If you’ve done any type of research on air purifiers you’ve probably noticed that many of them are not that cheap. Budget-friendly purifiers that actually work are hard to find. Even the products advertised as “affordable air purifiers” range somewhere between $150 to $400.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of clean, fresh air without having to spend a lot of cash. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite air purifiers at more affordable price points. Keep in mind that there may be some more advanced features you’ll have to compromise on, but you can still get a high-quality product at a budget-friendly price. Let’s take a look.

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The Best Budget-Friendly Air Purifiers: Overview

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
VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier
  • Best overall air purifier with 3-stage fan speed
  • Filters: HEPA Filter, Activated Carbon Pre-Filters
  • Coverage: 325 sq. ft.
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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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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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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 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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What to Look for in a Budget-Friendly 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.

Multi-Stage Air Purification

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.

Frequency of Filter Replacements

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.

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. 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.

When to Consider Buying an Affordable Air Purifier

Here are several reasons why you may want to buy an inexpensive air purifier:

  • You have a respiratory condition like asthma or COPD and want to reduce airborne irritants.
  • You have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or have sinus issues right after you wake up or during the night.
  • You live in a city and want to protect yourself from inhaling automobile exhaust and factory pollution.
  • You have pets and want to reduce the amount of dander and hair lingering around the home.
  • You have a dust or mold allergy and want to enjoy a cleaner, healthier space.
  • You or someone in your household is prone to sickness and you want to eliminate as many germs, viruses, and bacteria possible that may be floating around in the air.
  • You experience throat irritation or cough while at home and can’t seem to pinpoint the source.

The Best Budget-Friendly Air Purifiers

VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier

The VEVA 8000 is an ideal air purifier for all homes and offices. Its innovative and sleek design is great for any room. The air purifier can be changed from a tower air purifier to a table-top air purifier by removing the base.

Its automatic shutoff safety feature (when the front panel is removed), makes it safe for homes with children and pets.

With the VEVA you can cover up to 325 sq. ft. and enhance your air quality with these additional features:

  • Premium HEPA Filter: For removing allergens, pollen, mold and germs. Filters particles as small as 0.3 microns.
  • 4 Premium Activated Carbon Filters: For year-round air purification.
  • 3-Stage Air Speed: Fan speed ranges from ultra quiet to turbo

The VEVA air purifier offers you more filters and lower replacement costs compared to other air purifiers of similar size.

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GermGuardian AC4100 Air Purifier

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

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

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

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

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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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best inexpensive air purifier?

The best inexpensive air purifier is the VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier. The VEVA 8000 air purifier delivers powerful HEPA filtration in a sleek, compact design. This air purifier features a premium HEPA filter and an activated carbon pre-filter to remove airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns. Combined with the activated carbon pre-filter, this model removes everything from pet hair and dust to mold, bacteria and viruses.

In fact, the VEVA 8000 is one of the best air purifiers, period.

How does an inexpensive air purifier differ?

When you’re looking for a cheap air purifier it’s important that you understand what it can and can’t do for you. The major differences between the cheapest air purifier and an expensive one include:

  • Maximum room size it can handle
  • Filter type and efficiency
  • Frequency of filter changes

What room size can a cheap air purifier cover?

When buying a low-cost air purifier, the major thing you’ll give up is the amount of room size area it can cover. The best cheap air purifiers we recommend below can purify a room between 70-100 square feet (sq. ft.)

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.

How many air purifiers do I need?

Ideally, you want to have one air purifier for each room you spend the most time in. That way you can ensure you’re breathing the freshest air possible throughout the day and at night.

If you want to go the cheapest route, you could always just transport a single air purifier from room to room with you; however, many people choose just to buy a dedicated air purifier for their living room and another for their bedroom because it’s more convenient.

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, such as a vacation or trip.

Are air purifiers really worth it?

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.

Bottom Line

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.

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)