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8 Best Air Purifiers For Traffic Pollution

Last updated July 11, 2022

This post may contain affiliate links.

Author
Author avatar Tom Taylor-Biggs

Tom is our resident researcher. Whether it’s finding out the best way to defrost a dehumidifier or discovering the flashpoints of various essential oils, Tom is our informational archeologist digging up the best facts. When he’s not elbow-deep in scientific journals, you’ll find Tom in underground music bars or at home making moody rock music.

If you live or work near a busy road or highway, there are many things that can, unfortunately, disrupt your peace and tranquility. It isn’t just the roar of engines or the wail of sirens that can cause a problem, but also the quality of the air you breathe. 

The size of car exhaust pollution particles sizes ranges from 2.5 to 10 microns. Many are categorized under PM2.5, which refers to tiny particles that are invisible to the eye but that are small enough to pass through the lungs, into the bloodstream, and into your organs. Nitrogen dioxide is also a by-product of traffic pollution and can cause respiratory irritation and make you prone to all types of infections and in the long term, you risk developing asthma.

That is why traffic pollution is a serious issue that may affect your health in more ways than one. It’s not just the air in your home that’s affected by traffic pollution. Many of us spend hours each day commuting by car, by public transport, and by walking, exposing us to those harmful toxins produced by traffic.

Major health consequences of traffic pollution include:

  • The onset of asthma in children
  • Heart attacks
  • Increased risk of dementia
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

The good news is that investing in an air purifier can reduce the likelihood of both you and your family suffering from these unfortunate conditions without needing you to move home.

We have committed to choosing products that contain True HEPA/H13 and activated carbon filters as these capture the greatest number of harmful airborne particles and have been proven time again in peer-reviewed papers to be effective at filtering the air of all types of pollutants.

The Top 3 Air Purifiers For Traffic Pollution

Model
Best Overall
Best Budget Option
Best for Large Spaces
Style
IQair Healthpro Plus
Levoit Core 300S
Blueair Blue Pure 211+
Pros
Long lasting filters
Small enough to fit on a counter top
Stylish and easy to use
Cons
A very large unit
No air quality sensor
No smart features
CADR
330 CFM
141 CFM
350 CFM
Filter Technology
Pre-max filter, V5-Cell Filter, HyperHEPA filter
H13 True HEPA filter
HEPASilent™
Recommended Room Size
450 sq ft to 1125 sq ft
Up to 219 ft²
540 ft²
Weight
16 kg / 35 lbs
2.7 kg / 5.95 lbs
5.67 kg / 12.5 lbs
Price
$899.00
$149.99
$319.99
Best Overall
Style
IQair Healthpro Plus
Pros
Long lasting filters
Cons
A very large unit
CADR
330 CFM
Filter Technology
Pre-max filter, V5-Cell Filter, HyperHEPA filter
Recommended Room Size
450 sq ft to 1125 sq ft
Weight
16 kg / 35 lbs
Price
$899.00
Best Budget Option
Style
Levoit Core 300S
Pros
Small enough to fit on a counter top
Cons
No air quality sensor
CADR
141 CFM
Filter Technology
H13 True HEPA filter
Recommended Room Size
Up to 219 ft²
Weight
2.7 kg / 5.95 lbs
Price
$149.99
Best for Large Spaces
Style
Blueair Blue Pure 211+
Pros
Stylish and easy to use
Cons
No smart features
CADR
350 CFM
Filter Technology
HEPASilent™
Recommended Room Size
540 ft²
Weight
5.67 kg / 12.5 lbs
Price
$319.99

In order to find the best air purifiers for traffic pollution, we gather information on specific air quality units and perform our own testing here at HouseFresh using a PurpleAir PA-I Indoor PM 2.5 Sensor to determine the product’s CADR rating and recommended room size.

This shortlist of 8 air purifiers will help stop traffic pollution from creeping into our living areas, bedrooms, and studies, focusing on the key factors to consider such as size, room coverage, design, price, and filtration technology.

1. IQAir Healthpro Plus

The IQAir HealthPro Plus is one mean, keen, cleaning machine. Recommended for larger rooms, this unit will help eradicate multiple indoor contaminants in spaces up to a resounding 1,125 square feet. Weighing around 30-35Ibs, the HealthPro Plus may be the most expensive on this list but is recommended by many professionals and stands as one of the best units on the market.

The Healthpro Plus features a three-stage filtration process that draws in air through the bottom of the unit. The pre-Max filter confidently filters out hazardous VOCs such as chemicals and traffic pollution, as well as potent odors that can occur in our living spaces. 

Equipped with a super-effective HyperHEPA filter, this unit has no problem tackling all types of indoor pollutants ranging from dust particles to pet dander. Removing up to 99.95% of particles down to 0.003 microns the IQAir HealthPro Plus is as effective as air purifiers can be.

Unlike many other units on the market, the HealthPro Plus filters last up to four years which coincides perfectly considering this unit is installed with an insane 6-stage fan speed that can be adjusted via remote control to suit many types of indoor scenarios. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:Pre-max filter, V5-Cell Filter, HyperHEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):300 CFM (560 m³/hr)
Recommended room size:450 sq. ft. to 1125 sq. ft.
Filter life:4 years 
Noise level (low – high):25 – 69dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):28H x 18W x 16D inches /  71H x 38W x 41D cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):35 lbs / 16 kg
Energy consumption:$476 per year

What We Really Like:

👍 Features a medical-grade filter
👍 Significant number of absorbents for removing odors and gasses
👍 Programmable timer with a remote control
👍 Long-lasting filters require less maintenance

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 We’d like to see an in-built gas and particle sensor
👎 It’s a large unit that can’t be easily camouflaged

2. Levoit Core 300S

The Levoit Core 300S has some wicked tricks up its sleeve starting with its small, compact, cylindrical design. Weighing just 7.8 pounds, this sophisticated model comes equipped with a 3-stage filtration system to help diminish unwanted contaminants that trespass in our personal spaces.

Filtration begins with the unit’s nifty pre-filter to capture larger particles, a HEPA filter for smaller particles such as dust and pollen, and an activated carbon filter for odors and unwelcome gases. 

The Levoit Core 300S features 3 fan speeds, an auto mode, and a personal timer. This unit also connects to the Ve sync app to adjust and control your air purifier whenever you need to, and wherever you are in your home. 

For a unit of this size, the Core 300S wonderfully deals with indoor pollutants in small rooms up to 215 square feet and produces a CADR rating of 134 Dust/ 126 Smoke/ 154 Pollen (cfm) cleaning the air 5 times per hour. The incredibly low noise output of 24dB on the lowest setting fits perfectly for having it on in the evenings to fend off any outside pollution.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA Filter, High-Efficiency Activated Carbon Filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):148 CFM 
Recommended room size:219 ft² to 547 ft²
Filter life:Every 6 – 8 months
Noise level (low – high):24 – 50dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):8.7L x 8.7W x 14.2H inches / 22 x 22 x 36 cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):7.8 lbs / 3.4 kg
Energy consumption:$97.76 per year

What We Really Like:

👍 Great price! Although it is small, it features 3 stage filtration, HEPA, Activated Carbon, and a pre-filter
👍 Super energy efficient!
👍 Noise output on the lowest setting is just 24dB (whisper quiet)
👍 Incredibly light, weighing just 7.8 pounds so can be placed in multiple areas in your home including on shelves and desks

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 It will have trouble cleaning larger spaces, we wish it could stretch that extra 100 square feet
👎 Wish the filters would last a little longer, need replacing every 6 months from constant use

3. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ 

The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ is a fantastically versatile, uniquely made air quality product. With certificates from AHAM, CARB, and Energy Star, the Blue Pure 211+ is super energy efficient and has a high CADR rating of 350 across the board for dust, pollen, and smoke.

The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ features a three-stage filtration system with a pre-filter made from a washable fabric. It is effective at catching larger particles such as pet hair so the HEPA filter can do its job more effectively capturing smaller particles.

Not overly complicated and small and compact, this unit may give off a small bedroom purifier-type vibe but it can handle some rough situations. Suitable for medium-sized rooms, the Blue Pure 211+ can clean rooms up to 540 square feet in under half an hour. 

With its unique HEPAsilent technology, this machine can go as low as 31dB on the lowest setting. Combining traditional HEPA and a carbon filter with an electrostatically charging chamber, this product is more than capable of dealing with odors and dangerous VOCs that invade our indoor spaces. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:“HEPASilent™ technology”  which is an electrostatic filtration with HEPA and Activated Charcoal
CADR (CFM / m³/h):350 CFM 
Recommended room size:540 sq. ft. 
Filter life:6-8 months
Noise level (low – high):31 – 56dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):20H x 13W x 13D inches /  50.8 H x 33 W x 33 D cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):12.5 lbs / 5.67 kg
Energy consumption:$132.52 per year

What We Really Like:

👍 Whisper quiet mode
👍 Particle filter included
👍 Multiple color options for the pre-filter fabric
👍 Certifications from the AHAM, CARB, and Energy Star means it’s ozone safe

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 No Smart Sensor or air quality sensor
👎 The ON button has a bright light that may disturb light sleepers

4. Honeywell HPA300

The Honeywell HPA300 may not win any awards for its design but it surely packs a punch when dealing with indoor contaminants and dangerous VOCs. Its jet-black design may remind you of a machine prop from a sci-fi film but there are many things to love about this unit.

The HPA300 operates with a four fan speed setting, low, medium, high, and turbo. For a budget unit with a CADR rating of 300 that can clean rooms of 465 square feet, this unit, unfortunately, comes at a cost. 

To make up for its high-performance capabilities, this product produces quite a loud noise output starting with 48dB on its lowest fan speed and 71.2dB on turbo mode making this unit not one to fall asleep to.

Nevertheless, the HPA300 features an astounding 3 HEPA Filters which last up to a year and eradicate airborne particles super effectively. The activated carbon filter really impresses with its ability to remove strange odors and VOCs such as smoke, potent chemicals, and traffic pollution. 

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

What We Really Like:

👍 Having the option to turn off the lights is perfect for the bedroom
👍 Filters are easy to replace and easy to come by
👍 Simplistic style means it’s very easy to understand and use
👍
Easy to pick up because of the side pockets (really comes in handy as it is quite heavy)

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Can be very loud on the highest setting 
👎 The design isn’t the best looking

5. Alen BreatheSmart 75i

The wonderfully powerful, high-end Alen BreatheSmart 75i is an air purifier full of surprises. As well as the IQAir HealthPro Plus, this product sits up there with one of the more expensive units on this list but with some brilliant features and overall high-performance levels, it’s worth every penny.

The BreatheSmart 75i can successfully cover a room of up to 1,300 square feet quite confidently with a CADR rating of 347. Featuring 5 fan speeds and an auto mode, the Alen BreatheSmart 75i can automatically adjust to whichever speed is necessary to suit the room condition. 

It simply senses the room’s air quality and determines what mode is best to eradicate whatever particles or hazardous VOCs are invading our personal space.

With the option of choosing from 3 different filters, this well-made product makes room for an optional Fresh filter which combines a H13 true HEPA filter with an activated carbon filter to not only help with airborne particles but offer great protection from hazardous VOCs and dangerous toxins, keeping your home pollutant-free and smelling fresher than ever.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:B7 Pure filter, H13 True HEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):347 CFM 
Recommended room size:1,300 sq. ft. 
Filter life:12-15 months 
Noise level (low – high):25 – 49dB
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
Energy consumption:$97.76 per year

What We Really Like:

👍 Available in a wide variety of attractive designs
👍 A number of different filter types are available to upgrade the unit
👍 Energy Star certified
👍 Lifetime warranty helps to provide extra peace of mind

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Not so easy to move around 
👎 We wish there was a power indicator light to show when the machine is operating

6. Levoit Core 600S 

Levoit are no strangers in the air purification market with their extremely respectable, low-budget, high-quality units, but there are some Levoit models that really stand out. Introducing the Levoit Core 600S. 

This high-powered, large room cleansing model is recommended to consumers as not only a particle remover but will dissipate hazardous VOCs and unwanted odors brilliantly at a substantially low price.

Recommended for larger rooms, the 600S will clean a room of 1,588 square feet in your home (635 sq. ft. in just 15 minutes). Featuring 4 fan speeds, the Core 600S can function in auto mode which allows the purifier to do its duty all by itself, recognizing when to adjust its fan speeds depending on how contaminated your home is. 

The interface of this product contains bright LED light indicators which make it very easy to use and allows you to adjust fan speeds and set personal timers manually. Lights will also allow you to see the current condition of your room by changing colors. For example, blue (very good), green (good), orange (moderate), and red (bad). 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 True HEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):410 CFM (697 m³/h)
Recommended room size:635 sq. ft. to 1,588 sq. ft. (great for open floor plans and high-ceiling houses)
Filter life:6 months 
Noise level (low – high):26 – 55dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):12.3L x 12.3W x 23.6H in / 31.3 x 31.3 x 60 cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):13.7 lbs / 6.2 kg
Energy consumption:$106.45 per year

What We Really Like:

👍  Cleans rooms at a super fast speed 
👍  Great value for such a high CADR
👍  Pulls a low 6.2 watts of power in sleep mode
👍  Easily transportable between rooms as it weighs just 13.7 lbs

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 The pre-filter can’t be removed 

👎 If it’s too close to the wall it doesn’t work as effectively as the sensor is on the back

7. Austin Air Healthmate

Weighing in at 47Ibs, the highly-rated American brand brings us Austin Air Healthmate. Fantastically energy-efficient and proven to remove harmful gases and particles from the air, this unit is up there with the best for overall efficiency. 

This unit features a unique white fabric pre-filter that sits just inside of its cylindrical design to capture larger particles in order to maximize the full potential of the impressively crafted carbon filter and HEPA filter. 

The filter life on these two can last a substantial 5 years. The carbon filter (which contains 15Ibs of activated carbon and zeolite) is hugely effective at tackling outside pollution that may wander into our homes, and the HEPA filter will take on the smaller unwanted particles, such as pet dander, dust, and mold spores.  

Although activated carbon will take care of most unwanted gases and VOCs, adding Zeolite to the mixture only enhances this unit’s capabilities for trapping all types of gas pollution.

As air enters the unit on all 4 sides, the Austin Air Healthmate is beautifully designed and well crafted as it pushes air through the multiple filters and releases clean air out of the unit via the back grill which faces upwards. Featuring 3 fan speeds and a unit output of 400 CFM, this unit is perfect for spaces up to 1,500 square feet.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:Carbon Filter, HEPA Filter, Pre-Filter, Large Particle Pre-Filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):400 CFM 
Recommended room size:750 sq. ft. to 1500 sq. ft.
Filter life:5 years
Noise level (low – high):40 – 62dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):23H x 14.5W x 14.5D inches / 58.4H x 36.8W x 36.8D
Weight (in pounds / in kg):47 lbs / 21.3 kg
Energy consumption:$286.77 per year

What We Really Like:

👍 Uses activated carbon cloth, which is more absorbent compared to granulated carbon
👍 Upward-directed airflow helps to effectively and quickly cycle the air in the room
👍 Comes installed with an activated carbon/zeolite mixture to enhance the capture of unwanted gases and VOCs 
👍 High airflow with a powerful Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 The addition of smart features, such as a digital display, would be a bonus
👎 We wish this unit was Energy Star rated

8. Blast Mini by Smart Air

Smart Air are the new kids on the block. They’re here to provide you high performing units with little to no fancy gadgetry, at a price that suits your wallet. Like their other release, the Smart Health S, the Blast Mini is robust, easy to use, and reliable which makes it great for taking care of traffic pollution near homes, schools, hospitals, and office spaces.

Inside its metal frame you’ll find a top-quality fan and a super effective, oversized HEPA filter which focuses heavily on performance, and wow does it perform. With a CADR rating of 435 CFM (740 m³/h), there’s a reason this unit is recommended for bigger and more commercial buildings as well as household use, covering up to a resounding 915 square feet. 

If you need to take care of any unwanted odors or hazardous VOCs, you can purchase Smart Air’s Carbon filter giving you the best possible performance against those toxic traffic fumes.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 HEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):435 CFM (740 m³/h)
Recommended room size:915 sq. ft. 
Filter life:1.5 – 2 years 
Noise level (low – high):44 – 53dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):22.6L × 12.9W × 24.8H inches /  57.5L × 33W × 63H cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):59 lbs / 26.8 kg
Energy consumption:$265.04 per year

What We Really Like:

👍 The HEPA filter lasts up to 18 – 24 months
👍 Brilliantly made fan that allows for superb performance 
👍 Has space for an optional activated carbon filter 
👍 Smart and slick design blends in great with its surroundings

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 The high-powered performance means it’s a little louder on the lowest setting compared to other units
👎  Higher electricity consumption compared to other units

Common Questions Traffic Pollution And Air Purifiers

🤔 Is your health more at risk living near a major road or highway?

Roadway traffic can cause air pollution, so anyone living, working, or going to school near major roads has a higher chance of experiencing health problems related to that pollution. There are known health effects related to road exposure such as cardiovascular disease, childhood leukemia, impaired lung development in children, and even premature death.

Alongside that, this exposure may lead to asthma onset and aggravation. Besides the pollution itself, living near major roadways can increase your risk of developing neurological disorders. This includes Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis (MS). Road noise can also play a role in developing potential health problems.

🤔 What do I need to consider when buying an air purifier for pollution?

When it comes to protecting yourself from air pollution, you need an air purifier with the right filters. Having a HEPA filter is useful, but you also need to focus on removing those airborne gases. To do so, look for a purifier with an activated carbon filter. An activated carbon filter not only absorbs those harmful gases but locks them away so they won’t bother you again.

It’s important to see the type of activated carbon filter inside a purifier, however. Some may only have a small filter, so the effect may be minimal when tackling the issue at hand.

🤔 Are air purifiers capable of capturing vehicle exhaust fumes?

There is particulate matter (PM) found in vehicle exhaust, more so from diesel trucks. So, an air purifier with high-efficiency particulate air filters can be effective at removing that from the air. It’s also been shown that a reliable HEPA filter should go a long way in neutralizing other airborne particles caused by traffic. This includes aerosols like tobacco smoke and fungal spores.

🤔 So… Which air purifier is best for you?

If you live in an area that experiences regular air pollution such as by major highways and roadways, then having an air purifier to help with those harmful airborne particles can only benefit your health. A quality purifier with both a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter can capture and remove traffic-related particles, making the air around you healthier and easier to breathe in.

Once you discover purifiers with the right filters, you can focus on narrowing things down by your budget and by the size of the room you wish for it to work in. 


How We Picked Our Top Choices

We would never recommend you an air purifier without being 100% confident it’s the best option for the issue at hand. That’s why we test all the units we recommend in the same room (sized 705 cubic ft) performing the same job (removing incense smoke). 

This allows us to compare different models like for like so we can rank them in lists like this one. The key features we considered when shortlisting the best air purifiers for traffic pollution were: 

  1. HEPA filtration – When it comes to PM2.5 particles like those from traffic pollution, the most important thing we look for is a HEPA filter. All air purifiers on this list feature high efficiency HEPA filters that trap very small particles, like the Smart Air Blast Mini boasting a HEPA filter that captures “nanoparticles as small as 5 nanometers (1/10th the size of COVID-19) to 30 μm (the size of pollen)”.
  2. Speed – We focused on picking air purifiers that would work fast to reduce your exposure to the harmful toxins produced by traffic as soon as they enter your home. The Levoit 600S, for example, cleaned the air in our test room in 15 minutes!
  3. Activated charcoal filtration – Traffic pollution is not just particulate matter, it’s full of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) and Nitrogen Oxide. Thankfully both can be removed using a filter that contains activated charcoal, like the one included in the three-stage filtration system in-built into the IQAir Healthpro Plus.

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. We used California as our base state for energy costs when calculating the figures we shared on this page. You can customize the result by air purifier wattage and by state.  

Last update on 2022-09-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API