Kmart vs Ikea: Who has the best cheap air purifiers?

Anula Wiwatowska
May 14, 2024
Icon Time To Read5 min read
// Its a budget blowout

We might make money if you buy something through these links. Click as many as you want.

Air purifiers are only becoming more popular, and with popularity comes cheaper, more accessible options. Kmart and Ikea are two cornerstone stores for affordable homewares, and as luck would have it they have both entered the air purifier market too.

Both stores have three air purifiers to choose from, all under $250. While the budget price point is appealing, know that you'll need to make some compromises to get there.

On this page we compare the filtering capacity, coverage, running costs, and extra features between these two cheap air purifier brands, so that you can breath and buy easier.

What to look for in an air purifier

Pin
Filtering

Look for a HEPA filter at the absolute minimum.
PRO TIP: Avoid "washable filters"

Info Box
Air quality readouts

If you're purifying your air then you'll want to be able to see that in action. Look for air purifiers that have simple readout information to help you make better decisions about how the device needs to be used.

Light Bulb
Coverage

You'll need an air purifier that can handle the right amount of space for the room you're hoping to cover.

Megaphone
Replacement filter price

Every six months or so you'll need to buy a replacement filter for your air purifier. Look in to the cost of this consistent upkeep to make sure you're not signing up for an expensive run.

Cheap air purifiers: Filtering

TLDR: Kmart has the higher grade filter

Above all else, the quality of the air filter is the greatest indicator of how good an air purifier actually is. Every Kmart air purifier has a three-layer HEPA 13 filter, while Ikea's range has a single EPA 12 filter and an optional gas filter you can purchase for an extra $20-25.

HEPA filtering is the medical standard which has flowed into most consumer goods. The lowest HEPA rating is H13 which removes 99.95% of particles including dust, pollen, viruses and bacteria, and the highest is H14 which has a 99.995% efficiency. EPA filtering on the other hand is rated to 99.5% efficiency, and isn't particularly good at capturing dust particles.

Not only do Kmart's air purifiers have a better filter standard, they also include a pre-filter and an activated carbon filter that trap large dander and odours, respectively. Ikea does have additional gas filters available for every air purifier they stock which absorb pullutants such as formaldehyde, but you'll need to pay extra for this.

Cheap air purifiers: Coverage

TLDR: Both Ikea and Kmart air purifiers have poor coverage, but Kmart's Large air purifier is the most powerful covering 27m2

Coverage is universally poor across all cheap air purifiers with every single Ikea and Kmart device falling well below the average 51.5m2 coverage of the ones we've reviewed. Out of the Ikea and Kmart ranges, Kmart's Large Air Purifier is the most powerful covering just 27m2.

Every other device from either brand falls between 3.9m2 and 20m2. Here's a quick look at how they compare;

Kmart Small Air Purifier: 3.9m2
Kmart Medium Air Purifier: 13m2
Kmart Large Air Purifier: 27m2
Ikea Starkvind: 20m2
Ikea Dajlien: 7m2
Ikea Firnuftig: 10m2

These are all pretty rough figures; at the lower end the Small Kmart air purifier will only cover a room 2m x 2m while the Large Kmart air purifier will handle a 5.2m x 5.2m room. Aspects like ceiling height will make a difference too, so in some cases these numbers could be much smaller. Thats not to say that less powerful air purifiers like these won't work in bigger rooms, they will just take longer to achieve the same results.

As a general rule, you're always going to have the best experience picking an air purifier that is rated to the size of the space you're looking to cover. While you definitley could get a couple of cheap air purifiers per one room, by the time you've done that it may have just been a better financial choice to opt for a better overall device.

Cheap air purifiers: Operational features

TLDR: Coupled with Ikea's smart home app, the Starkvind air purifier will give you advanced features for less

The more you pay, the more features you'll get, so it makes sense that the most expensive of the cheap air purifiers does in fact have the most smarts too. Ikea's Starkvind air purifier, which retails for $199, or $249 inside a table is compatible with Ikea's Home Smart app.

Within the app you can see detailed air quality readings, set timers and schedule operations, and do it all remotely. Unfortunately this functionality isn't entirely baked in. You'll need to purchase a Dirigera smart home hub for $99 to be able to access all these smart functions. That does bring the total cost of the device up to at least $299, which is still cheap for an air purifier but expensive for one without HEPA filtering.

Another good option is once again Kmart's Large Air Purifier which has timers, a 30-minute auto-off function, and a remote control. Couple it with a smart switch and you can somewhat replicate the functionality you'll get with Ikea's app.

Notably, none of the models across either brand have air quality readouts. Usually air purifiers use a simple traffic light system to indicate whether air quality is excellent, good, or awful. Even at its most basic this at least lets you make informed decisions about how fast you need to pump your purifier. Ikea somewhat circumvents this by offering the Vindstyrka air quality sensor for $59 which can be connected to a Starkvind, or the less sophisticated Vindriktning for $19 to go with the Fornuftig. The Vindstyrka displays PM2.5 readout, the room temperature and humidity, and if the total volatile organic compounds are increasing or decreasing.

Cheap air purifiers: Outright price and running costs

TLDR: A mixed bag

While none of these are particularly expensive, Ikea's total pricepoint is just that little bit higher overall. Kmart's air purifiers range from $49 - $149 while Ikea's go from $49 - $199, for just the air purifier elements alone.

Kmart's air purifiers are however the full product as is; triple filters, and their admittedly barebones extra features are all bundled in to that one price. Ikea on the other hand requires you to buy an additional gas filter (if you want extra filtration), and other extras like an air quality filter, and a smart home hub. If you do opt to up your air purifier game with Ikea then you're down an extra $25 for a gas filter, $19 for a basic air quality indicator, and $99 for the home hub. It all really adds up. 

Replacement filters are incredibly affordable across both Ikea and Kmart. Ikea's smallest particle filter starts at just $6 for the Dajlien (and Uppatvind), and caps out at $25 for a Starkvind gas filter. Kmart's range goes from $14 - $29, but it is worth considering how long Kmart will continue to stock these filters for. At the time of writing many older filters were entirely out of stock, so there may come a time when it becomes harder to get replacements.

So, which is better? Kmart or Ikea air purifiers

If you're tossing up between Kmart or Ikea for your cheap air purifier, we would recommend going with Kmart. Equipped with medical grade HEPA filtering, and two additional filters built in to the product, Kmart shoots Ikea's EPA rating out of the air. On average you'll also end up with larger coverage, and more affordable filter replacements too.

Admittedly Ikea's range is more stylish, and for an additional fee you can add in smart features and air quality readouts. If you could also purchase HEPA grade filters we would probably recommend Ikea instead, but as it stands it simply won't be as effective.

While you will miss out on smart features, for the price you really can't get much better than what Kmart is offering.

Cheap air purifiers compared

Air purifier
HEPA Filter
Coverage
Filter price
Price
Kmart Small Air PurifierSmall air purifier kmartHEPA 133.9m2$14
Kmart Medium Air PurifierMedium air purifier kmartHEPA 1313m2$19
Kmart Large Air PurifierLarge air purifier kmartHEPA 1327m2$29
Ikea Dajlien (Uppatvind) air purifierDajlien air purifierEPA 127m2$6
Ikea Fornuftig air purifierfornuftig air purifierEPA 128-10m2$15
Ikea Starkvind air purifierIkea starkvind air purifierEPA 1220m2$20
Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula Wiwatowska
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the Reviews.org extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

Related Articles

Acerpure Pro Vero
Acerpure Pro Vero review: Greener but leaner
Green, lean, PM2.5 fighting machine
Everything included with the Meta Quest 3
How much does the Meta Quest 3 cost in Australia?
The Meta Quest, formerly known as Oculus Quest, from Meta, formerly known as Facebook.
outdoor mushroom heater
Outdoor heaters: Energy efficiency, specs, and price compared
Heaters gonna heat heat heat heat heat heat!