Buyers guide

The Best Affordable Air Purifiers for Allergies – Get Relief!

Looking for allergy relief? And you’re on a budget, too? I know how you feel – I sneeze and cough sometimes because of always suffering from mild allergy symptoms. As soon as you start shopping for an air purifier you can feel overwhelmed at how many choices there are.

If you’ve been wondering, “What are the best affordable air purifiers for allergies?” the good news is I’ve done the homework. I’d love to help you pick the best for your money but most of all, get relief!

In this post I’ll share with you some helpful information to know before buying. I’ve done the research for you and I’ve found several of the best, most affordable models to pick from.

If you’re short on time you can click here to jump to my recommended products and reviews.

What kind of allergy-causing elements are in your air?

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)
  • Dust
  • 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 – they’re often microscopic! It’s not just important, but critical that you have the right kind of air purifier that handle eliminate these problems at their source.

If not, you’re going to continue to suffer from your allergies. I don’t want that to happen to you.

What are the different kinds of air purifiers?

Before spending any money you really should know what kind of air purifiers are sold today. If you make a bad choice you could potentially get little allergy relief, if any! Not to mention wasting your hard-earned money and times as well.

Products available today generally fall into one of two categories:

  1. Ozone generators or ionizers
  2. Filter-based purifiers

1. Ozone generators/ionizers

Image of ozone generator

Image of a large ozone generator marketed and sold as an “air freshener” or “air purifier.” These produce large amounts of ozone in order to somewhat affect the air in a room but typically do not permanently remove and trap particles efficiently like a filter-based purifier does.

Air purifiers that work off of ozone generation use the principle of high voltage generation to create zone molecules or ionize (cause an eletrostatic charge) in oxygen molecules in the surrounding air.

An ozone generator essentially generates ozone molecules which can bond to particles floating in the air. In some products they can be trapped in a type of filter or plates which can be cleaned later.

Ionizers work off of similar principles, but use atomic charges to attract, trap, and neutralize particles in the air that passes through them. In both cases typically a fan is used to move air in a room and treat it.

Ionizers can be effective at killing airborne microbes (germs) in the air in a room. However, the problem with ozone generators and ionizers is that they’re not as effective as a purifier which uses a filter.

Additionally, ozone can irritate the lungs and throat in humans. People with health issues are especially sensitive to this.

There are quite a few products marketed and sold as “air purifiers” when in fact they’re not at all effective and aren’t proven to reduce allergy symptoms.

I recommend you buy a quality filter-based product instead.

2. Filter-based

Filter based air purifiers work by moving air with a fan and trapping allergy and sickness-causing particles within it. The most important thing to know is that they permanently remove nasty elements from the air. Unlike the air filter in a home’s central heating & cooling system, they normally use a far higher quality filter to do so.

I’m telling you, if you think that’s cleanin your air well, you’re very wrong! Home AC/heating filters are course and full of gaps which let nearly everything get through!

Fortunately there’s a great solution for this.

What is a HEPA filter?

Diagram showing HEPA filter efficiency

A High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters describes a type of dense air filter material which meets a standard set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the 1950s. It’s an industry standard that ensures a purifier’s filter meets a minimum level of efficiency and quality for air purification.

HEPA filters can trap elements as small as an amazing 0.3 micrometers in size. A micrometer is an incredibly small 1/1,000,000 of a meter! These filters are made up of very dense material which traps nearly all of the problem-causing particles in the air around you. The result is air pushed out (via the fan in the purifier) that’s refreshingly pure and healthy!

Not only that, but they’re extremely efficient. True HEPA filters can trap 99.97% of all airborne allergens, dust, pet hair, dust mite materials, and various other toxic and unwanted air pollutants.

Illustration of HEPA air purifier for dust sectionsA 3-in-1 filter (shown here) usually consists of a HEPA filter (white) with a separate pre-filter combined with an activated carbon filter section (black). Together these work extremely well at reducing odor, allergens, and larger particles like dust and hair. In some cases the pre-filter, which may become dirty due to trapping lots of dust, can be vacuumed clean or replaced separately. The pre-filter can prolong the life of the more expensive HEPA filter section by keeping it from becoming clogged early in the filter life.

Many HEPA filters in air purifiers sold today are part of a “3-in-1” design: they include an additional 2 filters with a pre-filter section and an active carbon section.

A pre-filter is great for removing larger materials like pet hair and larger dust. An active carbon filter section catches and neutralizes odors and chemical substances in the air which can be both unpleasant or harmful to your health.

Filter-based purifiers with a 3-in-1 design are excellent at removing allergy triggers as well as just about any type of irritant or odor that may disturb your quality of life at home.

I’ve been enjoying my GermGuardian HEPA air purifier at home for some time now and it has really helped my sneezing by dramatically reducing my dust problem! I also cough less, too.


★ The best affordable air purifiers for allergies ★

Preview
Best Overall Value!
PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier – 3 Speeds Plus UV-C Air Sanitizer...
Best seller
GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter, UV-C...
GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1 Air Purifier with HEPA Filter, UV-C Sanitizer,...
Hamilton Beach 04386A Air Purifier, Allergen Reducing Air Cleaner with...
★ LOW PRICE! ★
Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier with Optional Ionizer, White
Product
PureZone 3-in-1
GermGuard AC4825
GermGuardian AC4100
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Allergen
Holmes HAP242-NUC
Type
True HEPA 3-in-1
HEPA 3-in-1
HEPA 3-in-1
True HEPA (no pre-filter)
HEPA-type (no pre-filter)
Special Features
UV germ killer, auto timer, filter reminder
UV germ killer, filter reminder
UV germ killer
Horizontal Placement
Ozone generator
Room size
200 sq. ft.
155 sqr. Ft
Small room
160 sq. ft.
109 sq ft
Price
$99.99
from $89.99
from $49.90
$56.99
$41.88
Best Overall Value!
Preview
PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier – 3 Speeds Plus UV-C Air Sanitizer...
Product
PureZone 3-in-1
Type
True HEPA 3-in-1
Special Features
UV germ killer, auto timer, filter reminder
Room size
200 sq. ft.
Price
$99.99
Best seller
Preview
GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter, UV-C...
Product
GermGuard AC4825
Type
HEPA 3-in-1
Special Features
UV germ killer, filter reminder
Room size
155 sqr. Ft
Price
from $89.99
Preview
GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1 Air Purifier with HEPA Filter, UV-C Sanitizer,...
Product
GermGuardian AC4100
Type
HEPA 3-in-1
Special Features
UV germ killer
Room size
Small room
Price
from $49.90
Preview
Hamilton Beach 04386A Air Purifier, Allergen Reducing Air Cleaner with...
Product
Hamilton Beach TrueAir Allergen
Type
True HEPA (no pre-filter)
Special Features
Horizontal Placement
Room size
160 sq. ft.
Price
$56.99
★ LOW PRICE! ★
Preview
Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier with Optional Ionizer, White
Product
Holmes HAP242-NUC
Type
HEPA-type (no pre-filter)
Special Features
Ozone generator
Room size
109 sq ft
Price
$41.88


Reviews and key features

🏆 1. PureZone 3-in-1 – One of the best all-around values. An excellent performer and excellent buy!

PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier – 3 Speeds Plus UV-C Air Sanitizer...

The PureZone 3-in-1 from Pure Technologies is one of the best I’ve found in a long time. Why? Actually, for several great reasons.

It’s an all-around excellent value and solid performer. It also give you more features than just about any other air purifier like it for around $100. It features a true HEPA filter with 3-in-1 filter design. The pre-filter and activated carbon filter also remove dust, allergens, and odors before the reach the main filter, extending its life.

It’s also one of the most quiet purifiers sold today. Sound volume during operation is:

  • Low: 30dB
  • Medium: 30dB
  • High: 50dB

…so you know in advance you won’t be disturbed by loud noise. Just good, quiet air purification to relieve your allergies and improve your quality of life.

The auto-timer features a convenient choice of 2, 4, or 8 hours of continuous unattended operation – just set it and go! It will stop by itself. That’s something the comparable GermGuardian AC4825 doesn’t offer at that price.

PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier – 3 Speeds Plus UV-C Air Sanitizer...

Unlike less expensive models (for only a few dollars more) it includes electronic touch controls with clear LED indicators for operational modes. It’s small too at only 10.8” L x 6.9” W x 12.1” H in size.

The great news is that it also includes a UV-C germ-killing feature found in the comparable GermGuardian AC4825. While the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is lower than some competitors, it’s because it runs more quietly. The disadvantage is it can’t fully clean a room’s air fully at the same rate, but that’s a relatively minor complaint.

It also has one of the best warranties in the industry at 5 years.

If you’re looking for an all-around winner with the most features and with great quality, this is one of the best choices – if not the best choice – you’ll find anywhere today.

PROS:
  • 200 sq. ft. room coverage (manufaturer’s rating)
  • Electronic touch controls
  • LED function indicators
  • Selectable auto timer (2,4, 8 hours)
  • Quiet operation – lower noise than others
  • Germ killing UV feature
  • Easy to use
  • Great build quality
  • Filter replacement light
  • 3-in-1 design w/ pre-filter
  • Good customer service
  • Relatively small size
  • 5 year warranty

CONS:
  • CADR rating (80) is lower than competitors
  • Lower fan speed than others, takes longer cycle room air
  • Auto timer has only 3 selectable settings (2, 4, 8 hours only, no single-hour option)
  • Only 1 color offered (white)

It’s a great buy and worth the affordable price. Head over now to read more and see why it's so highly rated.

2. GermGuardian AC4825 – A best-seller…reliable, dependable allergy relief for everyone.

GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter, UV-C...

A top seller with a proven reliability record and excellent buyer reviews, the AC4825 doesn’t include the same features as the PureZone 3-in-1 but does feature a higher Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR).

A true HEPA 3-in-1 filter design ensures it cleans your air well and leaves the room fresh and allergen & dust-free. The pre-filter and activated carbon filter work together to remove particles like dust as well as odors. With a CADR rating of 100+ it can clean a room’s air more quickly than others.

It’s a great overall value and an excellent choice. I’m a proud owner and you can read more about it in my detailed review here.

GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier with True HEPA Filter, UV-C...

A 3-speed fan control is provided and a great choice for those who prefer simple controls & operation. The filter is easy to remove and replace by opening the rear door and simply swapping it out. A replacement reminder is included – the power light turns red when it’s time to check the filter.

At 22 inches in height, it’s not a compact as others listed here but the small base size allows it to fit well in corners and small places where height is not an issue. Replacement filters cost about $30 and last approximately 6 months, depending upon use.

You can also find 3rd party brand filters which are cheaper.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan switch is great for nearly everyone
  • Good overall value for performance & room size
  • Great filtering performance
  • Quiet fan operation on low speed setting
  • Germ killing UV-C feature
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Soft LED when power is on
  • Vertical size is great for corner or areas with more vertical space
  • Good room size coverage (155 square feet)
  • 3-year limited warranty

CONS:
  • No auto-sensing modes
  • No electronic controls
  • No auto-off feature
  • Cannot wash & reuse filter (note: pre-filter can be vacuumed)
  • Design is less stylish and attractive than other competitors in its price range
  • Warranty requires paying for return shipment for service

Even better, it’s also available in a sharp-looking version called the AC4900CA. It’s identical in performance as well. Note that prices are often slightly different between the two despite being functionally identical.

I personally own a AC4825 and now I understand why it’s a best seller. It’s well made, works great for cleaning the air, and is frustration-free. You’ll find the best price and thousands of happy buyer reviews over at Amazon.

3.  Hamilton Beach TrueAir Ultra Quiet – Affordable, compact, and quiet allergy relief.

Hamilton Beach 04386A Air Purifier, Allergen Reducing Air Cleaner with...

Do you have a slightly tighter budget? The Hamilton Beach TrueAir represents not just a well-made purifier that’s with a lower price but one that also helps keep ownership costs down.

The HEPA filter can be vacuumed clean. With the exception of heavy use, you won’t have to replace it as frequently as other products. That’s a great way to save money!

The rotary 3-speed fan switch is simple. The unit yet works quietly during operation unlike other lower-priced purifiers on the market.

It’s small in size at only 8.5 x 13.5″ but the room coverage is a great 140 square feet. It’s a good choice forsmall rooms & offices. Another great option it has is the ability to be placed on its side as well. The soft feet keep it in place when doing so..

Hamilton Beach 04386A Air Purifier, Allergen Reducing Air Cleaner with...

Note that unlike the TrueAir Pet Specialized Cleaner version, there are no additional pre-filter sections. I don’t recommend it, therefore, for heavy dust or pet hair. In that case you’d should check out the pet version.

It’s available in both a nice black color and white as well. (Note that the different colors may be priced differently from time to time).

PROS:
  • HEPA filter is effective for average dust and allergen removal
  • Main (HEPA) filter can be vacuumed and reused – low maintenance costs
  • Can be used on its side for even more convenience
  • Quiet operation
  • Nice design
  • Simple 3-speed operation control

CONS:
  • Limited room size coverage
  • No pre-filter or carbon filter section (not recommended for heavy hair or dust conditions)
  • No power indicator lights or filter replacement reminder
  • No sleep or auto-shut off mode

It’s a great choice if you’re looking for affordable allergy relief. Head over and check out the many happy buyer reviews today.

4.  GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1: Excellent compact small-room/dorm/office air cleaning with germ killing, too!

GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1 Air Purifier with HEPA Filter, UV-C Sanitizer,...

A great mid-price model, the AC4100 has an excellent reputation and is a great looking, well performing purifier. Measuring only 7.5 x 6.5 x 11″ in size, it also uses a true HEPA filter & charcoal section to produce fresh, clean air and permanently remove the nasty substances found in your home, office, and especially places like a dorm room.

As an added bonus the UV light along with titanium dioxide kills germs to make your air more safe and prevent illness. A replacement filter costs about $18 and there’s a filter installation date wheel on the rear to help you know when it’s time to replace it.

Image of a GermGuardian AC4100 showing HEPA and activated carbon filtersOperation is simple: a 3 speed fan contro. It’s quiet and generates a pleasing low noise level on the lowest setting. When set to high sound similar to white noise is produced.

There’s no memory feature for the UV-C control so you’ll have to manually switch it back on after turn the fan off.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan control and on/off UV-C switch
  • UV & titanium dioxide design to kill germs
  • Great filtering ability for its small size
  • High speed setting moves a lot of air for purifying quickly
  • Filter replacement reminder wheel (month installed)
  • Low filter replacement price (about $19)
  • UV-C feature remains on after power-on/off
  • Sleek, modern design
  • Filter replacement date wheel (marks month installed)

CONS:
  • 1 year warranty is shorter than other models
  • Fan speed on high could be slightly better
  • No filter replacement light
  • No additional colors offered

Following the same great quality that has made GermGuardian purifiers some of the best today, it’s a great choice. Definitely worth reading the excellent buyer reviews that helped it receive the Amazon's Choice rating.

5.  Holmes HAP242-NUC HEPA-type desktop purifier – A basic budget performer.

Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier with Optional Ionizer, White

Looking for a competent but lower priced choice? The HAP242-NUC may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. It offers excellent value for the money and lower filter maintenance costs. It measures a reasonable 14.8 x 11.4 x 7.2 inches in size.

Featuring a small size that’s perfect for counter tops, shelves, and desktops,the Holmes can also be placed vertically on its back. Rubber feet are built-in to the rear so it can be rotated and remain steady.

It uses a HEPA-type filter that is similar to the filtering qualities of a true HEPA filter. The filter can remove 99% of all particles down to 2 microns in size (2/1,000,000 of a meter) as opposed to the 0.3 micron standard of a genuine HEPA filter.

Still an excellent performer and can remove nearly all major allergens including dust mites, smoke particles, and much more.

Holmes Small Room 3-Speed HEPA Air Purifier with Optional Ionizer, White

A built-in ionizer with off/on control is an additional feature and produces a safe level of fresh charged molecules which bond with pollutants in the air. It adds more cleaning performance with no fuss.

It’s unique in that the pre-stage filter can be removed and washed to be reused. Fan speed is adjustable and while not as quiet as the Levoit and others here, it does offer low noise when on low speed. It is recommended for up to 109 square feet sized rooms.

Buyers have great things to say about it and some report paying as little as $13 dollars for replacement filters.

PROS:
  • One of the most affordable and biggest sellers on the market
  • Easy slide control switches & 3 speed settings
  • Pre-stage filter can be cleaned and reused
  • Low replacement filter cost
  • Can be positioned vertically
  • Inludes ionizer with on/off control
  • Lower cost version of a true HEPA filter with nearly the same standard of performance
  • Available in black
  • 3-year limited warranty

CONS:
  • Build quality isn’t quite as good as others
  • No germ-killing feature like the GermGuardian products offer
  • Uses slide switches instead of rotating switches
  • Styling is more bland bland than other products

For the price, it’s a great choice for those with tight spending limits. Check out the amazing number of positive reviews.

Summary

Choosing the best affordable air purifier for your allergies should be based the following factors:

  • Buy a quality product with a proven track record & reviews
  • Filter-based purifiers (not ozone or ionizer types) are critical for best relief
  • Pick a product with adequate room coverage for your room
  • Choose a 3-in-1 filter design for best results

If have have allergies due to pets you can read more here as well:

Check out my detailed review of the air purifier I own and recommend: The GermGuardian AC4825. Find out why it’s one of the most popular sold today!

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