Cheap affordable air purifiers

If you’ve done any type of research on air purifiers you’ve probably noticed that many of them are not that cheap.

In fact, you’ve clearly seen that a lot of the top-selling air cleaners range somewhere between $150-400.

But, what if you don’t want to spend that much money on an air purifying device?

Does that mean you have to suffer?

Of course not!

You can enjoy the benefits of clean, fresh air without having to spend a lot of cash.

Sure, there may be some advanced features that you’ll have to give up when buying cheap air purifiers, but we assure you that you can still get a high-quality product that’s excellent at purifying the air.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to share with you here.

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Best Cheap Air Purifiers Reviewed in this Guide

Here’s a quick comparison chart showing the best budget air purifiers. 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
GermGuardian AC4100 Air PurifierGermGuardian AC4100 Air Purifier
  • Best overall air purifier
  • Filters: True HEPA, Activated Carbon, UV Light
  • Coverage: 78 sq. ft.
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GermGuardian AC4900CA Air PurifierGermGuardian AC4900CA Air Purifier
  • Most efficient unit
  • Filters: True HEPA, Activated Carbon, UV Light
  • Coverage: 150 sq. ft.
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Levoit LV-H126 Air PurifierLevoit LV-H126 Air Purifier
  • Good value and performance
  • Filters: Pre-filter, True HEPA, Activated Carbon
  • Coverage: 161 sq. ft.
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Levoit Vital 100 Air PurifierLevoit Vital 100 Air Purifier
  • Largest affordable option
  • Filters: Pre-filter, True HEPA, Activated Carbon
  • Coverage: 300 sq. ft.
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Winix A231 Air PurifierWinix A231 Air Purifier
  • Budget air purifier with advanced features
  • Filters: Pre-filter, True HEPA, Activated Carbon, PlasmaWave
  • Coverage: 230 sq. ft.
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Top Features to Look for in the Best Cheap Air Purifier

Best Cheap Air Purifier

When you’re looking for the best affordable air purifier you can buy, there are a few key features you want to take into consideration before making a purchase.

These elements are crucial if you want to make sure that you get a solid, powerful performing device.

Neglecting to look out for these factors when choosing the best cheap air purifier for your needs may cause you to end up wasting your valuable cash. And we don’t want you to do that.

Here’s what’s most important to know…

1. Multi-Stage Air Purification

One way in which manufacturers cut corners in designing inexpensive air purifiers is to use a single-stage air purifying process.

That’s what makes many of these devices so cheap and not nearly as effective as a more expensive one.

A single-stage air cleaner includes just one type of filter and only works well to purify the air of a small set of toxins.

For example, a device may only be capable of removing particles that create odors, bacteria, or fine dust, but not all three.

You don’t want a single-stage air cleaner.

What you want to look for instead is a multi-stage air purifier.

The best budget air purifier will combine several types of air filters and provides the most protection against harmful airborne particles.

A multi-stage air purifier gives you the most bang for your buck.

Multi-stage air filter options include:

  • Pre-filter: This collects the biggest particles like hair and large dust, and helps extend the life of the other main filters.
  • HEPA Filter: Great at pulling in and trapping microscopic allergens like pollen, fine dust, pet dander, and mold spores.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: Excellent at removing household odors, smoke, and airborne chemicals.
  • Ionizer: Good for neutralizing a variety of particles out in the open air space and making them easier to catch in the HEPA filter.
  • UV Light: Zaps and kills airborne bacteria and viruses to create a sterile environment.

As you’ll see in the recommended products section below, the #1 cheap air purifier includes most of these features, which makes it highly effective at purifying the air.

2. Frequency of Filter Replacements

This is a short topic to discuss, but it’s essential for you to understand when looking for a budget air purifier.

A secret trick that some manufacturers use in order to lower the cost of their air cleaners is to make up the difference by selling you a lifetime of filter replacements.

Initially, you may think a particular air purifier is a great deal, but over time the cost to replace the filters makes it a pricey long-term investment.

In fact, some products require you to replace certain filters every 1-3 months and, as you can imagine, that expense can really add up.

When you’re looking to buy an inexpensive air purifier, always check the product description for this type of information. That way you won’t get pulled into a money trap.

Note: The cheap air purifiers we recommend below are some of the safest options to buy.

3. Maximum Room Area Coverage

Another important aspect to keep an eye on when comparing low cost air purifiers is the maximum room space each device can cover.

You may think that you’ve found a great deal on an air cleaner, but later come to find out that it’s worthless because it can’t handle the room size that you placed it in.

The truth is that many less expensive air cleaners are only capable of handling small spaces. This lower power is what makes them so affordable.

But, that doesn’t have to be a deterrent for buying one. (You’ll find that the air purifiers we recommend below offer more than enough coverage for most people’s needs.)

Graphic Showing Square Footage Measurement

All air purifiers come with a maximum square footage area coverage rating. Before you purchase a cheap device, make sure that it’s rated high enough to work for your specific needs.

To figure out what size air purifier do I need, just measure the square footage of the room you want to place it in.

This is done by multiplying the width by the length (in feet). For example, a 12′ x 10′ room = 120 sq. ft.

Then confirm that the air purifier you want to buy can meet this size requirement.

It’s really that simple.

Note: If you’re looking for a small personal air purifier that can clean just the immediate air space around you, then this maximum area coverage requirement is less of a concern. As long as you place the device on a surface that’s within an arm’s reach, you can have a purified bubble of air no matter how low the rating. Keep this in mind if you’re on a tight budget and are concerned about how effective are air purifiers that don’t cover a lot of space.

Now that you know what important features to look for when buying an inexpensive air purifier, you’ll now appreciate the value that the products below offer you.

We’ve rated and reviewed a lot of air cleaners on our site and these devices are by far the most affordable and best choices you can get.

So just choose the one that’s right for you.

The Top 5 Best Affordable Air Purifiers

GermGuardian AC4100 Air Purifier

1. GermGuardian AC4100 Air Purifier

What makes this the best cheap air purifier you can buy is the simple fact that it includes a multi-stage 3-in-1 air cleaning system with a combo filter.

It only requires a single filter replacement, which keeps costs low, and is highly effective at cleaning the air.

This small, tabletop device is equipped with the following powerful filters:

  • True HEPA Filter: This removes 99.97% of all fine particles such as dust, pollen, and other harmful allergens.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: This eliminates indoor odors, tackles smoke, and chemical vapors.
  • UV Light: This kills toxic bacteria and viruses to keep you healthy and safe.

Another feature that sets this product apart from other competitors is the maximum area coverage rating of 78 square feet.

That makes it the perfect size for most personal applications. And, at such a low price point, you won’t find any other air purifier that has as much advanced air cleaning power as this device.

It also comes in 2-pack, so you can save even more money by getting the bundle.

Finally, it’s small design makes it easily portable, so you can take it from room to room or with you when traveling, making it the best compact air purifier on the market.

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GermGuardian AC4900CA Air Purifier

2. GermGuardian AC4900CA Air Purifier

If you liked the features of our #1 review, but wanted something that can handle a larger space, then this is the next best budget air purifier you can buy.

It’s basically the big brother of the GermGuardian AC4100 and doesn’t cost too much more.

With this model, you get all of the same high-quality air purification features, including:

  • True HEPA Filter: For collecting fine particulate matter.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: For removing unpleasant odors and gases.
  • UV Light: For destroying airborne germs.

The only difference here is that this model (GermGuardian AC4900CA) has individual filters and not a single cartridge to replace.

That design actually allows each filter to work more efficiently and last for longer periods of time a larger device.

With this taller air purifier, you also get double the room size coverage—up to 150 square feet.

So, if you want something that’s bigger and more efficient, give this one a try.

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Levoit LV-H126 Air Purifier with 3-stage air filtration system

3. Levoit LV-H126 Air Purifier

The third best inexpensive air purifier you can own is this unit right here.

It’s similar to our #1 pick but doesn’t include the UV light. However, this device is still a high-quality affordable air purifier that works well for personal use.

It’s around the same price as our top recommendation but you get more than double the square footage coverage at 161 square feet.

The 3-stage air filtration system includes:

  • Pre-filter: This captures the largest particles and extends the life of the True HEPA filter.
  • True HEPA Filter: This eliminates the widest range of indoor contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: This reduces odors and gaseous chemicals.

If you want an air purifier that’s not only cheap, but powerful and has a small footprint, this is a great choice.

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Levoit Vital 100 Air Purifier in White Color

4. Levoit Vital 100 Air Purifier

If you can extend your budget just a bit, you may want to consider this Levoit air purifier.

It’s the bigger version of the previously reviewed Levoit LV-H126 and covers twice the amount of space—300 square feet.

With this device (Levoit Vital 100), you also get the same types of filters, but in a much a larger size:

  • Pre-filter: For trapping large particulates.
  • True HEPA Filter: For capturing fine particulate matter.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: For reducing common indoor odors and chemical gases.

Although it doesn’t include a UV light, this budget air purifier is still excellent at trapping dust, allergens, smoke, mold spores, and some forms of bacteria in medium to large size rooms.

And it’s those very reasons why so many people choose to buy this air purifier.

If you want something that’s inexpensive and can handle a large amount of space, this might be the exact product for you.

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Winix A231 Air Purifier

5. Winix A231 Budget Air Purifier

Our final recommendation for the best affordable air purifier you can get is this Winix unit.

This product offers 360-degrees of air filtration which you won’t find on many other inexpensive air purifiers. It also has a 4-stage air filtration system that’s unmatched in its class with the following filter types:

  • Pre-filter: This captures large particles and allows the HEPA filter to operate more efficiently.
  • True HEPA Filter: This captures 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
  • Activated Carbon Filter: This removes odors, airborne gases, and chemical vapors.
  • PlasmaWave: This patented technology boosts air cleaning power by using water vapor to create hydroxyls that reduce the presence of airborne bacteria and viruses. You can think of it as an alternative to a UV light.

As for the room size coverage for this air purifier, it’s rated for small to medium size rooms up to 230 square feet.

The best parts; however, are the automatic features on this unit. It includes a set of Smart Sensors that automatically detect pollutants in the air and change the fan speed settings to quickly remove those particulates.

It also has an Air Quality Indicator Light that shows you in real time how clean or polluted the air is inside the room. Blue = Good, Yellow = Fair, and Red = Poor.

And if that wasn’t enough, the Winix A231 includes a whisper-quiet Sleep Mode to ensure continuous and undisturbed operation at night, making it a good low cost air purifier for a bedroom.

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Common Questions About Air Purifiers

What is the best inexpensive air purifier?

Best inexpensive air purifier

The best inexpensive air purifier is the Levoit Vital 100. For the price, it offers the value and air cleaning performance for most people.

Inside this air purifier, you get a 3-stage air filtration system that includes a pre-filter, True HEPA filter, and Activated Carbon filter. This combination can remove up to 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size as well as household odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

The Levoit Vital 100 also covers up to 300 square feet and can filter the full volume of air in the room every 18 minutes. For large rooms up to 500 square feet, this unit will filter the air every 30 minutes, making it a high-quality air purifier for a cheap price.

Levoit is a top brand for affordable air purifiers and every model is well-liked by consumers. This model in particular has around 10,000 reviews and works well in living rooms, bedrooms, and offices.

Are air purifiers cheap to run?

Air purifiers are cheap to run and use very little electricity. Depending on the fan speed setting, air purifiers consume between 20 to 100 watts per hour or $0.0026 to $0.013. With 12 hours of daily use, this amounts to $0.95 to $4.75 a month or $12 to $57 annually.

If you were to use an air purifier for 24 hours per day, which we recommend, then the total electricity cost would be $2 to $10 a month or $23 to $114 annually.

As for the inexpensive air purifiers reviewed on this page, you can expect to pay on the lower end of these numbers, making them cheap to run. The average wattage used by these air purifiers is 20 to 30 watts, which equals $0.95 to $1.42 per month or $12 to $17 annually for 12 hours of daily use. At 24 hours of daily operation, the cost would be about $1.89 to $3 per month or $23 to $34 annually.

How many hours should an air purifier run?

At a minimum, an air purifier should run for 12 hours per day. But to get the most benefits from the air purifier, it should run 24 hours per day. The more you run your air purifier, the fresher and cleaner the air inside a room will become.

Therefore, we recommend that you always leave the air purifier running and only turn it off if you are leaving the house for an extended period of time. For example, going on a long vacation or staying away from the house for two or more days.

As soon as an air purifier stops running, the contaminants in the room can start to build up again. That’s why it’s good to keep both expensive and cheaper air purifiers operating 24 hours per day.

Are air purifiers really worth it?

With all of the claims that air purifier manufacturers make, it can hard to know what to believe; especially with low cost and budget priced air purifiers.

So asking the question is an air purifier worth it is completely normal.

To help you understand if air purifiers are a good choice, consider these factors:

  • Research indicates that removal of particulate matter (PM2.5) resulted “in significant health benefits to patients of asthma and cardiovascular disease.”
  • Intervention with air purifiers can lead to “significant improvements in nasal symptoms in children with allergic rhinitis”.
  • The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) independently tests and verifies the effectiveness of air purifier units. The AHAM standard reveals an air purifier’s efficacy as a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). The CADR rating indicates separate scores for tobacco smoke, pollen, and dust removal.

As you can see, the research shows that air purifiers are a good device for improving overall health, and there are independent groups that make sure that the claims for cleaning the air effectively are backed up by data.

So even a cheap HEPA air purifier can be worth it as long as you get a good brand and unit like the products reviewed on this page.

Enjoy Your New Air Purifier

Best Affordable Air Purifier

We hope this guide on the best air purifier for a low cost was helpful in finding the right air purifier for needs.

As you discovered, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a high-quality device.

In fact, many cheaper air purifiers do exist that can clean the air just as good as the more expensive models.

The only tradeoff is that you’ll just have to use these more affordable air purifiers in a smaller space to get the full benefits out of them.

Anyways, we hope you found the best budget air purifier on this page and that you enjoy it for years to come.

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)