Shopping for a whole-house air purifier?
You’ve come to the right place.
If you’ve landed here, then you already know why it’s important to ensure the air inside your home is clean and free from allergens, mold, viruses, and chemicals.
And when it comes to making sure your entire home has fresh and clean air, the best solution is to invest in a whole-house air purifier.
That said, this may not be the right solution for you. Whole-house air purifiers can be expensive to buy, install and maintain.
This guide should help you figure out whether you really need a whole-house solution – and if you do, which type and model you should buy.
Who Needs a Whole House Air Purifier?
First off, let’s get this out of the way: whole-house air purifiers are often expensive. Not everyone should buy one.
If all you need to make sure your bedroom is allergen-free at night, then you don’t need to spend this kind of money.
There are plenty of inexpensive single-room air purifiers available for any need – from HEPA filter units that will eliminate odors and particles from a large room or apartment… to filterless air purifiers that are especially good at eliminating biologicals including mold, fungi, viruses and bacteria from a single room.
On the other hand, if you notice the following signs, then you may need to invest in a whole-house air purifier:
Your Home is Dusty
Debris and dust are especially common in older homes that use furnaces.
Dust contains lots of allergens.
Older homes also often emit volatile organic compounds and other chemicals, in addition to suffering from mold.
A whole-house air purifier will remove much of the dust from the air before it collects on your floor.
And a HEPA-certified whole house purifier will capture 99.9% of the chemicals, odors and biologicals in the air.
You Notice a Distinct Smell in the Air – and Can’t Figure Out Why
Any unpleasant smell permeating throughout your home is a bad sign.
Common biological contaminants like mold, mildew, and bacteria often produce a distinct, unpleasant smell.
In many cases, the source cannot be easily remedied – even if you can identify it. In other cases, no one really knows…
So if there’s an unpleasant smell around the house, it’s time to look into getting a whole-house air purifier.
Your Family Members Suffer From Allergies or Other Health Issues
This is the best reason to invest in a high-quality whole-house air purifier.
Studies suggest that 50 million Americans suffer from allergies while 25 million suffer from asthma.
A HEPA whole-house air purifier can eliminate most common allergens including mold, pollen & pet dander that trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.
Similarly, those who suffer from COPD and emphysema will benefit from a whole-house air purifier.
Our Top 3 Picks
What's In This Buying Guide
Table of Contents
This is a definitive guide to buying a whole-house air purifier.
First, we’ve comprehensively researched the options available in America and select of the best whole house air purifier for each of 7 common needs.
After listing our top picks, review each pick in some depth to help you make a quick decision.
After our reviews, we provide a detailed buying guide that covers everything you need to know to buy a whole-house air purifier for your home. It discusses the different types available, how they work and the key features to look for. We also discuss maintenance and installation gotchas.
Near the end, we answer some common questions most people ask about whole-house air purifiers.
So, let’s dive in.
Best Whole House Air Purifiers
Medify Air MA-112
Best for large homes
3700 square feet
Coway AirMega 400
Best smart air purifier
1560 square feet
99.97% > 0.3 microns
1 year on motor and 5 years on electronic parts
Alen BreatheSmart Purifier
Best for medical-grade protection
1100 square feet
99.9% > 0.1 microns
IQAir Air Purifier
Best for tobacco smoke
1125 square feet
99.5% > 0.003 microns
10-year limited warranty
Hathaspace HEPA Air Purifier
1500+ square feet
99.97% > 0.3 microns
GreenTech pureAir 300
3000 square feet
30-day money-back guarantee
We love the Medify Air MA-112 because it is one of the most powerful units on the market.
In fact, it has the highest square feet coverage and CADR rating among air purifiers within this price range.
What makes it a great whole-house air purifier is that it can clean up to 3700 square feet in just an hour.
This is because of its high 950 CADR rating. Similarly, it can clean 2500 and 1250 square feet in 30 and 15 minutes, respectively.
So, even if you run it at lower speeds, you can expect clean and fresh air. The unit draws in polluted air from two sides and distributes clean air in a 360-degree radius.
Plus, it has four fan speeds for you to choose from and an ionizer function that you can choose to switch off, too.
Equipped with an H13 filter, the MA-112 is an efficient and medical-grade model that can remove the tiniest particles. Plus, its digital display shows the indoor air quality.
In fact, the air quality indicator is a pretty handy feature and changes color to indicate improvements. Meanwhile, the number tells the particle number of the air.
Lower digits mean less pollution. In case the pollution is high, the unit adjusts the fan speed automatically as needed.
The four filtration levels of this unit ensure excellent performance and can remove everything ranging from large fibers and pet dander to allergens.
The HEPA filter removes 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Next comes the activated carbon filter that contains carbon pellets—these work to remove formaldehyde and odors.
The model also has an optional anion generator that adds negative ions to refresh the outgoing air.
For convenience and safety, the air purifier comes with a child lock so that your children don’t meddle with the settings. Finally, it comes with hidden wheels for portability.
The AirMega 400 comes with a Max2 filter, which is essentially a combination of a true HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter.
This combination can capture up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. These include allergens like pollutants and pollen.
The air purifier can also reduce more than 99% of volatile organic compounds and harmful fumes like CH3CHO and NH3.
For larger dust particles, it has a permanent, washable pre-filter.
One thing that really sets it apart is that it is a smart and energy-efficient unit. It has a 3-setting smart mode that allows the air purifier to adapt to its surroundings.
Based on the lighting conditions and the room’s air quality, the air purifier adjusts the fan speed to improve air quality.
With the smart mode, you can enjoy greater energy efficiency without the efficacy being affected! Moreover, it has a pollution sensor that tests indoor air quality in real-time.
At just a quick glance, you can know how dirty or clean the indoor air is via the brightly colored LED ring.
With the AirMega 400, you can choose from five different fan modes: high, medium, low, sleep, and smart.
At the lower speeds, you can hardly hear the fan running. In fact, even at the highest setting, the max noise it makes is 43.2dB.
For further convenience and ease of use, the air purifier comes with a timer with four different settings (8, 4, 2, and 1-hour) and an indicator that indicates the filter lifetime for the Max2 filter and the pre-filter.
We also like the powerful dual suction. The unit draws polluted air from the two sides.
The filtered air is then pushed out from the top. This way, the air purifier can clean the air quickly and efficiently.
All in all, the AirMega 400 is designed to ensure cleaner and crispier indoor air that contains fewer unpleasant odors and harmful allergens.
The Alen BreatheSmart Purifier is a versatile, multi-purpose unit.
It can get rid of large dust particles like pet fur, allergens, dust, and dander. It can also eliminate unpleasant odors and VOCs.
The air purifier comes with three filters. Apart from a vacummable pre-filter, it has a standard pure filter that helps provide relief from asthma and allergy symptoms, including sneezing, shortness of breath, wheezing, runny nose, and congestion.
The third filter is the medical-grade H13 True HEPA layer that eliminates up to 99.99% airborne particles, bacteria, and aerosolized viruses.
While most air purifiers can only get rid of particles as small as 0.3 microns, the BreatheSmart goes a step further and caters to particles as small as 0.1 microns.
You can also choose the HEPA filter types by keeping in mind the particles you’re worried about the most.
So, for instance, if you’re highly sensitive to smoke or VOCs, you can choose the Smoke/Chemical option.
Similarly, for allergies, you can choose the ‘Allergies & Dust’ option. A great addition to this air purifier is the air quality sensor light.
Blue light indicates excellent air quality, while red is a sign of bad air quality, so you can take the right steps to improve it.
We also like the auto-mode. When you choose this option, the sensor automatically adjusts the fan speed to allow the unit to get the job done efficiently.
The air purifier is also very quiet and cleans up to 1100 square feet in half an hour.
Thanks to the WhisperMax technology, the air purifier is also tuned to produce a soothing pink noise, which helps you sleep better.
Lastly, it’s a portable freestanding model with a plug-and-play installation, so you can move it from one area of the house to the other.
The IQAir air purifier is one of the most powerful and efficient air purifiers you will come across and is 100 times more effective than most HEPA air purifiers.
The unit is equipped with the company’s HyperHEPA filters that can even trap ultrafine particles as small as 0.003 microns.
It features an activated carbon filter that preserves nearly all micropores.
What makes the IQAir highly efficient is that it has the best filter media and that, combined with a superior filter design, provides unparalleled protection against chemicals, odors, and gases.
While most companies use lower-quality coconut-shell carbon, the gas-phase filter cartridges of this unit feature top-quality activated carbon from bituminous coal.
This carbon media is activated such that it can preserve almost all micropores.
The company also doesn’t use zeolite, which is another less expensive and less effective filtration medium. Instead, it uses alumina pellets infused with the ChemiSorber media works to remove formaldehyde.
The cartridges of the IQAir air purifier have a cylindrical shape, which ensures optimal contact between the filtration media and the air and offers low air restriction.
These cylinders are wrapped by post-filters, which ensures no media dust is released and that the overall system efficiency is improved.
Another impressive feature of the air purifier is the triple-seal technology that prevents air leakage.
The filter media is fully sealed into the frame, which is then perfectly sealed to the housing thanks to the 3D UltraSeal. All this ensures that unfiltered air doesn’t escape.
Moreover, the fan can deliver up to 300 cfm, and it doesn’t use too much energy.
In fact, it only costs mere pennies to run the air purifier, so you don’t have to worry about your energy bill skyrocketing.
You will also enjoy the EvenFlow Diffuser that ensures there’s no annoying draft or noisy air outlet. At the same time, it delivers air at 320 degrees to evenly cover up the whole area.
Lastly, it comes with a bunch of control features, like filter life monitoring and color-coded lights that indicate when you need to change the filter. All in all, this makes for a worthy investment.
The Hathaspace air purifier is also equipped with a medical-grade H13 HEPA filter that can trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns and 99.95% of particles measuring 0.1-0.3 microns.
Further adding to the unit’s efficiency is the 5-in-1 filter system that can tackle everything ranging from VOCs, odors, and tobacco smoke to pollen, pet dander, and dust.
The air purifier is ideal for areas measuring up to 1500 square feet and completely replaces the air within the area every hour.
Whether you want an air purifier for your living room, basement, kitchen, office, bedroom, or home, this one will do the job perfectly!
Another noteworthy feature is the smart particle sensor that continuously monitors the air quality and gives you accurate measurements in real-time.
The unit also shows the EPA air quality index score on the touch-screen display.
Meanwhile, the color of light on the front panel changes according to your air quality, so you can know how clean or dirty the air around you is at a glance.
Like most other air purifiers, this one also comes with an auto mode that automatically adjusts the fan depending on the surroundings.
The mode is also energy-efficient, so it helps you save money. Lastly, it comes with a 5-year warranty, so you have nothing to worry about in case something goes wrong.
What makes the pureAir 3000 unique is that it uses a process called photocatalytic oxidation along with ionization, activated oxygen, and ARC.
The process works to break down odors, bacteria, mold, and other pollutants in the air. The company claims that the device can reduce all these harmful pathogens by up to 99% within 24 hours.
Plus, it can diminish odors from smoking, cooking, pets, etc., and is suitable for offices and homes as big as 3000 square feet.
Another thing that makes the pureAir 3000 stand out is that it throws solutions to the sources of irritants, so it continuously removes airborne particles and odors.
So even if you are away, the model will continue to clean the air.
Moreover, the model is easy to set up and use. The air filter also doesn’t need frequent replacements, and regular cleaning is also needed just once a year.
So, maintaining the pureAir 3000 won’t be an issue either.
What are Whole-House Air Purifiers - and How Do They Work?
As the name suggests, whole-house air purifiers purify the air of your whole house, unlike portable units that only purify the air in one room.
Whole-house air purifiers are of two kinds, and both work differently. One variant directly connects to your house’s HVAC system and filters out the airborne particles that the HVAC’s air filter misses. Such purifiers are placed in front of the supply or return air for effective purification.
So essentially, one system is used to control both the quality of air and the temperature inside your house. As the air is cooled or heated, it is forced through filters, which gets rid of the harmful fumes, particles, and allergens.
The other type is a freestanding unit that uses fans to pull in dirty air, filters it, and then releases it back.
The exact mechanism by which the filter removes the particles depends on the type of filter in the system.
For instance, electronic filters use ionization – a process that charges the particles and then pulls them to a collector plate. Meanwhile, media filters serve as a physical barrier that can trap tiny particles.
Some filters also use a combination of the two or make use of other filtration elements to eliminate other types of particles. For instance, they might use activated carbon to get rid of odors.
Why Buy a Whole-House Air Purifier over Individual Purifiers for Rooms?
Individual air purifiers for rooms, also known as portable air purifiers, are essentially plug-and-play devices, and they are very simple to set up. Plus, they are usually equipped with very efficient HEPA filters, allowing them to eliminate even the tiniest particles.
However, portable units are not too effective when it comes to purifying large areas across the house. In order for them to really clean the air, you’ll have to constantly move them from one room to the other.
On the other hand, while whole-house air purifiers are trickier to install, they are better at keeping the air throughout your house clean. Since they cover a wider area and work efficiently to reduce pollutants, they can help get rid of respiratory irritants.
But the biggest benefit of investing in a whole house purifier instead of an individual one is the cost-effectiveness. The former covers more space and extends your HVAC system’s life by reducing the dust moving through it.
Moreover, whole-house purifiers are usually installed within the HVAC system, so you hardly hear them running. Plus, in most cases, you can even program them via your house’s thermostat. So, all you have to do is just do all the settings once and enjoy cleaner, crispier air 24/7.
What to look for in a Whole-House Air Purifier
To make sure you get a whole-house air purifier best suited to your needs, keep in mind the following:
Different whole house air purifiers have different kinds of filters that work to remove pollutants. The filter in your unit will determine the pollutants that it can remove. In terms of filters, you can choose from:
If there’s a forced-air furnace at your home, you already have a basic air filtration system. These furnaces feature a matted fiberglass filter that you need to change monthly. If you don’t, it will clog with dust and stop serving its purpose, consequently overworking the furnace.
Flat filters are mainly designed to keep the furnace safe from large dust particles. While they can keep the different surfaces free of dust, they can’t block microscopic particles that irritate the lungs, like pollen and pet dander.
Pleated filters that have more material within the same space are comparatively expensive, but they are a little more efficient. Electrostatically charged pleated filters are the best since they attract allergens like pet dander and pollen.
Extended Media Filters
You can think of an extended media filter as a stack of furnace filters measuring about 8 inches. They have an accordion-like stack of filtration media, making them comparatively more effective than your ordinary fiberglass filters.
However, since the large filter holder has to be plumbed into the ductwork, these filters require professional installation.
Also known as electrostatic precipitators, electronic filters are high-tech units. It basically induces a high-voltage current on the air particles passing through. At the other end, there are oppositely charged collector plates that attract the particles.
Such filters are ideal for smoke particles that escape media filters because of their small size. A great benefit of electronic filters is that you don’t need to replace them. But you will have to clean the aluminum collector plates with soapy water after a few months.
However, this process of charging particles might produce a bit of ozone, which can irritate the lung and adversely affect your health.
UV filters are ideal for people mostly worried about germs. UV light kills airborne viruses and bacteria, which is also why you see hospitals using UV air filters.
You will often come across the term HEPA filters when you look for units to purchase. These filters are considered the gold standard when it comes to air purification. Plus, they can get rid of 99.97% of particles bigger than 0.3 microns.
However, HEPA filters need an extra fan to filter out the air, so they will not work with all HVAC systems.
Ultra Low Particulate Air is a relatively new kind of technology and is highly effective. Such filters can block up to 99% of particles bigger than 0.12 microns. However, they drastically restrict the airflow.
It’s important you look at the MERV rating too. MERV rating indicates the effectiveness of the filter at removing allergens and particles from the air.
All filters are rated between 1 and 20, and the effectiveness of the filter increases as you go higher. However, a higher number also means higher air resistance, which translates to reduced airflow through the HVAC system.
Personally, we recommend going for a true HEPA filter with the highest MERV rating possible, but make sure you check that the filter is compatible with your existing ventilation system.
Another important thing to look for is the particle removal capacity. For this, you will have to look at the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate), which is essentially a measure of the purification effectiveness and air movement.
All purifiers have a CADR, and it is mentioned in cubic feet/minute. It basically tells you how fast the air purifier will clean the air of a certain space.
Experts recommend going for an air purifier with a CADR of two-thirds of the space you plan on placing it in. So, if you have a space of 500 square feet, go for a CADR of 300 or more.
Area it Covers
As the name itself suggests, whole-house air purifiers can cover large areas, while portable models are best for individual rooms. In fact, our list mentions whole-house air purifiers that easily cater to areas larger than a thousand square feet.
So before making the purchase, take a look at the coverage area to ensure it can cover your house.
Level of Noise
The noise level of an air purifier is definitely not something you should ignore. If you’re looking for a freestanding model that you plan on placing in your bedroom, then it’s best to steer clear of units with a noisy fan.
Manufacturers usually list the noise level of the units in dB. If you want a unit for the bedroom, look for something below 40dB.
The level of noise that the air purifier produces also changes as the speed of the fan changes. Moreover, some manufacturers use sensors that determine when the air is healthy and clean and automatically adjust the fan to run at a lower speed, thereby reducing the sound produced.
We think you should opt for a fanless unit or go for one that has a sleep mode/whisper-quiet operation.
Of course, you wouldn’t want your chosen whole house air purifier to jack up your electricity bills. For this reason, you need to look for high-efficiency units that use less energy so that your electricity bills don’t drastically increase. This will also help to reduce your carbon footprint.
Most modern whole-house air purifiers are quite energy-efficient and consume comparatively less electricity than other common household appliances.
Body of the Air Purifier
How well-built your air purifier will affect its durability and performance. Of course, you don’t want to spend a chunk of your money only to buy a unit that stops working in a few weeks because of poor build quality.
To avoid this from happening, make sure to look for the construction material of the air purifier. Also, check out user reviews to know the experience others had with it so you can make the purchase confidently.
A warranty on any electrical product is nice to have. Most manufacturers do offer some warranty, but they differ in length and the coverage they provide. Some might offer a one-year warranty, while others may provide a lifetime warranty or a money-back guarantee.
Better coverage and a longer warranty mean that manufacturers are very confident in their products, so you can go for them without second-guessing your choice.
The installation of the whole house air purifier will depend on the kind of unit you have.
If you have a whole-house air purifier that connects to the HVAC system, then you will need to hook it up in the return-air ductwork. However, since this involves complex installation, it’s better to hire an HVAC contractor for the task. You might risk damaging the HVAC system if you do it yourself.
While you might be tempted to save money by going forward with the installation yourself, it might cost you more later. Even small mistakes can cause the whole HVAC system to malfunction, resulting in expensive repairs.
Meanwhile, portable units are very straightforward and simple to set up, and you can install one yourself, too. To install it, all you have to do is follow the instructions given in the manual.
Pros and cons
While a whole-house air purifier can easily clean the air throughout your house; however, these units come with their fair share of drawbacks.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Like with the installation, the cleaning and maintenance will also depend on the kind of purifier you have. Make sure you go through the manual before you start cleaning.
Generally, you should take care of the following when it comes to cleaning:
Maintaining a whole-house air purifier is not hard and is something you can do yourself. At the most, you’ll have to change the filters after a few months. Other maintenance tips to remember are:
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should I run the air purifier to notice a difference?
This will depend on how powerful your unit is and how big the room is. Generally, you can start to notice a difference in a few hours, but these units are designed to run continuously throughout the day. So, you can run them for 24 hours to have clean and crisp clear the whole day.
Can the air purifier clean up the air of my whole house?
What is the ideal place for my whole house air purifier?
When placing a whole-house air purifier, make sure you place it such that it is not directly below any shelves or behind some furniture. The intake vent in most purifiers is near the front, so you should place your unit such that it can take in as much air as possible.
Final Verdict: What is the best whole house air purifier sold today?
I’m a degreed ME (mechanical engineer) who is passionate about machines of all kinds. I created MachineWonders.com as a way to connect with others who love machines like me – or need help choosing one for their needs, application, or situation.