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6 Best Quiet Air Purifiers (And 1 to Avoid)

Last updated December 5, 2022

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

Having an air purifier in the home is a great way to reduce pollutants such as dust, bacteria and unwanted odors. Still, some air purifiers’ noise can be off-putting for some. If you have young children or a baby, a loud air purifier can cause significant disruption to their lives — which is the last thing you need.

Mechanical-based air purifiers use HEPA filters that require a fan to work well, which can be problematic in terms of noise. Fans, especially those that are older, can make a lot of noise when they are at high speed. Sound levels are just as crucial as air cleaning performance which is why it’s one of the key things we look for when we review and evaluate air purifiers here at HouseFresh.

We get to test a lot of air purifiers here at HouseFresh, so we also see many loud units. The Molekule Mini hit a high of 88 dB in our tests which was the highest (and thus, our one to avoid).

But even air purifiers that are great at cleaning the air, like the IQAir Healthpro Plus can hit 62 dB on the fastest fan speed. The good news is that we also tested a lot of air purifiers that ran quieter than most. 

So, read on to discover the quietest air purifiers that don’t compromise on air cleaning. 

The Best Quiet Air Purifiers in 2022

Best Overall
Best Budget Option
Best for Large Spaces
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Bedroom Home, HEPA Filter Cleaner with Fragrance Sponge for Better Sleep, Filters Smoke, Allergies, Pet Dander, Odor, Dust, Office, Desktop, Portable, Core Mini, 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
Alen BreatheSmart 75i Large Room Air Purifier, Medical Grade Filtration H13 True HEPA for 1300 Sqft, 99.9% Airborne Particle Removal, Allergies, Odor & Smoke Air Purifier, Long Filter Life, White
Pros
It has a filter replacement indicator
Under $80 for air cleaning performance that is normally at the $200 range
Lifetime warranty when you get the filter subscription
Cons
Can’t be powered through USB
No app support
Higher initial cost than other options
CADR
32 CFM
226 CFM / 384 m³/h
347 CFM / 589m³/h
Filter Technology
True HEPA
H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
Pre-filter, H13 HEPA and Activated Carbon filters
Recommended Room Size
178 sq. ft
Up to 322 sq. ft
1200 sq. ft.
Sound Levels
25-44dB
32 dB - 52dB
25 - 49dB
Weight
2.2 lbs (1 kg)
18 lbs / 8.16 kg
12.2 kg / 27 lbs
Price
$49.99
$59.99
$769.00
Best Overall
Style
LEVOIT Air Purifiers for Bedroom Home, HEPA Filter Cleaner with Fragrance Sponge for Better Sleep, Filters Smoke, Allergies, Pet Dander, Odor, Dust, Office, Desktop, Portable, Core Mini, White
Pros
It has a filter replacement indicator
Cons
Can’t be powered through USB
CADR
32 CFM
Filter Technology
True HEPA
Recommended Room Size
178 sq. ft
Sound Levels
25-44dB
Weight
2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Price
$49.99
Best Budget Option
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
Under $80 for air cleaning performance that is normally at the $200 range
Cons
No app support
CADR
226 CFM / 384 m³/h
Filter Technology
H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
Recommended Room Size
Up to 322 sq. ft
Sound Levels
32 dB - 52dB
Weight
18 lbs / 8.16 kg
Price
$59.99
Best for Large Spaces
Model
Style
Alen BreatheSmart 75i Large Room Air Purifier, Medical Grade Filtration H13 True HEPA for 1300 Sqft, 99.9% Airborne Particle Removal, Allergies, Odor & Smoke Air Purifier, Long Filter Life, White
Pros
Lifetime warranty when you get the filter subscription
Cons
Higher initial cost than other options
CADR
347 CFM / 589m³/h
Filter Technology
Pre-filter, H13 HEPA and Activated Carbon filters
Recommended Room Size
1200 sq. ft.
Sound Levels
25 - 49dB
Weight
12.2 kg / 27 lbs
Price
$769.00

Why You Should Trust This List

Most lists of “best air purifiers” are nothing more than a ranking of the current bestsellers, regardless of actual capabilities. We don’t want to contribute to that. That is why here at HouseFresh we test and review every air purifier we recommend in our home lab. We can compare them using first-hand data that doesn’t rely on manufacturers’ specifications. Here’s what we do:

  • We create particulate pollutants in our home lab with the help of incense sticks.
  • We use a Purple Air Indoor sensor to record how long the air purifier takes to reduce the levels of PM1ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3 and PM10ug/m3 particles in the air.
  • We track energy consumption with an electricity usage monitor.
  • We measure noise levels in decibels across all power levels available.

We can compare air purifiers across various use cases with all this data. On top of this, we also track initial costs and long-term costs associated with each unit.

Now onto the list!

1. Levoit Core Mini (Noise Level = 25 – 44dB)

The Levoit Core Mini is a perfect little unit for small spaces around your home. This product is a lot smaller than other units and has the lowest noise level at the highest power at just 44 dB, which is the same as a bird call. This well-constructed, premium-built unit is perfect for picking up indoor pollutants and blends perfectly within your home.

The Core Mini may not pack as much punch as other Levoit units, but some great features give this product unique originality, such as a three-stage filter system. This unit is cleverly crafted with a pre-filter, HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter for odors and VOCs

Regardless of its size, it still refreshes the air two times per hour in rooms up to 178 square feet and can help remove harmful pollutants such as dust mites, pollen and other indoor contaminants. This product also features an aromatherapy pad near the top of the unit; add essential oils, take in the calming mist and unwind after a long day.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:360° VortexAir Technology 3.0 and 3-stage filtration (pre-filter, True HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter)
CADR (CFM / m³/h):32
Recommended room size:178 sq. ft. 
Filter life:4-6 months
Noise level (low – high):25 – 44dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):6.5L x 6.5W x 10.4H in / 16.4 x 16.4 x 26.4 cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):2.2 lbs (1 kg)
Energy consumption:$15.21 per year
Time to clean our test room:113 minutes

What We Really Like: 

👍 It is quiet even on the higher settings (44db)
👍 At full power the energy use is quite low as well (7 watts)
👍 The aromatherapy pad is a great addition
👍 Slick design, perfect for kitchens and home offices

What We Think Could Be Better:   

👎 The ideal room size is relatively small (178 sq. ft. / 17 m2) — too small for many people
👎 Auto Mode could react faster to air quality changes

2. Taotronics AP003 (Noise Level = 32 — 52 dB)

We love the Taotronics AP003, and it’s our number one choice for the best budget air purifier this year. It costs less than $70 and includes auto mode and an onboard sensor. The cherry on top is that it hits 226 CFM — usually only available with air purifiers that cost at least $200.

Even at its highest speed, it only hit 52 dB, and due to its ample cleaning power, it can be used at lower speeds to clean a small room like a bedroom quickly. For those looking for a quiet air purifier that can clean as much air as premium-priced models, the Taotronics AP003 is worth a look. 

When we tested the Taotronics AP003, it matched up with the reported CADR scores, as it removed all the pollutants in our test lab in 29 minutes. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 HEPA with activated carbon pellets
CADR (CFM / m³/h):384 m³/h/226 CFM
Recommended room size:Up to 322 sq. ft/30 m²
Filter life:3-6 months
Noise level (low – high):≤32dB – 52dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):21.8 x 14.1 x 7.9in / 554 x 358 x 200mm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):18 lbs / 8.16 kg
Energy consumption:$61.26 per year
Time to clean our test room29 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍 Great price to CADR score
👍 Fair filter cost replacements in line with budget brands like Levoit
👍 Won’t cost lots in the long term as electricity is low with a maxium draw of 29.6 watts when we tested it
👍  Really love the screen and the fact it shows the exact air quality figure

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 They are hard to find on Amazon
👎 Still new brand so hard to trust like other brands with many years like Levoit and Alen.

3. Blueair Blue Pure 411+ (Noise Level = 17 — 46 dB)

The Blueair Pure 411 was no stranger in the air quality market; the 411+, however, builds on an already sturdy unit. It’s super easy to move around your home and has some stunning features to help deal with household contaminants. It comes installed with a 3-stage filtration system which includes a washable pre-filter, HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter for odors and harmful gasses.

Similar to its predecessor, the 411+  is installed with HEPAsilent technology, this type of HEPA works just the same but produces less noise than other HEPA units. Its noise level on the lowest setting is 17 dB, and on the highest setting, 46 dB, which is as loud as a dishwasher’s hum. 

Although the 411+ and the 411 share the same size, noise output, and filter technology, a couple of new and improved features maximize this unit’s potential. The 411+ has a higher performance efficiency than its original model with an increased Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), which extends room size capabilities from 150 sq. ft to around 200 sq. ft. The Blueair Blue Pure 411+ also impresses with a new auto mode, which can determine air quality with just one button push. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:3-stage True HEPA filter with activated charcoal
CADR (CFM / m³/h):120 CFM 
Recommended room size:185 sq. ft. 
Filter life:6 months
Noise level (low – high):17 – 46dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):17H x 7.8W x 7.8D inches (43.18H x 19.812W x  19.812D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):XX lbs (XX kg)
Energy consumption:$21.72 per year
Time to clean our test room:68 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍  Its slick, clean, and minimalist design really blends in well with the house
👍  The pre-filter fabric is unique and comes in different colors 
👍  The HEPAsilent technology is super quiet and exclusive to Blueair
👍  Really versatile unit – great unit for bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and even the garage

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎  We wish the night mode was automatic. LEDs are bright so you need to manually move it out of night mode to the low fan setting
👎  The area of coverage is too small

4. Alen BreatheSmart 75i (Noise Level = 25 — 49 dB)

For a larger unit, the Alen 75i surprises with its low noise output. On the lowest setting, this unit produces just 25 dB and, at the maximum fan speed 49 dB. With a great coverage area of 1300 sq. ft, this cleaner will capture dust, allergens, pollen, fur, pet dander and household odors, PLUS smoke from cigarettes, wildfires and hazardous VOC fumes. 

The Alen 75i features a SmartSensor that measures air quality; when placed in auto mode, the fan speed will change whenever necessary. Go about your daily routines and let this great unit do what it does best. The sound generated is also “pink noise” so it supports sleep.

Generally, the best air purifiers on the market come equipped with HEPA and Activated carbon filters which work brilliantly in conjunction with one another. The Alen 75i, however, takes filtration to another level with a True HEPA (H13) filter, which is known to remove 99.99% of indoor pollutants, leaving only those smaller than 0.1 microns. 

In addition to the True HEPA and activated charcoal filters, another surprising feature is the 75i’s Ionizer which enhances particle attraction with the push of a button. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:B7 Pure filter, H13 True HEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):347 CFM 
Recommended room size:1,300 sq. ft. 
Filter life:6-8 months
Noise level (low – high):25 – 49dB
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):27 lbs (12.2 kg)
Energy consumption:$97.76 per year
Time to clean our test room:24 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍  Low noise output for a larger unit 
👍  The smart sensor measures air quality brilliantly 
👍  Filters last a little longer than other units
👍  Has a fantastic coverage area of 1300 sq. ft.

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎  Wish it was a bit smaller as it’s quite a large unit, making it hard to move around all the time 
👎  It is on the expensive side of air purifiers

5. LEVOIT Core 300S (Noise Level = 24 — 48 dB)

The Core 300S is an innovative and versatile air purifier. It’s compact, yet capable of cleaning the air in a room of roughly 219 sq. ft. This unit is perfect for offices, bedrooms and nurseries as it’s lightweight, meaning it’s easier to move around. 

Being an improvement on the Core 300, the Core 300s features a great smart feature that allows you to connect your unit to your phone or tablet and adjust the settings as you see fit. You also get an auto-mode which means that the air purifier will match fan speed to the level of pollutants in the air, potentially saving filter usage and energy usage over the long term. It’s a great feature for those looking for an occasional issue like cigar or weed smoke.

For cleaner air, it has a three-stage filtration system. Stage one is the preliminary filter to take in large particles; this is proven to help increase the HEPA filter life by not putting so much pressure on it. Stage two is the True HEPA filter to capture finer particles such as dust and pollen. Stage three features a high-efficiency activated carbon filter to handle household odors and hazardous VOCs.

This highly energy-efficient unit features a Sleep Mode function that runs the machine at the lowest fan speed to keep the air clean without disturbing your sleep since it operates quieter. It’s known to last longer, too, thanks to the brushless motor that makes it more stable by reducing the chance of overheating.

The timer settings make it even more convenient, so you can set it to run only for two, four, or eight hours. Afterward, it can automatically shut off so that it doesn’t run all day or all night.

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:H13 True HEPA filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):141 CFM 
Recommended room size:219 sq. ft. 
Filter life:6 – 8 months
Noise level (low – high):24 – 48dB
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):5.95 lbs (2.7 kg)
Energy consumption:$56.48 per year
Time to clean out test room:39 minutes

What We Really Like:

👍  360° side air intake for purification at all sides
👍  Warm night light with two brightness levels
👍  Top control panel that’s easy to access
👍  Safe design makes it useful for kids’ rooms

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 Core 3000S is higher priced than we would like for this performance and smart features
👎  You have to replace the filters every six months

6. Blueair Blue Pure 411 (Noise Level = 17 — 46 dB)

The Blueair Blue Pure 411 non “+” version has unique HEPASilent filtration technology. It utilizes less energy and makes less noise but at a lower cost than the 411+. 

For large contaminants, you get a pre-filter that can be washed (rather than replaced) for long-term use. Then the HEPASilent technology uses electrostatic filtration to remove tiny particles. Then, there’s the particle filter to capture airborne germs and the activated carbon layer for odors.

If you don’t like the idea of electrostatic technology, you will want to avoid this unit as there is currently no way to disable it.

On the lowest setting, it’s known as one of the quietest air purifiers, making it ideal for use at night. It’s highly eco-friendly and can run all day long without raising your energy bills. Also, with a 360° air intake, you can place it in any direction and still receive the same efficiency.

Knowing when to change the filter is simple, thanks to the built-in LED warning system that will glow red. The general LED function will dim after about seven seconds. Although the 411 doesn’t feature an auto mode (like the updated 411+), it still performs to an excellent standard and features the all-important HEPAsilent technology. With more features, the price rises, so the 411 is the best choice if you are watching your budget. 

SPECS & FEATURES

Purifier technology:washable pre-filter, particle and activated carbon filter, HEPASilent™ filtration technology
CADR (CFM / m³/h):120 CFM 
Recommended room size:161 sq. ft. 
Filter life:6 months
Noise level (low – high):17 – 46dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):16.7H x 8W x 8D inches (42.418H x 20.32W x 20.32D  cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):5.3 lbs (2.4 kg)
Energy consumption:$21.72 per year
Time to clean our test room:68 minutes


What We Really Like:

👍  Can customize using six pre-filter color options
👍  Simple 1-button operation
👍  ​​Small and sleek to remain unobtrusive
👍  Causes a noticeable difference in air quality in a short amount of time

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎  Lacks a timer function
👎  No automatic fan speed adjustment


The Air Purifier We Don’t Recommend: Molekule Air Mini (Noise Level = 39 — 86 dB)

You may have heard of the Molekule Air Mini from when it won a design award from Fast Company and made some bold claims of its cleaning power in the press. But after some abysmal reviews from Consumer Reports, The Wirecutter and HouseFresh, along with a big complaint from Dyson, those claims have since been retracted.

The big problem and the reason we suggest you avoid it is due to how loud it is.

You can see in our video below for yourself but we saw nearly 86 dB, which can cause ear damage for long periods. 

The sound alone would be enough to avoid this unit, but it was also nearly useless at removing particulate pollutants in our home test — it was never able to remove all particles, even when left on for many hours. 

It’s also not cheap; we paid $599.99!

Why We Suggest You Avoid This Unit:
👎 Android app doesn’t work for anyone
👎 Very high sound level 86dB
👎 High initial costs and usage costs such as filters and energy usage

If you are concerned about a loud air purifier then be sure to avoid the Molekule Mini.


What You Need to Know Before Buying a Quiet Air Purifier

🤔 What is the quietest home air purifier?

The quietest air purifier we ever tested was the Sharper Image Ionic Breeze which didn’t use mechanical filtration. It made noise but generated dangerous ozone levels and did little to clean the air of particles, so it’s not a unit I would recommend. 

If you are looking for the best quiet air purifier, we recommend the Levoit Core Mini or Taotronics AP003. They run much quieter than similar units with the same level of air-cleaning power. They hit a maximum decibel rate of 44 dB and 52 dB.

🤔 Are all air purifiers noisy?

Generally, air purifiers don’t make much noise, producing a level similar to many familiar household fans. Most people would consider them to release ambient noise, so it may not bother everyone. However, the noise varies depending on the unit’s fan.

Many have multiple fan speeds, and the lowest speeds are the quietest. Also, how loud an air purifier may or may not further depend on the specific model. Many have a Sleep Mode function that allows them to go into whisper-quiet operation, so it’s barely heard.

🤔 What does 20 decibels sound like?

Sound is measured in decibels, also abbreviated as dB. Normal breathing produces around 10 dB. Meanwhile, a washing machine can reach up to 70 dB, and fireworks can reach up to 150 dB.

You don’t want anything over 85 dB or so constantly in your house. Thankfully, many quiet-operating air purifiers are around 20 dB on the lower settings. This places them just above regular breathing.

🤔 So… What quiet air purifier is the best option for you?

Air purifiers can work wonders at making the air in your home cleaner and easier to breathe in. Typical ones can produce the same or slightly higher noise than a typical house fan. Not everyone can or wants to deal with such noise, though.

For instance, if you’re going to run your purifier at night, something quieter can make sleeping easier. Or perhaps you’re in a home with children or babies and the sound can startle them. That is where a quality and quiet air purifier can come in and help improve your air without you having to deal with noise.

Thankfully, there are many top-rated quiet air cleaners on the market. Hopefully, our article will find the right one for your home. 

How We Picked Our Top Choices

We don’t recommend units without being 100% confident in our real-life performance testing process. That’s why we test all the models we recommend in the same room (sized 705 cubic ft) performing the same job (removing incense smoke). 

This allows us to compare units side by side and create “best” lists like this one. The most important features we considered when selecting were: 

  1. HEPA- All the units we recommend primarily use HEPA technology with decades of scientific research supporting it with no by-products created
  2. Activated Charcoal – Another filtration technology backed up by science for dealing with gasses and odors
  3. Quiet – Our loudest recommend unit is 52dB and includes auto modes to enable it to not be on full power all the time
  4. Good value – We considered costs per CADR and ongoing costs like electricity bills and filter replacements. No point in finding a great quiet air purifier that costs too much to run.

SOURCES

Monthly energy consumption costs have been calculated using our air purifier electricity usage calculator, which allows us to calculate daily and yearly costs associated with running an air purifier for 24hs a day. You can customize the result by air purifier wattage and by state. In the case of the calculations we shared on this page, we used California as our base state for energy prices.

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API