Looking for allergy relief? And on a budget, too? Trying to pick the best for your money can be a bit overwhelming. Maybe you’ve been wondering, “What is the best affordable air purifier for allergies?” I’ll provide some helpful information to explain what you should be looking for I’ve put together a list of great choices that won’t break your budget.
First it’s important to clarify the amount of money you’ll need to spend: you’ll need to spend near $50 or so minimum to get one that will give good results. For the purposes of this article I’ll use a spending limit of $100 as the maximum, but I’ll provide several great choices for less than $50 too.
I’ll include reviews of all of them and recommend a best air purifier within those budgets to make it easy for you to pick a great one. Hopefully I can help you find the right one for your budget as well as help you avoid wasting money one something that doesn’t relieve you allergy problems!
Understanding the types of allergens in the air to be removed
There are many types of allergy causing substances in the air we breathe:
- Plant pollen & by products
- Dust mite substances (mite feces and body parts)
- Pet dander
- By-products of home construction or other materials
- Substances from outdoors such as fine dust
- Cigarette smoke residual particles
Many of these listed above are incredibly tiny in size – down to few micrometers (a micrometer is 1/100,000 of a meter). Obviously it becomes critical to have a good air purifier that can remove these allergy-causing microscopic particles.
The types of air purifiers available
Products available today generally fall into one of two categories: Ozone generator type air purifiers and HEPA filter air purifiers.
Air purifiers that work off of ozone generation use the principle of high voltage generation to create zone molecules from standard oxygen molecules in the surrounding air. When these oxygen atoms combine into 3s this sets up the potential for one to leave the bunch and be attracted to other atoms.
This means the 3rd atom breaks away from the newly created ozone molecules and binds to particles such as dust and other pollutants. In the case of these air purifiers a type of filter is catch the pollutants which are attracted to the ions (the oxygen atoms which break free from the ozone it creates) and the allergens in the nearby air cannot escape.
You may have noticed a strange odor after lightning strikes nearby – it’s the same principle. It’s important to understand that trace amounts of ozone will escape into the surrounding air with these types of purifiers and they potentially can irritate the lungs. These are not recommended for people with respiratory problems as it may cause problems with breathing, coughing, and more.
Additionally, it’s critical to only buy a product that produces safe levels of ozone (less than 0.05 parts per million), as those commonly sold from Chinese manufacturers can produce large amounts of ozone which is potentially harmful to humans and pets. You should never purchase bargain-price or unknown brand ozone generators sold as air purifiers not only are they ineffective at cleaning the air but also potentially dangerous to your lungs! Note: all of these listed here meet the safety requirement.
When using one of these types of devices you’ll need to manually clean the filter from time to time, depending upon how heavy the dust, allergens, cigarette smoke residue, and other contaminants are where you use it.
A removable filter in an ionizing type air purifier
Pros and cons of ozone generator air purifiers
- Many are lower in cost
- No maintenance costs: many have filters that can be cleaned (some may use a carbon filter also which must be replaced)
- Zero noise or extremely low sound produced
- Low power consumption
- Can remove very small particles (the same size or less than a HEPA filter)
- Not as effective as a HEPA filter purifier in cleaning the air
- Not recommended for people with respiratory problems – ozone produced can cause them issues
- Most cannot cleanse the air quite as well as a HEPA filter
- Not designed to catch larger particles like pet hair and dust
HEPA air purifiers
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are a type meeting the strict standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency. They are able to filter elements down to 0.3 micrometers in size. Additionally, their filtering quality is excellent as they trap 99.97% of all airborne allergens, dust, microbes, dust mite materials, and other toxic and unwanted air pollutants that can induce allergies.
These types of air purifiers have a number of advantages over ozone generator based models. The largest drawback is that due to their complexity they are typically a bit more expensive, often beginning hear $50 and going up.
Pros and cons of true HEPA filter air purifiers
- Excellent filtering ability – 99.97% of foreign substances are removed permanently
- Most include carbon filter to help remove odors
- Great reviews from users for allergy relief results
- Most HEPA filter purifiers do not produce any potentially irritating byproducts like ozone
- Fast cleaning ability as they use a fan to draw air into the filter
- Slightly more expensive
- Some produce more noise than ozone generator models
- Maintenance cost – filters must be replaced periodically
The best affordable air purifiers for allergies – 5 excellent choices under $100
Reviews and key features
1. GermGuardian AC4825
Similar to higher-priced models, the GermGuardian contains a true HEPA filter and 1st & 2nd stage larg particle & carbon filter section to catch both larger elements as well as odors and other airborne chemical substances. Another plus is the addition of a ultraviolet (UV) light to help kill airborne bacteria and microbes.
It works well for small to medium sized rooms and is simple to operate. The manual control offers 3 fan speeds and is especially easy to operate for older people, too. Operation is very simple – just put it somewhere out of the way, set the desired fan speed, and don’t worry about it until you want to.
Filter replacements cost around $30 or so and the built in replacement reminder light will let you know when it’s time to check if replacement is necessary and can be reset at replacement time.
Simply open the back and pull out the old filter then fit the new one in place and you’re done.
- Simple to operate with a 3-speed fan switch
- Good coverage for the price (up to 155 square feet and possibly more)
- Vertical design fits into corners and other areas out of the way
- Filter replacement reminder
- 3-year limited warranty
2. Holmes HAP242-NUC HEPA-type Desktop Air Purifier
The Holmes is a convenient and compact unit that works great on a counter top or desk top as well. Described as a “HEPA” type, this budget purifier is a good compromise between paying for a more expensive true HEPA filter product as it provides nearly the same filtering ability, including most allergens that will bother you. The filter can remove 99% of particles in the air down to size 2 microns (2/100,000 of a meter) which is still excellent for allergy sufferers. (An optional true HEPA filter can be purchased as well). Buyers have reported paying as little as $13 at Amazon for the HEPA filter replacement and the pre-stage filter can be washed and re-inserted. Expect dirty filters to be replaced at about 3-4 months.
Recommended for rooms up to 109 square feet (about 10 x 11 feet) it removes pollen, dust mite substances, pet dander, and cigarette smoke particles. One of the great features is that it can be positioned on it rear end to stand vertically.
And optional light-duty ionizer also helps with binding pollutants as they’re filtered and removed. The adjustable fan speed lets the run at higher-performance speeds with more noise or on a low setting for low ambient fan noise.
- One of the most affordable and biggest sellers on the market
- Low maintenance costs: HEPA filter is low cost and pre-stage filter can be washed and reused
- Low-profile size and can be stood on its end for better placement
- Built in ozone generator with on/off control
- Lower cost but performance nearly matches that of more expensive true HEPA products
- Cheap filter replacements (about $13)
3. Gideon Electronic Plug-In Air Purifier
Producing zero noise, compact in size, and featuring plug-and-forget use, the Gideon is a great low-budget choice if an ionizer type air purifier is ok for you. It also feature UV light for additional cleaning power and the ability to kill some airborne bacteria.
It’s not a match for the filtering ability of a real HEPA-based purifier but is a great option for those who need an affordable product that can help with allergies and with no maintenance costs. Also the power consumption is only 8W so it can be left plugged in for 24hrs/day with minimal impact on your electric bill.
The built-in filters require no replacement and are removable so you can clean them off then put them back into use. It’s a great entry-level product that provides good coverage (up to 150 square feet rooms), silent operation, and no maintenance costs.
- Low price + zero maintenance costs (reusable filter)
- No controls needed – plug and go!
- Noise-free operation
- Easy to use – plug into an available outlet
4. O-ion B-1000 Permanent Filter Ionic Purifier
Like the Gideon, the Oion B-1000 requires very little electricity, drawing only 7.5W during use. It’s fan powered, however, but features extremely low noise during operation. A built-in night light is an additional plus. The B-1000 also features a UV light to reduce microbes as well. The 2 speed fan control works great for simple settings: low for a quiet operation and high for maximum cleaning work.
According the the manufacturer the unit can provide well above 500 square feet of air coverage, depending upon the uncleanliness of the air where it is used. A reusable filter can be removed, cleaned, and reinserted when dry. The filter is a more capable than those in other ozone generator purifiers.
If you do not have respiratory problems and are looking for a budge air purifier to reduce allergies, it’s a great alternative to HEPA filter types which require filter replacement.
A 3-year warranty is provided.
- No maintenance costs
- Noise free!
- Simple to use
- Great coverage area (manuf. advertises 5oo square feet and above)
- Better filter than comparable ionizer purifier models
- Built in night light with on/off switch
- Low power consumption – only 7.5W
- 3-year warranty
- 30-day money back guarantee when bought from the seller O-ion
5. GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1
Priced at a mid-point between the GermGuardian AC4825 and the Holmes, the GermGuardian features a true HEPA filter for maximum allergy reduction in your personal and also included a UV light along with titanium dioxide for added germ killing. Measuring only 7.5 x 6.5 x 11″ inches it looks great and will fit into many small areas in your home or workplace.
The filter includes a charcoal section for the reduction of common odors like pets, smoking, and cooking scents. Expect to pay about $18 or so for replacement HEPA + charcoal filters. Replacement is easy by opening the back, removing the old filter, and
The unit is simple to use: select one of 3 fan speeds or off. Noise (similar to a white noise) is present at the highest setting where it moves a filters a lot of air but is still pleasant to use.
It is one of the more popular air purifiers and features excellent reviews along with great reports of long-lasting reliability.
A 1-year warranty is provided.
- Easy to use 3-speed control and on/off
- Moves a lot of air on high speed setting
- Excellent filtering ability for its size
- Filter replacement reminder
- Low filter replacement cost (about $19)
- Includes UV & titanium dioxide design to kill airborne germs
- Great looking & modern design
The best affordable air purifier for allergies
Two of the best to own provide the some of the best allergy reduction value for your dollar. They include UV germ killing technology. One produces no ozone and the other has the feature with an on/off control so that eliminates the possibility of irritation for you, your family, and coworkers or others around you.
Under $50: Holmes HAP242-NUC
The Holmes packs a lot into a small package: fits nearly everywhere, can be stood on its end, on/off optional ozone generator, low-cost but effective version of HEPA filtering, and easy controls.
It’s a great buy!
Under $70: GermGuardian AC4100
Feature great coverage for small rooms or a large office, the GermGuardian AC4100 has a sleek design, small size, and noise levels you won’t mind. The low setting of the 3-speed control has minimal noise production, too. It features a true HEPA filter design for great allergy reduction and charcoal filter for eliminating foul odors. Built-in UV germ killing and a filter replacement round out a popular and very well-reviewed unit that many users love.
Under $100: GermGuardian AC4825
The GermGuardian AC4825 covers small or medium sized rooms up to 155 sq. ft unlike it’s smaller sibling the AC4100. It has been such a great seller and well reviewed by customers it has earned the Amazon’s Choice title. It has everything you need for alleviating your allergies: true HEPA filter w/ easy replacement, replacement reminder, 3 speeds with high for great allergy reduction quickly, UV germ killing design, and a nice vertical design to fit in corners. (if $100 is above your budget, don’t forget the AC4100, the wonderful smaller sibling to it for close to 1/2 the price!)