Best Air Purifiers Under $100 For Smoke, Dust, Pets, Mold ... for 2021
Best Air Purifiers Under $100 are affordable solutions for purifying air at home and removing harmful particles that can cause asthma, allergies and other health issues. While vacuum cleaners vacuum floors and other surfaces found at home, air purifiers 'vacuum' the air that one breathes.
Before buying air purifier, it is important to know what they actually do, how they operate, their features and specifications and in the end, perhaps the most important, why are you buying them ...
Updated: January 14, 2021.
Note: one should not expect these affordable air purifiers to perform like larger and much more expensive air purifiers that cost even 10-20x more. However, they do what they are designed to do.
On this page:
3-in-1 air purifier with true HEPA air filter, UV-C sanitizer lamp. It captures allergens, smoke, odors, mold, dust, germs. Great for pets owners, smokers etc.
4 stage air filtration and purification, true HEPA air filtration level. Automatic speed adjustment option available.
True HEPA air filtration, odor, dust, mold, smoke and other allergens 3 stage filtration. For cleaner rooms and homes; LV-PUR131 is newer model, costs slightly more than $100.
Low consumption and compact design, carbon filtration combined with UVGI technology and electrostatic purification. Very quiet unit.
Model 04384, comes with triple filtration technology (pre-filter, lifetime 99% HEPA-grade filter, 2 replaceable carbon filters), removing even pet odors.
True HEPA air filtration, combined with carbon filter and UV-C sanitizer, captures allergens, smoke, odors, mold, dust, germs etc. Good for pets owners and smokers, too.
Desktop air purifier, compact and portable design for rooms and offices. True HEPA air filtration including active carbon filter.
Multistage air filtration - carbon filter combined with ion filter removes 99% of air impurities. Compact and very affordable unit.
True HEPA air filtration achieved combining HEPA and active carbon filter. Base is removable - easy to convert it from tower air purifier to a table-top unit.
Combines HEPA filter and active carbon, removes 99.97% of dangerous particles. Portable, compact and very affordable unit.
Note: USB powered unit.
There are several important features that determine the quality of the air purifiers. Check their specifications and descriptions and try to find the unit that best suits your needs.
Air Flow - air flow is usually given in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) or in cubic meters per minute/hour. Stronger air flow means that air purifier can process and clean more air faster, but it also means that the unit requires more power, often leading to noisier unit.
Area or Room Size - most air purifiers specify recommended maximum size of the room that the unit is designed for. If the room is larger than that, then the unit might not be able to purify air as it is declared by the manufacturer.
Operating Noise - noise levels of air purifiers vary significantly from 30 or so dB to 55-60 or even more dB. Passive air purifiers are very quiet units, but their air flow is rather limited. Larger and stronger units tend to be noisy, but fortunately, most of them come with several operating speeds. Higher speeds are intended for use during the day when environment noise are much higher than during the night, when so-called 'silent' modes are recommended.
Warranty - warranty conditions are model dependent, but some models have extra long warranties (5 years or even more). Although they are low maintenance units, air purifiers are not maintenance free units - one has to clean or replace filters from time to time and check general condition of the unit.
Air Filtration Level - level of air filtration is very important feature for determining the actual quality of the air purifier. Most manufacturers claim that their units are HEPA air purifiers, but they don't always clearly state actual HEPA standard.
Following table lists various classifications of EPA/HEPA/ULPA filters according to the EN 1822 standard:
|Filter Group||Filter Class||Filtration Efficiency||Penetration|
|Efficiency Particulate Air (EPA) Filters||E10||85 %||15 %|
|E11||95 %||5 %|
|E12||99.5 %||0.5 %|
|High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters||H13||99.95 %||0.05 %|
|H14||99.995 %||0.005 %|
|Ultra Low Penetration Air (ULPA) Filters||U15||99.9995 %||0.0005 %|
|U16||99.99995 %||0.00005 %|
|U17||99.999995 %||0.000005 %|
Note: In the European Union air filtration is defined by standard EN 1822, which defines several classes of EPA/HEPA/ULPA air filters according to their ability to retain(!) the Most Penetrating Particle Size (MPPS) particles that are in the 0.1 and 0.3 micrometers range.
However, commonly in US 'true HEPA' air filtration means the ability of the air filter to retain at least 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles. Thus, 'true HEPA' is between H13 and H14 filter classes.
Personally, I prefer when manufacturer states exact air filtration ability of not just air purifiers, but vacuum cleaners as well.
Also, it is good to know the size of most common pollutants at homes: bacteria 0.3-10.0 micrometers, pollen 10.0-100.0 micrometers, pet and human hair 30.0-200.0 micrometers, dust mites 90.0-600.0 micrometers, sand 50.0-1000.0 micrometers, etc.
As one can see, it is very important that manufacturers state size of the retained dirt, too, since some particles can be smaller even than 0.3 microns.
CADR Rating - CADR is short for Clean Air Delivery Rate and is measured by ANSI/AHAM AC-1 standard - air purifier is placed in 1008 cubic feet testing chamber, with the amount of air pollutants measured; air purifier operates for 20 minutes at full power and the reduction of air pollutants is measured.
For example, if the air purifier has a CADR rating of 100 for pollen particles, it is able to reduce pollen particle levels to the same level as it would be achieved by adding 100 cubic feet of clean air each minute.
CADR ratings often vary according to the particles filtered, with common values for home air purifiers given in the following list:
- Dust 10 to 400 CADR,
- Pollen 25 to 450 CADR,
- Tobacco Smoke 10 to 450 CADR, etc.
Obviously, air purifiers under $100, especially smaller desk air purifiers, have lower values, while expensive ($1000+) air purifiers have higher values.
CADR also has some limits, too:
- filtration effectiveness of small particles is not shown,
- air purifiers are run at full power, but in real life they are commonly operated on lower settings,
- decline in effectiveness over time is not shown (filters get dirty over time),
- gas filtration is not measured, which can be very important in removing pet odors and other gaseous pollutants.
There are other drawbacks of CADR ratings, but these are the most important ones.
For example, solid affordable air purifier can have 100 CFM air flow, HEPA E12 air filtration, and claimed 90+ CADR rating, but in real life it is able to filter out (retain!) 99.5% of 0.1-0.3 or larger particles (not 99.97%) and perhaps has 90 CADR for pollen, 40 CADR for dust, 25 for tobacco smoke etc.
For short - read specifications carefully and think what is particular air purifier offering to you!
Mechanical Filters - mechanical filters are simple, washable pre-filters. They are designed to trap larger particles and extend the life of the other filters (HEPA, activated carbon, etc.)
Activated Carbon Filters - air filters based on activated carbon (charcoal) are used even in gas-masks since they are able to remove harmful gases and odors from the air. They should be replaced from time to time, depending on the air purifier usage and amount of pollutants in the air - they can't be washed. For the air purifiers intended for removing pet odors and similar pollutants, they are 'must have' feature.
Ionic Air Purifiers - ionic air filtration is based on locally generated ions which 'stick' themselves even to the smallest particles, helping the unit to remove those particles from the air flow. Ionic air filtration is commonly combined with good HEPA mechanical filters and even carbon filters for obtaining really high level of air purification.
UV Lamps - UV lamps don't 'filter' air, but are used to disinfect air from viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms that can cause various health issues - UV lamps have very similar function in mattress vacuum cleaners. Also, UV lamps help keep filters sterile, especially when life-time filters are used.
There are other features that might be important in certain situations - design, size, weight, power consumption etc. but their importance often depends on the individual user's preferences and requirements.
Here is our list of the best 5 affordable air purifiers. You can agree with us or not, so choose according to your own needs.
GermGuardian AC4825 Air Purifier is one of the best affordable air purifiers on the market. And it is also rather stylish unit that can fit almost anywhere.
GermGuardian AC4825 Air Purifier is based on the triple air purification system:
- first layer is based on mechanical pre-filter with the layer of activated charcoal. This pre-filter retains larger particles of dust, pet hair and similar debris, while charcoal layer absorbs household odors (from kitchen and cooking, from pets, smoke etc.)
- second layer is HEPA filter which filters out smaller particles like dust mites, pollen, pet dander etc.
- third purification layer is based on UV-C lamp which sanitize air.
Unit is true HEPA air purifier - it filters out and retains 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles. Also, thanks to charcoal layer it absorbs odors.
GermGuardian AC4825 Air Purifier stands 22 inches (~56 cm) tall. Controls are very simple and are positioned on top of the unit.
Unit features 3 air speeds, with CADR rating of 100+ (not stated for what kind of particles) and is designed for medium sized rooms.
Depending on the use, filter should be replaced once every 6-8 months.
It is highly recommended to use only genuine GermGuardian filter(s) since non-OEM parts can void warranty, and they also can decrease the quality of air purification.
Note that 'one filter' is actually several filters combined in one spare parts: mechanical pre-filter, activated charcoal layer/filter and HEPA filter. Such system significantly simplify maintenance tasks - also note that unit features filter sensors and when the air filter is about to be replaced, green signal LED turns red. Very nice detail.
Germ Guardian AC4825 also feature UV bulb replacement indicator.
Unit comes with 3-year warranty.
Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier and newer LV-PUR131 Air Purifier are based on 3 stage air purification systems and are true HEPA air purifiers (they retain 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles).
Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier (left) and Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier (right) look different, but they both feature pre-filter, HEPA filter and activated carbon filter. They don't come with UV light, thus they are 100% ozone free units.
Both units come with 2 year warranties and their filters, on average, must be changed every six months.
Note: LV-PUR131 Air Purifier costs more than $100.
Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier:
- Levoit LV-H132 is suitable for smaller rooms (85-90 sq ft, 8 sq meters),
- it also comes with night light (off, low, high setting),
- three manual speed settings (low, medium, high) - when operating at low speed, unit is very quiet and can be left 'On' during the night,
Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier:
- as said before, it costs slightly more than $100, but it is newer model that comes with features commonly found at more expensive air purifiers,
- LV-PUR131 covers 322 sq ft (30 sq meters) with CADR rating of 135+,
- air quality sensor monitors air quality and if required, can adjust fan speed,
- featured timer allows setting the unit to work from 1 to 12 hours,
- in sleep mode unit operates at the lowest fan speed, but it is very quiet and can operate during the night without disturbing anybody during sleep (hence 'sleep mode' - people are suppose to sleep, not the unit).
Both Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier (left) and Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier eliminate dust, pollen, smoke, odor, mold spores, pet dander and other potential harmful air particles.
Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier is very affordable unit and can be used in home or office, even as desk air purifier.
Levoit LV-PUR131 Air Purifier is more potent unit with more features, but it also costs more.
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier is very compact and affordable unit. Its filtering capability might be better, but it comes with replaceable carbon filter and permanent HEPA air filter.
Permanent HEPA filter removes 99% of particles - it is 'almost' E12 class air filter. When the filter gets dirty, it is simply vacuumed - for exact maintenance procedures, check the manual that comes with the unit.
Such HEPA filter saves the money in the long run, but IMHO 99.97% of retained particles looks so better than 99% particles.
Little bit of math: if you have 10,000 particles in unit of air, 99.97% filter will remove 9997 particles (3 particles left in the air) and 99% filter will remove 9900 particles (100 particles left in the air).
This 100 vs 3 difference is large, but 10,000 particles (no air purifier at all) vs 100 particles in the air is HUGE difference. This and other features make this air purifier so popular, even if it is not 'true HEPA' air purifier.
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier, model 04384 comes with two activated carbon air filters - they remove pet odors, odors from cooking and similar.
Unit has three speeds, and is suitable for rooms up to 140 sq feet (~13 sq meters).
Also, it can operate in vertical position and placed horizontally.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier - Model 04384 Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
KOIOS Desktop Air Purifier is compact, portable and very affordable unit. It features very low energy consumption, low noise levels and true HEPA air filtration.
Air filtration is based on fine pre-filter, true HEPA air filter and activated carbon filter. Unit doesn't feature UV lamp - and emits no ozone.
KOIOS Air Purifier is filters 99.97% of dust, pollen, smoke, odors, mold spores, pet dander and other harmful pollutants and is suitable for areas where even children and elderly spend plenty of time - it is quiet and compact unit.
Maximum power consumption is 8 Watts and standby power consumption is less than 0.5 W. Maximum air flow is 16 CFM and the warranty is 12 months. Unit features 2 fan speeds.
Note: when operating, unit's light can't be turned off - can be somewhat irritating during the night.
Depending on the use, filter should be replaced every 6-8 months.
For more reviews and recommendations, check KOIOS Desktop Air Purifier Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier is true HEPA air purifier which eliminates 99.97% of 0.3 microns or larger particles and thanks to carbon filter, it removes odors from pets, cooking, smoking, etc. Pre-filter elimiates larger particles and extend the lifetime of HEPA air filter.
VEVA 8000 filters last 6-12 months, depending on the use. It also features 3 fan speeds (very quiet at lowest fan speed setting) and removable air purifier base - it can be easily converted from tower air purifier to table-top unit.
Unit measures 9 x 8 x 23 inches (~23 x 20 x 56 cm) - it is not the smallest and not the cheapest air purifier under $100, to say the least. But what you pay is what you get - an affordable air purifier that gets its job done.
VEVA 8000 doesn't use UV lamp and produces no ozone. Unis is suitable for rooms and offices up to 325 sq ft (~30 sq meters).
For more reviews and recommendations, check VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Fellowes AeraMax 100 Air Purifier is designed for smaller rooms and offices from 100 to 200 sq ft (9-18 sq meters) in size. It is true HEPA air purifier, which removes 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns or larger, including pollen, dust mites, mold spores and other allergens, viruses, germs, cigarette smoke etc.
AereMax 100 Air purifier features so-called 'AeraSmart Sensor' which monitors the air quality in the room or office and automatically adjusts the fan speed to keep the air quality at desired level - blue, amber and red lights indicate the air quality.
Unit also features indicators to let the user know when it is time to replace the filters.
The so-called 'AeraSafe' antimicrobial treatment of HEPA filter provides built-in protection from the growth of odor-causing bacteria, mildew, fungi and similar microorganisms, greatly improving quality of air purification and operating life of HEPA filter.
Also, so-called 'PlasmaTRUE' technology is designed to create an ionized field which help to safely remove airborne pollutants during purification process.
Unit comes with 3 fan speeds.
On average, carbon filter should be replaced every 3 months, and HEPA filter every 10-12 months.
All these features means that AeraMax 100 air purifier costs (just) under $100, but it also covers relatively small rooms or offices. But it does its job very well.
Hence, it is not the most popular air purifier, but it is regarded as excellent unit by those who own it.
If this unit fits your needs, consider it.
For more reviews and recommendations, check AeraMax 100 Air Purifier Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
OION B-1000 Ionic Air Purifier is low-cost, low-energy, low-noise, ionic air purifier. It is very popular unit which combines several air purifying stages in order to clean the air from unwanted pollutants.
OION B-1000 Ionic Air Purifier operating costs are minimal - it requires just 7.5 W of power, and it has 'no costly filters' to replace.
Note: We say 'no costly filters', but the unit actually uses replaceable carbon filter, but it is obviously not considered as being 'costly' by the manufacturer. IMHO, it is rather cheap, so don't look for non-OEM parts here.
Main air filter must be periodically cleaned - for exact maintenance procedures, check the manual.
Air purification is based on 'Electrostatic Ionizer Purification' in combination with carbon filter and UVGI (Ultra-Violet Germicidal Irradiation) technology - negative ions remove air particles, helping the unit remove various allergens, pollen, mold, smoke, pet dander, unpleasant odors, dust, etc.
To sanitize the air, unit uses UVGI technology which kills germs, bacteria, viruses and other airborne microorganisms.
OION B-1000 Ionic Air Purifier features two fan speeds. Also, unit acts as night light.
For more reviews and recommendations, check OION B-1000 Ionic Air Purifier Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
GermGuardian AC4900CA Air Purifier is 'classic' air purifier - it combines several stages of air purification to produce practically clean, sanitized air.
GermGuardian AC4900CA Air Purifier is many aspects is very similar to GermGuardian AC4825.
GermGuardian AC4900CA Air Purifier uses mechanical pre-filter with charcoal layer for removing larger airborne particles and odors from pets, cooking, smoking and similar. True HEPA filter removes 99.97% of 0.3 microns and larger particles from air and if something manages to pass through all of that, it is sanitized by UV-C lamp.
Pre-filter with charcoal filter and HEPA filter are combine into one 'filter' which is very simple to replace - and depending on the usage, it has to be replaced every 6-8 months.
Unit has CADR rating of 100+, features three speeds fan and filter change reminder.
Also, unit comes with 3-year limited warranty.
Unit dimensions (LxWxH): 8.875 x 7.125 x 21.75 inches (~22.5 x 18 x 55 cm).
For more reviews and recommendations, check GermGuardian AC4900CA Air Purifier Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
hOmeLabs Ionic Air Purifier is compact, portable and very affordable air purifier. It is suitable as 'travel' air purifier and as 'local' air purifier at homes and offices.
hOmeLabs Ionic Air Purifier uses 4 stages of air purification - pre-filter, HEPA filter, carbon filter and ionic filtering stage.
Note: HEPA filter captures 99% of airborne particles, not 99.97% as true HEPA filters.
Unit is very compact - 6.7 x 6.7 x 7.5 inches (~17 x 17 x 19 cm) in size and it weighs 2.4 pounds (slightly less than 1.1 kg).
Maximum power consumption is just 4.6 W and it has airflow of 50 CFM.
Unit is designed for smaller rooms, office and other areas up to 50 sq ft (~4-5 sq meters).
hOmeLabs Ionic Air Purifier features 2 fan speeds. Also, it features filter change indicator and operating mode indicator.
Although this model is not as popular as some other models, those that have this air purifier leave very positive remarks about it.
For more reviews and recommendations, check Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Houzetek Portable Air Purifier uses several stages of air purification to achieve true HEPA air filtration and odors removal. It also comes with several other important features, all packed in very compact and portable design.
Air filtration is of 'classic' design: activated carbon filter and HEPA filter are combined into single physical filter for easier maintenance. Also, it uses negative oxygen ions to remove for removal of bacteria, pollen, smoke, mold spores, dust, odors, pet dander and other airborne pollutants.
During operation, noise levels are up to 32 dB which is very quiet, allowing the unit to be used during the night.
Also, unit features soft blue light that can act as night light.
Physical dimensions: 4.92 x 7.64 inches (125 x 194 mm), and it weighs ~1.21 pounds (0.55 kg).
Power consumption is very low: 2.5 W Max and less than 0.2 W standby. Unit is suitable only for smaller areas.
Note: this air purifier is powered via USB interface - ideal for office desk or via smartphone charger (just be sure to check the ratings on the charger).
For more reviews and recommendations, check Houzetek Portable Air Purifier Amazon link (link opens in the new window).
Long Story Short: Air purifiers can improve quality of life significantly. Smaller, cheaper units often lack features commonly found on larger, more expensive units, but they do what are they designed to do - purifier air and remove unwanted air particles and odors.
When considering which air purifier to buy, be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, and choose according to your personal needs and preferences.