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In case you haven’t noticed, the air quality around most areas in the world is dropping.
It’s becoming a problem, and it’s something that doesn’t discriminate: everyone is going to feel it.
If you live in a widely populated area, it’s going to hit you harder. The thing is, most air purifiers are these small boxes that only cover about 150 square feet of space. That’s not enough for your entire home, and your whole family.
We’ve found the five best whole house purifier models on the market. These are high-capacity, large area air purifiers with tons of additional features to maximize your comfort, regardless of what you’re used to.
For total control over the air quality in your home, you can simply flick these on, and let the machine take care of the rest.
Best House Air Purifier Reviews & Recommendations 2020
Best Overall – Coway Airmega 400 Smart Air Purifier
I don’t know anybody who lives in two houses that are exactly the same square footage. It’s hard to use a blanket statement like “whole house air purifier” unless you can truly fulfill that order for the majority of people.
Coway brings serious power with 1,560 square feet of coverage, which handles most of our needs without issue.
With a HEPA filter integrated into your machine, you absorb 99.97% of particles in the air, leaving your home with nothing but crisp, pure air to enjoy. Obviously, this is going to work best near its epicenter, but if you pop up some fans and direct airflow towards it, it should be even more effective.
The best feature about Coway’s Airmega 400 has to be their pollution detector. This smart technology tells you, with an LED indicator, if your indoor area has massive pollutants or if the air is pure and clear.
With wide air intake and output slots, Coway found a way to still make this look aesthetic while being ultra functional. The controls are easy enough to master, but the real feat of engineering here is the operating volume. Air purifiers, much like air conditioners, are notorious for being loud and clunky.
Coway can purify over 1,500 square feet of your home with a maximum noise of 43.2 dB. For context, a standard conversation between two people registers at 60-62 dB, so it’s not anything that you need to worry about interrupting your day. You could probably use it to replace your white noise machine at night as well.
The timers work very well to maintain good energy efficiency, and the three automatic settings allow you to be completely hands-free with this. For the price, and the size of the unit, we were expecting a little more confidence from Coway when it came to their warranty.
You get a one-year warranty on malfunctions, and five years on electronic parts. Not bad, and we’d imagine that any major issues would present themselves fairly early on, but we were still hoping for something a little bit better.
Overall, if you’re serious about air purification, you really can’t get better than this.
Runner up – Bissell 2090A Air220 Air Purifier
They don’t just make vacuums. Bissell comes in at a third the cost of Coway, with more than half of the total coverage space, making it an excellent budget-friendly choice.
You can purify up to 800 square feet of total floor space with their Air220 model that we’re premiering to you now. This ends up being the best value over their Air320 model, which covers 1,000 square feet of space, but at a 60% price inflation.
As the second best whole home air purifier, it’s still plenty powerful to maintain quality air control across your entire home. You have the option of choosing to include extra replacement filters with your purchase to avoid running out and getting more later, which is always a nice touch.
Utilizing an automated circulation system, the Air220 monitors your air quality throughout the day, and kicks on as needed. Bissell also took a very aesthetic design when they created this, so it’s not something that’s just going to be an eyesore in the corner of your living room.
They fell short compared to Coway in a few ways, such as with the total operating volume. You get 51 dB out of this, which is just about 17% quieter than a standard conversation between two people. It’s not a disruptive level of noise unless you’re directly next to it while trying to read a book or something.
Taking all specs into consideration, the Air220 is very energy efficient, drawing just 48 watts at maximum capacity. The chassis and motor are lightweight, bringing this to a total weight of 18.2 lbs. Easy enough to move around without being so light that it tips over.
The included filters work excellently, and I have to give credit where credit is due. Bissell knows a thing or two about making vacuums, and their most popular vacuums are built specifically for dealing with pet dander and hair.
This air filtration system basically turns your home into an oasis even if you have cats and dogs, because it sucks those particles out of the air, and subsequently the odors with them.
Alternative – Medify MA-112 Air Purifier
You need high levels of coverage for your entire home, and you’re trying not to bust your budget wide open.
Medify actually blows Coway out of the water when it comes to full coverage, because you get 5,000 square feet of clean air when this is flipped on.
In our quest to give you the best whole house air filtration system reviews, we weren’t expecting Medify to outmatch the power of these other purifiers, and it even comes with a positive twist.
This actually comes in as the quietest air purifier of them all, which is impressive for any large appliance like this. You’ll be able to purify your home on just 30 dB of noise, so the only place this will really be noticeable will be the epicenter of your home, wherever you’re placing it.
Medify did a fantastic job at building the chassis to not vibrate nearly as much as others, and they did so without making it overly bulky or having a lot of negative space inside.
It’s a fantastic design. Your filtration is even medical grade; a true HEPA 3 stage filter (H13), which is the highest grade of air purification that can be sold to the public.
The best part? This can cover up to 5,000 square feet of space in just sixty minutes. If you put it on the highest setting, you can clear up 1,250 square feet worth of airspace in your home in just fifteen minutes. Imagine that.
Utilize four fan speeds, an ionizer function, sleep mode, and even a child lock setting if you need. Because of how high-end this is, another area we thought would initially be lacking is the warranty.
Thankfully, you get a limited lifetime warranty on the entire unit, so if you run into any manufacturing-related problems, you’re good to go, even if those parts aren’t recalled for years to come.
Alternative – Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier
It’s budget time. If you have children with pre-existing medical conditions, or you have a pet with asthma (there could be an endless supply of reasons here), then you already have other financial obligations to take care of. Getting a quality air filtration system shouldn’t be a major cost.
This whole house HEPA filter takes care of 360 square feet of space while being the cheapest on our list.
We imagine you aren’t living in a 360 square foot home, but when strategically placed, this can cover most of your rooms. You can use some positioned fans to direct airflow away from the corners of the room and into the direction of your Winix.
Apart from just being effective, it also operates extremely quietly at just 28 dB, so if it ends up being just outside of your bedroom, it’s barely going to be noticeable.
If it’s right next to you, it just acts as a white noise machine. You can flip on the auto mode to take care of the room when you’re not home, or enact the sleep mode to shut off at night while you’re trying to sleep if you want.
Your HEPA filter picks up on just about everything under the sun, with a 99.97% particle airborne pollutant absorption rate. The AOC carbon filter is even washable, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money to fully replace them (maybe one replacement per year if you handle it properly).
Without sucking the oxygen out of the room, Winix’s PlasmaWave technology kills allergens, chemicals and odors. Four fan speeds, replacement indicator light, and a bunch of money still sitting in your wallet.
Alternative – Honeywell True HEPA Air Purifier
Last on our list is another budget model, and this time, it’s from one of the most well-known and trusted brands ever: Honeywell.
They probably made the heater you have in the garage, or the air conditioner that’s waiting to go into the window when summer rolls around. They’re everywhere, and they make air purification cheap.
First and foremost, you’re getting a HEPA filter with that beautiful 99.97% particle absorption rating, which is about as pure as you’re going to get in any home. There are a few models in this series, most of which have interchangeable filters, which opens you up during replacement time so you aren’t stuck waiting for one specific type to restock.
Honeywell did something unexpected here by adding a Turbo Clean mode, which accelerates the speed that this purifier cleans your room’s air. It can cover up to 465 square feet at peak capacity, but with Turbo Clean, it covers all that space in about half the time.
Cleaning the air isn’t enough. Not if it can’t reach the purifier in the first place. With fan options, the Honeywell air purifier actually helps circulate the air that’s already in your home. It catches dust as it enters the air,which can help to prevent dust buildup on top of your furniture.
Honeywell is well-known, but it’s down here on the bottom because of the decibel rating. It’s one of the loudest machines on our list at over 50 dB (ranges from low to mid 50s).
Isn’t not a groundbreaking amount of volume, but unless it’s on the other side of the house, you’re going to notice that it’s there.
Whole House Air Purifier Buying Guide & FAQ
How Does a Whole House Air Purifier Work?
A whole house air purification system uses a series of fans to pull air from the room, where it is passed through a series of, or a single air filter.
These are most commonly referred to as air filters, though there are different grades, such as HEPA, that pull more particles from the air.
Utilizing powerful suction, air is pulled through the filters in such small amounts that particles that would normally be floating in the air are stuck in the material of your filter.
Air then passes through the remainder of your air purification system, which may include an ionizer, finally ending at the output ventilation shaft where it is dispersed back into the room.
If you’re thinking about all this clean air being forced back into the room into unclean air, then you’re on the right track. If it were just about bringing in the air in the room one time and purifying it, then it wouldn’t take long at all. Many units need to run for about an hour before it has done enough noticeable good.
That being said, if you use an overpowered system, such as the Medify purifier, in a space that’s twice as large as the maximum square footage rating, then you’ll be sitting pretty with faster access to purified air. It’s like purification overkill.
Do Home Air Purifiers Really Work?
Have you ever seen a piece of dust flying in the air, usually through the stream of light from your desk lamp or the bright light coming through the window?
You can reach out and grab that dust, dander or pollen, and then it’s no longer in the air. Air purifiers really do work.
The best whole house air filter may have a higher percentage of particles absorbed by their filters than lower tier models, but either way, it still improves your air quality by up to or over 99%.
Home air purifiers do work, and some, as you’ve seen on this list, are even medical grade to help patients with respiratory problems live a better life.
The Science Behind Air Purifiers
According to the World Health Organization, pollution was a leading cause of fatalities across the globe, peaking at seven million total deaths.
On a daily basis, most of the pollutants, chemicals and contaminants that we inhale are actually located in our own homes, places of work, and through foot travel in big city areas with layers of smog floating over the city.
Air purifiers work by removing as many tangible particles from the air as possible through tight filtration systems, which output clean air on the other side. However, adding clean air back into a room filled with dirty air is like shoveling it back against the tide.
Air purifiers need to work constantly to truly reduce allergens, dander, dust and other contaminants in the air.
The notion that you can breathe pure air is impossible outside of a laboratory-controlled, quarantined and specific situation, but air purification systems are a viable way to reduce airborne particles that could lead to future health risks.
Where Should I Place my Air Purifier?
There are a few things you have to consider. I don’t know how your home is set up, but take a few basic rules into mind and ask yourself a few questions before you place this.
- How big is your home? A larger home requires more power, and a closed-off layout (no open concepts) can really hinder the usage of your air purifier. You have to keep in mind that these have all been rated based on ideal situations and laboratory testing, so if you’re going into this with a very closed-off home, you might even need more power than initially expected.
- Do you have window air conditioner units? An air purifier isn’t an air conditioner, so if you have an air conditioner in a window unit, or even centralized AC, they’re blowing dirty air into the room. Even with good filters in your air conditioner, they’re mostly catching dust: a lot of allergens are still passing through.
- Can you handle the noise? Some air purifiers are loud, some are bearable, but none of them are quiet. If you’re someone who likes to sleep with the fan, music, or the television on, you’re not even going to notice an air purifier, so you can place it just about anywhere without this being an issue.
With all of that information in mind, you should place an air purifier in the room that needs it the most. If you have illnesses or pre-existing conditions that affect your respiratory system, it should go in the room that you’re most often inside of.
If you have an open concept, placing it in the middle of the largest area of the house will clean the most air. It’s important to keep in mind that air circulation is not in any purifier’s job description.
There can be some fans, but they don’t have enough power to circulate all the air in their rating without some assistance. Not efficiently, anyway.
A few last minute placement points to talk about:
- Do place your purifier in a centralized location. You don’t want it up against the wall, in the corner, or too close to furniture where it can negate the air flow. As a result with restricted airflow, you might actually find a patch of dust along the back of a couch that’s too close, because it’s pulling air from around the room and it’s essentially pulling right alongside that furniture.
- Do place your purifier near any pollutant source. This refers to the biggest window in the house or a draft, especially if you’re living in the middle of a city where pollution is a problem. If you live in an apartment, you can place this near the front door to keep a sort of filter between your apartment and the outside world.
- Do place your purifier in an area with pre-existing air circulation. This could be anywhere in the house depending on your setup, but taking doors, windows, vents and fans into account, look around for the spot with the best circulation to really make the most out of your purifier.
Cleaner Air, a Happier Home
Now that you know what it takes—both engineering wise and financially—to really purify the air in your home, are you ready to take the plunge?
Cleaner air in your home helps with allergens and slows the rate that dust accumulates on your furniture, all while improving the quality of life in your home for you, your family, and your pets.
It’s a serious piece of machinery, but an investment in your home.