The Genius Tool to Buy for Your House If You Want to Keep Dust and Allergies Out


(Image credit: Alina Hvostikova/Stocksy)

I don't know about you, but it seems that five minutes after I dust around my apartment, another light film appears on all my surfaces. I just can't win the war on dust. Of course, a little bit around the house is normal and fine for the most part. You'd probably have to be living in a pristine bubble in order to live dust-free.

But if you let it get out of hand, it could be harmful to your health. According to Harvard Health Publishing, "household dust is an amalgam of biological and nonbiological substances that either migrate from the outside environment or are generated by the human—and animal—residents of the home." Dust could consist of soil tracked inside the house or as airborne particles coming through doors and windows. And the rest comes from inside the home, like skin cells, pet fur, insect residue, carpet fibers, and kitchen grease. This all just makes me want to clean my apartment ASAP.


(Image credit: Kara Riley/Stocksy)

The scary thing is, in some cases, dust can contain chemicals and toxins as well. Harvard Health cites a study that looked at the dust in 70 homes across the country—researchers found "over three dozen chemicals that have been linked to immune system disorders and birth defects in laboratory animals. The chemicals come from flame retardants, pesticides, plastics, and other compounds found in furnishings, electronics, cosmetics, adhesives, textiles, and a variety of familiar consumer products." The air pollution can make your allergies worse, cause irritation, and exacerbate respiratory problems. All of these factors can affect your day-to-day life at home, messing with things like sleep.

The best thing you can do to protect your home, yourself, and those you live with is simple: regular cleaning and maintenance. Depending on your home situation and if you live with a lot of people and pets, you might have to vacuum and dust a couple of times a week. And it's important to regularly change the filters on your heating and air conditioning systems, too. But the main goal is to not let the dust bunnies form and pile up.


(Image credit: Leah Flores/Stocksy)

And if you want to take it to the next level, you can also invest in a portable air purifier. According to the Cleveland Clinic, purifiers help clean the air, filter out fine particles, and lessen the potential negative effects of home air pollution. They can be pricey, so you'll have to weigh your needs. An expert at the Clinic says that people living in cities with poor air quality or major pollution might benefit the most.

As someone who lives in a big city with pollution problems (Los Angeles), I'm definitely looking to invest in an air purifier soon. While I know it might not drastically change my life, I'm interested in seeing if it can help control the dust and any allergies I might get at home, especially since I've been spending more and more time in my space these past couple of months. Since I've been doing my research, take a look at some highly rated ones I've found at Amazon and other retailers.

This air purifier is a best seller on Amazon, and we can see why—it's super silent, works in rooms up to 219 square feet, and has a three-stage filtration system. In addition to the original filter, you can also purchase ones for specific needs like pet allergy, toxin absorber, and MB (mold and bacteria) versions.

What the reviews say: "I'm actually impressed with the filtering on the purifier! It does a fantastic job and is extremely quiet on the 'sleep' setting. I usually leave it on '1' when sleeping with the display lights turned off (which is a nice feature) I've already had to vacuum off the pre-filter of fine dust and there is ZERO dust IN the purifier (sign of a good seal around the filter and the body of the unit). It runs 24/7 and is keeping my bedroom dust- and allergen-free."

Coway's device has a four-stage filtration system to capture particles and reduce odor. It also has a pollution sensor that tracks air quality for you and lets you know through an LED light. And it's energy-saving too. It has an Eco mode that turns off when there is no pollution detected for 30 minutes.

What the reviews say: "I did quite a bit of research before making a purchase, and I'm glad I did. This is the BEST purifier I have ever owned! Although it's only rated for spaces up to 361 square feet, in reality it can clean the air of a space much larger than that—almost twice the size! And it's far more affordable than other units of comparable size and rating. I haven't had to buy new filters yet, and while they are expensive, it's reasonable considering you only have to replace them once or twice a year."

An affordable option for smaller spaces, this device has a pre-filter, True HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter. It's quiet, has a two-fan speed, and also works as a nightlight.

What the reviews say: "The filter was bigger than I thought but it's been incredible so far. I have bad eczema and it was impossible to keep my room clean due to dust and dead skin. It was easy to set up and sits right on my desk and runs while I do work. I've only had this for about a week and it's already reduced the dust in the air. I don't wake up with a stuffy nose anymore. I'm curious to see the life of the filter which is something I may update about, but I recommend this air purifier to anyone who needs some dust reduction, has pets, or lives in an apartment complex!"

This purifier captures 99% of pollutants and eliminates odors. It will clean the air in a 161-square-foot room five times in one hour. And the pre-filter is washable so you don't have to worry about buying so many replacements. Plus, with its sleek design, it won't disrupt the décor of your space.

What the reviews say: "This thing is easy on the eyes, very straightforward setup, you plug it in click a button and go on with your day. We have this in our bedroom, and within four hours there was a VERY noticeable difference in air quality, total 180 by the next day. As you walk from the living room into the bedroom, the odors disappear, it smells clean—almost sterile, and it feels like you’re breathing PURE O2 out of an oxygen tank. We no longer wake up with stuffy noses, we sleep better, and we don't worry about the baby (who sleeps in our bedroom) breathing indoor pollutants."

If you have a large room, or even an open floor plan, you might want to opt for this device. It's made for extra-large rooms up to 465 square feet. It has three air cleaning levels and a Turbo Clean setting to remove pet dander, pollen, mold, smoke, and more.

What the reviews say: "After almost four years of continuing use of my Honeywell HEPA Air Purifiers they are still going strong! I now have three of these amazing machines, having replaced all three of my round Honeywell air filters. With regular maintenance and filter changes these air purifiers still do an excellent job of filtering the air in my home. I still have two cats in my home and my asthma has gotten a bit worse with age, but these Honeywell Hepa Air Filters still do an incredible job! The replacement filters are reasonably priced and the machines still maintain a virtually silent operation in the lowest setting."

This one's a big splurge, but that's a Dyson for you. You know you're going to get a high-tech device. This one simultaneously purifies and cools the air. It has an automatic sensor that will react to changes in air quality and also send you reports on the screen and through the Dyson app.

What the reviews say: "I love this device for my small apartment. We have no AC, and on 90-degree days, this cools our 200-square-foot area really well. It helps with air quality as well. I have noticed a change in my daughter's asthma with it for the better. There is a learning curve to the remote and the settings, but once learned, it works great."

Another option for larger rooms, Levoit's air purifier will clean the air in a 900-square-foot room in one hour; a 500-square-foot room in 33 minutes; and a 360-square-foot room in 24 minutes. It also has a Smart Auto Mode, which means it will switch between three different settings based on the air quality.

What the reviews say: "I'm geeking out on the air I'm breathing! You know that feeling you get when you walk into a museum? The air is clear. Probably because they filter it to protect the paintings. It feels like that. Is it weird that I don't ever want to leave the house now? I just want to stay inside and breathe the GOOD air! No more cat box smell! No more old house smell! The sun used to come through the window in the evening and light up all the particles in the air. Not anymore! I live in an urban area but I breathe like I'm in the countryside. And if that wasn't enough, BONUS, it now feels like we have central air when we have a window air conditioner in every room."

Molekule's air purifiers are some of the pricier ones out there, but the sleek designs have some pretty good ratings. This one is designed for large spaces up to 1000 square feet and has an easy-to-carry handle so you can move it around. It also connects to WiFi and can be controlled through a phone app.

What the reviews say: "I love the PECO technology, ease of use, and the sensitivity of the system. The sleek design is a plus as I love when beauty and function merge. It is extremely sensitive in that the air quality changes when cooking, enjoying a fire, or lighting a candle or incense—the motors will kick into high gear and the fans are noisier. This doesn't bother us one bit as it lets us know that the system is working."

At first glance, this device looks more like a printer, paper shredder, or some other kind of office equipment than something that cleans the air. Aesthetics aside, this air purifier really works. It has a washable AOC carbon filter that removes odors, plus a HEPA filter to capture air particles and pollutants. It has sensors that track the air quality and change modes accordingly.

What the reviews say: "I've had this for about a week. It works really well. It's really quiet on the first three speeds and gets really loud on the fourth speed. I feel like it should havefive5 speeds and have a speed between high and turbo because it's a huge difference. We have one cat and a dog and I'm already noticing the pre-filter has tons of hair on it. The auto setting works really well too, you can open nail polish near it and it instantly recognizes it and changes speeds."

Suitable for medium to large rooms, this air purifier has three fan speeds, auto and sleep modes, a timer, and an air-quality indicator. It also has a built-in nightlight with different brightness levels.

What the reviews say: "I got this for my office. My office is quite old and there's a mildew smell when I'm there. I noticed that my nose is always runny when I'm at work. I go through about a box of tissues a week. I hate being there, but I have to eat. My allergist suggested that I get an air filter to see if it helps. After reviewing several models and seeing if anyone had similar issues and if the air purifier worked for them. I decided to get this one to see if it helped. Well I've used it for three days now and my nose isn't runny anymore in my office and the mildew smell is now nonexistent. The unit does produce a light smell, but it's very subtle and you won't even notice."

At a little over 12 inches in height and seven inches in diameter, this is one of the more compact choices on our list, making it great for smaller spaces. It has a three-filtration system—pre-filter, true HEPA H13 filter, and an activated carbon filter—to reduce home pollutants and odors and improve the air quality.

What the reviews say: "This is one of those air purifiers you can just set up on a shelf and forget about until it's time to change the filter. I'm impressed by its performance compared to its size—I have another brand/model that is twice as big and this almost keeps up the pace with it. It's perfect for large rooms, but I would recommend a larger one for use within the rest of the home. Very basic rig, which makes it highly convenient for me. I have [a] weak respiratory [system] and thus need air purifiers to breathe while I'm asleep, so I can at least testify the air filtering DOES work to eliminate respiratory irritants. I slept like a baby with it in my bedroom!"

This air purifier has a five-in-one purification system: a nano-cold catalyst filter, cellular-activated carbon filter, antibacterial filter, true HEPA filter, and an ionizer—so it REALLY works hard to clean and clear the air. Other features include an automatic air-quality sensor system, remote control, and coverage for up to 350 square feet.

What the reviews say: "Works great. I have a dog; my mom and sister have asthma. They have a hard time staying at my house for too long because of dog hair and dander. I bought this, ran it on high for a few days before having them over (turned it off at night). They were here for five hours with no symptoms, I would say that's pretty awesome!"

This Dyson fan and air purifier works on larger rooms and will remove 99.97% of allergens and pollutants in a space. It has a sleep timer, oscillation, 10 air speed settings, and automatic shutoff.

What the reviews say: "I use to have to dust my family room three times a day because I have dogs and pollen is so bad—now I am only dusting once a week, I can breathe, it's so easy to clean, and the fan keeps the air circulating, and I just love this product. Blends in with my family room and as usual Dyson does it again!"

This air purifier covers a lot of ground—specifically up to 1100 square feet of space. The filter is made especially to capture dust, allergens, pollen, and pet dander. Plus, it has an air-quality sensor light that adjusts the fan speed and is ultra-quiet.

What the reviews say: "I am highly impressed. This is a really well engineered unit. It is a single filter, but has four speeds and a turbo speed. It pulls a lot of air through it when it is on its highest setting.There is an auto function, and it really works. I notice it change speeds whenever I'm doing something that might affect the air quality. Great feature. The thing that impresses me the most is the air sensor that changes color depending upon the air quality. It is really sensitive and seems to work extremely well."

This device has dual-protection filters with activated coconut carbon to capture dust, mold, pet dander, smoke, and pollen. Like many on this list, it has an automatic sensor that adjusts fan speeds according to air quality. It's also WiFi-enabled and Alexa-compatible. Use it in rooms between 700 and 800 square feet.

What the reviews say: "These things are AWESOME! While a bit bigger physically than we would prefer, they're great looking, almost completely silent on the lowest speed, and we felt a noticeable difference to air quality within a couple of hours. We've got two cats and live in an urban area with extremely poor air quality and can already visibly see particles gathering on the filter media."

With a H13 HEPA filter, the air purifier filters any particles larger than 0.3 microns (think smoke, pollen, dander, hair, smell). It refreshes the air five times per hour and it even has a sleep mode that will reduce the fan speed so it's not noisy.

What reviews say: "I was hesitant about this product because it is too small and I was not sure it could work at all, but it was a really good surprise. It actually eliminated my dog's odor in a room and also other kitchen odors. The regular mode is very quiet like fan noise and in the night mode is imperceptible."

Shark's device has four high-speed micro-fans that work to evenly distribute airflow. It also has a "Clean Sense IQ," which tracks air quality and auto-adjusts power based on that. You can even view the real-time data on the control panel.

What reviews say: "The unit is great and gets the job done. I use it in my sunroom and kitchen space which has a huge open space with a cathedral ceiling and balcony. I run it at full power a couple of times a week, and then keep it on auto. The auto function is my favorite feature. Whenever I'm cooking—even if just using a countertop convection oven, it senses the change in air quality and revs up to clean the air. It's impressive. I have a gas range with a pretty good hood, but it doesn't get all of the smoke and smells. The Shark does and keeps the smoke, etc. from traveling to other areas of the house."

Next up: The 11 Best-Reviewed Humidifiers on Amazon

This article was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.

Managing Editor

Sarah is lifestyle writer and editor with over 10 years of experience covering health and wellness, interior design, food, beauty, and tech. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she attended New York University and lived in New York for 12 years before returning to L.A. in 2019. In addition to her work on THE/THIRTY and Who What Wear, she held editor roles at Apartment Therapy, Real Simple, House Beautiful, Elle Decor, and The Bump (sister site of The Knot). She has a passion for health and wellness, but she especially loves writing about mental health. Her self-care routine consists of five things: a good workout, “me” time on the regular, an intriguing book/podcast/playlist to unwind after a long day, naps, and decorating her home.