Cleaning indoor air of toxins and allergens can be expensive. An air purifier under $100 won’t be able to offer much help if you have a large home with big open rooms. In that situation, there really is no other choice than to buy a big air cleaner that can cost hundreds of dollars. Smaller ones won’t be able to filter the amount of air circulating in a large room.
Thankfully for those of you looking for a budget air purifier, there are cheaper air filters available that are more than able to clean smaller rooms and personal spaces to the highest degree.
Budget air purifiers are typically made for small to medium sized rooms or just to purifier your immediate personal space. Meaning you can place it on the end of your desk, blowing directly at you. This method is especially useful if you tend to sit in the same place for long durations – like when you’re at work.
From all of the air purifiers under 100 dollars, these were by far the best on the market in 2019:
Best Air Purifier under $100 Comparison Table
|Fellows AeraMax 100|
|View on Amazon|
|View on Amazon|
|View on Amazon|
When you want to save money on an air purifier, you need to pay close attention to details. It’s very possible to find an excellent option at a reasonable price as long as you are ready to spend sufficient time on the research.
Consider these things when looking for budget air cleaners
HEPA Filter – Here is one feature you may not want to avoid when choosing an air purifier. This filter takes care of 99.97% of harmful particles 0.3 microns in diameter. If the air purifier is equipped with such a filter, it’s bound to do an excellent job cleaning your space.
Fewer Smart Options – Smart options are nice but you can do just fine without them. More often than not, the high price of an air purifier stems from the number of such options. A budget model can clean your air without them. Such options are air quality sensor, filter replacement indicator, Wi-Fi operation, timer, and the like.
Budget Replacement Filters – When looking for a cheap air purifier, it’s highly important to check the price of replacement filters. In some cases, the yearly maintenance may not be much cheaper than the purifier itself. Look for purifiers that have as many washable filters as possible.
Long Warranty – A low cost air cleaner may not be made from the highest quality materials. If a manufacturer is ready to offer a long warranty then the quality of the air purifier is likely to be high.
Coverage Area – Always check the recommended coverage area. In many cases, a low-budget air purifier can only work in small rooms.
We’ve done substantial research to come up with five cheaper versions that offer the best functionality for their price. Let’s take a closer look.
1. Fellowes’ AeraMax 100 Air Purifier
This air purifier comes with a high-quality HEPA filter, several smart options, and a sleek design. You can use this air purifier for rooms up to 100 square feet, which makes it a great choice for small bedrooms or office cubicles.
Carbon filter – this filter does an excellent job dealing with odors, smoke, and VOCs. It needs to be replaced once every 3 months. The replacement cost is about $2 – $3.
HEPA filter – deals with 99.97% of pollutants 0.3 microns in diameter. This filter needs to be replaced about once a year. The cost is approximately $20. If you want to buy a HEPA filter with AeraSafe anti-microbial treatment (one comes in the box), the replacement will cost you $25. The anti-microbial HEPA filter deals with bacteria, mold, and fungi.
Ionizer – this optional filtration feature deals with numerous airborne pollutants, making it easier for the air purifier to catch them.
The annual maintenance cost for the air purifier ranges from $28 to $37.
Even though this air purifier is under $100, it has a substantial number of smart options:
Filter replacement indicator – shows when it’s time to replace HEPA and carbon filters.
Auto Mode – a special sensor monitors the air quality and changes the fan speed accordingly.
Aera+ mode – designed for high allergy season. It increases the air turnover rate by 35% to remove as many allergens as possible.
This is a fairly quiet air purifier. At the lowest fan setting, it produces about 35 dB. It comes with a formidable 3-year manufacturer’s warranty, which is only valid for the original owner.Pros:
- Excellent smart options
- Low-cost filter replacement
- 3-year warranty
- Quiet operation
- Services rooms under 100 sq. feet.
2. GermGuardian AC4825 Air Purifier
This low-budget air purifier can service rooms up to 185 square feet. It has an excellent tower design, several smart options, and a powerful filtration system. The purifier is portable so it can be easily moved from one room to another, servicing your whole apartment or house.
The air purifier comes with a 3-stage filtration system:
Carbon Filter – fights odors, VOCs, and smoke. The filter needs to be replaced once every 3 months. Four replacement filters come in one pack with a HEPA filter. The cost of the package is about $25. The carbon filter comes with a pre-filter layer, which captures large contaminants.
HEPA Filter – a standard HEPA filter takes care of 99.97% of pollutants 0.3 microns in diameter. It deals with pollen, dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, and much more. The filter needs to be replaced every 9 to 12 months depending on how often you use it.
UV-C Light – this feature is optional. You can turn it on to fight bacteria, viruses, germs, and mold spores. The replacement UV-C bulb costs about $7.
The annual cost of this air purifier maintenance is between $25 and $35.
The only smart option this air purifier comes with is a filter replacement indicator. The light on top of the unit starts flashing red when it’s time to replace the HEPA filter. It’s up to you to remember when to replace the carbon filters.
The fan has three settings, which you can adjust depending on the air quality in your room. It’s recommended to keep the air purifier running on at least the 2nd setting during the day or the lowest during the night.
The air purifier comes with an excellent 3-year warranty. At the lowest fan setting, it produces 42.5 dB, which is akin to the sound of a working computer. It’s a good choice for the bedroom.Pros:
- Services rooms up to 185 sq. feet
- 3-year warranty
- Quiet operation (42.5 dB)
- Sleek design
- Few smart options
3. Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier
This portable air purifier comes with a solid 3-stage filtration system. It can service rooms up to 165 square feet. Even though this unit doesn’t have too many smart options, it does a great job cleaning small rooms. Its sleek and compact design can fit into any décor, be it home or office.
Filtration System – the 3-in-1 filtration system has all the basic options for a good air purifier.
Fine pre-filter – the pre-filter deals with large contaminants, allowing the rest of the filters not to lose time and power on them. It comes as a part of a filter pack (pre-filter +carbon filter +HEPA filter). The pack costs about $17.
Carbon filter – fights odors, smoke, and VOCs. This filter does a wonderful job making the air smell clean.
HEPA filter – deals with 99.97% of contaminants 0.3 microns in diameter. This filter fights dust mites, pet dander, allergens, mold, and much more.
All three filters come in one package, which needs replacement every 6 to 8 months. Accordingly, the annual maintenance cost for this air purifier ranges from $25 to $34.
This air purifier comes with two useful options:
Filter replacement indicator – so you don’t have to time the filter replacement on your own.
Nightlight – the purifier can double up as a night light.
This compact air purifier comes with a one-year warranty, which can be extended to two years. The noise it makes at the lowest fan setting is about 42 dB, which is quiet enough to be used in the bedroom.
Overall, it’s an excellent choice for people looking for a low-budget option with high-quality basic options.Pros:
- Filter replacement indicator +nightlight
- Low filter replacement cost
- Powerful 3-stage filtration
- Services rooms up to 165 sq. feet.
- Less than a 3-year warranty
4. Holmes HAP242 Desktop Air Purifier
This small and compact air purifier is designed for rooms up to 150 square meters. It’s highly portable too, so you can carry the unit from one room to another, place it on your desk or the nightstand. It has a solid filtration system and three fan settings. The dual position design allows you to play around with location.
Even though this air purifier is very small, it still has a powerful filtration system:
Washable pre-filter – captures large contaminants in order to keep them from straining other filters.
True HEPA filter – removes 99.97% of pollutants 0.3 microns in diameter. It deals with pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and numerous other allergens. The filter needs to be replaced every 9 to 12 months, depending on the operation frequency. The replacement filter costs about $10.
Carbon filter – fights VOCs, bad odors, and smoke. It should be replaced once every 3 months. The year supply of carbon filters for this air purifier costs approximately $9.
Ionizer – improves the air quality and simplifies the work of other filters. It’s optional.
The annual maintenance cost of this air purifier is about $19, which makes it highly cost-efficient.
This air purifier doesn’t have any smart options. All you can do is change the fan settings and turn the ionizer on or off. For the price tag this unit comes with, the absence of smart options isn’t a surprise.
The air purifier has an impressive 3-year warranty, which speaks highly about its quality.Pros:
- Under $50
- Powerful filtration system with an optional ionizer
- Compact and portable
- 3-year warranty
- Services rooms under 150 sq. feet.
5. Hamilton Beach 04383A Air Purifier
This small air purifier can service rooms up to 160 square meters (as the manufacturer claims). It comes with a permanent HEPA-grade filter, which means you don’t need to spend money on replacement filters. This unit has a sleek design and works quietly.
The filtration system of this air purifier differs from what we’ve reviewed above. It comes with a permanent HEPA-grade filter. This filter is highly advantageous for users with a low budget since it doesn’t need to be replaced. All you have to do is vacuum it on a regular basis.
However, unlike True HEPA filters, this one only captures pollutants 3 microns in diameter (vs 0.3 microns for True HEPA filters). It means that this air purifier can’t deal with small particles. Accordingly, it may not be a good choice for people with severe allergies and respiratory problems.
The total annual maintenance cost is $0.
This air purifier doesn’t have any smart options, which seems fair when you consider its low price. It has three fan settings, the lowest one of which produces almost no noise, making it a great choice for the bedroom.
Since this air purifier isn’t AHAM certified, it doesn’t have a CADR rating so it’s hard to estimate the size of a room it can actually service. Most likely, it doesn’t exceed 100 sq. feet.Pros:
- Low price
- No annual maintenance expenses
- Quiet operation
- Compact design
- HEPA-grade filter instead of True HEPA filter
Choosing a low-budget air purifier is a tough task. We have made it a little easier by offering you five top options to consider. It’s possible to find a high-quality air purifier with a low price tag as long as you are planning to use it in small to medium rooms.
This article was written by Julia Montague – check out her author bio here