Best Air Purifiers with Washable Filters


Are you looking for the best air purifier with washable filter?

Would you like to find an air purifier with a permanent filter that never needs to be replaced?

If so, you’ve landed on the right page.

As you’ve probably already discovered, there are a lot of different types of air cleaners on the market today and most of them don’t use washable or reusable filters.

Instead, many air purifying devices use filters that need to be replaced every 3-6 months in order to maintain their effectiveness.

And owning a device like that takes a long-term, committed investment.

Fortunately, there are a few best air purifiers with permanent filters that don’t cost a dime to maintain.

Once you buy the device, there’s no cost for upkeep.

If that sounds like what you’re looking for, then keep reading.

Below, you’ll find out what the best air purifiers with reusable filters are and how to choose the one that’s right for your needs.

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Best Air Purifier with Permanent and Washable Filters: Reviewed

Here’s a quick comparison chart showing the top air purifiers with washable and permanent filters. We’ll cover each aspect of these units in the reviews section below, but this gives you an idea of what’s available and an easy way to compare them.

ImageAir Purifier DetailsPrice
Envion Therapure TPP240 Air PurifierEnvion Therapure TPP240 Air Purifier
  • Has the most air cleaning technologies
  • Filters: Permanent HEPA, UV Light, Ionizer
  • Coverage: 200 sq. ft.
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Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air PurifierHoneywell AirGenius 5 Air Purifier
  • Most popular air purifier for small rooms
  • Filters: Pre-filter, Washable iFD
  • Coverage: 250 sq. ft.
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Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air PurifierHamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier
  • Lowest priced unit with a permanent filter
  • Filters: Permanent HEPA, Activated Carbon
  • Coverage: 160 sq. ft.
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Envion Ionic Pro Turbo Air PurifierEnvion Ionic Pro Turbo Air Purifier
  • Largest room size coverage
  • Filters: Washable Plates
  • Coverage: 500 sq. ft.
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Winix 5500-2 Air PurifierWinix 5500-2 Air Purifier
  • Most advanced air purifier with washable AOC filter
  • Filters: Washable Pre-filter, Replaceable HEPA, Washable Activated Carbon, PlasmaWave
  • Coverage: 360 sq. ft.
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Honeywell QuietClean Tower HFD-120Q Air PurifierHoneywell QuietClean Tower HFD-120Q Air Purifier
  • Best overall air purifier with washable filter
  • Filters: Pre-filter, Washable iFD, Ionizer
  • Coverage: 170 sq. ft.
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What you’ll find next is important information about what exactly are washable and permanent filters.

You’ll also discover how these two types of filters are alike and different, and what advantages and disadvantages they provide.

We’ll then share with you a list of the best air purifier brands here that use these cost-saving technologies.

In the end, you’ll have everything you need to make the right decision for which air cleaning device to get for your home.

Is a Washable Filter the Same as a Permanent Filter?

When you’re shopping for a cost-efficient air purifier, you’ll often find two words marketed alongside each other that seem to be interchangeable:

  • Washable filter
  • Permanent filter

While both terms ensure that you’re getting a product that has a reusable filter, there’s a big difference in how each one is kept clean and properly working.

Washable Filters

Air Purifier with Washable Filter

As the name suggests, an air purifier with a “washable filter” is one that you can wash with soap and water to remove the contaminants that it has collected.

This cleaning process takes several minutes of soaking, agitating, and rinsing to get it completely clean and ready to use again.

These reusable filters come in two types:

  • Washable HEPA filter, which has a 99.97% effectiveness rating
  • Washable iFD filter, which has a 99.99% effectiveness rating

As you can see, these two styles of filters are practically equal in their effectiveness at getting rid of air pollution inside your home.

While there are technological design differences between the two filters, the .02% difference in efficiency is not something you need to worry about when selecting a device. Both washable and iFD are equally fine to buy.

Permanent Filters

Best Air Purifier with Permanent Filter

The second type of reusable air filter called a “permanent filter” doesn’t take soap and water to keep it clean and long-lasting.

In fact, any contact with water will ruin it.

Instead, a permanent filter must be cleaned by using a vacuum cleaner to remove the contaminants that it has collected.

The best way to do that is by using a hand brush or crevice tool attachment on the vacuum.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Permanent and Washable Filters

When you discover what the cost-saving advantage is to have an air purifier with a washable or permanent filter, you may wonder why anyone would ever buy a device that doesn’t include one of these features.

While an air purifier with a reusable filter may seem like the most logical buying choice, there are some disadvantages in air cleaners that use this type of technology.

Below, you’ll find out what the top pros and cons are for these types of filters.

This information will help you fully understand what a reusable air filtering device can and can’t do for you.

Pros of Reusable Filters:

  • Captures many common air pollutants that cause health issues and breathing problems, including pollen, dust, and plant spores.
  • Saves you from spending money on filter replacements.
  • You can clean the filter as often as you’d like, even before it’s due. The more frequently you clean it, the more efficient it stays at purifying the air.
  • Maintaining the filter is easy to do and only takes a few minutes to complete.

Cons of Reusable Filters:

  • Many reusable filters can’t capture particles smaller than 2 microns in size. This includes ultra-fine contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and some allergens.
  • Air purifiers that have reusable filters are usually only good for small to medium-sized rooms (under 250 square feet).
  • Feature options and upgrades are usually limited on these types of devices. They just include the basic operating functions without anything extra, like a remote or Wi-Fi capabilities.

Air Purifier Reviews & Buying Guide

Now that you know what the differences are between air purifiers with washable filters and permanent filters, and what you can expect from these types of air cleaning devices, we can now move on to the reviews.

Knowing that bit of information beforehand will help you make a better decision on which air purifier is best suited for your needs below.

Honeywell QuietClean Tower HFD-120Q Air Purifier

Best Air Purifiers with Washable and Permanent Filters

1. Honeywell QuietClean Tower HFD-120Q Air Purifier with Washable Filter

This is the best air purifier with washable filter that has a great combination of features while also being reasonably priced.

In addition to a washable pre-filter and iFD filter, this product also includes an Ionizer to boost its air cleaning power.

The Ionizer function neutralizes the finer sized pollutants in the air that are not directly trapped into the iFD filter.

That feature ensures that the air around you is as clean as possible.

This air purifier also includes a filter clean indicator, 3 fan speeds, and oscillation control.

The oscillation function helps distribute clean air more evenly throughout the room by rotating the unit left and right.

You won’t find that feature on many other air purifiers except for our #3 review below.

Finally, the room size coverage is 170 square feet, which is roughly equal to a 10′ x 7′ size room.

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Envion Therapure TPP240 Air Purifier

2. Envion Therapure TPP240 Air Purifier with Permanent Filter

If you’d rather have an air purifier with a permanent HEPA filter, this is your best choice to get.

You not only get relief from the most common airborne pollutants and allergens but also protection from germs that can make you sick.

That’s because this device includes an Ultraviolet Light bulb that emits rays of light inside the unit that attacks and kills harmful bacteria and viruses.

If you want the healthiest air possible, this is the air purifier to get.

This product also includes an Ionizer to maximize its air cleaning power and eliminate ultra-fine contaminants.

With 3 fan speeds, a filter clean indicator, automatic timer control (from 1 to 24 hours), and the ability to purify a room up to 200 square feet, this air purifier is really hard to beat.

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Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Purifier

3. Honeywell AirGenius 5 Air Purifier with Washable Filter

Our next recommendation is great for anyone who wants to purify medium-sized rooms while also enjoying the benefits of having a washable iFD filter.

This air purifier can handle a larger space than our first two reviews, up to 250 square feet.

That size equates to a 10′ x 25′ room, which makes it good for smaller living rooms, and average size bedrooms.

Other key highlights on this air cleaner are that it has 5 fan speeds, oscillation, an automatic timer (from 2 to 12 hours), and an odor reducing pre-filter.

The only drawback to this air purifier is that it doesn’t include other air purification technologies like the first two products above (i.e. Ionizer or Ultraviolet Light).

However, it’s still a great device at a great price and works amazingly well to clean to air around you.

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Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier

4. Hamilton Beach TrueAir Air Purifier with Permanent Filter

This air purifier excels in two ways:

First, it comes in a compact size.

Second, it includes the highest-grade permanent HEPA filter you can get.

It’s outfitted with a True HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.

That includes ultra-fine dust, allergens, mold spores, pet dander, and some bacteria to make the air around your contaminant-free.

The True HEPA filter is reusable for the life of the unit and just takes a quick vacuuming to get it clean.

A set of Activated Carbon filters are also included to help reduce household odors.

However, these filters do need to be replaced every 3-6 months since the material is not made to be washed or vacuumed.

The design of this air cleaner is also nice.

You can place the device upright or on its side to fit wherever you need inside a room, like on a table or desk.

Finally, this air purifier has thousands of positive reviews and is excellent for rooms up 160 square feet, or a 10′ x 16′ room.

Practically everyone who buys it has been extremely happy with the air purifying power of this product.

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Envion Ionic Pro Turbo Air Purifier

5. Envion Ionic Pro Turbo Air Purifier with Washable Filter

Our next recommendation offers a unique type of permanent filter.

Instead of using a standard HEPA or iFD filter, this air purifier contains a set of electrostatic collection rods that trap particles as they pass through the system.

You can think of these rods as like magnets for air pollutants.

As dust, allergens, and other contaminants are sucked into the system, they get magnetized onto the collection rods while fresh air is pushed back into the room. 

What’s nice about this air cleaning design is that it gives you a lifetime filter that has zero chance of wearing out or getting damaged during the clean process.

All you have to do to clean the electrostatic collection rods is wipe them down with a damp rag.

You couldn’t ask for anything more simple.

This product also has the largest room size coverage than any other air purifier on this list.

It can handle a space up to 500 square feet, which is equal to a 20′ x 25′ room.

That’s more than enough power for most people’s needs and can handle larger rooms in the home, like a living room, basement, or big bedroom.

It also has a filter clean indicator light so you never have to guess when it’s time to clean the filter rods.

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Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier

6. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with Washable Filter

Our final review is one of the most popular and air purifiers available.

The pre-filter is the first line of defense and captures the largest contaminants. It can be washed and reused for the life of the unit.

While it doesn’t include a washable or permanent HEPA filter, it’s still worth considering as you’ll discover next.

This air purifier has a washable Advanced Odor Control (AOC) filter that you won’t find on any other air purifier. It’s a special blend of Activated Carbon that can be washed and reused for up to 12 months.

The AOC filter is a powerful material for removing airborne odors and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals and gases that can be toxic to your health and are emitted by all sorts of things, like paint, cleaning supplies, furniture, carpeting, etc.

A mentioned, the HEPA filter is not permanent or washable; it must be replaced each year. However, it does have a 99.97% efficiency rating at capturing particles down to 0.3 microns in size, such as dust, allergens, mold spores, pet dander, and bacteria.

What’s also nice about this unit is that it can clean the air in a room up to 360 square feet, which is good for most average size rooms.

More importantly, the Winix 5500-2 has a set of Smart Sensors that consistently monitors the air around the room and automatically adjusts the air purifier fan speed settings to quickly remove pollutants.

Combining that feature with an LED indicator to display the current room air quality on a scale of good (blue), fair (yellow) to poor (red), you can rest assured that you always know what the level of contaminants are around you.

Finally, this air purifier includes patented PlasmaWave technology that uses water vapor to safely break apart airborne pollutants. It’s most favored for neutralizing bacteria and viruses so the air inside the room is healthier to breathe.

All-in-all, this air purifier is an excellent choice if don’t mind a replaceable HEPA filter in exchange for a washable carbon filter and the many advanced features the unit has to offer.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Air Purifiers with Reusable Filters

How do you clean a permanent air purifier filter?

Knowing how to clean the permanent air purifier filter will make sure that your unit runs efficiently and optimally.

Below are the steps to clean a permanent filter correctly to keep your air purifier working the way it should:

  • Step 1: Turn off the unit and unplug it from the wall.
  • Step 2: Remove the air inlet grille by pulling on the tab.
  • Step 3: Once the grille has been removed, you may see a pre-filter. The role of this filter is to trap larger particles, so examine it to see if it’s dirty. If it is, you’ll want to wash it with warm, soapy water, and then let it dry before putting it back into the air purifier.
  • Step 4: After removing and cleaning the pre-filter, you’ll want to take out the permanent filter. If it’s dirty, use a vacuum cleaner hose to remove the dirt and other contaminants. Using the brush attachment is your best option and make sure to run it along both sides of the filter and clean between the pleated layers.

It can’t be stressed enough that you DON’T want to use water, detergents, or other cleaners on your permanent filter.

If you do, you risk the chance of ruining the filter and preventing your air purifier from working properly.

Can you wash and reuse air purifier filters?

Yes, you can wash and reuse air purifier filters as long they’re labeled as washable filters. If the air purifier has a permanent filter, it can’t be clean with water. How you clean each filter will depend on the type of air purifier you have.

Remember, washable filters need to be removed and washed in warm, soapy water while permanent filters need to be vacuumed clean.

Are washable filters any good?

Yes, washable filters are good at cleaning the air.

Washable air filters are typically good at collecting the larger particles of dust, pet dander, visible smoke, and allergens like pollen, which can help you breathe better and get relief for allergy symptoms.

The only thing you need to keep in mind is that disposable filters are more effective at trapping the smaller particles, such as ultra-fine dust, bacteria, and particulate matter (PM2.5).

For those finer contaminants, you’ll need a more advanced and expensive air purifier. Research shows that air filters that remove particulate matter can result “in significant health benefits to patients of asthma and cardiovascular disease.”

However, most people without severe respiratory issues do just fine with one of the best inexpensive air purifiers that use washable or permanent filters.

What is the best air purifier with permanent filter?

The best air purifier with a permanent filter is the Envion Therapure TPP240 air purifier.

Not only does this popular unit come with a permanent HEPA filter that removes more than 99% of pollutants from the air, but it also comes with an ultraviolet light that kills harmful pathogens that can make you sick.

If that wasn’t enough, the Envion Therapure TPP240 also includes an ionizer for added air cleaning efficiency.

This air purifier was created to give you the cleanest and most refreshing air possible.

It can be used in rooms up to small to medium size rooms up to 200 square feet and has 3 fans speeds for maximum efficiency.

It’s hard to find another air purifier that can do what this unit can for such an affordable price.

Are washable HEPA filters as effective?

Washable HEPA filters are effective. Many washable HEPA filters have a 99.97% effectiveness rating for removing particles from the air. A similar type of filter that can be washed and reused is called an iFD filter. It has a 99.99% efficiency rating.

We have detailed article on how effective are air purifiers if you want to read it. It also explains what air purifiers are good for if you want to learn more about this.

Can carbon air filters be washed?

Most carbon air filters cannot be washed. The exception to this rule is the activated carbon air filter on the Winix 5500-2 air purifier. The trademarked washable advanced odor control (AOC) air filter has been specially designed to be washed and reused for up to 12 months.

Washing a standard carbon filter with soap and water will negate the carbon’s ability to filter the air. However, you can extend the life of some carbon filters by vacuuming them.

Just keep up with that cleaning process before the filter gets too clogged up with dirt and debris. Doing so can help the carbon filter last longer when it cannot be washed.

What is a permanent HEPA filter?

A permanent HEPA filter is a filter that never has to be replaced.

Permanent HEPA filters remove harmful pollutants from the air just like a disposable HEPA filter does, except that the permanent type can be vacuumed clean and reused over and over again.

The major advantage of a permanent HEPA filter is that you don’t have to pay for a replacement.

Can HEPA filters be washed and reused?

Some HEPA filters can be washed as reused, but the majority of them are disposable.

You need to look for a special type of air purifier that uses a washable HEPA filter like the products reviewed on this page.

Another type of filter that can be washed and reused is called an “iFD filter”. It works similarly to a HEPA filter to remove pollutants from the air but has a different material composition.

What’s the difference between an air purifier with a permanent filter vs replaceable?

Permanent filter air purifiers are less powerful units and are usually only good for small rooms under 250 square feet. Some replaceable filters can clean the air in large rooms up to 2,000 square feet. (The exception here is the Envion Ionic Pro Turbo air purifier that uses permanent washable metal plates instead of a HEPA filter.)

Air purifiers with replaceable filters can capture smaller pollutants down to 0.3 microns. This is better for microscopic dust, allergens, mold spores, and bacteria, which is why it’s found in the best air cleaner for allergies. Permanent filters often only trap particles that are 2 microns and larger which misses a lot of finer pollutants.

Air purifiers with permanent filters have no maintenance costs. The air filters can be cleaned and reused for the life of the unit. Replaceable filter air purifiers incur a routine maintenance cost throughout the year. Some replaceable filters only last 3 to 6 months before a replacement is needed while others last up to 12 months or more.

Replaceable filter air purifiers tend to have more advanced features, such as Wi-Fi control, air quality sensors, a remote control, automatic modes, advanced timer functions, etc. Permanent filter air purifiers often have very few options besides a few manual fan speed settings, a basic timer, and a filter cleaning indicator.

Air purifiers with permanent and replaceable filters can both have additional air cleaning functions like an Ionizer or Ultraviolet Light. However, brand options will be limited with permanent filter units as there are not many manufacturers that include such advanced features. Replaceable filter units will have a wider selection to choose from.

How do you clean a permanent air purifier filter?

  1. Turn off and unplug the air purifier.
  2. Remove the filter cover panel.
  3. Pull out the air filter.
  4. If it’s a washable filter, wash it in warm, soapy water. Then, rinse the filter and let it drip dry thoroughly before placing it back into the air purifier.
  5. If it’s a non-washable filter, take a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment tool and go over the filter material several times to suck the dirt and debris out of both sides of the pleated layers.

Bottom Line

We hope you enjoyed this guide on the differences between best air purifiers with washable filters and permanent filters. We also hope that you found the perfect air purifier with reusable filter for your needs on this page.

No matter which device you choose, you’ll have cleaner and fresher air to breathe without having to pay a lot for it. And that’s something we can all appreciate.

Avatar for Patrick Holmes

About Patrick Holmes

Patrick is a Senior Air Quality & Comfort Specialist. He conducts in-depth research and analysis for our product reviews and buying guides in order to offer expert recommendations for people who are seeking to improve their indoor air quality and comfort. (See Full Bio)