The 4 Best Air Purifiers For Allergies (Under $500)

Honeywell HPA 300

71+sCQNUw6L._SL1500_The Honeywell HPA 300‘s biggest selling point is its performance and range; it doesn’t try to hide behind cute features or “neat” quirks. This is a no-frills, heavy-duty device that is concerned only with power and efficiency.

The device specializes in removing particulates from the air; it deals extremely well with mold spores, VOCs and all types of allergens – fur, dander, plus all the stuff you can’t see. It handles dust very well, too.

This device boasts a CADR rating of 300 and can circulate a room’s air up to 5 times per hour – even when placed in very large rooms. The manufacturer defined the unit’s maximum coverage as 465 square feet – in other words, a 21′ x 22’-sized room.

That’s a fair number, and the HPA 300 easily lives up to that billing. But I think that number may even be conservative; there are reports of the device working very effectively in spaces up to 750 square feet – which, for a medium-sized purifier, is pretty absurd. You just don’t see that kind of coverage very often.

High-performance air purifiers are typically less energy efficient, but the HPA 300 bucks that trend a bit.

This device is Energy Star certified, and it’s very efficient relative to its performance. This device has four settings, which all draw different amounts of energy. On its lowest setting, it draws about 40 watts. It’s two middle settings will draw between 70 – 100 watts; meanwhile, the highest setting draws about 130 watts.

Obviously, this device becomes less energy efficient as you ramp up the work-rate. But even at it’s highest setting (130W), it’s fairly efficient relative to other units that perform similarly.

Remember, there are units that will draw up to 200 W to clean rooms smaller than what the HPA 300 is built to deal with.

  • Very powerful
  • Extremely fast
  • Won’t kill your electric bill

  • Large and bulky
  • Filter durability is a concern

Winix PlasmaWave 5300

81TNzkkMcWL._SL1500_The Winix 5300 is the Honda Civic of air purifiers: the device isn’t flashy or packed with high-end features; but it’s affordable, durable, and does its job extremely well.

This unit is one of the most powerful “budget-buy” air purifiers you’ll ever find. It’s very difficult to find a purifier for under $200 that is capable of purifying large rooms efficiently and effectively. But that’s exactly what the Winix 5300 delivers.

With a coverage area of 350 square feet, the 5300 is great for all the medium-large sized rooms in your house. Performance-wise, the 5300 is well rounded and very powerful against a variety of pollutants – although decidedly least effective against odors, relative to its performance against other pollutants.

As with the Winix WAC9500, the Winix 5300 features PlasmaWave technology, which improves upon the ionization process utilized in ionizing air purifiers. Here’s how the manufacturer describes the PlasmaWave tech:

“Other Ionizer type air cleaners produce ions to attach to pollutants so they fall to the floor or stick to walls and furniture and then need to get vacuumed. PlasmaWave however doesn’t merely weigh down the particles – it breaks apart odor, allergens, chemical vapors and other pollutants at the molecular level without producing any harmful ozone.”

The Winix 5300 is exceptionally energy efficient and is Energy Star certified. According to Energy Star, the device draws 60 watts – a number which will be much lower (7-10 watts) when running on lower settings, and higher (90 watts) when running on the “turbo” setting.

  • Outstanding value
  • Great all-around performance
  • Nice coverage area
  • Energy efficient

  • Can struggle against heavy odors
  • Some complaints about high-pitched noise related to PlasmaWave process

Alen BreatheSmart FIT50

41QVwIJv79LThe Alen BreatheSmart FIT50 is a high-end, powerful device that can handle almost anything you throw at it – from the largest living rooms to high-ceiling foyers. The device is intelligent, well designed and packed with nifty features.

The FIT50 boasts some impressive power. It’s one of the best air purifiers for allergies, because it’s particularly effective against allergens and smaller particles; it also eradicates dust very well.

But the one number that jumped out right away was the 800 square foot area coverage; that’s not a number you usually see attached to “home” air purifiers. And I don’t think the manufacturer is blowing smoke here. This device really does handle huge rooms exceptionally well – at least, on it’s highest setting.

The price is certainly scary to look at – and although it’s likely to live up to the investment, this purifier may not in the budget of some shoppers.

  • Huge coverage area — great for your biggest rooms.
  • Intelligent; monitors air quality and adjusts work rate accordingly
  • Packed with cool features, like child-lock and air quality indicator lights
  • Beautiful and smart design

  • Expensive.

Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-700A

61S2suWiHVL._SL1000_The Rabbit Air MinusA2 SPA-700A is one of the very best air purifiers on the market. It’s incredibly quiet, powerful and astonishingly intelligent; it’s well designed, energy efficient and extremely versatile to boot. The only drawback for some buyers will be the price point.

This extremely versatile device comes with four filters. First, a pre-filter that tackles dust, pet hair and other larger particles. Next, a HEPA filter that captures smaller particles; followed by a charcoal filter designed to tackles odors; the fourth filter is interesting, because there are several options the consumer can opt for.

There are four options for your fourth filter: my two favorite are the “pet allergy” filter, tailored specifically toward allergy defense; and the “odor remover” filter, geared toward people living with smokers. The fourth filter offers an extra “boost” in the area of your choice; but the SPA-700A can do it all, regardless.

As mentioned before, some consumers just aren’t comfortable spending $500 on an air purifier. And that’s fine! If you are casually looking to improve your air quality, you don’t need to spend more than $250 – check out some of our other reviews to find devices that better fit your budget.

But if you are serious about air quality, $500 is a small price to pay for the power packed into the SPA-700A.

  • Outstanding performance against all manner of pollutants
  • Very intelligent
  • Perhaps the quietest purifier on the market relative to performance
  • Beautiful design
  • Energy efficient

  • Not everyone is comfortable spending $500 on an air purifier



Photo credit: Kathleen Dagostino via Flickr CC License

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