5 Of The Best Air Purifiers For Smoke Under $100 – Buyer’s Guide And What To Know

Best air purifiers for smoke under $100 featured image

Dealing with smoke? Let’s face it: smoke and its related odors can be a pain to get rid of.

Here you’ll find 5 of the best air purifiers for smoke under $100 along with details, info, and the pros & cons to know before spending a dime.

You can definitely get a good buy that’s affordable! You’ll also find lots of helpful information about smoke and air purifiers too.

Read on to learn more!

Contents

Infographic – Cigarette smoke and air purifier facts

What is in smoke? How small are smoke particles?

Image of a cigarette smoke particle under microscope

A microscopic image showing two fine aluminum silicate particles in smoke from a Marlboro Medium cigarette. Note the size scale in the image is an incredibly small 1 micrometer (1um). A micrometer (or “micron”) is 1/1,000,000 of a meter. Cigarette smoke particles have been studied and measured (see below). Their incredibly small size is one reason they’re such a problem for odors and irritation. Microscopic particles can travel to many areas of your home and surfaces.

Smoke from pipe tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars contains a huge amount of chemical particles released when the tobacco burns. This is because tobacco is treated with a variety of chemicals and substances before being packed for used by smokers. Some aren’t intentionally added but occur as tobacco is cured.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug administration over 7,000 chemicals are released from cigarette smoke.

How smoke builds and becomes worse

Smoking indoors is a self-building problem: the more you smoke indoors, the more it builds and the worse it becomes. Smoke after-effects don’t disappear or “evaporate.”

As most homes or business aren’t open to outside fresh air, smoke particles are trapped inside and never leave. They build up over time and accumulate on surfaces and even your skin, clothes, and more.

I’ve seen the results of heavy smokers who stayed indoors and smoked. Over time, the white walls actually became dark yellow in color. It permeated nearly everything inside!

Once smoke particles bond to surfaces and fabrics, it’s very difficult to restore them to their original freshness. Taking preventative measures can prevent this easily.

Even if smokers don’t smoke indoors, they bring in odors and smoke residue which are strong and a source of irritation. I’ve been in contact with someone once who was a heavy smoker, and because of the smoke particles on her body it caused me to break out in a rash.

You’ve got to eliminate the problem as effectively as possible to remove smells and avoid causing allergic reactions, coughing, and other side effects of bringing in smoke residue.

Do air purifiers help with cigarette smoke and odors?

Image of Levoit LV-H132 air purifier in bedroom
Yes, a good air purifier of the right type can effectively remove smoke, smoke by-products, and odors.

An air purifier removes smoke and related odors by using a fan to circulate air in the room which is passed through filters. These filters permanently trap smoke & its particles suspended in the air. Odors can be removed, too.

Air fresheners and other attempted solutions like that don’t work – they cover up (mask) the problem. Air fresheners cannot actually process the air or change the air contents as a purifier can.

One of the challenges of removing smoke isn’t just as simple as paper burning. Unlike smoke from other sources, cigarette and tobacco smoke is made of a huge range of microscopic particles. Gaseous chemical substances are released into the air, too.

Cigarette smoke typically contains elements that range in size from about 0.1 to 1.0 um in size.

You’ll need something that can eliminate these incredibly small elements in the air. That’s where an air purifier comes in – they’re practical, affordable, and most of all they’re effective. Air purifiers work well and get the job done safely.

Dirty air is one of many reasons why you might not be getting good rest, too!

What kind of air purifier do I need for smoke?

While there are many low-cost “air filters” and “air cleaners”, etc., on the market, you need to shop for a filter-based product. Not just that, but you should also be sure to shop for the following kind:

  1. Uses a quality High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter
  2. A purifier that includes an activated carbon filter

What is a HEPA filter?

 

Diagram showing efficiency of HEPA filter removing smoke particles
A HEPA filter is an air filter used to remove very small particulates from the air. “HEPA” is name used to describe an old standard created in the United States back in the 1950s to ensure the cleaning efficiency of air filters.

This type of filter is excellent at removing  and amazing 99.7% of the contaminants that enter it when air is forced through it. This means that only a tiny 3 out of every 10,000 particles that enter it are able to escape!

They can trap microscopic particles down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size. This is less than 1/1,000,000 of a meter! For references, the human eye can only see particles which are a bit larger than 5 microns in size.

As smoke contains particles that range from below 1 micron to above 1 micron, it’s critical to have this amount of filtering ability to remove smoke by-products from your air.

However, as effective as these filters are, they’re not able to trap odors and other vapors that smoke introduces in your air. You’ll need a carbon filter also for that.

What is an activated carbon filter?

Illustration of HEPA air purifier for dust sectionsAn activated carbon filter (shown here in black) is often made with a course/thin pre-filter material. These are typically used in conjunction with a HEPA filter for better smoke air filtering. The activated carbon filter traps odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The pre-filter is great for dust and hair. The HEPA filter permanently removes microscopic smoke particles from the air around you.

An activated carbon filter is a somewhat thin air filter section that is dark in color. They’re normally black due to the very small pieces of carbon used in them. Activated carbon attracts and traps odors and other chemical substances in the air.

This includes odors and other emissions from smoke which cause discomfort and breathing problems. Not only that, but they’re great for removing those awful smells that come from cigarettes and other smoke sources.

Carbon filters aren’t normally used by themselves – in air purifiers, they’re used alongside a dense HEPA filter to form a more comprehensive air purification system.

They’re especially important when it comes to dealing with smoke by-products and odors. You shouldn’t purchase an air purifier without one.  As I mentioned earlier, a HEPA filter alone can’t remove odors and gaseous substances in the air.

Air purifier filter replacement

GermGuardian FLT4825 replacement filterReplacing the expired filters in an air purifier usually means buying a replacement set made by the manufacturer. Pricing depends on the specific product and brand, but around $30 is typical. However, for some models it is possible to replace only the pre-filter & activated carbon filter section for less money. These are sometimes sold both by the air purifier manufacturer and from 3rd party companies. In that case you can extend the life of the HEPA filter section. Shown here is a replacement filter set for the GermGuardian AC4825, one of the most popular air purifiers sold today. It’s a great choice for smoke.

Trapping unwanted elements in the air is the basis for how air purifiers work. This also means that eventually they’ll become saturated with debris and particles.

Average replacement times for the HEPA filter section are about 6 to 8 months, although that varies with how dirty the air is where the purifier is used.

Optionally in some cases it’s possible to replace only the pre-filter/carbon filter section and extend the life of the HEPA filter. This can save quite a bit of money as well – often by 1/2 the cost of replacing both.

Many air purifiers sold today include a replacement reminder. In that case, you’ll be reminded to check the filter and replace only if necessary. However, bear in mind that for smoke use you should at least replace the carbon filter section every 6 months and possibly sooner if heavy smoke is present.

★ 5 of the best air purifiers for smoke ★

Our top picks at a glance

ImageProductDetails
sample-table__image★ OUR #1 PICK! ★GermGuardian AC4825
  • Best seller and overall an excellent value! Easy to use and quiet.
  • 155 sq ft coverage, 100+ CADR lab tested rating
  • True HEPA, carbon filter for odors, UV-C germ killer
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageULTRA QUIETLevoit LV-H132
  • Electronic controls and super quiet operation
  • 129 sq ft, true HEPA + carbon filter
  • Touch controls, night light, and memory feature
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageGermGuardian AC4100
  • Great for dorms and small rooms
  • Same HEPA filter + carbon filter quality as larger models
  • Includes germ-killing feature
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageLevoit PUR131
  • 322 sq. ft coverage, 3-stage HEPA. Low-noise sleep mode
  • Auto-sensing and auto-off advanced features
  • Digital display and touch controls
Check on Amazon
sample-table__imageLarge room valueHoneywell HPA300
  • Huge 465 sq. ft. coverage. Easy filter replacement, too!
  • Electronic touch controls, dimmer, and sleep timers
  • True HEPA and carbon filters. High-speed Turbo mode
Check on Amazon

Product reviews and details

1. GermGuardian AC4825 – Not just a best seller but a great value! Get good performance and coverage for less.

Another purifier with wonderful buyer reports and a top seller, the AC4825 doesn’t include the same features as the Levoit LV-H132 but offers more room coverage and also includes an ultraviolet (UV) germ killing feature.

A true HEPA filter design ensures it cleans your air well and leaves the room fresh and allergen & dust-free. The pre-filter, an activated carbon filter, handles larger particles and odor removal. Additionally it provides nearly twice the room coverage of similarly priced models.

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 top view of controls

The AC4825 features one of the easiest-to-use control setups you’ll find. It’s incredibly easy to use! Set the rotary control to one of the 3 fan speed settings. Use the UV push button to switch the germ killing feature on or off. A power-on indicator LED lights when the purifier is working.

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 too.

GermGuardian AC4825 side view UV-C feature glowing

The lovely blue trim ring lights up when the UV-C feature’s in use. Don’t worry though – it’s perfectly safe, as the ultraviolet light is trapped inside. It’s a great-looking way to see when the feature is on. I like it!

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 vs. the Levoit LV-132
  • Great filtering performance
  • Quiet fan operation on low speed setting
  • Germ & microbe-killing UV-C feature not found in many others
  • 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
  • Design is less stylish and attractive than other competitors in its price range (ex. Levoit LV-H132)
  • 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.

2. Levoit LV-H132 – Sleek and with nice features. Many happy buyers agree it’s a great choice.

Levoit LV-H132 purifier white front view

One of the most popular units available, the Levoit LV-H132 (smaller sibling to the Levoit LV-PUR131) is a great choice for the money. If you’re wanting to remove smoke odors & particles that aggravate breathing & allergic reactions but prefer more features this is an excellent option.

Like its competitors, it features a true HEPA filter with 3-stage filtration for good performance when removing smoke & odors.

Although it provides less coverage than competitors like the GermGuardian AC4825, the Levoit makes up for this by including more. It’s also a great looking choice for small rooms or light duty use in medium-sized rooms.

Not only this but buyer reviews are excellent and it’s a top seller in its category.

Levoit LV-H132 features image

The Levoit LV-H132 is sophisticated yet still easy to use. Electronic touch controls are provided and beep when operated. After power is switched off the last settings are saved. Upon the next use, the purifier remembers your last settings and restores them automatically.

It offers some of the most features in its price range. The fan offers pleasant and quiet operation on low speed. A built-in night light with 2 brightness settings is a bonus feature.

A convenient filter replacement reminder lets you know when it’s time to change the filter and replace it if needed.

Levoit LV-H132 filter replacement image example

Filter replacement is a bit different for the LV-H132, but very simple. Turn the unit upside-down, rotate the cover, and then you can pull out and replace the old 3-in-1 filter assembly. Note: unlike some competitors, in most cases you can’t replace the carbon prefilter separately. It’s something to keep in mind.

Replacement filters run around $30 and are simple to replace by opening the top cover. In my hands-on testing I found the LV-H132 to be a very well made and designed purifier.

It’s sleek, extremely quiet, and a great choice.

PROS:
  • Shorter height than competing tower purifiers
  • 2-year warranty
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Night light with 2 brightness levels
  • Nice looking, modern design
  • Electronic soft button controls
  • Quiet operation on low level won’t disturb sleep
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Great build quality & high reliability
  • Easy filter replacement
CONS:
  • Smaller room coverage than others in its price range (129 sq. ft.)
  • No auto-off timer feature
  • No air quality sensor
  • Electronic controls may not be suitable for some
  • High speed is not quite a fast as other products

It’s an excellent purifier with wonderful buyer reviews and great air cleaning performance. Without a doubt it’s one of the lowest-noise purifiers money can buy.

Be sure to check out why it's one of the best sold today and was awarded the Amazon's Choice label.

Levoit LV-H132 black model

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3.  GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1: Great for your office, dorm room, or bedroom. Small but good!

GermGuardian AC4100 angle view

An affordable model, the AC4100 has an excellent reputation and is a great looking, well performing little purifier for small rooms, offices, and other close spaces.

Measuring only 7.5 x 6.5 x 11″ in size uses a true HEPA filter & charcoal section to produce fresh, clean air. Unlike other products priced near $50 and below, it uses the same high-performance quality of filters as its more expensive GermGuardian siblings.

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 filters

The AC4100 features the same 3-in-1 filtering design as its larger siblings. You’ll get a true HEPA filter, prefilter, and odor-absorbing section but for smaller rooms and on a budget.

Operation is simple: a 3 speed fan control. 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.

GermGuardian AC4100 filter replacement how to image

Filter replacement on the AC4100 is easy! Just open the rear cover, pull out the old filter, and insert the new one. You can also use a vacuum to remove larger particles like dust. As you can see my AC4100 caught more and more dust as I used it!

Unlike its bigger brothers the AC4825 and AC4900CA, the UV germ killing switch is an on/off type control rather than a push button. I don’t like is that there’s no indicator light for the UV feature like the larger models.

However, that’s a pretty minor complaint. All in all, it’s a great little purifier I recommend for small rooms up to about 75 square feet and below in size.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan control and on/off UV-C switch
  • Good for small rooms (75 sq. ft. and below)
  • 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)
  • Filter replacement date wheel (marks month installed)
  • Sleek, modern design
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.

Be sure to see the many great buyer reviews and and current sale price at Amazon.

4. Levoit LV-PUR131 – Great smoke & odor removal for med/large rooms with auto-sensing.

Levoit LV-PUR131 side front image
For those who need to remove smoke in a larger room, this Levoit model is one of the most popular and well-reviewed units you can buy today.

It’s stylish, powerful, and has several cool features that really appeal to someone like me who worries about being able to sleep with electronics running. Check out the reviews – it’s an excellent addition to your home, office, or even workplace and great at removing smoke odors & residual particles in the air.

Electronic controls are simple to use (similar to its smaller sibling the LV-H132) and it includes a sharp-looking LCD display.

A low-noise sleep mode option is provided to ensure the LV-PUR131 doesn’t disturb you at night time and it’s super-quiet.

Levoit LV-PUR131 control panel features

The electronic control panel looks a bit complicated at first glance but it’s easy to use. Touch controls easily rotate through their various on/off settings such as the fan speed or mode. A digital display shows the remaining operation time when the auto-off timer in use as well as the current air quality detected.

What makes this Levoit model such a wonderful choice is not only the same 3-speed push button fan control but also an automatic mode which increases or decreases fan speed as need when the air filtration is especially more demanding.

There’s more, too. One of my favorite features, auto timer lets you set and forget it. The purifier will turn itself off automatically after 1-12 hours of operation as selected.

Filters are typically replaced about every 6 months and the replacement reminder will let you know when it’s time to check the filter. Expect to pay around $35 for a replacement, which still relatively economical when compared to other competitors in its price range.

Levoit LV-PUR131 purifier HEP filter sections diagram

The LV-PUR131 continues the tradition of Levoit’s great air purification filter design. The true HEPA filter traps finer, more difficult dust particles while the preliminary filter quickly and permanently removes airborne dust particles of normal size.

A quiet sleep mode ensures that you’re not disturbed by noise as it provides a very low level of noise during operation.

As it’s only about 11.2 lbs in weight and 14.5 x 7.2 x 18.5 inches in size, the PUR131 provides more square feet coverage (322 square feet) than others but can be placed on many counter tops, shelves, and desks if needed.

A 2 year warranty is provided.

PROS:
  • More room coverage for the money (322 sq ft)
  • Auto-sensing mode adjusts fan speed automatically
  • Sleep mode for very quiet operation
  • Electronic, simple controls
  • LCD display
  • Auto-off feature: 1 to 12 hours for “set and forget” operation
  • Great smoke removal performance
  • Excellent overall reviews and customer satisfaction
  • Lower weight and smaller size than others – can be used more places
  • 2 year warranty
  • Nice, modern appearance
CONS:
  • No remote control
  • Auto-sensing mode does not indicate air quality levels visually
  • No night light
  • Replacement filters aren’t the cheapest (near $35 or so)
  • Warranty is shorter than some competitors
  • White color only

As it’s a fantastic compromise between cost, room size coverage, features, and performance it’s a purifier you can’t go wrong with.

Check it out! Find out now why it's one of the best selling models you can buy today at Amazon.

5. Honeywell HPA300 – Bigger room coverage and turbo air cleaning mode. More powerful smoke removal!

Honeywell HPA300 HEPA air purifier product image

The Honeywell provides the greatest room size coverage and smoke filtering ability of the units listed here. It’s a great unit with excellent reviews and some of the best smoke and odor removal ability you’ll find anywhere. It’s not short on features, either!

As it is a true serious unit, the HPA300 is a large and heavy unit, weighing about 21 lbs. The filters (carbon/pre-filter section, and separate true HEPA filter sections) are more complex but not difficult to replace.

Expect to pay around $68 or so dollars for a complete 3-filter supply for your purifier. Replacement time is about 3-5 months depending on how heavy the purification work was.

Honeywell HPA300 electronic controls top view

The purifier features excellent touch panel electronic controls. Just touch one of the controls to rotate easily through the settings like fan speed, the light dimmer, and to set the auto-off timer feature.

It’s easy to use and has electronic tap controls for fan speed, light dimmer, and auto-operation. Indicator lights give separate reminders for both the HEPA filter sections and the pre-filter carbon filter section.

For very heavy-duty air cleaning the high-speed mode provides its maximum cleaning ability although it’s far quieter at minimum fan speed. Automatic mode shuts off the unit after either 2, 4, or 8 hour operation.

Honeywell HPA300 filter replacement image

Filter replacement is very simple! The main cover uses 2 push-releases at the top to secure the cover. After removal the prefilter can be replaced or the 3 standard Honeywell HEPA filters as well. It’s easy to do, in my experience.

The HPA300 also has 3 operational modes: allergen, general, and germ for maximum effectiveness if you’re not using it for only smoke odor & particle removal.

Hit the Turbo button for a great boost in air cleaning speed!

I bought the HPA300 myself and gave it a great going-over, and I’m impressed! Check out my in-depth review of the HPA300 here.

PROS:
  • Electronic touch controls
  • Maximum room size capability for the money (below $300 range)
  • Turbo mode for heavy air cleaning operation on demand
  • Automatic operation with 2, 4, and 8 hour settings
  • Quiet low speed operation
  • Largest room/house coverage (465 sq. ft)
  • Filter replacement reminder for both HEPA and pre-filter sections
  • 5-year warranty
  • Dimmer control
CONS:
  • Auto-off timer adjustable only in increments of 2 hours – no 1hr settings
  • Not as sleek-looking as some competing products
  • No auto-sensing mode for self-adjusting ability
  • Black color only

Dealing with smoke in your home and larger rooms? Then you can’t go wrong with the HPA300.

Find out now why it's one of the best large room air purifiers for smoke sold at Amazon today.

Honeywell HPA200 promotional image originalIs the HPA300 a bit too big and expensive for you? Great news!

The HPA200 has the same exact features in a smaller size for a bit less money. It’s great for large rooms. Find out the current price and read how many people love it here.

Just like it’s big brother I wrote a thorough review you can check out here as well.

A tip on filter replacement and use

Air purifiers with filter the replacement reminder feature operate based on operation time and cannot sense how much filtration work was actually done. You’ll want to check the filters and determine whether or not the filter truly needs replacement or not.

When an air purifier is not used heavily – say periodically, for example – the actual time between filter replacement is extended.

For heavy smoke filtration, don’t forget that the pre-filter/carbon filtration section is essential for removing many odors and therefore will definitely need replacement after regular use.

Additional reading

If the GermGuardian AC4825’s style doesn’t appeal to you, also check out the AC4900CA. It’s also identical in performance but with a different design style. I highly recommend these for smoke!

If you also have dogs or cats, you can read more about how air purifiers help with dog smell or cat hair as well.

The Best Inexpensive Air Purifiers – 5 Great Buys

Best inexpensive air purifiers featured image

If you’re concerned about air purifier costs you may be wondering if you can even afford one. Or maybe you simply want something affordable that actually works well.

Where to begin? In order to help I’ve put together a list of 5 of the best inexpensive air purifiers. Here you’ll find the details & pros and cons to know before buying.

Wondering how air purifiers work and which kind is best suited for you? There’s a buying guide and basic information here to help, too.

Contents

A basic air purifier buying guide

There are quite a few products out there today but most fall into 2 major categories:

  1. Ionizers or ozone generators
  2. Filter-based (HEPA) purifiers

1. Ionizers and ozone generators

Ionizer and ozone generator examples image
Left: An O-Ion B-1000 ionizer. Right: An ozone generator. Ionizers are a type of air purifier that use an electrostatic charge to collect airborne particles on plates, removing them from the air. Some also have filters to capture dust & particles. Ozone generators are sold as air purifiers as well but don’t effectively clean air. Ozone also can be irritating to your internal passageways and potentially harmful at higher levels.

Ionizers

As I go into more detail in my post here, ionizers work by generating electrical charges and using plates and/or electrodes to affect air particles. A fan is used to move air through the purifier and as it does, airborne particles get a charge and are attracted to plates of a different charge, trapping them.

Some models have reusable or replaceable filters. Others may include additional features like an activated carbon filter to trap odors or ultraviolet light (UV) germ killer.

One unique property of ionizers is their ability to act as air sanitizers and kill sickness-causing germs.

When compared to filter-based (HEPA) air purifiers, however, they can’t quite compete. I’ll cover that below.

Ozone generators

Diagram showing ozone production and pair particles
Ozone generators work by using a high voltage corona effect to create ozone molecules. Ozone is the funny smell you may remember sensing outdoors after a lightning storm or from an electric train or car sets. It is generated from voltages change oxygen molecules.

The main principle behind it is taking regular oxygen from the air and combining 3 oxygen atoms into an ozone molecule. This molecule has a charge and the atoms 3rd oxygen atom can bond with contaminants in the air.

That’s the idea, at least. However, in practice, ozone generators aren’t very effective. Some do use filters also, but they’re not very efficient and simply aren’t worth the money.

Ozone can be breathed in by humans and pets where it can irritate the respiratory system. It’s especially a bad idea for those suffering from health problems like emphysema.

At higher levels, it’s also potentially harmful to the human body.

Ozone generators are often misleadingly sold as “air purifiers” and while technically that’s true to a lesser degree, they aren’t very efficient as I mentioned. Also, companies often do not include information about the amount of ozone produced, and whether or not they’re safe.

I recommend staying away from ozone generators. They’re a poor use of your money!

2. Filter-based purifiers

How air purifiers reduce dust diagramHEPA filter air purifiers like this GermGuardian AC4825 work by drawing air through filters to capture and remove air contaminants. Clean air blows out and back into the room. They work in a cyclic fashion, continually moving and filtering air. Some also include a type of germ-killing feature in addition to an activated carbon filter to remove odors.

These work based on a simple but effective principle. Fans are used to move air through a very dense filter material called a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA filter. They’re very effective and are safe as these types of purifiers don’t emit anything into the air you breathe.

Additionally, many have additional features to compliment the HEPA main filter. These are an activated carbon filter to remove odors and chemical vapors and a pre-filter for larger particles.

As they run the air in a room is circulated and continually cleaned. As they work very well for common air quality issues like pet allergies & odors, cigarette smoke, dust, and others they’re very popular.

Most also have selectable fan speeds and can be used on low for more quiet operation at night. You can also find some with additional bonus features like a germ killer to reduce microbes.

How effective are HEPA purifiers?

Diagram showing HEPA filter efficiency

The HEPA name denotes a standard first put into use commercially in the 1950s in the United States. It’s a standardized level of air cleaning efficiency that ensures:

  1. The filter is 99.97% efficient at removing particles
  2. Particle sizes of down to 0.3 uM are captured

For reference, 1 uM (micrometer) is equal to an incredibly small 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size! That’s far smaller than the human eye can see. Truly microscopic in size.

This is important because with purifiers using “true” (genuine) HEPA filters you’re assured of how effective they are.

Additionally, many airborne particulates are very small and you’ll have to have an effective purifier that can remove elements of those sizes if you truly want relief.

Which type of air purifier do I need?

I recommend picking a quality HEPA filter air purifier like those below. Ionizers typically don’t have the proven performance of a good filter based purifier.

They also often have a lower fan speed and can’t move air as quickly.

Filter-based purifiers are also much more suited at trapping dust. Models with a carbon filter can definitely help with odors and other chemical substances in the air.

I own and have personally tested several below and I can vouch for how well they work!

HEPA purifiers have proven, demonstrated effectiveness which is important when buying products like this. You don’t want to spend money on something based on marketing hype, only to find out it’s not helping you.

★ 5 of the best inexpensive air purifiers ★

Our top picks at a glance

ImageProductDetails
sample-table__image★ OUR #1 CHOICE ★GermGuardian AC4825
  • Best seller and overall an excellent value! Easy to use and quiet.
  • 155 sq ft coverage, 100+ CADR lab tested rating
  • True HEPA, carbon filter for odors, UV-C germ killer
Check at Amazon
sample-table__imageULTRA QUIET!Levoit LV-H132
  • Electronic controls and super quiet operation
  • 129 sq ft, true HEPA + carbon filter
  • Touch controls, night light, and memory feature
Check at Amazon
sample-table__imageGermGuardian AC4100
  • Great for dorms and small rooms
  • Same HEPA filter + carbon filter quality as larger models
  • Includes germ-killing feature
Check at Amazon
sample-table__imageHamilton Beach TrueAir
  • HEPA filter can be vacuumed for longer life
  • Works upright or on its side. Great compact, effective air cleaning.
  • Simple 3-speed control. Available in pet version and 2 colors.
Check at Amazon
sample-table__imageUnder $50Holmes HAP9240
  • A great budget choice! Affordable version of a true HEPA filter.
  • Built-in ionizer for additional cleaning. Up to 109 sq. ft. coverage
  • Simple/easy controls. Works on its side or vertically
Check at Amazon

Product reviews and details

1. GermGuardian AC4825 – A winner! Best-selling, effective cleaning with good value.

Best seller product review badge graphic imageHands-down, the GermGuardian AC4825 is one of the all-time best-selling air purifiers today and it’s easy to see why!
You’ll get not only more room coverage for your money but the addition of an ultraviolet (UV) germ killing feature, too.

Take a look at why it’s one of the best well-rounded values today:

  • True HEPA filter
  • UV-C germ killing feature
  • Super-easy filter maintenance
  • Inexpensive replacement filters
  • Separate pre-filter for reduced costs
  • Filter check reminder feature
  • Carrying handle for easy moving
  • Available in white or the AC4900 style, too
  • Lab-tested CADR rating of 100+
  • 155 sq. ft. room coverage

Solid features and performance

The true HEPA filter and odor-absorbing pre-filter work together to keep your dorm room fresh, reduce allergies, and let you breathe & enjoy college the way you deserve.

Nasties such as dust, hair, and more get blocked by the pre-filter which can be replaced separately to keep costs down. The HEPA filter works great to block all kinds of terrible allergens, dust mites, pollen, and even mold spores to freshen the air you breathe and reduce sickness.

Unlike many competitors in its price range, the AC4825 also offers lab-tested performance with a CADR of 100+.

While it may lack the fancier features found in others, it’s one of the easiest to use and very reliable as well. I’m a big fan as I own one myself!

In fact, you can read more in my detailed review of the AC4825 here.

GermGuardian AC4825 top view of controls

The AC4825 features one of the easiest-to-use control setups you’ll find. It’s incredibly easy to use! Set the rotary control to one of the 3 fan speed settings. Use the UV push button to switch the germ killing feature on or off. A power-on indicator LED lights when the purifier is working.

A rotary 3-speed fan control is used to change fan speeds and turn it off. The filter is easy to remove and replace by opening the rear door and simply swapping it out. A filter replacement reminder is included too.

GermGuardian AC4825 side view UV-C feature glowing

The lovely blue trim ring lights up when the UV-C feature’s in use. Don’t worry though – it’s perfectly safe, as the ultraviolet light is trapped inside. It’s a great-looking way to see when the feature is on. I like it!

The ultraviolet light feature (UV-C) works with titanium oxide to break down & destroy illness-causing microbes & germs in the air around you. It’s a nice addition that most competitors don’t offer. 

When switched on, you’ll see a soft, safe glow in the translucent trim around the base of the top that lets you know it’s working to destroy germs.

Overall opinion

At 22 inches in height, it’s not as compact as other models but fits well into corners or other spaces. Replacement filters cost about $15-20 and last about 6 months depending upon use. You’ll also find many 3rd part options offered for those of you on a budget, too!

The GermGuardian line of purifiers is one of the most reputable on the market, and without a doubt the AC4825 is a true “workhorse” that people love, judging by the thousands of great buyer reviews.

I’ve enjoyed mine, too, and I love how hassle-free it is to use. The fan speeds are good, it’s relatively quiet, and works well to solve a whole range of air quality issues.

The true HEPA filter and pre-filter are some of the easiest to replace I’ve ever used! If you’re in the market for a good value but not a wimpy purifier, it’s a great compromise between cost & performance.

While it’s not as quiet as some competitors, it’s still pretty low in noise when running. But that’s one of the few tiny gripes I have since I’ve enjoyed mine so much.

PROS:
  • Simple 3-speed fan switch is great for nearly everyone
  • Good overall value for performance & room size vs. the Levoit LV-132
  • Great filtering performance
  • Quiet fan operation on low speed setting
  • Germ & microbe-killing UV-C feature not found in many others
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Soft LED when power is on
  • Nice blue glowing trim when UV-C 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
  • Design is less stylish and attractive than other competitors in its price range (ex. Levoit LV-H132)
  • Warranty requires paying for return shipment for service

As a happy AC4825 owner, I understand why it’s so popular. It’s well made, works great for cleaning the air, and is frustration-free. Maintenance is cheap, too.

Don’t wait any longer for healthy, fresh air! Head over now to see the thousands of great buyer reviews and current low price at Amazon.

NEW GermGuardian AC4825W white model

Good news! You can now get the AC4825 we happy owners love in white as well.

Want some a bit different looking? Check out its twin, the sleek AC4900CA version here.

2. Levoit LV-H132 – Nice features, performance, and a good choice for small to mid-sized rooms.

Levoit LV-H132 purifier white front view

The LV-H132 provides less room size coverage than competitors like the GermGuardian AC4825 but makes up for it with a lot of great features. It’s a popular model and best seller.

Well suited for small rooms or light duty use in medium-sized rooms, it’s a well-designed model you’ll enjoy using.

It’s also one of the quietest purifiers I’ve ever owned & tested, too!

The 3-stage true HEPA filter is great for eliminating odors, allergens, pet dander, dust mite allergens and so much more.  Odors are no problem, either.

Levoit LV-H132 features image

The Levoit LV-H132 is sophisticated yet still easy to use. Electronic touch controls are provided and beep when operated. After power is switched off the last settings are saved. Upon the next use, the purifier remembers your last settings and restores them automatically.

Of the inexpensive purifiers listed here it has the most features.

The LV-PUR131 uses a 3-stage design similar to others: a fine preliminary filter, an activated carbon filter, and a true HEPA filter that captures and removes dust very effectively.

Sound levels are pleasant and operation is quiet during use. There’s also a lovely night light with 2 brightness settings built in.

The filter replacement reminder indicates when it’s time to check and change the filter if needed.

Levoit LV-H132 filter replacement image example

Filter replacement is a bit different for the LV-H132, but very simple. Turn the unit upside-down, rotate the cover, and then you can pull out and replace the old 3-in-1 filter assembly. Note: unlike some competitors, in most cases, you can’t replace the carbon prefilter separately. It’s something to keep in mind.

Replacement filters run around $30 and are easy to replace by opening the top cover.

PROS:
  • Lower height than tower purifiers
  • 2-year warranty
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Night light with 2 brightness levels
  • Nice looking, modern design
  • Electronic soft button controls
  • Quiet operation on low level won’t disturb sleep
  • Filter replacement reminder
  • Great build quality & high reliability
  • Easy filter replacement
CONS:
  • Smaller room coverage than others in its price range (129 sq. ft.)
  • No auto-off timer feature
  • No air quality sensor
  • Electronic controls may not be suitable for some

Of all the air purifiers I’ve owned and tested the LV-H132 had the lowest noise during operation. I was honestly surprised how quite it was!

It’s an excellent choice.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Be sure to check out why it's one of the most popular models and received the Amazon's Choice label.

Levoit LV-H132 black model

UPDATE: A sleek new black version is now available too!

3.  GermGuardian AC4100 3-in-1: Got a small room? Get great performance for less money.

GermGuardian AC4100 angle view
Affordable? Yes. Low on quality? No! I’m an AC4100 owner too (yes, I test many different kinds!) and I can tell you it shares the same quality and performance the GermGuardian purifier family is known for.

It’s a modern looking, well-performing purifier. Measuring only 7.5 x 6.5 x 11″ in size, there’s a true HEPA filter along with a pre-filter/charcoal section to produce fresh, healthy air you’ll enjoy.

The AC4100 is a great choice for small rooms, dorm rooms, offices, and many other places.

Mine works great and it’s a great way to reduce dust if you have problems with it like I do.

GermGuardian AC4100 filter replacement how to image

Filter replacement on the AC4100 is easy! Just open the rear cover, pull out the old filter, and insert the new one. You can also use a vacuum to remove larger particles like dust. As you can see my AC4100 caught more and more dust as I used it!

The UV light (along with titanium dioxide) kills germs to sanitize your air and reduce sickness. Replacement filters cost about $18. A filter installation date wheel is available to mark when you installed a fresh filter.

Image of a GermGuardian AC4100 showing HEPA and activated carbon filters

A 3 simple rotary control adjusts fan speed and turns it off. It’s quiet and generates a pleasing low noise level on the lowest setting. When set to high somewhat similar to white noise is produced.

It’s different from other GermGuardian models in that the UV-C is an on/off switch rather than a push button control. Also, I’m not so happy that there are no indicator lights for the UV-C feature being turned on or the filter replacement.

Those are fairly minor complaints, however. Overall, it’s a great choice for small rooms and I’ve been happy with the ones I’ve owned and tested.

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)
  • Filter replacement date wheel (marks month installed)
  • Sleek, modern design
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

The AC4100 provides the same quality that earned GermGuardian its reputation as a top air product company. I definitely recommend it for both its great value and low price.

Be sure to check it out! Head over and see the great buyer reviews and low price today at Amazon.

4.  Hamilton Beach TrueAir Ultra Quiet – Inexpensive, compact, and quiet too.

Hamilton Beach True Air purifier black front viewThe Hamilton Beach TrueAir is not just a well-made purifier that’s with that’s inexpensive but one that also helps keep ownership costs down.
The HEPA filter can be vacuumed clean. Under normal use won’t have to replace it as frequently as you would for other brands. It’s a great way to save money.

Hamilton Beach True Air purifier black top viewUsing it is super easy! A simple rotary control lets you select the fan speed desired.

Operation is simple using the 3-speed fan control. It runs quietly during operation unlike some other products out there.

The compact size (8.5 x 13.5″) lets it fit in more spaces. Hamilton Beach rates the room coverage at a nice 140 square feet. Perfect for small to medium sized rooms like offices and bedrooms.

Hamilton Beach TrueAir purifier features image

The Hamilton Beach TrueAir fits neatly into small spaces – especially shelves – as it can be used on its side. Remove the rear cover to vacuum the filter for extended life. It’s a great way to keep costs down.

Another great option it has is the ability to be placed on its side – soft feet keep it steady when rotated.

Unlike the others, there are no additional pre-filter or carbon filter sections. I don’t recommend it, therefore, for odors and smoke for that reason.

(Note: If you have pets, check out the pet version TrueAir Pet Specialized Cleaner).

Color options include both black and white. 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 (odors and cigarette smoke)
  • No power indicator lights or filter replacement reminder
  • No sleep or auto-shut off mode

It’s a nice, affordable option for many people. You’ll be pleased to find out the low price and see the many happy buyer reviews at Amazon.

5.  Holmes HAP9240 HEPA-type desktop purifier – Low on price, high on value.

Holmes HAP9240 air purifier product imageLooking for a competent but lower-priced choice? The Holmes HAP9240 may be exactly what you’ve been looking for. You’ll get a great compromise between performance, filter options, and price.
It’s not the smallest but measures a reasonable 14.8 x 11.4 x 7.2 inches in size.

Featuring a small size that’s perfect for countertops, shelves, and even desks, the Holmes can also be placed vertically on its back. The purifier features built-in rests on the rear to allow it to stand on its end.

For around $50 or so, it’s a good value. Check out the features:

  • Near-HEPA air filter quality for less money (filters 99% of particles)
  • Up to 100 sq. ft. room size coverage
  • 3 cleaning speeds and low noise operation
  • Filter reminder indicator light
  • Optional ionizer feature
  • Can be used in a vertical position
  • Black color option (availability may vary)
  • 3-year limited warranty
  • Washable pre-filter
  • Affordable replacement filters
  • 12 month HEPA filter life

The Holmes desktop air purifier includes a washable filter and HEPA-type filter (left). (Right) Have special air cleaning needs? You’ve got some good options! Pick one of the 3 additional filter options for specialized air cleaning relief.

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

It’s a budget model but still a good performer for many common air quality problems. The 2-micron particle size rating works well for pet dander, dust, and standard allergens.

I wouldn’t recommend it for cigarette smoke, however, at least not without a carbon filter.

Shown: The Holmes HAP9240 controls are super-simple to understand and use. The filter reminder (left) shows the filter condition and can be reset as needed. Right: The optional ionizer feature is as simple as an on/off switch with light. Center: Choose from Off or 3 fan speeds with low-noise operation.

A built-in ionizer with off/on control is an extra feature that produces a safe level of charged molecules that bond with pollutants in the air. While it’s not the main air cleaning contributor, it’s a nice touch you may enjoy.

Filter check reminder

At power up, the unit will check and show you if it’s time to check and clean or replace the filters using the dual-color light on the control panel. When needed, you can easily reset the check filter light using the reset button provided.

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 at low speed.

Room size coverage and air cleaning performance

It’s recommended for rooms up to 100 square feet in size – just right for dorm rooms! The air cleaning performance is good, too, as it removes allergens, dust, pet dander, and much more from the air very well.

While there are quieter models out there, you’ll pay at least $30-$40, and in my opinion, it’s very quiet on the lower 2 settings. Overall, it’s a nice little budget model I’m sure that’s a great match if you’re on a budget.

Just like experience with it, buyers love it, too, as it’s one of the best-reviewed budget purifiers today.

PROS:
  • One of the most affordable and biggest sellers on the market
  • 100 sq. ft. room coverage
  • Easy slide control switches & 3 speed settings
  • Pre-stage filter can be cleaned and reused
  • Low replacement filter cost
  • Additional filter options
  • Can be positioned vertically
  • Includes 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:
  • Not as sophisticated as pricier models
  • No germ-killing feature like the GermGuardian products offer
  • Cannot turn off light indicators on panel
  • Styling is more bland

Overall, it’s a very good budget air purifier that’s a great combination of price, performance, and features.

It’s a great little purifier for those on a budget! Find out the current price & availability now at Amazon.

Summary – The best air purifier under $100

The GermGuardian AC4825 is my top recommended for an affordable air purifier below $100 and it’s often on sale at Amazon for below $80. It’s one of the best values as the room coverage is one of the largest in its price class. The quality and performance are both very good as well.

Based on my own testing and as an owner of the AC4825, I recommend it as the best low-cost air purifier under $100. It’s one of the best-selling models in the world, too.

Additional reading

I personally own the GermGuardian AC4825 and was so impressed I wrote a great review here.

If you’d like to find out more about HEPA type vs. true HEPA filters here’s a great post that explains more.

Feel free to post a comment or contact me if you have comments or questions!

Honeywell HPA060 Review – Is It A Good Buy?

Honeywell HPA060 review featured image

There are quite a few small room air purifiers on the market. But which ones are worth buying, and what do you need to know? In my Honeywell HPA060 review I’ll share with you much more about this interesting little model.

In case you weren’t aware, the company has a whole series of similarly styled air purifiers with high quality and good performance. But like anything else, there are always things to know before you spend your hard-earned money.

As I’ve owned and tested it, here’s my chance to help you by giving you my hands-on testing experience. 

Contents

Getting to know the Honeywell HPA060

Honeywell HPA060 vs HPA160 vs HPA200 comparison imageThe HPA060 is one of several models in Honeywell’s HPA series of air purifiers. As you can see, they’re quite similar in styling, but it goes beyond that. They use a modular filter design to share the same filters between different models.

The HPA060 is actually a shorter version of the HPA160 “tower” purifier. This means it’s rather slender and taller than it is wide. Like the other models, it’s a good-looking unit and features a nice satin silver finish on the controls with a gloss black inset panel.

It’s actually one of the many models produced by Honeywell in the HPA series of air purifiers. As the “little brother to the HPA160 (medium to large rooms) and the HPA200 (large rooms), it’s designed for small rooms about 70 square feet in size.

Just like the other models, it uses a true HEPA filter and a separate pre-filter to clean the air and permanently remove nasty things like allergens, dust, pet dander, and even odors.

The HEPA filter difference

The model works by moving your room’s air through a “true” HEPA filter that’s highly efficient at removing nasty particulates in the air.

Many air quality problems are caused by particulates that are microscopic in size. The pre-filter works alongside the main HEPA filter by capturing odors and larger elements like hair and dust.

This particular model is somewhat similar to the competing GermGuardian AC4100 in that it pulls in air from the rear and blows it out the front. Room air moves through the filters then blown out to produce clean, fresh air in the room.

Controls are extremely simple – there’s a 3-position rotating switch on top. A blue indicator illuminates for the current switch position & fan mode.

Unboxing the HPA060 and first impressions

Packaging

Honeywell HPA060 removing form the box
I finally got the HPA060 in my hands after a little bit of a delay, but in time for the weekend! Upon opening it I saw the same level of quality as in other models. For example, the the larger HPA160, it’s bigger brother for medium or large rooms. The packaging was well-done and appeared to be from recycled cardboard material. A nice customer support phone number note was included on top.

How’s the build quality?

Honeywell HPA060 front image
It looks great and it’s well put-together. I didn’t find any issues with the build quality. Panels are lined up well with no large gaps. It feels solid to the hands and not “hollow” like a few other products I’ve tried. Nice!

As is standard practice for me, I unpacked it and got to work checking out the build quality. I’m happy to say, after owning and reviewing several of the company’s products, that quality is consistent.

The box is great as well, and clearly indicates the features, room size, and replacement filters you need. I don’t understand why more companies don’t do the same.

Just like with the other models I’ve reviewed, I can tell that someone put effort into the design and quality control during production. The styling is especially good, as it looks classy and modern, not cheap like some other products I’ve seen.

It’s clearly not a copycat of other products on the market, but an original, good design.

At a measured 6.6 lbs (2.99 kg) and about 15″ (38.5 cm) tall, it’s especially easy to move to different spots. Just like the other HPA models a handy carry handle is built into the rear top section.

Getting started

Image of Honeywell HPA060 new with rear cover opened
Following removing it from the box and removing the plastic bag it’s time to open it up. There’s a notice label on top of the purifier near the controls instructing you to remove the filters from their bags before use.

Some people might see this as an annoyance (as some other brands don’t do this) however I can appreciate that Honeywell keeps the filters 100% fresh and undisturbed this way.

Setting it up for the first time is easy:

  1. Remove the rear cover (see below, where I go into more detail)
  2. Remove the pre-filter, in the rear cover, from its holding tabs
  3. Remove it from its plastic bag and re-insert it into the tabs
  4. Remove the 2 HEPA filters and remove them from their bags
  5. Hooking the filters on the bottom slots in the body, insert them into the snap tab
  6. Re-install the rear cover

It didn’t take long at all – just a few minutes and I was done.

You’ll need to insert the pre-filter into the rear cover where its held by inserting into the tabs. It’s very easy, honestly.

Built-in quick reference guide

Unfortunately, unlike other HPA models I’ve reviewed, there’s no built-in quick start guide. Perhaps it’s because there’s limited space due to the size of the purifier.

However, it’s disappointing to see other models feature this except for this model. I’m somewhat certain that because it’s not needed due to the simple controls, but it would have been nice.

Additionally, the quick start guide on other models that can be accessed by pulling on a tab in the body contains the customer service phone number.

Checking out the HPA060’s controls

Image of Honeywell HPA060 controls
The HPA060 has a simplified control panel with a rotary fan speed control and filter replacement reminders. This is in contrast to larger models like the HPA160 which have touch and push button features. For those you’ll have to pay more. Despite this, it’s super easy to use and it looks great.

Like some of its competitors, this model uses a rotary control for fan speed. However, unlike many, the switch positions are illuminated when switched on.

There are two filter replacement reminder indicators, which is rather unique for an air purifier in this price range. It’s a great feature and you need not worry about having to spend a lot of money to replace both filters when only one needs replacement.

How do the controls work?

As you can probably guess, it’s super easy to operate. Simply rotate the fan speed control to one of 3 positions.

Changing modes

3 basic modes of operation are provided:

  1. Germ (low fan)
  2. General (medium fan)
  3. Allergen (high fan)

(Well, that’s what the company calls them, anyhow).

I don’t quite understand why, why Honeywell has named the 3 fan (cleaning) modes Germ, General, and Allergen. It seems to me, after using it, that it’s really just low, medium, and high fan speed settings.

I checked the owner’s manual but it doesn’t clarify this.

Specifications

Honeywell HPA060 Specifications
  • Room size rating: 75 sq. ft (small room)
  • 3-mode/speed fan control: Germ, General, Allergen
  • Turbo high-speed fan mode for rapid cleaning
  • True HEPA filter (uses 1 Honeywell Type H filter)
  • Smoke CADR rating: 48
  • Dust CADR rating: 62
  • Pollen CADR rating: 75
  • HEPA filter replacement reminder
  • Pre-filter replacement reminder
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Replacement HEPA filter: HRF-H1 (1 filter)
  • Replacement pre-filter: HRF-B1 (1 filter)
  • Weight: 6.6 lbs (2.99 kgs)
  • Cord length: 6 ft.
  • Control location: top
  • Size: 7.72 x 10.69 x 15.16″ (19.7 x 27.2 x 38.5 cm)

CADR ratings

The HPA060 is small and has a limited ability to move air, so not surprisingly the Clean Air Deliver Rate (CADR) is lower than for larger models. The CADR is a laboratory proven way of demonstrating how quickly an air purifier can clean the air in a room – the higher the score, the better.

Honeywell HPA060 CADR ratings label
The HPA060’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is typical for small-room air purifiers. It’s not suitable for rooms above the recommended size (75 square feet) and does have less effectiveness for smoke. One reason is not just because of its size but smaller purifiers simply can’t move air well.

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) provides home air quality testing for air purifier manufacturers. Air purifiers in particular are rated according to dust, smoke, and pollen cleaning efficiency. The higher the number the better.

This is a rating used to evaluate 2 similar models when shopping. It’s based on the amount of air cleaning it can perform depending on how quickly it can move air. Naturally, bigger air purifiers therefore have high ratings.

Smaller air purifiers like this one and those from GermGuardian have lower CADR ratings typically. They can’t move air well due to their size – that’s a tradeoff made when using a smaller, less expensive model. For small rooms, however, they’re still an option.

Carrying & moving the purifier

Rear view of Honeywell HPA060 purifier handle
There’s a very convenient carrying handle built into the rear of the body. It’s a great little feature that some products in a similar size don’t offer.

I measured the weight at about 6.6 lbs (about 3 kg). There weren’t any problems whatsoever moving it from spot to spot.

Honeywell has added a nice feature to make it portable – there’s a carry handle area on the top rear. That’s a nice touch which is also shared by some of the GermGuardian products as well, but not for their comparable AC4100 model.

Air cleaning ability & performance

For cigarette smoke, unless it’s in a sealed room, I wouldn’t recommend this model but instead the HPA160, with a much higher CADR rating for that particular problem. That being said, it will still work to remove smoke odors and elements in the air.

On the other hand, it worked well for my dust and other air quality problems. Honeywell notes that when used in the suggested room size it will purify the entire room in 5 hours.

It works well and I’m happy with it considering its size limitations. The pre-filter caught a lot of dust as I seem to have a constant supply of it in my home. It’s an effective purifier, it’s just that you must use it in the correct size room.

Don’t buy a smaller model that’s not recommended for larger rooms and expect the same performance! (Unfortunately I see complaints about purifiers on the internet, and this is exactly what some people do at times)

What kind of filters does it use?

Honeywell HPA060 image of filters used
The HPA060 uses a standardized Type H Honeywell filter (white) also used by some other models as well. The Type B pre-filter (black) is separate and is held in the rear cover as shown. One of each is needed during replacement, although 12 months is the recommended replacement time for the H filter.

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is used with the pre-filter which catches larger elements like hair and larger dust. It can additionally trap odors over time as well as it has a chemical treatment.

HEPA filters are made of very dense material and are very efficient for cleaning air. They can remove 99.97% of nasty elements in your air down to an incredibly small 0.3 microns in size. (A micron, or micrometer, is 1/1,000,000 of a meter in size).

Modular filters are designed so that Honeywell can share a standard size filter in different quantities between several different models in the product line.

Installing the filters

Inserting new HEPA filter Honeywell HPA060
Before using it, you’ll need to remove the filters from their bags. Here you can see how the bottom of this one is inserted and then it is leaned into place. At the top is a retention tab that clicks into place and holds it securely.

The purifier is shipped with a Type H true HEPA filter you must remove from its plastic bag and insert into their opening. Similarly, the pre-filter must be removed from the plastic bag and inserted into the filter cover/grill as I mentioned above.

I found the process easy and it took only a very short time.

The odor reducing pre-filter that’s included is basically a rectangular section of filter material. Tabs in the rear cover hold it in place.

The HPA060 can remove some of the most common air pollutants like these:

  • Pet dander
  • Pet hair (thanks to the pre-filter)
  • Dust mite allergens
  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Home construction particles
  • Smoke residue
  • Smoke odors
  • Chemical and organic odors

The pre-filter

This is a somewhat thin, black rectangular section of material that traps larger particles like hair and dust before reaching the HEPA filter. It’s also treated in order to reduce odors and airborne chemical vapors.

When combined, these 2 types of filters form an effective way to clean the air. The pre-filter also reduces the need to replace the filters – which Honeywell recommends is every 12 months. 3-6 months for the pre-filter, or as needed if heavy use has occurred.

When it comes to odors, you need to understand that the Honeywell purifier will help, but it isn’t an instantaneous solution. It takes time for the purifier to cycle the air and remove odors.

Opening the rear cover

Diagram showing how to open rear cover on the Honeywell HPA060
Opening the rear cover is very easy. Just 1) push down on the release tab with your thumb and 2) swing the cover down, then pull it out. There are 2 tabs at the bottom which fit into slots which are used when reinstalling it.

Repeat this in reverse after replacing filters. The release tab will snap at the top indicating it has locked back into place.

Filter life and costs

Replacement filters for the Honeywell HPA060
Honeywell recommend replacing the HEPA filter every 12 months or so and the pre-filter every 3 months.

By using a pre-filter the main and more expensive filter’s useful life is extended. However, pre-filter are often replaced every 3 to 6 months or so depending on use. They have a limited time during which they remain effective for absorbing odors.

In this case, expect to pay a bit less than $20 for the H filter (see here) and around $9 for the B (pre-filter) one.

In this regards the Honeywell comes out ahead, as many competitor’s products require replacing both at one time as they’re built together.

Filter replacement reminders

Honeywell HPA060 filter reminders
The replacement reminders are illuminated based on the amount of time the purifier has been used for. They can be reset as needed. It’s unique in that they’re separate rather than there only being one (as many competitors do).

What I really like is that it has separate replacement reminders for the HEPA and pre-filter elements. Honeywell’s design is different and many, if not most competitors don’t have the same.

When one or both are illuminated you should check the filters. The reminder indicators are cleared by pressing a button and holding it for about 2 seconds. The light will then turn off and the reminder will be reset.

Note: You can also replace filters before the reminder occurs according to the manual. Purifier switched off, press and hold each button separately for 5 seconds. The indicator lights will illuminate. Then again press and hold that indicator light until it goes off. After doing so a reminder is returned to its reset state.

Is it safe? Does this purifier produce ozone? What about headaches?

It doesn’t produce any ozone.

The topic of headaches and air purifiers is actually a highly researched question on the internet. As I explain more in this post, an air purifier that only filters the air can’t produce any emissions that might trigger them.

Primarily it’s important to understand that the HPA060 simply filters the air. It can’t add anything to air, give off gases, or create any irritants by itself. It won’t cause headaches. This model is perfectly safe and there aren’t any health concerns to worry about.

The owner’s manual

Honeywell HPA160 HPA060 owners manual
The owner’s manual English section is only about a few pages in length. However it’s very clear and helpful. It covers the most important basic information you need to use and maintain your purifier.

What I find nice about it is that it makes finding customer service telephone number easy.

In case you’re curious, here’s a download link for the HPA060 owner’s manual.

Noise levels during use

Volume measurements

Using this sound level meter to measure volume, I recorded the volume levels at 1 meter (3.28 ft) from the purifier.

Measurement/ModeVolume (dB)
Off (Room noise)39.3
Germ mode43
General mode52
Allergen mode55.5

Overall, it’s pretty quiet and I think it does well. However, similar to its rival GermGuardian AC4100, there’s a distinct whirring sound coming from the motor. In other words, it’s not “whisper quiet” but it definitely isn’t loud or disturbing.

In my opinion overall it’s good and is pretty quiet. For those of you who are like me and have super-sensitive hearing, you may want to relocate it if possible before sleeping.

Otherwise, it sounds as you’d expect for a smaller purifier.

Brightness levels in a dark room

Image of Honeywell HPA060 in a dark room
As I’m fairly sensitive to light and sound when sleeping, I make sure to check brightness levels in the dark. Blue LEDs like those used on this model are often too bright. This wasn’t too bright but did add light to the room.

In one of my tests I used in a darkened room just as I’d do at night when sleeping. Overall, I found the indicator lights aren’t too bright.

However, with light emitting diode (LED) indicators, especially blue ones, a small amount goes a long way. I could still a bit of light in the room and on the ceiling.

If you’re sensitive to light like I am I’d recommend covering it up.

Sadly, there’s no illumination dimmer like the larger HPA200 has. It’s a shame but given the price range perhaps I can understand.

Review summary & score

All in all, I like it. The HPA060 is a solid, well-made purifier that’s a great choice for small rooms.

Here are a few gripes I have, however:

  • No quick start guide built in like on other models
  • No germ killing feature like the GermGuardian AC4100 offers
  • No illumination dimmer

Just understand that for small air purifiers in its price range compromises must be made. There are trade-offs between it and more expensive products.

Despite these things, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone except those who need a germ killing feature.

I think you’ll like it as much as I did. You can read more and find a good price over at Amazon.

Overall
8.3/10
8.3/10
  • Quality - 9/10
    9/10
  • Value - 7.2/10
    7.2/10
  • Ease of use - 9.8/10
    9.8/10
  • Air cleaning ability - 7.8/10
    7.8/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Noise levels - 7.8/10
    7.8/10

A well made and good quality air purifier for small rooms. Fair value but slightly outranked by the competition.

The Honeywell line of HPA air purifiers are stylish and well-made; this one’s no different. Filters are easy to install and readily available. Cleaning performance is good (for its limited size) when used in 75 sq. feet rooms. Operation is extremely easy and the illuminated dial is a nice touch.

No auto-off or touch controls are offered like its siblings, so you’ll have to pay more for that. While not as effective for cigarette smoke as its larger siblings, I recommend it for people who need clean air in a small space. For the best value, however, be sure to check out the rival GermGuardian AC4100.

Pros

  • Quiet operation
  • HEPA filters last approx. 12 months
  • Odor-reducing pre-filter is inexpensive
  • Pre-filter can be replaced separately
  • Carrying handle
  • 5-year limited warranty
  • Extremely simple operation
  • Customer support is good
  • Helpful owner’s manual
  • Filter replacement is easy
  • Indicator lamp brightness is fairly low
  • Good build quality, fit and finish are nice
  • Filter performance is good, fresh air quicker

Cons

  • Less effective for cigarette smoke (CADR low)
  • Manual doesn’t clarify the 3 main operational modes
  • No auto-sensing feature
  • Germ-killing feature not available like competitors
  • No illumination dimmer like the HPA200/300
  • No touch controls like HPA160
  • Whirring sound from fan when in use