Best Cheap Air Purifier
rawpixel

2019 Best Cheap Air Purifier with exceptional value

Looking for the best cheap air purifier that doesn’t "suck" (slang), you come to the right place. While many would argue, good things are seldom cheap. Cheap things are seldom good. That is certainly not the case for the below budget air purifiers. In this post, we will look into some of the entry-level options that somehow manages to squeeze in the best value. All of the "value" air cleaner will at least have a HEPA filter and/ or a carbon filter. At the end of the reading, you will have a clearer thought on the reason behind each inclusion and which model should you go for.

What can a cheap air purifier do?

“Cheap” is a very loose term that would have a whole new interpretation for different set of people. Let it be an air purifier under 200, 100, 50 or a heavily discounted model, there a lot of things the air cleaner can do. More importantly, it can provide clean air despite having a low price tag. The key differences between real cheap (poor quality) and price cheap are the overall value. A price cheap air purifier can still provide exceptional value to within its capacity. If you look carefully, the best-selling model is typically in the entry-level segment.

How do we measure?
Price When you are on a tight budget, there is no one size fits all. There are models prioritize on price point over performance. Some focus on portability or usability. Some focus on one special feature such as advanced dust removal or smoke filtration. We judge the air purifier based on the features and performance it can churn out at its price. Whatever it is, this is the place to find the best value air purifier without having to compromise much.
HEPA filter The second most important measurement in our best cheap air purifier hunt. It’s safe to say that 99.99% of the models in the market has no issue handling large particles like dust. By contrast, microscopic allergens are harder to remove as not model comes with a HEPA filter. What we want from the budget air purifier is to have a workable, HEPA filter. The air cleaner must be able to filter out tiny irritants from lingering around the house.
Carbon filter A bonus added points in our evaluation. A lot of the budget-friendly air cleaners does not come with a carbon filter due to the price constraint. That would not go well for us as odor contaminants are equally as irritating as non-gas particles. Our criteria are simple. No carbon/ deodorization pre-filter, no feature in our best cheap air purifier list.

Who is this for?

People with allergies but very little budget to begin with. Infant or children with developing immune system. Elderly or recovering patient with an impaired immune system. A person new to air cleaner world that would like to give it a try before investing in a premium model. Finally, anyone that needs a secondary unit to complement on its primary unit.
For a complete air cleaner with HEPA filter, please visit Best HEPA Air Purifiers for Home.

Best Cheap Air Purifier 2019

pre-filter
With
HRF-AP1 Filter A Carbon Pre-filter
HEPA filter
With
HRF-R2 Filter R True HEPA (2 pack)

The middle child between Honeywell HPA300 and HPA100. HPA200 might be a shadow to HPA300, it has a cheaper price point yet somehow manage to retain most of its features. The first line carbon pre-filter would trap large particles plus smoke, and odors. Followed by a genuine HEPA filter that would eliminate heaps of household microorganisms.

For less than 200, HPA200 offers great value with top HEPA filtration quality. Aside from the pricing, what makes this affordable air purifier tick is the strong CADR return and ample of airflow. The two vital points in securing this spot.

What's cool:

  • Low selling price with good CADR and purifying coverage.
  • Carbon pre-filter that is effective against dust and light smoke.
  • True-HEPA filter with 99.9% efficiency rate against microscopic airborne particles.
  • Light dimming option with 3 pre-set timer.
  • 5 years warranty.

What's not:

  • Lacks modern features support like auto mode, sleep mode and air quality indicator.
  • Annual filter replacement cost is not the cheapest but acceptable.
MRSP/ RSP**
± 229.95 p
     Annual filter ^    
± 93 p
Online price*
Latest Amazon price
pre-filter
With
Pre-filter
HEPA filter
With
True HEPA filter

Rather than picking 5500-2 as our best cheap air purifier winner, we go with the more economical alternative. Winix 5300-2 rightly earn this spot as it is the slightly cheaper version yet with most of 5500-2 features. Even from the exterior design, you can tell this is an identical model. It comes with an AQ indicator, built-in sensor, and auto/ sleep mode.

On to filtration side, Winix 5300-2 is well-supported by a 4-stage HEPA filtration. Starting with the pre-filter plus carbon filter that trap large and smoke particles. Closely followed by the must-have True HEPA filter with 99.97% filtration efficiency. Adding PlasmaWave into the equation, you have yourself a powerful yet inexpensive air cleaner.

What's cool:

  • For the price of less than 150, you'll get specification of a premium air purifier.
  • Decent airflow output supported by the 4-stage PlasmaWave filtration.
  • Outstanding True-HEPA filter that will trap allergens as small as 0.3 microns.
  • Timer, AQ indicator, auto mode, and sleep mode.

What's not:

  • Winix 5500-2 is only tad costlier with remote control and dedicated carbon filter.
  • Weaker odor carbon pre-filter that requires quarterly change.
  • The console body size is also far from compact.
MRSP/ RSP**
± 199.99 p
     Annual filter ^    
± 80 p
Online price*
Latest Amazon price
pre-filter
With
Charcoal pre-filter
HEPA filter
With
FLT5250PT Filter-C HEPA Pet Pure

The only tower air purifier listed here that will take up very little of your interior space. GermGuardian AC5250PT is a cheap tower air purifier that somehow manages to fit in a 5-stage filtration. This is not a gimmick as the filtration set includes a HEPA filter and UV-C light that works! The price can easily go out to $200 for the bundled filtration.

There is no better filtration package you could get at this price range. The first dual carbon pre-filter would of course, trap smoke, odor, and dust. Next, the HEPA filter will target microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns. UV-C light will eliminate (kill not trap) germs and bacteria for good. There is also Pet Pure treatment aka antimicrobial that inhibits microorganisms growth.

What's cool:

  • Less than $150 for a complete HEPA tower air purifier.
  • Complete 5-stage HEPA filtration with the germ killer UV-light.
  • Superb True HEPA filter with Pet Pure antimicrobial that inhibits microbes growth.
  • Programmable timer and informative digital display.
  • 5 years warranty.

What's not:

  • Airflow performance and CADR has to take a dip to accommodate its tower form body.
  • Only support a smaller room size with its limited purifying radius.
  • Lacks the practical air quality sensors and Auto mode.
  • Charcoal pre-filter is not the greatest against odor.
MRSP/ RSP**
± 159.99 p
     Annual filter ^    
± 53 - 80 p
Online price*
Latest Amazon price
pre-filter
With
Charcoal Pre-filter
HEPA filter
With
HEPA filter

The smallest and most affordable air purifier under 100 (or under 50 after discount). GermGuardian AC4100 might not be the new kid on the block, it still manages to squeeze in a 3-in-1 filtration. While the small body means you have to compromise on a few things, you gain the portability perk that no other air cleaners could. As such, GermGuardian AC4100 can be placed at any location including top shelf or desk.

Going back to the filtration, you’ll get standard HEPA filter, charcoal + PCO filter and UV-C light. Yes, PCO filter and UV-C light are here that specialize in killing bacteria and viruses. The ideal model to capture dust and allergens if you want something dirt cheap and doesn't mind the small purifying area.

What's cool:

  • Cheapest 4-stage HEPA air purifier that cost no more than half of some air cleaners' filter.
  • Compact body that works in vertical and horizontal position.
  • UV-C light technology that will permanently eradicate germs and viruses.

What's not:

  • Poor CADR, airflow and purifiing coverage. Only meant for desktop or bedside use.
  • Limited functionality due to the small body.
MRSP/ RSP**
± 69.99 p
     Annual filter ^    
± 48 - 65 p
Online price*
Latest Amazon price
pre-filter
With
Pre-filter
HEPA filter
With
HEPA-grade filter
carbon filter
With
carbon zeolite filters (2 pack)

Need an air cleaner with lowest possible price as you don't have any cash to spare? In comes Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Pet air purifier 04384. Like AC4100, both models have many similarities such as size, pet focus setup and low filter cost. Given the low base price and size constraint, Hamilton TrueAir pet still comes with 2 carbon zeolite filters. In our opinion, it offers a better odor filtration than some of the entry-level air purifier out there. Adding HEPA filter in the bag, TrueAir can handle airborne irritants well if is in the purifying zone.

Also, there are two more affordable air purifiers from TrueAir series you could also opt for. We pick this higher-grade version simply for its enhanced odor filtration. If you are willing to give up on the carbon zeolite, no doubt the cheaper TrueAir version would suit you better.

What's cool:

  • Dirt cheap if you don't mind the small purifying area.
  • Compact and portable body that works horizontally and vertically.
  • Permanent HEPA filter that can be reused multiple times.

What's not:

  • Like most compact air purifier, Hamilton Beach TrueAir suffers from the lack of airflow coverage.
  • Weak filtration that cannot target microscopic particles.
  • Poor against strong smoke and odor.
  • Basic unit with no supportive features.
MRSP/ RSP**
± 79.99 p
     Annual filter ^    
± 10 p
Online price*
Latest Amazon price
pre-filter
With
Pre-filter
HEPA filter
With
HEPA filter
carbon filter
With
Activated Carbon Filter

A relatively unheard brand lingering around a very competitive entry-level segment. PureZone 3-in-1 is one of the best value air purifiers in the Amazon market with 2000+ reviews. It is a phenomenon considering the number of emerging air cleaner brand released.

What makes it great is the Holy Grail 3 filter that consists of a pre-filter, True HEPA filter, and charcoal layer. Removing large contaminants o the smaller allergens like mold would be a piece of cake. On top of it all, you have UV-C light that is effective in destroying bacteria and viruses.

PureZone 3-in-1 is not shy on features too. You have an auto-off timer, a mid-range purifying radius, and backed by a 5 years warranty. A worthy, entry-level option especially to those new to air purifier scene.

Is no surprise that PureZone 3-in-1 has built its own fan base and rightly landed on our best cheap air purifier spot. One small problem though, the brand does not have another high-range model to upgrade to. So if you plan to move up from the same stable line in the near future, you're out of luck.

What's cool:

  • Affordable price tag for a 4-stage air purifier.
  • Pre-filter, Carbon Filter, True HEPA filter, and UV-C light.
  • Timer and sleep mode.
  • 5 years warranty.

What's not:

  • Lacks Auto mode and air quality indicator.
  • CADR is sufficient but not great.
  • Small filters with only 6 months of lifespan.
MRSP/ RSP**
± 139.99 p
     Annual filter ^    
± 40 p
Online price*
Latest Amazon price
pre-filter
With
Fine Preliminary Filter
HEPA filter
With
True HEPA filter
carbon filter
With
Activated Carbon Filter

The phrase what you paid is what you get does not apply to Levoit LV-132. A budget-friendly air purifier with the deal clincher nightlight, it offers specification that is no easy pushover. Powering the machine is a 3-stage filtration that includes a fine preliminary, mandatory HEPA and carbon filter. The combined effort would capture all known airborne contaminants indoor. This includes dust mite, pet dander, pollen, mold, smoke, and odor. Adding the fact that this is the only model here with an adjustable nightlight feature. Levoit LV-132 will give you the extra edge if you have toddler or children at home.

What's cool:

  • Low price tag with even lower filter replacement cost.
  • 3-stage filtration including True HEPA filter that performs well against microscopic particles.
  • Compact andd lightweight cylinder shape body.
  • Dimmable night light.

What's not:

  • Price is slightly higher price compared with other entry-level air purifiers.
  • Mediocre odor removal despite having a carbon filter.
MRSP/ RSP**
± 89.99 p
     Annual filter ^    
± 40 p
Online price*
Latest Amazon price

🏆 Honorable mention

Below are few more options that would work well if you are on a tight budget.
  • Holmes has a wide rage of affordable air cleaners that you could also look into.
  • Likewise, older/ discontinued Honeywell models could still work its magic.

📃 Previous holder

  • GermGuardian AC4850PT
  • Winix 5500-2

Best Cheap Air Purifier Comparison Table

Air PurifierFiltrationCoverageScoreOnline Price
Honeywell HPA2003-stage310 sq. ft. (29 m2)8
Winix 5300-24-stage360 sq. ft. (33 m2)7.8
GermGuardian AC5250PT5-stage193 sq. ft. (18 m2)7.5
GermGuardian AC41004-stage60 sq. ft. (6 m2)6.5
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Pet 043843-stage140 sq. ft. (13 m2)5.9
PureZone 3-in-14-stage200 sq. ft. (19 m2)7.4
Levoit LV-H1323-stage129 sq. ft. (12 m2)7.4

Additional Information

Will A Cheap Air Purifier Works? Is It Safe?

Even a very cheap air purifier will be able to remove airborne pollutants although the effectiveness is subjective. As long as the air purifier has HEPA filter and a motor fan, the device will be able to pull in airborne particles. The airborne particles will be trapped by the filter and only clean air will be distributed out. As for the safeness, all air purifiers that use mechanical filter are safe unless it is an Ozonator. An ozonator or ozone generator is often masked as an air purifier because it's receiving a lot of bad rep from the public and government agency. It produces ozone that in theory will decompose contaminants like smoke, odor, or mold. In reality, it is an unstable and reactive molecule that can damage our body immune system and lung tissue cells. Ozone is extremely hazardous if a person has asthma or breathing difficulty.

Do Air Purifiers Increase Electric Bill? What Is The Cost?

Air purifier will increase your electricity bill by a very thin margin even if you run it every single day. On average of 12 hours daily operation, you will only see an increase of $3 to $5 dollars a month in electricity bill. That's only $36 to $60 dollars annually. For all-day 24 hours operation, just multiply the numbers by 2 thus the monthly cost will be $6-$10 or $72-120 annually. Do note the electricity cost in the United States varies from states to states. Learn how to calculate the electric bills via our cost of running an air purifier guide.

What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 200?

There are no lack of options for air purifiers under 200 dollar. Our goal remains the same, filtration first (HEPA + Carbon filter), purifying second, and usability third. With that, here is the air purifiers that fits the criteria.

  1. Winix 5500-2 PlasmaWave air purifier
  2. Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Allergen Remover (after discount)
  3. LEVOIT LV-PUR131 True HEPA Air Purifier (after discount)
  4. Holmes HAP759-NU True HEPA Air Cleaner

What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 150?

There are quite a few options available for air purifier that cost less than 150 dollars. Our priority would reserved for air cleaner that has the best filtration setup. follow by purifying range (room size) and features. All things considered, here is our pick of the bunch.

  1. PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA air purifier
  2. GermGuardian AC5250PT True HEPA air purifier
  3. GermGuardian AC5300B True HEPA air purifier
  4. Winix 5300-2 PlasmaWave air purifier

What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 100?

Not a whole lot of options as 100 dollar would not even get you a decent speaker. We dig deep to look for HEPA air cleaners that qualifies. So below is the finding of what we have concluded.

  1. LEVOIT LV-H132
  2. GermGuardian AC4150BLCA/ AC4150PCA Night-Night 4-in-1 Kids Room Air Purifier
  3. Holmes HAP716-U True HEPA 3 Speed Tower Allergen Remover
  4. Holmes HAP600-U HEPA Compact Egg Air Purfier

What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 50?

This is really tough one as where is very few “super cheap” air cleaners to go with, let alone a good one. Still, we work hard and here is our best affordable air purifier if you have budget less than 50 dollar.

  1. LEVOIT LV-H126 with True HEPA Filter (after discount)
  2. GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1 Desktop Air Purifier (after discount)
  3. Holmes AOR118B-U Arm & Hammer Odor Grabber and Air Cleaner
  4. Holmes HAP9240-NWU/ HAP9240F-NTUA Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier
  5. Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact 04386

What To Look For When Buying A Good And Cheap Air Purifier.

First things first, understand your need and be specific about it. For example, I only a small air purifier to capture pet hair on my desk. Also, be realistic about what you can get within the budget and never compare with the top tier models. Ready? Here are the tips on how to choose smart with the best possible value return.

  1. Selling price and filter cost - While the selling price is the first thing to look at, compare the filter cost with competitors’ model. Also, consider how many years does it take for the filter price to stack up and match the purifier selling price.
  2. Size and weight - Not a critical factor but it’s worth taking note if you have a very specific dimension. Most cheap air purifier comes in a compact size so it will not occupy too much of your interior space.
  3. Airflow delivery rate and CADR - Try to find an air cleaner will the highest airflow or CADR output. The higher airflow delivery is, the swifter airborne particles will be push to the machine.
  4. Room size - Co-relate with the airflow delivery rate. Majority of the entry-level air purifier is catered for small room size due to the price factor. That doesn’t mean you can’t squeeze the best possible deal out of it.
  5. Pre-filter - A basic but important first-stage filtration. Regardless if is a permanent type or dual carbon pre-filter, it is a must-have filter in our book.
  6. HEPA filter - Perhaps the most important filter in the list. Most cheap air purifiers here are priced very close to each other. A good HEPA filter whether in the form of True HEPA or HEPA type would really make a big difference.
  7. Carbon/ Odor deodorization filter - Like HEPA filter, carbon filter really gives an air cleaner the edge over the others.
  8. UV-light/ Ionizer/ Other filters - Any additional filtration the budget air purifier can throw in is welcome.
  9. Additional features - This include Auto mode, AQ sensors, timer etc. Whatever features the air cleaner can fit in, we’ll take it.
  10. Branding reputation - It’s not easy to find an air cleaner that offers more than 1-year warranty at this price range, so the brand reputation plays a big role. Do consider the service center location or details of the warranty if repair is needed.