Best Desktop Air Purifiers for Work in 2020
If you are looking for an air cleaner for your office that is compact, lightweight and great value, this page has the top desk air purifiers available and why they are recommended.
Workplace air quality and pollution can be particularly bad, with volatile organic compounds and particulate matter some of the worst pollutants.
Breathing in harmful VOCs and PM 2.5 contaminants affects not just your energy levels and ability to concentrate, but can also damage your lungs and lead to breathing difficulties.
There are actually few places people spend significant time in that are more contaminated with airborne allergens, respirable particulates and toxic gases than modern open-plan offices.
While there’s not much you can do to change the air quality in an entire ‘sick building’, you can purify the air you breathe in your immediate workspace with a good cubicle purifier.
Light and Compact Air Cleaners for Your Workplace
Most other desktop air purifier reviews list a random top 10 of popular products, regardless of how similar they are to each other. This wastes your time when you’re looking for a good model to buy.
Each of the recommendations ahead are chosen as the superior choice in their particular niche or price point, such as full featured, high powered or costing under $100.
After many hours of research, reading customer feedback and contacting the manufacturers for extra details, these are the top 3 small office and desktop air filters on the market in 2020.
Best Desk Air Purifier Overall — SilverOnyx 5-in-1
The new SilverOnyx air cleaner has some impressive air cleaning technology packed into it, including extras you don’t often see at this size or price range.
Within its compact tower design the SilverOnyx utilizes 5 different stages of air purification:
- A mesh prefilter to trap hairs, lint and pet dander. This can be vacuumed occasionally to increase efficiency.
- An H13 medical-grade True HEPA filter. H13 HEPA is superior to H11 filters used in the majority of competitors.
- An activated carbon filter to neutralize bad smells and odors. Activated carbon also combats harmful VOCs and can remove indoor ozone.
- An optional ‘Vita-Ion’ negative ionizer, generating 3 million ions per second. Negative ions combat tiring positive ion pollution, which is particularly prevalent in office environments.
- An optional UV-C light with antibacterial photocatalyst layer to destroy germs and molds. Office cubicles are often full of airborne bacteria and viruses so this is a useful feature to have.
The SilverOnyx air purifier comes in 3 stylish black, silver and white designs and is 10.5 x 16.5 inches and weighs 5.3 pounds.
The top facing touch control panel has quite a few extra features, usually only seen in larger and more expensive models. They include:
- A PM 2.5 air quality indicator so you can tell how the SilverOnyx is working to purify the air in your workspace.
- An auto mode that adjusts to the level of indoor air pollution and displays different colors, blue for good down to red for poor, on the air quality indicator.
- 5 fan speeds in manual mode. Set it on high to clear smoke, when pets are around or on heavy pollen days.
- Sleep mode, where lights turn off and the fan runs at the lowest speed. SilverOnyx says their tabletop model is whisper quiet in sleep mode at just 25 dB.
- An auto timer you can set from 30 minutes to a full 24 hours.
- Optional ionizer and UV-C/photocatalyst buttons. Both of these functions can be switched on or off. However, I’d personally keep them on as negative ions have many benefits and UV-C light kills airborne bacteria and viruses.
The SilverOnyx 5 in 1 purifier is very popular and there are hundreds of positive ratings from owners here on Amazon.
Some of the SilverOnyx customer reviews are particularly helpful, like the home videos, comments on how effective it is for smoke and vaping, and the top reviewer who tested air quality with a high-end particle counter.
SilverOnyx Pros and Cons
- 5 stage air filtration with prefilter; medical-grade H13 HEPA; activated carbon for odors/VOCs; negative ionizer; and a UV-C/photocatalyst filter for germs and mold spores.
- CADR of 140 m³/hr is quite impressive for a filter this size. On high speed this unit does move quite a lot of air, though the recommended room size of 500 ft² seems ambitious.
- H13 HEPA filters are more effective at trapping smaller particulate matter (the most dangerous kind) and are rated as 99.97% effective right down to particles as small as 0.3 microns.
- According to SilverOnyx, the 360-degree purification design provides 60% larger air surface area, compared to competitors, to trap more airborne allergens and pollutants. It is also powered by a durable brushless DC motor.
- Lots of high-end functions like PM 2.5 sensor, auto mode, 5 fan speeds, 24-hour timer, sleep mode and optional UV-C and ionizer buttons.
- Stylish metal designs in black, silver and white and would look great on any desk. Potentially compact and light enough to take from your workplace to your home office and back.
- Prefilter/H13 HEPA/activated carbon filters need to be replaced every 6 to 12 months, depending on how often you use your SilverOnyx.
- Whilst good value as the best office desk air purifier, this model might be a bit more than some people are looking to spend. See these recommended budget air filters under $100, including the smaller and cheaper SilverOnyx 3 in 1, for some other good air cleaning options.
- Despite stating on their sales listing that it does not produce ozone, this office filter cannot be delivered to California at the time of writing.
- While the SilverOnyx is recommended for home offices and would make a good cubicle choice, for really polluted workplaces the extra protection of a large room ionic air purifier would be even better.
The SilverOnyx makes an excellent desktop HEPA air cleaner and is recommended for its great value and features.
It’s multi-stage air filtration, including H13 HEPA, activated carbon, negative ions and germicidal UV light, provides extra purification of not just dust, pollen and mold, but also harmful VOCs and germs, so common in modern workplace environments.
Customer reviews often comment on how good the SilverOnyx is for smoke and bad smells as well. It may even help if you have a work colleague sitting nearby with bad body odor or overpowering cologne.
Being compact and portable, you could use it in other parts of your home as well. Though I think its design and top panel push-button controls make it perfect for office use.
The SilverOnyx 5 in 1 is a simple and effective way to improve the air quality where you spend so many hours working each day.
You can check the current price here on Amazon and see many customer home pictures of this well designed model.
Top High Powered Desktop HEPA Air Filter — Medify Air MA-18
If you work in an open-plan office there can be a lot of pollutants and allergens circulating in the air you breathe.
The more powerful your office air purifier is, the more it can filter out workplace air pollution and improve the quality of the air going into your lungs.
Medify Air is a USA company with a strong reputation for high quality. The Medify Air MA-18, you can see pictured here on Amazon, is their compact H13 HEPA model and highly recommended for people working in larger offices.
The MA-18 Medify Air is only 8.4 x 11.2 inches and 5.3 pounds, yet its advanced 360-degree air intake will purify the air in an 800 ft² office every hour, a 400 ft² workspace every 30 minutes, and a 200 ft² home study every 15 minutes.
4 air changes an hour is highly recommended for asthmatics and people who suffer from airborne chemical sensitivities. I’d strongly consider the MA-18 for your office desk if you have asthma or are often affected by indoor air pollution.
Medify Air use top quality medical-grade H13 True HEPA filters in all their models to capture 99.97% of harmful particulate matter, right down to 0.3 microns.
This is higher-grade air filtration than regular HEPA filters and also works much better for trapping bacteria, hence the medical-grade rating.
The MA-18 also has an activated carbon filter to absorb harmful VOCs like formaldehyde. These toxic gases, often responsible for headaches, lethargy and difficulty concentrating, are emitted by electronics, office supplies and synthetic furniture and flooring.
An optional ionizer function with this model generates 5 million negative ions per second. These ions attach to any remaining airborne pollutants and cause them to become too heavy to float.
Negative ions also counteract the debilitating effects of positive ions, including tiredness, tension, anxiety, irritability, headaches and respiratory problems.
Medify Air MA-18 Pros and Cons
- 360-degree air intake and 800 ft² air cleaning in an hour. 4 air changes an hour or more in a 200 ft² workspace and recommended for asthma and chemical sensitivities.
- H13 medical-grade True HEPA filter, activated carbon for odors and VOCs, and an optional 5 million negative ions per second ionizer to counteract positive ions.
- Tighter weave H13 HEPA leads to lower CADR scores but the MA-18 still has a CADR rating of 150.
- Simple touchscreen controls on the top, filter replacement indicator light, 3 fan speeds and free shipping.
- US company with local support and lifetime warranty on parts and service as long as filters are changed with genuine Medify Air replacement filters.
- There’s no doubt they are high quality, but unfortunately Medify Air replacement filters aren’t cheap. They are available in the ‘Frequently bought together’ section of the listing below. A filter change light on the top will tell you when they need replacing.
- Not as many advanced features and options as the SilverOnyx and no UV light, though negative ion output, airflow and room coverage are all higher.
The Medify Air MA-18 is a well-made and powerful office air cleaner that sits on your desk and purifies the air of the many pollutants found in modern workplaces.
It’s not the cheapest cubicle air purifier in this review, but customer feedback is highly positive and it’s good to see a US company making high-quality products like this using the latest technology.
You can check the current price here on Amazon and see customer reviews and home pictures as well.
For a top of the range desktop purifier, with an even higher 1000 ft² coverage, CADR of 288, particle sensor and mobile app control, also consider the brand-new MA-Smart model by Medify Air.
Better Value Home Office Air Cleaner — Levoit Vista 200
Levoit are industry leaders in the low-cost and compact air filter market and the slim, quiet and stylish Vista, available here on Amazon, is one of their latest releases. It’s an upgrade to the very popular Levoit LV-H132 model.
The Levoit Vista 200 doesn’t have the filtration power of the Medify Air MA-18 or SilverOnyx air purifiers. It’s well-made though and smaller, lighter and cheaper.
For these reasons, it’s recommended for home offices and smaller work spaces where you can close the door.
At just 7.9 x 12.9 inches and only 3.3 pounds in weight, the Vista 200 is easily portable and could be carried in a backpack to work, or even packed in your suitcase when traveling for business.
Levoit’s new desktop air cleaner utilizes a prefilter for larger allergens; a True HEPA filter for floating dust, pollen, mold spores, and cockroach and dust mite waste products; and a high-efficiency activated carbon filter for odors and volatile organic compounds from furniture, electronics and office supplies.
This is also a great cubicle air purifier for those who need a quiet workspace as it’s just 26 decibels on low fan speed, virtually unnoticeable in the average office, and silent enough to match these quiet bedroom air cleaners.
As well as being a cheap office desk air filter to buy, the Vista 200 is also very inexpensive to use over the longer term. Levoit says running this model “24 hours a day for an entire year can cost as little as $6” in electricity.
Other features include 3 fan speeds, sleep mode to turn off lights, and a 2, 4 and 8-hour auto timer. It also comes with a 2-year warranty with registration and “lifetime support”, according to company literature.
Levoit Vista 200 Pros and Cons
- Compact, lightweight and stylish, this model is an easily portable for people who want an easy way to combat airborne contaminants wherever they are working.
- Good value and very cheap to run.
- Combination replacement filters are also very low cost compared to competitors. You can see them in the ‘Frequently bought together’ section with an extra discount for the 2 pack.
- Establish company, 2 year warranty, ozone-free and CARB/ETL/CA Prop 65 certified so it can be delivered to California.
- Recommended for smaller home offices up to 161 ft²/15 m². This is higher than the previously popular Levoit compact LV-H132 air filter, which only had an effective range of 129 ft²/12 m² and the Vista 200 is superior to the LV-H132 at the same retail price.
- Though better than the older Levoit LV-H132, the Vista 200 cannot match Levoit’s brand-new Core 300 model. This impressive design offers 5 air changes an hour in a 215 ft² workroom and has an AHAM certified CADR rating of 230+ m³/hr.
- If you don’t mind having a slightly larger model on your desk, then the new Core 300, available here for not much more, is excellent value. It’s also a more powerful air cleaner for offices than the Vista 200 or especially the Levoit LV-H132.
- Office equipment can produce a lot of tiring positive ion pollution. There is no negative ion generation with Levoit models. One of these high output negative ionizers can counteract the harmful effects of positive ions and may help to improve your focus at work.
- While the Vista 200 is the top Levoit compact air purifier for desktops and traveling, there are even better small and portable air filters here. I particularly like the WYND design there with its ‘clean air bubble’ and USB-powered 8 hour cable-free operation.
If you looking for a quiet, compact, great value and low running cost air cleaner for a small office then the Levoit Vista 200 has a lot to recommend it.
Check the current price here on Amazon and see hundreds of customer reviews and detailed questions answered. Keep in mind its smaller air cleaning range though.
Cleaner Workplace Air for More Productivity and Less Sickness
I hope one of the recommended desktop air purifiers in this review can make a big difference to the indoor air quality of your home office or workplace.
If you are working in a cubicle, or a large open plan area, then the Medify Air MA-18 is a great choice for an office desk in this environment. You can see it here on Amazon alongside other models in the Medify range.
If you find you are getting run down and sick with colds and flu from your workplace, then the SilverOnyx 5 in 1, with its germicidal UV-C light and healthy negative ions would be an even better option.
The hundreds of highly positive customer ratings here must mean this table top air filter is doing its job and working well for people who own it.
Air pollution at the workplace can have many detrimental effects and a significant impact on your long-term health and well-being.
If you are looking for an air cleaner that is even more lightweight and portable, then check out these recommended small air purifiers as well.