Since the pandemic, we’ve been more concerned about airborne viruses and germs than ever before.
And with this summer’s hot weather linked to a spike in air pollution and higher than usual pollen counts, air quality is something that people are increasingly concerned about.
So what can you do about it?
The solution is simple – air purifiers that suck out the nasties and keep clean, high quality air circulating around your home.
We tested out three of the latest home air purifiers to see how they performed on noise, humidity, temperature and air quality.
No space for a unit? Check out our picks of portable or wearable air purifiers (including Dyson’s very space-age headphones).
Best for luxury
Dyson Purifier Humidify + Cool
With its impressive arsenal of stylish and bladeless contraptions, Dyson is well versed in keeping you cool. But don’t write this luxury wind machine off as just an expensive fan.
This thing will exorcise your home of airborne nasties by automatically sensing particles and gases using its activated carbon and HEPA H13 filters, then capturing 99.95% of them.
And it’s quick to monitor and react to air quality changes too, detecting PM2.5, PM10, VOC and NO2 (see over the page for a jargon-busting box on what these acronyms mean).
Unlike other gadgets, it doesn’t rotate to circulate air. Instead, two flat nozzles expel the stuff and rotate at 45- or 90-degree angles. Alternatively, Breeze mode means they oscillate at different rates. You can even reverse airflow so it comes out the back.
An easy-to-grasp remote, which magnetically clips on to it for safe keeping, takes care of powering on/off, fan strength up to ten, auto settings, airflow direction and display info. Its LCD panel with real-time readouts is a great way to see the AQI in your home (again, see box) – as is its app, for real-time and historical data.
If extracting moisture from the air is important, it impressively zaps the inside of its water pipes with UV light to kill 99.9% of bacteria before expelling it as vapour into your home as a humidifier.
It also monitors indoor temperature, can be controlled with Siri and Alexa, and is essentially your one-stop shop for most things air-quality related.
Buy for £599.99 from Dyson.
Best for big rooms
Blueair HealthProtect 7470i
This beast of a machine promises to take care of airborne germs and viruses as well as dust, allergens and smells, even when in standby mode.
With big claims to match its big dimensions, this high-end purifier informs you about air quality via a display on top, where you can see readings for PM1, PM2.5, PM10 and VOC levels, alongside an air-quality indicator that changes colour from blue through to red, depending on the quality.
Manual operation is taken care of using a control panel, including on/off, auto mode, fan speed and something Blueair calls GermShield, which is designed to prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses on the filter. Audible commands are taken care of via Amazon Alexa and Google Home.
Thanks to the informative and user-friendly app, you can monitor air quality both in real time and historically via separate charts for each PM size as well as VOCs, temperature and humidity in the room.
You can even compare outside air quality with what’s going on indoors. Here you can also set the air purifier to night mode, and see the remaining lifetime of the main filter indicated in percentage.
Making short and almost-silent work of clearing the air, thanks to its HEPASilent Ultra filtration technology, the HealthProtect fuses a smart design, with intuitive features.
Buy from £699 from Blue Air.
Best for budget
If you’re looking to clean the air for less dosh, Prosenic’s offering is comparatively cheap for a smart purifier.
Rocking a freestanding tower design that sucks in air underneath and pushes it out clean through the top grille, it looks good despite the budget-friendly price.
Inside you’ll find a pre-filter, a HEPA H13 filter, and a carbon filter to rid the air of contaminants and nasty odours, as well as a silver ion coating that removes bacteria and prevents mould.
Simple controls allow you to switch it on/off, change between four fan speeds, set a timer, or trigger auto mode, which monitors air quality and adjusts the fan speed accordingly.
While lacking the more extensive air-quality measurements of its counterparts in this article, its PM2.5 count appears on its 2in screen, with red, amber or green indicating how good or bad the air quality is.
This screen also gives you a nudge when it’s time to switch the filter. Fire up the Prosenic app to control it from the sofa, activate the lights, plus set schedules and sleep mode. It also supports Google Assistant or Alexa to switch it on/off.
Simple, affordable and powerful, this smart air purifier filters out airborne allergens, pet dander, smoke and pollen, and does a good job of scrubbing the air.
Pushed to its limits, things get a bit noisy but generally it operates at a less obtrusive level, making for a powerful and pocket-friendly purifier.
Buy for £129 from Amazon.
What does AQI mean? Air quality jargon explained
This is a name for air pollution particulate matter (PM) 2.5 microns in size and smaller, which is released while cooking, smoking, burning candles, for example, and is one of the primary pollutants tracked to measure pollution.
Similar to PM2.5, PM10 measures any air pollution particulate matter, like pollen, ten microns or below. This means PM10 includes PM2.5 and some slightly bigger particulates in the air.
Volatile organic compounds are gases that are emitted from a wide range of everyday products and processes, including paints, furniture, aerosol sprays, carpets and more. They can have serious health effects such as causing difficulty breathing and nausea.
Air Quality Index is a way of measuring how bad air pollution is. The higher PM2.5 levels are, the higher the AQI value is. AQI is typically updated hourly to represent the latest air
High-efficiency particulate air describes filters that trap 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns. You’ll also find HEPA filters in things like vacuums and cars.
Alternative air quality control
AirPop Active+ Halo
The Halo sensor inside this smart mask connects to an app that monitors your breathing, as well as local air quality, handily revealing the amount of pollutants detected and blocked by the face furniture.
Buy for £60.97 (available February) from Airpop.
Personal air purifiers used to be mocked. Now people are more open to the idea of going outside with a purifying device, LG’s system offers comfort wherever you go, with the help of a four-step filtration and lighting system, and in-app air-quality monitoring.
Buy for £122 from Brookpad.
This extremely creative and outlandish approach to eliminating airborne nasties combines a wearable two-stage purification system with noise-cancelling cans, and you’ll certainly turn a few heads with this strapped to your face.
Price and availability tbc, find out more on the Dyson website.
Airthings Wave Mini
This little guy won’t clean your air but it will monitor its quality, tracking airborne chemicals, temperature and humidity.
It also gives mould risk alerts to help you make the room less hospitable to virus particles. All info is sent to your smartphone.
Buy for £69 from Airthings.
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