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Air purifiers can benefit those with allergies. Here are our top picks based on the most effective types of filters for dust, dander, and pollen.

Most of us spend a significant amount of the day inside, especially throughout the colder seasons. While it may be nice to snuggle up with pets or open a window to let in fresh air, it can also introduce a lot of or air impurities and trigger allergies.

Anyone can enjoy the benefits of an air purifier, but if you experience frequent allergies, you may be looking for one that specifically filters out particles that can cause allergic reactions like dust or dander.

To help you filter your options and help you breathe a little easier, we talked with an expert and compared several different brands to formulate our picks of the best air purifiers for allergies.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $250
  • $$ = $250–$450
  • $$$ = over $450

There are a lot of great air purifiers available, but for people with frequent allergies, a more targeted purification system is needed. So we looked for air purifiers with HEPA filters that used activated carbon or similar purification ingredients to help filter allergens like pet hair, pet dander, pollen, and smoke.

We prioritized products from trusted, proven brands with a significant number of strong customer reviews. Products that were energy efficient and generally quieter while in operation, were considered for our list.

Finally, we chose products at a variety of price points and room square foot coverage because everyone’s needs and budget are different. We wanted to build a list where most people could find something that worked for their homes.

Product namePriceWeightBest for
Dyson Pure Cool DP04 Air Purifying Fan$$10.25 lbair circulation
Molekule Air Mini+ Air Purifier$$7.3 lbportability
Honeywell HPA100 HEPA Air Purifier$7.74 lbbudget
BISSELL air320 Air Purifier$$19.2 lbpets
RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier$$$19.4 lbwall mounting
Levoit Core 400S Smart True HEPA Air Purifier$$14.12 lblarge rooms
*Prices accurate as of October 2023

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) refers to several studies that link the use of air purifiers to allergies and asthma symptom relief. The EPA cautions that these studies don’t always point to significant improvements or a reduction in all allergy symptoms, though.

  • A 2018 study found that using a HEPA air purifier in the bedroom improved people’s allergic rhinitis symptoms by reducing the concentration of particulate matter and dust mites in the air.
  • A 2018 study following 46 people using air purifiers with PECO filters found that their allergy symptoms decreased significantly over 4 weeks.
  • A 2018 study concluded that air purifiers were a promising therapeutic option for people with asthma brought on by dust mites.
  • A 2020 study indicated that using HEPA air purifiers may significantly reduce particulate matter levels and the need for medication among people with allergic rhinitis.
  • A 2022 study suggested that a portable HEPA air purifier with an adequate CADR can significantly reduce particulate matter and cat, dog, and dust mite allergens from indoor air.
Types of air filtersHow they work and what they target
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA)Fibrous media air filters remove particles from the air.
Activated carbonActivated carbon removes gases from the air.
IonizerThis uses a high voltage wire or carbon brush to remove particles from the air. The negative ions interact with the air particles, causing them to attract to the filter or other objects in the room.
Electrostatic precipitationSimilar to ionizers, this uses a wire to charge particles and bring them to the filter.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI)UV light inactivates microbes. This doesn’t pull out the microbes from the space entirely. It only inactivates them.
Photoelectrochemical oxidation (PECO)This newer technology removes very small particles in the air by making a photoelectrochemical reaction that removes and destroys pollutants.
Permanently installed air cleanersHeating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC) systems and furnaces can remove pollutants from the air. They may use filters like the ones listed above, and they may also include an air exchanger to clean the air. These aren’t considered air purifiers, which are typically portable.

To select the best air purifier for your needs, consider the following:

  • Filtration system: Decide which types of air pollutants and odors you plan to filter. To target allergies, consider HEPA and activated carbon filtration.
  • Room size: Choose a model suitable for the size of the room or area you want to filter. Check the device dimensions and consider how it will fit into the space.
  • Budget: Consider the initial cost as well as filter replacements.
  • Company reputation: Choose a company with a solid reputation that provides quality products and excellent customer service.
  • Customer reviews: Read online reviews to get an overall feel for customer satisfaction and find out what people say about your specific concerns, including noise, energy efficiency, and smart features.

How big is the area you want to filter?

The amount of space in your room should also guide your selection. Check how many square feet a unit can handle when evaluating it.

You can look for the clean air delivery rate (CADR) to determine how many particles and square feet an air purifier can reach. For example, HEPA filters can clean small particles, like tobacco smoke, and medium and large particles, like dust and pollen, from the air. They may have a high CADR.

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If you frequently experience symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, and head congestion, it may be time to see an allergist. They can identify triggers and create a treatment plan that helps prevent, alleviate, and manage symptoms to enhance your overall quality of life.

Additional reasons to see an allergist include:

For people with allergies, these tiny air pollutants and microscopic allergens can cause frequent — and sometimes severe — allergic reactions. Many of these particles are so small that they can’t be seen, but their presence in the air can affect someone’s allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions.

However, it’s possible to extract many of these irritants from the air by using an air purifier. These machines are designed to take in air, run it through a filtration system, and release it back into the room.

It’s important to consider what air pollutants you want to filter and the size of the room you’ll be using it in.

“There are many types of air filters that can remove particles at varying degrees. For example, HEPA filters, UV air filters, and ion filters are very good at removing dust, dander, pollen, and mold, but they are not great at removing odors,” said Dr. Alana Biggers, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Illinois-Chicago.

“Carbon-based filters are good at filtering some particles and odors, but are not as effective in removing dust, dander, pollen, and mold,” she said.

Above we created a table that breaks down the different types of air filters and how they work.

Air purifiers and humidifiers are very different devices. An air purifier removes particles, gases, and other pollutants from indoor air, making the air cleaner to breathe. A humidifier adds moisture or humidity to the air without cleaning it.

If you’re finding that your air isn’t as clean as you want it to be or you have noticed an increase in allergic reactions, you might be thinking about buying a new air purifier. If this is the case, consider checking the filter first and make sure it doesn’t need to be replaced.

In most air purifiers, the filter does all the work, so if it’s not working at its usual capacity, the filter is probably to blame. However, if the mechanical hardware — like the fan, control panel, or air quality sensors — breaks down, you’ll want to get a new purifier.

Using an air purifier can remove many allergic triggers. While there’s no official recommendation for the use of air purifiers for allergies, many medical experts and research studies point to their effectiveness.

Mold can grow quickly in humid areas with a lot of moisture and limited airflow. If you’re worried about your purifier growing mold, try using it in a dry room, and avoid using it in rooms that tend to retain moisture, like the bathroom.

You can also remove the filter from time to time to check for mold and clean it as needed. If you live in an area where it’s difficult to manage humidity, consider using a dehumidifier.

Not only will it decrease the chances of your purifier growing mold, but it can make any room more comfortable.

Yes, air purifiers help the lungs by improving the air quality. The devices help reduce exposure to indoor particles, allergens, and pollutants, which may positively affect respiratory health.

However, research from 2021 suggests that indoor air filters may reduce indoor particulate matter but don’t significantly affect respiratory symptoms.

Sleeping with an air purifier on may help you breathe better and improve your sleep quality. You can choose a low setting to minimize noise and dim or turn off the light.

A small 2023 study suggests that using a HEPA-filtered air purifier may improve air quality and positively affect sleep for people without clinical sleep disturbances. Compared with the placebo group, the HEPA-filtered air purifier group slept an average of 12 minutes longer and spent 19 minutes more in bed.

However, there were no significant changes in other sleep and mood outcomes, and the HEPA filter group experienced more time awake after falling asleep.

The best place to put an air purifier is the area where you spend the most time or that is a source of pollution. Choose a space with plenty of ventilation that provides adequate space around the unit. Typically, you can place small models on a surface a few feet from the floor and put large models on the floor.

If you’re experiencing allergy or asthma symptoms inside your house, an air purifier may help reduce your symptoms by cleaning the air.

There are many different brands and models of air purifiers. Determine the size of your room and your specific filtration needs before purchasing an air purifier.