Best Air Purifier for Apartments

Whether you’re in a large, three-story home or a quaint little apartment, the air you breathe makes a difference in your health. From small towns to large cities, high pollution areas and low, having access to fresh, clean air has become a necessity. 

Yet sometimes, that fresh air that you crave just doesn’t happen naturally. Whether due to access to windows, the environment outside or just poor circulation in your space, you may require some additional resources in bringing in that breath of fresh air. 

While having a home with many windows provides the opportunity for more cross-breeze and airflow, an apartment can have just as good of air quality, too. Despite its smaller area, apartment spaces can greatly benefit from the use of an air purifier. 

If you’re in an apartment or are looking to move to an apartment, but still want that fresh-air feel, we’re here to help. Here, we’ll explore some of the amazing benefits about using air purifiers and the value of having high-quality air inside your living space. As you take your next steps in getting an air purifier that’s right for you, we’ll walk you through different types of filters and other important things to keep in mind as you make your selection for your space. Finally, We’ll consider best practices for using your air purifier in your apartment for maximum efficiency and durability. 

Are you ready for some cleaner air inside your apartment? Let’s get started in breathing easy. 

The Value of Air Purifiers in an Apartment

The air purifier has become one of the most common and efficient ways to improve the overall quality and efficiency of air in indoor spaces. Whether it’s a large commercial building or a moderate living space, an air purifier can bring about fresh, healthy air that’s good for both your mental and physical health. 

Why is Air Quality Important 

Regardless of your age or health background, all are in need of breathing fresh, life-giving air. According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, air quality affects your health in a variety of ways. When pollution particles like dust or mold are breathed in, they enter into the bloodstream and cause harmful side effects like coughing or itchy eyes. Especially if you live in areas of high exposure to air pollution, these symptoms may be even more apparent. No matter the size particles, from a size of 2.5 micrometers to ozone exposure, pollution and poor air quality can bring about harmful side effects for your mental and physical health. Therefore, it’s important, no matter your situation, to get access to fresh, clean air in your long-term living space. 

Challenges to Air Quality in Apartments

When it comes to having healthy air quality in your apartment, the small space poses some unique challenges. Just like the experience in a single-family home, apartments are also prone to accumulating particles in the air such as mold, dust and other potentially harmful pollutants. Without proper ventilation, these particles can stay in the air for long periods of time. 

At times, these ventilation concerns can be amplified in an apartment, as compared to a home or larger space. Without access to open windows or proper ventilation, an apartment can quickly develop the feeling of being stuffy and stale in the quality of air. And unlike a home where you can control the type of units that are part of your building or complex. While your apartment’s maintenance department should keep units operating efficiently and effectively, you don’t have control over the building’s overall ventilation systems and air flows. Because of this, your options for accessing fresh, clean air may be more limited than in a family home or larger building. And, did you know that the EPA estimates that the air inside your living space like an apartment can be 2 to 5 times dirtier than the air outside? Especially since we spend so much time indoors, that dirt in the air matters. 

Yet just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you need to compromise your health and overall ability to breathe easy. With resources like an air purifier, you can experience that fresh-air feeling without needing to be exposed to outdoor air or other compromising settings. The solution? An air purifier for your apartment. 

What Does an Air Purifier Do?

When it comes to affordable solutions to improving the air quality in your living space, an air purifier can be a great way to go. As the name implies, this useful unit works to transform old, stale air into fresh and purified air that’s better for your physical and mental health. 

An air purifier functions by santitizing the air, removing particles in the air like pollutants and allergens that can clog up that fresh feeling. The purifier pulls in old, stale air that can be potentially harmful to your health. Then, it pushes the air through the unit to remove those particles you don’t want to be breathing in. What results is clean, refreshed air that contains fewer particles. This revolutionary unit kicks out what you don’t want to breathe in as it refreshes and livens up your living space. 

As an air purifier cleans through the air, harmful particles are removed and prevents respiratory concerns like asthma or other difficulty breathing issues. It can work on both a preventative and treatment function in addressing common respiratory concerns you or your family may face. 

How Does an Air Purifier Help in Your Apartment?

With the need to amplify the ventilation in an apartment, an air purifier can be a highly valuable resource in improving the quality of your air. As apartments tend to be smaller spaces and can have strange layouts, a purifier helps you control airflow and give you that ventilation you so desperately need. 

With the portability that comes with an air purifier, you can place the unit exactly where you need it most. That control can satisfy that need to be in control of something in your apartment, as you can’t control the actions of your neighbors or landlord. Running your air purifier helps you make those changes to the air flow that you want, without having to invest in a whole HVAC system or other options. You can find units that are specifically designed to filter the air in small spaces so you can be sure to find the right option for you. 

Another unique challenge you face in an apartment is not being able to control the odors and scents that float through your building. Even if you’re not a smoker, you may have wafts of smoke come into your apartment from the neighbor next door. An air purifier can help you control the type of smoke and odor that comes into your living space. 

Depending on the type of filter and purifier you get, your unit can remove particles that come into your apartment that include thighs like allergens, smoke and other indoor toxins. 

Cons to Using an Air Purifier

While an air purifier can’t completely and perfectly eliminate all particles, odors and other gasses in the air, they are highly effective in generating lighter and fresher air to support your overall health and well-being. The air purifier won’t do all your cleaning, either. For example, particles that are laying on top of furniture, bedding, carpeting and more in your apartment aren’t in motion in the air. Therefore, the air purifier won’t be able to filter out those stagnant particles that are sitting. 

The purifier is also at the mercy of how effective your filter is. In order to have an efficient unit, you’ll need a filter that can catch what you want caught without causing harmful side effects inside your small living space of an apartment. 

In order to maximuze the air purifier’s work, it’s often helpful to keep other areas of your home clean and free of dust. Things like vacuuming, wiping down tables and furniture and washing your pet can do wonders for improving the overall air quality in your apartment that supports the function of an air purifier. 

In general, though, there are few disadvantages to utilizing an air purifier. In most cases, it’s a valuable investment that improves your health, both mentally and physically. Especially in smaller living spaces like apartments, an air purifier can be a valuable asset to helping you breathe easy. 

Choosing an Air Purifier for Your Apartment

Are you convinced you could use an air purifier? Next we’ll share some important things to know as you move forward in the buying process of getting access to fresh air through an air purifier. We’ll share some key considerations to keep in mind as you make your purchase as well as explore the many different types of purifiers and filters out there that may be just right for your living space and lifestyle. 

What to Consider Before Buying an Air Purifier 

As you move forward in buying an air purifier for your own apartment, there are some key considerations to remember in your search. 


Perhaps one of the most influential factors in your buying decision is the space of your apartment and living areas. Most often, small apartments may require only a single air purifier placed in the main room of the space. If your living area is larger and has multiple bedrooms where you’re in often, you may require a more portable model that you can bring with you or more than one unit to accommodate each space. 

Particle Types 

Not all air purifiers will catch the same particles. Therefore, knowing what particle types you’re wanting to remove from the air is important to know as you find a unit that accommodate that need. For example, some purifiers may only eliminate larger particles like dust and mold. Others may be more advanced in their filtering technology and offer options to eliminate gasses and other gasses that are even smaller in size. 

Your Budget 

In today’s market, you can find air purifiers for any price point. As you move forward in making your selection for your apartment, keep your budget in mind. Often, you don’t need to go overboard in spending an excess amount of money to get the same results. However, you also may not want to settle with just the cheapest option as it may not produce the same quality results as a more moderately priced model. 


Another thing to keep in mind is the air filter’s quality in being able to remove particles from the air. When comparing units, you’ll notice the purifier’s CADR score, which stands for the Clean Air Delivery Rate. This value is the measurement of how fast the unit can produce clean air. If a unit has a higher CADR value, it tends to be more powerful or effective at eliminating particles from the air. 

Types of Air Purifiers

When it comes to choosing the right air purifier for you, you’ve got a lot of options. While the most significant determining factor will be the type of filter used, there are also other features you may want to keep in mind as you search. 

Some air purifiers are specifically designed for smaller spaces like apartments. These varieties tend to be highly portable and can accommodate smaller rooms like you may have. However, there are also air purifiers that are larger and can tackle on houses or larger buildings, or work together with other units to successfully filter the living space. 

Desktop air purifiers, on the other hand, are smaller versions that are intended for more single-person use rather than whole rooms. With such versatility and variety of air purifiers, it can be an easy process in selecting the right approach for you and your specific living situation. 

Yet regardless of the type of air purifier you select, the effectiveness of the unit is largely dependent upon the type of air filter you use inside the unit to trap those harmful particles. 

Air Purifier Filters

The operation of your air purifier will largely depend on the type of filter you select to incorporate into your purifier. These different air filters may incorporate different technologies and materials to provide you an option for filtering that’s just right for your living situation. 

HEPA Filters 

Perhaps the most common, safest and versatile type of air filter is the HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency-Particulate-Air. It’s often considered the standard as it’s versatile and affordable. It catches particles that are at least 0.3 microns in size. Keep in mind that filters that are advertised as “HEPA-like.” Usually, this is not the same thing as an actual HEPA filter and therefore may not meet the same quality standards as a true HEPA filter. 

Made out of a range of possible materials, HEPA filters can catch a variety of types of particles that you want removed from your air. It’ll catch and remove things like pet dander, mold, pollen and other allergens that can compromise your health. 

HEPA filters are also fairly easy to replace and can be quite affordable. This maintenance is something you, not your landlord, may need to be responsible for. Therefore, having a unit that’s easy to use and convenient to provide maintenance for is recommended in an apartment setting. 

One drawback of HEPA filters is their inability to remove extra small particles, those less than 0.3 microns in size. Therefore, they can’t clean your home out of bacteria and viruses such as the Coronavirus. Depending on the unit, it may be able to pick up smoke particles, but you may need a more advanced filter such as an activated carbon or UV light unit to fully remove those harmful particles from your air. However, they may be able to remove some particles from the air, making them a great addition in any step of improving the quality of your air in your apartment. 

Other Filters 

While HEPA filters may be the most well-known and versatile for apartments, there are some additional options when choosing the right filter for your air purifier. One such filter is the activated carbon filter. This filter goes beyond what a HEPA filter can remove to include things like smoke, odors and other gasses that are even smaller in size. These activated carbon filters can be a great, safe choice for a more advanced filtering process. There’s no harmful side effects of using an activated carbon filter, making it okay to use around pets and children. 

Another type of filter that’s not as common but can still be helpful is a filter that uses UV light or ozone release to eliminate particles. This type should be used with caution as it may come with negative effects in its release of ozone. Nevertheless, it can be highly effective in removing even more miniscule particles like chemicals or gasses that the other filters can’t account for. 

You may even find air purifiers that use a couple of different filters in the unit. This can greatly enhance the effectiveness of the unit in taking care of both large and smaller particles. 

Replacing Air Filters 

In order to keep the air purifier functioning as intended, it’s essential that you provide proper maintenance for the air purifier. Primarily, that includes replacing or cleaning the air filter in the unit. There is a major difference between a clean and dirty filter in bring clean and fresh air through your home. 

The level of maintenance required for your air filter will largely depend on the type of filter you’ve chosen. Typically, for most filters like HEPA filters, they require replacement every 3-6 months. That time will vary based on the amount of dust and dirt that your apartment brings through as well as the type of environment the air filter and purifier are placed in. If you have a larger living space with more activity and people moving around, you may need to replace or clean your filters on a more frequent basis than someone who lives alone and is rarely home. 

As you get ready to replace your air filter, ensure you’ve selected the right size of filter, along with the same type of filter material as your current filter. Filters can come in a variety of materials including fiberglass or pleated. Fiberglass filters tend to be the lower-cost option but do require replacements every months for higher activity areas. These replacement filters, however, tend to be fairly inexpensive. Pleated filters, on the other hand, are made of higher quality materials and therefore only require replacements very 3-6 months. The replacement filters are, however, slightly more expensive. 

You may also be able to choose between a disposable and reusable filter that’s washable. While you’ll still need to account for some level of maintenance, you won’t need to throw them away after one use. These reusable filters can be washed to remove the particles it’s picked up over time. 

Putting a Furnace Filter on a Box Fan

One creative approach to creating your own air filter without actually purchasing a separate unit is in placing a filter in front of a box fan. While the effectiveness of this method may not be steadfast in proving the elimination of particles, it can be a cheap fix to especially dusty and dirty environments. 

Especially when money is tight, this DIY option can be a clever approach to using what you already have to improve the quality of your air in your apartment. This hack involves taping a filter on the back of a box fan, of whatever size you have. As the fan pulls air in, the filter cleans out larger particles that you want to get rid of. Typically, these types of air filters work best in an enclosed environment and you let the fan run for at least 15 minutes to make the filtration system work.

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Making the Most of Your Air Purifier in Your Apartment 

As you maximize the potential of your air purifier as you use it in your apartment, there are a few helpful things to keep in mind to ensure it’s efficient. Position it where you spend the most time and in alignment with your breathing waves. Ensure all windows and sliding screen doors are closed as you use your purifier. And, again, replacing your air filter regularly can help ensure your unit is running effectively and efficiently. 

How to Set Up and Use Your Air Purifier Apartment

Once you’ve settled on the right air purifier for your living space, you’ll want to set it up in a way that equips you to maximize it’s power. Be sure to place it in the room in your apartment that gets the most activity throughout the day. You may also want to consider sticking it in your bedroom for sleeping easy. Home Air Guides recommends to have at least 24 inches of space surrounding your air filter in order to make it work properly. 

Importance of Air Purifier Placement

Just like the type of filter you choose, the position in which you place your air purifier significantly affects its performance and effectiveness at purifying the air in your apartment. For example, in order to get the most out of your investment, place your air purifier in a location where there is the most activity in your space. Rather than shoving it in the corner of a closet, put it out in the open so that it can be efficient at getting your the results of clean air you’re looking for. 

If your household consists of a variety of ages and life stages, you may want to consider positioning the air purifier in closer proximity to those who may be more at risk in being overexposed to pollutants in the air. 

How Long Should You Run an Air Purifier in Your Apartment

When you’re spending a great amount of time in your apartment, you want to be breathing in fresh, life-giving air all the time, not just some times. Most often, you can find air purifiers for apartment spaces that are designed to be running constantly. That means you can leave the air purifier going while you’re working at home during the day or finally putting head to pillow to sleep at night. These units function similarly to those designed for larger living spaces in that they can accommodate the constant running for purified and clean air any time of day. 

When you’re not home for an extended period of time, you may consider turning off your air purifier. Just remember that when you return, you’ll want to turn it back on so you can get back to breathing in fresh air.  

How Much Do Air Purifiers Cost to Run

When determining the overall cost of an air purifier, there are two prices to consider. First is the initial investment of an air purifier. While you can get a variety of different types and sizes of units, you’ll also want to be sure you get one that is of high quality. Another factor to consider that adds to the cost to run an air purifier is the maintenance of replacing or reusing filters. While you can find both ones you throw away or ones you toss in the wash for another use, those filters can still be a significant portion of a cost to operate the air filter. 

Nevertheless, the air filter can be seen as a valuable investment that works on a both treatment and preventative measure. Taking care of your health and respiratory system now may help you save more in the long run. 

Do You Need More than One Air Purifier in Your Apartment

In a home environment, you’ll often find air purifying systems that are connected to the home’s HVAC systems that work throughout the house, taking advantage of vents and air ducts. The air flow works a little bit differently in an apartment. 

In smaller apartment settings with one or two rooms, one single air purifier should be sufficient in filtering out the air within your space. However, if your apartment has several rooms and have many people in your apartment, you may want to consider getting an additional air purifier to put in the different bedrooms or living spaces. Having more than one small unit doesn’t compromise storage space much and allows everyone in the apartment to get access to purified, clean air. 

Taking Care of Your Air Purifier(s)

The best way to take care of your air purifier is through regular maintenance. Like any other appliance in your apartment, it requires regular upkeep and checking up on to ensure it’s functioning properly. By leaving it in one space in your home, rather than transporting it daily, you can reduce the risk of general wear and tear on the unit. Remember to replace the filters or take them out to clean them periodically. Doing so will help you extend the life of your air purifier and keep you and your family breathing easy.

Other Ways to Improve Air Quality in Apartments

An air purifier is just one way you can use to bring about cleaner air in your apartment. Yet there are also other important steps you can take to support the work of the air purifier and continue to bring in healthy and clean air. Things ike opening up your windows when the weather allows can be a great way to let a crossbreeze in and add to the ventilation. 

You’ll also want to identify any sources of pollutants you may notice around your living area and address them immediately. Any mold, dust or other unnecessary dirt can be picked up and cleaned to help improve the air quality in your apartment. 

This page last updated January 1, 2023