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4 Best Air Purifiers For Classrooms

Updated on October 19, 2023
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.

The classroom should be an engaging arena where students can thrive. But often, it can be a stale, stuffy space, which certainly isn’t conducive to a stimulating learning environment.

Studies show poor air quality can dramatically impact our decision-making, problem-solving and concentration levels. At the same time, students in classrooms with increased air ventilation have been found to score 14 to 15 percent higher in standardized tests. 

Since the reopening of schools post-lockdown, there have been calls to drastically improve classroom ventilation, not simply for its brain-boosting benefits. Adequate ventilation, in the form of an air purifier fitted with HEPA filters, can remove bacteria and viruses from the air, resulting in fewer absences due to illness — both during a pandemic and more normal times.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends classrooms have 5-6 air changes every hour. When choosing an air purifier for a classroom, getting one up to the task at hand is vital. 

Each purifier can clean the air in a specific space, so grab the measuring tape before purchasing one. Even an average-sized classroom of 900sqft will need a 678 CFM CADR score to provide 7.52 air changes per hour. 

As you’ll see below, we recommend the Smart Air Blast Mini for large spaces and multiple TaoTronics AP-003’s provide an excellent budget option for smaller classrooms.

Why You Can Trust Our Recommendations

Choosing an air purifier for a classroom is not an easy decision. Our list takes into consideration all of the most important factors, including:

✅ High CADR
The higher the CADR rating, the better and more effective the device is at purifying air in the classroom. 

✅ Filter Efficiency
All of our choices have HEPA filtration, which is essential for removing the harmful contaminants you might find in a classroom.

✅ Noise Level
Air purifiers for classrooms should be quiet so as not to disrupt students. All of our choices are tranquil units.

We buy products ourselves, and we never rely on the specs that manufacturers provide. We have built a testing room in our home and put air purifiers through their paces in there:

1️⃣ We close the door and windows and light a BIG incense stick. Our air quality monitor allows us to track PM1.0ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10.0 ug/m3 particle changes while the air purifier is running at its top speed.

2️⃣ We use an electricity usage monitor to track energy consumption levels. We record energy usage at the unit’s lowest and highest fan speeds.

3️⃣ We use a sound level meter to record noise levels in decibels coming out of the air purifier when running at its lowest and highest speeds.

To help you search for the perfect purifier for a classroom, we’ve collated four top recommendations, including a range of options to suit different budgets and room sizes. Below are our top three selections, but keep reading for the full list.

The Top 3 Air Purifiers For Classrooms

Check out the options below to see what we think are the top three classroom air purifiers for 2023:

TaoTronics TT-AP003Corsi-Rosenthal BoxSmart Blast Mini
CADR 👩‍🔬226 CFM / 384 m³/h239 CFM / 406 m³/h435 CFM / 740 m³/h
FILTER TECHNOLOGY 💨Pre-filter, H13 HEPA with Activated Carbon pelletsFiltrete MPR 1900 MERV 13H13 HEPA Filter
MAX ROOM SIZE 📏322 sq. ft.500 sq. ft.915 sq. ft.
WEIGHT ⚖️18 lbs (8.16 kg)12 lbs (5.41 kg)
+ weight of fan
59 lbs (26.8 kg)
PROS 👍Capable of cleaning the air in larger spaces thanks to its quality filters and fast-acting fans.The unit can remove VOCs efficiently from the air. Be aware that price doesn’t include a fan.Quiet operation with a maximum of 49dB so perfect for supporting students studying.
CONS 👎Hard to find in stock so it’s always worth checking eBay.Requires basic DIY skills that might put off some people.It is very heavy, weighing 59 lbs (26.8 kg).
PRICE 💵$69.69No products found.$599.00

Last update on 2023-12-02 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Below I get into more detail about the air purifiers I believe are best suited for the classroom based on our analysis and real-world performance testing process. 

1. Best Overall: Taotronics AP-003

The Taotronics AP-003 is currently our number-one choice for schools in the United States. It’s the best air purifier we’ve tested and checks all the boxes for price, performance and features with 226 CFM for just $69.99. It somehow manages to pack top-notch features into this unit at a lower price than we have ever seen.

The AP-003 packs industry-standard H13 HEPA and activated carbon filters. These filters can trap any pollutant you might expect in a classroom setup, including dust, pollen and volatile organic compounds. 

The unit is designed for use in spaces up to 322 square feet, ideal for small to average classrooms, but you can also combine multiple units for larger classrooms. Three Taotronics AP003 combined will provide 678 CFM for $210. It also keeps the noise low, producing 52 dB at maximum fan speed so the study won’t be disturbed. 

What We Really Like:

👍 HEPA and activated charcoal pellets are much better than the standard impregnated fabric in other air purifiers like the Germguardian AC4825E.
👍 Noise levels below the industry standard for this level of performance — very efficient fan.
👍 Best-priced air purifier we have tested at this price point. It cleaned our room in 29 minutes at the same speed it took the $189.95 Smart Air S to clean the same room.
👍 A built-in sensor and a digital display that shows the level of pollutants to the exact digits and color grading depending on the severity.

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 You would need more activated charcoal for severe odor and gas control. You would still be better with the IQAir Healthpro Plus or the Austin Air Healthmate.
👎 No app support. However, the Auto-mode is a very nice feature for this price.


HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:29 minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
Recommended room size:322 sq ft (30 m²)
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):226 CFM (384 m³/h )
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):18 lbs (8.16 kg)
Noise level (low – high):32 – 52 dB
Filter life:3 – 6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Estimated energy consumption:$30.48 per year

2. Best DIY Option: Corsi-Rosenthal Box

The Corsi-Rosenthal Box is a powerful air purifier that any DIYer can make at a fraction of the cost of buying a commercial air cleaner. Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes can be constructed from the following basic materials at hardware stores: 

  • Duct tape
  • MERV-13 filters
  • Box fan
  • Cardboard box

This idea was conceptualized and acted upon by a team of researchers from Brown University and Silent Spring Institute. As part of the school-wide project, the students assembled the boxes, put everything in place and installed it in the university. The team ran the unit to assess its efficacy in removing chemical compounds from the air. The results showed that the unit significantly decreased the concentration of PFAs in the room. 

Taking the homemade route is a great way to make an air purifier when the budget is an issue, and you need to deal with the problem quickly. Tests show a $70 Corsi-Rosenthal Box can achieve a CADR of around 165 – 239 CFM.

What We Really Like:

👍 An easy homemade remedy to air contamination issues.
👍 Budget-friendly will set you back roughly $75 to set it up and use a fan you already own.
👍 The unit can remove VOCs efficiently from the air,

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Requires basic DIY skills that might put off some people.
👎 It can be louder than similar performance commercial air purifiers, but there is research into a new type of box that uses PC fans that runs far quieter and achieve 480 CFM at 43.2 dB max.


HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:Not tested yet
Air purifier technology:Filtrete MPR 1900 MERV 13
Recommended room size:500 sqft room (46 m²)
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):239 CFM (406 m³/h )
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):20 x 20 x 20 inches (50.8cm x 50.8cm x 58.8cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):12 lbs + weight of fan (5.41 kg)
Noise level (low – high):43.2 dB max
Filter life:3 – 6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:None
Estimated energy consumption:$25.23 per year

3. Best Single Unit: Smart Air Blast Mini

The Smart Air Blast Mini is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to cleaning the air. 

Despite its ‘mini’ title, this device is powerful enough to cover a middle-sized classroom. Smart Air focused more on power and performance on this unit than design aesthetics, producing a unit ideal for cleaning the air in a classroom.

In line with that, the blast mini achieves a clean air delivery rate CADR of 435 CFM, the highest product we’ve tested. Additionally, the unit boasts long-lasting H13 HEPA filters, capable of removing virtually all air pollutants. 

Smart Air also equipped it with a heavy-weight activated carbon filter that does a stellar job at removing smoke particles from the air, but you need to be aware that this is optional. 

What We Really Like:

👍 A powerful single unit that cleaned our test room of all pollutants in 17 minutes.
👍 Quiet operation with a maximum of 49dB, so it is the perfect unit for cleaning the air in the classroom without disturbing students who are studying.
👍 The unit can also remove VOC and gases efficiently from the air with the actuated charcoal filter.

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 It is very heavy, weighing 26 kg.
👎 It doesn’t include activated carbon as a standard. We recommend choosing the charcoal filter option as it will mean your air purifier can also remove gasses and odors. 


HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:17 minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 HEPA Filter
Recommended room size:915 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):435 CFM (740 m³/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):22.6L x 13W x 24.8H inches (57.5L × 33W × 63H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):59 lbs (26.8 kg)
Noise level (low – high):36 – 49 dB
Filter life:33 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Estimated energy consumption:$277.70 per year

4. Levoit Core 600S

Over the past ten years, Levoit has established itself as a reputable brand in the air purifiers, humidifiers and vacuum space. Their 600S air purifier makes a strong case for being the best air purifier for classrooms, thanks to its top-notch features and performance.  Levoit has crammed every piece of its signature tech into the Core 600S, including the VortexAir, AirSight Plus and QuietKEAP. But what sets this air purifier apart from the competition is its speed.

In our tests, the Core 600S cleaned our test room of all pollutants in less than 15 minutes, making it the fastest air purifier we’ve tested. The device can effectively clean a 635 square feet room, making it ideal for any classroom size, large or small. 

The unit has powerful H13 True HEPA and activated carbon filters to handle odors. It also features an intuitive and easy-to-operate control panel with a timer and auto function that adjusts fan speed automatically.

What We Really Like:

👍 Fast removal of airborne pollutants — the current fastest in our performance tests.
👍 Super quiet while on the lowest speed — 26dB, although it goes up to 55dB at the loudest.
👍 Smart features (such as the auto mode function) make operating easier.

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 The unit is chunky and takes up quite a lot of space.


HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:15 minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 True HEPA filter with Activated Carbon
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
Warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$51.51 per year

Buying Guide: Air Purifiers for Classrooms

In terms of cognitive performance, studies suggest that exposure to particulate matter can lead to short-term cognitive declines. Scientific evidence has also indicated that air within homes and other buildings can be more seriously polluted than outdoor air.

A growing body of scientific evidence shows how effective air purifiers are at improving air quality. That includes classroom settings. 

🤔 Why is it important to have an air purifier in the classroom?

A poorly ventilated classroom can have many festering contaminant sources, including:

👩‍🎓 Students
🎨 Paint fumes
🛋️ New furniture fumes
🧼 Cleaning products
🤧 Viruses
🦠 Bacteria
🌫️ VOCs

The AAFA estimates about 5.1 million children under 18 have asthma. These airborne contaminants are known to exacerbate respiratory issues, not to mention cause throat and eye irritation.

Individual air purifier units work on smaller areas to remove the contaminants without pushing the air through the central HVAC system. This allows for more control over smaller rooms to meet the needs of the students rather than trying to condition the entire building.

Things to Consider When Buying an Air Purifier for a Classroom

Choosing an air purifier for a classroom is more tricky than buying one for home use. Here are some considerations to make before making the purchase 

1. Classroom Size

You’ll first want to check the device’s area coverage. This is an essential factor to consider to ensure the unit you plan to buy will cover the entire classroom.  Unlike homes, classrooms are usually considerably larger.  The purifier you use at home might not be ideal for large classrooms as it won’t be able to clean all the air in the room quickly enough. 

2. CADR Rating 

The clean air delivery rate (CADR) is also important when buying an air purifier for school. This will show how powerful an air purifier is at removing particles from the air. The higher the CADR rating, the better and more effective the device is at purifying indoor air. 

Make sure that you consider the price per CADR, as many premium units with extra features can become very costly if you need to clean the air in a large space. You will want a minimum of five air changes per hour for your space but if possible more than six. This requires multiple units or very large air purifiers for a size like a classroom. 

3. Filter Efficiency

Regarding the filtration system, choose an air purifier with HEPA filters. HEPA air purifiers can remove 99.97% of particles from the air down to the size of 0.3 microns and many academic studies are backing up the technology. These filters can trap dust, pollen, mold spores, aerosols, smoke, paint, dust and even some bacteria and viruses from the air. 

Note that there are different grades of HEPA filters on the market. The medical grade HEPA 13 is seen as the most effective air purifier, removing 99.95% of the particles from the air

But there is also much value in H11 and H12 as they allow more airflow, increasing the chance of particles sticking to the filter material and being removed from the air.  

Avoid new cleaning technology types like UV-C or those that promise no filter changes, as in our tests; these units failed to perform adequately. You are always better of with even a cheap HEPA air purifier is better than spending hundreds of dollars on the latest technology that is still to be shown to be effective at removing particles from the air. 

4. Noise Level

The last thing you want is to buy a loud air purifier to disrupt normal classroom learning. Air purifiers for classrooms should be quiet so as not to disrupt classroom sessions. You’ll want to choose an option that produces less than 50 dB of noise when running at maximum fan speed. Some units can be very loud, producing over 70 dB noise; hence not ideal for use in schools and other places where noise levels are significant. 

5. Reliability & Durability

Most schools will keep the product for years even after the students have graduated, so choose an air purifier that can stand the test. Having an extended warranty is a good indication that the model is good quality and built to last. Some products come with a 1-year warranty, while others come with a 3-year warranty. Besides the warranty, you should also check the product’s built quality, including the materials and filters. 

6. Smart Features

While app support and auto-mode could be useful for some situations, it’s not required for the classroom. You just need a solid workhorse that doesn’t require expensive filters like the Smart Air Blast Mini, which also comes large for bigger classrooms and can be left on high all day during class with a max sound of 49 dB. 

Common Questions About Air Purifiers in the Classroom 

🤔 Will an air purifier help children concentrate more?

Air quality looks at the number of contaminants floating around in the air. The more pollutants, the more likely you’ll breathe them in and in higher concentrations. Some pollutants, like dust and mold, cause allergic reactions, even if minor. These reactions release histamine, inhibiting concentration and causing fatigue, headaches and breathing problems.

Further, some chemicals commonly found in the air can cause neuroinflammation, making concentrating more difficult. Studies have shown that concentration and test scores can increase when these contaminants are removed from the classroom.

🤔 Are children more sensitive to air pollution?

Children’s bodies are still developing and maturing, which includes their respiratory and immune systems. This developing state of the respiratory system means it is more permeable, or more things can infiltrate the lungs and cause problems. Their respiration rate is greater than adults, so they take in more contaminants by taking more breaths.

Further, the contaminants affect the system based on their concentration. By mere fact, a child’s body is smaller, so it takes less of the contaminant to cause a greater response. Children breathe more, which leads to higher concentrations in their small bodies.

🤔 Which air purifier is best for your classroom?

There are a variety of purifiers available, with varying price points. However, getting one just because it has a lower cost may leave you with no lasting impact on your students. Here are some of the most important things to consider before purchasing your unit.

The first consideration is the space you need to clean and how frequently you need the air circulated. Measure the size of your classroom to know the air volume that must be drawn. Some units are rated to clean 3,000 square feet every hour, while others may cycle 2,500 square feet every thirty minutes. With children present, you may want a unit that will cycle the air more frequently to accomplish better purification.

Next, consider the noise the unit generates and its impact on your space. While you may be able to run the unit at a higher rate when you don’t have students present, that noise may be a distraction while you’re trying to conduct class. Find a unit that will serve your classroom effectively while producing the slightest noise possible.

Finally, consider what other features you want for your unit. Do you need one that offers automatic air quality control? Would it be easier to manage your unit remotely or from your phone? Consider using it in your space and find features to help make your classroom a better learning environment.

Wrapping Up

Classroom air quality can often be worse than outside, which is a concern for everyone. Luckily, air purifiers have been proven to improve air quality and are relatively affordable. We hope this guide helps you know what to look for when purchasing. Any of the air purifiers on our list will do the job!

Last update on 2023-12-02 / 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.