08 Oct Best Air purifiers Under $100
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You’re looking for an effective air purifier that doesn’t break the bank, right?
You’re asking: What are the best budget air purifiers under $100 that work?
I’ll tell you something. There aren’t many air purifiers like that.
Fortunately for you, I spent hours researching cheap yet powerful air purifiers so you don’t need to.
Reading the 5 short reviews I offer here will save you a ton of time. It’ll also arm you with accurate knowledge so you can pick the best product for your money.
BONUS: You’ll get a breakdown of the estimated annual costs of running each of the 5 air purifiers reviewed in this post. You’ll know how much energy each of them gobbles up, and what filter replacement costs look like. Happy reading.
A Quick List of the Best Air Purifiers Under $100 that Work
Are Low-priced Air Purifiers Always of Poor Quality?
Higher-priced products are generally associated with superior quality. And that seems like a fair expectation.
But do all expensive items deliver excellent performance? Do all budget products disappoint? The answer to these two questions is a resounding no.
Well, it’s tough finding low-priced products that deliver the same level of effectiveness as higher-priced ones. But every market offers such products, including the air purification market.
But to find the best deals, you must be willing to invest sufficient time and focus in research. Hopefully, my reviews take some of that pain away, making your shopping journey informative and fun.
Before you go to Amazon, read the best budget air purifier buying guide presented after these reviews.
Let’s now jump in and look at these 5 best budget portable air cleaners a little more closely.
1. Levoit Core 300
Editor’s Rating: (4.5 / 5)
A Quick Overview
- Dimensions: 8.7″ x 8.7″ x 14.2″
- Weight: 8.75 lbs
- Color: Silver
- Design: Compact, cylindrical, modern
- Filter life: 6- 8 months
- Filters: 3; 1 True HEPA , 1 ultrafine prefilter, and 1 activated carbon filter
- Coverage: 215 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 2 years
Unlike the Levoit LV-H132, the Levoit Core 300 is AHAM certified. In addition, it is Energy Star rated. On top of that, it’s CARB-compliant. But there’s more. Also, the Levoit Core 300 is FCC-certified and ETL listed. Quite a nice little list of endorsements.
This air cleaner features a 3-stage air purification process, freshening your rooms real in minutes. You’ll sure notice a difference in your indoor air almost immediately after installing it.
The mid-range air purifier outperforms many in that price range in terms of air circulation. This one circulates the air 5 times in an enclosed space that measures 215 square feet in 60 minutes. Many comparable ones offer an ACH of 4. That’s a nice pro.
Its CADR for dust is 140 while that for plant pollen is 145. And the CADR for smoke is 141. For the price, these numbers are pretty impressive. Note that the higher the CADR rating, the faster the machine removes allergens.
Compare these numbers with the CADR ratings for a comparable device such as the Germ Guardian 3-in-1 AC4825. The CADR for this Germ Guardian is 118 for dust; 125 for pollen, and 108 for smoke.
Another difference is that the Core 300 covers a larger square footage than the AC4825. While the AC4825 purifies a maximum area of 167 square feet, the core 300 covers 215 square feet.
Well, the Core 300 isn’t the smartest air purifier on the planet. But considering its price, that’s hardly surprising. That said, the device offers more smart features than most comparable machines. That’s why I believe it’s the best budget air purifier out there.
Like many other Levoits, it has a sleek, cylindrical, modern appearance. It’s the kind of thing you want in your office, bedroom, or living room.
It’s designed for medium to large rooms, but you can also use for purifying smaller rooms. In fact, it’ll give you more than 5 air circulations in an hour if you install it in a small room. And you’ll detect a difference in your air quality within minutes.
It employs a set of three filters to freshen the air. Together, these filters capture as much as 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns or larger.
The prefilter removes large particles while the True HEPA filter takes care of allergens and particulates. Some of the particles removed include pet dander, dust, plant pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and many more.
The unit’s 360 degree air inlet makes it possible to place it pretty much anywhere you wish. It sucks in contaminated air from all sides, sanitizes it and finally pushes it out the top. Finally, the activated carbon filter neutralizes smells while addressing VOCs.
One thing I can say confidently about this device is that it works. I’d even say it’s powerful, especially compared to Vista 200 or LV-H132.
Here’s how I know that. I placed a hand over the 360 degree inlet, and the air flow I felt on the highest setting was insane. I also flicked a paper towel near the inlet, and the suction I saw was crazy.
Here’s the thing. You won’t feel the same kind of power with any of the other mid-range Levoits. I’m convinced this is a great buy. You’ll love it.
Last but not least, this purifier is super quiet on low. On that setting, it’s 24 decibels. Even the lightest sleeper should enjoy uninterrupted sleep every night. The unit has its QuietKEAP technology to thank for its quietness on low.
On the highest setting, it’s 50 decibels. That’s a little loud, and I doubt you’d sleep well with the thing running at that speed. But you won’t need to run it on the highest setting. Unless you’re asthmatic, and you need to run it on high for some time each day.
Operational Costs for the Levoit Core 300
According to the EPA, the Levoit 300 consumes 46 watts max. If you let it run 24/7, 365 days a year, that’d 403 kWh. Assuming energy cost is 10 cents, your annual electric bill would amount to around $40.
To that, throw in filter replacement costs of around $40 (filter changed 2 times annually). The total comes to $80.
- Auto shutoff timer (2/4/6/8 hours)
- AHAM-tested (CADR rated)
- ETL listed
- FCC and CARB certified
- Filter life indicator
- QuietKEAP technology
- Affordable filter
- High ACH
- Pre-installed filter
- No ozone produced
- Not enough smart features
The unit isn’t Wi-Fi enabled, nor doesn’t have an air quality sensor. But that’s not surprising given its price.
The device works quite well even without these additional smart features, though. I’d say the available smart features such as filter change indicator and auto shutoff timer are adequate. In fact, the timer works pretty much like remote control.
2. VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series
Editor’s rating: (4 / 5)
A Quick Overview
- Dimensions: 9″ x 8″ x 23″
- Weight:6.72 lbs
- Color: Black
- Design: Tower
- Filter life: 6 to 12 months
- Filters: 1 HEPA and 4 precut activated filters.
- Coverage: 325 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 2 years
The VEVA 8000 Elite Pro looks like a cute loud speaker sitting on some stand. Black in color, it’s a contemporary design that would blend in well with pretty much any color scheme.
Designed for rooms with a square footage of 325 sq. ft., the device draws in the air via the front. After cleaning it, it pushes it out via the back. I don’t particularly like that. I mean, you can’t stand it against a wall.
It uses a set of 5 filters to do the air cleaning job. One of these filters is a HEPA filter while the other 4 are pre-cut activated carbon prefilters. These prefilters offer an insanely large combined surface area. They’re designed to take care of large particles such as lint and pet hair. In addition, they lengthen the life of the HEPA filter.
The HEPA filter helps tackle smoke, household dust, pet dander, dust mites, and odors. It also helps capture mold spores, bacteria, pollen, germs, and other contaminants. If you’re worried about PM2.5, consider trying out this device. Depending on the overall quality of your indoor air, you’ll see about 6 to 12 months of filter-life.
However, I don’t think this air purifier would clean 325 sq. ft. room that well. I’d use it for a smaller room, say 250 sq. ft.
Does the VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series produce ozone? Does it ionize the air? Does it use UV light? The answer is no. Even if you’re asthmatic or live with allergies, this is a safe model for you.
This machine offers 3 cleaning speeds. And it’s surprisingly quiet on low. On medium, it’s not over the top noisy. But I feel it could be quieter.
Here’s a bonus benefit of this device. You can alter its design from a tower to a tabletop design. All you’d need to do is remove the base. And if a pet or a child removes the front panel, the machine automatically shuts itself down.
Are the prefilters of the VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series washable? Yes, you can wash them. But you really don’t need to. Simply replace them plus the HEPA one every 6 to 12 months.
I like that the machine uses VEVA filters. Now, these filters tend to outlast regular filters.
You can use this purifier in the bedroom, living room, or office.
Operational Costs for the VEVA 8000 Pro Series
Let’s just assume it uses about 550 kWh per year since. So, you’ll spend around $55 on electricity annually if you run the device 24/7.
The replacement filter costs around $38 (as of this writing). The pack consists of 2 HEPA filters and 8 precut prefilters. That means you’ll buy replacement filters only once every 12 months. Evidently, the total annual operation costs amount to about $93.
But if your air quality isn’t that bad, you’ll change the filter only once every year. In that case, the costs would come down to roughly $74.
- Flexible design
- 4 precut prefilters
- Long-lasting filters
- Auto shutoff safety feature
- Use VEVA prefilters
- Sleep mode
- Not AHAM-tested
- Shoots clean air out the back
- No timer
- Not Energy Star rated
I’d prefer an AHAM-tested budget air purifier any day over one that’s not. But it’s not like this purifier hasn’t been tested at all. On the contrary, it’s earned ETL and CARB certifications after being subjected to a battered of tests. It’s ships to California, and that says a lot.
While the filters cost about $38, the pack actually contains 2 complete sets of filters. That means one set of filters costs about $19. Looks fair to me. Overall, the VEVA 8000 Pros Series is a good enough budget air purifier.
3. Levoit LV-H132 Compact
Editor’s Rating: (4 / 5)
A Quick Overview
- Dimensions: 8.5″ x 8.5″ x 14.5″
- Weight: 6.39 lbs
- Color: White
- Design: Compact, cylindrical
- Filter life: 6- 8 months
- Filters: 3; 1 HEPA, 1 prefilter, and 1 activated carbon filter
- Coverage: 129 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 2 years
The Levoit LV-H132 Compact is a small-space air purifier designed for rooms smaller than 129 sq. ft. The average small bedroom measures roughly 10″ x 10.” This isn’t what you should buy for larger spaces such as your basement or living room.
It features a nice-looking compact, cylindrical design. You’d not hesitate to gift someone this air purifier in the coming Christmas holidays.
Using a powerful upgraded motor, it pulls the air in from all sides (360 degree inlet). But I’d recommend that you allow clearance of at least 15″ all around for maximum effectiveness. Air once cleaned exits the LV-H132 via the top like it does for most Levoits and other purifiers.
The controls are on the top of the device, and they comprise of only 4 clearly marked buttons. Not surprisingly, using the machine is crazy easy. I’ve seen purifiers with complicated control panels where the user watches videos to understand how their thing operates.
It offers 3 speed settings. On high, the loudest the unit gets is 50 decibels. And that’s not insanely loud. In most cases, though, you’ll run the machine on medium, which is much quieter.
It puts to work 3 different filters, making the air in the room feel clean in no time. You won’t have to check the filters to know whether the thing is working.
The first is the prelim filter (prefilter) designed to handle large air pollution agents. The second is the activated carbon filter whose main job is to combat odors.
With this purifier, kitchen odors and other smells should bother you much less. That doesn’t mean you should be smoking cigarettes or MJ in the house, though.
The HEPA filter focuses on ejecting pet dander, mold spores, dust, pollen, and other allergens from your room.
The filters last about 6 months max. But if the air needs tons of work, the filter change indicator will light up sooner.
The unit also comes with a nightlight. What’s more, you can choose between two light settings. Just place it on your nightstand and crawl into bed. On low, you’ll sleep like a happy toddler. That’s because the loudest noise it produces at that speed is 25 decibels.
But if the light bothers you, simply turn it off. I’ve seen some air purifiers that have no way to turn off the light and you’ve to cover them with some material.
How Much Does it Cost to Operate the Levoit LV-H132 Annually?
Replacement filters come in a $17 pack, consisting of all 3 filters. You’ll most likely do 2 replacements. Which drives the cost to $34 per year.
Assuming you’ll be running your LV-H132, you’ll spend about 245.28 kWh annually. That’s because the device’s rated power is 28W according to the manufacturer. So, expect your electric bill to increase by about $24.53 per year. I’ve based my calculation on 10 cents per kWh).
The total operational costs therefore come to about $58.53. Well, $58.53 isn’t very far from the unit’s initial cost. However, it’s not obscenely expensive.
- Great price
- Air enters from all sides
- Quiet on low
- Great-looking contemporary design
- CARB-certified + ETL & FCC certified
- Easy to use
- Filter change indicator
- Cleans spaces smaller than 129 sq. ft.
- Not AHAM-tested
- No air quality sensor
- No timer
- No Wi-Fi + Alexa capability
- Not Energy Star rated
While the unit isn’t AHAM-rated, it’s CARB-certified. To me, any device that sails through California’s scrutiny deserves a little praise. California is known for being very particular about what companies can sell within its borders.
Also, the thing isn’t Energy Star rated. However, the manufacturer’s website states that the device uses only 28 watts per hour. That’s relatively low consumption, lower than what a laptop typically uses (about 50 watts).
Also, it has no air quality sensor, nor is it Wi-Fi enabled. However, that might be expected of a device that cheap.
3. Hamilton Beach 04384 TrueAir Compact Pet
Editor’s Rating: (4 / 5)
A Quick Overview
- Dimensions: 11″ x 8″ x 16.5″
- Weight: 6.3 lbs
- Color: Whitish
- Design: Compact, tower
- Filter life: no filter replacement required (for the HEPA filter); 3 months for activated carbon filters
- Filters: 3 filters; 1 permanent prefilter, 1 permanent HEPA-grade filter, & 2 replaceable carbon zeolite filters
- Coverage: 140 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 1 year
First off, a bit of Hamilton’s history. When Fredrick J. Osius founded Hamilton Beach in 1910, he’s only thinking of one thing. And that thing was to continually invent useful products that improved people’s lives.
Would you believe Osius actually paid his very first two employees for a right to use their names? Imagine paying someone $1,000 in 1910 just so you could use their name?
These workers were Louis Hamilton and Chester Beach. It’s clear that the founder wasn’t interested in fame or recognition. He just wanted a company that made an impact in people’s lives. He didn’t need to broadcast everywhere that he owned a company. Compare that to some executives today who never cease praising crap.
Today, Hamilton makes everything from juicers, electric knives, pizza makers, toasters, ice cream makers, blenders, air purifiers, and more.
The company has been innovating and solving problems over the past almost 110 years. That equates to tons of accumulated combined experiences. And the result is products that speak volumes. Enough of the history now.
The Hamilton Beach 04384 TrueAir Compact Pet counts on a set of 3 filters to purify the air. It features 2 replaceable carbon filters and one HEPA-type filter.
The carbon filters’ main role is to fight off various odors including pet, cooking, and tobacco smoke. These two carbon filters do that by leveraging the unit’s Zeolite technology.
This is the air purifier you need if your main concern is pet odors. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t remove allergens and other particulates — it does. You’ll certainly feel a difference in your indoor air quality.
The HEPA-like filter, on the other hand, bundles out 99.00% of particulates as small as 3 microns. Evidently, this air purifier can’t remove PM2.5. For that reason, it’s not the best air purifier for construction dust. Nor is it the best purifier for exhaust fumes.
Also, it’s not the right device for anyone that suffers from asthma or someone that struggles with allergic reactions. That’s because it doesn’t handle PM2.5. Obviously, that’s a dealbreaker for allergy and asthma sufferers.
Does the Hamilton Beach 04384 TrueAir Compact Pet use a washable HEPA filter? Yes, it does. You won’t ever need to replace the HEPA-like filter. Methinks that’s an enormous benefit. You can save a small sum over the long term by just choosing this option. If you keep this device for about 3 years, you’d have saved over $100 on filters.
To clean the washable filter, simply vacuum it regularly. Vacuuming the filter once every 6-9 months is recommended. Generally, the more work your Hamilton does, the higher the vacuuming frequency.
It’s a small-room portable air cleaner. It’s designed to purify rooms not larger than 140 sq. ft. That sounds like a small bedroom. For the price, you really can’t complain about it sanitizing only a small area.
It comes with 3 fan speeds. On low, the thing is barely audible. And that makes it suitable for bedroom or office use.
But there’s a little issue I have with this company. While the manufacturer is based out in the U.S., they subcontract production to Chinese companies. One hopes they’re doing a good job over there.
Wouldn’t it be better if those jobs went to those who deserve them most — the American people? I mean, the company sells most of its air purifiers in the U.S. and not in China. But which American company these days isn’t leveraging cheap labor overseas?
Here’s one more aspect about this purifier. You can position it either vertically or you can place it horizontally. That design aspect minimizes the issues of where to put the thing.
Costs of Running the Hamilton Beach 04384 TrueAir Compact Pet
Replacement filters for this air purification machine are quite affordable. As of this writing, the filter (look for 04234G) costs about $9.80. And since it’s not Energy Star rated, let’s assume it sucks about 550kWh per year. That translates into about $55.
You’ll replace the activated carbon filters 4 times each year. The annual filter costs would therefore be $39.2. And would bring the total cost to about $94.2. That’s almost two times the cost of the device.
I don’t like that. I don’t like it at all. I was excited when they said that they said it uses a washable filter. So, I thought no buying filters ever again! Why not just use replaceable True HEPA filters? I like this device, but this little issue would be a deal breaker for me.
- Under $70
- Washable HEPA-type filter
- Replacement filters affordable
- Great for pet odors removal
- Made by a U.S. company
- You can use the machine either vertically or horizontally
- No certifications seen
- No smart features
- Not CARB-certified
- Prefilters changed about 4 times every year
- Doesn’t use True HEPA filters
The device works quite well even though it lacks smart features such as Wi-Fi and air quality sensor. Another missing smart feature is prefilter replacement indicator.
However, the user can easily note down the next prefilter replacement date. That seems so 1990s, but it’s not a deal breaker.
What about the little issue of certifications for the Hamilton Beach 04384 TrueAir Compact Pet? Well, it’s not AHAM-rated, and that can’t be a good thing. However, according to the manufacturer, the claims they make have been verified by a third party. They’ve been confirmed by a company called Sun-Grun Environment Technology Co.
But I’m still concerned that they’ve not handed over this machine over to AHAM and CARB for testing. Aside from that, the device certainly works
5. GermGuardian 3-in-1 AC4825
Editor’s Rating: (4 / 5)
A Quick Overview
- Dimensions: 9 x 5.5″ x 21.5″
- Weight: 7 lbs
- Color: Black
- Design: Compact, tower
- Filter life: 6-8 months
- Filters: 3 filters; 1 HEPA, 1 combined charcoal & prefilter, and UV light
- Coverage: 167 sq. ft.
- Warranty: 3 years
Featuring a tower design, the GermGuardian 3-in-1 AC4825 delivers clean air fast and efficiently. It’s Energy Star rated, too. That means its power consumption is quite tolerable. It consumes about 55W every hour max, and that’s not the highest efficiency I’ve seen.
But I expected a lower consumption given that the machine is Energy star rated. Still, 55W isn’t tons of power. It’s about as much as what a laptop typically uses.
This air sanitizing device combines three kinds of powerful air purification systems. The first type is true HEPA filtration. In this method, the HEPA filter traps almost every particle whose diameter is 0.3 microns or bigger.
The second level of filtration happens when the machine’s activated carbon prefilter kicks into gear. This filter helps with common odors including MJ/tobacco smoke, cooking odors, pet odors, and other odors. Activated carbon has been shown to handle smells quite well.
Note that these filters aren’t washable. However, you’ll want to vacuum them every once in a while. Also, you should replace them every 6-8 months — both HEPA and activated filters.
By the way, what filter type does the GermGuardian 3-in-1 AC4825 use? Search for FLT4825, filter B. It’s available on Amazon as of this writing.
Finally, there’s UV-C light air filtration. This technology works in conjunction with titanium dioxide to eliminate micro-organisms. These include airborne bacteria, mold spores, viruses, and germs.
The unit is properly sealed so UV light can’t harm users. But there’s a ribbon of soft blue light near the top of the unit. You can use this as a night light. It won’t prevent you from sleeping, and you can easily turn it off.
This 3-speed air cleaner circulates the air 4 times per hour in an enclosed space measuring 167 sq. ft. A person with asthma or someone perennially bothered by allergies would find this device quite useful.
Unfortunately, it produces ozone. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, ozone triggers asthma. It may also irritate the lungs. Even worse, ozone can make the lungs less efficient. Overall, it can make breathing feel like a herculean task.
If you’re oversensitive to ozone, I’d rather you avoid this air purifier.
However, the GermGuardian 3-in-1 AC4825 is CARB-certified. Only products whose ozone emissions don’t exceed safe levels ever earn this certification. Evidently, healthy people shouldn’t get harmed at all by using this portable room air cleaner.
I also appreciate that the machine is AHAM-tested and rated. It provides CADR numbers, and that’s a good thing. Generally, the higher the CADR, the faster the unit cleans the air. Its CADR for dust is 118; it’s 125 for pollen, and 108 for smoke. Any purifier with a CADR above 100 should be a good buy if it’s the right size for your room.
Annual Costs of Operating the GermGuardian 3-in-1 AC4825
It spends on average 55 Watts max. Assuming you’ll let it run all day every day, it’ll consume roughly $48.18 annually.
Add to that filter replacement costs of about $56. One pack costs about $28, and I assume you’ll replace the filter twice each year. The total amounts to $104.18. Well, this figure is significantly higher than the device’s initial cost.
But it’s not like these are the most expensive filters out there. $56 seems like a reasonable annual cost for effective air filters like these.
- Energy Star Certified
- AHAM-rated (CADR-rated)
- 3-year warranty
- Filter replacement reminder
- Great at decimating microbes
- UV bulb needs replacement
- May produce ozone
- No smart features
- Draws dirty air in via the back
While it produces some ozone, the device is CARB-certified. That means it’s safe to use in California and indeed everywhere else.
So, what does “it’s CARB-certified” mean? It means that the total ozone concentration pumped out is less than 0.050 parts per million (ppm).
Now, that does offer a bit of peace-of-mind. But if your biggest problem is allergies and asthma, I’d say go for something else. Yes, I know the manufacturer markets this product as a great allergy solution.
But my advice is stay away from it if you have sinus issues. However, if you love GermGuardian air purifiers (most people do), you can still buy it. Why? You can always switch the UV feature off and just enjoy the carbon and True HEPA filtration.
You’ll also have to change the UV light regularly. However, this is something you’ll do after a 12 months.
One more thing: this air purifier draws in air via the back. After cleansing it, it pushes it out via the front. That means you can’t put it just about anywhere. You must allow enough clearance behind it. Maybe you should position it centrally in the room. But that’s not a problem since the unit looks great.
How to Choose the Best Budget Air Purifier Under $100
I’ve already published a comprehensive air purifier buying guide here. But that resource provides general info about buying an air purifier.
Now, I’ll present 7 important factors to keep in mind when shopping for a low-cost air purifier.
7 Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a Budget Air Cleaning Device
Let’s dive right in.
1. Smart Features
Technological advancements happen continually. And manufacturers keep making better and better air purifiers.
Today, we have air cleaning devices we can actually speak to thanks to their being Alexa-enabled. Also, we no longer need to use a remote control gadget to operate many purifiers. That’s because many devices today are Wi-Fi enabled. You can control them remotely via a mobile app.
Other smart features include filter replacement indicator, air quality sensor, PM2.5 counter, auto shutoff timer and more.
But these smart features come at an additional cost. Generally, the more of these features an air purifier has, the more expensive it tends to be.
Fortunately, these additional features aren’t absolutely necessary. You can, for example, use your air purifier without issues even if it doesn’t have a filter change reminder. All you need to know is how long the filter lasts and calculate the filter replacement date. So, if a low-priced air purifier offers these smart features, grab it.
2. Purification Coverage
It’s almost always best to buy AHAM-tested air purifiers. Such air purifiers are CADR rated, meaning they give you an idea of their maximum coverage. They also give you an idea of how fast they are.
If your room’s square footage is 600 sq. ft., you’ll need an air purifier with a CADR rating of about 400.
Ever heard of AHAM’s 2/3 Rule? The rule guides you when choosing a device with the right CADR for your room.
To quickly calculate the CADR you require, simply multiply your room’s size by 1/3. For instance: (600 sq. ft. x 2/3) = 400 CADR.
If an air purifier provides CADR information, you can easily calculate the max space it can clean. To determine the max area the air purifier you’re looking at can clean, simply multiply its CADR by 3/2. In our example: (400CADR x 3/2) = 600 sq. ft.
In general, low-cost air purifiers work best in small rooms. I advise you to ignore what the manufacturer says about a budget device’s cleaning ability. Looking to clean a larger space such as an extra-large living room? Pick a purifier with a higher CADR.
3. Cost of Replacement Filters and Availability
Be extra vigilant when it comes to the issue of filter replacement. Some budget air cleaners use filters whose cost comes close to the machine’s cost. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But it’d feel like the filters were unreasonably priced.
Good thing is you can use an air purifier that uses washable filters. However, air purifiers that use replaceable filters tend to do a much better job than those using washable filters or no filters at all. For example, Honeywell Air purifiers are considerably more effective than Airfree air purifiers.
Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy clean air while not forking out for expensive filters every now and then? I’ve seen air purifiers that need filter replacement every 4 months, and each cartridge cost over $100. That’s $300 every year, and that can buy you a brand new, high-quality True HEPA air purifier every year!
If you save that for five years by choosing a filterless air purifier, you’ll accumulate a cool $1,500. Isn’t that amount enough to take you to some amazing destination in a country you’ve never visited? It’d buy you a month or two of real fun in some countryside somewhere in Africa. This is my adorable wife on a horse sauntering near the famous Thompson Falls in Kenya.
If you buy an option whose filters cost an arm and a leg, you’ll likely start hating your purifier soon. Fortunately, all the air purifiers I’ve reviewed above use reasonably priced replacement filters.
In the end, you must decide what you value more: savings or better filter performance and improved asthma symptoms. If you’re asthmatic like my SO, Mary, you’ll want to stick to air purifiers that use highly effective filters even if they’re expensive.
Another aspect you must keep in mind is filter availability. You’ll want to pick a product whose replacement filters are available on Amazon or manufacturer’s website.
While researching for this post, I found that newly released air purifiers may not have replacement filters. But that’s not something to worry about. Manufacturers always avail the replacement filters after some time.
4. Type of Filter Used
In my honest opinion, budget air purifiers that use True HEPA filters are the best. These filters have been proven to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns. In fact, some HEPA air purifiers can remove even smaller particles, down to 0.01 microns. This article on whether HEPA air purifiers remove PM2.5 explains that in greater detail.
If you’re asthmatic, watch out for air purifiers using HEPA-type filters. If you’re trying to address allergies and asthma, it’s best to stick with True HEPA filters.
The Honeywell HPA100 air purifier is a great small room air purifier that uses True HEPA filters. HEPA-type filters are all right, but they typically don’t filter the air past 2 microns.
5. Energy Star Rated
According to the EPA, Energy Star Rated devices are huge energy savers. In fact, the EPA says that Energy Star rated appliances save up to 40 percent more energy than regular appliances.
An Energy Star rated budget air purifier will save you tons of energy over the long term. The savings can build up to almost $240 in the long run.
How much energy do you think a typical air purifier (not Energy Star Rated) running 24/7 consumes annually? The EPA tells us that these machines use on average 550 kWh. Assuming your utility company charges 10 cents per kilowatt-hour, you’re looking at $55 annually.
Now, let’s calculate how much you’d pay if you were using an Energy Star rated air cleaning device. As noted above, such a machine would draw 40 percent of the energy a standard one would. That means it’d suck about 220 kWh per year. At 10 cents, that is about $22. Now compare $22 and $55 — it’s a $33 difference. And that’s a huge difference. So, you want a purifier that doesn’t gobble up energy.
Now, let’s talk about warranty. Most warranties typically cover manufacturer defects —workmanship. You’ll want a device with as long a warranty as possible.
Most of the air cleaners I’ve encountered offer no more than 12 months of warranty. But I’ve also seen 3-year warranties and 6-month warranties.
I believe that warranty length correlates with the amount of faith the manufacturer has in their product.
My advice: go for a budget air purifier whose warranty is at least 12 months.
I’d be a little wary of any brand that doesn’t provide clear warranty info.
7. Money-back Guarantee
We all love guarantees. We want to be sure we’re not throwing money down the drain. When it comes to buying products, you want to go with companies that provide risk-free shopping. I keep seeing 30-day money-back guarantees, but I’ve also come across longer ones including 180-day guarantees.
Some companies will pay for return shipping while others won’t. With low-cost air purifiers, returning the device may not make much sense if the seller won’t foot the bill. That’s why you want to pick a proven product — a product that’s working for real users. And that’s why I put together the above 5 best budget air purifier reviews.
Best Air Purifiers Under $100 that Work: Verdict
Of the 5 best budget air purifiers under $100 described above, which is the best?
I’m persuaded that the Levoit Core 300 is the best budget air purifier you can buy today. It’s super quiet on low, and it’s powerful on medium and high. Also, it’s an AHAM-rated 3-stage filter with a high ACH (5). In addition, its CADR ratings for smoke, dust, and pollen are pretty high.
Apart from that, it also features a 360-degree air inlet. Filtered air exits via the top. Meaning you can place it pretty much anywhere you like. It’s light, too, and highly portable.
And unlike some comparable mid-range options, it offers a filter change indicator and a timer to boot. What’s more, it’s FCC and CARB-certified. Besides, it’s LTE listed and Energy Star rated.
Well, it doesn’t offer Wi-Fi capability and air quality sensor. However, these features have nothing to do with an air purifier’s effectiveness. In addition, the timer helps you to automatically shut off the machine after a specified duration. That’s more or less like remote operation.
Overall, this is a great machine that purifies the air real fast. Its annual operation costs aren’t the lowest I’ve seen, though. However, the annual costs aren’t considerably different for comparable models.
I recently bought this, and so far I’m very happy with it. I’ve not seen many complaints online, either. I suppose that’s a pretty clear indication that most people love the Levoit Core 300.
Love the Levoit Core 300? Check it out on Amazon. And who says you can’t buy other items on Amazon including pink Himalayan salt or even yoga mats?
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