Best Desktop Air Purifiers

There are a variety of air purifiers available that are able to service various differently-sized homes. While some homeowners may prefer air purifiers capable of servicing large rooms, some might prefer smaller, more compact air purifiers. However, if you think you’re sacrificing quality for size, you’re wrong!

Desktop air purifiers are designed to be small enough to fit on desks, bedside tables, or any other elevated area at home. Despite being smaller than standard air purifiers, desktop air purifiers are able to do an excellent job of purifying the air in small spaces.

Read our review of the best desktop air purifiers below!

Top 7 Desktop Air Purifiers

Product Features Price

Top Pick

1. Levoit LV-H126

  • Pre-filter + HEPA-type + Activated carbon
  • 161 sq. ft. coverage area
  • 3 variable fan speeds
  • Manual filter reminder wheel
  • 2-year warranty
Check price on amazon

2. Levoit_LV-H132

  • Pre-filter + True HEPA + Activated carbon
  • 129 sq. ft. coverage area
  • Change filter indicator
  • Adjustable fan speed
  • Doubles as a night light with two brightness settings
  • 2-year warranty
Check price on amazon

3. GermGuardian AC4100

  • Carbon pre-filter + HEPA-type + UV
  • 60 sq. ft. coverage area
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Filter change indicator
  • Optional UV light treatment
  • 1-year warranty
Check price on amazon

4. Honeywell HPA020B

  • Carbon pre-filter + True HEPA
  • 80 sq. ft. coverage area
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Energy Star Certified
  • 5-year warranty
Check price on amazon

5. Holmes HAP9240

  • HEPA-type + ionizer
  • 100 sq. ft. coverage area
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Versatile dual positioning
  • 3-year warranty
Check price on amazon

6. Hamilton Beach TrueAir 04384

  • Pre + Carbon + HEPA-type (permanent)
  • 140 sq. ft. coverage area
  • 3 fan speeds
  • Versatile dual positioning
  • 1-year warranty
Check price on amazon

Budget Pick

7. hOmelabs Compact Ionic HEPA Air Purifier

  • Pre-filter + HEPA-type + Carbon + UV
  • 50 sq. ft. coverage area
  • Filter change indicator
  • UV-C sanitizer eliminates airborne bacteria and viruses
  • 2-year warranty
Check price on amazon

Desktop Air Purifiers Reviews

1. Levoit LV-H126

The Levoit brand has been extremely popular in the air purifier market and the LV-H126 is one of their latest releases. It’s a quaint, little desktop air purifier with a unique aesthetic. Designed to cover 161 sq. ft. of space, the LV-H126 boasts a 3-stage air filtration system consisting of a pre-filter, a True HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter.

What’s unique about the LV-H126 is that it features a manual filter change reminder knob at the back of the unit. You turn the knob to denote at which month you should change the filters or how many months your filter has been used. While it’s a useful feature, it loses its appeal because you have to manually turn the knob, as opposed to getting an automatic reminder on the control panel.

Sure, it doesn’t have as many features as we would like, but you do get an air purifier that definitely gives you value for your money. The LV-H126 is an affordable, easy to use desktop air purifier that’s capable of removing several different types of air pollutants in a surprisingly wide space considering how small it is.

Pros

  • Affordable (upfront and long-term)
  • Good room coverage for a desktop air purifier
  • Uses a True HEPA filter
  • Removes odors effectively
  • Unique, compact design
  • 12-Month filter change reminder
  • Easy to use and maintain

Cons

  • Operates loudly
  • Filter change reminder needs to be manually set
  • No auto modes or other features

2. Levoit LV-H132

We find another contender from Levoit in the LV-H132, one of the best-selling air purifiers on the market today. Released earlier than the LV-H126, the LV-H132 features a similar air filtration system consisting of a pre-filter, carbon filter, and a True HEPA filter. However, it is rated to cover a slightly smaller 129 sq. ft. of space.

One of the chief complaints with this model is that it operates quite loudly and we don’t mean just the fan. Its buttons make a loud beeping noise when you press them, too. Aside from the noise, the LV-H132 also costs a little more upfront than some of the choices on this list.

Overall, the LV-H132 is one of the most robust desktop air purifiers available. Unlike some of the models on this list, it has a filter change reminder and an optional nightlight. It gives you pretty good room coverage and relief from any allergy-causing air pollutants lurking around in your home.

Pros

  • Good room coverage for a desktop air purifier
  • Uses a True HEPA filter
  • Optional nightlight
  • Filter change reminder
  • Easy to use and maintain

Cons

  • Slightly expensive
  • No auto modes or other features
  • Loud button noises
  • Operates loudly

3. GermGuardian AC4100

GermGuardian is another reputable brand in the air purifier industry, responsible for manufacturing the ever-popular AC4825 air purifier. Another popular model from GermGuardian is the AC4100 which is best-suited for small rooms up to 60 sq. ft. in size. It features a carbon pre-filter, a HEPA-type filter, and GermGuardian’s signature UV-C light treatment.

One glaring problem with this device is its very small room coverage. While we don’t expect wide coverage from desktop air purifiers, the AC4100 is greatly limited by this. Aside from the very small room coverage, it also doesn’t use a True HEPA filter which means it’s less efficient at filtering out smaller particles like allergens.

Despite these few flaws, however, several users have reported that the AC4100 was able to give them some relief from their allergic reactions as well as reduce odors in their home. This is primarily due to its carbon pre-filter and UV-C light treatment. Overall, there’s no denying that the AC4100 is a high-quality, albeit affordable, device to help you control odors in your home.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Unique compact design
  • Helps reduce airborne bacteria and viruses with UV-C light treatment
  • Works well against odors and smoke
  • Energy efficient (Energy Star certified)

Cons

  • Small room coverage compared to other desktop air purifiers
  • Short warranty
  • Not a True HEPA filter

4. Honeywell HPA020B

Honeywell manufactures air purifiers in different sizes for different uses. One of their newer desktop models is the HPA020B. Rated to cover only 80 sq. ft., the HPA020B uses a carbon pre-filter and a True HEPA filter to remove air pollutants in small spaces.

Like with the AC4100, one of the problems with HPA020B is its small room coverage which is limited to only 80 sq. ft. While not uncommon among desktop air purifiers, it loses points when compared the other models in this list with wider coverage areas. On top of that, it comes with a relatively higher price tag.

Despite a couple of limitations, however, the HPA020B still a good desktop air purifier to have around especially you’re one to suffer from allergies. Users have also reported a noticeable reduction in odors in their home with the HPA020B running. If you’re looking for a desktop air purifier from a reputable brand, look no further than the Honeywell HPA020B.

Pros

  • Long warranty
  • Uses a True HEPA filter
  • Works well against allergens and odors
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
  • Energy efficient (Energy Star certified)

Cons

  • Slightly expensive (upfront and long-term)
  • Small room coverage compared to other desktop air purifiers

5. Holmes HAP9240

The Holmes HAP9240 is a unique-looking desktop air purifier, fitted with a single HEPA-type filter to remove allergens and other airborne impurities. It also has an optional ionizer that makes it easier for the air purifier to capture pollutants. This particular model is capable of serving rooms up to 100 sq. ft. in size.

An obvious problem with the HAP9240 is that it only uses one HEPA-type filter that’s treated with Arm & Hammer baking soda to combat odors. Because there’s only one filter, there’s a higher possibility that it will get worn out faster and result in more frequent filter changes. On top of that, it’s a lower-efficiency filter because it’s not a True HEPA filter.

What we do like about this model, however, is that it’s very affordable and versatile in its positioning — you can have it standing upright or horizontally. It also has pretty good coverage for a desktop air purifier. In addition, several users have praised it for its whisper-quiet operation.

Pros

  • Good coverage for a desktop air purifier
  • Affordable
  • Versatile dual positioning
  • Optional ionizer helps purify the air
  • Operates quietly

Cons

  • Uses only one filter
  • Not a True HEPA filter
  • Filters have to be replaced often

6. Hamilton Beach TrueAir 04384

The Hamilton Beach TrueAir 04384 has long been a favorite, particularly among pet owners. This is because it features two replaceable carbon zeolite filters that help remove household odors like pet smells. Aside from the carbon zeolite filters, it is also fitted with a permanent pre-filter and HEPA-type filter. It is also rated to cover 140 sq. ft. of space.

Like with all air purifiers that use only HEPA-type filters, there’s a reduction in efficiency when it comes to removing smaller pollutants like allergens. It also doesn’t have a clean filter or change filter indicator so you have to manually check the filters yourself. On top of that, it’s only backed by a short 1-year warranty.

Like the HAP9240, you also have the option of positioning the 04384 either horizontally or vertically. What’s great about this model is that it’s affordable both upfront and long-term due to its permanent HEPA-type filter which just needs to be vacuumed regularly. All things considered, the 04384 remains a robust desktop air purifier that’s great for small spaces and personal use.

Pros

  • Good coverage for a desktop air purifier
  • Affordable (upfront and long-term)
  • Versatile dual positioning
  • Permanent HEPA filter never needs to be replaced
  • Carbon filters help remove odors
  • Ideal for pet owners

Cons

  • Not a true HEPA filter
  • No clean filter or change filter indicator
  • Short warranty

7. hOmelabs Compact Ionic HEPA Air Purifier

A little-known air purifier brand, hOmelabs, has quietly been manufacturing a variety of high-quality home appliances ranging from dishwashers to dehumidifiers. Currently, the Compact Ionic HEPA air purifier is their only air purifier model available. It has a surprisingly comprehensive air filtration system consisting of a pre-filter, HEPA-type filter, carbon filter, and UV light.

Unfortunately, this unit has the smallest coverage area among all the other air purifiers on this list, being able to only cover a mere 50 sq. ft. This makes it ideal for only very small spaces or for one-person use only. It also has a bright LED light that lights up blue while the air purifier is running which can make it a distraction for those who prefer to sleep with the lights off.

The best things about this unit, however, are its affordability, ease of use, quietness, and its overall well-roundedness. Because of its comprehensive air filtration system, you can rest assured knowing that it’ll remove all sorts of airborne pollutants.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comprehensive air filtration system
  • Operates quietly
  • Good for removing a wide variety of air pollutants
  • Filter change indicator
  • Easy to use and maintain

Cons

  • Small room coverage compared to other desktop air purifiers
  • Bright blue LED light cannot be turned off
  • Replacement filters are difficult to find
  • Not authorized for sale or shipment to California

Buyer’s Guide:

Desktop Air Purifier

Ideal Desktop Air Purifier Size

There are no clear cut dimensions for the ideal desktop air purifier. However, it should be small enough to place on most tables, desks, or bedside tables. The typical size of desktop air purifiers is somewhat similar to that of a radio. Ideally, it shouldn’t be too tall or wide that it’d take up your entire table. It also shouldn’t be too heavy as most desktop air purifiers weigh less than 7 lbs. Overall, desktop air purifiers are very portable and easy to move around.

Benefits of Using Desktop Air Purifiers

  • Compact, lightweight

    One of the biggest benefits to owning a desktop air purifier is that you don’t have to worry about where to place it — even if you live in a relatively small home. Desktop air purifiers are light enough for you to move around the house without any help. You can simply prop it by the side of your desk, on your bedside table, or anywhere else it’ll fit.

  • Affordable

    Desktop air purifiers are generally more affordable compared to standard air purifiers. They’re more affordable upfront and long-term because their replacement filters are more affordable and they consume less power. This makes them an ideal choice for those on a tight budget.

  • Great for personal use

    Because you’re able to place desktop air purifiers in places closer to your breathing space like on your office desk or bedside table, you’re able to get the most out of them. The closer air purifiers are to your breathing space, you lower your risk of breathing in any harmful airborne pollutants.

  • Easier to use and operate

    Desktop air purifiers are usually easier to operate compared to standard air purifiers primarily because they have simpler controls and use fewer, less complicated features.

  • Less power consumption

    Because they’re smaller, desktop air purifiers tend to use up less power and makes less of an impact on your monthly electricity bills.

Disadvantages of Using Desktop Air Purifiers

  • Smaller room coverage

    Generally, desktop air purifiers are only capable of covering small spaces. Most of them are only able to cover less than 160 sq. ft. This can be a huge disadvantage for homeowners looking to cover larger areas.

  • Fewer features

    As previously mentioned, desktop air purifiers use much simpler systems, controls, and features. While this may make them easier to use, they lose a lot of functionality that standard air purifiers are able to give users. Some examples of useful features that some desktop air purifiers have include air quality sensors, air quality indicators, an auto mode, a sleep mode, and more.

  • Not as durable as standard air purifiers

    Because they’re more affordable, desktop air purifiers tend to be less durable and made with materials that are cheaper than standard air purifiers. While this is not always the case, it’s true for a lot of the desktop air purifiers out there. That’s why it’s important to choose the right brands and models carefully!

  • Shorter warranties

    In relation to the point above, you’ll notice that desktop air purifiers tend to have shorter warranties. Warranties give you an idea about how long the manufacturers think their products will last. If you can, try to choose a model with a longer warranty.

True HEPA Filters vs. HEPA-type Filters

If you’ve done your research on air purifiers, then you’ve probably heard of HEPA filters. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. HEPA filters are considered the best type of filter against microscopic airborne pollutants. However, not many people know that manufacturers use two types of filters: True HEPA filters and HEPA-type filters.

While they may seem like one and the same, they greatly vary in their efficiency when it comes to filtering out pollutants. To be considered a True HEPA filter, a filter should be able to filter out 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size such as allergens and odors. True HEPA filters are one of the best filters to use against a wide array of air pollutants.

On the other hand, a HEPA-type filter is only capable of filtering out 99% of particles as small as 2 microns in size. This means it is largely less efficient at filtering out air pollutants than a True HEPA filter. Most desktop air purifiers only use HEPA-type or HEPA-grade filters.

It’s important to distinguish between these two types of filters to know which air purifier is right for your needs.

How to Get the Most out of Your Desktop Air Purifier

Many people complain that desktop air purifiers aren’t powerful enough to take care of their air quality problems. However, the problem often lies in improper usage. Because there are a number of limitations to owning a desktop air purifier, we’ll be sharing with you a few tips so that you get the most out of it:

  • Use in the recommended room size

    It’s absolutely crucial to use air purifiers in their recommended room size so that you can be sure that it’s capable of doing the job. When you place an air purifier in a room much larger than the one recommended by the manufacturer, you run the risk of your air purifier underperforming. To be safe, we recommend purchasing an air purifier that’s rated to cover a space slightly larger than the one you intend to use it in.

  • Place it as close to your breathing space as possible

    When there’s an air purifier running near you, there’s a high probability that it will be able to capture any airborne pollutants before they’re able to enter your breathing space. This is why we recommend placing desktop air purifiers on your bedside table or your office table.

  • Keep it on for as long as possible

    Regardless of the type of air purifier, it’s highly recommended to keep air purifiers running 24/7 to ensure continued protection against potentially harmful air pollutants.

  • Close windows in the room you’re using it in

    To avoid allowing more air pollutants into your home, close the windows before running your air purifier. This also allows your air purifier cycle the air in your room much more efficiently.

  • Handle with care

    Because most desktop air purifiers are backed with short warranties, it’s best to handle them with care so they last as long as possible. This involves going through the instruction manual and following maintenance instructions as recommended by the manufacturer.

Frequently Asked Questions

How loud can air purifiers get?

Air purifiers can run as quietly as 30 dB (whisper-quiet) or as loud as 60 dB (comparable to an window-type air conditioner). The loudness varies from air purifier to air purifier, but larger, more powerful air purifiers tend to be louder than smaller ones.

Where is the best place to put an air purifier?

Ideally, an air purifier should be placed in a room you or your family spend the most time in. That way, more people get to enjoy the benefits of clean, purified air. However, some people choose to place their air purifiers in areas where the source of air pollutants is in. The closer the air purifier is to the source, the faster it will be able to trap the contaminants.

Once you’ve chosen the perfect room to place your air purifier, it’s time to decide where in the room you should place it. The most ideal location for an air purifier is in the center of the room where it is free from any obstructions. Unfortunately, placing an air purifier in the center of the room might be a little awkward for some. The next best place would be near a wall, but make sure that you put enough space in between the wall and the air purifier’s air intake grill so that you can maximize the amount of air that goes in.

How do I choose an air purifier for odors?

If you’re having trouble removing odors from your home, you’ll want an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. Activated carbon is able to absorb volatile chemicals on a molecular basis, making it highly effective in capturing pollutants that are able to pass through HEPA filters like chemical emissions, gases, tobacco smoke, and other odors. One air purifier with an impressive set of carbon filters is the Austin Air Healthmate HM400.

Final Thoughts

Desktop air purifiers are great for those who wish to purify the air in their room or in their personal breathing space. They’re compact, lightweight, and take up minimal space wherever you intend to place them.

After much consideration, we’ve decided that the best desktop air purifier is the Levoit LV-H126 which champions affordability, design, and efficiency. It is capable of giving an impressive performance and room coverage despite its compact size. If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, you might want to try the hOmelabs Compact Ionic HEPA air purifier.

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