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.
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Air purifiers are the best pieces of equipment you can get to clean the air of dust, smoke, pet dander, and more. Many of them come with filters that need to be replaced every few months, though, costing you more money the longer you use it. Thankfully, there is a solution to this issue. Instead of spending your money on those extras, check out the best air purifier with a washable filter instead. These come with permanent filters you can clean and reuse, saving you money without sacrificing results.
When looking for a new air purifier, there are a few features you should check out first. How many filters it comes with is one, as is the type of filter. There are two main types. HEPA filters are the safest and most effective type for removing airborne particles of 0.3 microns or larger. For gases or odors that are smaller than this, an activated charcoal filter is needed. The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) tells you the volume of air filtered by the purifier. The coverage area is the maximum size of the room you should use it in. Lastly, we’ve looked into the dimensions show how much place it takes up in your home.
In order to help you decide which one is the best air purifier with a washable filter for your home, we have spent hours scanning manufacturer’s websites, comparing product features, and reading hundreds of customer reviews. Then we created a comparison table, gave each one a rating, and added in a detailed review. There is also a buying guide below to help you choose the right one.
The Winix 5500-2 model, the overall best among Winix air purifiers, is loaded with features that make your life easier while it cleans the air. It uses a three-stage filtration system to get rid of those nasty particles you could otherwise breathe in. Inside the machine is a true-HEPA filter, which traps 99.97% of the airborne allergens, which include dust, mold spores, pet dander, and much more. An indicator light comes on when this filter needs to be replaced.
There is a washable Advanced Odor Control (AOC) Carbon Filter that not only adds some protection to the HEPA filter; it also removes those household odors to leave a fresher scent in your rooms.
PlasmaWave Technology breaks down odors, chemical vapors, and other pollutants to increase the air quality even more. This filtration system is optional, so you can turn it on or off as needed.
Also, the unit boasts a Smart Sensor, which works when you use the Auto Mode. It tests the air quality and adjusts the fan as needed. An LED indicator light changes color to show the air quality as well, so you always know why the altered fan speed is happening. You can also choose one of the four fan speeds manually if you wish.
Sleep mode checks the ambient light and also adjusts the fan while dimming the lights. A remote control is also included, so you can change the settings from anywhere in the room.
What do we love it for?
Filter replacement indicator LED
Four fan speeds
Remote control included
What were we disappointed with?
The HEPA filter isn’t washable and needs to be replaced from time to time
Automatically switches to night mode when lights go out, even in daytime
When it comes to making quality heaters, dehumidifiers, or air purifiers, Honeywell has long been a reliable brand on the market. Such is the case with this easy-to-use and very effective model. One of the only issues that folks have with Honeywell products is that their filters are very expensive to replace. That is, thankfully, not the case with this model. Since the filter can be washed very easily and reused over and over again, this is a great unit to purchase if you are looking for a reliable purifier that won’t break the bank.
The biggest reason why this is such an effective purifier is that it has multiple filter layers. In fact, it has three different cleaning layers, which include a pre-filter, main filter, and an odor-reducing filter. All of these are washable and very efficient. Regardless of the particles being captured, whether they are small, medium, or large, this purifier will capture a large percentage of them, as you can see by its CADR ratings.
As you would expect from such a good company, this machine is also very easy to use. It comes with a touch screen, which is simple to read. From this screen, you can select from 5 different cleaning levels to best suit your home’s needs.
One of the only issues with this otherwise wonderful purifier is that, although it has a sleep mode, the lights cannot be dimmed. While this might not seem like all that big of a deal, it could affect someone that is a light sleeper if they choose to use the purifier in their bedroom.
If you’re looking for the best air purifier for dust with a washable filter, the Honeywell HFD-120-Q is a great choice. It includes two high-performance HEPA filters that can remove 99% of the dust, pollen, pet hair, dander, and smoke from tobacco or cooking in rooms of 170 square feet or smaller. There is also a pre-filter as well that you can use to clear away any odors at the same time, for even fresher and cleaner air.
This air purifier circulates the air in your room five times each hour, keeping it free of those allergens and other particles throughout the day. When the filter gets dirty, an indicator light comes on, telling you it’s time for a thorough cleaning. As well as saving money on replacement filters, this air purifier is Energy Star certified, so it won’t raise your energy costs whatsoever.
There are three cleaning levels to choose from, which you can alter depending on the air quality in the room. The lower setting is very quiet, but the higher ones can be a bit loud, so you may not want to use these if the air purifier is in your bedroom and you’re trying to sleep. An oscillation control also allows you to let the air purifier rotate or remain stationary, depending on your needs.
Despite of its compact size, this model from OION has a huge coverage area of up to 1000 feet, which makes it a perfect air purifier for basements, open-space apartments, and any large rooms. Of course, the rate at which it cleans the air depends on the air quality when you turn it on, but anyway over time you’ll be breathing cleaner, fresher air.
This model purifies the air in two different ways. First, it uses carbon filtration and ozone power to absorb those unwanted airborne particles while reducing any lingering odors.
There is also an electrostatic ionizer to remove the small .01 micron pollutants that the carbon filter missed. These include dust, pollen, smoke, pet dander, and much more. This filter is easy to clean, too, just use a soft cloth and some warm soapy water.
As an added bonus, this air purifier also has the UVGI technology that kills any germs, bacteria, or other harmful microorganisms in the air that could cause an illness. This not only cleans your air, but actually makes it harder for viruses to spread through your family, making your home even healthier.
This model is easy to use, with one button near the top of the machine to control the low, high, and off settings for the fan. Closer to the bottom is another On/Off switch that controls the sizeable blue night light on the front of the purifier.
Just because you want the best air purifier with a permanent filter, it doesn’t mean you can afford an expensive model. Luckily, this one from Hamilton Beach has a great low price without skimping on the features.
It includes a high-performance, permanent HEPA-grade filter, which captures dust, dander, and other airborne particles up to .3 microns in size. This filter is wrapped in plastic upon delivery, so be sure to open it up and take this plastic off before you turn it on. Cleaning is also easy, any type of vacuum will do.
The Hamilton Beach air purifier cleans the air in rooms up to 160 square feet, making it a perfect model for a bedroom, small living room, or office space. It has a compact size as well, so you can fit it almost anywhere. Another handy feature is the fact that you can use it as a standing tower or lay it on its side, whichever your space requires. It also comes in two colors, black or white, so you can choose the best one to match the décor of the room you plan to use it in.
There are three speed settings, including low, medium, and high. The higher the setting you choose, the louder the internal fan will run, so lower settings are best for sleeping areas. These settings use a simple knob to change them, for added convenience.
One of the biggest issues that lots of people have when they are trying to find a purifier with a reusable filter is that they don’t usually have a very large coverage area. Since their filters are meant to be used over and over, they usually cannot pull air from a larger space. That is, thankfully, not the case with this model. It has a coverage size of about 500 square feet, which should be large enough for multiple rooms in one home, or an entire floor in smaller spaces.
It is capable of doing this thanks to its powerful fan and two stage filtration system. The filter is a certified HEPA model, which means that it is guaranteed to capture tons of particulates that are floating within the air. It can be even more effective if you choose to get the optional ionizer. Of course, this will cost a bit more, but it might be worth if you want to catch as many allergens as possible with your purifier.
Even though this unit has a large coverage area, it is still quite compact. With its towered design, it barely takes up any space on the floor at all, which makes it very easy to find a spot to place it in the room.
That is, unfortunately, as long as you get it close enough to a power outlet. While this is a very well made machine, its cord is relatively short. Bear this in mind if you have an older home where outlets are at a premium, although you can always use an extension cord if you need a bit more length to get this unit into an ideal position.
The Blueair Blue Pure 211 air purifier costs quite a bit of money up front but has some great features that may just make it worth the extra cost. It uses a three-stage filtration system to clean the air of all types of airborne pollutants and leaves you breathing freely.
The outer layer is a fabric pre-filter, which is the washable one. It traps all the larger particles floating around in the air, such as dust mites and pet hair. These come in five colors as well to allow you to customize the purifier to your existing décor.
There is a particle filter inside this outer one to get rid of the mold, allergens, pollen, and other irritants that cause congestion. Furthest inside the machine is the activated carbon filter that eliminates the odors in the air, along with smoke from cigarettes or cooking.
The CADR rate of this air purifier is 350, which means it removes all those nasty particles and odors from the air at a rate of 350 cubic feet per minute. This feature alone may make this the best room air purifier with washable filters on the market today. It also has a large coverage area of 540 square feet, so it is considered to be one of the best air purifiers for larger rooms.
There are three settings, all controlled with one button on the front of the machine. This is also one of the quietest air purifiers on our list, so you can use it at any time of day or night.
An air purifier can reduce any of those harmful particles in the air that can affect your breathing. This includes dust, pollen, cat dander, or other allergens that float in the air around us. These handy devices can also get rid of those unpleasant odors from cooking or smoking, leaving your house smelling clean and fresh. The downside to these machines is that many of them require replacement filters, making them costly and less convenient. But if you can find an air purifier with a washable filter, this not only does the same job as other models, it saves you money in the long run.
Why buy an air purifier with a permanent filter
There is one main reason to buy an air purifier with a permanent filter, which is to save money. Filters for these machines can be quite expensive to replace, especially when you consider this needs to be done every three to six months. Even if there is a cheap generic filter that can be used as a replacement, the cost still adds up. So, even a cheap $50 air purifier will cost hundreds of dollars long before it begins to fail and requires an upgrade.
When buying one of these models, though, be sure to check if the filter is washable or just permanent. These words are not interchangeable after all. The washable ones can be cleaned using soap and water, which is quite easy to do. The permanent ones may be washable, but could also require vacuum cleaning instead. If a vacuum is needed, it is because the water will damage the filter, making it unusable. Vacuum cleaning isn’t always as thorough as washing, either, so be sure to check what you’re getting before you buy.
Keep in mind, that there are also filterless air purifiers on the market today, which don’t even need anything to be ever replaced, vacuumed or washed.
Features to consider while choosing an air purifier with a washable filter
If you’re going to buy an air purifier with a washable filter, there are a few important details and features you should look for. This will ensure that you are purchasing a reliable model that will provide you with the air quality levels and ease of use that you are looking for.
Many of the airborne particles that an air purifier removes from the air are about 0.3 microns in size or larger. This includes things like dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, and smoke. A filter that can catch things of this size or larger cleans them out of the air, making it much healthier to breathe in.
Unfortunately, other VOC like odors or gas molecules are smaller than 0.3 microns. This means a filter that catches 0.3 micron-sized particles won’t stop those smaller bits, leaving them in the air. For these odors, you’ll need a different type of filter, or a combination of filters and ionizer to be sure every tiny unwanted particle is removed for the cleanest air possible.
Type of filters
There are a few main filter types used in an air purifier with a washable filter. These have different capabilities and strengths. On their own, they work fine, but you can also find many air purifiers that combine some of these options, gaining the extra benefits.
A High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is one of the most common types. These remove 99.97% of the airborne particles that are a minimum of 0.3 microns. These types of particles include pollen, dust, and pet dander, just to name a few. Some air purifiers use true HEPA filters, others label them as HEPA-grade or HEPA-type filters, which means they are similar to the real ones, though not exact.
Activated carbon filters add a more thorough clean to the air, getting rid of odors or chemicals that are smaller than 0.3 microns. These odors can come from smoking, fireplaces, pets, or cooking. Even volatile organic compounds (VOC) like paint fumes are removed from the air with this type of filter.
Pre-filters add an extra layer of protection by catching the larger particles in the air. These particles would normally be caught in the other filters, but this reduces their lifespan. The pre-filter extends the life of your other filters, which reduces cleaning or replacement time.
The Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR, tells you the volume of filtered air that an air purifier can create. There are three different levels of filtration that are displayed when discussing the CADR, including smoke, dust, and pollen. Each one has a different number range. Smoke is 10 – 450 CADR, dust is 10 – 400, and pollen is 25 – 450. The number assigned to each one means that the air purifier has been tested and proven to remove those particles in the same concentration as if the same amount of clean air was added. For instance, the Honeywell AirGenius is rated for 160 CADR of dust, so adding 160 cubic feet of clean air would improve the quality in the same way as using the air purifier.
The coverage area of the best air purifier with a washable HEPA filter, carbon filter, or any other type of cleaning device shows you the largest room you should use that purifier in. Some have smaller coverage areas, like the model by Hamilton Beach, which covers up to 80 square feet. This means it will work best in rooms of this size or smaller. Other models, like the OION Technologies B-1000, have much larger coverage areas so that they can be used in the bigger living spaces, like living rooms or kitchens.
Before you select the right model, check the size of the room you intend to use it in first, to be sure it will be able to keep up the amount of air in that space.
Air purifiers with washable filters come in a wide range of sizes. Some are small and wide, while others are tall and thin. If you have a lot of space, you can pretty much get any size you want, as long as it has the features you’re looking for. For those with limited space, larger models may not fit as nicely. A wide one may take up some precious floor space, but a taller one that is quite thin may be easier to tuck into a corner or between some furniture if needed.
Portable air purifiers of this type come with a wide range of warranties, depending on the brand. For instance, the Hamilton Beach 04383A has a one-year limited warranty, while the Honeywell HFD-120-Q has a five-year limited warranty. Obviously the more extended warranty is more appealing. You do need to consider what each warranty covers though. Does it cover the defects in workmanship or parts? Are only certain pieces covered? What is the procedure for repair or replacement? Sometimes you are required to ship the purifier back to the company at your own cost, which isn’t cheap for products of this size. So, check out the coverage carefully, so you know exactly what to expect in the event of a purifier failure.
Though the purpose of an air purifier is to clean the air, there are a few additional features that make them much more convenient to use. Many of these products come with multiple fan speeds, so you can choose how many you think you’ll need for different rooms or seasons.
An auto shut-off feature turns the purifier off at specific times, like when the air quality improves. A timer allows you to run it for a set amount of time. Different modes are also good to have, like a Sleep Mode that dims lights and quiets the fan while you sleep.
Though not common, an included remote control is handy, allowing you to change the settings while you relax on the couch. Energy-efficient certifications tell you these machines won’t add too much to your electric bill. Different color options and stylish designs help you fit your new air purifier in with your other décor.
Tips to clean your filter
To keep your air purifier running smoothly, you need to clean the filters regularly, getting rid of the dust and hair that could otherwise interfere with its effectiveness. To do this properly, follow these handy tips:
Unplug the air purifier and remove the filters.
Check what type of cleaning is needed (washing or vacuuming).
If they are washable, use a soft cloth and some warm, soapy water. Wipe them down completely, making sure there is no residue left behind. Then dry them thoroughly before putting them back into the machine.
For vacuum filters, use the brush attachment on your vacuum. This will loosen the particles as the brush moves over them, allowing more of them to be sucked up by the vacuum.
Wipe down the outside of the machine, the outlets and air vents, and intake grills to get rid of any old dust and keep the filters cleaner for longer.
Though many of the models are quiet enough to use in the bedroom, the Winix 5500-2 is one of the quietest. It is also designed to adjust to the lighting, so if you leave it in Auto Mode and turn off the light, it automatically switches to Sleep Mode, dimming its lights and lowering the fan speed.
It isn’t actually recommended to turn off the unit because as soon as you do, the air will quickly go back to its unpurified levels. Instead, run it on high until the air is clean, then lower the fan speed to maintain the cleaner levels. You can also choose an air purifier that has an auto setting, so it will turn off when the desired levels are reached, then go back on again when the air starts to get dirty.
An air purifier with a permanent filter can last anywhere from two to five years. This all depends on how well it’s made. Different filters also extend the life of the product. Pre-filters keep larger particles away from the other filters, so they don’t get inside the machine. How often you clean and maintain your purifier also affects its lifespan.
Having the best air purifier with a washable filter can save you money while still giving you fresh, clean air to breathe. Though all eight of the above models are great for this purpose, there are a few that stand apart from the rest.
Our top pick is the Winix 5500-2, which combines a highly-effective true HEPA with a washable carbon filter and the PlasmaWave permanent pre-filter to save your money in the long run. It also has smart controls, a timer, four fan speeds, and optional oscillation.
The Honeywell AirGenius is our second top pick thanks to a whopping five cleaning levels, and all the filters being permanent which means no additional cost whatsoever!
The Honeywell HFD-120-Q is an incredibly space-saving model which will also save you money as it features a washable pre-filter and a permanent ifD filter to provide your house with the desired freshness and cleanliness.