Best Air Purifier with Carbon Filter

One of the most common air quality problems that homeowners face is odor. Household odors have various sources, from cooking to pets to unwashed laundry. Unfortunately, because we spend so much time at home, we may be desensitized to these odors and not be aware of them.

For the most part, having an air purifier is more than enough to address this problem. While a HEPA air purifier may be excellent for removing dust and allergens, you’ll need an air purifier with a carbon filter to combat household odors.

If you’re struggling to remove odors from your home, check out our review on the best air purifiers with carbon filters on the market!

Top 6 Air Purifiers with Carbon Filter

Product Features Price

Top Pick

1. Blue Pure 121

  • Fabric pre-filter + Particle filter + Carbon filter
  • Area coverage of 620 sq. ft.
  • CADR Ratings: Dust (400), Pollen (400), Smoke (400)
  • 3 fan speeds to choose from
  • 360-degree air intake for maximum airflow
  • 2-year warranty
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2. Winix 5500-2

  • Carbon pre-filter + True HEPA filter + Ionizer
  • Area coverage of 360 sq. ft.
  • CADR Ratings: Dust (243), Pollen (246), Smoke (232)
  • Auto Mode and Sleep Mode
  • Air quality indicator
  • 1- year warranty
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3. RabbitAir MinusA2 SPA-780A

  • Pre-filter + Medium filter + BioGS HEPA filter + Customized filter + Carbon filter + Ionizer
  • Area coverage of 815 sq. ft.
  • CADR Ratings: Dust (193), Pollen (200), Smoke (180)
  • Auto mode and air quality indicator
  • Customizable front panel and filter
  • 5-year warranty
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4. Inofia PM1539

  • True HEPA filter + Dual Carbon filter
  • Area coverage of 1056 sq. ft.
  • CADR Ratings: Dust (330), Pollen (330), Smoke (330)
  • Auto mode and sleep mode
  • 24-hour timer
  • 2-year warranty
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Budget Pick

5. GermGuardian AC4825

  • Carbon Pre-filter + True HEPA filter + UV
  • Area coverage of 167 sq. ft.
  • CADR Ratings: Dust (>118), Pollen (>125), Smoke (108)
  • 3 fan speeds to choose from
  • 3-year warranty
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6. Coway Airmega 400

  • Washable pre-filter + Max2 filter (combined HEPA and carbon filter)
  • Area coverage of 1560 sq. ft.
  • CADR Ratings: Dust (350), Pollen (350), Smoke (350)
  • Air quality sensor and indicator
  • 5 fan speeds to choose from
  • 5-year warranty
Check price on amazon

Air Purifiers with Carbon Filter Reviews

1. Blue Pure 121

The Blue Pure 121 has been making waves as one of the most efficient air purifiers on the market. Surprisingly, unlike most of the popular air purifiers today, the 121 does not make use of a True HEPA filter. Instead, its air purification system is composed of a washable pre-filter, a particle filter, and a carbon filter.

Unfortunately, the 121’s impressive performance comes with a steep price tag which is understandable considering its specifications. However, one of the major downsides to this device is that it does not have any smart features or an auto mode which is something you would expect from an air purifier at this price point. The 121 is also quite large so you might need to move around some furniture for it to fit in your home.

Despite a few flaws, however, the 121 is undoubtedly a powerful device. Its 360-degree air intake means it’s capable of scrubbing large volumes of air in a small amount of time. Its impressive CADR ratings are evidence of that ability. It operates quietly and many users have praised it for its ability to effectively remove all types of air pollutants including VOCs and odors.


  • Large room coverage
  • High CADR ratings
  • Washable pre-filter available in a variety of colors
  • 360-degree air intake for better airflow
  • Filter replacement indicator
  • Quiet operation
  • Washable pre-filter
  • Energy Star certified


  • Expensive
  • Large footprint
  • No smart features or auto mode

2. Winix 5500-2

The Winix 5500-2 has long been a favorite among air purifier users. Its impressive performance, bevy of features, and modest price tag are just a few of the reasons why the 5500-2 has become a crowd-favorite. It’s rated to cover 360 sq. ft. and works with a fairly robust air purification system consisting of a permanent carbon pre-filter, a True HEPA filter, and the Winix PlasmaWave ionizer.

While its permanent carbon pre-filter is an attractive feature as it helps you save in the long run, it will need to be cleaned quite regularly to maintain its efficiency against odors. Its True HEPA filter replacements tend to be quite expensive in the long-run, too.

However, in its defense, the 5500-2 really is a robust air purifier. It offers its users a variety of useful smart features, a remote control, patented PlasmaWave Technology, and high energy efficiency with Energy Star certification. For an affordable price, you get an air purifier capable of handling a wide variety of air pollutants, including odors!


  • Quiet operation
  • Ideal for medium to large rooms
  • Comes with smart features (modes and indicators)
  • Easy to operate with a remote control
  • Automatic fan speed adjustment using Smart Sensors
  • Dedicated PlasmaWave button
  • Affordable upfront
  • Energy efficient


  • Large footprint
  • Slightly expensive long-term
  • Carbon filter needs to be cleaned regularly
  • Short warranty

3. RabbitAir MinusA2 SPA-780A

RabbitAir has long been known for manufacturing high-performance air purifiers that operate very quietly despite their size and power. One of their bestselling air purifiers is the MinusA2 SPA-780A, a wall-mountable air purifier capable of covering up to 815 sq. ft of space. It also makes use of a comprehensive air purification system: a pre-filter, a medium filter, a BioGS HEPA filter, a customizable filter, a carbon filter, and an ionizer.

At a glance, you can already tell that the SPA-780A is going to be an expensive device and it is! Despite its hefty price tag, however, RabbitAir lacks a timer, which is a feature you would expect on such an expensive device.

Despite a few shortcomings, however, there’s no denying the SPA-780A works extremely well against a wide variety of air pollutants. We especially like the customizable filters which allow you to target specific air quality problems in your home. It also has all the makings you would expect on a premium air purifier of this calibre.


  • Large coverage
  • Customizable filters and front panel
  • Affordable replacement filters
  • Can be mounted on a wall
  • Quiet operation
  • Fan speed adjusts automatically
  • Has a Remote Control
  • Energy Efficient
  • Good for pet hair, dander, odor, etc.


  • Expensive (upfront)
  • No timer
  • Heavy

4. Inofia PM1539

The Inofia PM1539, while not the most popular brand, is an excellent mid-priced air purifier rated to cover large spaces up to 1056 sq. ft. of space. An interesting thing to note about this air purifier is that it uses a unique dual carbon filter on top of its True HEPA filter. This means that the PM1539 is built to tackle heavy duty odor removal.

Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems with this model is that it is currently not available for sale or distribution in California. This means it isn’t available to a large portion of the population. On top of that, its replacement filters are both expensive and difficult to find.

Despite this, however, the PM1539 offers you more value for your money by having a wide array of features you wouldn’t expect on an air purifier at this price point. These features include an air quality indicator, an auto mode, a timer, app control, and WiFi connectivity. In addition, it has impressive CADR ratings and operates quietly.


  • Relatively affordable
  • Large room coverage
  • Air quality indicator and auto mode
  • Can be controlled via app and WiFi
  • Auto shut off timer
  • Good CADR ratings
  • Quiet operation


  • Not available in California
  • Relatively expensive replacement filters
  • Difficult to find replacement filters
  • App still has glitches

5. GermGuardian AC4825

The GermGuardian AC4825 is easily the most popular air purifier on this list, primarily for its affordability and effectiveness. While its specifications aren’t as impressive as the others on this list, there’s no denying that the AC4825 is capable of providing its users cleaner and safer air to breathe for the whole family. The AC4825 relies on a carbon pre-filter, a True HEPA filter, and a UV light bulb, which all come together to fight all sorts of household air pollutants.

One of the biggest limiting factors to owning this device is it small room coverage rated to cover only 167 sq. ft. On top of that, its expensive replacement filters will translate to higher long-term costs. The AC4825 also has no smart features or modes to choose from. Users have also reported a burning smell coming from the unit while in use.

Overall, however, the AC4825 definitely gives you more bang for your buck considering how it performs against common household air pollutants. Its affordable upfront price tag and simple, easy-to-use controls has made it the first choice for many homeowners looking for an entry-level air purifier.


  • Affordable (upfront)
  • Energy efficient
  • Sleek, space-saving tower-type design
  • Filter replacement indicator
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Capable of removing different types of pollutants such as allergens, odors, and bacteria
  • Permanent pre-filter and charcoal filter.


  • Small coverage area
  • Expensive replacement HEPA filter
  • No smart features or modes
  • Users report burning smell coming from the unit

6. Coway Airmega 400

One of the greatest air purifiers of its generation, the Coway Airmega 400 is as robust and as impressive as air purifiers get. Rated to cover entire residences up to 1560 sq. ft in size and comes with a variety of smart features such as WiFi connectivity and app control. Features aside, the Airmega 400 also makes use of a simple yet efficient air filtration system consists of a washable pre-filter and a unique Max2 filter.

One of the most obvious reasons why one may not go for the Airmega 400 is its hefty price tag — it’s easily the most expensive air purifier on this list. On top of that, it has a relatively large footprint and will take up a considerable amount of space at home. Despite its large size, however, Coway seems to have forgotten to add casters to this model for easier mobility. Luckily, it has handles!

Overall, the Airmega 400 is unrivaled in terms of performance. Its large room coverage, bevy of cutting-edge features, sleek design, and impressive specification make it one of the best air purifiers out there. In addition, its thin Max2 filter means it’s able to scrub large volumes of air in a short amount of time.


  • Max2 filter permits higher airflow and removes different types of air pollutants quickly
  • Automatic air quality monitoring and fan speed adjustment
  • Programmable timer and scheduler
  • Unique, modern design
  • Excellent for large areas
  • Long warranty


  • Expensive upfront and long-term
  • Large footprint
  • No casters

Buyer’s Guide:

Air Purifier with Carbon Filter

The Dangers of VOCs and Fumes

Did you know that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and harmful chemical fumes are more common in your home than outside? Due to poor ventilation and confined spaces in most homes, VOC concentrations can be up to 10 times higher at home. Common sources of VOCs at home include cleaning solutions, hairspray, paints, lacquers, varnishes, and even perfumes.

Prolonged exposure to VOCs and other chemical fumes can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, damage to liver, kidney, lungs, and nervous system, and ultimately cancer.

The negative effects of these VOCs and fumes can be avoided if an air purifier is capable of removing and containing these air pollutants. The main component of an air purifier that’s capable of doing this is the carbon filter.

How Carbon Filters Work

Carbon filters work by trapping gases. They are designed in such a way that gases are filtered through a bed of activated carbon, where they are absorbed on a molecular basis. Carbon filters tend to have high absorbency and chemical bonding compared to other types of filters. These two characteristics make carbon filters excellent at trapping chemical emissions, gases, smoke, and odors.

Activated Carbon vs Activated Charcoal

Despite seeming like two totally different things, activated carbon and activated charcoal can safely be interchanged without losing its meaning. However, they do differ in the way they are activated.

For charcoal, there are two methods that manufacturers use: heating charcoal to high temperatures using steam or injecting phosphorus into the charcoal and then heating it. Regardless of which method is used, the result is the same: the charcoal’s pores shrink, thus leading to a higher adsorption surface. Carbon, on the other hand, is activated by injecting steam into it which also results in very small pores.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do carbon filters last?

Carbon filters don’t last as long as True HEPA filters and will need to be replaced more frequently. Typically, carbon filters will need to be replaced every 3 to 6 months to ensure that your air purifier is still effectively filtering out VOCs and odors.

Why do carbon filters need more frequent replacing?

The frequency of replacement directly correlates to the amount of carbon the filter has. The more carbon the filter has, the longer it should last. As a rule of thumb, carbon filters should have at least 5 lbs of carbon to be considered a good filter. Unfortunately, most manufacturers do not share this information so we are often left guessing.

In addition, because of its very small pores, carbon filters tend to saturate at a much faster rate compared to other types of filters which is why they need to be replaced more often.

What’s the difference between a carbon pre-filter and a carbon filter?

A carbon pre-filter is a pre-filter embedded with carbon. This means that while it is also capable of removing large particles, it is also able to remove odors. A carbon filter, on the other hand, is a dedicated filter that usually comes right after the True HEPA filter. A dedicated carbon filter does a better job of removing VOCs and odors compared to a combined carbon pre-filter.

Final Thoughts

Odors, volatile organic compounds, and other chemical fumes are just a few of the air pollutants homeowners face each day. Most of the time, they go unnoticed. Having an air purifier with a carbon filter at home helps you combat these air pollutants to keep your home and its occupants comfortable and safe.

For those facing problems with odors and looking for air purifiers with a carbon filter, we highly recommend the very powerful Blue Pure 121. Its impressive specifications, performance, and form all make it a very attractive choice. If you don’t have the budget for the 121, the more affordable but still effective GermGuardian AC4825 should do the trick!

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