After more than a year of construction on my apartment, I started noticing particles floating around my bedroom. Not long after, it occurred to me that poor air quality could partially explain my sleep troubles. I decided to test out some air purifiers to see if they make a difference. They really did.
The best air purifiers can improve sleep and alleviate allergies by removing particulates from the air. Most high-end models use True HEPA filters—High Efficiency Particulate Air—to catch floating bits of mold and pollen, as well as suck up smoke, dust, and bacteria. These certified filters cleanse the air of 99.97 percent of small particles (as tiny as 0.3 microns in diameter) on the first round of filtration. These purifiers do not handle heavier particles that have settled on your furniture, so you’ll need to swipe at those with a cloth or duster.
If you’re convinced you want an air purifier but are overwhelmed by the options, you’ll be relieved to know I did the research for you. Below are my favorites on the market.
1. Coway Airmega 200M
The absolute favorite is Coway’s Airmega 200M, which suits rooms up to 361 square feet. To clean your air, it relies on a four-stage filtration process: a pre-filter that nabs larger debris, an odor filter, a true HEPA filter, and finally, something they call a Vital Ion System. This air ionizer introduces negatively charged ions into the air, which supposedly bond with positively charged allergens and cause them to fall to the floor rather than float on your air. The device has three fan speeds and will tell you when to change the filter.
There’s an eco-mode that will turn the device off if no harmful elements are detected in the air and an auto mode that adjusts fan speed according to air quality. You could also just schedule it to run for one, four, or eight hours at a time. The true HEPA filter should last about a year and the odor filter lasts up to six months.
2. Blueair Blue Pure 211+
The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ air filter is the device that’s most likely to make you smile when you see it. The 60-watt, low-energy machine is operated by a single touch-activated button on the front, so it’s simple to use. It boasts three speed settings and a three-step filtration process that can purify the air five times per hour.
The washable exterior acts not only as a pop of color but also as a pre-filter that catches larger particles, thus extending the life of the main filter. After passing through that first layer, air travels through Blueair’s dual mechanical and electrostatic filtration system that charges the particles in the air so they stick better to the filter. After this, the air is goes through an activated carbon filter, which removes odors and smoke.
This particular model is designed for rooms up to 540 square feet. Expect to replace the filter every six months, though a light will alert you when it’s time.
3. Levoit LV131 air purifier
If you’re not interested in spending more than $200, there’s always the Levoit LV131, which also uses a three-stage filtration system. Like the other models, air first travels through a pre-filter to catch larger debris like pet dander and mold, It then goes through the TRUE HEPA filter, which removes dust, allergens, and bacteria. Finally, the air passes through an activated carbon filter for odors. In auto mode, the purifier gauges air quality and adjusts the fan speed accordingly. It offers a quieter sleep mode and a timer so you can shut it off at a specific time. The filter should be changed every six months.
The brand has also got a version that connects over Wi-Fi and can be controlled with your smartphone.
4. Pure Company portable air purifier
This portable option is perfect for small rooms or bathrooms. It’s super quiet, weighs less than a pound, and is a little larger than a Big Mac. You could even travel with it. It comes with a carrying case and an essential oil pad for waterless aromatherapy. It’s also the simplest to use: just press the power button.