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5 best air purifiers for mold, based on over 50 tests

Mold spores are 3 to 40 microns in size, so they can easily be removed from the air using the right air purifier
By
Updated on January 23, 2024
Written by
Danny Ashton
Danny is the founder of HouseFresh and has been writing about air purifiers and indoor air quality since 2010. He is our lead tester, conducting all the tests we use to evaluate air quality products. That is why you will always see his name attached to our reviews.

There are over 1000 types of mold in the USA alone. While most are harmless to humans, common strains such as Stachybotrys chartarum, also known as black mold, can be particularly harmful to our health, with effects ranging from asthma and allergic irritation to acute bleeding in the lungs that, in extreme cases, can cause death in infants. 

While mold on surfaces can easily be wiped up with the help of a detergent and water, it’s a little trickier to remove mold spores that are found in the air.

The good news is that mold spores are 3 to 40 microns in size, so they can easily be removed from the air using an air purifier equipped with HEPA filters, which are certified to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. A study from 2018 showed that a HEPA cleaner significantly reduced mold spores over a 4-week test.

How we chose the best air purifier for mold

Since 2021, we have performed hands-on testing for 55 of the most popular air purifiers on the market. From our data, we have identified those that are best suited for removing mold spores from the air. All our performance tests involved measuring how long each air purifier model took to remove particles sized 1 micron, which are smaller than mold spores, so you can be confident that our results will match up with model removal performance in your home.

After going through our testing process, all the air purifiers featured in this list are now used in our team’s home environment for long-term testing.

  1. In our home lab of 728 cubic ft, we light an incense stick to generate particle pollution and VOCs.
  2. We set up our trusted Purpleair Indoor Sensor with the latest Bosch gas sensor to track levels of PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3 and VOCs in the air.
    purpleair
  3. We switch the air purifier to its highest speed and measure how long it takes to get our room air quality down to PM1 level to 0.
  4. We use an energy meter to measure precisely how much electricity is used when running the unit at the lowest and highest fan speed settings.
  5. We track sound levels emitted by the air purifier at different fan speeds with the help of a commercial sound meter.
    sound meter

Staff picks: Top 3 air purifiers for mold in 2024

Before you check out our complete guide, look at our top three recommendations below:

👑 BEST OVERALL🚽 FOR SMALL SPACES🛋️ FOR LARGE SPACES
Levoit EverestAirShark HP102Levoit Core 600S
Air cleaning speed13 minutes38 minutes15 minutes
CADR rating360 CFM92 CFM410 CFM
Filter technology3-Stage FiltrationNanoSeal™ Filter with Microban® antimicrobial coating3-Stage Filtration
Max room sizeUp to 558 sq. ft.Up to 200 sq. ft.Up to 635 sq. ft.
Weight20.7 lbs (9.38 kg)5.85 lbs (2.7 kg)13.7 lbs (6.2 kg)
Our reviewEverestAir reviewShark HP102 reviewCore 600S review
Price$429.99$174.00

Last update on 2024-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

That’s our top three recommendations, but read on to see our other recommendations, all of which have been personally tested by our team and have specific features that we know can remove mold from the air in your home. 

1. Best overall: Levoit EverestAir 

The best-performing air purifier we have ever tested, which not only cleans the air incredibly fast but also looks fantastic.

In our performance test, the Levoit EverestAir managed to clean our test room of tiny PM1 particles in 13 minutes. This was 2 minutes faster than our previous winner, the Levoit Core 600S. In comparison, the budget-friendly Levoit Core 300 needed 40 minutes to remove all particle pollutants in the same room. 

Mold spores are even bigger than the PM1 particles we measured in our performance test – if you look at the data in our review of the EverestAir, you can see that PM10 particles were removed even quicker.  If you want the fastest device on the market for removing mold spore-sized particles, then this is the device you want.

What we really like

The fastest unit we have tested at removing PM1 particles, it achieved this in 13 minutes
It also includes a large, activated carbon filter that can remove gasses and volatile organic compounds that cause odors
The on-board sensor was as accurate as our PurpleAir Indoor sensor that we use for air purifier testings
The design stands out compared to competitors and other Levoit units

What we think could be better

The Levoit Everest doesn’t have a certified HEPA filter but still performed well at removing PM1, PM2.5 and PM10
A high price that could put off many potential customers
Smart features are more of an added benefit when dealing with mold

One of the things I like about the EverestAir is that you can even run the unit at its lowest fan speed due to its highly efficient fan. At this speed, it still managed to clean our test room of all PM1 particles in 33 minutes. The significant benefit of the lower fan speed is that it makes very little noise, so perfect if you want to keep a room clean without generating any excess noise.

SPECS & FEATURES

The only major downside to this unit is its price. At close to $600, it is certainly a luxury option. But for those who can afford it, this air purifier is our top pick for removing mold spores from your home air.

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:13 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:558 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):360 CFM (612 m3/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):18.9L x 8.5W x 23.2H inches (48L x 21.6W x 58.9H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):20.7 lbs (9.38 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24 – 56dB
Filter life:12-15 months
Warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$87.25 per year
Country of manufacture:China

2. Best budget option for large spaces: Levoit Core 600S

The Levoit Core 600S is our budget pick for large rooms because it can be found for less than $300 and it boasts a CADR of 635 sq. ft. 

As the Levoit Core 600S was recommended as the best air purifier for basements, it is an excellent option for those looking to remove mold spores from such damp hotspots in the home. It was slightly slower than our number one pick for removing PM1 particles but still was very quick at 15 minutes. 

The Levoit Core 600S is our budget pick for mold because it can be found for less than $300 — a significant cost saving compared to the EverestAir. You still get a high-performing main filter for airborne particles coupled with activated carbon, along with the ability to control the unit via a smartphone app, but it’s fair to say the 600S lacks the same design quality as the more premium models.

What we really like

High-performing filter that removed all particles in 15 minutes for less than $300
Energy costs and filter costs are fair, considering the size and power of the device
Lightweight at 13.7 lbs
Air quality sensor reacts quickly to changes

What we think could be better

Some customers report that the Core Series of air purifiers have its fan whine at lower fan speeds (I haven’t experienced this, but I’m keeping an eye on it)
The AIRSIGHT Plus sensor is on the back of the unit, so you need to make sure that it’s not too close to the wall
Levoit has announced that their previous advertising stating their filters had passed HEPA standards was misleading

In a 635 sq. ft. space, it will clean the air of all particles bigger than 0.3 microns 5 times every hour. As mold spores are generally not as pervasive as cigarette or wildfire smoke, you could use the Core 600S in larger spaces up to 1000 sq. ft and still be able to keep the air free from mold spores.

SPECS & FEATURES

The Core 600S was at the top of our air cleaning speed leaderboard for two years before the release of the EverestAir.

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room: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:635 sq. ft. 
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):410 CFM (697 m³/h)
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)
Noise level (low – high):26 – 55 dB
Filter life:6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$51.51 per year
Country of manufacture:China

3. Best for small spaces: Shark HP102

An impressive and powerful air purifier with an incredibly accurate air quality sensor onboard, followed by quick air cleaning performance.

The Shark HP102 impressed us when we tested it earlier this year. In our performance test, it was able to remove particles measuring less than 1 micron in 38 minutes. This was 2 minutes quicker than our previous favorite budget pick, the Levoit Core 300

As this unit is much smaller than the other air purifiers on this list, you need to be aware that it should only be used in spaces 200 sq. ft or less. In larger spaces, it will struggle to clean all the air quickly enough, and some mold spores might evade the unit,  causing allergic symptoms in those susceptible.

What we really like

High-quality build quality compared with small units from Blueair and Levoit
Nanoseal could be helpful in inhibiting mold or bacteria growth on the filter
Great screen that quickly shows the level of pollutants and can be seen easily from far away
Good size that doesn’t take too much space in a smaller room

What we think could be better

Price is a little higher than other smaller air purifiers such as the Levoit Core 300S
The advertising of 500 sq. ft isn’t accurate for most situations

Shark is the manufacturer behind the popular Ninja air fryer range. Their innovative team has developed their own version of HEPA called NanoSeal, which includes an antimicrobial coating that will be useful when removing mold spores as it will reduce bacteria growth on the filter. The Nanoseal filters are tested to IEST-RP-CC007.3, 0.1-0.2 microns, which is similar to the standard used for medical-grade H13 HEPA filters. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Thanks to the better build quality of these filters compared to other small air purifiers on the market, the Shark HP102 is our number one pick for those looking to keep a small room free of mold spores.

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:38 minutes
Air purifier technology:NanoSeal™ Filter (True HEPA Multi-Filter with Microban® antimicrobial coating)
Recommended room size:500 sq. ft. (but it can only do 1.38 ACH so we recommend a minimum of 200 sq. ft.)
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):92 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):8.66D x 8.66W x 14.56H inches (22D x 22W x 27H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):5.85 lbs (2.7 kg)
Noise level (low – high):41.7 – 56.5 dB
Filter life:6-12 months
Warranty:2 year limited warranty
Estimated energy consumption:$25.23 per year
Country of manufacture:China

4. Best smart option: Mila Air Purifier (with Rookie Parent or Mama-to-be)

The Mila looks the part and performs really well, but all those smart features don’t come cheap, so check that this unit is within your budget.

In our performance tests, the Mila managed to remove all pollutants of 1 micron or less in 35 minutes. While its cleaning performance is good, we have included it on our list of the best for mold spores due to its smart features. 

While many air purifiers have smart features like auto mode or an app, the Mila takes it to the next level. I described the Mila in my review, comparing it to a Google Nest smart thermostat. This device uses its sensors, including VOC and particle, to learn about indoor air quality and then adjusts usage accordingly. It can even switch to higher speeds when you are not in the room. 

What we really like

The air quality sensor can pick up VOCs as well as particles, which could indicate if there are issues with mold in your home
High level of particle removal performance, cleaning our test room in 35 minutes
You can swap out the filter to another if your needs change
It doesn’t take up much floor space and has a good-looking design

What we think could be better

You pay extra for the smart features, considering pure particle removal performance
The filter names are a little confusing and higher cost than competitor brands like Levoit

Another standout feature is Mila’s approach to targeting the specific issues consumers may face and with a range of seven different filters on offer, allowing you to customize your air purifier best to suit your needs, from The Basic Breather (H12 HEPA, no activated carbon) to The Mama-to-Be (H14 HEPA, 0.70 lbs of activated carbon). 

To stop mold, you are best going for the Rookie Parent or Mama-to-Be as these all include an anti-bacterial coating on the filter, which would be helpful when using an air purifier to remove mold spores from the air, similar to what we saw with the Shark HP102.

SPECS & FEATURES

The smart features of the Mila and its powerful specialist air filters make this air purifier an excellent choice for dealing with mold smells and spores.

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:35 minutes
Air purifier technology:HEPA (ranges from H12-H14) + Activated charcoal (granular carbon)
Recommended room size:1000 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):263 CFM (447 m³/hr)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):12L x 12W x 15H inches (30.48L x 30.48W x 38.1H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):18 lbs (8 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24dB – 74dB
Filter life:6 months 
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Estimated energy consumption:$52.56 per year
Country of manufacture:China

5. Best warranty: Alen BreatheSmart 75i

A powerful air purifier from Alen that can clean the air from pollutants, smells and VOCs in rooms as large as 1,300 sq. ft. 

Thanks to its powerful fan and filter, the Alen 75i removed all the PM1 pollutants in our home lab test in 24 minutes. A significant highlight of choosing the Alen brand is that they all come with a lifetime warranty when you have an active filter subscription. 

Like Mila, you can customize your filter choice upon purchase from the Pure Filter, Fresh Filter, or Pet filter. We recommend the Pure Filter for dealing with mold as it’s pure HEPA H13 and will have the best particle removal performance. However, if you have any odor issues, be sure to look at the Fresh filter, too, as it also contains a decent amount of activated carbon. 

What we really like

It has an air quality sensor with auto-mode and a high-quality app for both Apple and Android
A lifetime warranty that is unique to Alen but does need an active filter subscription
The pre-filter can be easily removed to clean
Like the Mila, you can adjust the filter choice in the future if you need it for other areas of your house

What we think could be better

It is a large unit, so it has a relatively large footprint
The controls get dirty quickly with fingerprints

You’ll find that the Alen 75i also uses an ionizer.  This can improve particle removal performance, but as this technology has been known to produce Ozone, we like that itcan be disabled if you wish 

While you pay more for the Alen 75i than competitors, the lifetime warranty and filter choice mean it is worth considering when looking for an air purifier to deal with mold. 

SPECS & FEATURES

It is big and bulky, but its powerful fan and high-quality air filter make it all worth it.

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

  • Dyson Purifier Humidify and Cool: I was disappointed to see this air purifier included in a guide for mold from Health.com, considering that the humidifier function would improve the conditions for mold spores to continue growing and thriving. If you want a combo unit, you should look at a dehumidifier and air purifier. Still, we haven’t been impressed by the performance of that type of combo unit compared to having two separate appliances: a solid air purifier and a powerful dehumidifier.
  • Moleklue Mini: When we reviewed this air purifier, we were shocked at how loud it was, hitting nearly 86dB at its highest speed. It also took an abysmal 2 hours and 21 minutes to remove all PM1 particles.
  • Blueair Blue Pure 311 Auto: This popular air purifier from Blueair removed PM1 particles fairly quickly, achieving the goal in 21 minutes. However, we didn’t appreciate that it uses an ionizer as part of its HEPA silent that you can’t disable. This technology could potentially aggravate asthmatics with unexpected chemical byproducts.
  • Levoit Core Mini:  A small best-selling unit that makes it onto many other “best air purifier for mold” lists published by big media companies that should know better. The Core Mini is totally underpowered to remove mold from even the smallest room. In our 728 cubic feet test it took 1 hour and 53 minutes to remove all PM1 particles from the air.

What to look for in an air purifier for mold

If you’ve spotted mold patches, don’t panic. Mold spores are widespread, and most types of mold are not dangerous. If ignored entirely, however, mold can quickly grow and may cause problems for those with allergies or asthma. 

A World Health Organization review found that dampness is present in 20-50% of US homes.

As mold flourishes in damp environments, controlling humidity should be your top priority. If you don’t change the moist conditions, even the most powerful air purifier will struggle to deal with mold continually growing in your home. 

Remember that mold is more than just unsightly. According to the EPA, an estimated 4.6 million cases of asthma are directly linked to mold in the U.S. alone, so it’s important to take action sooner rather than later.

However, you need to be aware that using an air purifier alone will not be enough to remove mold from your home environment. 

Mold is a naturally occurring and abundant pollutant that thrives in moist areas such as your basement or bathroom. Once it comes in contact with damp areas of your home, it will start to grow. Eventually, so much mold will be in your environment that even the largest air purifier will become overwhelmed. That is, of course, if left unchecked.

“If you suffer from mold, you will first need to reduce humidity levels in your home using a dehumidifier. Once you have humidity under 50%, an efficient HEPA-equipped air purifier can remove mold spores as soon as they enter your home.”
— Danny Ashton, HouseFresh Founder & Senior Writer

If you have any damp areas in your home where mold is thriving, be sure to use a dehumidifier to reduce humidity levels to below 50% first, as this will prevent mold spores from growing. Our guide to the best basement dehumidifiers can help you find a dehumidifier that matches your space and conditions. The next step is to remove the mold from surfaces in the room.

Once you control the humidity levels in your home and start cleaning surfaces affected by mold, a high-performing HEPA air purifier can ensure that you are removing mold spores from the air. The whole process will ensure you are not only dealing with the mold you already have but also controlling the environment so no new mold develops.

Tip

If buying a dehumidifier is out of the question, we have a guide on keeping a basement dry without a dehumidifier that could come in handy.

Here is a list of things you need to make sure to look for when buying an air purifier to deal with mold:

1. Does it use HEPA filters?

There are a variety of different filters that air purifiers can use to remove harmful pollutants from the air in your home. However, HEPA filters are by far the most efficient at removing and trapping mold particles, as they fall within the particle size that HEPA filters are guaranteed to trap.

HEPA filters comprise of pleated sheets that create a barrier of randomly arranged fibers. These tightly woven fibers form an unsolvable maze, so when particles in the air pass through them, they become trapped and removed from the environment.

Make sure that the primary filter used is at least True HEPA or HEPA H11 when looking to remove mold spores from the air.

2. What is the unit’s CADR?

CADR, or Clean Air Delivery Rate, is a measurement to show how efficient an air purifier is at removing pollutants from the air over a period of time. CADR is usually measured in CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute). 

The higher the number, the more effective the air purifier is at removing particles from the air. 

Sadly, many manufacturers don’t always make this number clear, which is one reason why we perform our in-house tests: to see how well each air purifier can remove tiny particles of PM1, PM2.5 and PM10. 

Be sure to choose an air purifier with a higher CADR for larger spaces, leading us to our next point.

3. How big is your room?

The size of your room makes a huge difference in determining which air purifiers will work effectively. Introducing an air purifier that isn’t designed for the room’s size won’t solve your issue.

Before you start to look for an air purifier, measure your room. We include the recommended room size that each unit is designed for in our specifications table so you know if the air purifier will work effectively in your space. Be aware that some manufacturers will quote the room size for just 1 air change per hour, but for mold, you want to clean the air at least 3 times every hour.

You can use our handy calculator to find out what CADR rating you need to effectively clean the air based on the size of your room:

4. What are the associated filter replacement and energy consumption costs?

HEPA is a great technology, but the downside is that the filters will become full of particle pollution and,, eventually, less effective. Smaller air purifiers might need to change their filters every 6 months, while larger units can be up to 12 months. Filter replacement costs must be considered when identifying the right air purifier. We include costing estimates in our in-depth reviews and highlight our findings in each unit’s specification table.

With electricity costs only increasing, the amount of energy used by your air purifier is also something to consider. Many older air purifiers could use up to 100-150 watts, adding another $100 to your running costs, as when targeting mold, you will want to use your air purifier 24/7, 365 days a year. When producing our reviews, we directly test how much electricity is used at each fan speed using our energy meter so you will know exactly how much it will cost in the long term.

Common questions about air purifiers and mold

When combined with reducing humidity levels, HEPA-powered air purifiers can reduce the amount of mold spores in the air as they become trapped inside the filter.

But air purifiers alone will not be enough to eradicate a severe mold build-up. You may need to speak to a professional mold remediation contractor if you have a serious mold problem.

A dehumidifier should be your first option to reduce the levels of humidity that enable the mold to grow. Once you have reduced the humidity levels, an air purifier can be used to remove mold spores in the air that enter the home from outside.

The best way to reduce mold spores in your air is to reduce the dampness levels the mold spores need to grow. Once you have reduced the humidity level, you can use an air purifier to trap the spores inside a HEPA filter so they can’t be breathed in or grow in damp environments in your home.

As a result of exposure to mold spores, you may experience nasal, throat and eye irritations and an allergic reaction or asthma attack. This will further compromise the health of those who periodically suffer from allergies or other respiratory problems and manifest more in individuals with weakened immune systems.

It’s best to prevent mold from growing by ensuring it doesn’t have the right environment. Mold thrives in warm, humid climates, so if you have damp spots in your home, they’ll grow on them.

The CDC recommends controlling humidity levels; good ways are to ventilate laundry, cooking and showering areas. It’s essential to dry out and clean any flood-damaged areas. You’ll also want to take care of leaks from the roof, windows and pipes.

Why should you trust us?

Most popular air purifier guides are written by large media companies using freelance writers who supposedly review everything from air fryers to vacuum cleaners. HouseFresh only cares about indoor air quality, performing hands-on, in-depth reviews and performance tests to share data freely with our readers. 

We don’t have a relationship with any manufacturer or corporate board to satisfy; we aim to share the truth so more people can improve the air quality in their homes. 

If you have any questions about our testing process or have a question that I haven’t covered in this guide, please feel free to email me directly danny@housefresh.com

Last update on 2024-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Danny Ashton

Danny is the founder of HouseFresh and has been writing about air purifiers and indoor air quality since 2010. He is our lead tester, conducting all the tests we use to evaluate air quality products. That is why you will always see his name attached to our reviews.