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7 best high CADR air purifiers we have tested

Looking for an air purifier that packs a punch? These units are the most powerful you will find
By
Updated on January 26, 2024
Written by
Paul Allen
Paul is a staff writer for HouseFresh, with a focus on product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers. He started writing in November 2020, when he joined the content production team at NeoMam Studios (our parent company).

Our verdict

CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. It’s a rating independently provided by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) to indicate how well an air purifier will perform.

The CADR score is calculated by measuring the volume of clean air produced when a purifier is used against the three most common pollutants: dust, pollen and smoke. The score is given as a measurement of cubic feet per minute (CFM).  

This score, therefore, allows you to make a confident and informed decision, knowing that a higher score means greater efficiency when removing harmful pollutants from your home or workplace.

High CADR is the best choice for large rooms, open-plan spaces and those with large ceilings. But these units are usually massive — the lightest on our list is the Levoit 600S, which weighs 13.7 lbs! If you have a smaller room, you are better off choosing a unit with a lower CADR.

CADR is just one of many valuable metrics for evaluating air purifiers. That’s why here at HouseFresh, we also perform our own experiments and tests to compare the performance of all the units we recommend.

  1. In our home lab of 728 cubic feet, we light an incense stick to generate particle pollution and VOCs.
  2. We set up our trusted Purpleair Indoor Sensor with the latest Bosch gas sensor to track levels of PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3 and VOCs in the air.
    purpleair
  3. We switch the air purifier to its highest speed and measure how long it takes to get our room air quality down to PM1 level to 0.
  4. We use an energy meter to measure precisely how much electricity is used when running the unit at the lowest and highest fan speed settings.
  5. We track sound levels emitted by the air purifier at different fan speeds with the help of a commercial sound meter.
    sound meter

CADR is just one of many valuable metrics for evaluating air purifiers. That’s why here at HouseFresh, we also perform our own experiments and tests to compare the performance of all the units we recommend. 

When putting this list together, I looked at: 

  • Filters — All the models use HEPA and activated charcoal to allow it to remove contaminants and gas from the air.
  • CADR — All the units listed have a minimum CADR of 300 CFM.
  • Long-term energy costs — Air purifiers must be on 24/7 for issues like pollen and allergies, so you want to ensure that your air purifier doesn’t add too much to your bill.
  • Sound level at highest speed — Very loud air purifiers aren’t used much, so they don’t keep your home air clean. The units we recommend don’t create too much noise to filter the air.  
  • App and smart modes — These are always optional, but we did include several units as this can be useful for some situations.

Staff picks: Top 3 high CADR air purifiers

If you’re short on time, here are our top three high CADR purifiers. 

👑 BEST OVERALL💰 FOR TIGHT BUDGETS🛋️ FOR LARGE SPACES
Levoit EverestAirLevoit Core 600SBlast Mini
AIR CLEANING SPEED ⚡13 minutes15 minutes17 minutes
CADR 👩‍🔬360 CFM (612 m3/h)410 CFM (697 m³/h)435 CFM (740 m³/h)
FILTER TECHNOLOGY 💨3-Stage Filtration3-Stage FiltrationH13 HEPA filter
MAX ROOM SIZE 📏558 sq. ft.635 sq. ft.915 sq. ft.
WEIGHT ⚖️20.7 lbs (9.38 kg)13.7 lbs (6.2 kg)59 lbs (26.8 kg)
OUR REVIEW 🔍EverestAir reviewCore 600S reviewBlast Mini review
PRICE 💵$499.99$249.99$748.99

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


There’s something for everyone on this list, with purifiers across a range of budgets — although we ensured that each purifier came with an excellent CADR rating with a minimum of 300 CFM.

Here’s the list in table form for quick reference: 

Air Purifier CADRTime to clean our test room
Blast Mini by Smart Air 435 CFM17 minutes
Levoit Core 600S  410 CFM15 minutes
Levoit EverestAir  360 CFM13 minutes
Blueair Blue Pure 211+ 350 CFM18 minutes
Alen BreatheSmart 75i 347 CFM24 minutes
Coway Airmega 300 306 CFM26 minutes
Honeywell HPA300 300 CFM26 minutes

1. Blast Mini by Smart Air — CADR: 435 CFM (740 m³/h)

With a colossal CADR score of 435 CFM, the Blast Mini is the most powerful air purifier we’ve ever tested.

The Blast Mini has the highest CADR of all the air purifiers we have tested. It’s a beast of a unit, but it can draw a lot of air and pass it through its combination of H13 HEPA filters and optional activated charcoal (an option we recommend.) 

What we really like

The HEPA filter lasts 18 — 24 months
Brilliantly made fan that allows for superb performance and low sound levels
It has space for an optional activated carbon filter 
It’s easy to use in even the largest rooms and runs quiet 49dB

What we think could be better

The high-powered performance means it does drain a lot more power than smaller units
It’s very heavy and takes up a lot of space

One big benefit of the Smart Air Blast mini is that it doesn’t run very loud — only 49dB at it’s highest speed. Due to this reason, they make great air purifiers for classrooms and offices that need quiet for concentration. 

It will likely be overkill for many homes, but if you have cash and want the most power you can get, this is the air purifier we recommend.

🎸 The Blast Mini was spotted being used by The Anchoress, who is clinically vulnerable and used a number of these air purifiers to keep the air she breathed clean; check out the photos over at NME.com.

SPECS & FEATURES

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 (measured from 3 ft. away):Speed 1: 44.9 dB
Speed 2: 51.2 dB
Speed 3: 55.8 dB
Filter life:33 months
Electricity consumption (kilowatt-hour):Standby mode: 0 kWh
Speed 1: 51.9 kWh
Speed 2: 87.4 kWh
Speed 3: 122.7 kWh
Estimated running costs (electricity consumption + filter replacements):$277.70 per year
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Country of manufacture:China

2. Levoit Core 600S — CADR: 410 CFM (697 m³/h)

The star of the Core range, the 600S provides powerful performance for a budget-friendly price.

The Levoit Core 600S is one of the most powerful air purifiers on the market and cleaned our test room in just 15 minutes. With an overall CADR rating of 410 CFM, 377 CFM for smoke, 437 CFM for pollen and 373 CFM for dust, the 600S can clean rooms up to 1,588 sq. ft. 

The ideal room size for this unit is 635 sq. ft and it will freshen the air five times per hour. Compared with other larger purifiers, the Levoit 600S has a lot of power at a fraction of the price generally seen for this level of cleaning power.

What we really like

It cleans rooms at super fast speed — the Core 600S completed our air cleaning performance test in just 15 minutes
Great value for such a high CADR – 73 cents per CADR score
It pulls a low 6.2 watts of power in sleep mode
It’s 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

The 3-stage filtration system comprises a pre-stage, primary filter and custom high-efficiency Activated Carbon filter. The primary filter tackles the most minute of particulate matter such as dust, mold spores and pollen, while carbon filters help tackle odors and hazardous VOCs. 

Equipped with a 4-speed fan setting and an auto mode, the 600S also features a downloadable app to control your purifier from your mobile phone or tablet. Like phone alarms, you can now schedule what time you want your air purifier to turn on and how long it should be scheduled for, with outstanding results.

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:15 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: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 (measured from 3 ft. away):Speed 1: 40.9 dB
Speed 2: 45.9 dB
Speed 3: 61.4 dB
Filter life:6 months
Electricity consumption (kilowatt-hour):Standby mode: 1.53 kWh
Speed 1: 7.92 kWh
Speed 2: 11.35 kWh
Speed 3: 21.15 kWh
Speed 4: 49.27 kWh
Estimated running costs (electricity consumption + filter replacements):$107.29 per year
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Country of manufacture:China

3. Levoit EverestAir — CADR: 360 CFM (612 m3/h)

The EverestAir is stylish, smart and super powerful. Oh, and it happens to be the fastest air purifier we’ve ever tested. 

The EverestAir is a powerful unit that quickly became a favorite at HouseFresh. It has sturdy filters to catch the tiniest particles in the air and a well-equipped activated carbon filter to tackle odors, toxic gasses and VOCs. 

This model has an outstanding, powerful CADR of 360 CFM. It cleaned our test room in no more than 13 minutes. The extra-large fan ensures extensive air circulation, maintaining noise levels as low as 24dB on lower fan speeds and peaking at a mild 56dB in Turbo Mode.

What we really like

Sleek touchscreen control panel that also displays PM1.0, PM2.5 and PM10 reading
Easy and comprehensive app controls through Levoit’s VeSync app
Even at its lowest speed it was still able to remove all PM1 pollutants in 25 minutes at a near silent 24dB
All of Levoit’s know-how in an improved design, it feels like what Apple would make if they designed air purifiers

What we think could be better

It’s a heavy unit, but luckily it comes with wheels
It comes with a high price tag

In addition to efficiency, it’s designed with a modern touch to minimize its footprint in your space and a suite of smart features to delight tech enthusiasts.

However, given its efficiency, you’ll likely keep the EverestAir running 24/7 in Auto Mode. The unit has a built-in three-channel sensor that detects even minuscule particles like PM1.0 and adjusts the fan speed for optimal performance.

Another significant aspect of the EverestAir are the adjustable vents — a feature you won’t find on other purifiers. This allows you to customize the flow of the purified air and adjust it to enhance its circulation within your home. It also means you can put the unit in places other models wouldn’t work, such as underneath a counter and still achieve brilliant results.

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our test room:13 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:558 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):360 CFM (612 m3/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):18.9L x 8.5W x 23.2H inches (48L x 21.6W x 58.9H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):20.7 lbs (9.38 kg)
Noise level (low – high):24 – 56dB
Filter life:12-15 months
Warranty:2 years
Estimated energy consumption:$87.25 per year
Country of manufacture:China

4. Blueair Blue Pure 211+ — CADR: 350 CFM (594 m3/h)

Eye-catching Scandi design meets stellar performance, capped off by a 350 CADR score.

Blueair is a Swedish company making air purifiers for two decades. Its Blue Pure range is its take on a no-frills, budget-friendly air purifier. The 211+ is one of the more powerful units with a CADR of 350 CFM, and it cleaned our test room of all pollutants in 18 minutes. 

The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ has clearance for rooms up to 540 sq. ft and has three AHAM, CARB and Energy Star certifications. This means it’s ozone-safe and energy-efficient and the CADR rating is accurate. It has an overall CADR rating of 350 CFM, 380 CFM for pollen, 347 CFM  for dust and 353 CFM for smoke.

What we really like

A powerful high CADR 350 CFM  air purifier that is available for under $350
Its combination of electrostatic and activated carbon
Multiple color options for the pre-filter fabric
A good level of energy consumption and lower sound levels than is typically seen with this CADR level

What we think could be better

No Smart Sensor or air quality sensor and no access to timers
It uses an ionizer as part of its HepaSilent system that you can’t disable

This model is small and compact, so you can place it on your desk or shelf. It’s ideal for those who want a purifier that can clear all allergens in medium-sized rooms. The combination of HEPA, activated charcoal and electrostatic means that it achieves this high level of cleaning power without increasing energy usage and sound levels.

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:18 minutes
Air purifier technology:HEPASilent™ Technology and Activated Charcoal Filter + Ionizer technology
Recommended room size:540 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):350 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):20H x 13W x 13D inches (51H x 33W x 33D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):12.5 lbs (5.67 kg)
Noise level (measured from 3 ft. away):Speed 1: 37.2 dB
Speed 2: 45.8 dB
Speed 3: 55.7 dB
Filter life:6 – 8 months
Electricity consumption (kilowatt-hour):Standby mode: 0.1 kWh
Speed 1: 16.9 kWh
Speed 2: 40.5 kWh
Speed 3: 54.5 kWh
Estimated running costs (electricity consumption + filter replacements):$117.50 per year
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Country of manufacture:Designed and engineered in Sweden, assembled in China

5. Alen BreatheSmart 75i — CADR: 347 CFM (589 m³/h)

With high-quality filters, low running volumes and a lifetime warranty, the BreatheSmart 75i is a solid option.

This is the top dog in the Alen Breathsmart range with a 347 CFM score that cleaned our test room in 24 minutes. It comes with smart features and pink noise for easy sleeping. With the right filter choice, you can get a lot of activated charcoal to help with nonparticulate pollution, such as gasses and VOCs. 

It’s another one of the quietest units with a max sound of 49dB, but it’s also a large unit with a height of 27 inches and weighs in at 27 lbs. I like that you can get a lifetime guarantee, which is unheard of in the industry, but you do need an active filter subscription.

What we really like

Lifetime warranty as long as you get the filter subscriptuion
Large amount of activated charcoal if you go for the Fresh filter 
On the lowest setting, the noise output is super quiet at just 25dB and only hits 49dB at it’s highest fan speed
Smart features like auto-mode and app support

What we think could be better

It’s tough to tuck away as it’s a large unit
The control panel does get dirty with fingerprints so you need to constantly clean it after use

With a CADR rating of 347 CFM, this product can tackle household pollutants that may be imposed on your space. Like Blueair units, the Alen 75i combines electrostatic generation with HEPA and activated charcoal called HEPASilent.

The Alen 75i’s auto mode is the perfect feature for automatically sensing the air quality in the room and adjusting its fan speed to whatever is required. Other great features include a downloadable mobile phone app to control your unit and smart features when you are not at home.

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:24 minutes
Air purifier technology:True HEPA H13 filters with activated carbon pellets + Ionizer technology
Recommended room size:Up to 1,300 sq. ft. (2 ACH)
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):347 CFM (589 m³/h)
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):12.2 kg (27 lbs)
Noise level (low – high):24 – 49dB
Filter life:12 – 15 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:Lifetime (with product registration & active filter subscription)
Estimated energy consumption:$47.30 per year
Country of manufacture:China

6. Coway Airmega 300 — 306 CFM (589 m³/h)

Coway’s Airmega 300 looks the part and delivers even in large rooms, with an impressive CADR of 306 CFM.

The Coway Airmega 300 can cover up to an astonishing 1,256 square feet, which is surprisingly effective considering it’s not the largest unit. With a CADR rating of 306 CFM, the Airmega 300 packs a punch when sanitizing your household air from indoor contaminants.
 
Equipped with a highly recommended Activated Carbon filter and a Green True HEPA filter, this unit will help eradicate indoor pollutants such as dust, pollen and pet dander and, through the process of Carbon trapping, help tackle unwanted odors and hazardous VOCs.

What we really like

Great for larger rooms with a high CADR across dust, pollen and smoke
Night mode allows you to turn the lights off
Made in Korea — most of the other units on this list are made in China
Great design, blends in really well in both household and office surroundings

What we think could be better

The legs leave marks on the carpet
Energy consumption is a bit pricey if you run it all the time

Operating at the lowest fan speed, the Airmega 300 will produce a noise level of just 22 dB. Although this unit doesn’t have the features we’ve all come to expect in air purifiers nowadays, like an auto sensor or a downloadable app, it still produces the same results when delivering good air quality. 

However, the Coway Airmega 300S is also available for a bit more money and features more modes and features.

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our test room:26 minutes
Air purifier technology:Three-stage HyperCaptive™ Max2 filters (pre-filter + activated carbon + Green True HEPA™)
Recommended room size:628 to 1256 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):306 CFM (589 m³/h)
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):13.6W x 21.2H x 13.6D inches (34.5W x 53.8H x 34.5D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):21.4 lbs (9.7 kg)
Noise level (low – high):22 – 52dB
Filter life:12 months
Manufacturer’s warranty:5 years from the date of the original retail purchase
Estimated energy consumption:$55.71 per year
Country of manufacture:South Korea

7. Honeywell HPA300 — 300 CFM (509 m³/h)

What it lacks in looks, the veteran HPA300 makes up for in performance, fueled by a cost-effective CADR of 300 CFM.

Featuring three HEPA filters and a signal-activated carbon filter that acts as a pre-filter, the Honeywell HPA300 is a simplistically designed, high-powered product with lots of great aspects to admire. With its four fan speeds being low, medium, high and turbo, the HPA300 has a brilliant CADR rating of 300 CFM, cleaning rooms of up to 465 sq. ft.

As well as being high in CADR efficiency, the Honeywell HPA300 is a surprisingly low-budget product for its capabilities. This unit is larger than other purifiers on the market and is louder than many of the other units we have listed. However, unlike other units, the LEDs on the HPA300 can be turned off, which makes it even more appealing in the evenings.

What we really like

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

What we think could be better

It can be very loud on the highest setting
The design isn’t the best looking very utilitarian

The Honeywell HPA300 is a great budget product. It purifies the air significantly quicker than other products. Still, it won’t be featured in any best-looking categories and is probably our least favorite of the high CADR air purifiers we have featured in this list. 

SPECS & FEATURES

HouseFresh Rating:★★★☆☆
Time to clean our test room:26 minutes
Air purifier technology:Activated Carbon pre-filter and True HEPA filter
Recommended room size:465 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):300 CFM (509 m³/h)
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)
Noise level (measured from 3 ft. away):Speed 1: 43.6 dB
Speed 2: 48.8 dB 
Speed 3: 53.9 dB
Speed 4: 59.5 dB
Filter life:HEPA every 12 months, Pre-filters every 3 months
Electricity consumption (kilowatt-hour):Standby mode: 0 kWh
Speed 1: 28.35 kWh
Speed 2: 42.92 kWh
Speed 3: 55.8 kWh
Speed 4: 76.2 kWh
Estimated running costs (electricity consumption + filter replacements):$151.22 per year
Manufacturer’s warranty:5 years
Country of manufacture:China


What to look for when buying a high CADR air purifier

Before taking the plunge on a new air purifier, there are a few things you should consider first.

Does the air purifier use high-quality particulate filters?

Despite how powerful an air purifier is, it will struggle to remove the smallest of pollutants without high-quality filters. 

Of course, a high CADR score is a great indication that a purifier will perform well, but it’s also wise to look for quality filters. Keep an eye out for certifications such as HEPA 13 or MERV, as these show that a filter has been tested by an independent body.

2. Are you looking for a purifier to help with odors and VOCs?

Clean Air Delivery Rate refers to an air purifier’s ability to remove particulate matter, tested against dust, pollen and smoke. If you’re looking for a unit to tackle gaseous pollutants such as odors or chemical fumes known as VOCs, then you’ll need to double up on filtration, combining a particulate filter with an activated carbon filter, too.

Remember, the more carbon a filter has, the more effective it will be. If VOCs are a key concern for you, look for larger weights of carbon, as found on the Alen BreateSmart 75i, and ensure it uses granular or pellet carbon. 

3. Does the air purifier use an ionizer?

Ionizers release negative ions into the air that attach to airborne particles, making them easier to capture. 

But in doing so, they can also emit harmful ozone and VOCs along the way. Which is an issue for those with asthma or other respiratory conditions. 

This has led to the term Ionizer becoming a bit of a dirty word. Yet the technology is often found on powerful air purifiers as it can enhance performance and boost the unit’s CADR score.  

Manufacturers often try to rebrand the term to make their units sound innovative and remove any connotation of danger. Whether coined HEPASiltent by Blueair or HyperCaptive from Coway. Although it can improve a purifiers performance, its important to acknowledge the risks

Each air purifier in this guide comes certified by the California Air Resource Board to produce minimal ozone, which gives users peace of mind. The function can often be turned off entirely, but it’s important to realize this will reduce the advertised CADR score.

4. How powerful does your air purifier need to be?

Many people use CADR as a gauge for buying a quality air purifier. After all, the higher the number, the better it will be at removing pollutants.

While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, you may find that you will buy a larger unit than you actually require, taking up valuable living space and incurring higher running costs.

It’s always advisable to measure the size of the room in which you intend to use the purifier so you have an idea of how powerful it will need to be. Remember that to really reap the rewards, a purifier will have to be able to circulate the air 4.8 times an hour in your specific space.

Use our CFM calculator to see what the minimum CADR your purifier will have to be to make an impact.

Common questions about High CADR air purifiers

This metric means the unit has been independently tested and verified to clean a certain amount of air per minute, so, generally speaking, the higher the CADR an air purifier has, the better it will be at cleaning the air. 

Purifiers designed for large spaces will normally have higher CADR scores, so relying on this alone may leave you with a huge unit that uses a lot of power. Be sure to assess all your options in order to find the best unit for your needs.

It’s easy to say to purchase an air purifier with the highest CADR score you can afford. After all, can you really have too much of a good thing? 

However, this may result in you paying over the odds for a powerful purifier you don’t really need.

Determining what makes a good CADR level will depend entirely on the space you plan to use the unit in. 

For a small room measuring up to 120 square feet, your purifier would need a CADR of 100 CFM.

The average primary bedroom size in the U.S. is 225 square feet, so you would need a more powerful unit with a CADR between 180-200 CFM.

For an open-plan living space, you’ll need to go even bigger, looking toward air purifiers with a CADR over 300 CFM.

There are some pretty beastly air purifiers out there for use in commercial, public and domestic settings.

The most powerful air purifier we’ve tested is the Smart Air Blast Mini, which clocks a colossal CADR of 435 CFM. Making it a versatile option for open-plan homes, or even schools and offices. 

Other notable units include the Levoit duo, the Core 600S (410 CFM) and EverestAir (360 CFM), along with the other 300+ units listed in this article.

A purifier’s Clean Air Delivery Rate is an independent verification of how well it can clean the air, carried out by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

As this is a third-party test, it can be trusted and used to compare similar air purifiers side by side.

It’s worth noting that CADR is tested against the three most common pollutants: dust, pollen and smoke. This will provide a good indication of how well an air purifier combats particulate matter, but not against VOC pollutants.

The ⅔’s rule is a rough guide to finding the minimum CADR your air purifier will need to work within a given space. 

For example, if your space measures 150 square feet, you’ll need an air purifier with a CADR of 100 CFM. 

When combating severe issues that pose a health danger, like wildfire smoke or allergens, it’s advisable to match the CADR to your square footage.

Jargon like CADR and Merv can often trip consumers up. 

These are simply two terms that indicate how well an air purifier will perform.

Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is an independent metric from AHAM, measuring how many cubic feet of air a purifier can clean per minute.

Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (Merv), on the other hand, looks at how effective the filters inside the purifier are at removing airborne particles between 0.3 and 10 microns in size. This can range from Merv 1-4, which captures 20% of particles 10 microns in size, to Merv 17 (aka HEPA), which captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. 

CADR and airflow are often mistaken for the same thing.

While an air purifier’s airflow measures how much air it can intake and expel, CADR looks at how well it cleans the air it has drawn in from its surroundings.

While airflow tells you how powerful the fan inside the purifier is, CADR tells you how well it will perform.

Wrapping up

An air purifier that has a higher CADR rating will help clean rooms faster and work to remove pollutants in the air. The most effective purifiers have a True HEPA filter, an Activated Carbon filter, high fan power and low noise levels. You may have other qualities you’d want in an air purifier, like Smart features or sensors that indicate air quality. 

Your room size will determine the CADR rating you should look for. For example, the bigger your room, the higher you want the CADR. The price is something you may want to consider as well. 

We all have a budget and want to buy the best possible product for the best price. 

Any units we have put on this list will do the job. Remember, we have tested them thoroughly, so we can confidently recommend them. 

At HouseFresh, we have been reviewing air quality products since 2010. In all these years, we learned not to rely on manufacturers’ claims and the ever-so-glowing marketing materials. That is why we buy products with our own money, so we can write unbiased reviews after we’ve had enough time to evaluate air quality products in our home lab. Every unit we recommend has been thoroughly tested to assess its performance, energy consumption, and noise levels emitted in real-life environments. If you have any questions about our testing process for different types of air quality products, just drop us an email at hello@housefresh.com.

Last update on 2024-04-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the author

Paul Allen

Paul is a staff writer for HouseFresh, with a focus on product recommendations and advice for smokers and apartment dwellers. He started writing in November 2020, when he joined the content production team at NeoMam Studios (our parent company).