Are you looking to improve the air quality in your basement?
Do you have a musty mold smell you want to get rid of so it’s more tolerable to be down there?
If so, you’ve landed on the right page.
In this post, we’re going to show you how to find the best air purifier for basement—large and small, finished or unfinished.
You’ll come away knowing what the top features are to look for in a high-quality basement air purifier that keeps the air downstairs clean and fresh.
Use these links below to jump to a specific section of the page:
- Benefits of Using a Basement Air Purifier
- Key Features to Look for in a Basement Air Purifier
- List of the Four Best Air Purifiers for Basements (Products and Reviews)
- Additional Information on Air Purifiers
In a hurry? Here’s a glimpse of the two best products you can get.
If you’ve got a bit more time you can find the detailed reviews and buying guide below.
Top Benefits of Using a Basement Air Purifier
Before we jump into the list of features you should look for in a basement air purifier, you’ll be happy to know that there are a number of benefits you’ll enjoy by investing in one of these machines.
Certainly, getting rid of mold spores and any damp, musty smell is a high priority, but air purifiers offer so much more for your health and comfort.
Below is a list of the top benefits you’ll appreciate by having an air purifier in your basement:
- Increased Air Circulation — If you have a basement without windows, or a door that’s hardly ever left opened, the air inside can become stale and stuffy. The air exchange rate with the outdoors is a crucial factor in determining indoor air pollutant concentrations, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency Air purifiers circulate the air to give you better indoor air quality. Free flowing air also helps to regulate temperature and makes a finished basement more comfortable to live in.
- Fewer Allergens — There are numerous indoor allergens that show up in both finished and unfinished basements. Air purifiers are great for allergy and asthma sufferers because they trap allergens inside a filter so that the air downstairs doesn’t cause you to sneeze, cough, wheeze, or trigger an asthma attack.
- Less Pet Dander and Hair — If your pets have free range of your basement, then pet dander and hair can build up to uncomfortable levels. Air purifiers can reduce the number of dander particles and hair so it’s more liveable down there.
- Lower Dust Accumulation — Both unfinished and finished basements tend to accumulate a lot of dust. Air purifiers reduce these particles by circulating the air and trapping the dust inside a filter.
- Decreased Volatile Organic Compounds — Almost all building materials, paints, flooring, carpeting, and furniture release volatile organic compounds into the air which can cause odors and harm your health. Air purifiers remove these gaseous chemicals by absorbing the vapors before they get into your eyes, throat, or lungs.
- Extraction of Mold Spores — Basements breed mold more easily because they’re often damp, dark spaces, without great ventilation. Air purifiers can eliminate mold spores from the air by sucking them into a filter and destroying them with an ultraviolet light (more on that below).
- Fresher Smelling Air — With fewer mold spores, allergens, and dust in the air, your basement will smell cleaner and fresher when using an air purifier.
- Less Smoke and Odors — If you use your basement as a place to smoke tobacco, an air purifier can extract the visible smoke particles and strong odors that are usually left behind.
- Enhanced Mood Levels — Research shows that breathing in cleaner air improves your mood and decreases anxiety and stress. Air purifiers are perfect for anyone looking for better well-being.
- Improved Quality of Sleep — Polluted is known for disrupting your sleep and if your bed is in the basement, then you have all sorts of contaminants to contend with. Air purifiers can give you a better night’s rest by keeping the air around you clean.
As you can see, air purifiers offer a number of benefits for improving the air quality inside a basement as well as your long-term health. It’s also why we recommend that you use one of these devices in other areas of your house.
Key Features to Look for in a Basement Air Purifier
Now, before you rush out and buy an air purifier, hoping that it will cure all of your basement air quality problems, there are a few things you need to look out for to ensure that you get the best product.
Purchasing a device that has these features listed below will guarantee that you get the best air purifier for basement areas; both large and small, finished or unfinished.
- True HEPA Filter — Essential in a basement air purifier because it’s the only type that’s certified to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns. This includes mold spores, dust, allergens, smoke, pet dander, and thousands of other particles. However, watch out for air purifiers that use the words “HEPA-like,” “HEPA-type,” or just “HEPA” when referring to the filter. If it doesn’t have the word “True” attached to it, then it’s an inferior filter that won’t be the best for your basement.
- Ultraviolet Light — Also crucial because it’s the only air purification technology that can kill mold spores and other microbes. It works by using a beam of light to destroy the DNA structure of microorganisms. The UV-C light is completely safe for humans, however, it’s still contained inside the air purifier and doesn’t release any light into the room.
- Activated Carbon Filter — Another must-have feature because it’s the only type that can reduce basement odors. It does this through a chemical process called “adsorption” (which is similar to “absorption”), where odor particles cling to the filter medium. Activated carbon is the only substance that can remove a musty smell, volatile organic compounds, and other common basement odors.
As you’ll see below, the top air purifiers we recommend for basements include all three of those features. It wouldn’t serve you well to buy a basement air purifier that was missing any of these components.
Choosing the Right Size Air Purifier
The next section will reveal the best air purifiers for basements.
However, before you skip ahead, it’s important that you know which size air purifier you need so you don’t waste money or get one that’s not powerful enough for your needs.
Sizing an air purifier is actually quite simple.
All you have to do is match up the machine’s square footage coverage (sq. ft.) with the basement space.
If the air purifier meets or exceeds the room size, then you can use it. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to look for a bigger device.
In our reviews below, we tell you how much space each air purifier can handle.
To find out who much coverage you need in your basement, follow these two steps:
- With a tape measure, measure the width and length (in feet) of your basement—or if you’re just using an air purifier in one room of your basement, measure just that room. Round each number up or down to get a whole number (they’re easier to work with).
- Multiply the width X the length to get your total square footage (sq. ft.)
Here are two examples:
- An unfinished basement that measures 24′ x 16′ has 384 sq. ft. (24 x 16 = 384).
- A finished bedroom in a basement that measures 12′ 6″ x 14′ 2″ has 182 sq. ft. (by rounding to the nearest whole numbers, we get 13 x 14 = 182).
Once you’re equipped with the square footage number, you can then find an air purifier that can handle it, which we’ll cover next.
The Best Air Purifiers for Basements
Now that you know what to look for in the best air purifier for basement areas, and how to get the right size, you now have enough information to make a good buying decision.
Below, you’ll find the four best products you can buy for your basement. Each air purifier contains the necessary features to ensure fresh air quality down below: True HEPA filter, Ultraviolet light, and an Activated Carbon filter.
Best Air Purifier for Large Basement (Finished or Unfinished)
If you want the best air purifier for a large basement at an affordable price, this is it.
This product takes care of all of the particles that cause your downstairs air to be musty, stuffy, and stale.
In addition to the three essential features we mentioned above: True HEPA filter, Ultraviolet (UV-C) Light, and Activated Carbon filter, it also includes an optional Ionizer to further improve the air quality inside your basement.
Ionizers attack pollutants out in the air where they’re floating around as well as extend the life of the internal filters.
Another feature you’ll love about this device is that the internal filters are shaped like a cylinder; this increases the surface area by 60%, which makes it much more efficient than flat filters.
Finally, this air purifier covers very large spaces—up to 500 square feet—making it a perfect choice for any finished or unfinished basement.
Best Air Purifier for Small Basement (or Finished Room)
If you need an air purifier for a smaller unfinished basement or just a finished space, this stylish unit is going to be your best choice.
This air purifier covers up to 319 sq. ft. which is optimal for many downstairs areas and excellent for
With a True HEPA filter, Ultraviolet (UV-C) light, Activated Carbon filter, and Ionizer, it strips the air of practically every airborne contaminant. It also leaves the air smelling fresh and clean, which is what you want.
If you’re going to use this device in a basement bedroom or living area, you’ll be happy to know that it also includes a sleep mode that turns off all of the active lights.
For moderate size spaces, there’s not much else you can ask for in an air purifier for basement smell and dust.
Best Air Purifiers for Smaller Basement Rooms
Do you just need to improve the air quality inside a small basement or sectioned off room like a bedroom?
If so, this air purifier can cover all of your needs and is not very expensive.
It handles up to 200 sq. ft. and includes all of the crucial filters for cleaning the air downstairs: True HEPA filter, Ultraviolet (UV-C) light, and Activated Carbon filter. It does lack an Ionizer, which our top two recommendations include, but that’s not a must-have feature for purifying basement air.
The vertical shape is a nice design because it allows you to place the device practically anywhere in a room. But if you’re not too excited about the looks of it, you may want to consider our next review.
Our final recommendation is this unit right here.
It includes all of the same air purifying features as the GermGuardian air purifier above (True HEPA filter, Ultraviolet light, and Activated Carbon filter), but has a different shape and color.
Honestly, either of these air purifiers is a good choice for basement areas up to 200 sq. ft. But, you may just like the look of this air purifier instead.
If you do, you can’t go wrong by getting this model. It’s a fantastic air purifier with loads of positive happy customers—and inexpensive too.
Tips On Using an Air Purifier in a Basement
Buying an air purifier is a great first step to improving the air quality in your basement.
As you learned earlier, these machines can help reduce mold spores, a musty smell, and produce cleaner, fresher air for you to breathe.
However, to get the most value out of your purchase, there are a few simple tips you can follow after unboxing your new air purifier.
- Don’t Obstruct the Air Flow — Most air purifier manufacturers recommend that you leave at least 18-24 inches of space all around the unit. That will give the air purifier enough clearance on all sides to draw a sufficient amount of air into the device and pump clean air back into the room.
- Consider the Placement — You may be tempted to stick your air purifier in a corner of the basement so it’s out of the way. While that can be done, it’s better to position the unit closer to the center of the room, if you can. Similar to the first tip, the more air that can flow around the device, the more efficient it will be.
- Don’t Turn the Air Purifier Off — You may think that you can use an air purifier like a cooling fan or air conditioner—by only turning it on when you need it. However, that’s actually the worst thing you can do with an air purifier in your basement. Air purifiers run at peak performance when they operate 24 hours, 7 days per week. Every hour the device runs, the cleaner the basement air becomes. If you turn the machine off for any length of time, indoor contaminants will start to build up again, which defeats the purpose of having an air purifier. If the cost of running your air purifier all day worries you, rest assured that these machines are very energy efficient and barely impact your electric bill.
- Keep Windows and Doors Closed — Another efficiency tip is to enclose the air purifier inside a tightly closed basement (or room). By keeping windows shut and closing doors, you’re giving the air purifier a chance to fully exchange the air inside space over and over again. The more time the machine can operate in this manner, the fresher—and more contaminant-free—the air becomes. Each time a window or door is opened, you’re essentially letting purified air escape and inviting outside pollutants to flow back in. This makes the air purifier work harder and longer in order to keep the air downstairs clean.
- Check and Change Filters Regularly — An air purifier is only as good as the filters it has inside it. If the air filters become clogged with too many pollutants, they won’t operate as effectively. The air purifiers we reviewed on this page include a filter change indicator that alerts you for when it’s time to check or change the filters. If the True HEPA filter looks brown and dirty, change it. If the Activated Carbon filter is coated in white dust, change that one too. If you’re in any doubt, just know that having an overly clean filter is never a bad thing, so even if you do change a filter prematurely, it’s only going to benefit the air quality in your basement.
Common Questions About Basement Air Quality
How Can I Improve the Air Quality in My Basement?
You can easily improve the air quality inside your basement by investing in an air purifier. Air purifiers remove the airborne pollutants that cause your basement air to smell musty, stuffy, and stale. They also cut down on mold spores, allergens, and other contaminants.
Aside from an air purifier, you can also seal up and cracks, gaps, and holes; keep windows closed so outdoor contaminants and moisture doesn’t flow inward; inspect (and repair) and insulation; do a thorough cleaning of the floors, walls, and ceiling; only use low-VOC paints and stains; and clean any bedding or furniture.
Why Does Mold Grow in Basements?
Mold thrives in damp, dark places, which makes basements one of the top locations for mold to grow. Additionally, many basements get very little (or none at all) sunlight, have poor ventilation and air flow, and higher levels of humidity. Water problems inside basements can also be common from leaky pipes or flooding, and it takes longer for these areas to dry out. Condensation that results from colder temperatures combined with higher humidity also causes mold growth. And finally, people often neglect to clean their basements and the build up of dust and dirt can encourage mold to grow.
If humidity is an issue in your basement, combining an air purifier with a dehumidifier will give you the best protection against mold formation.
Are Air Purifiers Good for Basements?
Yes, air purifiers are good to use in the basement. These devices improve air circulation and reduce pollutants such as mold spores and dust. A basement air purifier can help improve the overall air quality in the lower level of a home, and even more so if the basement doesn’t have windows.
Houses that have a musty or damp smelling odor can benefit from the use of an air purifier as long as it uses an Activated Carbon filter. This filter is specially designed to trap those types of contaminants. However, if your basement has serious water or moisture issues that are causing the odors, then those conditions will need to be fixed in order to stop the root source. An air purifier can only help reduce the airborne particles that cause musty smells, not cure the problem.
How Do You Deodorize a Basement?
There are several steps you can take to deodorize a basement. 1) Open all windows and doors that lead to the outside so that air can circulate. This will also help to reduce the moisture level, which may be the cause of the odors. Repeat this step daily until the smell is gone; 2) Use an air purifier in the basement with the windows and doors closed. An air purifier will remove odor-causing particles from the air and trap them inside a filter. Clean, fresh air will then be pumped back into the room; 3) Spray a deodorizing agent with antifungal properties on the all hard surfaces like the floors and walls. This chemical can kill mold spores and other odor-producing particles; 4) If you have an unfinished basement, sprinkle chlorinated lime (bleaching) powder all over the floor until you can’t see it. Then, let it sit for 10 minutes. Finally, sweep up the powder. Chlorinated lime does a great job at removing odor-causing microbes that cling to the floor.
If you have an especially large basement, you may want to consider one of the air purifiers listed on our best air purifier for large spaces guide. Those models are for spaces up to 1,500 square feet and a few include thick Activated Carbon filters to help reduce basement odors.
Enjoy Your New Air Purifier
We hope this information has helped you feel more confident about choosing the best air purifier for basement areas that are large and small, finished or unfinished.
The products listed above are your top options for improving the air quality inside your home and should serve you well for a lifetime of use.