What Can A Cheap Air Purifier Do?
You don’t have to spend a fortune on a home air purifier. “Cheap” is a very loose term that would have a whole new interpretation for different sets of people. Let it be an air purifier under 200, 100, 50 or a heavily discounted model, there a lot of things an air cleaner can do. Most importantly, it can provide clean air despite having a low price tag. By breathing in clean air can relieve allergic reactions like sinus, itchy skin, dry cough, sore throat, watery eyes, and nausea. It can also prevent seasonal allergies like viral flu and asthma from triggering. In long-run it can protect you from sickness like COPD, pneumonia, bronchitis, dementia, and heart disease. Another thing a lot of didn’t realize that air purifier can brighten your mood, reduce stress, help you sleep better, and lower blood pressure. The only key differences between cheap (poor quality) and price cheap are the end result. A price cheap air purifier can still provide exceptional value within its capacity. As a matter of fact, many of the best-selling models are typically in the entry-level segment.
Who is this for?A budget air purifier is perfect for people with allergies but has a very little budget to begin with. It is also suitable for infants or children with developing immune systems or the elderly with an impaired immune system. A person that is new to the 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 the primary unit.
One of the best inexpensive air purifier with many pedigrees. Fellowes AeraMax 100 is certified to be allergy and asthma-friendly. It is also independently tested to be effective in removing the influenza virus from indoor air. Despite the 7.3 x 27.3 x 8.5 in slim tower form, AeraMax 100 is powered by an excellent 4-stage filtration including a True HEPA filter and carbon filter. It is the equivalent filter type used by more premium air purifiers. Unlike a HEPA-type filter, the true HEPA filter can capture microscopic pollutants as small as 0.3 microns including viral viruses. For such a low price, the filter even comes with an antimicrobial treatment that inhibits mold and mildew growth. For smoke particles, the standalone carbon filter will trap household fumes and odors with relative ease. Completing the filtration is the Fellow's own PlasmaTRUE technology. An ionizer that releases negative ions to pull airborne particles down for the filter to capture. With around 100 to 200 sq. ft. coverage, you can practically place AeraMax 100 in any corner of the house.
For less than 150 after discount, Fellowes AeraMax 100 offers great value with top HEPA filtration quality. Even though it is the middle child between other Fellowes air purifiers, AeraMax 100 offer cheaper price point yet manage to retain most of its features. You have air quality indicator, Aera+ mode (for flu season), AeraSmart Sensor, and Auto mode all come standard. The sensor is very sensitive and accurate to nearby particles which is uncommon for an air purifier of this affordable price segment. The only drawback for AeraMax 100is the low CADR return and weak airflow. Less than 60 cfm so this is probably not the best option for living room.
- Affordable tower air purifier with 100-200 square feet purifying coverage.
- Single carbon filter that is effective against smoke and light odor.
- True-HEPA filter with a 99.97% efficiency rate against microscopic airborne particles.
- AeraSafe antimicrobial treatment + PlasmaTrue technology.
- 3 years warranty.
- Limited airflow with CADR is less than 100 cfm.
- No dedicated pre-filter for quick dust removal.
Rather than picking 5500-2 as our best cheap air purifier winner, we will go with the more economical alternative. Winix 5300-2 rightly earns this spot as it is the cheaper version yet with most of 5500-2 features. Even from the exterior design, you can tell this is an identical model. For the affordable price tag, Winix 5300-2 comes with everything you ever need including an AQ indicator, built-in sensor, timer, and 4 speed with auto/ sleep mode. On to the filtration side, Winix 5300-2 is well-supported by a dependable 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. Dust, mold, pollen, pet dander, germs, and chemical smoke odor will be removed with ease.
At around 130 after the discount, it is still not exactly within under $100 budget. So why should you pay slightly higher than those super cheap and compact air purifier? It is because Winix 5300-2 is one of the best cheap HEPA air purifiers. With the comprehensive filtration, the strong airflow output complements the purification well. At full speed, the air purifier can cover a high 360 square feet at 240.1 cfm airflow delivery rate. CADR is equally impressive with dust free at 243 cfm, pollen free at 246 cfm, and smoke free at 232 cfm. Ideal for all room sizes including living room, bedroom, baby changing room, basement, kitchen, and garage. Perhaps the minor complaints that we have are the high annual cost and lack of remote control (available in 5500-2). It is also rather bulky compared with other portable air purifiers here.
- For the price of less than 150, you'll get an equal 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.
- 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.
We might be "deceiving" on this one as the price is slightly above $100 after the discount. Regardless of that, GermGuardian AC5250PT is an excellent, cheap air purifier that somehow manages to fit in a 5-stage filtration. The filtration set includes a charcoal pre-filter, True HEPA filter, antimicrobial, and UV-C light. The first dual carbon pre-filter would trap large particles plus, smoke and odor. Next, the True HEPA filter will target microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns with a 99.97% capturing efficiency. UV-C light will eliminate (kill not trap) germs, viruses, and bacteria for good. The Pet Pure treatment aka antimicrobial will inhibits microorganisms' growth. On top of it all, there's 5 selectable speed and an 8 hours timer for added convenience. The worry-free 5 years warranty is the perfect cherry on top. With all the bundled filtration, the price can easily shoot out to $200 on a competitor's model. GermGuardian AC5250PT Pet Pure can be yours for around $150 including filters. There is no better filtration package you can get at this low price range.
Being the only tower air purifier listed here, GermGuardian AC5250PT will take up very little of your interior space. The 6.1 x 27.3 x 9.5 in body and 10.5 lb weight fits well in a tight corner. That said, airflow performance and CADR has to take a dip to accommodate its tower form body. GermGuardian AC5250PT can cover a modest 193 square feet of space that is usable but not suitable for a large living hall. Filter cost is on the higher side as there 5 parts required replacing. Autonomous operation is nowhere to be found but understandably so as it falls under the entry-level air purifier category. If you can fork out slightly more money, this could be the best value air purifier below 200.
- Easily one of the best value air purifiers around.
- Complete 5-stage HEPA filtration with the germ-killing UV-light.
- Superb 99.97% efficiency True HEPA filter with Pet Pure antimicrobial that inhibits microbes growth.
- 5 speed, Programmable timer, and informative digital display.
- 5 years warranty.
- Pricey filter replacement due to the high number of filtration.
- Lacks air quality sensors and Auto mode.
- Charcoal pre-filter is not the greatest against odor.
The smallest and most affordable air purifier under $100 (or 50 after discount). GermGuardian AC4100 might not be the new kid on the block, it still manages to squeeze in a respectable 3-in-1 filtration. The speaker alike exterior is pleasing to the eyes and gains the portability perk that no other air cleaners could. You can run it in a vertical or horizontal position without impeding the airflow. As such, GermGuardian AC4100 can be placed at any location including top shelf, bedside table, or desk. Going back to the filtration, you’ll get HEPA filter, charcoal + PCO filter, and UV-C light as standard. Yes, THE PCO filter and UV-C light that specialize in killing bacteria and viruses in AC4100 compact body. Not bad for a small air purifier that is supposed to cut costs at every corner.
The best cheapest air purifier without a shadow of a doubt. For the low price you paid, GermGuardian AC4100 can only do so much. The small 6.5 x 11 x 7.5 in body and 4.85 lb means you have to compromise on a few things, mainly the filter size and performance. A HEPA-type filter is not the same as a True HEPA filter. The 60 square feet coverage is very restricted for close-range purifying. The airflow delivery rate is also poor and limited for clean air output. AC4100 also comes with zero supportive features to enhance the overall usability. It is the most basic form of air cleaner you can get. Bypassing the drawbacks we mentioned, GermGuardian AC4100 is still an ideal model if you want an air purifier that is dirt cheap and doesn't mind the small purifying area.
- Cheapest 4-stage HEPA air purifier that costs even less than some air cleaners' filter.
- Compact body that works in vertical and horizontal positions.
- UV-C light technology that will permanently eradicate germs and viruses.
- Poor CADR, airflow, and purifying coverage. Only meant for desktop or bedside use.
- Limited functionality due to the small body.
Need a budget-friendly air purifier 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. You can run Hamilton Beach in horizontally or vertically position without disrupting the airflow. Given the low base price and size constraint, Hamilton TrueAir pet still comes with 2 carbon zeolite filters. It offers a better odor filtration than some of the entry-level models out there. Adding HEPA filter in the bag, TrueAir can handle airborne irritants well within its 140 square feet purifying zone. Airborne dust mites, mold, pollen, dander, pet odors, cigarette smokes will be capture by the filter for good.
Let's get the usual bad stuff out of the way. It has a weak HEPA-type filtration, limited coverage, and basic features. No auto mode, sleep mode, or timer in this air purifier. However, at around 60 price points including a set of carbon filters, it is an absolute bargain. You can even wash the HEPA-type filter to extend the filter lifespan and save the money for something else. If for some reason you think Hamilton Beach TrueAir is still too expensive, here are two more affordable air purifiers from the series you could opt for. We pick this higher-grade version simply for its enhanced odor filtration without adding much to the cost. If you are willing to give up on the carbon zeolite filters, no doubt the cheaper TrueAir version would suit you better.
- Dirt cheap to own and maintain if you don't mind the small purifying area.
- Compact body that works in horizontally vertically mode.
- Permanent HEPA filter that can be reused multiple times.
- Like most compact air purifier, Hamilton Beach TrueAir suffers from the poor airflow coverage.
- Weak filtration that cannot target microscopic particles and strong odor.
- Basic unit with no supportive features.
A relatively unheard brand lingering around a very competitive entry-level segment. PureZone 3-in-1 is one of the best value air purifiers under 100 with 2000+ Amazon reviews. It is a phenomenon considering the number of emerging air cleaner brand released. What makes PureZone 3-in-1 great is the Holy Grail filters that consist of a pre-filter, True HEPA filter, and charcoal layer. PureZone does not use a cheaper HEPA-type filter like most small and affordable air purifier. It uses a True HEPA filter that can remove 99.97% of dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, pet dander, fungi in the air. The charcoal filter can capture light smoke and odors coming from pets, diapers, cooking, and even ciggy. Best of all, you have the UV-C light that is effective in destroying bacteria and viruses. Removing large contaminants to microscopic allergens would be a piece of cake.
PureZone 3-in-1 is not shy about features too. You have an auto-off timer and a mid-range purifying radius that covers up to 200 square feet even with the subdue 80 cfm CADR. It is also backed by a 5 years warranty that alleviates any fears of the air purifier breaking down. No surprise that PureZone 3-in-1 has built its own fan base and rightly calls for a spot here. 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 stable line in the near future, you're out of luck. Other than that, PureZone is a worthy, entry-level air purifier for those that are new to the scene.
- Affordable price with low filter replacement cost.
- 4-stage filtration: Pre-filter, Carbon filter, True HEPA filter, and UV-C light.
- Up to 200 sq. ft. purifying coverage.
- Timer, sleep mode, and 5 years warranty.
- CADR is sufficient but not great.
- Small filters with only 6 months of lifespan.
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 a competitive specification that is no easy pushover. LV-132 offers a decent 200 square feet coverage that is suitable for bedroom of all sizes. 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 with relative ease. 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 toddlers or children at home. The little ones will sleep comfortably with the air purifier cleaning the air and night light providing the night clarity.
Levoit LV-132 is one of the best affordable HEPA air purifiers even though there are cheaper models out there. It is below the $100 benchmark and comes with a unique feature that no other air purifier could offer. We appreciate the inclusion of a True HEPA filter and a dedicated carbon filter despite the limited space. Speaking of limitation, the filter size and 6 months lifespan are expected given its compactness. 80 cfm CADR is not great but workable for small purifying. Go with this if you are looking for an air purifier that is cheap, compact, and has no indoor odor concern.
- Best budget air purifier with low price tag with even lower filter replacement cost.
- 3-stage filtration including a True HEPA filter that performs well against microscopic particles.
- Compact and lightweight cylinder shape body.
- Dimmable night light.
- Price is slightly higher compared with other entry-level air purifiers.
- Mediocre odor removal despite having a carbon filter.
🏆 Honorable mention
- Holmes has a wide range of affordable air cleaners that you could also look into.
- Likewise, older/ discontinued Honeywell models could still work its magic.
📃 Previous holder
- Honeywell HFD-010 QuietClean Compact Tower Air Purifier
- Honeywell HPA200
- GermGuardian AC4850PT/ AC4825
- Winix 5500-2
- GermGuardian AC4150BLCA/ AC4150PCA Night-Night 4-in-1 Kids Room Air Purifier
- Holmes HAP716-U True HEPA 3 Speed Tower Allergen Remover
- Holmes HAP600-U HEPA Compact Egg Air Purfier
2020 Best Air Purifier Under 100
|Air Purifier||Online Price (Amazon)||Filtration||Coverage||Score|
|Fellowes AeraMax100/ DX5 Air Purifier|
|4-stage||100 sq. ft. (9 m2)||5.4|
|Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier|
|4-stage||360 sq. ft. (33 m2)||7.8|
|GermGuardian AC5250PT Air Purifier|
|5-stage||193 sq. ft. (18 m2)||5.7|
|GermGuardian AC4100 Air Purifier|
|4-stage||60 sq. ft. (6 m2)||6.5|
|Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact Pet 04384 Air Purifier|
|3-stage||140 sq. ft. (13 m2)||5.5|
|PureZone 3-in-1 Air Purifier|
|4-stage||200 sq. ft. (19 m2)||7.4|
|Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier|
|3-stage||129 sq. ft. (12 m2)||7.4|
Are Cheap Air Purifiers A Waste Of Money?
An affordable air purifier won't be a waste of money as long as it can remove airborne pollutants, allergens, and toxic gases. There are many misconceptions that good cheap air purifier is incapable of cleaning the air. That is far from the truth as even an air purifier that costs less than 50 dollars can still sanitize the air to a large extent. A budget air purifier will improve air quality, prevent respiratory illnesses, slow down dust build-up, and stop mold/ mildew from spreading. It can even make the room smell fresher after cooking or cigarette break. That said, some research is needed as there is a lot of restriction on air cleaner in this price range. Purifying effectiveness can be subjective depending on the types of air purifiers. Look for features like HEPA filter, pre-filter, carbon filter, UV-light, ionizer, and fan speed.
Cheap Air Purifier VS Expensive Air Purifier
Pricing, room size coverage, types of filtration, and performance are the differences between cheap and expensive HEPA air purifier. Starting with the pricing, the most affordable air purifiers will not cost more than $100. Inexpensive air purifiers are between $100 to $200 while expensive air purifiers will start from $200 all the way up to thousands. Most cheap air purifiers will cover a smaller room between 60 to 350 square feet of depending on the size of the air purifier. Expensive air purifiers will cover a wider room space starting from 300 square feet at 2 air changes per hour.
Having multiple filtrations can help capture all types of airborne allergens, smoke, and odors. There are cheap air purifiers that come with a single-stage filtration. Avoid those. Instead, go with multi-stage filtration air cleaners that are still within the affordable price point. Expensive air purifiers only come with multi-stage filtration with a much large filter. HEPA-type filter can be found in very cheap air purifiers while True HEPA filter is typically used in more expensive air purifiers.
As for the frequency of filter replacement, most budget air purifiers have a shorter filter lifespan between 3 to 12 months. Premium air purifiers filter will typically last a year or higher depending on the filter quality. Most cheap air purifiers have CADR or airflow delivery rate of not more than 200 cfm while expensive air purifiers will have at least 200 cfm output.
In conclusion, the pricier the air purifier, the better specification and filters come with it.
Is it Safe To Purchase A Cheap Air Purifier?
Regardless of the price point, all air purifiers that use mechanical filters are safe unless it is an Ozonator. An Ozonator or ozone generator will produce harmful ozone that will damage our body immune system and lung tissue cells. The safest option is to go with a HEPA air purifier with a built-in motor fan. It will pull in airborne particles, trapped them and distribute out the purified air.
What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 100?
There are many air purifiers under $100 that still comes with a HEPA filter and carbon filter. We included the absolute best value air purifiers that would not burn a hole in your pocket.
- Levoit LV-H132
- GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1
- Holmes Desktop Air Purifier
- GermGuardian GG1000
- Holmes Compact Egg Air Purifier
- Hamilton Beach TrueAir
- Honeywell HFD-010 QuietClean
- Tredy TD-1500 HEPA Air Purifier
- Pure Enrichment PureZone Halo Air Purifier
- hOmeLabs True HEPA Air Purifier
Do Air Purifiers Use A Lot Of Electricity?
A cheap 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 bills. That's only $36 to $60 dollars annually. For all-day 24 hours operation, just multiply the numbers by 2. The new monthly electricity bill will be $6-$10 or $72-120 annually. Take note that the electricity cost in the United States varies from state to state.
What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 200?
There is no lack of options for air purifiers under 200 dollars. Our goal remains the same, filtration first (HEPA + Carbon filter), purifying second, and usability third. With that, here are the air purifiers that fit the criteria.
- Winix 5500-2 PlasmaWave air purifier
- Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Allergen Remover (after discount)
- LEVOIT LV-PUR131 True HEPA Air Purifier (after discount)
- Holmes HAP759-NU True HEPA Air Cleaner
What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 150?
There are quite a few options available for air purifiers that cost less than 150 dollars. Our priority would be reserved for air cleaners that have the best filtration setup. Follow closely by purifying range (room size) and features. All things considered, here is our pick of the bunch.
- PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA air purifier
- GermGuardian AC5250PT True HEPA air purifier
- GermGuardian AC5300B True HEPA air purifier
- Winix 5300-2 PlasmaWave air purifier
What Is The Best Air Purifier Under 50?
This is a tough one as there are 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 a budget less than 50 dollars.
- LEVOIT LV-H126 with True HEPA Filter (after discount)
- GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1 Desktop Air Purifier (after discount)
- Holmes AOR118B-U Arm & Hammer Odor Grabber and Air Cleaner
- Holmes HAP9240-NWU/ HAP9240F-NTUA Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier
- Hamilton Beach TrueAir Compact 04386
How Do You Get The Plastic Smell Out Of A New Air Purifier?
Turning on the air purifier and leave it running all-day can quickly remove the plastic stench. Leave it outside and let the smell slowly air away works too. When you unbox a brand new air purifier, there will be a strong plastic smell or burning odor that can be nauseating. This is because most cheap air purifiers are completely made out of plastic mold and will give off a strong intense smell. The smell remains wrapped in a protective plastic sleeve and airtight box for a long duration of time. Even if you don't take any action, the smell will dissipate in a few day's time.
What To Consider When Buying A Cheap Air Purifier
Getting the best value out of the air purifier is crucial in this price range. Whether you have a price budget of under 50, 100, 150, or 200, the ultimate goal of an air purifier is to clean the air. Understanding your needs can ensure you're getting the best out of an air purifier with overpaying it. For example, You will only need a small air purifier to capture pet hair on my desk. Any specification or multi-stage filtration should be the drive to achieve the clean air goal. 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 a budget air purifier with the best possible value return.
- Selling price and filter cost - Compare the package you will get with the competitors’ model. Also, account for the filter replacement cost. Consider how many years does it take for the filter price to stack up and match the retail price.
- 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 interior space.
- Airflow delivery rate and CADR - Clean Air Delivery Rate is the official metric used to measure the performance of an air purifier. Like airflow delivery rate, it uses CFM (cubic feet per minute) to reflect on the volume of clean air. Look for an air cleaner will the highest airflow or CADR output. The higher the number, the swifter airborne particles will be removed..
- Room size (Coverage) - Co-relate with the airflow delivery rate. The majority of 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. Most recommended room size figures released by the manufacturer are based on 2 air changes per hour. You can determine the square footage of the room size by multiplying the width by the length. Pick an air purifier will a greater coverage than the room size you are about to cover.
- Pre-filter - First-stage filtration design to capture large particles like dust and hair. Regardless if is a permanent type or dual carbon pre-filter, it is a must-have filter in our book.
- HEPA filter - Perhaps the most important filter in the list as cheap air purifiers are priced very close to each other. Having a good HEPA filter whether in the form of True HEPA (99.97% efficiency/ 0.3 microns) or HEPA type (99% efficiency/ 2 microns) would make a huge difference.
- Carbon/ Odor deodorization filter - A necessarily in our book. Carbon filter capture indoor smoke, harsh fumes, and odors particles coming from the bathroom, kitchen, and pet. Like HEPA filter, carbon filter really gives an air cleaner the edge over the others. Most air purifiers will come with one regardless of the price tag.
- UV-light - Ultraviolet technology that requires no cleaning and is effective in killing bacteria and viruses.
- Ionizer - Release millions of negative ions into the air to merge with positive ions particles. The extra weight forces the ions to fall for the air purifier to capture.
- Additional features - This includes Auto mode, AQ sensors, timer etc. Whatever features the air cleaner can fit in, we’ll take it.
- 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 here. Do consider the service center location or details of the warranty if repair is needed.
- No to ozone production - Never purchase an ozone generator to clean the air in your home. Ozone generator or Ozonator is not an air purifier despite how heavily marketed as one. Inhaling to ozone will damage our lung tissue cells, aggravate asthma, and allergies. EPA recommends ozone level not more than 0.08 parts per million at home. So check carefully what technology is used in the air purifier before making the purchase.