Photo of an air purifier in an apartmentAre you living in an apartment and tired of breathing unhealthy air?

Or perhaps you’re trying to get relief from smoke or odors that invade your space from the next door neighbors?

Either way, this free guide will help.

Below, you’ll find out what the best air purifier for apartment is so you can create a pocket of fresh air indoors no matter where you live or what your neighbors do.

You’ll also discover what types of contaminants apartment air purifiers can and can’t get rid of as well as how to maximize their effectiveness without breaking your budget.

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Apartments Offer Unique Challenges to Air Quality

Because apartments are smaller spaces than a standard home, there are some special challenges to overcome if you want to maintain a higher level of indoor air quality. Fortunately, an air purifier can help with most of these issues.

Since apartments have a more compact and restrictive layout than a house, it can be extremely difficult for you to get proper ventilation throughout the entire space. Another problem is that you have absolutely no control of what your neighbors do in their own apartments and their lifestyle choices can easily impact your well-being and comfort.

Usually, apartment units in one building all share the same heating and cooling (HVAC) systems. That gives you far less regulation over what you’re breathing in than if you lived in a single-family house because you must rely on your landlord or complex manager for the cleaning and maintenance of your building’s HVAC system.

That means dust, allergens, mold, and other pollutants can easily be pumped into your apartment through the air vents on a daily basis. So, getting an air purifier is a key piece to improving the air quality you breathe indoors. (The United States Environmental Protection Agency even recommends them.)

Another common problem is that smoke, odors, and other pollutants can make their way into your apartment that comes from other neighbors who live in the same building. Even if you’re a clean person and keep your space tidy, one lousy neighbor is all it takes to ruin the air quality inside your own unit.

Since you have very little or no direct control over what contaminates the air that circulates throughout your apartment, the best thing you can do is invest in an air purifier so it can clean and freshen the air you breathe.

How Does an Air Purifier Help in Your Apartment?

Air purifiers are amazing at screening out and getting rid of airborne particles that can be harmful to your health or cause a lingering odor in your apartment.

These powerful machines can be beneficial in your apartment by removing common pollutants such as:

  • Bacteria, germs, and viruses
  • Allergens like pollen from trees, plants, or flowers
  • Dust and dust mites
  • Mold
  • Odors from cooking
  • Pet dander and hair, if you live with pets
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Particles that irritate asthma or other respiratory conditions

The biggest sources of airborne contaminants in apartment buildings tend to vary, but there are few major culprits that seem to impact every building complex no matter where you live, including:

1. Allergens
Allergens are common all over the world, and they can run rampant in your apartment if you don’t have something to strip them out the air.

Pollen, dust, and pet dander are the most common allergens that get trapped inside apartments. These particles can be brought in from the outdoors on your clothing (and shoes), float in through an open window, or come through the HVAC system.

2. Chemical Off-Gassing
A fresh coat of paint, new furniture, or even carpeting may look fabulous in your apartment, but these materials often contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that slowly get released into your apartment’s air. This chemical process is called “off-gassing” and is a serious issue with many building materials and furniture products.

Unfortunately, you can’t always smell these off-gassing chemicals and the only true way to keep yourself safe is by using an air purifier. If you owned your own home, you could make wiser decisions about the types of paint, carpeting, and building materials you use, but that’s not the case for apartment renters who end up getting whatever the landlord could install cheapest.

3. Mold
Many apartments have poor ventilation, and this allows for moisture and humidity to build up in places like the bathroom, laundry area, and kitchen. Eventually, this moisture can encourage mold growth and that can trigger an allergic reaction in people who have sensitivities or respiratory problems.

To keep yourself healthy, it’s best to filter mold spores out of the air you breathe by using an air purifier that’s made to handle them.

4. Smoke
Even if you don’t smoke, a smokey smell can easily creep into your apartment from a neighbor and linger around your space. Tobacco smoke is one of the hardest odors to get rid of since it can cling to your carpeting, drapery, furniture, and clothing.

Fortunately, the best air purifier for apartment can get rid of smoke odor without any trouble at all. In fact, if you’re a smoker you can also smoke inside your own apartment while running this device and still keep your space smelling fresh like it wasn’t even smoked in. Take a look at our #1 recommended air purifier below to see how powerful it really is.

5. Odors
One of the worst things about living in an apartment is that it can easily trap odors from cooking, pets, or a neighbor’s poor cleaning habits. Luckily, an air purifier with a specialized filter can strip odor-causing particles out of the air so your apartment smells clean all of the time.

What About Carbon Monoxide or Radon?

Many people wonder if an air purifier can remove carbon monoxide or radon from the air. Unfortunately, these machines are not designed to filter out these types of gases.

If you’re concerned about the levels of carbon monoxide or radon in your apartment, it’s best that you install a dedicated air quality detector for those particular gases.

So, What is the Best Apartment Air Purifier?

Since it’s difficult to know what particles you may have floating around in your apartment’s air, the best air purifier will be one that targets the broadest number of pollutants possible.

Ideally, this means you’ll want to look for an air purifier that includes one or more of these features:

  • True HEPA Filter – This filter is crucial because it captures the widest range of contaminants down to the micrometers. True HEPA filters are efficient at trapping 99.97% of particles down to 0.3 microns in size. This includes pollen, dust, pet dander, mold spores, and some bacteria.
  • Activated Carbon Filter – This filter is the only one that can eliminate odors from cooking, tobacco, and other smelly substances. It’s also the only one that can remove off-gassing chemicals from the VOCs in your furniture, carpet, and paint.
  • Ionizer – This is a good supplemental technology to have because it removes pollutants out in the air where they’re floating around. A True HEPA filter must draw contaminants into itself to collect them, but an ionizer doesn’t require physical filtration. The only drawback is that an ionizer can miss some contaminants, so it’s best to only get an air purifier that uses this function in combination with a True HEPA filter.
  • UV-C Light – Some air purifiers come with a UV-C light to help zap viruses and bacteria that float around in your air. Not all air purifiers have it though, so if you’re concerned about keeping your apartment as sterile as possible then you’ll want to look for this powerful feature.

We’ve pointed out which of these features are included in each of the air purifiers we recommend for apartments below.

Getting the Right Size Air Purifier for Your Apartment

One of the most important things to consider when you’re shopping for an air purifier is the size of your apartment.

You should never buy an air purifier simply because you like the way it looks. The reason why is that it may not give you sufficient coverage. It has to be rated strong enough to handle your apartment size, but not too large that it causes you to waste energy and money.

Air purifier coverage is rated in square feet (sq. ft.)

You can find the square footage of your apartment one of three ways:

  1. Ask your landlord for the square footage
  2. Look on your apartment’s website to see if the square footage is listed online
  3. Take out a measuring tape and measure the length and width of your apartment in feet. Then, multiply those two numbers together to get the square footage of your space. (For example: 25′ x 30′ = 750 sq. ft.)

Once you get the square footage of your apartment, you can go shopping for an air purifier to find a perfect match. To make things easy for you, we’ve listed the square footage rating for the top apartment air purifiers below.

Placement of Your Air Purifier

An air purifier always works best in the room you place it in, even if that room connects with other rooms in your apartment.

Keeping this in mind, it makes sense to put your air purifier in the room where you spend most of your time such as the living room or bedroom.

No matter what size or type of air purifier you get for your apartment, you’ll want to place it where it doesn’t have any obstructions around the sides or top of the unit. Ideally, you’ll want around 24 inches of clearance on all sides of your air purifier for it to operate at peak performance.

Not giving your air purifier enough room to “breathe” can result in it short-circuiting or not adequately cleaning the air inside the room.

The Best Air Purifiers for Apartments

Now that you know what to look for in a high-quality air purifier, we can now move on to our list of the best air purifying products.

Below, you’ll find the top three air purifiers for apartment living that cover large, medium, and small spaces. Pick the one that’s right for you and start enjoying the cleanest, freshest air possible.

Top Air Purifier For Large Apartments

Rabbit Air MinusA2Rabbit Air Minus A2

If you’re looking for the best air purifier for apartment that not only looks good but also packs the most air cleaning power, you’ve found it.

What makes this product so powerful is the fact that it uses six-stages of air purification and deodorization technology. In fact, it’s the leader in the industry for cleaning the most pollutants from indoor air.

With this device you’ll get:

  1. Pre-filter
  2. Medium Filter
  3. BioGS HEPA Filter, which is a longer lasting True HEPA filter
  4. Customized Filter
  5. Activated Carbon Filter
  6. Ionizer

If you have trouble with neighboring tobacco smoke and odors, you’ll be happy to know that this device is rated as the #1 air purifier for smokers by Cigar Aficionado Magazine.

The customized filter option allows you to further target specific contaminants inside your apartment including:

  • Germ Defense Filter
    Reduces airborne bacteria, mold spores, and particles that carry viruses
  • Pet Allergy Filter
    Reduces pet dander, pet allergens, and pet hair
  • Toxin Absorber Filter
    Reduces volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other chemicals
  • Odor Remover Filter
    Reduces odors from pets, cigarettes and cigars, cooking and mildew

Another feature you’ll like is that this air purifier can be wall-mounted or stand alone as a floor unit. The front panel comes in two color choices and multiple designs, and a Wi-Fi enabled version is also available to control everything from your mobile device.

All-in-all, this is the best air purifier for any large apartment because it can purify a space up to 700 sq. ft.

See Reviews

Best Air Purifier For Studio Apartment

Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2Winix 5500-2

If you live in a studio apartment then this is going to be your best investment in an air purifier.

This product is one-of-a-kind because it uses a patented PlasmaWave technology that you won’t find in any other air purifier on the market.

PlasmaWave safely breaks down allergens, chemical vapors, odors, bacteria, and other pollutants without producing harmful ozone or other side effects. It’s similar to an ionizer and a UV light all wrapped up into one.

With this air purifier you’ll also get:

  • The benefit of having a True HEPA filter for removing 99.97% of all other common airborne contaminants found inside apartments
  • An Activated Carbon Filter to help reduce cooking odors, pet smells, VOCs, and tobacco smoke

Additionally, this air purifier is completely automatic and has air quality sensors that adjust the power of the unit to clean the air as new contaminants are detected. It also handles spaces up to 360 sq. ft. which may be all the coverage you need if you live in a studio size apartment.

See Reviews

Best Air Purifier For Small Apartment Rooms

GermGuardian AC5000EGermGuardian AC5000E

Our final recommendation for an apartment air purifier is this tower unit right here. It’s best suited for smaller rooms in your apartment like a bedroom.

What makes this air purifier so attractive is the fact that it uses a three-stage air cleaning system that attacks airborne pollutants of all types including germs and viruses.

With this air purifier you’re getting:

  1. True HEPA Filter for capturing 99.97% of microscopic allergens, dust, and mold spores down to 0.3 microns in size
  2. Activated Carbon Filter for eliminating odors caused by cooking, tobacco, pets, and VOCs
  3. UV-C Light for killing bacteria, germs, and viruses that are present inside your apartment

If you have a small apartment or just want to spend the least amount of money on an air purifier, this is going to be your best choice.

This product can handle a space up to 193 sq. ft. and is great for most personal applications. It’s also lightweight and easy to carry if you want to move it from room to room with you.

A WiFi version is also available, but it has a slightly different design and uses the model number CDAP5500BCA. That version also covers a little less space at 167 sq. ft., but it’s well worth it for anyone who wants the convenience of controlling the air purifier from their smartphone or tablet.

See Reviews

More About Air Purifiers

Do You Need More than One Air Purifier in Your Apartment?

If you’re in a very small apartment like a loft or studio apartment, you may not need multiple air purifiers. You most likely just need one air purifier that covers the total square footage of your active living space.

However, if you’re in a larger apartment, multiple air purifiers may be a good idea so that you can get the cleanest, freshest air possible. Air purifiers don’t have the capability of working through walls, and they don’t do the best job of filtering air around corners.

If you have a really large apartment with lots of walls or doorways, you’ll want to have at least a dedicated air purifier for the main living area or area of your space and consider a secondary one for your bedroom.

Another option regardless if you’re in a small or large apartment is to have one or two smaller and more portable air purifiers that you can relocate from room to room with ease.

Is it OK to Leave an Air Purifier on All Night or All Day?

Yes. In fact, it’s best if you never turn your air purifier off at all because the more time it has to operate, the cleaner the air becomes in your apartment.

Each time you turn off the air purifier, indoor pollutants and odors can start to build up again. So, keep your air purifier running day and night so you can enjoy the cleanest air possible indoors.

Are Air Purifiers Noisy?

Not the ones recommended on this page. Each air purifier we recommend is practically silent when it’s operating on its lowest setting. If the air purifier kicks into a high mode to get rid of invading contaminants (or if you manually set it on the highest fan speed), then yes it can produce some louder noise.

However, this audible sound is only temporary while the air purifier is working harder to filter out the airborne pollutants. Once the air is clean, the machine will return back to a low setting if you have it set on an automatic mode. Otherwise, you’ll need to manually adjust the fan speed so it returns to that silent operating state.

Do Air Purifiers Cost a Lot to Maintain?

When you’re buying an air purifier for your apartment the yearly cost for maintenance is a good thing to consider. Especially if you’re on a tight budget.

Fortunately, the air purifiers we recommend above are not too expensive to maintain. The only thing you need to do is replace the internal filters when they get too dirty.

When operated under normal conditions, the Rabbit Air MinusA2 model only needs its filters replaced every two years. The filters inside the Winix 5500-2 and Germ Guardian AC5000E are recommended to be replaced every 6-8 months. All-in-all, you’re looking at about $30-50 per year to maintain any one of our top recommended apartment air purifiers.

To put this in a real-world application, that would average out to be a $2.50 to $4 increase in your monthly rent. So, if you lived in an area like Chicago, Illinois where the average cost for a one-room apartment is $1,186 per month (according to Adobo’s Chicago Rent Report), then you’re actually looking at spending $1,188.50 to $1,190 per month to live in your apartment.

Other Ways to Improve Your Apartment’s Air Quality

Along with getting an air purifier, there are several things that you can do to improve your apartment’s indoor air quality. Those include:

1. Opening the Windows
As a general rule, outdoor air is usually cleaner than indoor air unless you live in a highly congested traffic area. Opening your windows, even for an hour or so a day can improve your indoor air quality because it allows harmful pollutants to float out.

Adding a box fan to your window can also help to improve the airflow and make a big difference, especially in smaller apartments and lofts.

2. Controlling Pollution Sources
If you know that your apartment has a pollution source, try to mitigate it or remove it completely. If someone smokes, have them smoke outside. Consider switching your cleaning products to non-toxic, green or all natural versions that don’t emit VOCs.

3. Dusting and Vacuuming Regularly
Cleaning your apartment once or twice a week by dusting and vacuuming is a great way to cut down on all types of harmful particles floating around your apartment as well as dust mites that may be living in your carpet.

4. Removing Your Shoes at the Door
Each time you leave your apartment and come back inside, remove your shoes at the door. A whole host of pollutants can collect on your shoes when you go outdoors and you don’t want to track these particles all around your inside space.

5. Controlling Your Humidity Levels
If it’s too humid in your apartment, mold can grow more quickly and it gives dust mites a better environment to thrive. You want to keep your humidity levels between 30-50% all year round to help reduce the number of dust mites and mold spores in your home. This can easily be achieved by using a cheap dehumidifier to extract any extra moisture that may build up indoors.

6. Having a Chat with Your Landlord
If you suspect that you have a serious mold problem in your apartment or the HVAC system is pumping in polluted air, have a talk with your landlord. You should raise your concerns immediately so that they can be addressed before any long-term health effects occur. Many states have laws and regulations that indicate mold problems have to be taken care of within a few weeks. As for a dirty HVAC system, it may just need to be inspected and cleaned by a licensed professional.

Enjoy Your Apartment Air Purifier

We hope you enjoyed this guide on how to find, choose, and purchase an apartment air purifier. As you learned, the best air purifier for apartment is really based on the particular size of the space and the types contaminants you want it to get rid of.

After reading this post, we hope you feel more confident in shopping for a new air purifier and are better equipped with knowing how to create healthier indoor air for you and your guests to breathe.