Up until last year, I had never heard of the PuroAir HEPA 14 air purifier.
It was a unit that had never been mentioned by any of the several experts from the air quality space I follow on X (formerly Twitter). Even the excellent Clean Air Stars database, which has comprehensive data on 680 devices, has no record of PuroAir models. Yet, when analyzing sales figures on AMZScout, I saw this device, out of nowhere, listed as the best-selling air purifier of 2023 on Amazon.
According to this data, the two-device set, with a retail price of $349.99, sold an estimated $34 million in a single year. Even the one-device option I bought for this review pulled in $22 million. Between the two listings, the PuroAir HEPA 14 240 managed to sell an estimated $56 million worth of air purifiers in one year!
In comparison, the super popular Levoit Core 300, which has been available since 2019, has only achieved an estimated $33 million in sales on Amazon.com in the same year.
This fact left me wondering, “How could this new brand come out of nowhere and grow to become the hottest air purifier in the United States?”
As we do for all the reviews we write, I conducted research into PuroAir and the company behind it to have a better understanding before writing my review.
Typically, this is a fairly straightforward exercise where I read through company websites, check social media profiles (especially LinkedIn), and trawl public business databases. But the job wasn’t as straightforward when I sat down to learn more about the company behind this air purifier.
After researching PuroAir for over a week, I couldn’t find any clear information about who owns the company, what their background is, their connection to air quality, or the location of their factories and offices.
The one thing I did find was a collection of outstanding quotes from big media publishers highlighted on the homepage of PuroAir’s website, so I followed that lead.
Now, I couldn’t find those exact quotes on the sites of those three publishers:
But, when searching for PuroAir on Google.com, I found recommendation upon recommendation as part of “best air purifier” lists published by some of the largest newspapers and magazines in the world.
This air purifier must be incredible to receive such praise from some of the most well-renowned publishers in the world. This is the kind of advertising that could lead to the PuroAir 240 becoming the best-selling air purifier of 2023.
So, naturally, I was super excited to see how this unit performed in our collection of tests designed to assess air cleaning performance (removing PM1.0 particles), energy usage, noise levels at each fan speed, and long-term running costs.
- In our home lab of 728 cubic ft, we light an incense stick to generate particle pollution and VOCs.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- We track sound levels emitted by the air purifier at different fan speeds with the help of a commercial sound meter.
At the time of writing this review, the PuroAir HEPA 14 240 has a retail price of $229.99.
The lowdown on the PuroAir HEPA 14 240
Many consumers will not realize that this product is too underpowered for the recommended room size and that they paid more than twice what it’s worth.
The big-name publishers should be ashamed of endorsing this air purifier, especially when knowing the impact air quality can have on our health.”
Due to many issues I encountered when testing this air purifier, this is a 4000-word review. I totally understand if you don’t want to read it all. Below are the key things you need to know about the PuroAir HEPA 14 240:
What we really like
What we think could be better
The PuroAir HEPA 14 240 retailed for $229. According to ENERGY STAR, it has a reported dust CADR of 128 CFM and is recommended for rooms up to 160 sq. ft. A fraction of the 1,115 sq. ft. advertised on its Amazon listing and marketing materials.
|Time to clean our test room:
|Air purifier technology:
|H14 HEPA and activated carbon filter
|Recommended room size:
|160 sq. ft.
|Clean air delivery rate (CADR):
|– Smoke: 103 CFM
– Dust: 128 CFM
– Pollen: 128 CFM
|Dimensions (in inches / in cm):
|8.5D x 8.5W x 14.25H inches (22 x 22 x 36cm)
|Weight (in pounds / in kg):
|8 lbs. (3.6kg)
|Noise level (low – high):
|– Speed 1: 22 dB
– Speed 2: 44 dB
– Speed 3: 55 dB
|30-day home trial with 100% refund and 1-year warranty
|Estimated energy consumption:
|$39.95 (37.6 watts)
|Country of manufacture:
A black and boxy Levoit Core 300
The PuroAir 240 looks a lot like the popular Levoit Core 300, especially on the inside
I like black, so I was instantly attracted to it when I opened the box. It didn’t take long for me to start noticing all the little details that now remind me of the Levoit Core range.
The design of the PuroAir HEPA 14 240 is reminiscent of the Levoit Core 300 — all the way to the twist-off cover to remove the filter through the bottom of the device.
This means that the PuroAir has some of the same design issues I didn’t like about the Core units, such as a pre-filter you can’t easily clean. With the PuroAir 240, you must remove the filter whenever you want to clean the pre-filter, which you should do every few weeks, depending on usage.
At the top of the unit, you’ll find the control panel. In the middle, there’s an on/off button. To the right is a timer button you can use to set a timer for two, four, six, and eight hours. On the left, you have an auto mode button to control the three fan speeds and switch on sleep mode. You also get a child lock and a filter replacement indicator.
The PuroAir HEPA 14 240 comes with an onboard air quality sensor. The red light you see in the photo above is the air quality indicator. This LED light changes color depending on the quality of your indoor air.
This air purifier has no other smart features besides auto-mode and sleep mode. It also doesn’t come with app support for your phone.
Right, let me show you how much this unit looks like a Levoit Core 300…
In the photo below, you can see how similar the design of the PuroAir device is to the Levoit Core 300 on the outside:
When removing the filter, you can see how the chamber inside of the body looks pretty much identical for both units:
I went as far as to open up both devices, but I’ll tell you more about it in the next section of my review.
The PuroAir HEPA 14 did improve one aspect of the Levoit Core 300 design. It has added rubber feet to the base of the unit.
With the Levoit Core 300, if you move the device too much, you can accidentally open up the filter, which can be annoying. With the PuroAir HEPA 14, movement doesn’t open up the case, so this never happens.
HEPA 14 that has been lab-tested
I couldn’t find a lab report, so I’m taking their word for it
PuroAir’s website and marketing materials state that this is the “world’s first HEPA H14 air purifier.” The company also says that its filters have been lab-tested to remove 99.99% of particles, but they don’t state the particle size. If it’s a H14 filter, I assume it must be particles measuring 0.3 microns.
The HEPA filter is covered by a layer of fabric that functions as a pre-filter, and inside of it, you can find a small amount of pellets of activated carbon, all part of one filter.
Dyson shares their third-party lab reports, but in the case of PuroAir, we have to take them at their word. I couldn’t find any reports or data confirming a third-party lab had tested PuroAir’s HEPA filter or that it complied with the requirements to be classed as H14. But the company did make sure to mention it plenty of times in its marketing materials and even on the filter itself.
One of the main reasons other manufacturers have not used H14 filters in portable air purifiers is that they cost a lot more, restrict airflow, and take longer to clean the air. The team at Smart Air showed that choosing a lower grade HEPA can actually improve performance, and the fact that the Corsi–Rosenthal box performs so well even though it uses non-HEPA grade filters (MERV 13) shows us that HEPA grade is not a requirement when it comes to household air cleaning performance.
I’m sure H14 sounds like a shiny upgrade compared to H13 for the average consumer, but for anyone who understands air filtration, H14 is seen as sub-optimal when the goal is to remove airborne particles as quickly as possible.
That’s why it’s strange to see claims on the PuroAir 240 product page like:
If you didn’t know how these classifications work, you would think that HEPA H14 is offering 10x the performance of HEPA H13.
I contacted Harvard University and MIT to enquire about the tests they performed on the PuroAir filters, considering the company features them as organizations that backed this project. I didn’t hear back from either of them. But, I did notice that the Harvard and MIT logos have been removed from some sections of the PuroAir site (see before and after) since I started working on this review in November 2023.
Another strange thing I noticed when inspecting the PuroAir 240’s filter was how similar it is to the Levoit Core 300’s. Check them out for yourself:
Both filters have the same dimension, the same design on the handle to remove it from the device, and even the same type of soft foam at the bottom.
While the dimensions are practically the same, the quality of materials in the PuroAir filter is much lower, with thinner plastic and sharper edges all around. It seems as if someone sent the filter of the Core 300 to a factory and asked them to create a cheaper clone.
This got me wondering. If the filter is a cheap rip-off version of the Levoit Core 300, what about the main device?
While we don’t usually open devices up as part of our review process, this is something that I’ve done in the past in cases where a deep dig felt essential (looking at you, Westinghouse 1804).
So, I went one step further (once again) and opened up both air purifiers to explore the PuroAir 240 further.
After exploring the different layers of the PuroAir 240 and the Levoit Core 300, I could clearly see how similar their internals are.
Similar to the filter, I kept finding parts that looked like a rip-off of the Levoit design with a much cheaper build quality when looking at the different elements inside the device.
While looking through the internal components of the PuroAir 240, I was able to find the particulate matter sensor: a PM1006 V1.1 from Cubic. This is the same sensor used in the IKEA VINDRIKTNING air quality sensor that sells for $12. So, we can assume the sensor itself costs just under $3. It’s not as accurate as a laser counter, but it’s good for the price.
Just like the Levoit Core 300, you need to turn the base on the PuroAir 240 clockwise to open the cover and remove the filter. As always, we also put together a video to show you how to change the filter when you have this unit:
I was glad to see that PuroAir added a sticker at the top of the filter warning users to remove the HEPA filter from the plastic bag before using the device.
The PuroAir HEPA 14 240 cleared our test room in 42 minutes
This is two minutes slower than the Levoit Core 300, which is $130 cheaper
The PuroAir HEPA 14 240 has been sent to the AHAM VERIFIDE program, which puts the devices through an ANSI/AHAM AC-1-2020 CADR test, and its results are publicly available on the EnergyStar directory.
The first thing that struck me when I saw this lab report is that they note the recommended room size as 160 sq. ft, and yet the PuroAir homepage and Amazon listing state that this device is suitable for up to 1,115 sq ft.
In my opinion, PuroAir is knowingly overstating the capabilities of this air purifier.
The marketing materials mention that it “cleans rooms up to 1,115 sq ft in just 60 minutes,” meaning that the 240 can provide only one air change in an hour in such a large room. Considering the EPA recommends at least 4.8 air changes in an hour, it’s clear that this device is much more suited to small rooms up to 160 sq. ft.
To be clear, PuroAir isn’t the only brand that overstates the recommended room size like this, but I don’t appreciate it. I am sure plenty of consumers have bought the device based on this room size recommendation and will likely be breathing in airborne pollutants as they’re unaware that one air change per hour is useless.
The other thing that shocked me about the CADR scores of the PuroAir HEPA 14 240 is how low the CADR was considering the price:
- The Levoit Core 300 provides one CADR CFM for $0.68.
- You can build your own CR Box, and it’ll provide one CADR CFM for $0.18.
- At $229.99, the PuroAir HEPA 14 240 will provide one CADR can for $1.79 — one of the highest costs per CADR CFM we have seen with a small air purifier.
I made a little table to compare against other small and/or budget units:
|COST PER CFM
|Levoit Core 300
Without even doing any performance testing, it’s clear that this device isn’t good value compared to other similar models. I don’t understand why so many well-known publications and magazines recommend this as the “best air purifier.”
As usual, I tested the air cleaning performance of the PuroAir 240 inside our 728 cubic ft. test room by measuring how long it takes to clear the air of PM1.0, PM2.5, and PM10 particles from burning a powerful incense stick.
With a slightly lower CADR score than the Levoit Core 300, I expect a slower time in our in-house performance test to remove particles measuring one micron.
I tested this device twice. On both occasions, it took 42 minutes to bring the PM1.0 level down to zero. Considering the dust CADR of 128 CFM, this matches what I expected.
Air cleaning performance test results
Things look even worse when comparing the PuroAir 240 to similarly priced devices. We have the cheaper Levoit Vital 200S ($189.99) that cleaned our test room of PM1.0 in 21 minutes and the $180 Winix 5500-2 that cleaned the same room in 18 minutes.
At the price of $219, all other similar-priced units vastly outperform the PuroAir 240 at removing PM1.0 particles from the air.
To find devices with a similar air cleaning performance, we need to look at budget air purifiers like the Core 300, which cleaned the same room in 40 minutes but costs just $99.99, or the Winix A231, which took 36 minutes but can be found for less than $80.
I’m shocked at how often this air purifier is shown as the “best air purifier,” considering it’s over twice the price for the same air cleaning performance of cheap units.
It seems that referring to themselves as “the Tesla of air purifiers,” proclaiming they invented HEPA 14 air cleaners, and name-dropping world-renowned universities has allowed PuroAir to sell a cheap clone of the Core 300 for over $200!
Either the journalists who recommend this device don’t test or evaluate the performance of the products they tell you to buy, or they have chosen to include the PuroAir HEPA 14 240 for reasons unknown.
Noise levels test results
PuroAir only reports the sound level at its lowest speed. This is another unethical marketing trick, as the CADR test would have been done at the highest speed, and using the lowest speed with a small device like this will be of no value, even for a tiny room.
We used our sound meter to measure the level of noise the unit generated from 3 feet away, and it registered 22dB at the first fan speed, 44dB at the second speed and 55dB at its highest fan speed.
This sound level is very similar to what we saw with the Levoit Core 300, which doesn’t surprise us considering how many other features are similar to the Core 300.
Sound levels can be personal, and some people can hear things others can’t, so we included a video of the PuroAir 240 running at each fan speed.
The cost to run the PuroAir HEPA 14 240: $135.95 per year
As always, I calculated the long-term costs you can expect when running a PuroAir 240 for 12 months. This includes electricity costs and filter replacement costs.
1. Electricity costs: $39.95 per year
We used an energy meter to see how much power the PuroAir 240 pulled at each fan speed.
Assuming you run this air purifier at its highest speed for 24 hours every day of the year, it’ll add just under $40 to your electricity bill.
|Level 1 fan
|Level 2 fan
|Level 3 fan
2. Filter costs: $96 per year
PuroAir doesn’t say exactly how often to change the filter, but assuming it’s similar to the Levoit Core 300 and other smaller devices, you should change it every six months or so.
At $48 per filter, this is $8 more than what Levoit charges, but we assume this must be due to the use of HEPA 14.
- GENUINE PUROAIR 240 REPLACEMENT FILTER: HEPA 14…
- HEPA 14 MEDICAL-GRADE FILTRATION: Removes 99.99%…
- BACKED BY SCIENCE: 3rd party lab tested and…
- MAX COVERAGE: Cleans rooms up to 1,115 sq ft in 67…
I saw that generic filters were available, but interestingly, they state that they’re HEPA 13 grade and bring down the replacement cost to just under $40 per year.
Choosing non-genuine filters will reduce the yearly filter cost by over 50%. Assuming PuroAir uses HEPA 14, you might get better air cleaning performance with these H13 generic filters.
- Compatible Models: This Air 240 replacement filter…
- 3-Stage Filtration: The 14 HEPA filter With…
- Breathe Fresh And Cleaner Air: We recommend you…
A total rip-off of an air purifier that highlights how big media publishers are blindly recommending Amazon best-sellers without any first-hand testing
I assumed this air purifier was another TikTok sensation that used influencer marketing to push an overpriced product. Sadly, it was much worse than I feared.
The PuroAir HEPA 14 240 is a cheap rip-off version of the Levoit Core 300 with an added $3 particle sensor and sold for over $200!
PuroAir has used every unethical marketing trick, like bloated references, unavailable lab tests, anonymous scientists’ collaborations, and even obvious lies like stating that HEPA 14 has 10x better performance than HEPA H13.
I only needed to take one look at their AHAM CADR results to know that this was an overpriced air purifier that would perform worse than the $99 Levoit Core 300.
Sadly, this isn’t the first time this has happened in the air purifier industry. Our industry has its fair share of unethical manufacturers taking advantage of consumers with overpriced devices, such as the current class action lawsuit against Molekule for false advertising, or going back more than 10 years to Sharper Image and their ionizer devices that worsened indoor air.
Unlike vacuum cleaners or air fryers, an air purifier’s work is hidden from the consumer. Brands can say that it works, and without lots of extra equipment, you wouldn’t know better. It’s easy to think that you are breathing in clean air when it might still be full of particles too small to see with the naked eye.
That is why AHAM developed an air cleaning test with the latest update ANSI/AHAM AC-1 in 2006, allowing consumers to see exactly how well an air cleaner performed.
PuroAir has sent their device to be tested and clearly shows the label on their marketing material, but at no point did any “journalist” from Money.com, LA Times, Popular Science, or USA Today look at this information. This is especially surprising, considering these publishers go to great lengths regarding their testing process and even include quotes from physicians and other experts in their articles. Sadly, right now, Google has no idea who is really testing products, and it gives these publishers a free pass to rank highly in their search engine on their name alone.
Take this as an example. Currently, Popular Science ranks number one for “best air purifier for mold,” with the PuroAir 240 as their top pick overall.
I feel sorry for all the consumers who buy this air purifier hoping to fix air quality issues, especially those with difficult problems such as mold or VOCs.
If you still like the idea of a small air purifier that is similar to the PuroAir 240, then you’re much better off going with the Levoit Core 300S, which is cheaper (saves you $69), has better build quality, and even includes smart features like Android and Apple app support. Or you can save even more money and get the Core 300, which still has better air-cleaning performance and is only $99.
But for most people, I recommend spending up to $180 and going for a larger device like the Vital 200S or Winix 5500-2, which provide significantly better air cleaning performance, more activated charcoal, and improvements like pre-filter that you can remove to clean.
We calculated energy consumption costs with the help of the Department of Energy’s appliance energy calculator. We calculated yearly costs associated with running PuroAir 240 24 hours a day for 365 days. We ran this calculation utilizing the U.S. average utility rate of $0.12/kWh as of February 5th, 2024.
Last update on 2024-02-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API