Credit: Alex Sandoval

Breathe easier with this small addition to your home.

Entering your home should feel like a breath of fresh air—literally. But the truth is, many homes, especially older builds, are actually filled with allergens, mold, and pet odors that are polluting your living space. The best way to tackle these issues? Finding the best air purifier on the market to filter your home’s unique pollutants and prevent them from wreaking havoc on your health.  

“An air purifier can help improve indoor air quality by removing particles and allergens from the air we breathe,” says John McKeon, MD, a former emergency room doctor turned co-founder and CEO of Allergy Standards. The company works with the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) to certify air purifiers as allergy- and asthma-friendly, ensuring consumers find products that actually work. 

Dr. McKeon recommends using the healthy home essential year-round, but he tells Health they may be extra helpful during times with high pollen counts. He also stresses the importance of picking an air purifier that actually filters particles and allergens out of the air, rather than just redistributing them around the room. An air quality monitor is the best way to know if your air purifier is actually making a difference.

These are the 13 best air purifiers for 2021 that meet HEPA standards:

Your number one priority when purchasing an air purifier should be finding a design with a True HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter. The U.S. Department of Energy has a HEPA standard, which requires every certified filter to stop 99.7% of all particles that are at least 0.3 micrometers in size. 

A HEPA filter won’t stop viruses or VOCs (aka volatile organic compounds, like cigarette smoke or acetone) from circulating in your home—you’ll have to look at other filtration stages in your air purifier to stop these air quality concerns—but they’re still critical for filtering out allergens, mold, and pet dander. Additionally, Dr. McKeon suggests searching for a certified asthma and allergy friendly option. These selections run through additional testing by the Allergy Standards Limited (ASL) and the AAFA to ensure they actually reduce allergens in the air. 

If you’re dealing with odors like cigarette smoke or overpowering kitchen scents, prioritize air purifiers with a carbon filter built into the filtration system. These additional layers can help minimize scents to keep your space feeling fresh. Some advanced builds also feature UV lights to kill germs, or ionic functions to help break down odors and particles. While these additions are not crucial for cleaner air, they can be beneficial for select air quality issues. 

Finally, it’s important to buy an air purifier with enough power to actually clean your space—otherwise Dr. McKeon warns that your space may not be cleaned properly. He suggests looking at the model’s clean air delivery rating (CARD) to determine whether it’s strong enough for the intended space.

No matter your primary air concerns or budget, there’s an air purifier out there that’s perfect for you. To help you find the best match, we’ve scoured reviews from real customers and found the best air purifiers currently on the market—whether you’re looking for the best air purifier for allergies, mold, odors, or pet dander. Read on to tackle bad air quality once and for all.

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