The best-performing quiet air purifiers (no louder than 57 dB)

These are the top air purifiers that provide clean air without generating too much noise.
By
Updated on May 29, 2024
Written by
Teddy Booth
Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.

Air purifiers are the most effective way of removing airborne particles from your home, but clean air comes with a cost. But I’m not talking about upfront costs, filter replacement prices or your energy bill; I’m talking about the price of silence.

You see, air purifiers use a fan and a motor to draw polluted air in and blow clean air out, and both of these create noise. The louder the air purifier, the less likely you are to use it regularly as noise levels can quickly add up to the existing appliances in your home.

As the table above shows, the average noise levels emitted by an air purifier (55dB) can be insignificant compared to other household devices. However, not all air purifiers generate the same amount of sound. 

Manufacturers can minimize noise outputs by utilizing highly efficient motors and fans. This enables them to clean the air efficiently, even running at lower fan speeds. That is why, when we review air purifiers, we always measure the noise output in decibels from 3ft when running the device at each fan speed.

  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.

I used all our data to uncover the air purifiers that will do a great job of cleaning the air in your space without making a lot of noise. 

Staff picks: Top 3 quiet air purifiers

In my recommendations, there are three air purifiers that shine out for different reasons.

BEST OVERALLBEST PERFORMANCE PER $ SPENTFOR LARGE SPACES
Alen BreatheSmart 45iLevoit Vital 200SSmart Air Blast Mini
Time to clean our test room34 minutes21 minutes17 minutes
Clean air delivery rate (CADR)208 CFM245 CFM450 CFM
Filter technologyH13 HEPA and activated carbon filter with ionizerH13 HEPA and activated carbon filterH13 HEPA and activated carbon filter
Maximum room size301 sq. ft.375 sq. ft.703 sq. ft.
Noise levels (from 3 ft. away):36 dB – 51 dB38 dB – 57 dB44 dB – 56 dB
HouseFresh reviewAlen 45i reviewVital 200S reviewBlast Mini review
Price$599.00$169.99$649.00

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Now that you’ve seen our top three let’s jump right in so we can find the best air cleaner for you.

1. Staff pick: Alen BreatheSmart 45i (Noise level = 36dB – 51dB)

This air purifier shows that a high-performance unit with a large fan and motor doesn’t need to keep you awake at night with lots of noise.

I’ve been using the BreatheSmart 45i for some time now, and each time I test and review another air purifier of this size, I compare its sound levels to this. The 45i is a pretty big unit containing a large fan and filters, so you’d expect it to run loud, but Alen proves that this doesn’t need to be the case with an efficient motor.

What we really like

It has touchscreen controls.
It comes with a large, thick H13 HEPA filter AND pelleted activated carbon.
The pre-filter can be removed to easily vacuum and clean it.
It cleared smoke pollutants from the air in our test room in 34 minutes.

What we think could be better

It is a big air purifier that might take up too much floor space in small rooms.
The control panel gets dirty with fingerprints.
It comes with an ionizer function, but you can turn it on and off.

With a dust CADR of 208 cfm and a highest fan speed of 51dB, the Alen 45i is officially the best performing, quiet air purifier we have ever tested. Our air cleaning performance test showed that the 45i is capable of cleaning the air in rooms of up to 728 cubic ft. in just over 30 minutes.

As part of our performance testing, we used a sound meter to record how loud the BreatheSmart 45i gets when running at each of its different fan speeds, and we found that it hit 36.2dB at its lowest fan speed and only 51dB at its highest, which is no easy feat for an air purifier of this size.

If you are looking for a quiet air purifier for a room of up to 800 sq.ft, you’ll need a unit with a high CADR and thick, durable HEPA filters. The 45i will offer exactly what you need, and it also comes with three different thick H13 HEPA filters to choose from.

HouseFresh rating:★★★★☆
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):34 minutes 
Air purifier technology:True HEPA H13 filter with activated carbon pellets + Ionizer technology
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):301 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 207.9 CFM
Smoke: 193.9 CFM
Pollen: 230.4 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):25H x 15W x 8.5D inches (63.5H x 38.1W x 21.6D cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):15 lbs (6.80 kg)
Filter life:12 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 36.2 dB
Speed 2: 45.7 dB
Speed 3: 51.1 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0.8 watts
Speed 1: 4.4 watts
Speed 2: 7.4 watts
Speed 3: 15.2 watts
Speed 4: 25.3 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$105.40 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$2.06
Manufacturer’s warranty:Lifetime (with product registration & active filter subscription)
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

2. Best performance per $ spent: Levoit Vital 200S (Noise level = 38dB – 57dB)

Levoit is on a mission to produce affordable air purifiers that combine excellent air cleaning performance with quiet fans at all speeds.

The Vital 200S is a great example of Levoit’s functional performance at a competitive price. It features a convenient design, smart features and a highly efficient fan engineered for maximum performance in medium-sized rooms. This air purifier does everything we expect from a modern air purifier while keeping cost and noise low. Win-win.

What we really like

High cleaning performance for its price tag.
Packed with smart features.
Plenty of generic filters available at a lower cost.
It remembers your settings when you turn it off or unplug the unit.

What we think could be better

There isn’t an independent HEPA rating test.
You need to clean the AQI regularly.
The handles are shallow.

The Vital 200S showcases all the good points of past Levoit units. It looks modern and stylish, has a great CADR, keeps running costs low and doesn’t make a lot of noise. This air purifier cleared our home lab of simulated pollutants in just 21 minutes, an awesome feat for a unit of this size and at this price point.

At its highest fan speed, it hits the average noise level across all the air purifiers we have tested, 57 dB, but you don’t need it running on high for long. Have a listen for yourself:

Its highly effective auto mode monitors air quality using onboard sensors, changing the fan as needed to clean the air of pollutants in real time. This keeps you from any unnecessary noise when it’s not needed.

HouseFresh rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):18 minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 TrueHEPA and activated charcoal filter
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):375 sq. ft. (5 ACH)
Clean air delivery rate (CADR):Dust: 263 CFM
Smoke: 242 CFM
Pollen: 240 CFM
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):15.6D x 8.5W x 19.8H inches (39.3D x 21.5W x 50.2H cm)
Weight (in pounds / in kg):13.2 lbs (5.9 kg)
Filter life:12 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 38.3 dB
Speed 2: 41.9 dB 
Speed 3: 53.8 dB
Speed 4: 57.7 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0.97 watts
Speed 1: 5.71 watts
Speed 2: 8.01 watts
Speed 3: 31.96 watts
Speed 4: 44.55 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$127.94 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$0.72
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

3. Best for small spaces: Levoit Core 300S (Noise level = 38dB – 54dB)

A small air purifier that runs quietly, comes with smart features and efficiently filters airborne pollutants from the air.

Levoit really made some moves when they introduced us to the Levoit Core 300. This small unit proved that you can pack an air purifier with everything you need without making it expensive. Now, the upgraded Core 300S takes it to a new level, allowing you to monitor and control your unit with a smartphone from anywhere with an internet connection.

What we really like

The Core 300S offers a great CADR for the price of the unit (134 CFM).
It comes with smart features such as auto-mode and app connectivity.
It has an on-board air quality sensor and an AQI display.
It takes up minimal floor space.

What we think could be better

I wish it contained more activated carbon.
You can’t remove the pre-filter to clean — you need to take out the full filter and things can get messy.
The AQI sensors are on the back, which means that.

It’s safe to say I really like the Core 300S and use it daily in my own home. I like it mainly for its fast-acting auto mode that kickstarts the fan as soon as it detects harmful particles in the air. This makes it so that the air purifier is constantly working at the fan speed level it needs to hit to clean the air, minimizing unnecessary noise if you were to always turn it on to top speed when the particulates are flooding your room.

Even at its highest fan speed, the 300S only reaches 54 dB, which compares to the sound of a refrigerator humming in the background. Watch the video below to listen to the noise generated at each fan speed:

Another cool thing about the Core 300S: Levoit’s VeSync app allows you to monitor the quality of your air and the performance of your unit. It gives you updates in real time, shows you the filter life, lets you program schedules and change settings whenever you please.

HouseFresh rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):32 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 (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):5.95 lbs (2.7 kg)
Filter life:6 – 8 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: 54.5 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 1.7 watts
Speed 1: 5.9 watts
Speed 2: 9.8 watts
Speed 3: 21.8 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$85.23 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$1.12
Manufacturer’s warranty:2 years
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

4. Best for large spaces: Smart Air Blast Mini (Noise level = 44dB – 56dB)

Smart Air has accomplished making a high-performance air purifier with a large fan that doesn’t produce over 56dB at its highest speed.

You won’t find gadgets and smart functions on a Smart Air unit because this manufacturer concentrates on engineering high-performance air purifiers with a no-nonsense approach. The Blast Mini is a testament to these beliefs, as Smart Air has managed to make a large, robust unit that makes minimum noise even at high fan speeds.

What we really like

It is made from metal instead of the usual plastic used by other manufacturers.
It has only one dial to operate, making it incredibly easy to use.
It cleared our test room of smoke pollutants in just 12 minutes.
The filter can last up to 13 months.

What we think could be better

It is a large and heavy unit. But it comes with caster wheels, making it easier to move it around.
Placed at the back of the unit, the fan speed dial is not as easy to reach.
It’s high energy consumption, pulling 122.7 watts at its highest fan speed.

Unlike most other air purifiers on the market, the Blast Mini is made from metal instead of plastic, making it super durable. It is a big air purifier, but all that space is well-utilized. Lifting off the front panel reveals a huge H13 HEPA filter and a large fan that removed all PM1 pollutants in our performance test in just 12 minutes at its highest fan speed.

The best part is that this outstanding air cleaning performance didn’t generate a lot of noise: The Blast Mini produces 56 dB of sound in this setting, equating to the average noise of a normal conversation.

HouseFresh rating:★★★★★
Time to clean our 728 cubic feet test room (with the device running at top speed):12 minutes
Air purifier technology:H13 HEPA filter (and optional activated carbon filter)
Recommended room size (4.8 air changes per hour):703 sq. ft.
Clean air delivery rate (estimated CADR):435 CFM
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)
Filter life:13 months
Noise level in decibels (measured from 3 ft. away with a sound level meter):Speed 1: 44.9 dB
Speed 2: 51.2 dB
Speed 3: 56.3 dB
Electricity consumption in watts (recorded with an electricity usage monitor):Standby mode: 0 watts
Speed 1: 51.9 watts
Speed 2: 87.4 watts
Speed 3: 122.7 watts
Estimated running cost (electricity consumption + official filter replacement):$311.89 per year
Cost per CADR cfm (based on dust CFM as reported by AHAM):$1.38
Manufacturer’s warranty:1 year
Country of manufacture:China

Read our full review

Two high-performing air purifiers that excel at low fan speeds

One way you can reduce noise from an air purifier is to run it at a low fan speed, but unfortunately, most units aren’t that effective on this setting. As part of our air cleaning performance tests, we measure how efficient our air purifiers are when running at the lowest fan speeds. Here are two units that exceeded our expectations.

  • Levoit EverestAir — The EverestAir cleared our test room from incense smoke in just 25 minutes while running at its lowest fan speed, where noise levels don’t exceed 24 dB. It comes with smart features like an AQI, auto mode and app connectivity, and looks like someone at Apple designed it.

  • AirDoctor AD3000 — The AD3000 cleaned the air in our test room in 35 minutes when running at its lowest fan speed, generating 40.2 dB. It has a high CADR of 377 CFM and there are generic replacement filters available to keep long-term running costs down.

Other quiet air purifiers that we tested but don’t recommend

In our quest to find the best quiet air purifiers, we also came across the worst. These are the air purifiers that talk a big game but don’t deliver when it comes to cleaning your air:

  • Okaysou AirMax10L Pro — Even though this unit is fairly quiet, it underperforms when compared to the other air purifiers on my list.
  • Levoit Core Mini This is one of the quietest air purifiers out there but it is also too small to clean the air in even the smallest of rooms, making it more suitable to an RV or campervan.
  • PuroAir HEPA 14 240 It may be quiet, but unfortunately, it’s a complete waste of money.

What to look for when buying a quiet air purifier

Given the negative impacts of environmental noise at night, you should invest in a quiet air purifier that won’t disrupt your sleep. 

Here’s what to consider when buying a quiet air purifier. 

1. Consider the overall decibels

The standard air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter will have an overall noise output between 40 and 70 dB. 

At 40 dB, the purifier is quiet enough and provides relatively calm background noise. However, those with 70 dB and above noise output will be very loud and you’re unlikely not to want to use them regularly.

A purifier’s noise output level will depend on the fan speed settings. When the fan speed is low, there is minimal noise output and vice versa. 

2. Pay attention to the CADR rating

By checking the air purifier’s clean air delivery rate (CADR) rating, you’ll understand how effectively the device filters pollutants within a given room size.

For example, a device with a 250 CADR rating for dust will be more effective than one with a 200 CADR rating for the same room size. The 250 rating means the air purifier can produce 250 cubic feet of fresh air per minute to remove dust from the room.

Therefore, the higher the CADR rating, the faster the air purifier will clean a room’s air.

You can use our handy calculator to find out what CADR rating you should be looking for depending on the size of the room where you will be using the air purifier:

3. Check whether the air purifier has a Sleep Mode

If you are looking for an air purifier for your bedroom, don’t just focus on noise levels; choose one with a sleep mode option. The sleep mode option not only sets the device to run at the lowest fan speed possible but also turns off the lights on the display, minimizing the chances of the air purifier disturbing the darkness of your room.

4. Consider energy efficiency

As is often the case when buying other household appliances, considering the total energy usage is vital. Power consumption is an important factor since your purifier will continuously consume energy. A higher dB unit will likely consume more power depending on the fan speed setting.

The standard purifier will have a power rating of between 17 and 100 watts. You can always use an energy usage calculator to compare different air purifiers by using the cost per kWh, wattage, and usage hours as measurement parameters.

Common questions about quiet air purifiers

When deciding on appropriate noise levels, you can use a classroom as a reference as it is a room where quiet is imperative for concentration. 

According to WHO, an occupied classroom should be 40-50 dB, and Clean Air Stars suggests 40-45 dBA max. Many air purifiers will go over 55dB at the highest speed, so much better to use the lower speeds and choose a bigger device than is recommended for your room space. 

You can also use multiple devices at lower fan speeds, Joey Fox talks about this in his blog post about the issue of HEPA noise.

As CADR scores from AHAM scores are calculated at the highest speeds, some air purifier brands make their devices go very loud at the highest fan speed to have a higher CADR score for marketing purposes. This is why we calculate room cleaning speed at lower speed levels, especially for larger devices. 

You can often find that a large device like the Levoit EverestAir can clean the air quicker at its lowest fan speed and much lower sound level compared to the noise generated by a smaller device running at its highest fan speed.

Ten years ago, there were popular devices called ionizers sold as silent air purifiers because they made very little noise as they didn’t use fan and a filter. The problem was that they were ineffective and also created dangerous amounts of ozone

If sound is a concern, then choose a large air purifier and run it at a lower fan speed as it will result in low sound levels but will still keep your room clean.

An easy way to see if your air purifier is working is to look at your HEPA filters after three weeks of usage. If your device is doing its job, you will see dust and hair on the pre-filter.

Another way is to have an air quality sensor in your home. These devices give you an up-to-date air quality reading. We recommend the QP Lite.

Wrapping up

If you want to ensure the air in your home is clean, you should run your air purifier 24/7/365. That means that if your air purifier is noisy, it will affect the quality of life of those who live in your home. That is why we always recommend choosing a quiet air purifier as we know very well that if a unit is particularly loud, you won’t want to use it.

When buying an air purifier for your home, be sure to check how much noise it produces at high and low fan speeds. Noise levels are just as important as your budget, the features it has and its design aesthetic. 

Remember that quiet air purifiers have similar functionalities to regular air purifiers. The only difference is that manufacturers of quiet units leverage advanced engineering to minimize noise levels from the fan and motor.

Last update on 2024-06-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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About the author

Teddy Booth

Teddy joined HouseFresh in 2019 as a senior content producer, producing written content as well as product photography and YouTube videos. He supports Danny as a product tester and is our lead how-to writer.

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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