Bringing an air purifier into your home serves a significant purpose — to improve your indoor air quality — but they can often be quite loud. For that reason, the best quiet air purifiers have a decibel rating below 25 on their lowest setting (for reference, 30 decibels is about the equivalent of a whisper) and a max of 54 on their highest (similar to the subtle hum of a refrigerator). You'll also want to pay attention to the maximum number of square feet the unit can handle before you make your purchase.
Besides decibel ratings and coverage zones, here are a few other key specs to ensure your machine will meet your needs:
- Filters: The two most widely used filters in purifiers are a true HEPA filter, which the gold standard because its certified to remove at least 99.97% of particles as tiny as 0.3 microns , and an activated carbon filter, which is used only in conjunction in a HEPA filter to take care of smoke and other smells. As you shop, though, keep the manufacturer's recommended replacement schedule in mind so that you can factor in the cost of refills to your budget. (To make this maintenance task easier on you, some models are even designed with reminder light.)
- Features: Your purifier should run 24/7 if you want to maintain high air quality, but if you're concerned about managing energy costs, you can find models with an auto and/or "eco" function that adjusts to optimal speed for you. And if you're particularly focused on a quiet machine so that you can snooze uninterrupted, you may also appreciate a device that won't emit light at night.
With all that said, take a look at the three quietest air purifiers you can buy on Amazon below, each with a decibel rating no higher than 25 on low.
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1. The Overall Best Quiet Air Purifier
- Noise level: 20.4 decibels (low/sleep), 30.3 decibels (medium), 43 decibels (high)
- Room size: Up to 350 square feet
With decibel ratings notably low across all three of its speeds, this Hathaspace air purifier is one of the quietest models you can find that can clean quite a large room (up to 350 square feet). More than 5,500 Amazon shoppers have given it positive ratings — and hundreds of them specifically praise it for its low noise output. It's designed with four different filters to maximize its cleaning power: a pre-filter, a true HEPA filter, an activated carbon filter, and one additional screen not found on any other picks on this list, a cold catalyst filter (to capture particles from VOCs, which are common household chemicals from things like disinfectants, aerosol sprays, and paints).
You can use the included remote to manually adjust between speeds, set a timer, or select auto mode, which adjusts the speed as needed based on your surroundings. A handy digital display on the front shows the real-time air quality, but when sleep mode is on, the lights go off, so your dark room will remain dark. Per the brand, you should purchase a new pack of replacement filters every four months, and keep in mind there is no reminder function.
Helpful review: “This was a good buy. Very quiet machine and easy to use. Visual display is helpful. I inadvertently set off my smoke alarm when cooking, and the machine took care of the smoke and odor very quickly. I'm impressed!.”
2. The Sleek & Compact Runner Up
- Noise level: 24.4 (low), 39.6 (medium), 53.8 (high)
- Room size: Up to 361 square feet
This Coway Air Purifier may be more expensive and a bit louder than the pick above, but if want to be able to clean a larger amount of air and do so in a much more compact (and sleek) way, it's a worthy investment. It's also earned its share of praise from both Amazon shoppers (more than 5,800 have given it a five-star rating) and industry experts alike because it's so efficient removing airborne particulates. It features a four-stage filtration system with a pre-filter, an activated carbon filter, and a true HEPA filter. Bonus: a replacement light will help remind you when it's time to slot in new filters, and their lifespan is longer than the Hathaspace model— six months for the carbon filter and once a year for the true HEPA one— giving you some longterm savings.
In addition to a timer, three speed settings, and an auto mode, you can also select "ECO," which is an energy-saving feature that automatically shuts off the device after 30 minutes when no pollution is detected (and then turns it back on again as soon as there is). Two downsides to consider: There's no remote and there's no option to shut off the air quality indicator light (if you think this might disrupt your sleep, though, you could always cover it with tape). Choose from white or black.
Helpful review: "The Coway is also the quietest model I've ever tested. I haven't taken out my decibel meter because it's so quiet on low that I can only hear it if I really concentrate. Even on medium it's super quiet while still moving quite a bit of air. However, I tend to run my HEPA filters long term, 24 hours a day on the low setting so the fact that it's so quiet on this setting is a huge plus for me."
3. The Best On A Budget
- Noise level: 25 to 46 decibels
- Room size: Up to 129 square feet
Though it's sized for spaces much smaller than the two picks above, this LEVOIT air purifier offers a tremendous value for a unit under $100 (just scroll through its more than 18,400 five-star ratings for proof). Besides its cool, circular aesthetic, which allows it to sit discreetly in a corner or even on a tabletop and take up little space, its equipped with three filters (a pre-filter, true HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter) and a filter replacement indicator light (refills are relatively inexpensive and should be cycled every six months). There's no remote and no auto mode, but you'll still get three manual speed settings, and the night light is optional. Pick from black or white
Helpful review: “We have three dogs, and smoke gets in the house at times, and this thing has completely eliminated all odor from both. I can get rid of my candles and plug ins! Also, the dust and dog hair in the air is so much better. It just feels better in the house. It is also super quiet, I never notice that it’s running, and we run it on the highest setting. As quiet, if not quieter, than a ceiling fan.”