Holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is keen on her own home’s climate. Sometimes we think that Carolina owns every single product she writes about – that’s how profound and insightful her reviews always are.
For 8 years, Richard had been working as an HVAC specialist and AC unit installer since his student years. Now, he’s our main consultant on every technical aspect that may arise during our tests and research.
Last updated: May 10, 2021
Let’s be honest: clean, fresh air is a must in every home and office in the world. While modern civilization has mostly brought about lots of positive things, one of the few negative sides of civilization is the amount of pollution being emitted into the atmosphere every day. Even though they are barely visible, our air is filled with lots of pollutants, which subsequently means we’re always breathing in polluted air, albeit unknowingly. So, what’s the most effective fix? An air purifier! Fortunately, the best air purifier under $100 nowadays could help get rid of your pollution issues, which means the days when only rich people could afford a purifying machine are a distant memory.
Since most air purifiers have the ability to both purify your atmosphere and also lessen the amount of dust and dander around you, they’re an easy fix to help maintain cleanliness in your living space. With that said, you’re definitely in the right page if you’re in the market for an affordable air purifier. We’ve gathered some of the best under $100 models in this article while considering key elements like number and type of filters, coverage area, CADR level, and dimensions.
The first thing you’ll find in this guide is a meticulously drawn comparison table, which ranks the best air purifiers under $100 based on their strong points, downsides, and features. Afterward, you will find our complete review for each of the models we have chosen, spiced with their pros and cons. Apart from the reviews, we know you’ll also need buying tips for some enlightenment, which is why we have included a guide in which useful tips have been provided and several questions answered. We hope you’ll be able to effortlessly determine the best air purifier under 100 dollars for your needs by the end of this article.
Top 5 Air Purifiers under $100 Review 2021
LEVOIT LV-H132 – Editor's Choice
Filters type: fine preliminary filter; true HEPA; activated carbon
Fan speeds: 3
Coverage area: small rooms
Dimensions: 32 x 19 x 19 inches
Warranty: 2-year limited
More features: nightlight function; touch control
Undoubtedly, the Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier is one of the highest-performing under $100 air purifier. If you’re looking for a really compact purifier, then you should probably stop your search here. This device is sufficiently compact to be placed on your shelf, desktop, or table without consuming much space. You will be shocked to find out that this small device has a remarkable three-stage purification system which uses a True HEPA filter, carbon filter, and a pre-filter.
Another great thing about this device is its fairly inexpensive replacement filters. Also, the air purifier has an ambient blue light for a pleasant experience and an indicator to alert you when it’s time to replace the filters. Sadly, this unit doesn’t come with an air quality indicator and does not feature smart modes. The most critical disadvantage, however, is the minimal room coverage of the device. Rated at 86 square feet only, the machine can only purify small spaces such as single bedrooms.
In addition, the Levoit LV-H132 Air Purifier has a decent warranty, which lasts two years. By and large, the machine is a very helpful device, ideal for anyone who only wants to cover a very small area. The appliance doesn’t consume much space, it doesn’t use much energy, and is one of the quietest air purifiers on the market today.
AeraMax 100 Air Purifier – The Largest Coverage Area
Filters type: true HEPA filter; carbon filter
Fan speeds: 3
Coverage area: up to 200 sq. ft.
Dimensions: 8.5 x 7.2 x 27.2 inches
Warranty: 3-year limited
More features: AeraSafe Antimicrobial Treatment; PlasmaTRUE Technology; touch screen
Another under $100 option that packs quite a punch is the AeraMax 100 Air Purifier. Featuring a four-stage purification system that includes True HEPA filter with AeraSafe Antimicrobial Treatment, an ionizer using PlasmaTRUE Technology, and a carbon filter, this small device is capable of getting rid of common domestic odors, germs, and even allergens. Apart from being effective, the Aeramax 100 also has a beautiful design which makes it fit superbly with any décor.
Remarkably, this unit from AeraMax 100 is certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America to be allergy and asthma-friendly, so you know you can always rely on it to go on about its job brilliantly. Sporting so many fancy features like an Aera Plus Mode that’s designed specifically to eliminate viruses and allergens, filter change indicator that notifies you when you need to change the filters, and air quality indicator that informs you about the condition of the air in your room, this purifier from AeraMax is just a class above the other models in its price range.
When it comes to coverage area, the Aeramax 100 has the largest on this list as it’s capable of covering a room up to 200 square feet. This is very decent for a device of its size and price.
Nothing is created without its flaws, and this device is no exception. The CADR level is somewhat low (68 for Smoke, 65 for Dust, and 75 for Pollen), meaning it takes longer for the appliance to purify the air in comparison with high-end models.
Why is it special?
Air quality and filter change indicators
Certified by Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Also featuring a three-stage filtration system that includes True HEPA filter, UV-C light that repels disease-causing viruses and bacteria, and a carbon pre-filter, this model from GermGuardian is probably the best air purifier for smoke under $100. With its relatively small coverage area of 155 square feet, this compact purifier is only suitable for small-sized rooms. With its capability to remove smoke odors, pet dander, dust mites, viruses, and mold from the air you breathe in, it’s highly surprising that this unit is priced below 100 dollars.
The machine also boasts a quiet fan, which makes nighttime operation possible with no disturbance. Not only that, but the device is energy-rated as well, which makes it very efficient. However, despite all the features offered by this model, it lacks many extras that are usually found on more expensive models. For instance, it doesn’t have a filter change indicator and an air quality sensor, two features that are usually found on more expensive models. This impacts its performance in no way, but features such as these offer vital information that makes it easier to maintain the device.
The machine’s expensive replacement filters can be very discouraging, especially when you think about the accumulated costs over many years. In general, though, this unit is a reliable purifier that functions well without packing the fancy features possessed by more expensive models and actually being the Best Value model among other GermGuardian air purifiers.
More features: can be used vertically and horizontally
We believe the days when air purifiers could only be huge and hefty machines are firmly behind us. With manufacturers churning out many compact devices like the Hamilton Beach 0438 nowadays, that belief can’t be more accurate. As opposed to most air purification systems, the Hamilton Beach 0438 looks invariably like a regular fan with literally the same dimensions and design. However, don’t be fooled by the seemingly basic design of this machine. Despite its lack of smart features, the manufacturers have done everything to deliver a compact unit that is capable of giving bulkier models a run for their money in terms of performance.
The size is, however, not the only outstanding thing about this model. Another remarkable thing about it is its ability to function in any position, which means it will work just the same if placed either horizontally or vertically, something that can’t be said about most other purifiers. Efficiency-wise, the machine is only ideal for small rooms like bedrooms, kitchens, and offices. It offers effective air purification for small-sized rooms of up to 140 square feet and eliminates 99 percent of germs using a three-stage filtration system.
This model is regarded by many as an eliminator of pet odors, and there is no lie about it. It incorporates a unique zeolite technology that enables it to suppress all pet odors, which is a useful feature for owners of big breeds, especially. Unlike most cheaply priced models, this one comes with two permanent filters that need no replacements. Only carbon filter needs to be replaced occasionally, so all in all the device will save you money in the long run. In addition to that, the machine also comes with three speed settings, and it runs very quietly on the lowest one so that you can even place it beside your bed without any disturbance.
More features: night light function; one-button operation
Seeing the Mooka Air Cleaner for the first time, it would take no time at all for you to realize that this device was designed exclusively with portability in mind. As a result of its incredible portability, it can be used anywhere you want, including your car, office, or bedroom. The Mooka Air Cleaner isn’t just portable, but functional as well. It features the ever-reliable True HEPA filter which allows it to work efficiently and clean the air from dust, pet dander, pollens, dirt, smoke, and all kinds of pollutants. In fact, it is capable of filtering out particles as tiny as 0.3 microns, which makes it an ideal option for pet owners.
Only a couple of devices in this price range are as functional as this model, and those that are equally functional are even usually too noisy for any convenience. This one is different though – it operates with the least amount of noise possible regardless of the fan speed. Asides the quiet operation, this model is also equipped with a remarkable circulation technology. The special technology spreads the air in the device, which helps filter the air better, before discharging it into the atmosphere again. This procedure cleans your air totally and makes it reasonably fresher than usual.
This small air purifier is also outfitted with LED lights. However, the downside to the lights is the fact that they can’t be turned off whilst the unit is still operating, which might be very disturbing for people who prefer sleeping in total darkness. But if you can live well with lights on, the Mooka Air Cleaner isn’t really a bad choice.
What are our favorite features?
Excellent air circulation technology
The machine operates quietly
Uses True HEPA technology
What could be better?
Disturbing LED lights
Small coverage area
Things to Consider
While there is no shortage of costly air purifiers on the market, keep in mind that you can still buy an effective and high-performing model for less than $100 if you are tight on budget. Obviously, that doesn’t mean you should just purchase whatever you find in that range as there are some technical specs you need to consider and some tips you need to know before selecting a particular model.
What to expect from an air purifier for under $100?
Like expensive purifiers, under $100 models are also usually effective. As long as you use it as instructed by the manufacturers, there is nothing preventing you from getting rid of your purification problems with one of these purifiers.
Smaller coverage area
This is a world where you can’t eat your cake and at the same time have it, so it’s very understandable that under 100 models are usually equipped with smaller coverage than their more expensive counterparts. If your intended area is larger than 300 square feet, consider getting a basement air purifier since they usually have a much larger coverage area.
However, while your under $100 model will most likely come with a small coverage area, usually ranging between 100 to 250 square feet, you can expect it to perform superbly when used within the recommended area. We can’t promise any effect when used in spaces larger than recommended though.
It’s almost like it’s a rule of thumb that cheap air purifiers should be designed to be compact in size. Most often than not, a cheap air purifier is likely to be compact and portable, which allows users to even take them along on trips. While compactness might be a contributing factor to their smaller coverage area, it is at the same time a benefit, a huge one at that.
It’s also unsurprising that most under $100 air purifiers only come with basic features if you think about what we said earlier about the impossibility of eating your cake and still have it. Expensive purifiers are priced expensively for a reason, and while they might not necessarily edge cheaper ones on the performance front, they are usually packed with many convenience-improving features like timer, dirt sensor, and remote control. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said of under $100 air purifiers.
Features to consider while choosing an air purifier
An air purifier is capable of improving the air quality in a home and reduce the effects of asthma, allergies, and various other lung-related diseases. There is a wide range of features to consider before buying an under $100 air purifier.
You see different manufacturers always emphasizing on the number of cleaning levels on their purifiers during the advertisement, and that alone should tell you how important it is. The cleaning levels in air purifiers usually range from three to five, and should your own unit have only three cleaning levels, that means it utilizes filters only to cleanse the air. Purifiers that are equipped with four cleaning levels or more usually use filters along with other cleaning technologies such as a UV-C light and an ionizer.
Type of filters
Perhaps, this is the most critical element you must think about when shopping for the right cheap purifier for your needs. First of all, you must understand that purifiers don’t automatically clean the air. The air is run through a filter that is responsible for capturing dangerous particles, before discharging it back into the atmosphere. A True HEPA model is the most effective type of filter as it promises to get rid of 99.97 percent of airborne pollutants at least.
HEPA filters, however, aren’t as effective when it comes to things such as odors, gas molecules, OCs, and Formaldehyde, which calls for the need of activated charcoal air filters in conditions where the elimination of airborne chemicals, fumes, odors, and gaseous pollutants are required. Most companies even combine both, along with ionizers and UV filters for maximum result.
There are, however, filterless air purifiers on the market today. They use ionization and other technologies for cleaning the air and don’t need any filters to be ever replaced. This will save you money in the long run.
The filters aren’t the only factor that affects an air purifier’s performance. The fan and their speeds have to be also considered. If you want your machine to perform according to the current air quality of your home, look for a unit that has an adjustable fan. With this feature, you will be able to adjust the fan according to the air quality of your home in a particular period. Models like the AeraMax 100 Air Purifier, the Hamilton Beach 04384, and the GermGuardian AC4825 come with three speed settings each.
During your shopping for the most suitable air purifier for smoke, cigarette smell, pollen, dust, and odors, you may run into a rating called CADR, which represents Clear Air Delivery Rate. The CADR shows how thoroughly a purifier is capable of cleaning a specific sized room. Therefore, the higher the CADR rating of a unit, the more the efficiency of the unit at eliminating contaminants. The CADR rating can even be used to compare two dissimilar models to determine which model will work better.
Most purifiers are graded for effectiveness in specific room dimensions. Larger-sized models typically deliver larger coverage than smaller-sized ones, several models are even made in multiple sizes, and some of them are air purifiers for cars only. Before buying a particular model, measure your room’s square footage. Your failure to do so might cause you to buy an ineffective model. With its ability to cover up to 200 square feet, the AeraMax 100 Air Purifier has the most extensive coverage area on our list.
It’s important to know a purifier’s dimensions as it will help you to calculate the storage space available and make adjustments required to accommodate it. Also, the dimensions will determine the portability of the unit, which is another reason you must look at the size of the unit, especially if you want to be taking your purifier on trips. For example, the Mooka Air Purifier is 7.5 inches long, 6.9 inches wide, and 6.9 inches long.
To determine how long your air purifier will probably last, take a look at its warranty terms and other incentives when it comes to replacement parts, after sale service, and labor. Each backed with a three-year warranty, the AeraMax 100 Air Purifier and the GermGuardian AC4825 have the most extended warranties on this list.
Alongside regular features, purifiers also come equipped with additional features to improve their performances. The extra features can include digital controls for more accurate settings, filter change indicators, built-in ionizers, and timers that shut the machine off automatically after a specific time interval. For easy movability and optimum portability, some models even have caster wheels and handles.
In order for any purifying machine to be functional, it has to be moving air. To do so there are internal fans that cannot operate totally silently. To put it simply, small air purifiers generate noise as well, although they might not be as noisy as their larger counterparts.
Generally, purifiers are engineered to run for prolonged periods. While some people believe that running a purifier for one or two hours will adequately purify the air in a room, that conception is totally wrong. New particles fly around in the air at all times, so it’s almost laughable to believe that running a purifier for one or two hours will clean the air sufficiently.
The number of hours for which you should operate your purifying machine depends mainly on its brand, type, and model. While you should get an idea from your user’s manual, generally, you might have to operate it for up to eight hours consecutively, knowing that you turn it on again after it has rested.
The ionizers built in air purifiers are usually for rapidly extracting smoke from the indoor air. If you have asthma, allergies, or only want to have a cleaner home, you need to look at a model with inbuilt ionizers.
LEVOLT has been one of the biggest manufacturers of air purifiers for years, and with devices such as the LEVOIT LV-H132, we don’t think they are ready to relinquish their spot soon. Effective, compact, operates quietly, and energy efficient, you can’t demand for more from a product that costs less than $100. This is, undoubtedly, our pick for the best air purifier under 100.
Our pick for the second spot is the AeraMax 100 Air Purifier, which with three fan speeds and a coverage area of up to 200 square feet, is a device that can’t be easily pushed behind. What’s more, the unit is also certified by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, making it suitable for asthma and allergy sufferers.
Our third pick is the GermGuardian AC4825, and considering the fact that a three-year warranty backs it, this is a device that you are expected to use for many years. Not only that, but the machine also has a quiet operation, making it ideal for bedroom usage. And if you want to read even more details about this model, you can address in-detail review of GermGuardian AC4825 just by clicking the link.