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Coronavirus: Can Air Purifiers Help Kill COVID-19 Virus In The Air?

Last updated June 3, 2021

This post may contain affiliate links.

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

There is still not a total consensus on the issue of COVID-19 virus being airborne at the World Health Organization but they still recommend HEPA filters for healthcare facilities.

As of 24 August 2020, the US CDC added the following guidelines to US schools about using ventilation to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

I would always recommend checking the latest CDC advice as things change quickly as more research data is reviewed:

But let’s assume that there can be some situations that COVID-19 is airborne then we would want to quickly remove the virus using an air purifier.

As recently as last month, Dr Richard Corsi (Dean of Maseeh College of Engineering) said that all classrooms should look at getting HEPA air purifiers that have a CADR rating of 250-300.

Most of us don’t live in classrooms yet it would be safe to play on the side of caution by getting a similar spec model for home use.

This doesn’t mean that the purchase of an air purifier will replace Coronavirus prevention methods such as social distancing, mask usage, and hand-washing – these have all shown to be very important to beating an epidemic like COVID-19.

After being involved with air purifiers for the past 10 years, I know that the biggest hurdle for many people is the sheer number of choices available.

It doesn’t help that some air purifier manufacturers are actively trying to bamboozle customers with different technologies!

So it can get confusing… But for most people, the best candidate for home use is a powerful HEPA air purifier.

The simplest way to understand the function of an air purifier is to just envision a fan connected to some sort of filter.

Here’s a homemade example of this:

Image was seen on Reddit and the user said they found this device provided significant air cleaning

The truth is that it could be as simple and literal as a box fan with a filter taped on the back but most people prefer to buy a machine designed specifically for the task.

Now, if you fancy keeping this as cheap as possible then you are best having a crack at the DIY option with a large box fan and a HEPA filter that fits your sized fan – and you could be up and running for $70ish!

But it will be really loud and isn’t going to be as efficient around the edges that are duct-taped.

Air purifier technology has come a long way over the last few years, so I would recommend most people to invest in a machine that was specifically designed for one task rather than the DIY approach.

Most Recommended Air Purifiers to Remove COVID-19 from the Air

This list of the top recommended air purifiers to catch Coronavirus particles from the air is updated as of August 2020.

I have only included those with a large HEPA CADR score as per Dr. Richard Corsi’s advice to teachers.

I am also making sure to ignore those that have lots of bells and whistles that add to the price but don’t provide a good $ ratio to the amount of air cleaned each minute.

1. Honeywell HEPA HPA304

Honeywell True Allergen HEPA, Extra-Large Room, White/Air Purifier

You can tell from the picture that this unit is all about the HEPA, although it also contains a charcoal filter.

  • Whilst this unit is not likely to win home design awards, it is a top performer in cleaning air with a dust CADR score of 320.

It’s a powerful unit with no bells and whistles to add extra to the cost. For most people, this is the air purifier that we would recommend for dealing with COVID-19.

Honeywell True Allergen HEPA, Extra-Large Room, White/Air Purifier
  • HEPA air purifier from Honeywell: Recommended for x-large rooms (465 square feet) this air purifier helps capture up to 99. 97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, like pet dander, pollen, dust, mold & smoke. Also helps capture certain germs & odors.
  • Reduce allergens: Do you or your kids have allergies? Do you have pets, or live with a smoker? Using an air purifier that helps remove allergens from the air may help you breathe easier, so you can enjoy sleeping & relaxing more comfortably in your home. Uses pre-filter HRF-AP1 and True HEPA filter HRF-R3
  • Filter and circulates air 5 times an hour: Honeywell air purifier filter and circulate air in the stated room size up to 5 times an hour, so you can relax and breathe easy, knowing the air in your home is fresher, cleaner, and contains fewer allergens.
  • Honeywell air purifiers: Use Certified HEPA filters in your air purifier to remove allergens, dust & other particles from your air. If you have allergies or pets, air purifiers don't just freshen air, but remove airborne particles to improve air quality.
  • Honeywell quality: Improve your air quality with Honeywell air cleaners, odor reducers, and air purifiers.

2. Coway AP-1512HH

Coway AP-1512HH White HEPA Air Purifier, 16.8 x 18.3 x 9.6

Do you like the power of the HPA 304 but you also fancy something that doesn’t look so clinical?

  • This unit has a CADR of 246 so less than the HPA304 but still in the right ball park for most home uses.
  • The replacement filters are around $20 for the charcoal and HEPA and you buy in packs of 2.
  • It also runs fairly quiet for an air purifier. One customer compared it to their older Honeywell air purifier and the Coway unit made far less noise.

I really like the look of this unit, it’s a small white cube that doesn’t take a ton of space and looks good on a shelf or in the corner of a room.

Coway AP-1512HH White HEPA Air Purifier, 16.8 x 18.3 x 9.6
  • Coway Mighty (AP-1512HH) is designed to accommodate room sizes up to 361 sq.ft (CADR: Dust 246 / Pollen 240 / Smoke 233 cb. ft.). Air Flow Control: 5 Stages (Auto / 1 / 2 /3 / Eco)
  • 4 Stage Filtration System (Pre-filter, Deodorization filter, True HEPA filter, Vital Ion) captures and reduces up to 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in the air, including pollen, pollutants and other allergens. It also reduces volatile organic compounds and reduces odor.
  • Coway Mighty pollution sensor communicates indoor air quality in real-time. The brightly colored LED lets you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is every minute of the day. And it features a timer, and filter lifetime indicator.
  • Fan speeds available in 1, 2, 3 stages by manually setting up. While auto mode automatically optimizes the speed setting 1 through 3 based on the level of indoor air quality. When no pollution is detected for 30 minutes, the fan will automatically stop and set as Eco mode to save energy.
  • Timer feature allows the machine to run 1/4/8 hours before automatically powering off.

3. LEVOIT H13 (Budget Friendly Option For Less Than $100)

LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies and Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, White

If $200 for an air purifier is completely out of budget then the Levoit H13 is the best air purifier you can get for less than $100.

I would still push beyond the $100 mark for something life threatening such as the COVID-19 virus but I get that budget is a major concern right now.

  • The CADR rating is 230 for dust so a lot less than the other 2 units but it’s also half the cost.
  • They have one replacement filter available that combines a True HEPA, pre-filter and carbon filter which cost around $20.
  • Perfect option for someone wanting to keep a small room rid of Coronavirus particles – keep in mind that its max room size is around 180sq ft.

I would still always recommend paying a little more and getting the Honeywell unit but if $100 is your max, then the Levoit Air H13 is the unit we recommend.

LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies and Pets Hair Smokers in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, White
  • High Performance: Enjoy fresh air in 12 minutes with the Core 300 True HEPA Air Purifier. Featuring VortexAir Technology and 360° air intake, the Core 300 refreshes the air 5x per hour in rooms as large as 219 ft² / 20 m²
  • Find Relief: Ease sneezing, congestion, and other allergy symptoms caused by airborne contaminants. The H13 True HEPA Filter works alongside the Pre-Filter and High-Efficiency Activated Carbon Filter to capture 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in size, such as dust, smoke, pollen, odor
  • Multiple Filter Choices: Choose from a variety of replacement filters to best meet your needs. The Toxin Absorber Filter specializes in wildfire, smoke and VOCs. And if you’re a pet owner, try the Pet Allergy Filter to capture pet dander and absorb unpleasant odors.
  • Most Silent Air Cleaner: Choose Sleep Mode at night and then forget all about your air purifier while you sleep. QuietKEAP Technology reduces noise levels to a near-silent 24dB, ensuring the Core 300 won’t get in the way of a good night’s rest.
  • Sleek Design: The Core 300 practically serves your home while blending in with your decor. Its award-winning design (Red Dot, 2020) and modern white finish help your air purifier fit anywhere in your home/bedroom/room.

Which Air Purifier Should You Get To Protect You From The Coronavirus?

If your budget is limited, then go for the Levoit Air H13.

If your space is big, then you’ll be better off with the Honeywell HEPA HPA304.

And if you care about how your air purifier looks, then the Coway AP-1512HH will probably be the best choice for you.

But whichever option you go for, what’s important is to keep the main goal of your purchase in mind. Dr Corsi kept it simple with his advice for buying an air purifier to help keep your house clean from COVID-19 particles:

“No need to purchase gimmicky add-ons that sometimes do little and sometimes emit ozone. HEPA is fine.”

Dr. Richard Corsi

This means that either of those three options would do the job just fine. It’s just about your preference.

Last update on 2021-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API