Levoit Core 300 review

A game changer back in the day, the Core 300 is still a high-performing air purifier capable of competing against newer units.
By
Updated on May 17, 2024
Written by
Danny Ashton
Danny is the founder of HouseFresh and has been writing about air purifiers and indoor air quality since 2010. He is our lead tester, conducting all the tests we use to evaluate air quality products. That is why you will always see his name attached to our reviews.

Our verdict

The Core 300 is a solid air purifier, even with newer affordable units on the market. For a long time, it was unbeatable, offering the best CADR to money spent ratio. 

 

Today, it is still a highly efficient option. Featuring Levoit’s three-staged filters, it can remove particulate matter, such as dust, pollen, mold spores and dander, from small to mid-sized rooms and clean the air in 40 minutes. It can also help with moderate odor issues, as it comes packed with granulated activated carbon. 

 

Uncomplicated and straightforward, the Core 300 is a reliable, user-friendly air purifier.

The Vesync Corporation launched the Levoit brand in 2016. Since then, Levoit has become a game-changer in the air purifiers market. The Core series presented consumers with affordable prices, innovation and everyday needs in mind. In 2023, they launched the EverestAir, a unit that quickly made it to the top of plenty of our Best Guides due to its performance and surprising air cleaning speed.

Now, back to the Core 300. Released in 2019, it quickly became a popular option in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It reached the #1 position for Amazon sales in Air Purifiers that year. And even though eradicating viruses from our homes may not be the drive it was a couple of years ago, air pollution is still a rising concern for many of us.

Fast forward to 2024, the air purifying industry has evolved significantly. Many new brands and models have flooded the market, some delivering a high-performance and smart features combo (such as the Shark HP102), some even competing directly with the Core 300 and showing amazing results (hello Winix A230/A231), others turning out to be no more than a disappointing overpromise. Yet, the Levoit Core 300 remains a best-selling unit to this day. 

True, it has no smart features or auto mode. But the legendary Levoit Core 300 set the benchmark for most budget air purifiers available today. It still is a straightforward, trustworthy air purifier that can do an outstanding job for one of the lowest price tags available. 

As a great entry-level air purifier, the Core 300 is solid and reliable to date. 

The lowdown on the Levoit Core 300

“The Core 300 set the bar for what a budget air purifier could do. Still one the best value small air purifiers, sure, but I recommend most people pay a little extra and get a device like the Vital 200S that provides higher air cleaning performance, washable pre-filter, app support and auto mode.”
— Danny Ashton, HouseFresh Founder & Senior Writer

So, let’s get straight to it. These are, in a nutshell, the strengths and weaknesses we see on the Levoit Core 300 after putting it to the test:

What we really like

You get a great CADR for under $100.
Replacement filters are very affordable.
It’s a small unit, easy to place in small rooms and to move around.
Uncomplicated to set up and navigate, it requires low maintenance.
It’s whisper-quiet in sleep mode.

What we think could be better

It doesn’t feature onboard sensors, therefore no auto mode either. 
It’s not as energy-efficient as the Core 300S.
It would be nice to have a filter with more activated carbon.

For less than $100, the Core 300 has a solid CADR of 145 CFM. This has been the best price-to-CADR ratio in the market for years, although lately, new units like the Winix A230 or the TaoTronics TT-AP003 have surpassed the Core 300 CARD for less than $80.

HouseFresh rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):40 minutes
Air purifier technology:Pre-filter, non-HEPA grade particle filter and activated carbon pellets
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):219 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 134 CFM
Smoke: 126 CFM
Pollen: 154 CFM
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):7.48 lbs (3.39 kg)
Filter life:6 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 38.9 dB
Speed 2: 45.7 dB
Speed 3: 50.2 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0.1 watts
Speed 1: 19.7 watts
Speed 2: 24 watts
Speed 3: 35.5 watts
Estimated running costs (electricity consumption + OEM filter replacements):$109.14 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM): $0.63
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Country of manufacture:China

Compact, smooth and easy to use

The cylindrical body and rounded edges of the Core 300 allow for a small floor footprint and user-friendly controls. 

With a cleaning power suited for 200 sq. ft. spaces, such as average-sized bedrooms, home offices or small kitchens, it only makes sense that this unit is petite enough to fit cozily on desks, kitchen counters or night tables. It doesn’t take up much space, so it can be placed near the source of pollutants without interrupting your activity or needing much setup rearrangement. Besides, weighing only 7.5 lbs, it’s easy to move around.

The tubular design is the same as most of the Core series. With the 360º air intake, all the way around the bottom of the unit, you get air flowing in from all sides and coming out clean at the top. Enhanced by the cylindrical shape, Levoit’s Vortex Air technology produces a swirling airflow to maximize the air circulation on all fanspeeds.

Among Levoit’s wide range of air purifiers, the Core 300 stands as the middle-sized unit, equal in dimensions to the Core 300S and only slightly bigger than the 200S and the Mini — both suited for smaller spaces. 

It’s also very similar in size to the Winix A230/A231, the new contender in town, with an almost identical floor footprint. The Core 300 is slightly taller and somewhat less organic than the conic Winix. On the other hand, it’s entirely white, which I like because it blends easily into the room, allowing for a more unobtrusive presence. 

The control panel is a strong point for Levoit. 

It’s a neat white-over-black touchscreen, very responsive yet not overly sensitive. The Core 300 doesn’t have onboard sensors, so the controls could feel a tad basic, but they’re far from it. It’s one of the simplest, most straightforward units that doesn’t lose perspective on what users need. 

Let me explain. On the Core 300 control panel, you’ll see the wheel of self-explanatory icons: the on/off button, a fan button to navigate through three different fan speeds, a lock button that will come in handy for those placing the unit in kids’ rooms, a filter replacement light that will turn red when it needs replacement, a timer to set the unit to run for 2, 4, 6 or 8 hours, a sleep mode that lowers the fan to the minimum, and a lights-off button that will be a blessing for those who use this unit in the bedroom. 

With no smart features onboard, such as app support or auto mode, the Core 300 is not a unit for technophiles. It’s ideal for those seeking a simple air purifier with an uncomplicated setup and straightforward controls. 

It does come with a built-in memory, so if you unplug the unit to move it to another room, it will remember your last setting as soon as you plug it back in. This may seem trivial, but it’s actually quite helpful, and many brands have been cutting down on costs to make more accessible yet powerful units; the memory is something we’ve often seen removed. 

Plus, there’s no worrying about opaque data sharing consents, which is not just an issue with Vesync’s app. Most apps have never-ending privacy policies many of us never read and usually request access to our phone camera or location. However, we’re often unaware of the many ways big companies use that information.

A comprehensive three-stage filtration system 

An ideal filter for everyday air pollutants.

Since 2023, Levoit decided to remove all mentions of HEPA filters from the marketing materials for many of their air purifiers, including the Core series and the EveresAir. While other units, such as the Vital 100S and 200S, are advertised as featuring HEPA filters, we haven’t seen any third-party testing yet. 

Despite this issue, which can no doubt create distrust in the brand and the filter’s efficiency, at HouseFresh, we believe in hands-on testing. And our results show that the Core 300 filter performs really well. 

I’ll get to the cleaning efficiency in a bit, but for now, let me say the filter features all three stages that make a robust filtration system:

  1. A pre-filter for larger particles. It’s the outer nylon layer that traps hair, fibers, dust and lint. The pre-filter is not removable like in other Levoit units, but it can be vacuumed to extend the primary filter’s life.
  2. A main filter. The dense fiber maze is designed to capture airborne fine particles such as pollen, dust, mold spores, dander and other microscopic pollutants or allergens.
  3. An activated carbon filter with granular activated carbon —a nice detail compared to other impregnated fabric carbon filters. The charcoal traps VOCs and odors on its surface by adsorption (similar but not entirely the same as absorption), so the higher amount of carbon a filter has, the more gasses and odors it will be able to adsorb.
Tip

There are four genuine Levoit filters to choose from, the main difference being the amount of carbon. The Original filter contains between 40 and 50 grams, while the Pet Allergy, Toxin Absorber and Smoke Remover filters have 90 grams. These also come with Levoit’s ARC Formula, which breaks down particles to make the activated carbon last longer.

But it’s worth noting that this amount of charcoal won’t be enough if you have severe issues with toxic gasses or fumes.

Replacing the filter on the Core 300 is simply effortless. 

The access to the filter compartment is at the bottom of the unit. The lid can be opened by twisting counterclockwise and closed clockwise. In three easy steps, the Core 300 will be ready to start cleaning the air again:

  1. Unscroll the bottom cover of the device.
  2. Remove the old (and dusty) filter; have a bag ready to dispose of it with minimal particles reentering your home.
  3. Place the new one in its place and then put the cap back on. 

Or else, see how easily it is done in this video:

Removing the filter from the unit is fairly easy, and it can be done in three simple steps:

Tip

All new air purifiers come with their filters packed in plastic wrapping. This is common practice in the industry to ensure filters are not already doing their work while inside the box. 

If this is your first air purifier, you may not know about the wrapping and plan to plug and run it right away. So here’s a friendly heads-up: remember to remove the filter’s wrapping before turning on your new Core 300.

 

The Core 300 cleared our test room in 40 minutes

For a small-to-mid-ranged air purifier for under $100, we are still impressed with the Core 300’s results.

  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.

  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.

Read more about our testing process, and feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

The Core 300 has a CADR (clean air delivery rate) of 140 CFM for smoke, 141 CFM for dust and 145 CFM for pollen, according to the Energy Star rating.

While it’s becoming common practice to have third-party testing —and it’s actually reassuring, especially after Levoit’s HEPA / not HEPA filters issue— we still carry out our own first-hand evaluation process.

We test all the units in the same 728-cubic-foot office, so we can evaluate each air purifier’s cleaning performance and speed and compare results across all units. 

With the help of our PurpleAir indoor sensor, we measured how long it took the Core 300 to remove all the PM1.0ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10.0 ug/m3 produced by incense smoke. 

The results speak for themselves:

Air cleaning performance test results

Needing 40 minutes to remove all particulate matter from our home lab, it took the Core 300 just eight minutes longer than the smart and more expensive Levoit Core 300S.

This is also only two minutes behind the Shark HP102 (38 minutes) —a unit that quickly became a favorite at HouseFresh— and almost ten minutes quicker than the $650 Dyson TP07 (49 minutes). 

It’s only fair to say that there are newer units for small or mid-sized rooms that can clean the air faster. And yet, for this value for money, the Core 300 is still among the best units we tested in 2023 and still is a good, easily available budget device for 2024, but it’s not suitable for rooms larger than 217 sq ft, so look at other devices if you have larger spaces.

Noise levels test results

Whether you work from home or are shopping for an air purifier for your bedroom or study room, noise levels are essential data to consider. All air purifiers produce some noise; engineering hasn’t evolved to create completely silent fans and motors. We’ll probably get there sooner or later, but for now, knowing beforehand how loud a unit can be will help avoid unpleasant surprises. 

That’s why this is the final step of our testing process, we measure every unit’s decibel (dB) output at the lowest and highest fan speeds. 

It is worth clarifying that we do this in a home environment and not a lab, so our measurements might be louder than the manufacturer’s because our noise level meter will pick up the hum of a fridge or a boiler in the background. We do this because we want to test how noisy air purifiers will be when used in the average home, aggregated on top of common household noise levels.

[Embed video test for sound]

The Core 300 noise levels fall below the average decibels, emitting 37.1 dB in its most silent mode (sleep mode) and topping at 50.2 dB. For reference, Levoit’s marketing materials state 24 dB at the Core 300 lowest fan speed and 50dB at its highest fan speed.

Fan speedHouseFresh noise level measurementsLevoit marketing materials
Speed 137.1 dBA24 dBA
Speed 2 48.5 dBA
Top Speed50.2 dBA50 dBA

This is how the noise levels emitted by the Core 300 compare to other units:

The Blueair 411+ tops the list as one of the quietest units we’ve tested, thanks to Blueair’s trademark HEPAsilent technology that combines mechanical (HEPA) filtration and ionization (electrically charging pollutants to make them weigh more and become easier to trap by the HEPA filter).

While the Core 300 does not match the Blueair 411+ (36.2 dB), its filtration system is purely mechanical, with zero chemical by-products entering your space. It’s barely noticeable in speed 1 (37.1B), and I got used to the noise level of speed one pretty quickly and forgot it was running. If you live in a location with very low background noise, it might be more noticeable.

It’s worth noting, though, that you’ll probably be running a small unit like this at the second or highest fan speed to ensure it cleans the air in your space —even if it’s a small room. 

Levoit has managed to keep the highest sound level at 50.2dB level as above this level is when it can become a problem and irritate those around when in use.

But when it comes to sounds, words usually fall short. That’s why we recorded this video, which allows you to hear the Core 300 first-hand at all its speeds. 

The cost to run a Levoit Core 300: $109.14 per year

Even if it’s not the most energy-efficient air purifier, its annual costs are considerably low — a true reflection of the key selling point of the Core 300: a budget-friendly unit.

1. Electricity costs = $54.15 per year

Understanding the annual operating cost of an air purifier can be a deciding factor in narrowing down your preselection. We understand energy costs are not something to take lightly, especially when these are on the rise worldwide.

We tested the wattage energy usage for the Levoit Core 300 at all fan speeds and recorded the experiment so you can see the results for yourself:

Fan speedHouseFresh energy usage measurements
Standby0.1 watts
Speed 119.7 watts
Speed 224 watts
Speed 3 [Top speed]35.5 watts

Besides, ideally, an air purifier should run continuously to achieve true, clean air. That being said, the Levoit Core 300 pulls 35.5 watts at maximum power. In more understandable terms, that means $54.15 per year or $0.14 a day. You’ll unlikely run the unit at top fan speed 24/7, but it’s good to know the priceiest it can get.

However, compared to other Levoit units, the Core 300 is not the most energy-efficient. With the Core 300S, the manufacturer managed to reduce energy consumption to only 22 watts, while the 400S pulls no more than 38 watts, both at their highest fan speed. While the initial price on these two units is higher, it’s worth noting they are less power-hungry.

2. Filter costs = $54.99 per year

The second fixed cost to consider is the filters, which, in the case of the Core 300, are replaced every six to eight months, but we will use 6 months as this is a fairly small unit.

Regarding filters, Levoit realized that if they wanted to keep leading the budget air purifiers game, they needed to lower the costs. The first genuine replacement filters we got for the Core 300 cost $60; now, you can find the original filter for $29.99 per filter with deals on buying 2 at once that bring it to $54.99

Standard Filters
Pet Allergy
Toxin Absorber
Smoke
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Replacement Filter, 3-In-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core300-RF, 1 Pack, White
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Pet Allergy Replacement Filter, 3-in-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core300-RF-PA, 1 Pack, Yellow
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Toxin Absorber Replacement Filter, 3-in-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core300-RF-TX, 1 Pack, Green
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Smoke Remover Replacement Filter, 4-in-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core 300-RF-SR, 1 Pack, Blue
$29.98
$35.99
$35.99
$39.99
Standard Filters
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Replacement Filter, 3-In-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core300-RF, 1 Pack, White
$29.98
Pet Allergy
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Pet Allergy Replacement Filter, 3-in-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core300-RF-PA, 1 Pack, Yellow
$35.99
Toxin Absorber
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Toxin Absorber Replacement Filter, 3-in-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core300-RF-TX, 1 Pack, Green
$35.99
Smoke
LEVOIT Core 300 Air Purifier Smoke Remover Replacement Filter, 4-in-1 Filter, Efficiency Activated Carbon, Core 300-RF-SR, 1 Pack, Blue
$39.99

We were also pleased to see that you can find two generic filters for just $29.99. Considering that the Levoit Core 300 does not have approved HEPA, I see no reason why you shouldn’t save money and go with generics as it brings the running costs down significantly.

The main differences between the Core 300 and the Core 300S

Although quite similar in appearance, the Core 300S has the upper hand in terms of smart features. 

In 2021, Levoit released the Core 300S, an improved and Smart version of the Core 300. On the outside, both units look exactly alike. They even use the same filters. 

But, then, there are some differences worth considering:

1. Auto mode

The Core 300S incorporates air quality sensors that enable the auto mode, a feature loved by many. 

The AirSight™ Plus sensors monitor the air in the environment, scanning for particulate matter. When the auto mode is on, the unit will adjust the fan speed according to the pollutants in your space, ramping up when the air is worse and conserving energy when it’s cleaner.  

The sensor also powers the real-time air quality readings in the control panel. Levoit integrated these smoothly without complicating the user-friendly display with an LED color-scaled wheel. The rings light up in four coded colors to in

The air quality readings are also uploaded and synced with Levoit’s VeSync app — the next item on this list.

2. Internet connectivity and app support

While the Core 300 doesn’t include smart features, the user-friendly and comprehensive Vesync app enhances the usability of the Core 300S.

Some useful functions include tracking your home air quality and filter lifespan from wherever you are, navigating through mode settings and fan speed and connecting the unit to Google Home, Alexa and Apple Home.

3. Energy costs

To me, this is one of the most significant strengths the Core 300S has when compared to the Core 300. The Levoit team managed a great efficiency improvement achieving a max draw of 21.8 watts at top speed for the Smart unit. It reduces the yearly cost of running the Core 300S to $33.25 — a whole 40% vs the Core 300.

4. Initial price

Smart features and optimized energy costs do come at a cost. There’s a $50 cost difference between the two models —and so it’s been since the launch of the Core 300S. This may be too pricey for some while, but for others, it will make perfect sense to pay the difference upfront.

Tip

Each unit has clear pros and cons. If you would like to probe deeper into these two units’ comparison, read on in our Levoit Core 300 VS Core 300S review.

Bottom line

With a big performance and small price, the Core 300 is a jack-of-all-trades.

There are many things to like about the Core 300; it is the one unit I have no problem recommending year after year. A 145 cfm CADR score makes it reliable and cost-effective, with a fairly quick cleaning speed. It’s also small enough to be versatile and unintrusive, ideal for small kitchens, bedrooms, or even bathrooms. 

The sleek control panel is straightforward and easy to navigate. Plus, maintenance is minimal, only requiring a filter replacement twice a year (although you can go the extra mile to keep the unit in top shape).  

Five years after its release, the Levoit Core 300 still stands its ground as one of the best budget air purifiers we have tested, with affordable genuine filter replacements and excellent performance of pure mechanical filtration — both on paper and in our hands-on testing.

That said, if budget is not an issue, I would suggest upgrading to the Core 300S, mostly because of its more efficient energy consumption. You might also want to consider taking it up a notch with the Levoit Vital 200S; for less than $200, you will get a CADR of 245 CFM and a much higher amount of pelleted activated carbon.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Winix A230/A231 is below the Core 300’s initial price and features an auto mode. However, it has a more modest control panel and no all-lights-off option.

SOURCES

We calculated yearly costs associated with running the Levoit Core 300 24 hours a day, 365 days per year utilizing the latest average energy prices as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of $0.174/kWh as of May 2024.

Last update on 2024-05-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Join our newsletter

We’ll send you a nice email every once in a while. No spam.

Support HouseFresh

Buy us a coffee
Your support makes it possible for us to keep doing what de wo.
About the author

Danny Ashton

Danny is the founder of HouseFresh and has been writing about air purifiers and indoor air quality since 2010. He is our lead tester, conducting all the tests we use to evaluate air quality products. That is why you will always see his name attached to our reviews.

Join our newsletter

We’ll send you a nice email every once in a while. No spam.

Support HouseFresh

Buy us a coffee
Your support makes it possible for us to keep doing what we do.
We are ad-free and buy all the devices we test with our own money. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, which we use to fund new product tests. Learn more