Best Cheap Air Purifier (Most Affordable and Inexpensive)

GermGuardian AC4100, Holmes Desktop Air Purifer and Honeywell HHT-011If you’re looking for the best cheap air purifier you can get, then you’re really going to enjoy this free guide.

While many of the air purifiers you find today range anywhere between $100-$300 dollars, we know that you don’t want to spend that much.

Instead, you want the best affordable air purifier you can get for the cheapest price possible. And, that’s exactly what we’re going to share with you in this post.

Below, you’ll find out what the best inexpensive air purifiers are between $30-$50, and learn how they’re different from the more expensive options.

Air Purifier Comparison Chart

Here’s a chart showing the comparison between the top three cheapest air purifiers.

We’ll go more in depth about each one later in this guide but this gives you a sense of what’s available and an easy way to quickly compare them.

ImageNameFilter TypesCoveragePrice
Germ Guardian AC4100True HEPA, Carbon, UV Light200 sq. ft.$$
Holmes Desktop Air PurifierHEPA-type, Ionizer100 sq. ft.$$
Honeywell Compact Air Purifier HHT-011HEPA-type, Ionizer85 sq. ft.$

How an Inexpensive Air Purifier is Different from an Expensive One

When you’re looking for a cheap air purifier it’s important that you understand what it can and can’t do for you.

This basic information will help you align your expectations with the device so you’ll know what to expect when you use it at home.

The major differences between the cheapest, best affordable air purifier and an expensive one include:

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

We’ll explain what each of these factors mean in full detail next.

Maximum Room Size it Can Handle

The first thing you’ll find when shopping for an air purifier that fits your needs is that the more money you spend, the larger a space the device can purify.

When buying a low-cost air purifier, the major thing you’ll give up is the amount of room size area it can cover. This may or may not be a concern to you, but it’s important to keep in mind.

The best cheap air purifiers we recommend below can purify a room between 80-200 square feet (sq. ft.)

If you’re just looking for an air purifier that can clean the air in a bedroom, small living room, or office space, that’s really all coverage you’ll need.

There’s no point in you spending extra money on an expensive air purifier that can purify a room up to 500 sq. ft. when you don’t even need it. Expensive air purifiers are mostly geared toward purifying very large rooms or an entire level of a house. (See our best home air purifier guide for those options.)

Filter Type and Efficiency

The second thing that differentiates the best inexpensive air purifier from an expensive unit is the type of filter it uses and the efficiency.

This feature is mostly a concern for people that suffer from severe allergies or asthma.

If you don’t have those issues and are just seeking to have better air around you to breathe, then you’ll do fine getting a cheaper, more affordable air purifier that doesn’t use the top-of-the-line filtering technology.

With many of the cheapest air purifiers, you’ll find that they use a HEPA-grade or HEPA-type filter, not a True HEPA filter.

What this means is that cheaper devices can only remove harmful toxins from the air that are as small as 2-5 microns in size. This includes things like pollen and other common allergens.

A True HEPA filter can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns in size which includes dust mite waste, pet dander, and some bacteria. While a True HEPA filter is the most expensive true to get, if you don’t suffer from major allergies or asthma issues then a HEPA-grade or HEPA-type filter will most likely be fine.

Note: Our #1 recommendation below actually includes a True HEPA filter, ensuring the highest level of air quality control.

Frequency of Filter Changes

The last thing that makes low-cost air purifiers different from expensive devices is the frequency of filter changes.

In general, high-cost units come with a much larger filter that can trap more toxins and particles than a cheaper air purifier.

Most affordable air purifiers are smaller devices with smaller filters. This smaller size can mean more frequent filter changes. This is something to keep in mind when purchasing a low-cost unit since it may require a bit more regular maintenance.

Note: Our #3 recommendation below actually has a permanent filter that can be vacuumed clean. This eliminates the cost for filter replacements and makes it very affordable to own.

Best Cheap Air Purifier Recommendations

Below is a detailed overview of the top three cheapest air purifiers you can buy today. Each one is less than $50 and offers fantastic air cleaning power.

#1 Best Affordable Air Purifier

Germ Guardian AC4010Germ Guardian AC4100

Hands down, this is the best affordable air purifier you can get.

Unlike any other device in this price range, this unit is equipped with a True HEPA filter that removes 99.97% of airborne contaminants 0.3 microns in size.

It’s also a multi-stage 3-in-1 cleaning system that includes a Carbon Filter (for removing household odors) and a UV Light (for destroying airborne bacteria and viruses). This is the main reason for why it made as our best cheap air purifier.

Since all of the filters are wrapped into one, this air cleaner only requires a single filter replacement which saves you a good chunk of money in the long run.

A final stand out feature of this device is that it’s powerful enough to purify an area up to 200 sq. ft. At this price point, you won’t find any other air purifier that can cover that much space.

If you want the best cheapest air purifier money can buy, this is it.

See Amazon Reviews

#2 Best Inexpensive Air Purifier

Holmes Desktop Air PurifierHolmes Desktop Air Purifier

This device uses a HEPA-type filter that captures particles 2 microns and larger such as larger dust and pollen.

Our favorite aspect of this air cleaner is that it only requires only one filter to change, which is a big convenience and makes it very affordable.

It also includes an ionizer that delivers extra cleaning power against airborne contaminants. This feature emits ions into the air that latch onto harmful particles and pulls them out of the air.

With 3 fan speeds, you’re given the option of controlling the efficiency at the touch of a button.

Finally, this small air purifier can sit on its side or upright, allowing it to fit in the tightest of spaces. You can place it on a desk, a nightstand, or the corner of a room and it will purify a space up to 100 sq. ft.

See Amazon Reviews

#3 Best Low Cost Air Purifier

Honeywell HHT-011Honeywell Compact Air Purifier (HHT-011)

Our final recommendation for an affordable air purifier is this product right here.

The reason this device made it onto the list was primarily for two reasons:

  1. It doesn’t require any costly filter changes
  2. It has received over 2,500 customer reviews

What we like most about this compact air cleaner is that it uses a permanent HEPA-type filter which saves you from costly filter replacements. All you need to do is vacuum it regularly in order to get rid of the trapped dust and allergens.

An optional ionizer is can be switched on for extra cleaning power against airborne pollutants. Similar to our #2 recommendation this feature knocks particles out of the air so you don’t breathe them in.

The pre-filter traps the largest particles and is washable and reusable (another cost-saving feature).

It also includes an optional nightlight which is great for a bedroom setting.

This is the cheapest air purifier on the list and has the least amount of coverage. However, it’s still a great device that can purify a space up to 85 sq. ft. which is perfect for anyone who’s searching for an affordable personal air cleaner.

See Amazon Reviews


More About the Extra Air Cleaning Features

In the first half of this guide, we focused on several important aspects you should consider when looking for a cheaper air purifier. One of those features was filter type (True HEPA vs HEPA-type) and frequency of filter changes.

The HEPA filter is the core of the air purifier and is truly the most important feature when it comes to air purification. This filter traps the most particles from the air that cause breathing problems and health issues. No matter how little or much you spend on an air purifier, you want to make sure you’re getting a high-quality device that uses it.

In the reviews above, we mentioned three additional types of air cleaning technologies. While we gave a short description of what each one was, you may want to know a bit more about them. Those features were:

  • Carbon filter
  • Ionizer
  • UV light

A carbon filter is a specially designed filter that’s used to get rid of common household odors and chemical vapors. As air passes through the air purifier (and this filter) any particles that produce odors are absorbed by the material. This includes things like pet odors, cooking smells, volatile organic compounds. cleaning agents, and more.

Since this a physical filter, it will need to be replaced regularly to stay effective. If odors are a concern for you, investing in our #1 cheap pick is the most ideal choice.

An ionizer is not a filter, nor does it pass air through a physical medium as a way to clean it. The way this technology works is by sending out negatively charged ions into the air as a way to purify it. These ions are attracted to positively charged pollutants such as allergens, smoke, pet dander, and dust, and form a bond with them. Once this bond is made, the particle cluster is too heavy to remain in the air and therefore drop to the ground.

Since ionizers don’t trap contaminants into a filter, those particles do technically still remain in the room. However, pairing an ionizer with a HEPA filter allows some of those particles to get sucked in and trapped by the HEPA filter. You often find cheaper air purifiers include this combination when it uses a HEPA-type filter instead of a True HEPA filter as a way to boost it’s cleaning power.

A UV light is a special feature that you don’t find very often on lower cost, affordable air purifiers. That’s because it’s a powerful technology that really takes the air cleaning power to another level. The fact that you can get a UV light on our #1 recommendation is really a great deal.

The UV light is a safe form of ultra violet lighting that presents no harm to humans. It sits inside the device next to the HEPA filter. As air passes through and pollutants get trapped, some bacteria and viruses can slip past this filter. When they do, the UV light zaps them before they can float back into the air again. It does this by destroying the DNA makeup of these toxins, and essentially rendering them harmless to your health.

UV lights are a great thing to look for when shopping for a cheap air purifier and if you can find it, it’s well worth the investment. However, if you’re the type of person who doesn’t get sick often, then you may not need to worry about this extra feature, although it is nice to have for overall health and well-being.

Common Questions People Have About Air Purifiers

Do Air Purifiers Improve Health?

Yes. Air purifiers remove contaminants from the air that are known for causing short and long-term health effects such as allergies, asthma attacks, headaches, throat and eye irritation, respiratory conditions, brain damage, nervous system damage, cancer, heart disease, and much more. Breathing in air pollution is a serious matter and an choosing and affordable air purifier can help you enjoy a healthier life while indoors.

Why Buy an Air Purifier?

Air purifiers are a good choice for anyone who wants to reduce their exposure to air pollution and live a healthier life. Indoor air quality can be up to 5X worse than the outdoors and since we spend more than 90% of our time indoors, it makes sense to clean the air around you. Running an air purifier can cut down on airborne particles such as dust, allergens, pet dander, mold, bacteria, viruses, fungi, smoke, odors, volatile organic compounds, automobile exhaust fumes, cleaning agent toxins, etc. so they don’t end up in your lungs, eyes, or throat.

When to Buy an 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 a cough while at home and can’t seem to pinpoint the source

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 alwys 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.