These are the air purifiers we recommend for a basement

Remove mold, dust, and musky odors from your basement with these tried and tested air purifiers.
By
Updated on June 26, 2024
Written by
Paul Allen
Paul was a staff writer for HouseFresh between November 2020 and May 2024. He was specialized in product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers.

Basements are usually the most neglected space in the house. The “ugly duckling” room — filled with pipes, exposed walls, and limited natural light (if any). It can feel like a dingy dungeon, an outlier compared to the rest of the home.

There are many reasons why your basement can turn out this way, from external factors such as radon or rising damp to dusty old belongings stored away. All of these are made much worse by the fact that the basement has restricted ventilation, which intensifies pollutants.

One good way to ensure your basement is free from particulates, gasses, and odors is to install an air purifier with HEPA and activated carbon filters. 

An air purifier in the basement means airborne particulates like mold will be trapped in the filter instead of on your walls. Additionally, the activated charcoal filter catches nasty odors to boost freshness.

But knowing which air purifier is best for you isn’t simple. So, the HouseFresh team tested over 50 different devices to truly understand which devices work and which don’t.

Using our in-house data, I’ve hand-picked the five best air purifiers that can tackle basement maintenance, paying close attention to filters, purification speed, and long-term running costs.

Staff picks: Top 3 air purifiers for basements

For those in a hurry, here’s a look at our top three purifier picks for your basement. 

👑 BEST OVERALL💰 FOR TIGHT BUDGETS🛋️ FOR LARGE SPACES
Levoit Core 600STaoTronics AP-003Alen Breathsmart 75i
AIR CLEANING SPEED ⚡15 minutes26 minutes24 minutes
CADR 👩‍🔬Dust: 373 CFM
Smoke: 377 CFM
Pollen: 437 CFM
Dust: 202 CFM
Smoke: 198 CFM
Pollen: 215 CFM
Dust: 335.3 CFM
Smoke: 330.5 CFM
Pollen: 403.4 CFM
FILTER TECHNOLOGY 💨3-stage filtration (Pre-filter for large particles, main filter for airborne particles, high-efficiency activated carbon filter for odors and gasses)Pre-filter, H13 HEPA with activated carbon pelletsTrue HEPA H13 filters with activated carbon pellets + Ionizer technology
MAX ROOM SIZE 📏635 ft²322 ft²1,300 ft²
WEIGHT ⚖️13.7 lbs (6.2 kg)18 lbs (8.16 kg)27 lbs (12.2 kg)
OUR REVIEW 🔍Levoit Core 600S reviewTaoTronics reviewAlen 75i review
PRICE 💵$249.99Price not available$748.99

Last update on 2024-07-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Of course, all basements are different. So, it’s important to understand your specific needs and assess all available options. Read on to find a range of units that cover different-sized spaces, have multiple features, and fit into various budgets. 

1. Best overall: Levoit Core 600S

The Levoit Core 600S is the best basement air purifier on the market that provides rapid results, even in larger spaces.

The Core 600S is a no-brainer when facing the stubborn pollutants found in basements. Its powerful fans can clean large volumes of air every minute with a CADR of 373 CFM. Another plus is its relatively inexpensive price tag ( just $0.61 per CADR), which means you probably won’t mind keeping it on around the clock. 

Our review shows that Levoit’s filters can remove even the smallest airborne particles. The 600S uses a high-quality 3-in-1 filter consisting of a pre-filter for larger pollutants like dust, a primary filter for smaller particles such as mold spores, and an activated carbon filter for odors and other VOCs rife in the space. 

What we really like

Provides excellent cleaning power without being too costly
Designed for speedy particle removal, even in larger basements
Low energy use and reasonable filter replacements keep costs down
Auto mode and app support give you greater control over your air quality

What we think could be better

Relatively low amount of carbon in the standard filter (160g), so it’s worth upgrading to the Toxin Adsorber (360g) if you want to tackle odor and VOCs
Levoit no longer advertises its filters as being tested to the HEPA standard
The location of the AIRSIGHT sensor is on the back of the unit, so must be placed away from walls and furnishings

During our clean air speed test, the unit removed all traces of pollutants in just 15 minutes — the second-fastest purifier to do so. Although our test space is slightly smaller than the average basement, Levoit designed this unit to perform 4.8 air changes every hour in spaces up to 584 sq. ft., providing plenty of fresh air to larger rooms.  

Despite this powerful performance, this unit is also ultra-energy efficient. This will be particularly useful as you can leave the device to run at its top speed around the clock to ensure it cleans up any pollutants. Once you’re happy that the air is safer to breathe, you can utilize the 600S’s auto mode to operate at lower fan speeds and automatically react snappily whenever pollutant levels rise. 

HouseFresh rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):15 minutes
Air purifier technology:3-Stage Filtration (Pre-filter for large particles, main filter for airborne particles, high-efficiency activated carbon filter for odors and gasses)
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):584 sq. ft. 
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 373 CFM
Smoke: 377 CFM
Pollen: 437 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):12.3 x 12.3 x 23.6 inches (31.3 x 31.3 x 60 cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):13.7 lbs (6.2 kg)
Filter life:6 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 40.9 dB
Speed 2: 45.9 dB
Speed 3: 61.4 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 1.53 watts
Speed 1: 7.92 watts
Speed 2: 11.35 watts
Speed 3: 21.15 watts
Speed 4: 49.27 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$195.13 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$0.80
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

2. Less than $100: TaoTronics AP-003

If you want a cost-effective solution to your basement’s poor air quality, look no further than the TaoTronics AP-003.

The TaoTronics AP-003 is proof that not all cheap electronics made in China are junk. This unit from a lowkey brand promised a lot in its sales pitch, but boy, did it deliver with performance and specifications to rival units 2-3 times its RRP. 

Setting you back just $79.99, this air purifier has many features to combat basement pollutants. First up is its medical grade H13 HEPA filter. It’s proven to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, which is far smaller than the average dust or mold particle. Couple this with a granular carbon filter, and the TaoTronics AP-003 will take care of any musky odors, too.  

What we really like

One of the best-value air purifiers for CADR to $ ratio
Comes with a medical-grade filter to capture minuscule particulates
You get carbon pellets, which are much more efficient than other VOC filter types
Features a highly accurate air quality sensor for real-time feedback

What we think could be better

Rarely in stock on Amazon, which is annoying
Shorter filter lifespan, but with cheap replacements
Tricky to gauge customer support and warranty as the unit’s from a newer brand

One of the main features that jumped off the spec sheet for this unit was a CADR of 202 CFM. This is super powerful for a unit costing less than 100 bucks, so we had to see it for ourselves. Lo and behold, the AP-003 made light work of our speed test, removing the smallest PM1 particles in less than half an hour, which is exactly what you’ll need when cleaning a basement. 

With a low energy draw and a highly accurate air sensor to monitor pollutant levels, this purifier continues to prove its worth. You might be wondering what the catch is. Well, it can be tricky to find in stock online (perhaps an indicator of its popularity), and it’s not the quietest air purifier on this list. But this shouldn’t be too much of an issue for use in a basement. 

HouseFresh rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):26 minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):307 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 202 CFM
Smoke: 198 CFM
Pollen: 215 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):21.8 x 14.1 x 7.9 inches (55.4 x 35.8 x 20cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):13.64 lbs (6.19 kg)
Filter life:6 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 38.4 dB
Speed 2: 42.8 dB
Speed 3: 54.2 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0.7 watts
Speed 1: 5.9 watts
Speed 2: 10.5 watts
Speed 3: 36.5 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$90.66 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$0.49
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

3. Less than $200: Honeywell HPA300

Honeywell’s HPA300 offers powerful performance without the premium price tag. 

To put it simply, the HPA300 is a workhorse of an air purifier. It may not come with the latest smart features or a shiny new design, but it clears pollutants quickly thanks to its powerful fan and quality HEPA filters.

What we really like

Super powerful fans make this a stellar choice for large basements
Easy to set up and use straight out of the box
Clear control panel makes operating this unit fool-proof
Timer functions come in handy when using the unit in a basement

What we think could be better

Carbon filter is integrated into the pre-filter, so don’t expect much protection from VOCs
Lacks features like auto mode or app support
Operating volumes do run on the louder side

Available for less than $200, this air purifier offers valuable bang for your buck. With a CADR of 300 CFM, this equates to just 80 cents per CFM, which is incredibly cost-efficient. 

This power makes the HPA300 a great option for use in basements as large as 465 sq. ft, as we saw when reviewing the unit, taking just 14 minutes to clear our test space of all PM1 particles.

Being an older unit, it’s not quite as energy efficient or quiet as its counterparts on this list, but this is traded off by a low initial purchase price and cheap True-HEPA filter replacements that are readily available online and in many stores, allowing you to keep your basement’s air clean and healthy long into the future.

HouseFresh rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):26 minutes
Air purifier technology:Activated Carbon pre-filter and True HEPA filter
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):465 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 320 CFM
Smoke: 300 CFM
Pollen: 300 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):20.8L x 10.83W x 22.38H inches (52.8L x 27.5W x 56.8H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):17 lbs (7.7 kg)
Filter life:HEPA every 12 months, Pre-filters every 3 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 43.6 dB
Speed 2: 48.8 dB 
Speed 3: 53.9 dB
Speed 4: 59.5 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0 watts
Speed 1: 28.35 watts
Speed 2: 42.92 watts
Speed 3: 55.8 watts
Speed 4: 76.2 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$205.22 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$0.84
Manufacturer’s warranty:5 years
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

4. For large basements: Alen BreatheSmart 75i

Big basements meet their match with the Alen BreatheSmart 75i. 

The 75i is a giant among air purifiers. As the largest of Alen’s BreatheSmart range, it takes on the mantle of the beefy big bro to the average-sized 45i and FLEX. With this added size comes added versatility, as the unit can take on huge spaces and eliminate larger quantities of pollutants thanks to its customizable filters.

What we really like

Perfectly suited for large basements
Comes with highly effective H13 HEPA filters 
Use of Alen’s app or smart features such as auto mode make cleaning the air even simpler
Customizable filters allow you to target the VOCs that affect your space
Comes with a lifetime warranty

What we think could be better

Most expensive option on this list
Giant size makes it stand out (sometimes in a bad way)
Unit’s weight might make moving it to the basement challenging

So just how large of a basement are we talking about? Alen designed this unit to circulate air in a 1,300 sq. ft. space every 30 minutes, with a generous CADR of 335 CFM. Yet somehow, this unit draws a meager 45 watts on its top speed setting, allowing you to run the purifier for longer without racking up higher energy bills. 

What I love about this option is that Alen offers a range of filters to suit your needs. Each option includes an H13 HEPA that captures particles as small as 0.1 microns with impressive effectiveness, but you can also tailor the amount of activated carbon the filter contains. Higher carbon quantities (found in the Odor or Smoke filter) provide enhanced protection from VOCs and odor, which is paramount if your basement is subject to radon or other chemical pollutants.

HouseFresh rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):24 minutes
Air purifier technology:True HEPA H13 filters with activated carbon pellets + Ionizer technology
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):512 sq. ft. 
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 335.3 CFM
Smoke: 330.5 CFM
Pollen: 403.4 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):27H x 18.5W x 11.5D inches (68.58H x 46.99W x 29.21D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):27 lbs (12.2 kg)
Filter life:12 – 15 months
Noise level in decibels (as reported by the manufacturerv):24 – 49dB
Electricity consumption in watts (as reported by the manufacturerv):Lowest fan speed: 1.8 watts
Highest fan speed: 45 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$162.12 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$2.23
Manufacturer’s warranty:Lifetime (with product registration & active filter subscription)
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

5. On/off ionizer function: Winix 5500-2

Sleek style meets speedy performance. The Winix 5500-2 is one of the latest units to light up our clean air speed test.

Winix has been making air purifiers for a while. But with the 5500-2, the company has mastered its craft. This air purifier utilizes four stages of purification, including Winix’s trademark PlasmaWave technology (a type of bipolar ionizer), which can help remove particles from the air even faster.

What we really like

It provides excellent value for money, costing just $160
Rapid particle removal and top-quality filtration 
Washable pre-filter and activated carbon filter for extra longevity and cost savings
Auto mode, timers and a remote control make it super user-friendly 
Excellent air cleaning performance even without the ionizer function on — the 5500-2 took just four minutes longer to clean our home lab without ionizer

What we think could be better

It offers fast cleaning in smaller spaces, but it struggles if your basement is larger than 360 sq. ft.
Some users with respiratory conditions may prefer to stay away from the ionizer technology
No memory settings means you have to reset all settings if you lose power, including the ionizer

This unit blends style and function, with impressive qualities under the hood. As well as Plasmawave technology, you’ll find a washable pre-filter ideal for dirty spaces, a granular activated carbon filter for odors and VOCs and a True HEPA filter to remove the smallest dust and mold particulates. 

Boasting a CADR score of 243 CFM when independently tested against dust makes for a highly efficient unit to use in a basement environment. We were blown away by how fast the 5500-2 performed in our speed test, clearing all pollutants in just 20 minutes. 

HouseFresh rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):20 minutes (with PlasmaWave)
22 minutes (without PlasmaWave)
Air purifier technology:PlasmaWave, removable pre-filter, washable activated carbon filter and True HEPA filter
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):360 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust:  243 CFM
Smoke: 232 CFM
Pollen: 246 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / cm):15W x 8.2D x 23.6H inches (38W x 21D x 60H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):14.8 lbs (6.7kg)
Filter life:12 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 38.8 dB
Speed 2: 42.5 dB 
Speed 3: 47.5 dB
Speed 4: 58.9 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0.34 watts
Speed 1: 6.5 watts
Speed 2: 9.11 watts
Speed 3: 14.80 watts
Speed 4: 53.46 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$161.53 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$0.66
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 year
Country of manufacture:South Korea

Read our full review

Other air purifiers we tested but don’t recommend for basements

Having reviewed and tested over 50 different air purifiers, there were more than many that didn’t quite meet our high standards. To help our readers avoid wasting their money, we’ll happily call out a disappointment when we see one. So, if you’re looking to improve the air quality in your basement, steer clear of these units: 

  • Review for GermGuardian AC4825eGermGuardian has been a staple in the air purifier world for some time. Yet, its products are unfortunately stuck in the past. When we tested the AC4825e, it took almost 2 hours to clear our test space of pollutants. At the same time, its bacteria-killing UV-C technology failed to impress and instead managed to spike electricity use. 
  • Review for AROEVE MK01Billed as a medical-grade air purifier, AROEVE seemingly put all its eggs in the H13 HEPA basket, forgetting that for the filter to work, the purifier must circulate air effectively. With lackluster fans providing a poor CADR of 25 cfm, this unit would always struggle to reduce indoor air pollution, especially in an enclosed basement environment.  

What to look for when buying an air purifier for basements

Basements are usually where you’ll find the worst air quality in your home. 

The reason is simple: basements lack ventilation. This means that excess moisture has nowhere to escape, resulting in mold, mildew, and an unmistakable musky odor. Other pollutants, such as dust, allergens, and VOCs, are left to linger, exacerbating the issue further. 

To fix this, you need to take action by increasing airflow and rooting out the causes of your air pollution problem. Utilizing an air purifier is an easy solution. However, to guarantee you get a device up to the task at hand, be sure to look for the following features: 

1. High-quality filters

It’s vital that your air purifier can remove the smallest particles to improve air quality. It’ll need tightly woven filters to capture minuscule dust, mold, and any other particulate lurking in your basement. 

As a rule of thumb, HEPA filters guarantee results. They’re rigorously tested to show they can remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. The average dust and mold spore particles vary in size between 2 and 10 microns, so they fall comfortably within the HEPA range.

While not all manufacturers use HEPA-certified filters (see Levoit), we’ve tested each option on this list, making sure each unit is a safe choice for you. 

2. Odor-busting activated carbon

As well as an excellent primary or HEPA filter, you’ll need activated carbon to remove VOCs such as musky odor and chemical fumes. 

These filters work by trapping gaseous pollutants in the pores of a carbon substrate found inside the filter in a process known as adsorption. The more carbon a filter possesses, the more effective it will be, so keep an eye out for that when purchasing your device.

3. Energy efficiency

Tackling build-ups of air pollution in your basement is a big task for any air purifier. You’ll need to use your air purifier 24/7 to remove these pollutants as quickly as possible. 

If you opt for a power-hungry unit, this could skyrocket your electricity bill. 

Look for an air purifier with an Energy Star rating, or check out our annual energy expenses for each unit we test, where we measure how many watts a unit uses at its top speed and calculate an estimated cost using the Department of Energy’s appliance energy calculator

4. Room size suitability

Air purifiers are most effective when used in an appropriate-sized space. Some units are effective in smaller rooms, and others can clean the air in much larger rooms, like a basement. 

Ensuring you’ve found a suitably sized air purifier is critical, as an underpowered unit used in a basement will struggle to make a difference in your air quality. 

The advertised space should indicate that the device can perform 4-5 air changes every hour, helping to increase ventilation and deliver much-needed clean air throughout your basement. 

Manufacturers usually share what size room they have developed the unit for, so take a close look at the specifications or check out our specs and features table, where we always list the correct room size. 

Common questions about air purifiers in the basement

Air purifiers can work inside any space in your home. To improve air quality, ensure it’s powerful enough to circulate the air in the specific size of your basement and use quality filters that can remove small particulates.

Place your air purifier as close as possible to the source of the pollutants. Leave at least five centimeters between your purifier and any wall or large furniture to allow air to flow freely in and out of the unit

Radon is a radioactive gas that seeps through cracks in a building’s foundation or vents. Seal any entry points before using a HEPA and activated carbon filter air purifier.

Air purifiers remove harmful airborne pollutants, while dehumidifiers expel excess moisture from the air. If you have a damp basement, using a quality dehumidifier and air purifier together can eradicate musty air and stop its spread or inhalation.

Using an air purifier if you live in a basement improves airflow and captures pollutants. This means less exposure to allergens, dust particles, and odors, creating a happier and healthier living environment.

The average mold particle ranges between 2 and 10 microns. The best air purifiers with a HEPA or high-quality primary filter can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. Ensure your basement is the right size for your air purifier to maximize effectiveness.

Wrapping up

Basements are notorious for their poor air quality, so investing in an air purifier is a surefire way to keep the space cleaner and healthier.

As these spaces have a large footprint, measuring the space and purchasing a purifier that can circulate the air is extra important. Opt for as high a CADR as your budget will allow, even if this means overlooking smart features and operating volumes that are less useful in a basement. Finally, make sure the unit you choose is cheap to run, as you’ll likely use it much more to combat the challenges in a basement setting.

Here at HouseFresh, we’re driven by the desire to help our readers and their homes. We have no relationship with any manufacturers or editorial directives, allowing us to relay facts as they are.

Well, what are the facts? By this, we mean real-world testing data. Unlike other major publishers who rely on Amazon sales data to form an opinion, we’ve tested over 50 devices with our intensive hands-on testing. Looking at how easy they are to use and how quickly they’ll get to work. If you have any questions about our process or would like to know more about the units on this list, feel free to drop me a line at paul@housefresh.com

Last update on 2024-07-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author

Paul Allen

Paul was a staff writer for HouseFresh between November 2020 and May 2024. He was specialized in product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers.

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