Shopping for an air purifier? Here are our top 3 buys to beat air pollution


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May 23, 2023

Shopping for an air purifier? Here are our top 3 buys to beat air pollution

Right now, New York City is ranked first for having the most hazardous air

Right now, New York City is ranked first for having the most hazardous air quality in the world. This came after smoke from 400 wildfires in Canada cast an apocalyptic-like, orange haze over much of the city. And with at least 13 other states being issued air quality alerts, this will inevitably impact the air quality inside homes and personal spaces.

That's where having one of the best air purifiers can make all the difference in filtering airborne pollutants and improving the quality of air. In addition, air purifiers can benefit those who struggle with allergies or asthma, and can also help you sleep easier at night. In fact, it was reported by Fox News that New York City stores sold out of air purifiers during the first days of the hazardous haze.

Due to the ever-growing popularity, there are more air purifiers available than ever before. As a result, it can be tricky to know the difference between the models, and what features they offer to suit your needs and home. Essentially, the things you need to know before buying an air purifier include the CADR rating (clean air delivery rate), specs, size and/or noise levels. The higher the CADR rating, the more effective it is in removing pollutants, allergens and cleaning your air overall.

To help you decide, we’ve curated a list of three air purifiers that are great options if you’re looking to buy or upgrade your existing model.

Find out how our streaming editor's air purifier saved her during the NYC air quality crisis.

We tested some of the best air purifiers on the market, but the one that came up tops for overall performance was the Blueair Blue Pure 211+ Auto. Despite being mid-sized, it's a beast of a machine that offers first-rate air purification capabilities.

In fact, during testing it received a CADR of 353, 347, and 380 respectively for smoke, dust and pollen — performing impressively in all three categories. Suitable for large spaces totaling 550 square feet, this makes it the ideal option for most homes.

As well as performance, it's simple to set up and use. When you plug it in, it starts out on auto mode and cycles through three colors (blue, yellow, and red), as it detects the air quality in the room. A blue light indicates a fine air quality, red means it's working overtime to clean the air, while orange is somewhere in the middle.

It also comes with three fan speeds that can be toggled by pressing the button on the top, from lowest to highest. And there's also a night mode last in rotation, that turns the front light off, whilst still softly running the fan.

Despite being over 20 inches tall (and bulkier than other purifiers), its cube-shaped, sleek design is durable, attractive and won't look like an eyesore in the home. Plus, we like the fact it comes in other colors including grey, pink, blue, and green — so you can match your interior style. The only downside is it can be slightly noisy at full power, clocking in at 60.8 decibels at the highest. However, this can easily be overlooked based on its impressive performance overall.

If you’re spending on a budget, but need a purifier to handle a large space, we recommend this Honeywell HPA 300. Despite its small price tag, it offers a strong performance, suitable for rooms of up to 465 square feet – which is a decent size.

With CADR scores of 300, 320 and 300 for dust, smoke and pollen respectively, this is pretty impressive for a budget air purifier. Plus the replacement filters only cost around $40, which is excellent value.

Alongside performance, it was also one of the easiest air purifiers to use. It comes with a touch-based control panel that is very intuitive to operate, and a quick reference guide. Additionally, it offers four different fan speeds (including a turbo mode), as well as a timer for two, four or eight hours. There's also the option to dim the device for night time operation, and indicators showing the three HEPA filters and activated carbon pre-filter within.

While it lacks an auto mode (meaning you’ll have to manually change the fan speeds), and other advanced settings, performance is still rated highly than some of the more expensive/advanced models. It's also worth noting, the honeywell HPA 300 is pretty loud — which hit the noisier end of our tests, producing 59.6 dB on its loudest setting. And although it has a high CADR rating, it does consume a lot of energy to run this machine.

However, you do get an amazing performance that you may not with more "energy-efficient" models, so you’ll need to weigh the costs. It may not be the quietest air purifier for your home, but it will definitely get the job done well, and is great value for money.

If you want a splurge buy, and prefer a smart air purifier, we can recommend the Blueair HealthProtect 7470i.

With a strong performance, it scored a CADR rating of 270, 275, 280 for smoke dust and pollen, and suitable for rooms of up to 418 square feet. Besides an impressive filteration, it comes with all the mod cons including smart connectivity, which allows you to monitor and control it via your phone.

Its LCD screen on top of the device gives you real-time information on what it's sensing . This includes the local temperature, filter lifetime remaining, and relative humidity of the room. Plus, it has two lights on the front representing gas pollutants and the other for larger particles — both of which are rare in other models.

The Blueair HealthProtect 7470i comes with three speeds and an auto mode. Plus, it has a night mode that helps to reduce noise and light at bedtimes, which can all improve the quality of sleep. Using the app is very simple, and all the features you need are quick to locate and to navigate around. Best of all, it's one of the quietest air purifiers there is, reaching only 35.3 dB on its lowest setting and 48dB on its highest.

Bear in mind, it's the heaviest air purifier we’ve tested, weighing a hefty 27.6 pounds. And even though it comes on a set of wheels, it's still quite heavy to easily move around the home. It also consumes a lot of energy, which is the downside for outstanding performance and advanced features.

In addition, this was one of the most expensive air purifiers we tested, at just over $750 — but this model can often be found on sale at certain retailers. However, the Blueair HealthProtect 7470i is an exceptional air purifier that gives you performance, more information and value than you can get from other affordable models.

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