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4 Best Air Purifiers for Basements (And 3 to Avoid)

Last updated November 17, 2022

This post may contain affiliate links.

Author
Author avatar Danny Ashton

Danny as been writing about air purifiers for 10+ years. He is a major fan of home technology, which makes him the perfect person to test and evaluate products for HouseFresh

Basements by their very nature draw in humid air from the outside and due to a lack of ventilation, particulate pollutants and odors can quickly build up. If you have done what you can to ventilate your basement and still have an issue with pollutants in the air, you will need to look into other ways to clean the air. 

The average basement in the United States is 500 sq.ft-1000sq.ft, so we are looking at a larger space than your average bedroom or bathroom. 

The list we have put together of the best and worst basement air purifiers is based on detailed reviews and performance tests that we produce here at HouseFresh.com. We believe that it’s super important when looking for an air purifier to look past the marketing and jargon, focusing on how well a unit performs and also what it might cost in the long term. 

The sad fact is that air purifier manufacturers have played on the fear around Covid-19 to push new technologies that sound impressive but fail to perform in real-world tests. At the moment of writing this list, an IAQ (indoor air quality) scientist is being sued $180 million for defamation by a large manufacturer of a new type of air purifier technology for showing in her studies that their reported performance data was incorrect.

We have a simple rule at HouseFresh when it comes to air purifiers and that is to only choose technologies that have been fully accepted by the mainstream science community. The industry has just had too many units pushed on unsuspecting consumers that have later been shown as ineffective or even harmful as in the case of Sharper Image Ionic Air which releases ozone as part of its inefficient cleaning process.

Mainstream science is pretty clear:

HEPA filters are great for removing pollutants and viruses like Covid-19 from the air.
Activated charcoal is great for adsorbing gasses and odors.

We really don’t need anything else, which is why our top 3 picks for the basement only use these technologies. Choosing the best air purifier comes down to its performance and costs both in the short and long term. The only real way to do that is to test every unit and that is what we do here at HouseFresh.com.

So, here are the best air purifiers for basements as of Autumn 2022:

The Top 3 Air Purifiers For Basements

Model
Best Overall
Best Budget Option
Best for Large Spaces
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, Covers up to 3175 Sq. Ft, Smart WiFi and PM2.5 Monitor, H13 True HEPA Filter Removes 99.97% of Particles, Pet Allergies, Smoke, Dust, Auto Mode, Alexa Control
Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, H13 True HEPA Filter for Large Room Cover 1500 ft², Air Cleaner 3 Speeds, Air Quality Monitor Sensor, Child Lock, Sleep Mode, CADR 420 m³/h, Remove 99.97% Pollutants
Alen FLEX Air Purifier, Quiet Air Flow for Large Rooms, 700 SqFt, Air Cleaner for Dust, Pet Dander, Pollen, Absorbs Cooking/Smoke Odors with Long Filter Life
Pros
The best-performing air purifier we have ever tested. It cleaned our room in 15 minutes
Best cleaning performance for the price of $80 to clean our room in 29 minutes
Large enough for one unit to clean the entire basement
Cons
Filters costs are much higher than smaller Levoit air purifiers
Need more than 1 unit for a large space like a basement
The cheapest filter option doesn’t have an activated carbon filter
CADR
410 / 697 m³/h
384 m³/h/226 CFM
347 CFM
Filter Technology
H13 True HEPA filter
H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
B7 Pure filter, H13 True HEPA filter
Recommended Room Size
635 sq. ft.
Up to 322 sq. ft/30 m²
up to 1,300 ft²
Weight
13.7 lbs / 6.2 kg
18 lbs / 8.16 kg
12.2 kg / 27 lbs
Price
$299.99
$59.99
$209.00
Best Overall
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, Covers up to 3175 Sq. Ft, Smart WiFi and PM2.5 Monitor, H13 True HEPA Filter Removes 99.97% of Particles, Pet Allergies, Smoke, Dust, Auto Mode, Alexa Control
Pros
The best-performing air purifier we have ever tested. It cleaned our room in 15 minutes
Cons
Filters costs are much higher than smaller Levoit air purifiers
CADR
410 / 697 m³/h
Filter Technology
H13 True HEPA filter
Recommended Room Size
635 sq. ft.
Weight
13.7 lbs / 6.2 kg
Price
$299.99
More Details
Best Budget Option
Style
Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, H13 True HEPA Filter for Large Room Cover 1500 ft², Air Cleaner 3 Speeds, Air Quality Monitor Sensor, Child Lock, Sleep Mode, CADR 420 m³/h, Remove 99.97% Pollutants
Pros
Best cleaning performance for the price of $80 to clean our room in 29 minutes
Cons
Need more than 1 unit for a large space like a basement
CADR
384 m³/h/226 CFM
Filter Technology
H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
Recommended Room Size
Up to 322 sq. ft/30 m²
Weight
18 lbs / 8.16 kg
Price
$59.99
More Details
Best for Large Spaces
Style
Alen FLEX Air Purifier, Quiet Air Flow for Large Rooms, 700 SqFt, Air Cleaner for Dust, Pet Dander, Pollen, Absorbs Cooking/Smoke Odors with Long Filter Life
Pros
Large enough for one unit to clean the entire basement
Cons
The cheapest filter option doesn’t have an activated carbon filter
CADR
347 CFM
Filter Technology
B7 Pure filter, H13 True HEPA filter
Recommended Room Size
up to 1,300 ft²
Weight
12.2 kg / 27 lbs
Price
$209.00
More Details

1. Levoit Core 600S

When we tested this air purifier in our home lab – we had to test it again to be sure of the results.

It was able to remove all pollutants from the room in the quickest time of 15 minutes. Whilst this is the most powerful air purifier that the brand Levoit makes, I thought it wouldn’t be able to keep up with the larger units like those produced by Smart Air and IQAir.

The Levoit 600S isn’t the smallest unit, but due to its cylindrical size, it doesn’t feel like it takes up much space as its boxier competitors. 

Another reason why we love the Levoit Core 600S beyond pure performance is that it doesn’t use as much energy as its larger, more expensive competitors. It had a max draw of 47 watts when tested vs the 122 watts we saw with the Smart Air Blast Mini. 

Filters are composed of HEPA H13 and activated charcoal pellets, which is not something you always see with the more budget-focused brands but something that will come in useful for removing odors in your basement. 

The only downside is that the filters are larger and do cost $59.99, but considering the amount of air you can clean it only makes sense that filters will have a higher cost than smaller units. It’s well under the $250 per year filter costs you have with the IQAir Healthpro Plus.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 True HEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):410 / 697 m³/h
Recommended room size:635 sq. ft. 
Filter life:6 months
Noise level (low – high):26 – 55 dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):12.3L x 12.3W x 23.6H inches / 31.3 x 31.3 x 60 cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):13.7 lbs / 6.2 kg
Energy consumption:$13.47 per year
Time to clean our test room15 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 It cleaned our testing room in 15 minutes – the current fastest speed of all the air purifiers we have tested
👍 Auto-mode works quickly and allows us to use the air purifier less frequently for some situations
👍 Energy usage is well below what we see with other air purifiers with this level of cleaning power
👍 Simple instructions so no need for a manual

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Filter costs are much higher than smaller units
👎 App is not as well-designed as we would like so rarely used

2. Honeywell HPA300

Honeywell is a brand that feels like it’s been here forever and for good reason. The HPA300 from Honeywell is not going to win any design awards, but it’s a great pure HEPA and activated charcoal workhorse. It’s as large as the Levoit Core 600S but takes up a little more space due to its wide design. It doesn’t come with an auto-mode or app, but it does cost less. I see it regularly found online at the $200 level. It has a CADR of 300 and managed to clean our room in 26 minutes.

The only reason I don’t rate this unit above the Core 600S is that it’s quite power-hungry with a maximum draw of 87 watts. This is, however, partly offset by the cheaper filters that are available. 

If you have a decent-sized basement and are looking for one unit to clean it without paying more than $200, this is the unit I would recommend.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:Activated carbon pre-filter and True HEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):300 CFM 
Recommended room size:465 sq. ft. 
Filter life:Replace Certified HEPA Filters 1x per year. Replace genuine pre-filters every 3 months.
Noise level (low – high):48.3 – 71.2dB
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
Energy consumption:$189.01 per year
Time to clean our test room26 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 No frills so you don’t pay more for an app or auto mode
👍 Filters are easily available
👍 Honeywell is a brand that everyone can trust to do right by the consumer
👍 Good cleaning power for the price and capable for large rooms like a basement

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Design could benefit from a facelift
👎 Pure performance to $ you will find better value with 2 Taotronics AP-003

3. Taotronics AP-003

You might not have heard about this air purifier – I first saw it on Twitter being shared by Indoor Air Care Advocates. Based on pure performance to CADR score, this unit looks like the holy grail of a pure HEPA and activated charcoal at a super cheap price – $79.99. This was even better performance to $ than our recent budget favorite, the Levoit Core 300. 

Now one of these air purifiers alone will not be big enough for most American basements, but with such a low cost, you can get two units and double the CADR to 452 CFM, which is even higher than our top pick of the Levoit Core 600S.

The other big benefit of this air purifier is that it comes with an external display that lists the exact level of pollutants in the air – something rarely seen even at the highest budgets.

The downside is that the brand has been kicked out of Amazon for manipulating reviews. The unit is sporadically sold on the platform through unofficial accounts; however, you are usually better buying directly from Taotronics.com (we did for our review unit).

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
CADR (CFM / m³/h):384 m³/h/226 CFM
Recommended room size:Up to 322 sq. ft/30 m²
Filter life:3-6 months
Noise level (low – high):32dB – 52dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):21.8 x 14.1 x 7.9in / 554 x 358 x 200mm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):18 lbs / 8.16 kg
Energy consumption:$61.26 per year
Time to clean our test room29 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 Best air cleaning performance for $ spent both in short and long term
👍 Filters costs are fair for a unit of this size
👍 Love the screen and the accuracy for both PM2.5 and PM10 particles
👍 Small size for its level of cleaning ability

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Would prefer to buy from Amazon (let them back on Jeff!)
👎 A new brand so not sure yet how they will deal with returns or issues in the long term

4. Alen BreatheSmart 75i

The Alen Breathsmart 75i is the largest air purifier in their range with a recommended room size of 1,300 sq. ft and a maximum CADR of 347 CFM. It’s perfect for even the largest basements but the main reason that this air purifier is on our list is due to the amount of activated carbon that Alen includes with this unit — 3.7lbs.

Activated carbon is the perfect filter for dealing with odors and VOC’s and most cheap air purifiers keep costs low by keeping the amount of charcoal small. With activated charcoal, the bigger the amount, the more odors and gasses that you can remove from the air.

When we tested the Alen 75i in our home lab, it was able to clean all particulate matter from the air in 24 minutes, which for many months was our highest performer.

Consumer Reports loved this unit and it’s currently their recommended air purifier for this year. It comes with an on-board air quality sensor that changes quality and adjusts fan speed depending on the level of pollutants it detects. 

Alen has been in the game a long time and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I could still buy air fitlers for the now 10 year old Alen A350, so you won’t have to worry about finding filters in the future with this unit.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:Pre-filter, H13 HEPA and Activated Carbon filters
CADR (CFM / m³/h):347 CFM
Recommended room size:1200 sq. ft. 
Filter life:12 – 15 months
Noise level (low – high):25 – 49dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):25H x 15W x 8.5D inches / 63.5H x 38.1W x 21.6D cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):12.2 kg / 27 lbs
Energy consumption:$ 97.76
Time to clean our test room24 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 Large enough for one unit to clean the entire basement
👍 Comes with wheels so even though it’s large you can roll it in to posstion
👍 It features “Pink Noise” to make it easier to sleep when it’s running
👍 The ionizing feature is optional, so can be switched off if you have respiratory issues. 
👍 It comes with a lifetime warranty

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Filter costs are on the higher end
👎 The cheapest filter option doesn’t have an activated carbon filter.
👎 Ionizer might put off some people but Alen guarantees 0.001 PPM with optional ionizer engaged


The 2 Air Purifiers for Basements We Don’t Recommend:

The above air purifiers are what I recommend to people looking for the best purifier for their basement, but what should you actively avoid? We test many air purifiers here at HouseFresh and a good deal just fail to live up to the hype, and we know that most consumers are better off avoiding them.

1. Molekule Mini

Molekule entered the market of air purifiers with a lot of fanfare, marketing spend, and a new technology called PECO.

You probably already know what I think about new air purifier technologies, but I put my biases aside and tested the unit like we test all our units here at HouseFresh. The result was that the air purifier was unable to fully remove all pollutants from our lab of 712cubic ft. We sometimes see this with smaller units which take a long time to remove all pollutants in a room that is too large, but didn’t expect this to happen for a $399 air purifier in a fairly small home office. 

It was able to make the air breathable according to UN guidelines, but it took 141 minutes compared to our $299 Levoit Core 600S that managed to do it in 15 minutes.

If this wasn’t bad enough, it was loud enough to potentially damage your ears with the top sound reaching 86 dB! Filter costs are also the highest in the industry, so if you want an air purifier for your basement, avoid the Molekule Mini.

Why We Suggest You Avoid This Unit:

👎 A very cheap sub $100 HEPA unit will perform better
👎 Android app didn’t connect
👎 High priced electricity usage
👎 Very loud, it was uncomfortable for me at the highest level
👎 High filter costs

2. GermGuardian AC4825e

If you read lists of best air purifiers in newspapers you can sometimes come across journalists recommending this unit. I am always shocked… Have they actually tested this unit?

The reality is that right now it’s an ancient unit that just can’t perform with the latest air purifiers on the market. It also uses a questionable UV-C light, but its main problem is that just isn’t very fast at cleaning air (it took 104 minutes) and used more electricity than the high-performing Levoit Core 600S. It would be much too weak for any sized basement.

I found that the activated charcoal was a really low-quality impregnated fabric and even after many hours, the odors still stuck around after we tested this unit. 

This air purifier might have been something to share 4 years ago, but right now, there are plenty of better options at lower prices like the Taotronics AP-003.

Why We Suggest You Avoid This Unit:

👎 Performance scores were poorer than we expected with the CADR rating of 125
👎 It’s a power-hungry unit – 56 watts to clean our test room in 104 minutes
👎 UV-C is useless – we didn’t see any difference when switching it on or off and would recommend choosing the non-UV-C version as it uses less electricity

Common Questions About Air Purifiers for Basements 

🤔 Will an air purifier help with a damp or musty basement?

Yes! Air purifiers are very useful in basements. They help eliminate pollutants like mold, dust, and mildew while improving air circulation. Your overall air quality improves when you use a purifier in a lower level of a house, especially if you lack windows. Houses that suffer from musty or damp-smelling odors can benefit from an air purifier if it contains an activated carbon filter. 

These filters are specifically designed to eliminate these kinds of pollutants. However, if your basement has water or moisture issues that cause the odors, you’ll need to fix the root cause of the problem first. We recommend looking into a good quality dehumidifier to reduce levels of humidity before deciding to invest in an air purifier.

🤔 Do air purifiers help with smells?

Air purifiers eliminate odors by using a fan to circulate and filter the air in a room. When air passes through an activated carbon filter, it traps the molecules that emit smells. This filtration process will reduce unpleasant odors. 

HEPA filters are great for removing particulate matter but will do nothing against odors so be sure to look at units with a large amount of activated carbon if you have an issue with odors. The air purifier on our list with the most activated carbon is the Levoit Core 600S.

🤔 Do air purifiers help with mold in the basement?

Mold spores are larger at 3-40 microns in comparison to viruses which are 20 to 800 nanometers. For reference, HEPA filters have proven to be effective at removing viruses, so mold spores, with their larger size, can be more easily removed.

If you have an issue that is causing mold, such as damp, you are better off resolving this issue as you will otherwise be constantly forced to remove mold spores from the air with long-term costs relating to filters and energy use.

🤔 So… Which air purifier is best for you?

Our top 3 choices of the Levoit Core 600S, Honeywell HPA300, and Taotronics AP-003 are what we think are the current best air purifiers for basements as of late 2022. Only you will know your specific use case and budget but if you have a question, I am always available to answer via email.


How We Picked Our Top Choices

We don’t recommend units without being 100% confident in our real-life performance testing process. That’s why we test all the models we recommend in the same room (sized 705 cubic ft) performing the same job (removing incense smoke). 

This allows us to compare units side by side and create “best” lists like this one. The most important features we considered when making this selection were: 

  1. Size of your basement – The average US basement is 500-1500 square feet, so it’s usually the largest space in most rooms to clean. We only included air purifiers that could work with this type of space – if you want the best, the Levoit 600S can deal with even the largest space.
  2. HEPA and activated charcoal – These filtration technologies are proven by mainstream science and are great for particle and odor pollution – something that many basements suffer from. The largest amount of activated charcoal is the Levoit Core 600S and so is our top choice for odor in basements.
  3. Value for money – Keeping your basement’s air clean is not rocket science. It needs a good HEPA filter and activated charcoal combined with an efficient fan. Our current top performer for the money is the Taotronics AP-003 – it’s so well-priced that it might be better to get 2 of these than a larger unit and still save money.

SOURCES

Monthly energy consumption costs have been calculated using our air purifier electricity usage calculator, which allows us to calculate daily and yearly costs associated with running an air purifier for 24hs a day. 

You can customize the result by air purifier wattage and by state. In the case of the calculations we shared on this page, we used California as our base state for energy prices.

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API