4 Ozone-Free Air Purifiers That Safely Clean Your Air

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4 Ozone-Free Air Purifiers That Safely Clean Your Air

When dust, pet hair, or the smell of last night's dinner linger in your home, air purifiers can literally provide a breath of fresh air. For years, many air purifier companies have boasted about technologies like ionizers and UV sanitizers. These features, which produce small amounts of ozone, held the spotlight while HEPA and activated carbon filters did most of the heavy lifting. (Keep reading below our picks to learn about HEPA filter standards).

Since ozone can irritate our lungs and the marginal benefits of using ionizers or UV sanitizers don't outweigh these health risks, we decided to focus on finding the best purifiers that only relied on powerful air filters. These "mechanical" air purifiers clean air by passing it through layers of filters.

From big to small pollutants and small to large rooms, here are the best ozone-free air purifiers out there.

01

Best Air Purifier for Most People

Best Air Purifier for Most People

We recommend the Honeywell HPA300 Air Purifier because it provides a high level of ozone-free filtration over a substantial area, and has several useful features. When it comes to cleaning the air of medium to large sized rooms, the HPA300 was the only reputable air purifier we found that does not use an ionizer or UV sanitizer (both technologies produce ozone).

What Works

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  • This purifier uses a True HEPA filter which filters 99.97 percent of particles larger than 0.3 microns. This means it can catch larger particles like pet dander and dust as well as fine particles like smoke.
  • It covers areas up to 465 square feet which should be able to cover the average living room or a large bedroom.
  • The control panel serves up several cool features. You can activate a two, four, or eight hour timer, dim the panel lights at bedtime, and see if your pre-filter or main filter needs to be replaced. You can also set the fan speed to Germ, General Clean, Allergen, or Turbo.
  • Users generally report that this air purifier is quiet on most settings. On Turbo, however, you will definitely notice the sound. Most people use this powerful level for a quick air change.
  • There's no air intake or outtake in the back, so you can put this purifier against the wall.

What Could Be Better

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  • This air purifier's aesthetic design and build quality did not impress us. The thick plastic connecting on thin hinges makes us uneasy, but we feel better knowing you have five years of warranty protection.
  • Some Amazon reviewers thought it was heavy at 21 pounds. If you find this to be heavy, it can limit your ability to move it around your home.

Warranty and Customer Support

Honeywell's customer support is responsive, but rigid in the ways they are helpful. They do, however, offer a five-year limited warranty.

02

Best Air Purifier for Small Rooms

Best Air Purifier for Small Rooms

Part of our team owns and loves this ozone-free air purifier. We recommend the Levoit LV-H132 because it looks great, works well, and has an inexpensive replacement filter. In our research, we couldn't find an equal or better purifier for small spaces that had a True HEPA filter without adding on ozone-producing features like ionizers or UV sanitizers.

What Works

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  • This purifier uses a three layer filter: a pre-filter, an activated carbon filter, and a True HEPA filter. The True HEPA filter can filter 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns and larger which means this can clear small particles like smoke and larger particles like pet dander. Because all three filters are in one casing, you only need to buy one filter instead of a main and pre-filter.
  • Officially, this purifier covers 86 square feet, but I and other users have used it in rooms 100–200 sq. ft with great results. I've used it steadily for six months (4–8 hours daily) in a 120 square foot room and the filter replacement light has yet to turn on.
  • The control panel lets you choose from three fan speeds. The low and medium speeds are like white noise, but on the highest setting, the purifier can compete with conversations or TV viewing.
  • There's also a nightlight that can prove useful in kids' bedrooms. It defaults to a bright blue, but it also has a dim setting.

What Could Be Better

  • Since its intake is omnidirectional, this air purifier needs some clearance from objects around it. Though 15 inches is recommended, it will still function with less clearance, if you don't mind slower results.
  • The lights on the control panel are fairly bright, which may be a deterrent for light-sensitive sleepers.

Warranty and Customer Support

Levoit offers refunds within 30 days, a two-year warranty, and lifetime customer support. Their support team is helpful, but sometimes not very responsive. 

03

Best Air Purifier for Large Rooms, Apartments, and Lofts

Best Air Purifier for Large Rooms, Apartments, and Lofts

We recommend the Airmega 300 for it's design, effective filtration, and its ability to clean the air of a large space without using ozone-producing processes. Aside from other  Airmega models, we couldn't find any outward competition that performed as well without using an ionizer or UV sanitizer.

If you want a few smart features and Alexa integration, you can go for the 300S. Or you could go for a simpler upgrade with the 400 which offers a light sensor (see below).

What Works

  • This air purifier uses a True HEPA filter so it filters 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns and larger. This means it can catch small particles like smoke and larger particles like pet dander and dust.
  • It covers areas up to 1256 square feet so it can handle large spaces and be hypereffective in smaller spaces.
  • The Airmega 300 has a pollution sensor, so in Auto mode, it will adjust the fan speed based on the air quality. In Eco mode, if the sensor detects good air quality for ten minutes, it will shut off the fan. If the quality dips again, the fan will turn back on.
  • You can also manually activate a Sleep mode which dims the control light and slows down the fan. If you upgrade to the 400 or 400S (covers 1,560 square feet), a light sensor will automatically activate Sleep mode in a dark room.
  • There's a one, four, and eight hour timer option.
  • It operates between roughly 22 and 52 db, depending on the fan speed. For reference, normal conversations average between 50 and 60 db.

What Could Be Better

  • Some users weren't impressed with its ability to filter odors. They felt that the odors were less pungent, but not completely eliminated. The disparity in reviews on odor filtration could simply come down to user sensitivity, but there were enough  disappointed reviews for us to not mention it.
  • The Airmega is, well, mega. It weighs 21 pounds and its cube-like dimensions make it difficult to move around. We should note that it is exactly as heavy as our main pick, which only filters about one third of the space.

Warranty and Customer Support

Airmega offers a five-year limited warranty and we found their online customer support to be fairly responsive and helpful.

04

Best Desktop Air Purifier

Best Desktop Air Purifier

We recommend this Febreze air purifier because it can easily fit on a desk and filters harmful particles effectively without producing ozone. Other small, desktop air purifiers we considered either emitted ozone, didn't have easily accessible replacement filters, or were discontinued by the manufacturer.

What Works

    "This air purifier easily fits on a desk and filters harmful particles effectively without producing ozone."
  • This air purifier takes up very little real estate on a desk or on the floor. It also only needs about six inches of clearance in the front and the back can be placed against a wall.
  • It covers up to 85 square feet, but some users were pleased with their results in slightly larger rooms.
  • There are three fan levels which most users don't find too loud. Additionally, since this and the scent level are determined by knobs, there are no persistent lights.
  • There are also separate notification lights for the filter and the scent cartridge.

What Could Be Better

  • This only uses a HEPA Type filter which removes 99 percent of particles 2.5 microns and larger. It can handle large particles like dust and pet dander, but smaller particles like smoke won't get caught by the filter. If you are looking for True HEPA filtration and don't mind a larger purifier, try our pick for small rooms.
  • The optional scent cartridges don't last very long. The original cartridges have some kick to them, but the replacements don't survive a week.

Warranty and Customer Support

Febreze offers a three-year warranty and pretty comprehensive (though a bit slow) customer support. 

How We Chose

First, we looked at the landscape of air purifiers. Air purifiers use combinations of HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, UV sanitizers, and ionizers to clean the air. Unfortunately, UV sanitizers and ionizers can produce small amounts of ozone.

Though many air purifiers with ionizers and UV sanitizers have passed strict government ozone limits, long-term ozone exposure is potentially dangerous. Ozone production aside, UV sanitizers add marginal value to HEPA filtration, according to the EPA.

Upon learning this information, we decided to focus on filter-only air purifiers. We cross-referenced professional reviews with Amazon reviews and our own experiences with air purifiers. We considered design, weight, and keeping the noise level lower than an air conditioner in addition to the purifiers' HEPA filter designations. Finally, we made sure the purifiers we chose met the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) strict standards for air purifiers and were listed as "Mechanical."

"Long-term ozone exposure is potentially dangerous."

What to Look for in an Ozone-Free Air Purifier

Without the additions of ionizers or UV sanitizers, air purifiers are only as good as their filters. Other features can inform your decision, but HEPA designation should be your main consideration.

HEPA Filters: HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. True HEPA filters catch 99.97 percent of particles 0.3 microns and larger while HEPA Type filters usually catch 85–99 percent of particles 2–2.5 microns and larger.

True HEPA is ideal if you are looking for allergy or smoke relief, but the HEPA Type filters are effective against larger pollutants like dust and pet dander. Though HEPA filters play a role in deodorization, pre-filters and carbon filters usually do most of the legwork in removing odors.

Replacement Filter Cost: You should take into account how much it costs to replace your filter and (if applicable) pre-filter. Depending on how often you need to change each filter, this can greatly impact your purifier's cost over time.

Control Panel Lighting: If you're planning on putting an air purifier in your bedroom and you are sensitive to light, you should look for a purifier with minimal, dimmable, or no lights at all.

Noise: Virtually every air purifier is noticeable on its highest setting. The lower settings should be tolerable or almost silent. The loudness threshold will vary from person to person as well as by the acoustics of the room where you place the air purifier.

Clearance: Depending on where the air purifier's intake and outtake vents are, you'll need a little space between the machine and other objects or walls. Some purifiers can hug a wall while others need a few inches to work to their highest capacity.

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Timer: Want to set it and forget it? Timers come in handy so you're not burning through energy. Many air purifiers will change the air in their recommended room coverage at least twice within one hour. Unless there's a lot of air being introduced from other parts of your home/outside through doors and windows, or you are dealing with a persistent smell like a litter box, the purifier doesn't need to be on all the time.

Pollution Sensors: If you don't want to fiddle with controls at all, look into pollution sensors. High-end air purifiers will include pollution sensors that can turn the machine on/off and even change the fan speed based on the air quality.

Close, But No Cigar

We looked closely at Blueair's Blue Pure 211+ and a few Winix air purifiers, but discovered that they both use ionizers. We had to ask Blueair directly since they don't publicly market the ionizers in their Blue line of products (they even go so far as to say the 211+ is ozone free). We also discovered Winix's Plasmawave feature is just a proprietary ionizer.

"When you try to put multiple devices in one machine, it's rare that all of them work well."

The Coway AP-1512HH, which is highly rated on Amazon, was high on our list since the ionizer is optional and the design is sleek. We discovered that a few users noticed an increased ozone smell even when the ionizer was turned off. As a result, we omitted purifiers with optional purifiers from our guide.

We also considered Dyson's Pure series of air purifiers because they would look great in your spaceship living room. In addition to purifying the air with a suite of smart features, these machines also work as fan and/or a heater. Unfortunately, all the bells and whistles in the world couldn't help its real world filtration performance compared to the Airmega 300, according to Wirecutter.

When you try to put multiple devices in one machine, it's rare that all of them work well, which is why we omitted Dyson's air purifiers as well as any purifier-humidifier combos from other companies.

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The Guide Team