Are you trying to find the best desktop air purifier for your office desk or home workspace?
Do you want a small desk air purifier that removes pollutants like dust, bacteria, chemical vapors, and even odors out of your breathable air?
If that sounds like what you’re looking for, then this free guide is right for you.
What you’ll find below are the top things you should consider when shopping for a small air purifier for office use. You’ll also discover the three top air purifiers you can buy today that meet these criteria.
Desktop Air Purifier Comparison Chart
Here’s a chart showing the comparison between the top three air purifiers for a desk.
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.
|hOmeLabs Air Purifier||True HEPA, Carbon, Ionizer, UV-C Light||50 sq. ft.||$|
|Levoit LV-H126||True HEPA, Carbon||160 sq. ft.||$$|
|ionPacific ionbox||Ionizer||85 sq. ft.||$$$|
What to Look for in the Best Desk Air Purifiers
When you’re comparing small desk air purifiers it’s important that you keep one key feature in mind. This one factor will save you from wasting money on desktop air purifiers that don’t perform best in your office.
The first thing you want to check is if the desktop air purifier uses a HEPA filter or not.
A HEPA filter is the most powerful type of filter that catches the widest variety of airborne contaminants. In fact, all of the top air purifiers include it.
The way most air purifiers work (except for ionizers) is a three-step process:
- Surrounding air is pulled into the machine by a fan
- Pollutants are filtered out and captured in the HEPA filter
- Clean air is pumped back out for you to breathe
Now, before you go heading off to buy a HEPA desktop air purifier, there is one additional thing you must know about HEPA filters:
- Not all HEPA filters are alike (some are quite inferior to others)
You see, many products may highlight the fact that the air purifier uses a HEPA filter, but the truth is that not all of these filters are technically a “True HEPA” filter.
A True HEPA filter is the only kind that is rated to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. That covers practically every type of allergen, dust speck, mold spore, and airborne dirt particle that’s found in an office or home workspace setting.
It also removes some forms of bacteria and viruses that may be floating in the air, but not all. We’ll explain the solution to these toxins a little later.
When you’re comparing air purifiers for a work desk, what you’ll often find are companies using terms such as “HEPA-like,” “HEPA-type,” or just plain old “HEPA” in regards to the filter. They’ll also make claims like having a 99% capture rate. Technically, this claim is valid, but you’ll have to read the fine print to really see how well it works. They’re often very inferior to a True HEPA filter.
What’s Wrong with those Other HEPA Versions?
The simple answer is that HEPA, HEPA-like, and HEPA-typer filters have not passed the strict test of capturing the finest particles possible (0.3 microns) at a 99.97% effectiveness rate.
In fact, there is no regulation on how well these types of HEPA filters work.
One company’s air purifier may only remove pollutants down to 5 microns in size which misses almost all of the particles you’re concerned with breathing in at work. So, steer clear of these types of desktop air purifiers. Your health is too important to skimp out on the most important filter used in the device.
Additional Air Cleaning Features to Look for
In addition to getting an air purifier that uses a True HEPA filter, there are a few additional features you’ll want to consider to get the cleanest air possible in your office.
Those features include:
- Activated Carbon filter
- UV-C light
Not every air purifier comes with these air cleaning functions, so you have to be on the lookout for them. To make things easy for you, we highlight which desktop air purifiers contain which features in our product review section below.
Activated Carbon Filter
This special filter is the secret to getting rid of common workplace odors. If you’re surrounded by smells from office equipment, food, co-workers, or other uncontrollable odors, then you’ll want to make sure the air purifier you choose includes it.
An activated carbon filter works by absorbing those types of odors into the material so that the air around you smells clean and fresh.
Two of our recommended office air purifiers below include this filter.
This feature works by attacking pollutants that are within your surrounding vicinity. Instead of trapping them inside a physical filter, an ionizer sends out negatively charged ions that pull harmful particles out of the air before they have a chance to get to you. It’s kind of like an invisible forcefield of air purifying protection.
Ionizers are used to boost the air cleaning effectiveness of small desk air purifiers and prolong the life of the HEPA filter. It’s not a must-have item but it sure does help.
Our #1 and #3 air purifiers below include an ionizer.
If you want to lower your chances of catching an airborne virus or bacteria while at work, then this feature is something you’ll definitely want to look for.
A UV-C light works by zapping viruses, bacteria, and germs as they pass through the system. This destroys their DNA makeup and renders them harmless to your health.
Our top air purifier pick below includes this powerful function.
Now that you know the most important features to look for, let’s move onto the reviews.
#1 Best Desktop Air Purifier
If you want the best desktop air purifier that will ensure you’re breathing the highest quality air while at work, this is it.
Inside this air purifier, you’ll find a powerful 4-stage air filtration system that includes a True HEPA filter, Activated Carbon filter, Ionizer, and UV-C light.
What makes it even more perfect is the 360-degree air inlet that draws polluted air in from all sides. This is something you won’t find on any other product.
It covers up to 50 square feet of space and includes a filter change indicator that lights up so you know when to replace your filters. You can also choose between 2 fan speeds.
Overall, you won’t find a better small air purifier for office or home workspace use.
#2 Best Desk Air Purifier
Our next recommendation for a small desk air purifier is this device right here.
While it may not look as stylish as our #1 pick, it does pack a lot of air cleaning power in a small box. However, it only uses a 3-stage air purification system which includes a pre-filter, True HEPA filter, and Activated Carbon filter.
That means that with this product you can get rid of 99.97% of common airborne particles as well as odors, but it won’t kill bacteria or viruses.
An upside is that this air purifier can purify a space up to 160 square feet which is more than double the coverage of our top choice. If you work in a medium-sized office then you’ll want something like this that can handle more space.
You’re given the choice of 3 fan speeds so you can adjust the air cleaning power as you need it. There’s also a filter change dial that lets you set a manual reminder for when to check and replace the filters.
#3 Best Small Air Purifier for Office
Our final recommendation is an air purifier that doesn’t use any filters at all.
This product is purely just an ionizer.
It works by emitting an invisible cloud of negative ions around you as a way to reduce airborne contaminants. While it doesn’t collect particles into a physical filter, it still does a good job at cleaning the air.
Negative ions are known for improving concentration and mood, and that’s always a good thing when you’re at work.
Our two favorite features of this device are that it can be powered by a USB port and that it can cover an office space up to 500 square feet. No other air purifier made for desks has this much reach.
If you want a cost-effective solution that works well for large office areas, this is the one to get.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Air Purifier
Knowing which small air purifier for office and desk use is great, but you won’t get maximum value out of the unit unless you use it properly. To get the most benefit out of your new office air purifier, here are a few tips you’ll want to follow:
Place it in a Good Location
Every air purifier for office desk needs breathing space. You can’t expect to shove it in a corner or surround it on all sides by clutter and think that it will work at its peak performance.
If the product you choose uses a HEPA filter, try to leave 18-24 inches of clear space around the top and sides of the unit. This will allow for unobstructed air circulation and maximize the air cleaning power. If your air purifier has an ionizer, you may be able to get away with less space since the negative ions it emits will dissipate into the air.
Another thing you’ll want to do is keep the air purifier as close as possible to your personal breathing space. If it can be within arm’s length next to you, that’s great. The closer the unit is to you, the more clean, purified air you’ll breathe.
Don’t Turn it Off
You may be tempted to turn your desk air purifier on and off throughout the day just like you would a standard blade fan for cooling. However, air purifiers work best when they’re left running on a continuous basis. Every time you turn it off the air around you will start to become more polluted and the air purifier will have to work extra hard to filter out these contaminants the next time it is turned on.
Today’s air purifiers are energy-efficient, especially the desktop kind. Therefore, leave it on so you can enjoy the freshest air possible.
Keep Up with Filter Changes
Clean air filters are the key to contaminant-free breathing, so don’t neglect to change your filters on time or replace them if they get dirty. Having a clogged air filter will effectively render your air purifier useless even though it will continue to run.
Many air purifiers come with a filter change indicator that alerts you with a light when the filter needs to be replaced. Others have a manual dial that you can set for a specific month in the future to remind yourself to change the filter out. Each manufacturer will have their own recommendations for how long an air filter will last.
We hope this guide helped you find the best desktop air purifier for your office, cubicle or home workspace. Regardless of the product you choose, we’re sure that you’ll enjoy the many health benefits of having cleaner, fresher air around you while at work. If you’re looking for more options on small air purifiers, take a look at our guide on the best small air purifier here.