Not to scare you, but did you know the air you’re breathing inside right now may be dirtier than the air outside? Possibly much worse. Even your impressive and ever-growing houseplant collection isn’t going to make a difference. That’s because there’s a lot more floating around inside than our eyes can see, the best vacuum can suck up, or even your favorite monstera can filter. A lot of what we breathe in is tainted by invisible fumes coming from everyday products like household cleaners, scented candles, upholstered furniture, carpets and rugs, and even the very materials our homes are built with. Simply put: If you can smell it, it’s probably polluting the air.
Needless to say, an air purifier like one of the five, below, can prevent those ultrafine particles from ever irritating your eyes, throat, and nose. You’ll want one equipped with a True HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter and a secondary activated carbon filter to remove invisible pollutants smaller than dust, dander, and pollen, as well as unpleasant smells. Better yet, buy an air purifier with a built-in particle sensor so you can leave the guesswork to the machine and breathe in without a worry.
The Short List
- Best overall: Blueair HealthProtect 7770i
- Best for allergies: IQAir HealthPro Plus Home
- Best for the home office: Sensibo Pure
- Best for the bedroom: Coway Airmega 150
- Best for pet owners: IKEA Förnuftig
Best Overall: Blueair HealthProtect 7770i
Why I love it: The 7770i has a special trick up its sleeve, one designed to capture but also destroy the smallest of harmful particles floating in your home. Blueair’s newest air purifier uses an electrostatic charge, and like socks sticking to sweatpants after a dryer load, the static makes its filter surface super-sticky to airborne particles, including viruses, bacteria, and mold. It’s not done yet: Everything trapped in the filter is then zapped dead using an electric charge. Blueair also equipped the 7770i with a large info display, where you can check the type of particles it captured, the VOC level, temperature, and humidity. App and voice controls using Alexa or Google Assistant devices make it easy to turn the unit on or off without ever needing to get up.
The best part: The 7770i can scrub the air clean in rooms as large as 674 square feet in only 12 minutes, and the filter air vents out from both sides and the top to deliver refreshed air more evenly.
Best for Allergies: IQAir HealthPro Plus
Why I love it: I’ve tried countless air purifiers outfitted with a myriad of technologies over the years—HEPA, ionic, activated carbon, ultraviolet, PECO—but only IQAir has ever made pollen-induced congestion and headaches magically disappear all within half an hour of turning it on. The IQAir air purifier is admittedly large and doesn’t come cheap, but that’s because this Swiss-made brand doesn’t skimp on the triple-layered air filtration system it uses to capture airborne particles down to 0.003 microns (the filters themselves are almost as big as some entire air filters themselves!). That means it’s capable of capturing pollen, pet dander, dust mites, gas pollutants, and even airborne viruses quickly and thoroughly. If you’ve got serious allergies, this is a serious solution.
The best part: IQAir’s three individual filters last a long while between requiring replacements—18 months for the first stage, two years for the gas- and odor-removing second stage, and four years and two months for the last-stage unit responsible for removing the smallest particles from the air. The company also stands by a 10-year warranty, one of the best in the industry.
Best for the Home Office: Sensibo Pure
Why I love it: The Sensibo Pure is smaller than the waste basket sitting under my desk, and normally it hums throughout the day with a barely there white-noise whoosh that never interferes with concentration or Zoom calls. But when the Pure’s built-in particulate matter sensor does notice a drop in air quality—while I’m vacuuming, tidying up my office, or exercising—it immediately kicks up the fan in “Pure Boost” mode, increasing airflow through its HEPA and carbon filters until the room’s air quality drops back down to normal levels. I can also tell it to start or stop by voice using Siri (or Alexa or Google Assistant), but mostly rely on the Sensibo app to schedule and monitor its air-cleansing services throughout the week.
The best part: The Sensibo app not only allows for scheduling and controls but displays an hour-by-hour comparison of the air quality inside versus the air outside.
Best for the Bedroom: Coway Airmega 150
Why I love it: If there’s any room in which you should keep an air purifier, it’s the bedroom, where air pollution can, but shouldn’t, go unnoticed while you sleep. I occasionally snore at night because of allergies, so an air purifier can make the difference between slumbering in sweet silence or unintentionally waking up my wife with irritating throaty nocturnal reverberations. I like the Coway Airmega 150 as a nighttime air-filtering companion partially because its minimalist and compact design blends into the room (in fact, it has won several design awards and is sold at the MoMA Design Store). More important, the Airmega 150 built-in air quality sensor automates fan speeds, cranking up to its most effective mode only if/when needed. Otherwise, normally the fan inside spins with a gentle hum, barely perceptible even when placed a few feet away and rather pleasant as a white-noise source.
The best part: A lot of air purifiers pollute the air when cleaned or while replacing the filters, but Coway designed a super-easy-to-access prefilter that slides out without releasing everything it so diligently sucked up.
Why I love it: Compared to the other air purifiers on this list, the IKEA Förnuftig is pretty basic, with only a single 3-speed dial control and nothing in the way of app or smart home integration or air-quality monitoring. But that’s actually one of the reasons it’s a perfect solution for pet owners who want to keep dust, fur, and dander contained without spending a fortune. Behind its attractive woven gray grille is a HEPA 12 filter, effective in capturing 99.95 percent of particles 2.5 microns or larger, and also a layer of activated carbon to keep unpleasant odors from spreading throughout the house. It’s also superlight and comes equipped with a removable handle design that makes it feel like you’re toting around your own air-cleaning briefcase. There’s hardware included to mount the Förnuftig either horizontally or vertically onto the wall.
The best part: Surprisingly affordable, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to buy several Förnuftigs to place strategically around the house, specifically mounted above/near pet beds or litter boxes.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.
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