High-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filters are pleated devices that remove particles from the air. These HEPA filters are used in a variety of devices, including air purifiers that can remove particles from your home's air. We've made a list below of the best air purifiers with HEPA filtration so it's easier for you to make a choice.
HEPA filters are not subject to any federal regulation, but the Environmental Protection Agency provides advice about how to choose the most efficient filters. Continue reading to learn how to choose HEPA filters for your home and how to select the best purifier.
What are HEPA air filters?
HEPA filters filter out tiny particles of dust, mold, pollen, and bacteria from the air. The filter is made from thin glass fibers that are randomly arranged in dense, paperlike material. This material is then folded into pleats.
These filters trap pollutants as air particles pass through them. Because larger particles stick to the filters, they prevent smaller particles from getting through. HEPA filters catch particles as small as 0.3 microns. Referring to 25 microns is the smallest visible thing in the human eye. A strand of hair measures between 17 and 180 microns across. This is very relevant especially if you are using an air purifier in an enclosed area like a bedroom.
HEPA filters are used to remove 99.97% particles from the air when they are placed in infiltration systems such as air cleaners or purifiers. Although these filters were originally used in nuclear power plants, many new products use HEPA filters to clean your home's air. We compiled a list of some of the best air purifiers with HEPA filtration that we recommend.
Different types of filters
Many types of home air purification and filters are available. HEPA filters are used in many devices such as cleaning and purification systems. They can also be used in portable and whole-home fan systems. These filters are designed to remove tiny particles from the air that passes through them.
HEPA filters don't have to be the only option. However, they are highly effective at filtering even the smallest particles of air. You can also use filters such as:
Ultra-HEPA filters and ULPA filters: These filters capture particles as minute as 0.3 microns.
Electrostatic filters: They trap particles using a small amount of static charge. This helps the particles stick to their filter.
Electrostatic precipitators: These filters are made of metal plates and wires that attract particles with an opposing charge. These filters can be easily washed and re-used.
Ionization: These filters use a small charge to attract particles in the air. This type of filter can release ozone gas and may irritate people suffering from respiratory disease.
How to choose HEPA air purifiers
Home air cleaning is a complex business. There are many choices. Although the EPA doesn't recommend or endorse particular types of filters, it can offer guidance on how to choose the right product. These recommendations formed the basis for how we make suggestions for air purifiers. Here are the key considerations:
Size is important. Choose portable filters that are appropriate for the space you intend to use them in. The clean air delivery rate (CADR score) of your filter should equal two-thirds of the room's area.
Avoid ones that produce ozone. This gas is produced during air purification processes. Ozone gas can be used to clean and disinfect the air. However, inhaled ozone gas can cause irritation and lung damage. Ozone-based air cleaners are intended to be used in uninhabited rooms. These cleaners are not intended to be used in enclosed spaces where you are present. No US government agency has approved any home-use ozone generators.
Take a look at the industry ratings. Although there aren't any set rules for this, industry leaders have established standards for HEPA filtration. The following criteria should be met when purchasing a filter:
Designated HEPA filter
Manufacturer states that the product filters particles less than 1 micron.
How is filtration measured?
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), is a method of measuring the effectiveness of home purifiers. It decides the cubic feet of air that can be filtered per minute or what size particles can be removed from a volume.
After testing small, medium, and large particle filtering - often using pollen, smoke, and dust - the rating is given. Based on these results, a CADR score is calculated.
The area you are trying to filter is the best way to determine the CADR rating. The greater the CADR rating, the more particles the device can remove from the room and the bigger the room it can service.
CADR is used for residential rating, but industrial HEPA filters are often measured using minimum efficiency reports values (MERV) that range from 1 to 16, a higher value signifying better filtration. This procedure was designed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers.
Top Picks for Air Purifiers with HEPA Filters
We compiled reviews and ratings for a variety of HEPA home purifiers and compiled a list that combined these ratings with industry leaders and the recommendations of the EPA. We excluded air cleaners that used ionization or ozone technology. These are the results:
Honeywell True HEPA Whole Room Air Purifier with Allergen Remover, HPA5300
You can find this device in most brick-and-mortar shops and on sale. This makes it an easy option to purchase in a hurry if it's still in stock. The appliance is light and portable, making it easy to move from one room to another. Although it is quieter than its rivals, it still provides excellent filtration.
You can also find models that are smaller or designed to move a smaller amount of air, which lowers the price. According to consumer ratings, this product is a popular and affordable device.
Levoit Air Purifiers
Levoit is a popular choice among online shoppers. Levoit offers a range of models to suit every budget. Levoit is priced below other high-performing models, making it affordable and still doing the job.
The Levoit air purifier with HEPA has optimized filters. The device can be easily transported and has voice control and other bells and whistles.
Winix True HEPA
There are many models in the Winix line, but it is the best for budget-conscious customers. This model does not have smart sensors or fancy apps, but it can be used to automate settings.
AHAM Verify is a manufacturer's association and product testing program that certifies this air purifier's performance in rooms up to 360 sq. feet.
Blueair Blue Pure 211+
Blueair made it to our list twice. Blueair is a top-rated air purifier with HEPA filter on several consumer websites. Consumer Reports is a fan of the model's high-quality filtration, at both low and high speeds. (CADR scores usually reflect filtration at the fastest speed).
Below is the second review for its overall line of air purifiers, which offer options for all room sizes and budgets.
This appliance is movable and can be used at home. It also has washable filter parts to prolong the life of your filter. Although it is not the most quiet model, it does have other features such as a light that reminds you when the filter needs to be changed.
Blueair does not use True HEPA filtration. Blueair uses a combination of electrostatic charge and physical filters, which they call HEPASilent.
This particular model is a little heavy, but there are other sizes available in the Blue line as well.
Medify Air MA-40
Medify Air is another popular brand among people who use air purifiers with HEPA filter to treat their medical conditions. It promises it will be quiet, but the quietest setting has a volume that is half that of a vacuum cleaner. This makes its noise level an issue of opinion.
Although it is large and difficult to transport, this unit offers high levels of filtering for its price. Medify Air has a vast spectrum of high-end and medical-grade air purification models.
BISSELL MYair Pro Air Purifier
Bissell is a trusted name in filtration. The MYair Pro purifier by Bissell evokes a feeling of nostalgia and has a retro-styled look.
The device is portable but might prove difficult to transport due to its large size. However, the 20-pound device comes with a carry handle. Bissell also offers other models.
Rabbit Air MinusA2
Rabbit Air is a popular, but expensive option for those looking for style and functionality. You can choose from black or white versions, as well as famous art prints such as Van Gogh's Starry Night and Monet's Water Lilies. Rabbit Air offers some of the most sleek air purifiers you will find.
This air purifier with HEPA filter model is extremely quiet at the lowest settings. However, it may compromise some functionality for volume or appearance. This model may not have the same CADR rating as other cheaper models but it could be the right pick if you are looking for functionality and high-tech options.
This is the only item on our list that allows you to mount it on a wall or set it on a tabletop.
PuroAir HEPA 14 Air Purifier
PuroAir offers several models. These machines are a workhorse and have received high ratings from many reviews, particularly from those suffering from asthma or allergies.
PuroAir models are lighter than this one, while some have caster wheels that make it portable. These purifiers are quieter at lower speeds but can get louder at higher speeds. These purifiers still work well at higher speeds and are efficient.
Coway Airmega Air Purifiers
The line comes in a range of colors and styles, but the true draw is the filtering power. The price is also high for the high filtration power. The Coway device is one of our more expensive recommendations. It features Wi-Fi connectivity, an app for mobile devices, and voice control.
The advantages and disadvantages of HEPA air purifiers
You should consider the size of your room and its filtering capabilities when choosing an air purifier. An air purifier work best when it is regularly cleaned and maintained. An expired or dirty air purifier with a HEPA filter won't do the job.
For more information on how to replace your filter, consult the manufacturer. These should generally be replaced every 60 to 90 days.
Consider your reasons for buying an air purifier, the effectiveness of the device, and your budget. While some units might be more expensive than others, it really comes down to the quality of the unit's ability to filter the air in your room.