What Can A Cheap Air Purifier Do?
“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. 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?People with allergies but have very little budget to begin with. Infant or children with developing immune systems. Elderly or recovering patient with an impaired immune system. A person that is new to the air cleaner world and would like to give it a try before investing in a premium model. Finally, anyone that needs a secondary unit to complement its primary unit.
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 airflow. The two vital points in securing this spot.
- Low selling price with good CADR and purifying coverage.
- Carbon pre-filter that is effective against dust and light smoke.
- True-HEPA filter with a 99.9% efficiency rate against microscopic airborne particles.
- Light dimming option with 3 pre-set timer.
- 5 years warranty.
- Lacks modern features support like auto mode, sleep mode, and air quality indicator.
- Annual filter replacement cost is not the cheapest.
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.
- 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.
- 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 cheating on this one as the price is slightly above $100 after the discount. GermGuardian AC5250PT is an excellent, cheap air purifier that somehow manages to fit in a 5-stage filtration. This is not a gimmick as the filtration set includes a 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. UV-C light will eliminate (kill not trap) germs 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. With all the bundled filtration, the price can easily shoot out to $200 on the competitors model.
There is no better filtration package you could get at this price range. Being the only tower air purifier listed here, GermGuardian AC5250PT will take up very little of your interior space. However, airflow performance and CADR has to take a dip to accommodate its tower form body. Filter cost is on the higher side as there 5 parts required replacing. Autonomous operation is also nowhere to be found but understandably since it falls under entry-level category.
- 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.
- Slightly pricey filter replacement cost 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. 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, THE PCO filter and UV-C light that specialize in killing bacteria and viruses. Not bad for an air purifier that is supposed to cut costs at every corner.
For the low price you paid, GermGuardian AC4100 can only do so much. The small body means you have to compromise on a few things, mainly the filter size and performance. It also comes with zero supportive features to enhance the overall usability. Nonetheless, it is the ideal model to capture dust and allergens if you want something 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. 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 models out there. Adding HEPA filter in the bag, TrueAir can handle airborne irritants well if is still within the purifying zone.
Let's get the usual bad stuff out of the way. It has a weak filtration particularly against smoke, limited coverage, and basic features. However, at around 60 price points including a set of carbon filters, it is a bargain. 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.
- Dirt cheap 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 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. Best of all, you have a UV-C light that is effective in destroying bacteria and viruses. PureZone 3-in-1 is not shy about 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.
It Is 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 same stable line in the near future, you're out of luck.
- Affordable 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. 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.
Levoit LV-132 is not the best affordable HEPA air purifier around as there are cheaper models out there. It is still below the $100 benchmark and comes with a unique feature that no other air purifier could offer. Go with this if you are looking for something that is compact and has no indoor odor concern.
- Low price tag with even lower filter replacement cost.
- 3-stage filtration including 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
- GermGuardian AC4850PT
- 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|
|Honeywell HPA200 Air Purifier|
|3-stage||310 sq. ft. (29 m2)||8|
|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. You do have to dig deep with some research as there is a lot of restriction on air purifier 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, and fan speed.
Is it Safe To Purchase An Air Purifier Under 100?
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.
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 thus the monthly cost 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 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.
- 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 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.
- 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 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.
- 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
What To Look For When Buying A Cheap Air Purifier Under 100
First things first, understand your need and be specific about it. For example, I only need 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 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 - Try to find an air cleaner will the highest airflow or CADR output. The higher the number, the swifter airborne particles will be a push to the machine.
- Room size - 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.
- 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. 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 big difference.
- Carbon/ Odor deodorization filter - Capture indoor smoke 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.
- 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.