Who is this for?Best for people that want an economical air purifier to clean the air yet don't want to be tied down by the expensive filter replacement. A permanent air purifier can also be ideal for a person that doesn't mind cleaning the filter every quarterly or so. Despite the weaker filtration, an air purifier with a reusable filter is suitable for babies, children, and pets. Last but not least, a washable air purifier will fit well in a household that as multiple units at home.
Let's get this out of my chest. Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Pet is not the best air purifier with a permanent filter. However, it still offers good filtration value and more importantly, it is dirt cheap. So why are we putting it here? It is because the washable HEPA filtration works and some people do not need all the fancy stuff. Inside the 3-stage filtration, there is a permanent pre-filter and a cleanable HEPA filter that does not require replacing. The pre-filter will focus on large particles while protecting the inner filter. You can also add in carbon zeolite filters to remove light smoke and odors. At a modest 99% filtration efficiency, the HEPA-type filter can trap fine particles as small as 2 microns. With proper cleaning on the HEPA filter, no dust, hair, or pet dander will be too difficult for this pet machine.
Hamilton Beach is a washable HEPA filter air purifier that everyone could afford. We recommend upgrading the carbon zeolite filters that will roughly cost you about 10 dollars annually. This compact air cleaner is best to use as a tabletop lying vertically or horizontally. Do not expect anything more than the 140 square feet coverage that and you'll be fine.
- Zero annual filter replacement cost.
- Wide 250 sq. ft. purifying coverage with decent CADR.
- Washable ifD permanent filter.
- 5 selectable fan speed plus 7 preset timers.
- ifD permanent filter is more for non-gas particles. You will need to opt for the odor pre-filter upgrade.
- Regularly cleaning is needed for the ifD filter.
Fancy AirGenius 5 but prefer something cheaper? In comes Honeywell AirGenius 4 True Allergen Remover. It is around 50 bucks cheaper without any filter replacement cost. This is the exact replica air purifier with a permanent filter that is also washable. From the exterior design, everything looks identical including the dimension and black housing. Same story with the airflow performance-wise. You'll get the decent 250 square feet coverage with dust CADR at 160 cfm, pollen CADR at 170 cfm, and smoke CADR at 161 cfm. Suitable for small to medium room particularly with its low noise operation.
Let's focus on Honeywell permanent filtration. you gain the same patented QuietClean ifD technology that removes up to 99.9% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns. A proven technology that will save you a lot of time and money finding the replacement filter. By regularly maintaining the filter, mold, pollen, pet dander will all be gradually removed from the air. To boost the ifD filter efficiency, both supporting ionizer and a washable pre-filter are practical yet reusable. The ionizer will electrostatically charge ions making heavier particulates fall for easy capturing. Pre-filter will focus on trapping large particles like dust and pet hair to free up space in ifD filter. There's also an upgradable odor-reducing pre-filter that can captures smoke from cigarettes, cooking, and odors from pet, chemicals.
- No filter replacement needed with the washable filter.
- Wide 250 sq. ft. purifying coverage.
- The same ifD permanent filter as AirGenius 5.
- 4 fan speed plus 3 preset timers.
- Only slightly cheaper than AirGenius 5 but with fewer features.
- ifD permanent filter cannot trap smoke and gas particles.
- Constant cleaning needed to maintain its efficiency.
Winix 5500-2 is not a washable air purifier by any stretch of the imagination. We decided to include it on our list is because the overall package is too good for you to skip it. For the price around 150 (after discount), You'll get a wide 360 square feet coverage with high CADR 243 cfm for dust, 246 cfm for pollen, and 232 cfm for smoke. The 4-stage filtration comes with a washable pre-filter, a true HEPA filter, an activated carbon filter, and PlasmaWave Technology. The permanent pre-filter is great at trapping large particles like dust, dirt, hair. Since it is washable, the pre-filter can be reuse to prolong the HEPA and carbon filter lifespan. Speaking of HEPA, Winix True HEPA filter is excellent at capturing 99.97% of the microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns. No airborne mold, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and germs will be able to bypass the filter. As for odor and smoke particles, the activated carbon filter will have no trouble removing the harmful particles from cigarettes, cooking, VOCs, pet, radon, and asbestos. Lastly, PlasmaWave will produce Hydroxyls to break down stubborn allergens for the filter to capture.
Winix 5500-2 does not hold out on features either. You'll get dual sensors, front air quality indicator, remote control, and timer. There is also an auto mode that automatically sets the fan speed according to surrounding pollutants and Sleep mode that activates once the light is off. That said, Winix 5500-2 is more of a hybrid washable air purifier with a permanent filter. Bar the permanent pre-filter and PlasmaWave, every filter has a limited lifespan. You are expected to replace the true HEPA filter and activated carbon filter annually with a cost. If you don't mind the recurring payment as a trade-off for the outstanding filtration, choose Winix.
- Combination of conventional and reusable filtration.
- Permanent pre-filter is washable and can last for a lifetime.
- Cover up to 360 square feet with high 200+ cfm CADR.
- True HEPA filter can capture 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
- Dedicated activated carbon filter is great against chemical fumes, smoke, and odors.
- Abundant of supportive features including an auto mode, sleep mode.
- Main filtration HEPA and carbon filter are not washable and require replacing annually.
- There's a recurring filter cost and is not cheap.
A triple-action purification with a huge running cost. Envion Therapure TPP230H is not your typical washable HEPA filter air purifier. It is a mix between a conventional and a permanent air purifier. For example, you can clean the HEPA-filter to boost performance by removing trapped dust, mold, pollen, and dander. At the end of 6 months, you will still need to replace the HEPA filter. The UV-C Germicidal lamp is excellent at killing bacteria and viruses but again, there are limited usage hours. Finally, there is the non-washable photocatalyst filter that can remove chemical odors like asbestos, VOCs, tobacco smoke. Very useful but can be a hassle to change.
Ideal for medium to large room purifying, Therapure TPP230H is an inexpensive air purifier with washable HEPA filter and a few flaws of its own. The filter replacement can cost higher than a brand new unit in just 2 years time. The 350 sq. ft. purifying coverage is great, but CADR is on the lower side. Controls and features are a little bland as well. If you want an air purifier with a permanent HEPA filter and zero recurring cost, Envion Therapure TPP230H is not the model for you. Stick with Honeywell AirGenius instead.
- Powerful Triple Action Purification that can support room size up to 350 square feet.
- Washable HEPA-type filter that can be clean when it is filled with dust.
- Germ killing UV-C Germicidal lamp + Photo Catalyst setup.
- Ionizer comes as standard.
- Not great in removing smokes, fumes, and chemicals.
- High annual filter replacement cost as the HEPA-type filter still requires replacing.
- Uses HEPA-type rather than True HEPA filter.
- Basic analog controls.
Let's get this out of my chest. Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Pet is not the best air purifier with a permanent filter. However, it still offers good filtration value and more importantly, is dirt cheap. So why are we putting it here? Is because it works and some people do not need all the fancy stuff. Inside the 3-stage filtration, there is a permanent, washable HEPA filter that does not require replacing. With proper cleaning, no dust, hair or pet dander will be too difficult for this pet machine.
Hamilton Beach is a washable HEPA filter air purifier that everyone could afford. This compact air cleaner is best used as tabletop lying vertically or horizontally. Do not expect anything more than that and you'll be fine. With that being said, we would still recommend you to go for any of the above filterless air purifiers.
- Permanent and washable HEPA-grade filter with a 99% capturing efficiency.
- Compact and versatile body.
- Reusable pre-filter or an optional carbon zeolite filters.
- Low noise operation.
- The 140 sq. ft. purifying range might not sound too bad, but in real life, coverage is really small.
- Weak filtration and the 3 fan speed makes little differences.
- Additional features are non-existence.
The third Honeywell we have in the best air purifier with washable filter list that is also powered by ifD technology. Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean Tower is one of the more dated models here. You can tell from the exterior design and clunky controls. Take nothing away from its air cleaning capacity though. It is still a 3-stage filtration air purifier classic setup. HFD-120-Q can cover a good 170 square feet of space thus perfect for office, bedroom, or a laundry room. CADR is acceptable at dust-free 100 cfm, pollen-free 132 cfm, and smoke-free 110 cfm. Features are rather plain compared with AirGenius series, but you do get Honeywell comprehensive 5 years warranty as standard.
Honeywell HFD-120-Q QuietClean uses the familiar ifD permanent filter that requires no replacement. Same case with the permanent pre-filter that can be reused after cleaning. The washable air purifier can easily remove airborne mold, spores, pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and even germs. At the end of the month, simply vacuum out all the pollutants and the filter will be good as new. Like every other Honeywell series, smoke and odor filtration can be done with the HRF-K2 Filter K Pre-filter upgrade. In short, go with HFD-120-Q QuietClean if you want to save up some cash and don't mind the slightly weaker performance.
- Honeywell ifD technology that is usually found in a more premium model.
- Affordable 3-stage tower air purifier with washable filter.
- Zero filter replacement cost unless you opt for the filter upgrade.
- 5 years worry-free warranty.
- ifD filter is nowhere near mechanical HEPA filter efficiency in capturing microscopic particles.
- Unable to capture smoke particles without the odor pre-filter upgrade.
- Regular filter cleaning is a must to ensure optimal performance.
🏆 Honorable mention
📃 Previous holder
- Blue Pure 411
- Oreck RAIRP-B Professional
2020 Best Washable Filter Air Purifier With Permanent Filter
|Air Purifier||Online Price (Amazon)||Filtration||Coverage||Score|
|Honeywell AirGenius 5 HFD320 Air Purifier|
|3-stage||250 sq. ft. (23 m2)||8.3|
|Honeywell AirGenius 4 HFD310 Air Purifier|
|3-stage||250 sq. ft. (23 m2)||8|
|Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier|
|4-stage||360 sq. ft. (33 m2)||8.5|
|Envion Therapure TPP230H Air Purifier|
|3-stage||350 sq. ft. (33 m2)||7.5|
|Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Pet 04384 Air Purifier|
|3-stage||140 sq. ft. (13 m2)||5.5|
|Honeywell HFD-120-Q Air Purifier|
|3-stage||170 sq. ft. (16 m2)||7.5|
How Long Do Air Purifier Permanent Filters Last?
2 to 5 years is a good gauge of a permanent filter lifespan before requiring a replacement. The types of filters and how well it is made also play a role in the longevity of the filters. For example, a pre-filter will last longer than most HEPA filters or carbon sheets. If the permanent filter is made of mesh metal steel or durable materials, the filter that can last a lifetime with proper maintenance. Most washable, permanent filter requires cleaning every 1-3 months depending on usage frequency. The more frequent you clean the filter, the longer the filter can last and so is the air purifier. In short, all filters from disposable, washable, to permanent filters have a lifespan. There are air purifiers that come with a filter check indicator to remind you to change or clean the filter. Check the instructional manual for more details.
What Are The Differences Between Washable And Permanent Filters?
A washable filter can be washed with soap and water while a permanent filter can only be vacuumed as water will damage the filter. That is the only subtle difference between them. Cleaning with a washable filter is much more time consuming as you have to soak the filter inside the water for a couple of minutes until all dirt falls off. After that, you will have to leave the filter to air dry around an hour before placing it back to the air purifier. A permanent filter on the other hand, is non-washable/ not waterproof that can only be clean with a vacuum cleaner. A permanent filter is much quicker to clean and you can reinsert back the filter into the air purifier straight away. In summary, a permanent filter is much easier to maintain but a washable filter can be clean more thoroughly. Other than that, washable or permanent filters are identical in filtration performance. Since both filters are reusable, you will save a lot of money in the maintenance costs.
What Is A Permanent HEPA filter?
Permanent HEPA filter is a reusable, cost-effective filter that traps microscopic airborne contaminants. By cleaning the filter when it is dirty, you do not have to replace and bear the expensive annual filter replacement cost like a HEPA filter. The only trade-off for a permanent HEPA filter is the weaker efficiency compare with a standard HEPA filter. A typical, permanent HEPA-type filter removes 99% of airborne particles as small as 2 microns. A True HEPA filter removes 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
How To Clean A Reusable Filter and Permanent Filter?
Check the manual if the reusable filter can be wash with water or only vacuum. Before proceeding, wear a mask if you are allergic to dust. Turn off and unplug the air purifier from the power source. Remove the front cover and carefully take out the permanent filter. Use a vacuum cleaner and vacuum on a vertical stroke without applying too much pressure. Most reusable pre-filter that can be soaked into water, leave it under water for a couple of minutes, take it out and most dust should fall off. For stubborn dust that is still stuck in the filter, use a brush and gently scrub away the trapped dust. Leave the filter air dry to prevent mold growth, reinsert accordingly, and close the front panel. Repeat the steps every 1-3 months or when the air purifier filter check indicator light is up. The washable filter needs to be clean regularly to maintain the filtration performance and lifespan. If the filter is lightly discolored or yellowish, it is due to oxidization where you can safely ignore it.
How Much Money You Will Save Buying An Air Purifier With Permanent/ Washable Filter?
On average, you will be saving 80 to 100 dollars annually on filter replacement costs. This is because a permanent filter is reusable unlike a True HEPA filter. The longer you own the air purifier, the more money you will save in filter cost. Since a washable air purifier is priced affordably between low to mid-range segments, it is perfect for a person that doesn't want to spend too much money on an air cleaner.
Air Purifier Permanent Filter VS Replaceable Filter
The key differences between a permanent and replaceable filter are the filter efficiency and lifespan. A permanent HEPA filter typically has an efficiency of 99% in capturing particles as small as 2 microns. Replaceable True HEPA filter has a better 99.97% efficiency in capturing particles as small as 0.3 microns. A permanent filter does not require replacing but requires cleaning every 2-3 months to maintain its efficiency. A replaceable filter does not need to be clean but requires change once worn out. There is no maintenance cost on a permanent filter as it can be reused over and over again. A replaceable filter will cost you between $50-200 annually depending on models.
To recap, here are the pros and cons of a washable permanent filter.
- Can capture most household contaminants in the air.
- You will save lots of money on filter costs in the long-run.
- Washable filters can be clean often without affecting the performance.
- Reusable filters are less effective than a HEPA filter in capturing airborne particles.
- Requires constant filter cleaning in a poor air quality environment.
- Improper filter maintenance may damage the filter and can be costly to replace.
Are Permanent HEPA Filters Good?
A permanent HEPA filter is cost-saving and eco-friendly because it is reusable. A permanent filter will also able to capture microscopic particles including mold, pollen, pet dander, dust mite, and germs. However, its efficiency is typically one notch below a replaceable True HEPA filter. In long-run, it might be advisable to go with a permanent HEPA filter to avoid paying the recurring cost. The total cost of 2-3 years of filter replacement can be equivalent to a brand new air purifier.
How to Choose the Best Air Purifier with Permanent/ Washable Filter
There are many features to consider when picking the best washable air purifier with a permanent filter. Not only the air purifier has to be capable of removing common airborne particles, reliability, usability, and price point are also a very important factor. Ultimately, the air purifier should clean the air regardless of the type of filters it is using. So here are the important things to look out for when buying the best air purifier with washable filter.
- Types of washable filters - Every filter has different functionality and capabilities. The multiple filtration setup is great at removing different types of pollutants in the air. When buying an air purifier with a washable filter, that is a few main filters to consider. The most common type is a reusable, permanent pre-filter made out of metal mesh. Pre-filter is designed to capture large particles and withstand constant cleaning without disintegrating. The extra layer of filtration can also help extend the life of other filters. HEPA-type filter is another popular washable filter that can remove 99% of airborne particles as small as 2 microns. Brand exclusive filters like Honeywell ifD is a washable HEPA-grade filter with a higher 99.9% filtration efficiency.
- Activated carbon filters - Not a common filter in a washable air purifier. A carbon filter is great at removing smoke and odors from cigarettes, pets, fireplace, VOCs, and cooking. Because of the absorption technology, carbon filters are non-washable and require replacing when it is due. Go with air purifiers with a carbon filter if you don't mind the recurring cost and your home has a severe smoke pollution problem.
- Coverage area - Very important as it determines if the air purifier can cover the room size you need it to purify. Measure your room size and pick a model that can support at least the minimum requirement. Most air purifier with permanent filter can cover small to medium room size. The top washable air purifier can be used in a large room like a living hall, bedroom, basement, or kitchen.
- Dimension - The good thing about an air purifier with a washable/ reusable filter is the overall size. Most models are in tower form which is tall and slim thus fit well in tight spaces or corners of the room. Air purifier like Hamilton Beach TrueAir are compact, narrow, and weight under 5 pounds. If you plan to place the air purifier on a desk or somewhere with limited space, choose the most portable model.
- Warranty - The longer the warranty period, the better piece of mind you will have with the air purifier. Most models come with a standard 1-year warranty period with Honeywell model offered up to 5 years. Keep in mind the limited warranty from the manufacturer might not cover the exact same thing. Some only cover defects in workmanship while some only cover the motor parts, not the filters. Also, consider the customer service and service center location. You might need to ship back the air purifier yourself and is going to be an additional cost.
- CADR level - Acronym for Clean Air Delivery Rate. A numerical rating set by AHAM to determine how much particles have been removed in a fixed area. Since this is not a compulsory measurement, not all air purifiers will participate in the test. For air purifiers like Honeywell that do participate, expect between 100 to 200 cfm benchmark for dust, pollen, and smoke. The higher the number, the more air will be clean in designated room size. If you are very specific on certain filtration like dust, go with the model that has the best dust CADR output.
- Noise level - If you intend to use the air purifier at the bedside or office desk, look for a model that has the option of low noise output. Having multiple fan speeds or cleaning modes allows the air purifier to run silently without any distraction. Auto mode will autonomously control the fan speed based on surrounding air quality. Activate sleep mode will dim the indicator light, set the fan speed and noise level to low.
- Cost of ownership - The biggest advantage of owning an air purifier with washable filter is the running cost. Rather than having to replace the filter with a fee, you can clean and reuse the permanent filter for an extended period of time.
- Energy efficiency - An air purifier does not consume a lot of electricity despite running constantly in the background like most are led to believe. However, some models are Energy Star Rated thus more energy-efficient over the others. Compare the power watts output and buy a model you are comfortable with.
- Other features - While air purifier's sole purpose is to clean the air, there is no harm having more supporting features to help you achieve that. For start, a timer would be very helpful to manage the air purifier runtime while you're away. Air quality indicator will let you know how dirty the surrounding air is. Filter change indicator will alert you to wash or replace the filter when the time is up. Remote control allows you to control the air purifier remotely without having to get up.