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6 Best Air Purifiers for Desks

By
Updated on February 13, 2024
Written by
Teddy Booth
Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.

Whether you’re working from the comfort of your home office, a station in a shared space or even your own corner office, you need to ensure the air you breathe is clean and fresh. Studies have found that poor air quality can negatively affect your productivity, on average resulting in a 3% to 5% drop in efficiency

From office pets, roaming cooking odors, or the stale air built up by colleagues, the air in offices can be dangerously polluted. 

Air purifiers with HEPA filters work by pulling in polluted air trapping the contaminants inside and blowing out clean unpolluted air. Not only is this better for your overall health, but it will also help with allergies, VOCs, dust build-up, vape smoke, weed smoke and clear bacteria and viruses from the air in your office.

If your desk is anything like mine, every space is important to keep work productive, so adding something extra better be worth it. Luckily, more and more air purifiers are being made that can fit on or around your desk, so you don’t have to worry about taking up too much space.

Why You Can Trust Our Recommendations

Here at HouseFresh, we don’t just write about air purifiers; we’re obsessed with them. We’re constantly researching air quality, looking at new air purifier technology and searching for the next unit to review.

To find the best air purifiers for desks, we had criteria that units had to match to make the list.

1. HEPA filtration – Our research shows that air purifiers that use HEPA filters are the most effective at removing airborne pollutants, so every unit we chose had to contain HEPA filters.

2. Size – We know that every inch of space on your desk is needed, so the air purifiers we’ve selected are small enough to fit on your surface.
 
3. Sound – Any additional noise while working can be distracting and unproductive. That’s why we’ve only recommended air purifiers that operate quietly so as not to disturb your flow.

Air purifier manufacturers are great at giving you unit specifications, but their results are usually gathered in lab conditions. I don’t have a lab and I’m sure you don’t. That’s why we test all the units we review in real-world conditions, aka our homes.

We buy every air purifier we review with our own money and put them through performance tests so that we can give you our own unbiased findings. 

These tests consist of:

1️⃣ Placing the air purifier in our performance testing room, filling the space full of controlled pollutants (incense smoke) and measuring how long it takes for it to remove all traces of PM1.0, PM2.5 and PM10.0 particles from the air.

2️⃣ Connecting the air purifier to an energy meter so that we can record how much electricity it uses to determine how much each unit will cost to run for a year.

3️⃣ Measuring how much sound the air purifier produces at its different speeds, so you know what to expect.

We’ve used these methods to find the best air purifiers for desks. But before you see our full selection, check out our top three recommendations highlighting performance, size and cost.

The Top 3 Air Purifiers For Desks

BEST OVERALLFOR A SMALLER DESKS FOR A LARGER DESKS
Blueair Blue Pure 411+Smart Air QT3Taotronics AP005
AIR CLEANING SPEED ⚡43 minutes4 hours and 27 minutes36 minutes
CADR 👩‍🔬120 CFM24 CFM147 CFM
FILTER TECHNOLOGY 💨3-stage True HEPA filter with activated charcoal95% efficiency HEPA filter made with polypropylene (PP) and polyester (PET) with an 800-hour lifespanPre-Filter, H13 True HEPA and Activated Carbon Filter
MAX ROOM SIZE 📏185 sq. ft.12.9 sq. ft.270 sq. ft.
WEIGHT ⚖️3.4 lbs (1.54 kg)1.375 lbs (0.624 kg)7.9 lbs (3.58 kg)
OUR REVIEW 🔍Blueair Blue Pure 411+ reviewSmart Air QT3 reviewTaotronics AP005 review
PRICE 💵Price not availablePrice not available

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

Now you’ve had a look at our top three recommendations, take a look at the other air purifiers we’ve chosen for your home office.

1. Best Overall: Blueair Blue Pure 411+

Blueair is well known for producing stylish units that can be customized to your taste with options of different colored pre-filters. The Blue Pure 411+ is a great upgrade from the older 411, with improved filters protected by an outer shell instead of open to damage.

The 411+ isn’t the smallest unit in our guide, but it is one of the highest performing with a CADR of 120 CFM. Its one-button operation controls the fan speed and is extremely simple to use. 

Inside, Blueair has given us a three-stage True HEPA filter that includes a washable fabric prefilter and an activated carbon sheet.

What makes the 411+ an ideal unit for your desk is the level of sound it outputs. On its lowest fan speed, it emits only 17dB (comparable to the sound of rustling leaves), meaning you will hardly even notice this unit working so you can work uninterrupted. You can see listen for yourself in the video below:

What We Really Like:

👍 Amazing performance to price
👍 Has a magnetic clip for cable management
👍 Max sound output is 46dB
👍 Low energy consumption

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 No auto mode
👎 Wish it used activated carbon pellets over a bonded sheet

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:43 minutes
Air purifier technology:3-stage True HEPA filter with activated charcoal
Recommended room size:185 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):120 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):17H x 7.8W x 7.8D inches (43.18H x 19.812W x 19.812D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):3.4 lbs (1.54 kg)
Noise level (low – high):17dB – 46dB
Filter life:6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Estimated energy consumption:$10.51 per year

2. Best for Smaller Desks: Smart Air QT3

Technology seems to get smaller as time passes and air purifiers are no exception. The QT3 from Smart Air is a tiny portable unit ideal for taking on vacation, using in your car and having on your desk at work. It even has a leather strap to carry around from place to place.

The QT3 is ideal for small spaces like a work cubicle or a modest home office, any larger and this air purifier will start to struggle. It’s so easy to operate with a two-button control panel; simply turn it on, select fan speed, and you’re off. This version has a 2,000mAh battery that lasts up to four hours.

As it’s such a small unit, it can only fit a small filter, but Smart Air hasn’t skimped out as it includes an H11 HEPA filter…impressive. Unfortunately, there’s no activated carbon filter which is disappointing, but you can’t cram everything into a portable unit. 

If space is a factor, the QT3 is an excellent option for your desk as it will not disturb you while you’re working or in a meeting due to its low noise levels:

What We Really Like:

👍 Lightweight at only 1.375 lbs
👍 Can be plugged in or portable
👍 You can direct the airflow with its moveable louvers
👍 Not loud on high fan speeds

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 No activated carbon filter for odors
👎 Small CADR

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our test room:4 hours and 27 minutes
Air purifier technology:95% efficiency HEPA filter made with polypropylene (PP) and polyester (PET) with an 800-hour lifespan 
Recommended room size:12.9 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):24 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):5.9L x 5.7W x 7.1H inches (15cm L x 14.5cm W x 18cm H)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):1.375 lbs (0.624 kg)
Noise level (low – high):6 months
Filter life:32dB – 49dB
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Estimated energy consumption:$8.41 per year (but it can also be used with an in-built battery)

3. Best for Larger Desks: Taotronics AP005

Taotronics have somehow managed to fit most of the cool features of the AP003 into a desk-sized version. This miniature unit sits next to my desk at home (as you can see from the picture), keeping the air clean and my mind productive.

A great feature on any desk air purifier is Auto Mode. The AP005 comes with an air quality sensor that monitors the state of the air in your office in real time. Engaging Auto Mode means that the AP005 will automatically select the appropriate fan speed to deal with the level of airborne contaminants.

HEPA filter brands can use different strengths in their units; Taotronics have opted for one of the strongest with their three-stage, H13 True HEPA filter that removes 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns with an activated carbon sheet.

The TaoTronics AP005 is also one of the quietest air purifiers we have tested when running at its maximum speed:

What We Really Like:

👍 Has an LED color ring and numerical display to show air quality
👍 Amazing performance at a low price
👍 Filters are easy to replace
👍 Low annual running costs

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Carbon filter used impregnated fabric, not charcoal pellets
👎 Wish it had a smartphone app

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:36 minutes
Air purifier technology:Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA and Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended room size:270 sq ft
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):147 CFM (250 m³/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):14.9H x 8.8W x 8.8D inches (37.8H x 22.4W x 22.4D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):7.9 lbs (3.58 kg)
Noise level (low – high):25 – 50 dB
Filter life:3 – 6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Estimated energy consumption:$30.48 per year

4. Pure Enrichment PureZone Mini

Next up is the smallest air purifier I’ve ever handled. The Pure Enrichment PureZone Mini is a tiny, portable unit that’s ideal for those with little to no spare space on their busy desks. Now this little guy is only designed for rooms up to 54 sq. ft. so don’t expect this air purifier to work efficiently anywhere larger.

Don’t be fooled by its size, the PureZone Mini comes with a True HEPA filter that can remove up to 99.97% of harmful contaminants from the air. It claims to include activated carbon that will trap odor, but if so, it is a very small amount. The filter, although small, can last up to twelve months and is really easy to replace when needed.

Needless to say, this unit has no smart functions built into the PureZone Mini, but that just means it’s simple to use with just one button to control its three fan speeds. As a portable unit, it has a USB-C charging port that gives you up to twelve hours of use until its next charge.

When it comes to noise levels, in our testing, the sound emitted by the PureZone Mini ranged from 15dB (as soft as someone breathing) for the lowest speed and up to 406B at its highest (quieter than a moderate rainfall). Listen in the video below:

What We Really Like:

👍 Extremely lightweight 
👍 Replacing the filter is a simple task
👍 You probably already own a USB-C charger
👍 There’s no ionizer or ion-generating technology

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Only effective in very small spaces
👎 Contains very little activated carbon

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our test room:6 hours and 49 minutes
Air purifier technology:True HEPA with activated carbon pre-filter
Recommended room size:Up to 54 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):10 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):2.7H x 3.5W x 8.5D inches (6.8H x 8.8W x 21.5D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):0.58 lbs (‎263g)
Noise level (low – high):15 dB – 46 dB
Filter life:6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:5 years
Estimated energy consumption:$8.41 per year

5. Levoit Core 200S

If you’re familiar with our air purifier reviews, you’ll know we’ve tested many of the units Levoit offers, but not all are suitable for your desk. For that, we’ve gone with the Levoit Core 200S as it’s on the smaller side but still highly effective at cleaning the air.

Designed for mid-sized rooms, the 200S has some of the features we’ve come to expect in modern air purifiers like sleep mode and a timer. As with all of the units in Levoit’s S series, this unit has VeSync app connectivity. You can control your air purifier’s fan speed, set the timer, monitor its filter life and turn it on/off from anywhere with an internet connection.

Under the hood is a circular three-stage wih a nylon pre-filter, a main filter and a highly efficient activated carbon filter to remove odors and other VOCs. With a CADR of 118 CFM and low sound output, the 200S is ideal for those with extra room on or beside their desk.

As for noise, the Core 200S at its highest fan speed level can reach 48 dB, but it’s as quiet as 24 dB at its lowest speed. This compares favorably with many of the unit we have tested:

What We Really Like:

👍 Easy to operate
👍 App is simple to set up
👍 Lightweight
👍 Only 24dB on lowest fan speed

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Wish it had an air quality sensor
👎 It’s pretty plain looking

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our test room:61 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:183 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):118 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):12.6H x 8.07W x 8.07D inches (32H x 20.5W x 20.5D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):6.6 lbs (3 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24dB – 48dB
Filter life:6 – 8 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$30.48 per year

6. Levoit LV-H132

Another recommendation from Levoit; this time, it’s the LV-H132. Designed for rooms up to 129 sq. ft. this mini air purifier is perfect for those who want a little more “style” from your desktop devices with its gloss finish and black band.

Not only does it look good, but the LV-H132 also comes at a budget price. This means it has no extra features, but sometimes that’s a positive (less to worry about). The controls are easy, on/off, adjust the fan speed and a button to turn the night light on/off so it won’t disturb your work.

Levoit has included a disc-like three-stage filter with a sheet pre-filter to capture larger contaminants, a main filter to catch tiny airborne particles and activated carbon pellets for clean smells and gasses. This combo is pretty rare in budget units similar to the LV-H132. A great unit to clean the air around your desk as you work.

The LV-H132 is also pretty quiet. At its lowest fan speed, the LV-H132 doesn’t generate much noise at 25dB, but it reaches the same levels as the large Core 300 at the highest speed with 50dB of sound generated.

What We Really Like:

👍 The filter is easy to replace
👍 Low energy running cost
👍 It’s lightweight 
👍 The top light is a cool touch

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 The CADR is only 40 CFM
👎 Wish it had an auto mode

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our test room:1 hour and 38 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:129 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):40 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):7.9L x 7.9W x 12.6H in (20 x 20 x 32 cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):6 lb (2.7 kg)
Noise level (low – high):25 dB – 50 dB
Filter life:6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$28.38 per year


Buying Guide: Air Purifiers for Desks

Desks can be bustling places with monitors, keyboards, a mouse, paperwork and often photographs of loved ones (or the 40lb tuna fish you caught that summer in Tamarindo). So when adding something else into the mix, it must be worth it.

For me, breathing clean, healthy air is more important than most of the other junk that we seem to collect on our workspaces and as our guide shows, air purifiers are now being made smaller and smaller, making them a highly effective way of removing airborne pollution from your desk area.

🤔 Why should you deal with airborne contamination sooner rather than later?

Not only pollution from cars or power stations affects our health. Studies have shown that air indoors is five times more polluted than outdoors, and sitting at the same desk, in the same room, and sometimes with the same people for hours can make pollution levels dangerously high.

The EPA shows that if this air is untreated, it can lead to illness and other health problems such as

🤧 Coughing or Sneezing
😴 Fatigue or lethargy
🤕 Headaches and dizziness
🤢 Nausea
👃 Stuffy or runny nose

As well as your health, studies suggest contaminated air can have an adverse effect on productivity. The air around your desk could be working against you. An air purifier will remove those harmful airborne pollutants, increasing your life expectancy and your productivity.

What to Look for When Buying an Air Purifier for Desks

Before you pick the first air purifier you see that matches your budget or the one that looks the coolest, there are a few more considerations to make.

1. How big is your desk (and the room)?

Desks aren’t usually the biggest of spaces, and each spot is essential. Allocate your room for an air purifier and check out each unit’s measurements in our Specs & Features table.

It’s also essential to buy an air purifier that will work efficiently in the room your desk is in. Be sure to measure your room first and check that the air purifier of your choice is designed to clean a space of that size.

2. How loud is the air purifier?

I don’t know about you, but I’m easily distracted when it comes to work…or anything, so any extra noise while sitting at my desk will affect my concentration. That’s why we test the air purifiers’ sound output and share our findings with you.

We also make videos testing the noise admitted from the different fan speeds of each air purifier so you can get an idea of how loud they are.

3. Does the air purifier come with a good HEPA filter?

We’ve done our research here at HouseFresh and concluded that air purifiers that use HEPA filters are the most efficient at removing airborne pollutants.

They pull air through the filters, trapping those harmful microscopic particles in a maze of tightly woven fibers and keeping them there, removing them from the now clean air the fan pushes back into your room.


Common Questions About Air Purifiers for Desks

🤔 Will an air purifier protect me from COVID-19 in my office?

Air purifiers can reduce airborne contaminants that can invade a home, including viruses, as long as it has the proper filter system in place. However, on its own, it is not recommended as enough protection to ward off COVID-19 indoors completely.

So, along with a quality air purifier, sanitizing practices recommended by the CDC should still be followed. When those are followed, using an air purifier becomes part of an overall plan to maintain protection.

🤔 Where’s the best place to put a desk air purifier?

There are a couple of factors to consider when it comes to placing your air purifier on or around your desk.

  • Airflow — To clean the air effectively, you need to make sure the inlets on your unit are clear. We advise against placing your air purifier up against a wall or in a corner.
  • Off the ground — Keeping your air purifier off the floor and on your desk is advisable. This way, it can capture pollutants from the whole room instead of only those lower to the floor. This also means you won’t tripping over it when you get a coffee.

Wrapping Up

Many air purifiers are suitable for a desk setup to keep your office area fresh and smelling good without any bulky equipment getting in the way. Many of these offer a stylish design, along with being compact. This way, you can set it up on your desk and not have it stand out too much.

Finding the perfect air purifier for your desk isn’t a strenuous task; simply follow our guide, make the proper considerations and pick one from our recommendations.

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

About the author

Teddy Booth

Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.