Have you ever wondered how we spend so much time thinking about which phone we will buy and so little time on what is the quality of the air we breathe? Well, since you are reading this article that thought has probably crossed your mind. It is scientifically proven that the air inside your home is 2 to 5 times polluted than the one outside. And if you are a heavy smoker or if you use a lot of chemicals for work or for some other reason that number can go up to 100 times, which is a reason for real concern.
You might think that having an air purifier which really does the trick will cost you an arm and a leg. But this is not the case. There are really affordable and good quality purifiers which are small and portable. You don’t spend thousands of dollars on vacuuming, but you manage to keep your carpet clean. It’s a similar situation with an air purifier.
This article is intended to help you choose the best affordable, portable and small air purifiers which can help you clean the air in your dormitory, car, small room, kitchen or any other place that doesn’t require a large and powerful device. We will point out the main things you need to watch out for so that you don’t get lost in the endless sea of different offers on the internet or stores around you. Also, we will provide you with useful tips, tricks and things to think about before you make your final decision on the purifier you will purchase.
Best Air Purifiers 2019 Top List
The best small & portable air purifier reviews
QuietPure Compact Air Purifier with ActivePure Technology
A very well designed and quiet air purifier that is perfect for small rooms and tight spaces. If you need a reliable, decently priced and comprehensive air purifier, you should look into buying this device. This device has a HEPA filter with Active Carbon filters, which enables it to tackle 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and larger. HEPA filter is responsible for the particles, while the active carbon filter is responsible for odors and different smells that might show up in your room.
This device is great for a small bedroom or a smaller living room. Even though the manufacturer states it covers an area of 250 square meters, we wouldn’t advise you to cover that much space with this device. It is better to be conservative with respect to space than to fail in your air purifying efforts.
This device has a LED technology display with a touchscreen control panel with 3 fan speed, 5 timer settings that can range from 30 minutes to 5 hours. It comes with a 1-year limited warranty, which is expected for this type of device.
- Small and quiet
- Good for small rooms
- Replacement filter is costly
- Blue light is very bright during the night
LEVOIT LV-H132 Air Purifier with True Hepa Filter
It has 3-speed settings in various conditions, and it operates quietly during the night with a light that will not disturb you. The manufacturer also gives 1-year buyer insurance policy with an option to extend it by 1 more year. On the downside, some customers reported a burning smell, but the manufacturer replaced those filters if customers reported it. Also, we saw that Levoit is reporting that the device can be used for wildfire smoke and ashes, which is a bit of an overreach because of the strength of the device and the fact that the filter would get clogged quickly.
- 1-year buyer insurance policy
- Good design
- 3 stage filtration
- Can be noisy on higher settings
- Buttons are sensitive
- Burning smell from the filter
hOmeLabs 3 in 1 Ionic Air Purifier with HEPA Filter
Fan speed is customizable with only low and high settings and also it has an indicator light for filter replacement, which according to the past customers has to be replaced quite often.
Having examined devices performances and quality we came to a conclusion that this device is intended for desk usage in very small rooms or offices, so if you try and use it in larger spaces it will most definitely be a disappointment.
- 2-year warranty (additional 6 months if you sign up on manufacturers web site)
- Small device
- Low price
- Noisy on high setting
- Useless in large spaces
- The filter has to be replaced very often
Honeywell 17000-S QuietCare True HEPA Air Purifier
According to Honeywell, the HEPA filter lasts up to three years, while the pre-filter should last up to three months. There is an electronic push-button control that will make the device up to 35% quieter with three-speed levels, and a new SurrondSeal technology which is intended to minimize air leaks. Also, Honeywell introduced a 5-year warranty period against defects. As you might notice, this device doesn’t have the best design, but it is very light and portable with only 13 pounds of weight.
- 5-year limited warranty against defects
- Long lasting HEPA filter
- More than average customer complains
- No timer or a remote
SilverOnyx Air Purifier with True HEPA Carbon Filter
Ionizer is there to destroy airborne allergens and UV light takes care of mold, germs and other similar contaminants.
The device is very functional for its size; it has 5-speed fan, an indicator for a filter change, timer and a sensor which automatically adjusts airflow according to the readings it gets. If you need a small device that has multiple filters, and you have extra dollars to spare, this should be the right pick for you.
In case of wondering what is ionizer air purifier?
- Money back guarantee
- 5 levels of filtration
- Auto adjustable speed
- Quiet and very light
- Replaceable filter cartridge
- It can’t filter 500 square feet spaces efficiently
- Noisy on higher settings
AirFree Onix3000 Air Purifier
Also, it is important to point out that the air is being cooled down before it’s distributed across the room. There are no filters, so the maintenance is nonexistent and it’s so quiet that it produces almost no sound. Onix is recommended for the rooms that are around 650 square feet in size. Electricity consumption is as low as 51W, which is less than a light bulb. It also has an adjustable night light for bedroom usage.
This purifier seems too good to be true and it is still questionable if this device is efficient enough. We have seen above the average complaints, but on the other hand, there were many satisfied customers.
- No sound – 100% quiet
- No filter
- No maintenance
- Almost weightless (3 pounds)
- Low energy consumption
- Questionable purification results – above average complaints
Wynd Plus – Smart Portable Air Purifier
You can also connect this device to your phone and have a full control through it. This device is intended to clean the air in very small rooms, hotel rooms, cars, offices or other enclosed small spaces. Wynd Plus says that this purifier traps pollen, pet hair and dander, bacteria and industrial pollution particles with its medical grade filter. As for the filter itself it is made out of electrostatic material that can capture particles that are 0.3 microns or larger and its lifespan is 3 to 6 months. There is also an impregnated silver layer within the filter that kills germs, bacteria and other organic materials that are approved for use in USA hospitals and manufactured in California, according to the Wynd Plus.
- Detachable air quality tracker
- Full app control and monitoring
- Ideal for travel
- It can clean only very small spaces
- Air quality tracker does not have a separate charger
- The filter is not standardized
Honeywell HEPAClean Tabletop 13′ x 13′ Room Air Purifier
Fortunately, Honeywell didn’t forget about filter indicator that will alert you when it’s time to replace it and they installed three cleaning levels. This device can be easily packed and transported due to its small size and weight. This is a device best suited for people that don’t have high expectations but need an air purifying device which is not expensive and can do a basic job to help improve their air quality.
- Low-quality filter
- Low overall quality
AmairCare Roomaid Portable HEPA Air Cleaner (Pure White)
The device is designed to best operate in rooms which are between 75 and 150 square feet. Roomaid is a quiet, compact and energy efficient device in steel casing weighing only 5 pounds which makes it very portable and fit for travels and constant moving. The purifier also works with an optional 12 Volt adapter so it can be used in cars or trucks. Unlike some other devices in its category, Roomaid has only two fan speeds.
- Very light
- Long lasting device and filter
- Good quality design
- Additional cost for the Activated Carbon filter
- Additional cost for the auto adapter
Small & Portable Air Purifier Buying Guide: How to Choose?
If you are planning on buying one of the small and portable air purifiers, you must have realized by now that this can be a process where you need to put in some effort. There are many purifiers out there that are not a good fit for you and a small mistake can make your purchase a waste of money. That is why we are dedicated to helping you make the right choice by pointing out the main things that you need to consider when you are buying a device like this.
If you follow or guide closely a margin of error will be very small, and we are sure that you will make the right decision. Since this market is highly unregulated, we have made a compendium of all the knowledge out there and gave you the most important points that will help you make your decision.
CADR – Clean Air Delivery Rate
An important thing to consider when you plan to buy one of the portable or small air purifiers is a CADR number. CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate and it’s an indicator that was developed by AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) in order to impose an industry standard. What CADR actually means is the amount of the air that can be purified in a certain amount of time. The whole CADR concept is a long story which is not intended for this article, but it is important to mention it.
The problem with CADR is that it gives you a limited amount of information because it is concentrated mostly on tobacco smoke, dust particles and pollen while it does not take into account the size of particles. There is a separate measurement for each category and the numbers can range from 10 to 500, which can be represented for example like – 140/160/150 and they refer to dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen.
If you have a small apartment which is somewhere between 250 and 500 square feet, approximate CADR should be between 150 and 330. That’s a rough estimate, but in general, this is something that works. Also if you need a really small portable device, we would recommend you to be very careful when looking at the devices that have CADR below 80. If you want to check out CADR numbers for the device you would like to own, you can check it out on AHAM website . If the device is not there, it’s using electronic filters such as UV, or it is not rated there, which is not a good sign for an air purifier.
Coverage of the device that you are interested in and CADR are tightly connected. If the CADR is higher, the coverage is higher. But there is one thing that you should avoid at all costs, and that is to buy the device that has lower coverage than the room you are planning to use it in. It is almost certain that vendors will state that the coverage of the device is higher than it really is. It is advisable to choose a CADR that is 30% higher than what manufacturer stated in specs.
Also, it is advisable to think of higher CADR when you are buying an air purifier which you intend to use in multiple rooms. So if you are leaning toward having a Wi-Fi/app controlled/great light gizmo, and a powerful fan, forget about the features and remember what the real reason you are buying the device is. That’s our most sincere advice.
In order to determine the size of the area that the device must cover, you need to measure the square footage of the room you want to use it in. This can be done by simply multiplying width and length of the room. If the width is 15 feet, and the length is 12 feet you get 180 square feet that need coverage (15 x 18 = 180). We suggest that you find a device that has a maximum coverage of 200-250 square feet so that you are completely certain you have the right purifier for yourself.
If you have never used an air purifier, noise level might seem like something trivial to point out. But just think about how loud a clock can be, or water drops in a sink during the night. You might think that a small air purifier is soundless, and there are devices that are, but you have to be careful when you search for them.
Sound level is measured in decibels (dB), so the lower the better. There are devices that produce 0 or almost 0 decibels, and they are mostly considered to have electronic filters, which are different than True HEPA filters for instance, which produce sound. The fan is an integral part of a regular nonelectronic air purifier which is responsible for the sound. The design, strength, and quality are factors that influence the level of sound. So, if you plan on having this device near you when you sleep, be sure to check the level of sound so that you can sleep peacefully next to your air purifier. In order to compare the level of sound for your device, we present you a noise level chart to help you with this assessment.
Noise level chart
|Type of sound||Decibels (dBA)|
|A pin dropping||10|
|Air conditioner/conversational speech||60|
Best air filters for small and portable devices
In short, we would like to point out what are the main filters that small and portable air purifiers have. This is one of the most important decisions that you will have to make. There are five main filters that can be found in small and portable devices:
- Pre-filter – This filter is responsible for collecting the largest particles like hair and dust, and it prolongs the life of other filters. They are usually washable.
- True HEPA or HEPA type filter – This is the most important filter that is the best for trapping microscopic particles. True HEPA is certified filter that can trap 99.97% or particles as small as 0.3 microns. While HEPA type filters are uncertified filters whose real purification level is unknown. We don’t say that HEPA type filters are bad, we just say that we don’t have an independent quality confirmation
- Activated Carbon Filter – This filter is responsible for removing odors and smoke
- Ion filter – fan free filter which neutralizes a variety of particles
- UV light – fan free filter that kills bacteria and viruses. It is commonly referred to as sterilization.
Our suggestion is to use a combination of pre-filter, True HEPA and Activated Carbon filter which can be easily found in many devices. Also, it is good to have as many filters as possible, but if you are not a fan of replacing filters and if you want a plug and play device, you should think of a device which has only electronic filters such as Ion or/and UV light.
When you are considering buying an air purifier which is small, you should also think about the costs. Despite being small, these purifiers can be expensive and their maintenance can be costly. If your only concern is to save money, we would suggest that you concentrate on the quality of the filter and coverage compared to the price. Don’t expect a good quality device with a lot of features and perks to be cheap. The devices which are supposed to contain all features for a very low price are usually marketed in a misleading way and they are not a real deal.
When you are considering filter replacement, the first thing to consider is the price of the replacement (between 10$ and 50$) and the second thing is to see how often it needs replacing (1-12 months). When we are thinking about small and portable purifiers we can see that this can be a significant expense compared to the price of the whole device. It is possible that you spend more money on replacing filters in a year than for the whole device when you buy it. So both filter life and its price have to be taken into account. There are purifiers, with electronic filters, that virtually have no maintenance costs, since their filters don’t need replacing, but the quality of purification is questionable compared to True HEPA filters that do need replacing. So you basically trade in maintenance cost for uncertain results.
Also, you should look into the power source of your appliance. The air purifier can run on batteries, electricity or both. Batteries can be expensive, and if you want rechargeable batteries, they again add up to the cost.
Small And Portable Air Purifier Features – The Whole Story
We have covered all of the main aspects regarding small and portable air purifiers, but we have yet to tell the whole story. There are details and tiny differences between large and small air purifiers that are key when it comes to defining the elements which are the reasons you buy one and not the other. Usually, people that have enough money buy multiple devices for all occasions, but financial constraints are an issue for most people and we need to take that fact into account.
It is understandable that the large air purifiers will cover a larger area, but not all people need a large air purifier for hotel rooms, dormitory rooms, small bedrooms, so there are numerous reasons to buy a small air purifier. Also, some large households which do not own an HVAC system might choose to buy a few small air purifiers instead of one large stand-alone.
Also, it is much easier to install, if there is a need at all, a small purifier rather than the whole house purifier. The same thing applies to maintenance, with one difference, you have to call an expert to replace a filter in a large purifier while you yourself will be able to replace the one in portable purifier, it’s just that you will be doing this every 1-3 months, and you will have to call a professional once or twice a year for the large device.
We have already talked about the noise, but if we compare small and large devices, we can see that large purifiers are less noisy because they are usually tucked away somewhere in HVAC system or they are placed in living rooms which are far from your bed. This is why you need to pay extra attention to the noise that the small purifiers will be making.
To conclude, we can’t say with a great amount of confidence which type is the best, we can only advise you to get the one that suits your needs best.
– You can also check out our best air purifier choices –
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How important is the role of a fan in a small purifier?
A: Having a fan which has a low level of noise is imperative for small and portable devices because you are going to put them in small rooms, desks, night tables and other places that are very close to your ears. You don’t want to exchange fresh air for insomnia.
Q: Do I need a carrying handle?
A: lots of purifiers don’t have a carrying handle, but lots of them do. If you are buying an air purifier which you intend to move every day, this feature is something you might consider putting closer to the top of the list.
Q: Will I get a better device if I have more levels of speed?
A: No. This is based only on technical design, but smaller purifiers tend to have a smaller number of options. This can be an issue if you don’t have a night or sleep mode. It is important to always check levels of sound on sleeping or night mode.
Q: What about the timer?
A: This is a very good feature because you can program the timer to work when you want it to. This is especially important if you have a purifier which emits small amounts of ozone. You don’t want to be in a room when the device is sterilizing your air.
Q: What does the filter indicator do?
A: It helps you to know when you need to exchange your filter. If you are running a purifier with a bad filter, it can do more harm than if you leave it turned off.
Also learn how to tell if air purifier is working
Q: Can I access my device remotely?
A: Yes. You can remotely control your purifier with an application, computer or a physical remote. These can be very interesting features for computer savvy people.
Q: I saw that dirt sensors exist. Are they important?
A: Yes. They represent an advanced feature which can be found in more expensive purifiers which automatically adjusts fan speed according to the level of pollution in the air.
Q: What is important when looking at the design?
A: It is important for an air purifier to be portable and compact if you plan to move it all the time. And also keep in mind that this will be a part of your “furniture” so you might want to buy a nice looking device.
Q: Should I buy an air purifier with a Pre-filter?
A: Yes, it is advisable. If it is washable it can help bring down the costs and prolong the lifespan of a filter.
Q: Should I pay attention to the money back guarantee and the warranty?
A: Yes. Both are very important but, for small devices especially, when someone is offering a money back guarantee, they are more confident about the quality of their device than the others
It is our sincere hope that we managed to bring you closer to your decision to buy one of the small and portable air purifiers, in order to bring some fresh air into your life. Having an air purifier with you when you travel, in the office or in a bedroom is increasingly becoming a need instead of a luxury nowadays. There are many different models to choose from, but you are aware already that being careful is something that will help you make the right decision. Just don’t neglect the fact that this is an important issue, especially if you live in a large city or in a place where you have large polluters.
And the last thought for the end, ask yourself if you are rich enough to buy a cheap and untested device which in the long run will make more trouble than it will actually benefit you?