The 10 Best Personal Air Purifiers
This wiki has been updated 25 times since it was first published in February of 2017. Your health and well-being are dramatically impacted by the quality of the air you breathe. When pollen, pollution, secondhand smoke, and airborne viruses drift your way, you'll be glad you have a personal air purifier hanging around your neck, perched on your desk at work, or by your bed at night. They're great for taking along with you while you travel, too, for peace of mind at your hotel. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 02, 2020:
While several of the models on our list are still high-quality air purifiers, we've replaced a few of our previous favorites with more popular and reliable alternatives. Since the Pure Company Portable is currently unavailable, we've added the Rigoglioso Desktop to our recommendations. It's quite simple to control, and is a strong choice for removing harmful impurities from small spaces.
We've also removed the Philips GoPure 200 from our list, due to several complaints that it doesn't make a strong difference in air quality, even when it's on for long periods. As a result, we’ve opted to recommended the far more powerful TaoTronics TT-AP001 in its place. It's very quiet, and offers a three-component filtration system that efficiently traps strong odors and dust particles. We also added that the InvisiClean Wearable has a very long battery life, and comes with a convenient USB cable for recharging, further proving just how portable this compact gadget is.
July 03, 2019:
Due to problems with the validity of claims that ozone generators actually purify the air, we have decided to remove these types of models at this time. There is no guarantee that they work, and in fact, evidence seems to suggest that they could do more harm than good. But there are still plenty of high-quality HEPA filtration and ionizer models that are personal and portable sized, including the SilverOnyx 5 Speed and the Blue Pure 411. They'll clean the air in small rooms: up to 500 and 175 square feet, respectively. For those who need cooling in addition to air purification, we added the Dyson Pure Cool Me. It doesn't necessarily clean up the air in an entire room; rather, it aims a stream of refreshing, clean air directly at you. This model is a bit big for travel, however. If you're looking for something you can stow in your suitcase, there's the IQAir Atem or the The Pure Company Portable. The former is more complex as well as pricier, while the latter is simple and comes with a drawstring carrying bag for protection during transport.
A whole host of other potential contaminants floats invisibly through the air around you at any given moment.
The human breath is a powerful thing. Cultures and religions throughout our history have placed an emphasis on breathing as a means of purifying body and soul. Meditation, yoga, and various other physical practices associated with certain religions all begin with the breath. There are even medicinal practices from the far east where patients will be given little more than breathing exercises to cure everything from a torn ACL to cancer.
Even if you don’t put any stock in old world or new age remedies that rely on the breath for well-being, you can certainly agree that doing something like taking deep breaths when you’re angry or stressed can help calm you down. And if you perform any kind of athletic activity, you know how important proper breathing is.
Yet, with the exception of a few notable bills that have passed throughout the years, we as a people don’t seem particularly concerned with the quality of the air we’re breathing. At its worst, during the height of the Industrial Revolution, air quality was poor enough to cause health problems in incidences of acute exposure, and chronic exposure to poor quality air could lead to drastically reduced lifespans.
Today, our air isn’t so bad, so it’s no wonder we can take for granted how important its quality is, and that we might not realize that despite its relative cleanliness, it may still pose a health risk in our immediate vicinity. Take something as simple as dust, for example. A dusty environment can cause everything from mild allergies to severe asthma to crop up, even in people who’ve had no such symptoms in their whole lives. And that’s just one potential source of contamination.
Your air can be sullied by so many things around you. Cheap candles often contain lead, and those heavy puffs of black smoke they occasionally emit can take some particulate metals airborne. Air fresheners are another culprit, putting a litany of heavy metals into the air in the name of freshness.
A whole host of other potential contaminants floats invisibly through the air around you at any given moment. From mold spores to pet dander, there’s always something airborne that can cause any of us discomfort. That’s why a personal air purifier is such a smart purchase. They’re small and inexpensive enough to keep with you at all times, or at least to bring with you to work or any other environment where you might not have much control over the air quality.
How To Choose The Right Purifier For You
Personal air purifiers come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and are intended for use in a litany of environments. Choosing the right model for you will have more to do with where and how you intend to use it than anything else.
The downside to these is that they don’t care for an area as much as they provide you with slightly cleaner air to breath if you have your head in its direction.
For example, if you want a personal air purifier at work because your window is right by the designated smoking area or a nearby road or highway, you should look for a model that’s built to live wherever you put it. It’ll be the right size to purify the air around your desk, without being too loud or too expensive to justify its use. These models sit comfortably on a desktop, and they’re often among the most reliable choices out there.
If you’d rather have an air purifier that you can take with you wherever you go, you can choose a model that’s much smaller in size. These are often meant for handheld use, and they can purify an area with a direct current of clean, breathable air for you to enjoy. The downside to these is that they don’t care for an area as much as they provide you with slightly cleaner air to breath if you have your head in its direction. Still, many come with lanyards to make portability as convenient as possible, so you can wear it around your neck and let it blow clean air up at you wherever you are.
There are also options that are designed for use in the car. These are a little more like the desktop models than the portable options, but instead of being designed to sit on a flat surface, many of these models have mounting options that can help to purify the air coming in through your vehicle’s fans.
No matter which kind you think you need the most, if you feel like this technology has a lot to offer, you can invest in one or more in each style, keeping the air at work, in your car, and around your person as clean as possible.
A Brief History Of Air Purification
While bringing plants indoors has been a reliable way to at least partially purify the air for centuries, the desire and the need to significantly purify the air around us is a relatively recent development. As you might imagine, this need cropped up during the Industrial Revolution, when an unprecedented amount of toxins flooded the air in large cities. Many such cities eventually adopted a warning system that would encourage people to stay inside when the air was particularly dangerous.
HEPA technology has made its way into a large number of machines that can benefit from high-quality filtration.
As a response to this, several inventors in the middle and the end of the 19th century created breathing masks that could filter out some of the particulate matter. These looked a lot like the surgical masks and respirators we still use today, though they were far less effective.
The next big step forward in air purification came in the 1940s with the introduction of the High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter. These HEPA filters became the standard thanks to their ability to filter extremely small particles from the air, and they remain the most sought-after filtering technology on the market today.
HEPA technology has made its way into a large number of machines that can benefit from high-quality filtration. Everything from vacuum cleaners to air conditioning systems has a section of the market filled with HEPA filters. You’ll even see some among the fine options on our list.