers on this list are the best in their size classes. We chose them based on their quality, performance, features and verified consumer reviews and ratings. There are a lot of mediocre and bad air purifiers out there. We bring you the best.

ALL have a True HEPA filter as the primary air filter and activated carbon filters to trap odor-causing pollutants.

At Pick HVAC, we understand that if you buy an air purifier based on our recommendation, and it serves you well, you’ll trust us for information on central heating and air conditioning equipment, window ACs and the many other types of equipment we discuss and review.  

Here are the Overviews with links to current prices and more information.

Full Reviews follow.

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Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1

  • Carbon filter for odors
  • UV germicidal light
  • 5-year warranty
  • Up to 200 square feet

Best for Small Rooms & Bedrooms

Renpho Air Purifier

  • Air sensor with child lock
  • 4 filter stages
  • Great for allergies
  • Up to 300 square feet

Best for Medium Rooms

RabbitAir BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet

  • 4 filter stages with 5-speed fan
  • 5-year warranty
  • On/Off ionizer
  • Up to 625 square feet

Best for Large Rooms

Inofia with True HEPA

  • Sensor & Auto Mode
  • 5-speed fan
  • 24hr Timer & WiFi
  • Up to 1,056 square feet

Best for Extra Large Rooms

Elechomes EPI081

  • Soothing aromatherapy
  • 3 speeds + 3 filter stages
  • Dirty filter light
  • Up to 215 square feet

Best Budget / Gift Idea

Medify Air 'Wildfire CA Edition' 

  • Advanced H13 HEPA
  • 4 speeds
  • Sleep Mode & Child Lock
  • Up to 2,500 square feet

Best Premium

Reviews of the Best HEPA Air Purifiers

Here are the details about features, performance, warranty, ratings and more.

We’re tough in our ratings. That’s why they’re often lower than found in other reviews or on Amazon and other retail sites. We take quality and the unit’s warranty into consideration – something others usually do not consider.

Remember, these are the best of the best – not just good HEPA air purifiers.

This highly rated air purifier for small rooms combines excellent performance with an affordable price – and that means great value to the consumer.

Reason it is on the List: True HEPA, of course, plus activated carbon and a UV-C light that kills mold, viruses and bacteria. Plus, it has a 5-year warranty.

Most helpful user reviews:

  • Best pro: “Forest fires near us put the air quality index over 425-Hazardous! We bought a Medify air purifier for most of the house and put this in the bedroom with the door shut. The room smells fresh when we walk into it. There is so much forest fire smoke in the air that we had to change the filter after 6 weeks, but that just shows how much pollution it is capturing!”
  • Best con: “Tried this in my 300 square feet bedroom suite. It did OK, but the fan isn’t strong enough for more than 150-200 square feet, in my opinion.” [We always recommend using an air purifier that is rated for the space. An air purifier that is “too big” for the room is OK. One “too small” won’t do the job.]

Room Size: Up to 200 square feet.

Features:

  • 3 filter stages
  • 3 fan speeds
  • 2/4/8-hour Timer
  • Germicidal UV-C light
  • Compact, portable design

Features Rating: 4 – The lack of a remote is the only thing keeping this from a 5 rating. For a small room, a remote is a convenience though, not a necessity.

Filter Rating: 5

  • Activated carbon pre-filter absorbs smoke, many gases and VOCs and other odor-causing pollutants.
  • True HEPA filter does the heavy work of air filtration
  • The UV-C germicidal light kills mold, mildew, viruses and bacteria

Quality Rating: 5 – Well built with quality materials. The long warranty shows the company believes in its air purifier and is willing to stand behind it.

Warranty Rating: 5 – A 5-year warranty is among the very best you will find.

Overall Rating: 4.75 out of 5

Best for Medium Rooms

We started hearing about Renpho some time ago, so began to research and test its air purifiers. We’re impressed, and so are users. This unit is one of the highest rated of any size.

Reason it is on the List: Along with True HEPA air filtration, it cleans the air with 3 additional filters including a washable pre-filter that gives longer life to the others. The quality, performance and reliability are excellent.

Most helpful user reviews:

  • Best pro: “The Renpho is very responsive to changes in air quality. Fry something, open the windows on a breezy day with pollen in the air, and the air sensor detects increased pollution and adjust the fan to a higher speed.”
  • Best con: “Worked quietly and effectively for a few months and then the fan started buzzing.” [A very small percentage of these units have early mechanical issues. Removing the cover and tightening the fan screw would probably stop the noise.]

Room Size: Up to 300 square feet

Features:

  • 4 filter stages for large particles, small particles, odors, gases and more
  • Air sensor that monitors air quality and adjusts the fan speed to the right level of air cleaning when the Auto Mode is on
  • Monitor shows you the Air Quality – Red is poor, Yellow is better; Blue is best air quality
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Sleep Mode for quiet air filtering with a dimmed light
  • 2/4/8-hour Timer
  • Lock Mode, so an inquisitive child or nosy pet can’t accidentally change the settings or turn the unit off

Features Rating: 4 – A remote or smart functionality would be nice in a unit for large rooms.

Filter Rating: 5

  • True HEPA
  • Permanent and washable pre-filter
  • Activated charcoal filter for odors.
  • Activated carbon filter to absorb odors and gases.

Quality Rating: 4 – This unit is built with quality parts and should last 5+ years with normal use and when the filters are cleaned or replaced as needed.

Warranty Rating: 3 – We’d like to see a warranty of at least 2 or 3 years.

Overall Rating: 4 out of 5. The filtering and performance is closer to a 5 rating. The short warranty hurts the overall rating.

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Best for Large Rooms

This unit cleans and deodorizes a 625 square foot space two times every hour. It is attractively designed. In fact, it has won the:

  • Red Dot award in Germany
  • Athenaeum Good Design Award in Chicago
  • G-Mark Good Design Award in Japan

Reason it is on the List: It has True HEPA plus excellent performance features like a 5-speed fan that is automatically adjusted when the air sensor detects a change in air quality. It is backed by a 5-year warranty.

Most helpful user reviews:

  • Best pro: “The superb air filtration and features make this air purifier worth the slightly higher cost than competitors.”
  • Best con: “Great air filter, but when it changes speeds, the lights on the panel come on, and they are bright! Not good for night. I put a cloth over it, so I’m not awakened by the light changes.”

Room Size: Up to 625 square feet

Features:

  • 4 filtration stages
  • Sensor with Auto Mode for automatically adjusting fan speed based on air quality (Auto Mode can be turned off to allow you to choose the fan speed you want)
  • 5-speed fan
  • Remote control
  • Energy Star certified for efficiency
  • Available in All White, White with Blue Trim and White with Leaf Trim – Use the link to go to the product page, and choose your preferred color

Note on Ozone: The Ionizer can be turned off – and probably should be turned off when anyone with asthma is in the house. The Ionizer does release a trace amount of ozone, which can cause an asthma attack in high amounts.

According to the manufacturer: "For our BiogS 2.0, an amount of 0.001 ppm (parts-per-million) of ozone was recorded with negative ionizer turned on. That is 50 times less than the 0.05 ppm maximum ozone concentration safety standard set forth by the California Air Resource Board."

Features Rating: 5 – Excellent set of air cleaning and convenience features.

Filter Rating: 5

  • True HEPA – The key to any good air purifier.
  • Washable, permanent pre-filter stops large allergens and particles like pet fur, human hair and dust bunnies, so they won’t clog and shorten the life of the other filters.
  • Activated carbon uses activated charcoal to absorb chemical vapors, smoke and their odors.
  • Negative Ion Generator which cleans the air – the negative ions attach to pollutants. This makes them larger and easier to filter.

All the filters can be vacuumed. The pre-filter is permanent and can be washed with dish soap. Vacuuming the HEPA and carbon filters will extend their life. See an instructional video here.

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Quality Rating: 5 – The unit has been available for more than 5 years, and less than 5% have had reported mechanical issues.  

Warranty Rating: 5 – It is backed with a 5-year warranty.

Overall Rating: 5 out of 5

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Best for Extra Large Rooms

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This Amazon’s Choice air purifier is a powerful air cleaning machine with almost no negative ratings.

The Inofia pulls in and filters air from two directions. This speeds up air cleaning and increases efficiency.

Reason it is on the List: The 2 True HEPA filters are supported by Auto Mode with 5 cleaning speeds and a 24-hour timer, which adds more convenience than the 8-hour timer most units have.  

Most helpful user reviews:

  • Best pro: “My son has terribly pet and pollen allergies. We have an open floorplan house, so really need a whole-house unit. This one is powerful enough to draw and clean air from all the rooms, and my son’s allergies are significantly better this spring.”
  • Best con: “The pre-filter and HEPA are doing their job, but it’s not as good on smoke smells as I had hoped.”

Room Size: Up to 1065 square feet.

Features:

  • Sensor and Auto Mode monitors the air quality and adjusts the fan speed/cleaning speed automatically (can be turned off)
  • 5-speed fan
  • WiFi and App for convenient monitoring and control from anywhere
  • 24-hour timer

Features Rating: 5 – All the bells and whistles for effective and convenient air purification.

Filter Rating: 5

Drawing air from both the front and back – and sending it through a carbon filter and HEPA filter on both sides – is innovative and efficient.

Quality Rating: 4.5 – This unit is made with quality components, and should last 10+ years. However, it has only been available for a few years. There are very few mechanical problems reported with the thousands that have been sold. Still, we’ll reserve a 5 rating for a few years until the unit has a track record of proven durability.

Warranty Rating: 4 – It’s just 2 years.

Overall Rating: 4.625 out of 5

Need a Different Size? Inofia makes air purifiers rated for rooms from 600 square feet to 1300 square feet.

To review and compare them, select the link. Scroll down the page to the Comparison Chart. You can select or review individual units using the links there.

Best Budget or Gift Idea

You don’t have to spend a bundle to get quality air filtering and better indoor air quality.

Reason it is on the List: Affordability is matched by True HEPA and carbon filtration, high ratings and aromatherapy! Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil or medicated solution to the reservoir to take advantage of this unique feature.

Most helpful user reviews:

  • Best pro: “Pollen is terrible this year, and this cheap (sorry, inexpensive) does as good a job as my parents’ unit that costs 3 Xs more. I wake up with a clear head!”
  • Best con: “It really only works for cooking smells (curry/fried pork) on high, at least for me, and then it is kinda loud.”

Room Size: Up to 215 square feet

Features:

  • 3 filter stages + 3-speed fan
  • Dirty filter notification light
  • 1/2/4/8-hour timer
  • Aromatherapy function

Features Rating: 4 – Very few air purifiers offer aromatherapy. There’s no remote or air quality sensor, but for the money, the features are adequate.

Filter Rating:  5

  • True HEPA for 99.97% of pollutants .3 microns or larger (just like the $500 units!)
  • Pre-filter is washable. It traps fur and dust bunnies, so they don’t shorten the life of the HEPA filter.
  • Activated carbon filter absorbs odor-causing pollutants like smoke, food smells, benzene and formaldehyde.

Quality Rating: 5 – Exceptional quality for the cost. This unit should give you 5-10 years of service.

Warranty Rating: 3 – Just one year.

Overall Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Best Premium

Severe allergies require next-level air filtration, and that’s what you get with this Medify air purifier. It was developed in response to the air quality data gathered when wildfires were destroying parts of California in recent years.

Reason it is on the List: The H13 True HEPA filter traps a wider range of pollutants, such as smoke and soot particles, than standard True HEPA.

  • True HEPA removes 99.97% of pollutants .3 microns and larger
  • H13 True HEPA removes 99.95% of particles down to 0.1 microns

Most helpful user reviews:

  • Best pro: “I bought this to clean the air in an old home we’re renovating. Air monitor showed poor quality at first, which we expected in this dusty old place. But it has gradually improved over two weeks. The unit seems to keep up with the dust and debris we’re making during renovation. I have dust allergies, and it is keeping them in check.”
  • Best con: “We live in a 1950s home with a ‘closed’ floor plan. We tried this unit for a few weeks, but found that when individual room doors were closed, the air in them smelled stuffy or musty. In the end, we returned it and got 3 others, a Winix 5500 and two Renpho’s.

Room Size: Up to 2,400 square feet for cleaning the air 2Xs per hour. It is rated to 3,700 square feet for cleaning the air once per hour.

Features:

  • Medical-grade 3-stage True HEPA filtration on both sides of the air purifier. It draws and filters air from two directions, discharging cleaned air out the top.
  • Air quality sensor and Automatic Mode adjusts the fan to the right air-cleaning speed.
  • Air quality display lets you know how clean the air is.
  • Powerful 4-speed fan.
  • 360-degree air distribution.
  • Sleep Mode for quieter air cleaning and dimmer light.
  • Child Lock keeps the settings where you want them.
  • Programable Timer.
  • Filter replacement indicator light.
  • Hidden casters for easy maneuvering.

Features Rating: 4.5 – It would be a 5 rating, but there is no remote or WiFi way to control its functions.

Filter Rating: 5

· Dual True HEPA filters – medical grade H13

· Dual activated carbon filters that are thicker than most, so absorb more gases and harmful VOCs. They filter smoke better than most.

Quality Rating: 4 – Very good components. The unit should give you 5-10 years of durable performance.

Warranty Rating: 5 – It comes with a Lifetime warranty against defects.

Overall Rating: 4.625 out of 5

HEPA Air Purifier Buying Guide

This guide explains HEPA filters, what to look for in a good HEPA air purifier and how to choose one to fit your needs.

HEPA Filters

A HEPA filter is a High Efficiency Particle Air (HEPA) filter. The “A” is also defined as “absorbing” and “arrestance.” Regardless, it means the filter is really good at removing particles from the air. The filters are composed of a rigid frame and a pleated media constructed from glass fibers (fiberglass) to create a dense, tight mesh.

HEPA Standards: To be certified HEPA, a filter must remove 99.97% of particles from the air that are .3 microns or larger.

A single micron is 39 millionths of an inch, so .3 microns is 118 millionths of an inch.

Those numbers are impressive, but only makes sense in comparison to particle size. Here are some comparisons:

A human hair and pet fur can range from 60 to 80 microns.

  • Bacteria are .2 to 3 microns or larger.
  • Dust ranges from .5 to 10 microns or larger.
  • Pet dander (which is the same substance as most, but not all, dust) is .5 to 10 microns.
  • Mold spores are 10 to 30 microns.
  • Pollen ranges from 15 to 200 microns.
  • Dust mites – 100+ microns
  • Smoke - .01 to .2 microns

A HEPA filter is your best defense against most solid particles, but some gases can get through them.

That is why smoke and its odors from cigarettes, cigars, wood fires, forest fires and wildfires is notoriously difficult to fully get rid of.

True HEPA vs HEPA and HEPA-type

The term True HEPA is more than a marketing term.

It is a technical term meaning the filter has indeed met the 99.97% filtration requirement. You can only be sure you’re getting this level of filtering if the unit is a true HEPA air purifier.

HEPA: This term is used by some manufacturers to refer to a “HEPA-type” filter. This means that it is similar to a true HEPA.

But you can also be sure that it does not do as good a job removing small particles. If it did, the company would have it certified and label their appliance as a true HEPA air purifier.

Some so-called air purifiers with the HEPA label instead of true HEPA might better be called a true heap.

HEPA-Type: Holmes, Alen and Febreze are the best-known air purifier brands that use HEPA-type filters. Holmes makes True HEPA models too. The others, at this time, don’t.

These filters don’t have any certification. Most claim to remove 98% to 99% of particles, but they fall short of 99.97% of particles down to .3 microns.

A quick search on Amazon shows that HEPA/HEPA-type air purifiers are almost always lower-rated than those with certified HEPA filters.

If you have allergies to dust, pollen, pets or mold, then using a true HEPA is highly recommended.

What About HEPA H13?

HEPA H13 is a true HEPA filter that is also tested to remove 99.95% of particles larger than .1 micron. They remove more viruses, bacteria and VOC/chemical vapors than standard True HEPA.

The Medify Air 'Wildfire CA Edition' MA-112 Medical Grade True HEPA H13 Air Purifier in the Top HEPA Air Purifiers list above is an H13 filter, as the name indicates. If you don’t need a unit that large (rated for 2,500 square feet), the Medify MA-40 is also a True HEPA H13 air purifier, and it is rated for 800 square feet.

Can I wash a HEPA filter?

You shouldn’t. Washing might damage it, and the filter would be too hard to dry. You’d likely end up with a moldy filter that did more harm than good.

Can I vacuum a HEPA filter?

Some can be vacuumed. The RabbitAir BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet HEPA Air Purifier (SPA-625A) filters can be vacuumed. The air purifier is in the list above. See the Review for a link to a video about vacuuming the True HEPA filter.

Check with the manufacturer (website, owner’s manual) to see if your brand can be vacuumed to prolong its useful life.

What to Look For in an Air Purifier with True HEPA

Some things are essential. Others are optional, but nice to have. Let’s start with the essentials.

The Value of a Pre-Filter

Most air purifiers have a pre-filter. Most of the time, it is a permanent, washable filter. The advantage is that, while washing is a hassle, it cuts down on cost. You’ll spend more on filters over the life of the air purifier than you will on the unit, if it lasts as long as it should.

The value of a pre-filter is that it catches all those “big” pollutants and debris. Hair, pet fur, clumps of dust and many other household nuisances are much larger than a micron. Think about how quickly they would clog the main filter if they weren’t caught in the pre-filter.

Pre-filter schedule:

Clean the pre-filter after a week or two when you first turn on the air purifier.

Check it every week or two after than until you get a clear idea of how often it needs to be cleaned.

The Value of Activated Carbon Filters

Gas and chemical vapors contain molecules too small to be trapped by a HEPA filter.

That’s why an activated carbon (aka charcoal) filter or filters are useful.

1. The carbon or charcoal in a pre-filter is extremely porous. In fact, 1 pound of activated carbon has a surface area of about an acre – 43,560 square feet.

2. All those pores trap gas and chemical molecules.

3. The carbon/charcoal is extremely hard, so those molecules cannot penetrate or get through and back into the air you breathe.

4. The air that reaches the carbon filter has been filtered by the HEPA filter in most models. This prevents the carbon pores from being plugged with particles.

Can you wash a carbon filter? Vacuum it?

We don’t recommend washing a carbon filter. But you can try vacuuming it.

Sometimes the carbon filter doubles as the pre-filter or is placed before the True HEPA filter. This isn’t the best design. When this happens, check the filter often, and if dust, pet fur and other large debris has built up on it, vacuum it gently.

Other Common Filter Types

Here’s a brief overview of other methods of removing pollutants from the air. They can enhance a True HEPA filter, but can’t replace it.

Ionization: These units emit negatively charged ions, sometimes called anions, that bond with pollutants in the air. The newly formed particles are heavier, so easier to trap.

Ionizers are of two types – those that create ozone and those that don’t. Ozone irritates breathing passages in high amounts. If you have asthma, stay away from ozone. The appliance you’re reviewing should state if it emits ozone and how much.

Germicidal UV light: Ultraviolet light kills bacteria, viruses and mold spores. These lights are typically housed in the center of the appliance, sometimes inside a round HEPA filter, so you shouldn’t see the light produced.

Also Read:

Other Features to Consider

While not essential, these features can make a True HEPA air purifier more effective and using it more convenient.

Air Quality Sensors: A sensor detects the level of pollutants in the air and adjusts fan speed to meet the air cleaning need. The more pollution, the higher the fan speed.

Auto Mode: Sensors almost always work hand-in-hand with Auto (or Automatic) Mode. To have the fan speed automatically adjust to air quality, Auto Mode has to be turned on.

Turbo Mode: Some air purifiers have turbo mode. It’s the highest speed of the fan, but to be “turbo,” it should run much faster than the next highest level. Turbo quickly cleans the air. It is used most often when there is an influx of pollutants, such as pollen coming in through open windows on a spring day or cooking odors.

Turbo Mode is usually quite loud, so you won’t want to be near the unit while it is on. We recommend being in another room or leaving the house for an hour or two while it runs.

Timer: A timer allows you to run the unit while you’re away or asleep and have it turn off. It’s an energy saver.

Sizing your HEPA Air Purifier

The product page or box of the air purifier you’re considering should give the square footage rating.

If you have severe allergies and/or pets, we recommend using an air purifier rated for a larger space than you need.

For example, lets say you’re shopping for an air purifier for a 200 square foot bedroom.

You have:

  • No allergies and no pets: Buy a unit rated for 200 square feet.
  • Allergies such as dust, pollen or mold, but no pets: Buy a unit rated for 300-350 square feet.
  • You have a furry pet or two, but no allergies: Ditto. A unit rated for 300-350 square feet will serve the purpose.
  • You have allergies and pets: Buy a unit rated for 400+ square feet.

The larger the unit, the more times it will clean the air in a room each hour.

A unit rated for 400 square feet will:

  • Clean 400 square feet 1X per hour
  • Clean 200 square feet 2Xs per hour
  • Clean 100 square feet 4X per hour

If you have allergies and/or pets, it makes sense to clean the air more often for more thorough purification.

Similar adjustments should be made if the air in your home is more polluted than normal or if smoke is an issue.

Getting the Most from a HEPA Air Purifier

These tips are taken from our Air Purifier for Dust Buying Guide

  • Choose hard flooring, since carpet harbors dust that is stirred up when walked on or vacuumed with a non-HEPA vac.
  • Dust from the top down, and then vacuum or damp-mop the flooring.
  • Unclutter your home, since clutter gives dust so many places to settle.
  • Vacuum with a machine with a True HEPA filter.
  • Use a vacuum with bags rather than a bagless model.
  • If you use a bagless vacuum, always empty the bin outside.
  • Keep dogs bathed and groomed, (and choose a short-hair breed).
  • Use air conditioning rather than fans, since fans will pull dust into your home.
  • Have a no-shoes policy in the house.
  • Use a high-MERV filter in your furnace. MERV is “minimum efficiency reporting value” is a measure of the filter’s effectiveness in trapping particles. The higher the MERV, the better. But be sure your furnace can take a high-MERV filter. Check with your HVAC technician.

What are the Best HEPA Air Purifiers?

  • Pure Enrichment PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier
  • Renpho Air Purifier for Home Large Room with True HEPA Filter
  • RabbitAir BioGS 2.0 Ultra Quiet True HEPA Air Purifier (SPA-625A)
  • Inofia Air Purifier with True HEPA Air Filter
  • Elechomes Air Purifiers for Home with True HEPA Filter
  • Medify Air 'Wildfire CA Edition' MA-112 Medical Grade True HEPA H13 Air Purifier

Each of these models is reviewed above with links to more information and current price with the option to purchase the unit.

 

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