In case you weren’t already aware, Levoit is one of the top brands for air purifiers today. In fact, their longtime best-seller, the LV-H132, set the standard in many ways for compact air cleaning. I’m a proud owner myself, having found out why it’s a great choice.
But what about this little guy? In my hands-on review of the Levoit LV-H126 I’ll tell you what you need to know before buying.
How does it compare vs the LV-H132? And is it a better – or worse – buy than its main competitor, the GermGuardian AC4100?
Read on to find out everything you need to know!
Getting to know the Levoit LV-H126
Shown: Some of the most popular products in the Levoit air purifier product family. The smallest of all of them, the LV-H126, is a model best suited for smaller rooms. Most of the other models are designed for medium to large sized rooms.
Levoit is one of the largest & most popular air quality product manufacturers today. In fact, the LV-H132 has been one of the all-time best-selling purifiers for years.
I own and have tested several units including the LV-H132 and the new Core 300 (see my reviews of the LV-H132 here and of the Core 300 here). From personal experience, I can vouch for their quality and why they’re so popular.
Unlike the other models sold, the LV-H126 is designed for smaller rooms rather than large or medium-sized rooms.
It’s a more basic model without the more advanced features its bigger siblings offer. As you might expect, it’s a bit less expensive, too, selling for $50-$60 or so depending upon where you find it. (Side note: I got mine for a better price at Amazon)
Air filtering features
However, while it’s a basic model, the air cleaning features are just as good:
- A true HEPA filter with 99.97% filter efficiency for particles down to 0.3 microns (millionths of a meter) in size
- A pre-filter for catching larger particles
- Odor absorbing section as well
Note that also the pre-filter can be replaced separately, meaning you’ll save a bit of money versus having to replace them both even if the HEPA filter doesn’t need it.
Unlike the other models, a manual fan speed knob is used instead of electronic controls. While there’s no filter reminder light offered, a reminder wheel can help keep track of check & replacement times.
The LV-H126 is also offered in both black and white front vent cover versions as well. However, the blue model I’ll be reviewing here today seems to be the most commonly available one.
A direct competitor, the GermGuardian AC4100 is a small room air purifier with a very similar price range, style, and functional design like the LV-H126. See my detailed comparison later in this review.
The LV-H126 is also very similar in size & design to the GermGuardian AC4100. Don’t worry – I’ll compare the two later as we go.
Unboxing and first impressions
Unboxing the Levoit purifier. It’s well-packaged and everything inside looks great from the get-go. Upon opening it you’ll find the 2 extra pre-filters on top as well as the owner’s manual and warranty information.
Unboxing air purifiers may seem like a silly (or unimportant) thing to do, but I enjoy the first impression I get – sometimes you can tell a lot from the packaging!
Opening up the purifier’s box was really no different than any other Levoit I own & enjoy. It’s well-packaged, looks good, and everything arrived safely. Upon opening it you’ll find a pair of extra pre-filters right on top.
Additionally, the owner’s manual booklet and warranty & company info card are conveniently right on top, so there’s no missing them.
So far, so good!
Before long-term testing and after unpacking, I inspected both to check out the build quality and appearance. It’s a very well-made purifier, despite being a lower-priced model that’s pretty basic. Fit and finish are excellent and just as good as the other products from Levoit I’ve owned.
I own and use several air purifiers from Levoit already (including the super-popular LV-H132), so I had the same expectations for build quality for here. The great news is that I wasn’t let down.
Fit and finish are great. It’s very put together and I couldn’t find any visible defects, gaps, or assembly problems at all. No visible defects of any kind.
By the way, everything worked great right out of the box!
The finish on the LV-H126 is a glossy white, while a front vent cover has a stitched fabric material and the company logo. Note: The front cover isn’t removable. It’s a nice looking little unit, despite being a lower-priced model.
The finish is a nice gloss white with matching rear filter cover and front grill below the front cover. The front cover isn’t removable, by the way.
It’s covered with a nice fabric material that reminds me of denim. The front cover sits above the fresh air output as the fan works and directs air to the sides and top.
What’s in the box?
Inside the box are several nice items including 2 additional pre-filters. There’s also a brief but good quality owner’s manual as well as a warranty & company info card. Note that there’s an offer inside for an extra 1-year warranty extension if you register it within 14 days!
Inside the box you’ll find the following:
- The purifier (sealed filter is pre-installed, needs to be removed)
- Owner’s manual & warranty card/customer support card
- Two extra pre-filters sealed and fresh
That is to say, the included extra pre-filters, which are nice to have, are extra – the sealed filters installed inside the purifier also includes both the HEPA filter and a pre-filter, for a total of 3 pre-filters included.
The warranty card includes a nice offer for an extra 1 year of warranty coverage for free if you register it within 14 days – pretty nice! Additionally, there’s some great customer service contact info in it as well.
Checking out the controls
The Levoit purifier has no other controls – just a simple 3-speed fan control & off. It’s incredibly simple and gets the job done.
Using the purifier is really simple, especially since there’s only one control: a 3-speed rotary knob.
The fan control has a good, solid feel and doesn’t feel “cheap” like some others on the market. No complaints there from me!
I was very happy with how well it works, despite the simplicity. I will say, though, that I do prefer the front panel control of the GermGuardian AC4100 a bit more as it’s more accessible.
Additionally, the LV-H126 doesn’t provide a power on/off light on the front panel like the AC4100.
That’s more of a side note as it’s not really an issue in everyday use.
Note that unlike other models (but similar to GermGuardian’s AC4100 model), the company doesn’t provide a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) rating. The CADR rating is a voluntary industry air cleaning efficiency standard used to help compared air purifiers.
Additionally, the rate at which smaller purifiers can circulate & clean the air in a room is greatly affected by their limited fan speed. That’s normal, by the way, so it’s not limited to just one brand. When making a purifier smaller in size it’s not possible to use the larger & more powerful fan designs like their bigger siblings.
Setup and placement
As new filters are shipped from the factory sealed to keep them fresh & ready for use, you’ll need to get yours ready. It’s a quick process, though, and it’s as easy as removing the filter in the bag, removing it, and re-installing.
Getting the unit ready for the first use is really easy.
When opening it up for the first time (or when installing a new complete filter) you’ll need to:
- Remove the rear cover and the sealed filters
- Open the bag and remove the filters
- Re-install them into the purifier and close the rear cover
It only takes a few minutes, although I had to carefully hold the pre-filter in place with my hand to keep it from falling down. Once it place, the rear cover just swings upwards and snaps closed.
Note: You’ll need to provide at least 15 inches (38 cm) of unobstructed space in front of and behind the purifier for proper airflow.
At about only about 10″ tall, it’s very compact and can fit on a lot of tables, desks, or shelves. So far I’m pretty happy with it – it’s very similar in overall size & design to the GermGuardian AC4100 I’m very familiar with too.
Air cleaning performance
Right away, the LV-H126 starting trapping nasty dust & particles in the air where I live! As you can see above, larger elements such as dust, lint, and hair are caught in the pre-filter before they can reach the HEPA filter inside.
I tested the LV-H126 by running it 24 hours a day including while away from home.
It works well in small bedrooms but obviously can’t match the performance of larger models, so I had to be realistic about my expectations (especially because of the larger models I already own & have tested).
While it takes longer to circulate the air in a room, it performed well and I definitely found it helpful for capturing dust (my biggest problem), microscopic debris, and much more in the air.
Despite it being a lower-priced model, overall I’d say it works pretty well – just that because the airflow rate is lower than its larger Levoit siblings, please remember it takes longer to move all the air in a room.
Because of that, ideally you’ll use it in smaller rooms up to the maximum recommended size of 161 square feet.
Levoit LV-H126 room size explained
The LV-H126 is recommended for use in rooms no larger than 161 square feet (15 square meters).
To get a better idea what size room that is, that’s about a 10 x 16.1 feet in size, which is more or less how large many apartment bedrooms are.
Ultimately, I classify it as a small room air purifier because of the airflow rate and small fan design. Because of that, you can use it just fine in any bedroom, office, or dorm room that’s smaller than the size listed.
When used in an area that’s smaller than the max. recommended size, it’ll perform better as it’s able to circulate the air more quickly in that case.
Honestly, after owning & testing so many different air purifiers I don’t recommend it for medium-sized rooms as you won’t find the air movement as good. For medium & larger-sized rooms a more competent model like the LV-H132 or Core 300 is a much better bet.
The LV-H126’s HEPA filter section is made up of a folded, dense fiber material. It’s capable of excellent filtering ability and works well. The pre-filter is a separate section that traps larger particles like dust & hair before it can clog up the HEPA filter too early. To my surprise, the activated carbon filter is a separate section attached inside (versus a coating on the prefilter as most others use) that captures odors and volatile compounds in the air.
As it’s advertised as a “3-in-1” purifier & filter type, the LV-H126, like many others, uses 3 stages of air filtering:
- A pre-filter
- A true HEPA filter
- An activated charcoal filter
The high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter traps the smallest & most difficult particles that cause air quality problems, including:
- Pet dander
- Pet hair (thanks to the pre-filter)
- Dust mite allergens
- Pollen (and other allergens)
- Microscopic dust
- Home construction particles
Basically, it’s a multi-stage filter process as the pre-filter/carbon filter can trap both odors and larger particles like pet hair and dust. The HEPA filter removes smaller particles like smoke elements, pet dander, dust mite products, and much more.
The pre-filter is a thin, mesh material that rests on the outside of the HEPA filter and can be replaced separately any time. It’s not washable, however (although the owner’s manual doesn’t mention it, it can be vacuumed for extended life).
Levoit uses a true HEPA filter meaning it performs to the HEPA standard: a whopping 99.97% of particles passing through it down to 0.3 microns in size are trapped.
That’s particles less than 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size – far smaller than the human eye can see.
What’s different & what surprised me about the LV-H126 is the odor/volatile odor compound (VOC) filter.
While most models use a coating directly on the pre-filter, with the Levoit it’s a separate, more effective section attached to the HEPA filter. I wasn’t expecting that – and it quickly became a turning point for my review, I might add! (You’ll see why later)
Does the LV-H126 produce ozone?
Quite a few people have wondered if air purifiers can cause headaches. As I explained in detail here, a filter-based purifier like the Levoit, for example, doesn’t produce any harmful emissions.
There are no ozone or ion-producing elements inside so it’s 100% free of emissions, and is approved by the California Air
Filter replacement & cost
Replacement indicator wheel
Unlike larger models I mentioned earlier, there’s no electronic filter replacement reminder feature. However, a manual reminder wheel is built into the rear. Using a coin I set the reminder to mark when I set up the new filter (December) so I could check it later without forgetting.
Bigger models like the LV-H132 & Core 300 have an electronic filter replacement reminder feature. Those models track time electronically and use a light to show when it’s time to check the HEPA and pre-filter sections.
Unfortunately, that feature isn’t present in this model. To be fair, it’s also not available in some other small room competitors either.
To their credit, however, Levoit does offer a “date wheel” as a type of reminder. By setting the wheel in one of 2 ways you can track when the date when you should check the filters for replacement.
As mentioned in the manual, there are 2 ways to use the reminder wheel:
- Method 1: When you start using the air purifier, turn the
wheel to the number of the current month
(January is “1”, December is “12”), so you can track
how long the filter is used.
- Method 2: When you start using the air purifier, turn the
wheel 6 months ahead as a reminder. Example: If
you replace the filters in February (the 2nd month
on the calendar), you can turn the wheel to “8” to
remind you to replace your filters again in August
(the 8th month).
Filter life and costs
Shown: The LV-H126-RF filter replacement set. It includes the HEPA filter with a built-in activated filter section & 3 pre-filters (2 extra pre-filters).
Filter life for the HEPA/odor filter assembly is about 6-8 months as recommended by the manufacturer. However, in my experience that varies a lot depending upon use. Levoit recommends replacing the pre-filters at around 2-3 months or so (just be sure to check and see if you need to replace it).
Heavy air quality problems like severe dust, cigarette smoke, and especially heavy airborne particles may consume the HEPA & activated carbon filter faster.
Expect to spend around $12-$15 or so for the replacement filter set (#LV-H126-RF). While it’s about the same price as some other models, unlike them it includes an additional 2 pre-filters as well.
How to replace the filters
Filter replacement is easy and I found it to be a snap to do. It only takes a few seconds to 1) remove the rear grill by pushing down on the release tab, and 2) pulling out the filter assembly using the flexible pull tab or using a finger on top.
Filter replacement is a snap and I found it super-easy. It only takes a few seconds and it’s exactly the same process as when I got my new purifier in the box (aside from the filter already being inside).
To replace the filters:
- Push down on the release tab at the top
- Swing the grill down and outward
- Pull the soft tab or use a finger to tilt the filter assembly out
That’s it! Removing my dirty filter for inspection or replacement (both my HEPA and pre-filter, since both were old) isn’t a problem at all.
Note that as I mentioned earlier, the pre-filter is separate from the HEPA filter assembly. When putting the whole thing back inside you’ll want to hold the pre-filter against the HEPA filter so it doesn’t fall out.
While not a big deal, it’s kind of annoying to have to do that.
Owner’s manual quality
The owner’s manual is typical Levoit quality – clear, concise, and with good instructions & information. While it’s short, it’s pretty good and helps you get the most out of your new purifier.
The provided owner’s manual is very good quality – exactly the same level of quality I’ve come to expect from the company.
It’s somewhat short but very detailed, clear, and helpful.
Inside you’ll find:
- Basic operation notes
- How to set the filter replacement reminder
- Maintenance notes
- Very basic specifications
- How to contact the company for support
- Replacement filter information
Honestly, though, it’s such a simple unit to use that there’s not much you need to know. I did find one mistake, however: there’s a misprint as the replacement filter number (LV-H126-RF) was missing.
Power use measurements (watts used)
Measuring power use for the purifier on all 3 fan speeds. While larger medium room (and other) air purifiers typically use around 55W, the LV-H126 uses less energy.
I measured power use to be 100% of what you can expect in everyday use. Here’s what I found.
Those are pretty low power use levels. In fact, aside from the LV-H132 and similar models, many competitor products for medium-sized rooms such as the GermGuardian AC4825 use around 55 watts.
For that reason, you can expect a smaller electricity bill if you’re one of the people who leave it running 24/7.
Noise levels during use
Yep, noise levels are one of the biggest selling points for air purifiers and other air quality products sold. To make matters difficult, as it turns out I’m a light sleeper so I’m always curious to see how they perform.
(I should also note that the Levoit medium-room purifiers like the Core 300 and LV-H132 are some of the quietest on the market).
I measured volume levels with my handy digital decibel sound meter, performed at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifiers (note that both are same in noise levels).
|Off (room noise)||39.6|
While not as quiet as some others I’ve tested (especially the Levoit LV-H162 and Core 300, for example), it’s still fairly quiet. Just don’t expect ultra-quiet operation on medium or high.
Low speed, however, is extremely quiet.
In everyday use, it’s not very loud, but definitely can be heard with a somewhat low fan noise when set to high. For overnight use, the low speed is almost too quiet to hear and the medium one is fairly quiet.
In either case, it’s still quieter than competitor models like the GermGuardian AC4100 which is fairly louder at 47/51/58 dB.
Levoit LV-H132 vs LV-H126
As I mentioned earlier, the LV-H132, a best-selling model for years, has really set the standard and is one of the best-reviewed purifiers sold today.
While its maximum fan speed is lower than similarly priced competitors from Honeywell and GermGuardian, it makes up for it in other ways.
While both models shown here have 3 fans speeds and a 3-in-1 filter design, the LV-H132 is more refined and has several features that make it a buyer favorite.
Here are some of the highlights of, and contrasts from the LV-H126, it offers:
- 2-level night light feature
- Electronic touch controls with backlight
- Filter reminder light
- Memory feature restores the last setting used automatically
- Easy twist-open filter cover (located on the bottom)
- Quieter operation (40/43/48dB) as it sounds much more pleasant
- Available in black
What’s interesting is that the LV-H132 is recommended for medium-small rooms up to 129 sq. feet vs the 161 feet of the LV-H126.
Despite the fairly close volume measurements I recorded, the LV-H132 is quieter during use as it makes a softer fan sound when it works.
Both models include a 2 year warranty so that’s not a problem. My personal recommendation is to pick up the LV-H132 if you can afford it as the features and performance make it worthwhile.
(The maximum fan speed is a bit better than the LV-H126 as well).
However there’s not too much actual performance you’ll be missing, so it’s a matter of features, noise level, and price when it’s time to decide between the two. In case you’re interested, be sure to see how it fared in my hands-on review of the LV-H132 here.
The Core 300 is a similar & updated model based on the LV-H132. It’s a competent performer and very quiet too, just like its older sibling.
While we’re at it, I also recommend checking out the very nice Core 300 that I reviewed here. It’s an updated model based on the LV-H132 that’s an excellent choice as well.
Levoit LV-H126 vs GermGuardian AC4100
When comparing the GermGuardian AC4100 to the LV-H126 there are a few differences worth noting:
- The AC4100’s odor-absorbing filter section is lesser than that of the LV-H126 (the AC4100 uses a coating on the pre-filter and not a separate filter section)
- The AC4100 is also available in blue & pink kid’s versions with color-changing projecting ceiling night light
- Germ-killing ultraviolet light (UV-C) feature is built-in with the AC4100
- The AC4100 is louder when in use
- 3-in-1 just like the Levoit
Both units use a rotary fan speed switch with 3 speeds available. However, the AC4100 is a bit louder in my experience – I measured volume levels at 47/51/58 dB (vs 40.32/44.3/53.1 for the LV-H126).
As they’re priced about the same, at first glance it might seem like a close call. However, after owning & testing both I recommend the LV-H126 over the AC4100 just a bit.
Simply put, both are good quality and the UV-C feature of the AC4100 may seem like a huge benefit, but in reality it has a small effect so it shouldn’t be a major buying decision.
Rather, the LV-H126 features a better activated charcoal filter attached to the HEPA filter frame. It’s a bit more capable than that of the AC4100.
Additionally, I like how the LV-H126 blows clean out around the front with a 360° style rather than directly in front like its competitor. To add to that, the LV-H126’s recommended room size (161 sq. ft.) beats the smaller 78 square feet of the AC4100.
You can see my detailed review of the AC4100/AC4150 here.
Review score & summary
If you’re considering a small-room purifier, Levoit’s a great manufacturer to look at and the LV-H126 is a good choice, too. Although I still recommend checking out its bigger brothers, it’s worth a look if you’ve got a budget to keep.
I was pleasantly surprised at the filter quality, as, despite their similarities, both the filter quality & room size coverage beats that of the competing AC4100.
Not only that, while it’s a basic model missing the convenience features found in the larger sibling LV-H132, it works well and it’s not too loud during use. Airflow is good and the style is nice as well.
I like it, and if you’re tight on money or only need a smaller room purifier, I believe you will too!
It’s also a top-rated choice as well. Find out now why it's one of the best small air purifiers today at Amazon.
Quality - 9.9/10
Value - 8/10
Ease of use - 10/10
Air cleaning ability - 7.9/10
Features - 7/10
Noise levels - 7.9/10
Not fancy, but well-done small purifier that's affordable and works well.
From one of the leading companies today, the LV-H126 doesn’t have the great features of the best-selling siblings the LV-H132 and Core 300. However, it’s an affordable smaller air purifier that does what it’s supposed to well. With a simple control, it’s basic & easy. Styling is nice, and the unique 360° front air output means fresh air is distributed more evenly.
The 3-stage filter design works well and airflow is good. In fact the odor control filter is more advanced than that of similarly priced competitors. Not as quiet as the more advanced models, it’s still lower in noise than many competitors and not too bothersome. While it lacks electronics, it’s a good choice that won’t let you down.
- 161 sq. ft. coverage
- Better active carbon filter
- Easy filter replacement
- Affordable filters ($12+)
- Lower power use
- Include 2 extra pre-filters
- Good airflow rate
- Filter reminder wheel
- 2 year warranty
- Free extended 1 year warranty
- Good customer support
- Limited color styles
- No filter replacement light
- Manual control
- No power indicator
- Could be quieter
- Lack electronic features