How Much Does a Good Air Purifier Cost?


So, you’ve been thinking about the air quality in your home and you think you might need an air purifier. Maybe you’ve done some shopping already and you’ve seen some of the prices out there. Or, maybe you visited a local store and saw some air purifiers that cost a lot more than you expected or hoped for.

Regardless of how you got to where you are right now, you’re probably wondering how much a good air purifier should cost.

The average air purifier that works well and will last for years will cost between 30 and 180 dollars. Air purifiers in this price range will be able to service most rooms in most people’s homes. There are costlier air purifiers out there, but they often aren’t worth the added cost.

Of course, there are lots of air purifiers that are hundreds of dollars and are worth every cent, but a lot of people won’t need the level of clean air those provide and, quite frankly, most people don’t have that kind of money to spend.

And that’s why I’m recommending “good” air purifiers that are in a much more affordable range, rather than the multi-hundred and multi-thousand dollar air purifiers that a lot of people recommend in an effort to get more money out of you.

Trust me, ladies and gents, more money isn’t always worth it. A good air purifier for 40 to 180 dollars should more than suit your needs. (And, if you don’t trust me, I’ll explain myself further on!)

Why Should You Get an Air Purifier?

Air purifiers are a must if you live in an area that has high levels of pollution. Urban areas, homes around stinky places like landfills and industrial areas, and even many suburban areas could all use an air purifier to clean up the air and make it a bit safer to breathe.

According to the EPA, the air inside of your home is usually between 2 and 5 times dirtier than the air outside. In some instances, it can be as high as a hundred times dirtier. That’s a lot of junk in the air that you’re breathing!

All of those things in the air can potentially impact your health. As you might expect, some things are more dangerous than others, and what’s in your air can be dictated by where you live.

Because of all of that, a lot of people opt to get air purifiers in order to cleanse the air of all the pollutants that get trapped in their homes.

However, that’s not even factoring in the risks brought about by airborne pathogens (germs). A lot of people who would have never gotten an air purifier before ended up buying an air purifier to give them a sense of security through the coronavirus and through other health scares over the years. And that’s with good cause too, there’s a reason why hospitals use air purifiers!

What Makes a “Good” Air Purifier?

A lot goes into finding an air purifier that is both good and that works best for you.

Maybe you want an air purifier that doubles and an oil diffuser. Maybe you want an air purifier that captures and/or kills germs. Maybe you want an air purifier for bad smells! Whatever you want, there’s probably an air purifier for you!

Oddly enough, all of my favorite air purifiers do that.

But, believe it or not, that isn’t too odd.

Most “good” air purifiers come with these two filter types: a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. To the right is a picture of an air purifier filter that has a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. (Plus a pre-filter too. More on that in a bit.)

Some air purifiers have other filters beyond that and they can get you even cleaner air.

Now, I’m sure you’ve got a few questions about what a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter is, and I’ll answer simply here. If you’d like to learn more about them, though, you can check out the articles I dive into things deeper on.

In sort, HEPA filters cleanse the air of microscopic particles all the way down to .3 microns at a 99.97 percent efficiency. Some HEPA filters are more efficient than that, and some can capture particles even smaller than .3 microns. And, if you’re like most people and don’t know, a micron is a very, very small measurement that is the size of a large virus. As such, HEPA filters can do a lot to get germs out of the air that you’re breathing.

Activated carbon filters, on the other hand, are filters that clean gasses out of the air, rather than solid particles. Since activated carbon filters filter the air on a gaseous level they are able to pull dangerous things like VOCs and radon from the air while also getting rid of bad smells.

However, these two filter types don’t do anything without a good fan that can pull the air from the room you put the air purifier in through the filters. That’s something that you need to think about when you’re shopping for an air purifier too, it’s not just about the filters!

Now, if you’d like to read up more on HEPA filters, check out this article. Or, if you’d like to read up more on activated carbon filters, see this one. And, finally, if you’d like to read up on something called a pre-filter that will save you lots of money in the long run, check out this article.

Alas, I can’t dive into these filter types any more in today’s article, so be sure to check out my other articles if you’d like to learn more about those.

What Do Good Air Purifiers Get Out of the Air?

While “good” is a very subjective term, I am of the school of thought that a really good air purifier will have a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter. In addition to those, it should also have a fan that will last for years and it should be able to be dinged up a bit, since that’s bound to happen in any household.

But that doesn’t really answer the question of what a good air purifier gets rid of, right?

Well, it sort of does, if you’re an air purifier nerd like me. So, since you’re probably not, stay tuned and I’ll list out some of the things that air purifiers can clean out of the air!

12 Things That Air Purifiers Clean Out of the Air

  1. Dust/Dust Mites
  2. Pollen
  3. Dander
  4. Bacteria
  5. Larger Viruses
  6. Smoke
  7. Mold Spores
  8. Mildew Spores
  9. VOCs
  10. Radon
  11. Airborne Hair
  12. Airborne Synthetic Fibers

Note that the above list is for an air purifier with a True HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. Higher level HEPA filters can clean a little more than what’s on this list, and other systems that some air purifiers have can clean even more things out of the air. In short, air purifiers can do a lot and higher tier ones can do even more than that!

Air purifiers with sanitizers can kill germs as they pass through, which is both very neat, and something that people may be interested in. That’s achieved by the use of UV-C lights, and other methods. I don’t have enough room to really dive into that in today’s post, so be sure to check out this article if you’d like to read up on this: What is the Best Air Purifier for Bacteria and Viruses?

Do Air Purifiers Clean the Air 100%?

Air purifiers are not 100%, and it’s impossible for them to be. That’s because everything you do releases and kicks up particles. Every time you scratch, put on clothes, walk around, and sit on a couch you are kicking up and sending out particles.

Those particles might drop to the ground pretty quick, or they might stay in the air for a while. If you’ve got asthma or allergies, that can be a big problem. (Check out this article for the best air purifiers for allergies and asthma to learn more on that.)

But, even if your air purifier could capture particles the second they’re released, it still couldn’t clean 100% of the air. HEPA filters can only capture 99.97% of particles .3 microns and larger. On top of that, you’d need an air purifier in every single room of your house if this was a real concern of yours.

And, sure, an air purifier in every room can really help the overall air quality, but, pro tip here, it might be overkill. Just an air purifier in your bedroom can do a ton to help your overall breathing. If you wanted to go a little further, get an air purifier for where you work, for your kitchen, bathroom, and living room. With each air purifier you are likely to notice better and better air quality!

Oh, and while I’m at it, here’s a link to another article I wrote that you might want to check out too: How to Clean Indoor Air – 14 Simple Ways to Clean Up the Air in Your Home. Personally, I am a huge fan of air purifiers and own several, but I do that in addition to practicing quite a few other habits that keep my home’s air as clean as it can be. If you want the cleanest air that you can get in your own home, that article on 14 ways to clean the air in your home is something you should check out!

But, at the end of the day, I want to remind you that things like dust from your couch and bed are kicked up by something called a “local disturbance” and the dust will be around that area until your air purifier can capture it. As such, it isn’t a foolproof means to clean the air for people with asthma and allergies, but, accompanied by proper house cleaning, it can do a ton to make the air in your home safer for those people.

Are Air Purifiers With HEPA Filters Overkill?

There are a lot of people out there who argue that air purifiers with HEPA filters are overkill simply because those same filtration systems are used in hospitals, operating rooms, clean rooms, and other places that need incredibly clean air in order to be as safe and productive as possible. They also argue that the average person doesn’t need air that’s filtered down to .3 microns.

Admittedly, there is merit to those arguments.

However, there are also a lot of holes in those arguments as well.

For starters, I just want to ask you, the reader, if you think it’s a waste of money to get air as clean as what they have in hospitals if a lesser air purifier (one without a HEPA filter) will cost about the same amount of money as one with a HEPA filter?

If it’s the same cost, or even within a few percentage points, then why wouldn’t you spend the little bit extra to have even cleaner air?

HEPA filters have really come down in their cost over the past few decades, and that has made them much more competitive on the market. Their quality is still the same, however, their price is often comparable to the non-HEPA air filters out there that are far inferior.

I think the best way I can make my argument here is to make a metaphor. So, say you have a sports car that used to cost a ton of money, and now it costs the same as some stripped-down car that can get to 20 miles per hour if you’re lucky. It would be overkill to get the sports car, you don’t really need a car that goes that fast, right? Well, even if you don’t need a car that goes fast, there’s a good chance that you’ll get the higher quality vehicle (the sports car) that can do a lot more than what you’ll probably need.

That’s just what people do when they have the choice between things that are similar prices–they always pick the better of the two!

As such, an air purifier with a HEPA filter may be overkill for most, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t use them. If their pricing is similar, then there is absolutely no reason to not get the higher quality, better machine.

And, with that point made, I’d also like to add that air purifiers with HEPA filters aren’t always overkill either. If you’ve got a compromised immune system, or if you’re afraid of getting some illness, then an air purifier with a HEPA filter is proven to help keep you healthy. Time and time again air purifiers do so because they grab those airborne particles that germs ride on and they get them out of the air before you breathe them in and get sick.

And, let’s face it, breathing in someone’s sneeze particles is gross if they’re sick or not, so an air purifier can help to limit that potentially stomach-churning event as well.

All told, air purifiers with HEPA filters may or may not be overkill, depending on your needs. However, in a world where the pricing of machines with and without HEPA filters are similar, there is no reason to not get the better unit.

What Kinds of Air Purifiers are Out There?

There are tons of air purifier types out there, ranging from how they filter the air to how they work to the size of area that they clean. Some air purifiers are made to kill germs, some to kill mold, and some to do other things. But, at the end of the day, just about every single air purifier out there (probably 99.9% of them) is designed to get junk out of the air.

That junk might be solid particles or unwanted odors or bad smells or even germs.

(Plus a lot of other things.)

I get it, that can be a ton of stuff to navigate.

I’m an air purifier expert and I can get lost in the weeds as I’m shopping for an air purifier too! Don’t feel bad about that!

However, as an expert on air purifiers, I do think that I’ve got some really good tips and recommendations on air purifiers that I have found and tested, something I will be sharing a bit more on in a bit.

But, before I do that, let me actually answer the question of what kinds of air purifiers there are out there.

Air purifiers come in many shapes and sizes, but their goal is to clean the air. Some do that with ozone, some with electrostatic plates, some with ions, and some with air sanitizers. However, most air purifiers that you will come across will have solid, tactile filters that you can feel and touch. The best of these are called HEPA filters.

In addition to having several methods of cleaning the air, an air purifier’s size can vary greatly as well. Some air purifiers are designed to service an entire house, some are designed for just a single room, and some are designed to be portable, personal air purifiers.

Now, I don’t have time to really dive into each kind of filtration in this post, but feel free to use the search feature of my site to see my other articles on those, if you’d like to read up on them. (There are even air purifiers that use water as their filter, and I love those, but I still don’t have time for them here.) The reason why I’m not going into the others is that they can cost you a chunk more, and they aren’t required in a “good” air purifier. All you really need is a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, as I’ve said before.

And, with that said, allow me to continue on the HEPA air purifier side of things.

As I said in the second paragraph of my answer, size is an important factor when it comes to air purifiers. The size of your air purifier often dictates the size area that it is made to take care of. As such, you will need a bigger air purifier for a bigger area.

The only exception to that rule, as far as I can see, comes in the form of “personal air purifiers” which are portable units that you take with you in your day-to-day life. These units can cost substantially more than air purifiers made for even 500 square foot rooms!

Now, that isn’t to say that is always the case, far from it, in fact, but I have to warn you that there are a lot of personal air purifiers that cost a lot more than they ought to when you think about how well (or not well) they clean the air.

I talk more about personal air purifiers in this article: What is a Personal Air Purifier and How Do They Work? I’m personally not a fan of the battery-powered personal air purifiers and I think most of the cost you pay for the unit is in the battery itself. Personally, I’m more of a fan of the personal air purifiers that have to be plugged in (oftentimes via a USB cable) and those operate like a normal air purifier. Those, from my experience, work a lot better than the other types on the market. And, if you’d like to shop around for a personal air purifier, here’s another article for you: What Is A Personal Air Purifier? | What Should I Look For in the Best Personal Air Purifier?

Now, with that said about personal air purifiers, let’s move on to my least favorite type of air purifier. (Yes, there is one I like less than personal air purifiers!)

My least favorite air purifier system out there is a whole-house air purifier. People push to sell those so hard and so often, and I think it’s only so they can make more money on the commissions they make.

Why do I say that?

Well, whole-house air purification systems oftentimes cost over 10,000 dollars. Some cost even more than that (like a whole lot more).

Honestly, it’s the price point for me that makes me not like whole-home air purifiers. Besides that, they’re good units. I’ve been in buildings that have centralized air purification and it works great. However, that kind of system is a bit much for most people, especially when you consider that buying a separate, smaller air purifier for every single room would only cost the average US homeowner around a thousand dollars.

Want to see how much it’d cost for you to get an air purifier in every room of your house (or just a select few)? Check out this comprehensive article I wrote on just that: How Much Does it Cost to Get Air Purifiers for Every Room of My Whole House?

And, need I remind you, that isn’t entirely necessary. All you really need to start is just an air purifier for your bedroom.

And that segways into my favorite air purifier type, and that’s the individual air purifier for every single room.

These air purifiers are affordable, easy to maintain, and they usually don’t cost too much to maintain either (i.e. replacement filters and electrical cost). If the day-to-day cost of running an air purifier is a concern of yours, check out this article so you can calculate just how much it’ll cost you.

Now, the very reason why air purifiers for individual rooms are my favorite is the fact that they actually are affordable and that anyone can buy them. Whole-home air purifiers are not the case with that. In fact, if you’re a renter, then a whole-home air purifier probably won’t even be possible for you to get anyway.

But there are other reasons besides cost for why single-room air purifiers are my favorite.

For starters, they allow you to customize your approach to clean air and easily turn air purifiers for individual rooms on and off. Besides that, I find that it’s a lot cheaper and/or easier to get an air purifier with a sanitizer, ionizer, or other extra system for an air purifier when you’re doing it on a room-by-room basis, rather than a whole house unit.

Another, lesser reason is that an air purifier for every room gives you backups if one breaks. And, if one does break, you can easily buy a new one. If you get a whole house air purifier, you will have to wait for a repairman to arrive, and they might just charge you more for a repair than what a single room air purifier would cost!

So, with all that said, I’m sure you already know this, but my original range of air purifier costs was taken from the single room air purifiers that are the most common. Besides being a good, fair price, these air purifiers work amazing. On top of that, they are a lot easier to get and find too, they’re everywhere.

So, if you’re shopping for an air purifier, be sure to check out air purifiers for single rooms. You can shop around and view the other options out there, if you’d like, but I’ve found the best value comes in those single-room units.

If you would like to see my top picks for air purifiers with HEPA filters for your home, or if you’d just like to start your research there, check out this guide I wrote: Air Purifier Essentials Top Picks: Best HEPA Air Purifiers on the Market.

Thanks for the read, and I hope I was able to help! I hope you have a great day, and, if you’ve still got air purifier questions, be sure to poke around my website some more!

Want to keep reading about the price of air purifiers? Here’s another article I wrote on them: How Much Do Air Purifiers Cost? | The Price of Air Purifiers it’s pretty similar to this one, but I compare specific air purifiers in it, so it might be worth checking out!

Jonathon Silva

Jonathan Silva is our longtime Air Purifier Essentials author. He has been writing on air purification technologies for his entire professional career.

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