Do you struggle with allergies and want an air purifier to help you breathe easier while you’re at home?
You’ve come to the right place!
With so many different brands, features, and acronyms flying around, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed when it comes to buying an air cleaner for allergies. It’s our goal to help you navigate the options so you feel confident when making this important purchase.
A quick note: the terms “air purifier” and “air cleaner” are used interchangeably in the industry and throughout this article.
In this proHVACinfo guide, you’ll learn:
- What are air cleaners for allergies?
- Different features you should consider when purchasing an air cleaner for allergies
- Various price points for air purifiers
- Our top picks, and much more!
Our Top Air Cleaners for Allergies
- Honeywell HPA300 (Our Top Pick)
- LEVOIT Core 300 (Best Budget)
- RabbitAir Minus A2 (Best High End)
- Coway AP-1512HH
- Coway Airmega 400
What Are Air Cleaners for Allergies?
Simply put, air purifiers are standalone devices placed throughout the home whose function is to sanitize the air by filtering harmful air particles out of the air you breathe.
See our related post, How Does an Air Purifier Work? for a more detailed explanation.
Air cleaners can be especially helpful when dealing with indoor allergies. Not only can indoor allergies happen year-round, but according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the concentration of pollutants indoors can be five times higher than outdoors.
Common causes of indoor allergens include dust mites and pet allergens. When selecting an air cleaner specifically to help with allergies, there are a few things to consider (more on that below).
What Are the Different Types of Air Cleaners for Allergies?
There are different types of air cleaners, and there’s some nuance you should understand before purchasing one specifically for allergies.
The two main categories of air cleaners are particle filter air cleaners that help remove pollutants from the air as described above, and activated carbon that is more focused on removing gases and odors.
Most air cleaners have both filters, but if you’re specifically looking for an air cleaner to help with allergies, be sure your air cleaner has a top-rated particle filter!
Not all particle filters are created equal, though. What you want to look for is a filter with a “HEPA” designation (HEPA stands for “high efficiency particle air” filter).
These filters meet rigorous standards to ensure they can remove some of the smallest air particles from the air.
Other acronyms you’re likely to run into are “CADR” (which stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate), and “CFM” (Cubic Feet per Minute).
CADR is a measure of how efficiently and effectively the air cleaner processes and sanitizes air, and it’s expressed in cubic feet per minute.
Generally, when it comes to air purifiers, a higher CADR means the air purifier can sanitize air more quickly, and can cover more area. These units usually draw more power, though, so that can be an important consideration to make sure you don’t wind up with any surprises on your next electric bill.
Take a look at the EPA’s recommended air cleaner CADRs, based on room size, below.
Best Air Cleaners for Allergies Reviewed
Our top pick is from a brand you probably recognize; you may even have Honeywell products in your home right now! The Honeywell brand has been around for over 100 years.
They are widely known for providing great consumer products at fair prices, and the Honeywell HPA300 Air Purifier is no exception!
There’s a lot to like about this air cleaner, starting with its compact design and powerful circulation.
The Honeywell HPA300 is about 20 inches wide and just under 2 feet tall, making it small enough to go unnoticed even in small rooms. However, it’s capable of outputting around 320 CFM, making it a great choice for larger rooms / areas as well.
The design was well thought out, so the sanitized air comes from the top of the unit instead of the side, meaning you can put it right up against a wall without interfering with function.
Of course, no air purifier deserves our top pick unless it can do what it’s designed to do (sanitize the air in your home and help with your allergies) at the highest level. The Honeywell HPA300 fits the bill, as it comes with three HEPA filters to trap pollutants.
The user interface is intuitive, with four settings. The first two are clean (for everyday use) and germ (for cold and flu season).
The next two settings are where the HP300 really sets itself apart for those of you with allergies. Its third setting is called allergen mode and is one of the harder-working settings.
Finally, there’s a turbo setting, which can be used in severe allergy situations.
Sometimes, on these bigger purchases, little things can make all the difference. In this case, one of those little things is that the LED lights on the control panel turn off.
You might be surprised to hear, but we think this is especially important if you are looking for a purifier to help with allergies. Why? One of the worst things about severe allergies is that they can keep you up at night, so if you’re looking for an air cleaner specifically for allergies, you’re probably thinking about putting it in your bedroom at least some of the time.
Most air cleaners have LED lights that won’t turn off, which can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. The lights on the HP300 have a dimmer, so you’ll be sure to sleep soundly while it works to keep allergens out of your bedroom.
- Strong performance in compact design
- Uses 3 HEPA filters
- Vertical air re-circulation allows for proper ventilation anywhere in the home
- Room coverage up to 465 square feet
- Four cleaning levels, with specific “allergen” and “turbo” modes helpful for allergies
- LED lights shut off
- Does not have a dedicated pre-filter, so filters may need replaced somewhat more often
- Not as energy-efficient as other models
- The above two factors mean maintenance costs for this unit could be higher than others
When it comes to getting the best value out of your air cleaner, our pick is the LEVOIT Core 300; this device will give you solid performance in a pleasing display that won’t break the bank.
The LEVOIT Core 300 is one of the smallest air cleaners we looked at, just under 9 inches in width and a little over a foot high – it won’t look out of place on a table, shelf, or by itself on the ground. It has one of the lower CADRs on this list, of ~135 CFM.
It’s suitable for spaces of 200 – 250 square feet, but would take some time to sanitize the air in an area bigger than that. The benefit of that, though, is that lower air circulation also means the unit is cheaper to run.
The Core 300 uses a 3-in-1 filtration system, with a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and activated carbon filter. When it comes to allergies, the HEPA filter will do the heavy lifting when it comes to removing allergens and pollutants.
The pre-filter captures larger air particles. Some air cleaners have a dedicated pre-filter that help extend the life of the main filter, but the Core 300 has a 3-in-1 design, so once one part of the 3-in-1 filter reaches the end of its life, the whole filter will need replaced.
- Slim, compact design (~9 inches wide, ~14 inches tall)
- 3-in-1 filter
- Some consumers had issues with the noise level
- 360 degree air intake means air flow could be compromised if placed against a wall or other furniture
- Relatively low CADR (135 cfm)
When you want to really invest in an air cleaner for your allergies, and don’t mind paying a higher price to ensure the cleaner you choose hasn’t skipped on any details, we have to recommend the RabbitAir Minus A2.
This is the only unit we reviewed that is certified to be allergy friendly by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.
In order to earn the allergy friendly designation, the RabbitAir Minus A2 is tested to confirm it removes a range of allergens from the air (for example: grass pollen, cat dander, and dust mite allergens), and tested to be sure that once the allergens are captured, they are never reintroduced into the air.
The design and build are excellent. The RabbitAir Minus A2 has a slim, modern design you won’t mind displaying around the house.
It’s 16 inches tall, and just 4 inches wide, with a weight of around 19 pounds. That weight is important, because your purchase includes a wall mount, in case you plan to keep it in one room consistently.
You can also add a design to the air cleaner’s front panel, as the company offers an “artist” series.
The review holds up once we open the unit and look inside. This model has six separate filters: a pre-filter for the largest air pollutants, a medium filter for smaller particles (like bacteria dust and pollen), a HEPA filter, a customized filter which can be tailored to meet your specific needs (including a pet allergy-specific filter), and an activated charcoal filter. Finally, these filters are all supported by what’s called a negative ion filter.
The negative ion filter works at the molecular level to introduce helpful atoms into the air that attract and attach onto any remaining air particles until the particles are too heavy to remain airborne.
Lastly, one consumer took a deep look inside and pointed out that even the motor itself was high quality (it has a brushless motor, which lasts much longer). This shows the great level of detail that went into this unit’s design.
It’s also very user friendly, with a remote control to complement its easy-to-use control panel. Finally, certain models of the RabbitAir Minus A2 (the 780A and 780N) are Wi-Fi enabled, and have an app to let you program how your unit runs.
- Six filters to help eliminate all air particles and odors
- Great design and build quality (can be wall mounted)
- Reusable pre-filter
- Remote control
- Includes a Smartphone app (780A and 780N models)
The Coway AP-1512 air purifier is also very highly regarded, and in fact won an award for Best Air Purifier at Wirecutter in 2018. It’s rated to effectively cover 361 square feet, so is well positioned for most individual household rooms, but may not be suitable for larger areas.
This model features a decent design, though the size is a bit bulkier (~17 inches wide and ~10 inches deep), so it may be more difficult to place discretely in your home.
Other features include a friendly and easy-to-use user interface, with three speeds, including an “auto” mode, that optimizes the speed setting based on the surrounding air quality, and an “eco” mode that helps save energy.
Some consumers did express concern around the energy efficiency of this model, and it’s estimated to consumer around 70 watts for its ~250 cfm output setting.
The Coway AP-1512 also has three filters: a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and a charcoal filter. As discussed above, the pre-filter helps to extend the life of the HEPA filter, which is what does the real work of helping your allergies by keeping pollutants out of the air.
One thing to note is the type of charcoal filter it uses. The charcoal filter in this unit is a filter that is coated with charcoal, as opposed to a filter made out of genuine carbon material.
This means it may be less effective at removing odors. This is less of an issue if you are looking for help with allergies, but is something to consider if removing odors / gases is important to you.
- 3-stage filter (washable pre-filter, HEPA, charcoal)
- High CFM (250)
- Friendly user interface (auto-mode, eco-mode)
- Sleep timer
- Coated charcoal filter may be less effective
- LED lights cannot be turned off
The Coway Airmega 400 really shines in the event you want a single air cleaner that can clean large areas in your home.
This can be especially handy if, for example, if you struggle with allergies and frequently move among various rooms on one floor of you home throughout the day. The Coway Airmega 400 is able to cover very large square footage (up to 1,560 square feet) and has a substantial CFM of ~430, which is the highest of any air cleaner we reviewed.
In terms of design, this unit is larger in size among those we reviewed (which is needed for all the power this model has to offer). It’s about 15 inches in length and width, and just under 2 feet tall. It weighs roughly 25 pounds.
In terms of the actual filtration, the Airmega 400 takes in air from two sides. Each side has a combined charcoal / HEPA filter and washable pre-filter (so the unit has two pre-filters and two additional filters, the additional filters are each combined charcoal / HEPA).
You might think that for a unit offering that much coverage and such a high cfm that you’d be signing yourself up for a high electric bill.
However, the Coway Airmega 400 is remarkably energy efficient, and actually draws less wattage at its highest filtration setting than other models at a lower CFM. Similarly, this model is surprisingly quiet for the amount of output it offers.
- Large coverage (up to 1,560 square feet)
- Energy efficiency (especially for CFM output)
- Low noise level (especially for CFM output)
- Bulkier design and heavier weight (~25 pounds)
Final Thoughts On Air Cleaners for Allergies
As you can see, you have a wide selection of features and plenty of considerations when choosing an air cleaner for your allergies. Important factors to consider are whether the air cleaner you select has a HEPA filter, and its square footage / CFM output as it relates to your needs. We hope you found this guide helpful in selecting an air cleaner for your allergies!