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5 Best Air Purifiers Under $100

Last updated March 7, 2023

This post may contain affiliate links.

Author
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

Here at HouseFresh, we believe every home can benefit from an air purifier. After all, access to clean and healthy air is a human right. While air quality outdoors is often out of our hands, inside the home, a purifier can help you tackle pollutants head-on and create a healthier environment for you and your family.  

Yet finding a quality air purifier on a tight budget can be tricky. 

The market is flooded with cheaply made and ineffective air purifiers. A simple search on Amazon will bring back hundreds of different options, many of which claim to transform the air you breathe but offer little protection from the multitude of pollutants in the home. 

Countless particles are abundant in our atmosphere, from common pollutants, such as dust or pet dander, to more serious sources, such as fumes from nearby industrial sites or traffic-laden roads. All of which can seriously affect your health and quality of life. 

To find a purifier that will bring about clean air, you’ll need to look for units with quality filters and powerful fans to circulate the air in your space. 

💡 TIP: To help you search, there are two handy acronyms to look for – HEPA and CADR. The first stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter, a filter tried and tested to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. While the second stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate, an independent rating that stipulates how well a purifier moves and cleans the air.

If you don’t want to read the full article, here are our favorite three air purifiers that cost less than $100 so you can revolutionize the air without selling the family silverware:

The Top 3 Air Purifiers For Under $100

Best Overall
Best Overall
Best Budget Option
Best Budget Option
Best for Large Spaces
Best for Large Spaces
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies Pets Hair in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Ozone Free, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, White
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, Smart WiFi Alexa Control, H13 True HEPA Filter, Removes 99.97% of Pollutants, Covers up to 915 Sq.Foot, 24dB Quiet Cleaner for Bedroom, Core 200S, White
Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, H13 True HEPA Filter for Large Room Cover 1500 ft², Air Cleaner 3 Speeds, Air Quality Monitor Sensor, Child Lock, Sleep Mode, CADR 420 m³/h, Remove 99.97% Pollutants
Pros
Workhorse of a purifier that set the standard for budget models, thanks to its quality filtration and Vortex Air technology.
Comes with three stages of filtration and a host of Smart features to boot.
Capable of cleaning the air in larger spaces thanks to its quality filters and fast-acting fans.
Cons
Doesn’t come with any Smart features.
Not the fastest purifier we’ve tested.
Hard to find in stock.
CADR
145 CFM / 246 m3/h
118 CFM / 200 m3/h
226 CFM / 384 m³/h
Filter Technology
Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA and Activated Carbon Filter
Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA and Activated Carbon Filter
Pre-filter, H13 HEPA with Activated Carbon pellets
Recommended Room Size
219 ft²
183 ft²
322 ft²
Weight
3.4 kg / 7.48 lbs
3 kg / 6.6 lbs
18 lbs / 8.16 kg
Price
Price not available
$79.97
Price not available
Best Overall
Best Overall
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifier for Home Allergies Pets Hair in Bedroom, H13 True HEPA Filter, 24db Filtration System Cleaner Odor Eliminators, Ozone Free, Remove 99.97% Dust Smoke Mold Pollen, Core 300, White
Pros
Workhorse of a purifier that set the standard for budget models, thanks to its quality filtration and Vortex Air technology.
Cons
Doesn’t come with any Smart features.
CADR
145 CFM / 246 m3/h
Filter Technology
Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA and Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended Room Size
219 ft²
Weight
3.4 kg / 7.48 lbs
Price
Price not available
More Details
Best Budget Option
Best Budget Option
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, Smart WiFi Alexa Control, H13 True HEPA Filter, Removes 99.97% of Pollutants, Covers up to 915 Sq.Foot, 24dB Quiet Cleaner for Bedroom, Core 200S, White
Pros
Comes with three stages of filtration and a host of Smart features to boot.
Cons
Not the fastest purifier we’ve tested.
CADR
118 CFM / 200 m3/h
Filter Technology
Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA and Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended Room Size
183 ft²
Weight
3 kg / 6.6 lbs
Price
$79.97
More Details
Best for Large Spaces
Best for Large Spaces
Style
Air Purifiers for Home Large Room, H13 True HEPA Filter for Large Room Cover 1500 ft², Air Cleaner 3 Speeds, Air Quality Monitor Sensor, Child Lock, Sleep Mode, CADR 420 m³/h, Remove 99.97% Pollutants
Pros
Capable of cleaning the air in larger spaces thanks to its quality filters and fast-acting fans.
Cons
Hard to find in stock.
CADR
226 CFM / 384 m³/h
Filter Technology
Pre-filter, H13 HEPA with Activated Carbon pellets
Recommended Room Size
322 ft²
Weight
18 lbs / 8.16 kg
Price
Price not available
More Details

We didn’t stop with our top three. For this article, we’ve collated five high-quality air purifiers, all costing less than $100. We also highlighted two purifiers that often crop up in this price range yet are best avoided to see real results. 

Why You Should Trust This List

Usually, “best air purifier” lists simply rank current bestsellers, failing to address actual capabilities. We don’t want to contribute to that. We test and review every air purifier we recommend in our home lab. We can then compare them using first-hand data that doesn’t rely on manufacturers’ specifications. 

This is how we tested all the air purifiers in this list:

1️⃣ We create particulate pollutants in our home lab with the help of incense sticks and use a Purple Air Indoor sensor to record how long the air purifier takes to reduce PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3 particles in the air.

2️⃣ We track energy consumption with an electricity usage monitor.

3️⃣ We measure noise levels in decibels across all power levels available.

4️⃣ We test smart modes and app support for both iPhone and Android devices.

As no two homes are the same, it’s important to assess your space and find a purifier that suits your specific needs. To help you do so, we’ve included five excellent purifiers across various styles, budgets and room size suitability. 

1. Taotronics AP003

Our first pick is the Taotronics AP003. This purifier offers fantastic value, with performance that rivals air purifiers which cost twice as much. How Taotronics have provided so much oomph for under $100 remains a mystery, but you certainly won’t be disappointed if you opt for this unit.

So, what makes this unit so good? For starters, you’ll find three levels of protection from pollutants, with a Pre-filter, H13 HEPA and Carbon filter capable of tackling any pollutant found in the average home. These comprehensive filters helped the AP003 obtain a CADR score of 226 CFM, practically unheard of within this price range. 

You may notice this unit is slightly larger than the others on this list. That’s because you’ll find larger filters and fans under the hood. This enables the purifier to work well in larger spaces of up to 322 ft², with more power to cycle the air and the capacity to capture a greater volume of particulate matter.

What We Really Like:

👍 Rapid results, having cleared our test space in under half an hour.
👍 Suitable for large and small rooms alike.
👍 Draws 29 watts of energy, which is very efficient for a larger unit. 
👍 Comes with high-quality flourishes, such as an accurate air quality sensor.

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Not the quietest of purifiers.
👎 Can be quite tricky to find one in stock – perhaps an indication of its popularity.

SPECS & FEATURES

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. Levoit Core 300

If you’re looking for a reliable and effective purifier without breaking the bank, then the Core 300 is your option. As a staple of the Levoit product range, this veteran, award-winning purifier has worked wonders in people’s homes for years yet still outperforms some of the latest units on the market today. 

One of the reasons why this unit is so effective is because it utilizes high-quality filters. With three layers of protection working together to combat a range of pollutants, including a washable nylon pre-filter to capture larger particles such as hair or dust, an H13 HEPA for the smallest particles and an Activated Carbon filter to combat any unwanted odors too. 

Combine these filters with Levoits trademarked VortexAir technology, which uses powerful fans to draw air in from all corners of the room thanks to its 360-degree air intake. You’ll quickly see an impressive transformation in your air quality. Just as we did when testing the unit in our real-world home lab, with the Core 300 clearing the test space of all pollutants in just 40 minutes. 

What We Really Like:

👍 Tried and tested performance, our own unit has provided impressive results for years without issue. 
👍 360-degree air intake helps to capture pollutants from all around the room.
👍 Has a stylish design and easy-to-use control panel.
👍 Works well in medium-sized rooms too, with a suggested room size of over 200 square feet. 

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Lacks smart features found on newer models.
👎 Not as energy efficient as the other units on the list. 

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:40 Minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 (Medical) Grade HEPA and Activated Charcoal
Recommended room size:219 ft² to 547 ft²
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):145 CFM (246 m3/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):8.7L x 8.7W x 14.2H inches (22L x 22W x 36H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):8.6 lbs (3.9 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24dB – 50dB
Filter life:6 – 8 months
Manufacturer’s warranty2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$47.30

3. TaoTronics AP005 

Much like its bigger brother, the AP003, TaoTronics’s AP005 continues to break the mold regarding high-performing purifiers available at rock-bottom prices. As a slightly smaller unit, this purifier provides an excellent alternative for smaller homes that may be short on space or as an easy-to-maneuver purifier, allowing you to easily transport the unit around the home to target different spaces. 

Despite its smaller stature, the AP005 still upholds impressive statistics and powerful performance. This is clear to see, with its CADR score of 147 CFM and the fact it cleared our test space of all pollutants in just 36 minutes (a meager 7 minutes slower than the AP003). Plus it can still cut the mustard in larger rooms, with a recommended room size of over 300 square feet too. 

When testing the AP005, we also found it to be highly energy efficient, quieter to run on its lower fan speeds and even comes with a thoughtful design to enhance the user experience. Evident from its 360-degree air intake, stylish capacitive control panel and super accurate air quality sensor, which relays real-time updates when in use. 

What We Really Like:

👍 Compact and lightweight purifier that doesn’t compromise on quality.
👍 Comes with three layers of quality protection, including an H13 HEPA.
👍 Runs super quiet in Sleep mode and allows for all lights to be turned off for better rest. 
👍 Quality flourishes make it feel like a much more expensive unit. 

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Filters don’t last as long as rivals.
👎 Again, can be tricky to find in stock. 

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:324 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. Levoit Core 200S

Another classic unit from Levoit, the Core 200S is a true Starwalt in the budget-friendly air purification market. This small but mighty machine offers transformative air-cleaning performance while compact enough to sit on a tabletop or easily move from room to room. 

The 200S holds all the hallmarks of a great purifier. Despite its low price, you’ll still find three layers of protection, including a Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA and Activated Carbon filter to keep myriad pollutants at bay. It also boasts enough power to score an impressive Clean Air Delivery Rate of 118 CFM, making it an excellent choice for small to medium-sized spaces of up to 183 ft². 

What you’ll also find on this purifier, which no other unit on the list can compete with, is a host of Smart features that will make life easier and the day-to-day operation of the purifier a doddle. Whether connecting it to your smartphone for regular updates on air quality or synching it to your smart speaker for voice-activated control, plenty of features are bound to impress. 

You’ll also find a handy sleep mode that drops the volume to a meager 24 dB and dims the lights so you can get a good night’s sleep. 

What We Really Like:

👍 Super light and compact, making it a great choice for smaller homes or apartments.
👍 Boasts Smart features not usually found in this price range.
👍 Filters are robust and last a decent amount of time.
👍 Cleverly designed to intake air from 360 degrees to maximize airflow. 

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Took just over an hour to clear our test space of all pollutants (20 minutes slower than the Core 300).
👎 Not to most aesthetically pleasing purifier on our list. 

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our test room:61 Minutes
Air purifier technology:Nylon Pre-Filter, H13 True HEPA Filter, High-Efficiency Activated Carbon Filter
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

5. IKEA FÖRNUFTIG

As newcomers to the market, IKEA has hit the ground running with its first foray into air purification. The FÖRNUFTIG offers great protection from pollutants without breaking the bank. Not to mention its sleek and stylish appearance and easy controls, typical of the Scandi brand’s ethos, will have it up and running soon.

Keen-eyed consumers will notice that this purifier’s specification differs slightly from the other units on our list. IKEA has opted against using a HEPA filter and instead installed an EPA12 into their appliance. As a rule of thumb, we usually recommend HEPA as the highest filtration standard. 

However, the EPA12 works like a HEPA, a mechanical filter that captures particles as it passes through its pleats. IKEA has justified this move by explaining that the EPA12 allows for greater airflow, meaning that the unit can work more efficiently, using less energy and at lower volumes, without compromising too much on quality. 

Although initially skeptical, we were pleasantly surprised to see that this unit performed admirably well during our tests, clearing our test space of all pollutants in 61 minutes. With its user-friendly features, design-savvy aesthetic and super cheap price tag, this unit is worth investing in to protect your home from pollutants. 

What We Really Like:

👍 Looks great, with a range of colors to choose from.
👍 Slender profile means it won’t take up too much space. It can even be wall mounted too.
👍 Super energy efficient, drawing less than 15 watts on its highest fan speed. 
👍 Filter replacements are cheap and readily available.

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Doesn’t come with an Activated Carbon filter as standard
👎 Not the quickest purifier that we’ve tested. 

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★☆ ☆
Time to clean our test room:61 minutes
Air purifier technology:Pre-Filter, HEPA Filter and optional Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended room size:85 — 105 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):70 CFM (119 m³/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):18H x 12W x 4D inches (45.7H x 30.5W x 10.2D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):6.7 lbs (3.04 kg)
Noise level (low – high):28dB – 60dB
Filter life:6 months
WarrantyFÖRNUFTIG does not come with a warranty from IKEA
Estimated energy consumption:$15.77


The Air Purifiers Under $100 That We Don’t Recommend

If you’ve not already found your ideal purifier from the options listed above, we feel it’s important to share what makes an underwhelming purifier, giving you a fair warning about the units we don’t like and why. 

1. AROEVE MK01

First, we’d like to highlight the Aroeve MK01. On paper, this unit ticks a lot of boxes. It comes with an H13 HEPA filter, works in a space up to 215 ft² and even has bags of 5-Star reviews. However, after testing this unit for ourselves, we found that this is a unit that promises a lot but delivers very little.  

But what makes it a bad air purifier? Well, first and foremost, this purifier seriously lacks power. The purifier itself is on the small side, suggesting the motor under the surface won’t be near large enough to make a difference in a room as large as 200 square feet. It failed miserably when we put this unit through its paces during real-world tests. Unable to clear the space of all pollutants and taking two hours 43 minutes to bring the air quality down to safe levels. 

If poor performance isn’t enough to turn you away from this purifier, then the usability will. While the design is not the worst we’ve seen, the execution seriously lets it down. With lackluster controls, ear-bleeding volumes and an overall cheap feel marking the final nails in the MK01’s coffin. 

Why We Suggest You Avoid This Unit:

👎 Aroeve doesn’t publish their CADR score, suggesting it’s pitifully low
👎 The motor and fan aren’t suitable for the recommended room size
👎 Painfully loud on its highest speed setting
👎 We found that most of their reviews were paid for, by using analysis tool Fakespot

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★☆☆☆☆
Time to clean our test room:2 hours and 43 minutes (but was unable to clean the air 100% in less than 5 hours)
Air purifier technology:Fine Preliminary Filter, H13 True HEPA Filter, and Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended room size:161 sq. ft. 
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):25 CFM (estimated)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):6.1L x 6.1W x 9.7H inches (15.5 x 15.5 x 24.6 cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):1.57 lbs (0.71 kg)
Filter life:3 – 6 months
Noise level (low – high):22dB – 60dB
Estimated energy consumption:$19.97 per year
WarrantyAROEVE MK01 does not come with a warranty

2. Levoit LV-H128

After waxing lyrical about two other Levoit purifiers, you may be surprised to see a third unit under our unrecommended purifier section. However, even though it pains us to say, Levoit seriously missed the mark when they designed the LV-H128.

Like the Aroeve purifier, the LV-H128 looks great on paper with a spec sheet boasting three layers of filtration, including the all-important H13 HEPA and a fan capable of circulating air in a 161 ft² room. But it also meets many of the same pitfalls, confirming you certainly can’t believe everything you read. 

Although it may sound counterintuitive, the issue both purifier faces stem from their HEPA filter. As this type of filter is so tightly packed, the purifier needs to be powerful enough to push air through. Unfortunately, this unit doesn’t quite cut it, so you are left with ineffective performance, noisy motors and poor energy efficiency. 

Why We Suggest You Avoid This Unit:

👎 The purifier took 162 minutes to clear the test space of all pollutants
👎 Filters are too small to work effectively
👎 The units features are limited when compared to Levoits Core range
👎 Design is a little dated with a cheaper feel

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★☆☆☆
Time to clean our test room:2 hours and 42 minutes
Air purifier technology:Fine Preliminary Filter, H13 True HEPA Filter, and Activated Carbon Filter
Recommended room size:161 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):41 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):10.4H x 6.7L x 6.7W inches (26.5H x 17L x 17W cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):3.3 lbs (1.5 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24dB – 59 dB
Filter life:6 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$9.46 per year


Buying Guide: Air Purifiers Under $100

Finding a solid air purifier on a tight budget is not an easy feat. It takes one search on Google to uncover multiple options at what seem like unbeatable low prices. Don’t be fooled. The vast majority of cheap air purifiers in the market will not clean the air in your home.

🤔 What are the long-term costs of owning a purifier?

It’s important to note that the initial purchase cost of an air purifier isn’t the only cost you will incur. When running a purifier over time, you will also encounter two key ongoing costs.  

The first is the electricity costs to operate the purifier. How much this amounts to will vary depending on how much energy the unit uses and how often you use the appliance. We are big fans of the Department of Energy’s appliance energy calculator as it allows us to estimate the running costs of each purifier using its maximum energy wattage and assuming you will use it for 24 hours a day. 

The other cost will occur from replacing the filters. As the filters capture pollutant particles, they have a finite lifespan, meaning they will cease to be effective once they are jam-packed with particulate matter. How often you have to replace a filter depends on how much particulate matter is in your environment and how frequently you use the purifier. Lifespans commonly range from 3 – 12 months, with some top-of-the-range units boasting filters with a five-year lifespan. 

If you’re in the market for a quality air purifier for under a hundred bucks, here are the features to look for.

1. Try to buy as much power as you can by focusing on CADR ratings

Most budget-friendly purifiers let customers down because they simply aren’t powerful enough to circulate the air within a room. By opting for a unit with a high CADR score, such as the Taotronics AP003, you can be confident that your unit will meet your expectations.

2. Choose a unit with high-quality HEPA and Activated Carbon filters

High-quality filters are now more affordable than you think. Some of the units on this list come with highly effective medical-grade H13 HEPA such as the Levoit Core 300.

3. Pick an air purifier that will clean the air fast

No one wants to invest in a cleaner only to wait an eternity to see any real result to your air quality. Each unit on this list could clear our test space of all pollutants in an hour, such as the Taotronics AP005, which managed it in just 36 minutes. 

4. Decide whether you want to pay extra for smart functions

Having a user-friendly air purifier is a key factor for most consumers. From intuitive controls to simple set-up (and even features such as times and auto mode), there are plenty of features to look for that make life easier. If these features are important to you, know you can find them on a budget. The Levoit Core 200S, for example, boasts smart features such as voice control and comes with an app that allows you to check air quality reports on your phone.

Common Questions About Air Purifiers

🤔 Will an air purifier cover my whole home?

Air purifiers can come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are designed to combat pollutants within large spaces such as an office or whole house, while others work well in a specific room.

You’ll find that most air purifiers for under $100 will be better suited to smaller spaces, such as a bedroom, kitchen or living room. To help you find this out, look for the recommended room size suitability advertised by the manufacturer. Measuring the space where you wish to use the purifier first is a good idea, and then choosing a unit capable of working within that space. 

A great thing about the smaller, budget-friendly purifiers is that they are lightweight and easy to maneuver from room to room, allowing you to target different spaces within the home whenever required. 

🤔 What is the difference between HEPA and Activated Carbon filters?

A quality air purifier will boast both HEPA and Carbon filtration. Although these filters work together to achieve clean and healthy air, they are two separate filters targeting different pollutants. 

Firstly, let’s look at the HEPA filter. This filter combats particulate matter such as dust, pollen or pet dander. Comprising of tightly packed pleats, these filters can capture microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns, making them a highly effective way to eradicate pollutants.

Carbon filters, on the other hand, filter odors, smoke, fumes and other gaseous contaminants known as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). While a traditional mechanical filter wouldn’t capture these pollutants, a filter comprised of Activated Carbon is highly effective at removing them through a process known as adsorption. This is where gasses are attracted to the porous surface of the carbon and find themselves trapped as they pass through. 


Wrapping Up

Finding an air purifier that will help keep the air in your home clean and smelling fresh can be done even if you are on a tight budget. That said, you need to do your research to ensure you are not buying a dud that won’t really help.

Focus on finding units with a high CADR score and high-quality filters (ideally boasting both a HEPA filter and an Activated Carbon filter to help with pollution AND odors). If you have any questions about any of the air purifiers in this list, just drop us a message via our contact box.

Last update on 2023-03-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API