Air purifiers are fundamentally simple machines—little more than a fan and a filter. Yet a well-designed purifier can capture virtually all airborne allergens, such as pollen and mold spores, as well as bacteria, viruses, and smoke.
We’ve tested more than 50 air purifiers in the past nine years, and our measurements have proved that the exceptional Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty is the best among them. It’s powerful enough to use in a large room, quiet enough to sleep near, engineered to last for years, and inexpensive enough to set up in multiple rooms.
Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty
Perfect for bedrooms, playrooms, and living rooms, this purifier is one of the highest-performing, most-durable, and most-economical models we’ve tested.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $207.
Within 30 minutes, the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty reduced heavy smoke pollution in a New York City office by as much as 99.6%; this is comparable to the performance of other top machines and has been consistent in multiple test spaces. We’ve pushed this machine beyond its on-paper limits in various ways—including running its filters 24/7 for two years, twice as long as recommended—and it has never wavered or weakened. This air purifier offers great value on initial and long-term costs. And its compact form, quiet operation, and display-light shutoff make it especially well suited to using in a bedroom.
Coway Airmega 200M
Virtually identical to our top pick on features and performance, this purifier is a great choice if you prefer its looks or find it at a better price.
The Coway Airmega 200M is virtually identical to Coway’s Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty in every important respect. They’re equivalent in noise and performance measurements, their filters are interchangeable, and their similar controls allow you to shut off the display lights. The 200M has a square grille rather than a round one, but that’s the only major physical difference. If you prefer the 200M’s looks or you find it at a better price, we recommend it.
This purifier is terrific overall, but it has minor shortcomings, such as a stark look, no display shutoff, and slightly elevated electrical use.
The Winix 5500-2 is an exceptional performer on particulates air pollution: It captured as much 99.9% of the smoke in our test room in just 30 minutes on high. We prefer the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty for its lower energy consumption, smaller visual footprint, and manual display-shutoff feature. The related 5300-2 and C535 (which is exclusive to the Winix store and Walmart) lack a few of the 5500-2’s features, but they perform just as well and may be available at lower prices. We’ve had similarly strong results with every other Winix we’ve tested, including the AM80 and Wi-Fi–enabled AM90.
Blueair Blue Pure 311 Auto
Though exceptional in performance and appearance, the Blue Pure 311 also has elevated running costs and no display shutoff.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $203.
The Blueair Blue Pure 311 Auto is similar in capabilities to the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty, the Coway Airmega 200M, and the Winix machines, with notably quiet performance, terrific energy efficiency, and a control panel that automatically dims after you adjust the settings. It’s also particularly attractive, with a tweed-like, washable cover in several muted colors. Two minor knocks against it: The air-quality indicator lamp, a bright blue LED, shuts off only when the unit is on its lowest setting, and the company recommends replacing the filters every six months, pushing yearly replacement costs above those of the other machines.
Levoit Vital 200S
Top-class performance, quiet operation, and full display shutoff for better sleep earned this relative newcomer a recommendation after preliminary tests.
Levoit’s Vital 200S matched the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH Mighty in performance tests, and the two are very similar in terms of energy efficiency, noise output, and an ability to shut off the display while maintaining the fan setting of your choosing. However, the Vital 200S is a new release (January 2023), so we haven’t yet had time to long-term test it.
Blueair Blue Pure 211+
The Blue Pure 211+ aced our tests, and because it can move extremely high volumes of air, it suits large spaces.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $300.
Levoit Core 300
In a small bedroom, dorm room, or office, the compact and affordable Levoit Core 300 performs extremely well and looks great.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $100.
In a space that’s about 200 square feet or less, the Levoit Core 300 is a solid, inexpensive purifier. It performed impressively in our tests: On its high setting, it reduced particulates in a 135-square-foot New York City office by more than 97% in 30 minutes. On medium, it reduced them by more than 92%. It’s attractive and compact, measuring just 14.5 inches tall and 8.5 inches in diameter. It’s the cheapest up front of all our picks, and it includes a display shutoff feature. But it’s not terribly energy-efficient, and in larger rooms, it doesn’t keep pace with our other picks.
Below, we cover a few other purifiers that fit specific needs, including a purifier for handling VOCs, an especially energy-efficient small-space purifier, and a truly smart air purifier.