Best air purifier: boost air quality and eliminate indoor pollutants

The best air purifiers to create cleaner air at home and stop bad odours from lingering, from Dyson, Phillips, Blueair and more

best air purifier: AEG AX9 in living room beside grey sofa
(Image credit: AEG)

Clean air in our homes should be something we’re all striving for, but many of us are unaware of the level of pollutants, particles and spores that hang around in the air of our homes. Studies have shown that these unwanted particles can get trapped in our homes when there is a lack of ventilation, but one way to tackle the issue is with an air purifier.

The best air purifiers will clean the air in a space, able to trap dust, pet hair, smoke, outdoor pollution and more using a combination of filters and pushing out cleaner air for you and your family to breathe. This not only makes for a more pleasant environment to live in, but could also have various long-term health benefits.

But if you’re new to the world of air purifiers, it can be hard to cut through the noise to determine which product would be best for your home. We have rated some of the best and most popular purifiers, ranking them for their settings, design, power and more.

Scroll down to see what we thought.

The best air purifiers in 2021

Blueair Classic Series 480i air purifierLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Blueair)

1. Blueair Classic Series 480i air purifier

Best air purifier overall

Specifications
Area size: 40.3m2
Filter: HEPA, activated carbon, antibacterial
Speeds: 4
Dimensions: 58.9 x 44.9 x 27.4cm
Weight: 15kg
Reasons to buy
+Works with Amazon Alexa+HEPA, activated carbon and antibacterial filters
Reasons to avoid
-Quite large and heavy-Expensive

A smart air purifier that can cover mid-sized rooms with multiple levels of filtration, the Blueair Classic 480i is a fantastic overall air purifier that has landed on top of our list due to its functionality and more.

The purifier claims to clean the air five times an hour across approximately 40m2, taking out 99.97% of airborne particles that you don't want to be breathing in. This includes dust, pet dander and allergens, and it removes them all quietly and efficiently with HEPAsilent filtration (which makes less noise and uses less energy).

For safety there's a timer function and auto shutoff, which also means you can program it to switch off during the night if using in your bedroom. On the lowest settings the noise will be at about 32dB so quiet enough to sleep to. You can also control it using the Blueair app, and it's compatible with Alexa to boot.

Livingetc rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool air purifierLivingetc badge – tried, loved

(Image credit: Dyson)

2. Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool air purifier

Best air purifier + fan combo

Specifications
Area size: 92.8m2
Filter: HEPA
Settings: 10
Dimensions: 24.8 x 20.5 x 76.4cm
Weight: 1.43kg
Reasons to buy
+Also functions as a fan and heater+Large area size+Works with Alexa+Night mode
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive-Dyson signature design won't be for everyone

Stylish and bursting with additional functions, it’s easy to see why the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool has become a star in the air purifier world. The iconic design will look great in most spaces, and its HEPA filter ensures that particles as small as 0.3 microns are captured and removed from your environment.

With the Hot + Cool you’re not just getting an air purifier, but also a heater and cooler that can perform throughout winter and summer, respectively. That saves on money, time spent shopping and - perhaps most usefully - space. Instead of three bulky machines, you can use one sleek purifier all year round.

You can connect the Dyson Pure Hot + Cool to the Wi-Fi through the Dyson Link app, as well as to Alexa. This enables you to see real-time reports on air quality, create schedules and routines and more. Even without this connectivity, the air purifier boasts a total of 10 settings to suit your requirements.

Livingetc rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Philips AC3829/60 Series 3000i 2-in-1 Air Purifier

(Image credit: Philips)

3. Philips AC3829/60 Series 3000i 2-in-1 Air Purifier

Best air purifier + humidifier combo

Specifications
Area size: 80m2
Speeds: 3
Dimensions: 80 x 49 x 39cm
Weight: 13.5kg
Reasons to buy
+Night mode+Good area size+Also works as a humidifier
Reasons to avoid
-Heavy and hard to move around-Not many speed settings

The large area size capabilities and ability to work within a smart home make the Philips Series 3000i air purifier a brilliant option for those wishing for cleaner air in a large area. Despite its size, the Philips device would be as at home in a large living area as in the kitchen (where bad smells often begin) or, thanks to its night mode, in the bedroom.

As well as being a brilliant tool for removing particles from the air, the Philips 3000i is also a humidifier. You can set your desired humidity level (40%, 50%, 60%) and your purifier will automatically switch off once that level has been reached. Together, these functions help you towards a cleaner, healthier home.

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Dyson Pure Cool Me air purifier

(Image credit: Dyson)

4. Dyson Pure Cool Me air purifier

Best tabletop air purifier

Specifications
Filter: HEPA, carbon
Speeds: 10
Dimensions: 40.1 x 24.5 x 24.5cm
Weight: 2.8kg
Reasons to buy
+Small and lightweight+Also works as a fan+70-degree oscillation+Timer function
Reasons to avoid
-Will need to be placed on surface for best results

Similar to our top pick, the Pure Hot + Cool, the Dyson Pure Cool Me works not just as an air purifier, but also as a fan. Unlike a lot of competing products, however, it has been designed to sit on a desk or bedside table. Despite being small enough to put pretty much anywhere, it doesn’t compromise on features.

Even the best fans can sometimes feel like they’re just blowing recycled air back out at you, so the fact that the Pure Cool Me can purify the air as it cools is a real bonus. You can also direct the airflow in any direction you want, whether that’s while you’re sleeping (and your partner doesn’t feel the temperature the same as you), or while you’re sweating in the kitchen. 

Livingetc rating: 4 out of 5 stars

AEG AX91-604GY 600 air purifier

(Image credit: AEG)

5. AEG AX91-604GY 600 air purifier

Best air purifier for style

Specifications
Filter: HEPA
Room size: 37m2
Dimensions: 72.5 x 31.5 x 31.5cm
Weight: 8.9kg
Reasons to buy
+Extremely quiet+App connectivity+Handles for portability
Reasons to avoid
-Low area size

Using a combination of multiple filter layers, HEPA, activated carbon and an in-built ioniser, the AEG AX9 means business when it comes to clearing your indoor air. And it performs incredibly quietly, reaching just 17dB on its lowest settings.

The colour-coded light design indicating the air quality in the room is similar to that offered by Philips, and is a nice feature if you just want to know at a glance whether you need to open a window or not. You also have more control over cleaning power in manual mode, or you can just set it to auto and leave the purifier to do its thing.

The big drawback of the AEG AX9 is its size, all but cancelling out the portability offered by the handle. This is fine if you have a large area that you would like to clean and you're not keen on moving it around, but it might not suit those who want a purifier that can be used around the home.

Today's best air purifier deals

How to choose the best air purifier

best air purifier: Blueair Classic Series 480i

(Image credit: Blueair)

What do the different filters do?

The most common types of filters present in air purifiers are HEPA and active carbon, with many also featuring something called a pre-filter. All of these have different functions, with HEPA being great for capturing between 99-100% of particles as small as 0.1 microns. Activated carbon filters, meanwhile, excel at removing odours like cooking smells from the air so, if you plan on using your air purifier in the kitchen, look out for that.

How loud are air purifiers?

This depends on the model you choose, but typically air purifiers range between 20-50dBs. If you want something that’s quiet enough to sleep to, you obviously want to be going towards the bottom of that range . However, many products are only quiet when they are on their lowest settings, so make sure you get a good compromise.

Are air purifiers safe?

Air purifiers are very safe to use on the whole, and are even considered to be beneficial to your health in many ways. One thing you should look out for, however, is ozone purifiers, which are not recommended because they add ozone gas - otherwise known as smog - into the air. This is bad for long-term health as well as for the environment. Always check that an air purifier is ‘ozone free’ before buying.

Caroline Preece
Caroline Preece

Caroline has been a part of the Livingetc team since 2021, offering expert advice on the best smart tech for your home. Passionate about interiors and how technology can be integrated into daily living without sacrificing aesthetics, in her spare time she can be found shopping for the latest accent pieces for her own space.