Levoit achieved the impossible with the core 300, an air purifier for less than $100 that can perform as well as the big boys.
Our verdict: The Levoit core 300 is a no-brainer for issues like pollen or dust in a medium sized room. It achieves this performance at a low price point by having no extras like an app or onboard air detector. For issues with smoke and VOCs you will still want to invest in a bigger unit but for most people, the Levoit core 300 will be the perfect solution.
I first came across the Levoit Core 300 when looking for a fairly cheap air purifier for dealing with excess vapor from using my vaporizer indoors. I’ll be honest I was a little skeptical that a unit for less than $100 would perform as well as the bigger and more expensive air purifiers on the market.
Levoit first appeared in the US market in 2017 and since then has been making waves in both the air purifier and humidifier markets. Levoit has managed to create a bare-bones unit that performs just as well as higher-priced units. Previously, most units less than $100 were ionizers that did more harm than good when it came to cleaning the air and I always recommended most consumers avoid these cheaper units.
With the Core 300, Levoit totally changed my view on what a cheap air purifier could do.
To be clear, we have no connection to the Levoit corporation, and this unit was bought with my own money with the goal of giving the most accurate review as possible. Test conditions were based on normal consumer usage in our own home and we have been using the unit for over 6 months and plan to provide a long-term update with any issues we encounter.
Update July 2021: This unit has been performing super well and we are still on the first set of filters. I have found the size quite useful for carrying to other rooms when we have a smell issue to deal with in the kitchen. It would have been nice to have some sort of automatic mode like you get on the more expensive
Update August 15th, 2021: Finally got the red light for new filters which is around 9 months since we bought the air purifier and it has been used a lot in a far bigger room than is recommended and so I am happy with the amount of time you get.
For a replacement, I went with a Levoit Core 300-RF-PA which is aimed at those looking to remove odors which is something we found to be our main use case for our Levoit 300. Due to stock issues, I couldn’t find this filter for less than $30 which is quite a big % of the total price of the unit so certainly, something to consider when annual filter costs are close to the total RRP for the unit. But I also did see a number of generic filters for $30 for 2 ($15ea) which may perform as well but I will be looking to test this in a future review.
If you are interested I had a deeper look at my filter – it wasn’t super dirty but I wonder if it’s the activated charcoal element that needs replacing before the HEPA H13 filter becomes unusable.
I am still happy to get at least 8 months and probably would have been a lot longer 12+ months if I just kept it to a smaller-sized room as recommended.
- It’s less than $100 and has a CADR of 140 for Dust, 145 for Pollen and 141 for Smoke – with previous generations of air purifiers you needed to spend upwards of $250 to get this level of performance.
- It looks pretty good and doesn’t take up so much space due to its cylinder design
- Sleep mode allows it to run at near silent with all lights off (see video below for sound examples)
- Filters contain both H13 HEPA and activated charcoal and are easily available via Amazon
- Timer mode so you can leave it on for 2, 4, 6 and 8 hours and it will automatically switch off
- Lacks an onboard air sensor so can’t automatically switch on if it detects allergens
- Doesn’t include wifi capability or App (which might be seen as a plus for some people)
- Would be great if you could remove the pre-filter for cleaning
- No child lock
When I first ordered the Levoit 300, I assumed it was going to be a lot smaller based on the photos from Amazon.
Whilst it’s not gigantic, it was a little bigger than I expected but I was able to quickly find a place to keep it and it didn’t look out of place anywhere in the house.
The shape allows it to be used in all manner of locations around the house and it’s weight means that you can pick it up and move it to other rooms with relative ease.
The touch screen is not the most responsive but does work with a little bit of pressure but in most cases, you won’t need to be adjusting it on a regular basis. I mostly switch it on and set the speed to the maximum to clear the air in the room in the shortest time possible.
They have a couple of options for design with white and black but at the time of purchase, I was only able to get the white version but I was pleased with the overall design.
Filter replacement costs
One of the challenges with cheaper air purifiers is that filter costs can sometimes quickly exceed the price of the original unit. Thankfully this is not the case with the Levoit 300, a quick search on Amazon found a number of suitable filters available for sale.
There are a number of filters available that can be used for different jobs.
- Core 300-RD (Toxin Absorber) This filter is aimed at those wanting to remove VOCs and toxic gas produced from pollution or wildfire smoke. I would generally recommend you get a bigger unit for issues like wildfire (best air purifiers for wildfire smoke) or smoking as the core 300 is still one of the lower power models on the market. If this is your primary concern you would be better investing in a larger unit as you will need larger fans and filters than what this unit provides. The Levoit 300 is best for pollen, dust, and light odors anything more severe and you’re better off investing in the next class up.
- Core 300-RF (Pet Allergy) This filter has a bigger activated charcoal section and a prefilter that changes color so you know when exactly to replace. A worthy addition for those houses with a lot of dog hair.
What I also like is that due to this unit being so popular, there are a number of generic filters available on Amazon which are cheaper, and whilst they may not be built to the same grade as the genuine Levoit versions, it’s nice to know there are options if stock is low like it was during the pandemic.
- Genuine Levoit filters can be found for just over $20 per filter when not sold by third party sellers.
- Generic filters can be found for $17 for 2 or $8.50 per filter
As a general rule, you will want to change your filter every 6 months but is dependent on usage.
How noisy is it?
Sound and noise is a very personal thing so I made a video of the different settings from near silence of the bedroom setting to the fairly loud maximum setting.
I personally found the lowest setting to be perfectly acceptable to sleep but would generally recommend that the unit be used at the maximum setting most of the time for dealing with specific issues like smoke, pollen, or air or it will just take too long to remove the pollutants.
Real World Performance
One of the easy ways to gauge the performance of an air purifier is through the use of a vaporizer so we can generate pollutants and see how the unit performs in the real world.
We did our first test in a room larger than recommended.
We used a vaporizer to create pollutants in the air until our air quality monitor showed a AQI score of 209 at 5.19pm.
We then put the Levoit Core 300 on full power and then looked for changes in the air quality via the monitor.
By 5.40pm, 21 minutes later the air quality monitor was already showing a range in the accepted range as per WHO with a score of 76 AQI
Whilst vaporizer vapor is certainly not as problematic to remove than something like wildfire smoke, it is still impressive to see the pollutants removed so quickly in a larger room than recommended by Levoit.
So is the Levoit 300 the right air purifier for you?
As with most things it depends!
If you need a cheap unit to deal with an issue like vape from e-cigarette then check out the list of the best air purifier for vaping or if it’s a hay-fever issue in summer or just a smelly dog smell then this purifier should be at the top of your wishlist.
You just need to know that you will miss out on having an app with WiFi control or onboard air quality detection which can start the purifier when it senses a pollutant.
But at the price point, the Levoit 300 is going to be the air purifier to beat for other manufacturers looking to catch up.
- Ozone Free: Levoit air purifiers avoid using UV-C light, an air cleaning method that research has shown can produce harmful ozone and secondary pollution
- 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.
Last update on 2021-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API