The Best Value Cheap Air Purifiers in 2020
If you are looking for an inexpensive air cleaner to filter out allergens and pollutants from the air you breathe at home, this page has the best low-cost options under $100, in some case well under and very affordable.
Just because an air purifier is cheap though, that doesn’t make it good value. There are some important factors to be aware of before you buy one.
Taking a few minutes now to read about what to look out for with an air filter in the lower price range, and what to avoid, can save you more money in the long run.
Ahead are the best value air purifiers in 2020, their pros and cons and detailed information on why they are recommended.
Quick Comparison of the Top Air Cleaning Machines Under $100
If you’re in a rush, here is a list of the best budget air purifiers in 2020:
- Pro Breeze 5 in 1 Air Cleaner — Very high 218 m³/hr CADR for big rooms; large True HEPA and activated carbon filter; special cold catalyst filter for formaldehyde and viruses; optional 10 million negative ions per second.
- Levoit Core 300 Compact Air Filter — 5 air changes per hour in a big 215 ft² room; excellent CADR rating of 230 m³/hr; H13 True HEPA/activated carbon filters; compact and very quiet at 24 dB in sleep mode; stylish design and great value.
- SilverOnyx 3 in 1 Purifier — Very low price: medical-grade H13 HEPA; activated carbon for odors and chemicals; optional 5 million per second negative ionizer; best for smaller rooms.
These affordable HEPA air cleaners are chosen from hours of detailed research, reading product specs, contacting sellers and eliminating many inferior competitors.
Why You Need Air Purifying in Your Home (Even When You’re on a Budget)
According to the EPA, the air inside your home is often more polluted than outdoor air, even in large cities. They also warn there can be serious health risks from the cumulative effects of breathing in this pollution.
Indoor air quality can have a huge impact on your health and well-being so buying an air purifier, even a low cost one, can make a big difference in your home.
Good air purifiers are often expensive. However, it is possible to find a very affordable option at under $100, or occasionally even under $50, that still filters out the vast majority of airborne contaminants and allergens.
4 Limitations of Low-Cost Air Cleaners
1. Most discount air filters at the lower price points have weak fans and can only clean the air in a limited area. Many poorly made models struggle with removing pollutants in even a small bedroom, as customer feedback often shows.
2. Some use inferior ‘HEPA like’ filters rather than True HEPA to cut costs. Avoid any HEPA filter based model that doesn’t clearly state that it uses True HEPA at a minimum.
3. Many lack multistage filtration with different air cleaning technologies. Low-priced HEPA only air purifiers won’t clean the air as well as those that combine other technologies, like activated carbon, cold catalyst and a negative ionizer.
4. One scam practice to be aware of is manufacturers selling discounted purifiers at under $50, then pricing the replacement filters at nearly the same amount as the original unit.
A cheap air cleaning machine with an overpriced filter that needs to be replaced every 3 to 6 months is false economy in the long run.
Always check the price of replacement filters of any HEPA-based models you are considering and factor in the cost over several years.
If you want to avoid buying filters at all then consider the best negative ion generators here, which purify the air with a different technology and never need filter replacement.
3 Best Budget Air Filters That are Actually Worth Buying
Most affordable air purifier reviews list a top 10 (it often appears the first 10 they found on Amazon). This is a lazy practice that wastes your time when looking for the best value model to buy.
Each one of the 3 recommendations below are specifically chosen as the superior choice from dozens of similar competitors. I’ve examined them all so you don’t have to.
After many hours of research, reading technical specifications and contacting manufacturers, these are the 3 best cheap air purifiers for your home in 2020.
Top Air Cleaner Under $100 — Pro Breeze 5 in 1
As a general rule, an air purifier less expensive than $100 should only be considered effective for smaller spaces, not a big lounge or living room.
However, the new Pro Breeze 5 in 1 breaks this rule with an unusually high CADR of 218 m³/hr, according to the manufacturer. Their user manual also states that this model is suitable for large rooms up to 500 ft² (45 m²).
Despite this, the Pro Breeze is surprisingly low cost here on Amazon for such a powerful model with multistage filtration and many different features.
5 Stage Air Cleaning
This model comes with a large surface True HEPA filter with prefilter to trap floating dust and allergens, like pollen, mold spores, pet dander and toxic dust mite and cockroach waste products.
There are also two more layers to this air cleaning filter. The first is a big activated carbon panel to absorb bad odors and airborne chemicals, like toxic volatile organic compounds from furniture and cleaning products.
On the last filtration stage is a special cold catalyst filter to neutralize formaldehyde, as well as viruses and any other remaining airborne pathogens. This technology is not usually seen in such an affordable air filter like this.
All of these four stages of air cleaning are combined in one combination replacement filter you can see here. It’s comparatively good value for such a large air cleaning unit.
In addition to all of these different air filtration technologies, the Pro Breeze also boasts an optional negative ion generator, producing 10 million negative ions per second.
This extra function can be switched on and off but it really does boost air cleaning and negative ion benefits can even enhance concentration and fight fatigue.
This budget air purifier has also being tested as producing virtually undetectable ozone levels, meaning it can be shipped to California.
Finally, while this doesn’t affect air cleaning potential, the Pro Breeze 5 in 1 is quite a stylish unit for its low price with a clean white minimalist design.
There’s also features like auto timers, 3 fan speeds and super quiet sleep mode that you wouldn’t normally expect with such an inexpensive air purification system.
Pro Breeze 5 in 1 Pros and Cons
- High CADR (clean air delivery rate) of 218 m³/hr and recommended for larger rooms up to 500 ft² (45 m²).
- Combination prefilter, True HEPA, activated charcoal and cold catalyst filter to trap 99.97% of dust, allergens and other indoor air pollution.
- Optional negative ionizer with 10 million ions per second output and virtually undetectable ozone levels so safe for delivery to California.
- Stylish design, 3 fan speeds, sleep mode for the evening and 1, 2 and 4 hour auto timer.
- Combination filters are relatively cheap for so much air cleaning technology. Pro Breeze recommends changing these after 5000 hours. That’s nearly 7 months of 24/7 use so much longer if you use the built-in timer.
- Will use a little more power than the 3 smaller low cost air filters reviewed ahead. It’s also a bigger unit and should be placed at least a foot away from furniture and walls.
- For the low price, the Pro Breeze is hard to beat, but it can’t really match the best air purifier ionizers here. Obviously the cost is higher there though.
For the best air cleaner under $100 the Pro Breeze 5 in 1 is excellent value. This much air filtration technology is rarely seen in such an inexpensive model, especially in this larger size.
You can check the price and read some of the hundreds of positive reviews here. Highly recommended as the best affordable air purifier for larger rooms when you’re on a tight budget.
Best HEPA Air Filter Under $100 — Levoit Core 300
Levoit have a strong reputation for making high quality air purifiers. The brand new Core 300 is their newest and best value model yet.
Using an advanced ‘VortexAir’ centrifugal fan with 360° air intake, this deceptively powerful Levoit air filter can refresh the air in a large 215 ft² room up to 5 times per hour.
In a smaller room under 100 ft² this will be 10 times or more, which is great for people with allergies, asthma and other respiratory problems.
This strong airflow is also particularly important for purifying the air of gas pollution, such as traffic fumes, cigarette smoke and volatile organic compounds from household flooring and furniture.
Despite its strong air purification, the Core 300 is almost noiseless on low fan. The unique design and airtight sealing allow this great value air filter to operate at a whisper-quiet 24 dB in sleep mode.
The Levoit Core 300 is AHAM Verifide and tests very well for dust (140), pollen (145) and smoke (141) for its small size. It also has an excellent CADR 230 m³/hr rating. A figure rarely seen in such an inexpensive air filtration device.
100% ozone-free and can be delivered to California. You can see customer feedback and pictures and check the price of this powerful model here.
Custom Replacement Filters
The Core 300 comes with a high-quality H13 medical-grade True HEPA filter combined with activated carbon and prefilter already fitted.
Levoit’s H13 HEPA filters can capture 99.97% of airborne dust, pollen, mold spores, pet dander and dust mite waste in your bedroom. They also work well to absorb odors, smoke and VOCs.
In a new 2020 feature, there are 3 different filter replacement options available, alongside the regular HEPA/carbon filter. These are: Toxin Absorber (for toxic gas air pollution and smoke); Mold Bacteria (with antibacterial filter); and Pet Allergy (for odors, smells and pet allergens).
The 4 different replacement filters are available for sale on the same listing as the Core 300 under the ‘Frequently Bought Together’ section. As a helpful feature, a filter warning light on the top lets you know when to change them out.
If you do decide to buy this great value Levoit air purifier for your home then it’s much easier to get one of these replacement filters at the same time.
Levoit Core 300 Pros and Cons
- Exceptional value for so much air cleaning power. 5 air changes per hour in a 215 ft² room. Double that in a smaller room 100 ft² or under. Recommended for people with regular allergies or asthma.
- Extremely powerful for its small size. CADR of 230 m³/hr is stronger than many bulkier and more expensive competitors.
- Superior H13 medical-grade True HEPA filter combined with activated carbon. Pet Allergy/Toxin Absorber/Mold Bacteria replacement filter choices.
- 3 fan speeds, automatic on/off timer and extremely quiet at 24 dB in sleep mode with no lights.
- Stylish, compact and portable at 14.2 x 8.7 inches and 8.75 pounds. Can be placed on a table to save space in smaller rooms.
- Latest release from a respected and well established company with all their best technology.
- 2 year warranty, according to Levoit’s website and replying to customers on their listing: “if you extend the original 1 year by submitting a warranty card”.
- Guaranteed 100% ozone-free, CARB certified for California delivery, Energy Star verified, free shipping and currently exceptional value.
- Not the cheapest air purifier in this review but still great value for how well it works.
- No negative ion generator, unlike the Pro Breeze and SilverOnyx models.
- Levoit’s website warns that there may be a plastic smell when you first use the Core 300. They suggest running it on high fan speed for several hours in a well-ventilated room to get rid of this smell.
There is very little not to like with the latest Core 300 True HEPA air purifier from Levoit. It’s a well-engineered and extremely powerful yet compact air filter at an affordable price.
Effective air purification for small to medium-sized lounge and living rooms, home offices, kitchens to get rid of smoke and cooking smells, and especially good in bedrooms with its quiet operation.
See the many positive customer reviews and check the current price here for the highly recommended Levoit Core 300 True HEPA purifier.
Recommended Low-Cost Air Cleaner — SilverOnyx 3 in 1
SilverOnyx make high-quality air purification devices and this compact and inexpensive 3 in 1 air filter is their entry-level model.
While this is not the cheapest air purifier you can possibly buy, it is one of the best value ones. Here’s why.
Generally an air cleaner under $50 will use ‘HEPA like’ filters of poor quality. Even ‘True HEPA’ filters are almost always H11 standard only in discount models.
By comparison, the SilverOnyx uses medical-grade H13 HEPA. This more tightly weaved filter is better at trapping fine particles and allergens, like mold spores, bacteria and dust mite waste products.
It’s highly unusual to see H13 HEPA used in such an affordable option. Generally, you’d be looking at much larger model, like the excellent Medify ionic air purifier here, for a H13 filter.
There are two more reasons why the SilverOnyx is the best value air purifier for its low price.
The first is its two activated charcoal filters. Most cheap air cleaning machines combine one thin layer of odor absorbing charcoal on the back of their HEPA filter.
The SilverOnyx has two charcoal filters that are quite thick for their small size. This means more chance to trap cigarette smoke, cooking smells, pet odors and harmful VOCs within activated charcoal’s porous structure.
Lastly, the SilverOnyx air purifier has an optional negative ion generator, producing 5 million pcs/cm3, according to the user manual.
This can be switched on or off, but it’s better left on to neutralize airborne contaminants and fill the air with beneficial negative ions.
SilverOnyx 3 in 1 Pros and Cons
- 2 Medical-grade H13 HEPA filters for dust, pollen, pet dander and dust mites.
- 2 activated charcoal filters for smoke, odors and volatile organic compounds.
- Optional 5 million per second negative ion generator to counteract tiring positive ions and indoor air pollution.
- PM 2.5 (particulate matter) sensor and air quality indicator.
- Timer function for auto on and off and 2 fan speeds at a whisper-quiet 25 dB and still low 40 dB.
- Compact design at 9.8 x 12.5 inches and only weighing 2.9 pounds. Light and portable.
- Long-lasting brushless DC fan and 1 year warranty, according to the manufacturer.
- Established company and better customer reviews and feedback than similar priced competitors.
- This is a smaller unit so don’t expect it to clean the air in a large room. The manual recommends 160 ft² room as optimal. With a lower CADR of 83 m³/hr though, the smaller the room the better this low cost HEPA filter will work.
- Filters should be replaced every 6 months for best air purification and you can find them on sale here. As a helpful tip, brushing or gently vacuuming the filters on the outfacing HEPA side every month or two extends filter life.
- Not as powerful as its big brother model with extra 5 stage air filtration, though significantly less expensive when you’re on a budget and more than adequate for smaller spaces.
- Cannot be shipped to California due to state laws equating ionization with ozone. SilverOnyx replied “this product does not generate ozone” to customer questions on the topic. It appears they have not applied for CARB testing though.
The SilverOnyx packs quite a bit of air cleaning technology into an inexpensive yet high-quality unit. It has H13 medical-grade HEPA, activated charcoal for odor absorption and 5 million beneficial negative ions per second.
With air purifiers, cheap doesn’t usually mean good value, but the SilverOnyx is a rare exception. If you’re looking for an affordable air cleaner for a smaller room I’d recommend checking the current price for this model here.
Saving Money on Air Purification
Consider the size of the room you will use it in before buying one of these cheap air purifiers for your home.
If it’s anything larger than a small room I’d recommend the powerful Levoit Core 300 or the impressive Pro Breeze 5 in 1 as the best under $100. Alternatively, invest a little more into one of the ionic air purifiers here.
For smaller spaces, the compact and inexpensive SilverOnyx does represent great value. One of these recommended desk air purifiers could also be worth considering.
I hope this review of the best affordable air purifiers has saved you both time and money. Once you find the right one it can start protecting your family from the damaging effects of indoor air pollution.