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The best air purifiers available in Australia
The 2019-2020 Australian bushfires led to a huge spike in interest for air purifiers. The smoke haze became so bad that many couldn’t escape it, even indoors. Naturally, many began researching solutions to clear the air in homes and offices and air purifiers began to sell out across the country. Unfortunately, what makes for a good-quality and efficient air purifier isn't regulated by any governing authority and there are a lot of models you can find online that simply aren't equipped to deal with bushfire smoke. That's why researching your options is so important.
Outside of the bushfire season, people typically use air purifiers to combat everyday airborne allergens and toxins. Pet dander, pollen, and dust are just a few examples of nasty particles that can cause you grief. A good air purifier will filter out all that and more if you know which questions to ask before purchasing.
How much coverage do you need? Some are suited to smaller bedrooms but spend a little more money, and you could get something with enough grunt to cover an entire apartment or office. Are features like scheduling and smart home compatibility important to you? Does the air purifier in your shopping cart have True HEPA filtering? And how much will you need to spend on filter replacements? (and how often?). We’ve taken all of these questions into consideration when reviewing some of the best air purifiers you can purchase in Australia.
Our top pick: What is the best air purifier you can buy?
Thankfully, you don't need to spend a fortune to get an air purifier that covers most of the basic needs we've outlined in the introduction above. There are some premium options that offer fancy bells and whistles, such as advanced smart home and automation capabilities and Air Quality Index (AQI) tracking but for a bona fide HEPA-grade air purifier, you don't need to look any further than the Philips Series 1000 air purifier, which is available at a much more generous price now that it has been on the market for a few years.
Note: Since we first published this guide, Philips has released a brand-new line of air purifiers. We haven't had the opportunity to review the latest models but we'll review our picks when we do.
- : Philips Series 1000 Air Purifier
- : Samsung AX5500 Air Purifier
- : Dyson Pure Hot Cool
- : Philips PowerCube
- : HoMedics True HEPA
- : Dyson Pure Cool Me
Best air purifier overall
Philips Series 1000 Air Purifier
- Price: $329
- Coverage: Up to 63m2
- Noise: Up to 33 decibels
- HEPA filtering: Yes
- Warranty: 2 years
The Philips Series 1000 has been the most impressive air purifier we've reviewed so far. Its top-notch performance is only made sweeter by its affordable price tag (and reasonable asking price for filter replacements).
Not only is it a generous price at $329 (with HEPA filter replacements costing $59.95 each) but it’s also one of the quietest and covers more ground than some more expensive air purifiers. It might not offer a PM2.5 readout (important for monitoring smoke levels) like some pricier models, and there are no scheduling or app monitoring features but it does offer a general air quality indicator with a simple colour-coded readout (red’s bad, purple is unhealthy but getting better, blue-violet is almost there and blue is fine and dandy).
PM readouts, WiFi connectivity and companion apps are all important features, but smarter features fetch a higher price tag. The Philips Series 1000 does everything a reliable air purifier should do at a friendlier price than most.
Find out why we think it's the best in our full Philips Series 1000 Air Purifier review.
Here's what to look out for when you're buying an air purifier in Australia:
- Avoid “HEPA-like” or “HEPA-style” filters
- Avoid “Permanent HEPA” or “washable filters”
- Check for room coverage (e.g. square metre coverage)
- Check price and availability of filter replacements
- Check for PM2.5 filtering claims
- Check if it has pre-filtering
- Check for certification and testing by organisations such as AHAM and ECARF
Next best air purifier
Samsung (2020) Air Purifier (AX5500)
- Price: $799
- Coverage: 60m²
- Noise: Min. 21 decibels
- HEPA filtering: Yes
- Warranty: 1 year
It’s hard to make an air purifier exciting but making it a little bit smarter is a breeze.
The Samsung AX5500 ticks all the right boxes for a connected air purifier (True HEPA filtering with PM10, PM2.5 and PM1.0 readouts), but its user-friendly app and smart home capabilities (like Google Home and Smart Things support) give it the edge over a lot of the competition.
There are some missed opportunities to educate users on what all those figures in the app mean, but we still appreciate the extra data. The Samsung AX5500’s biggest downfall is its price tag (especially considering its somewhat limited 60m2 coverage) but for some, the added comfort of remote monitoring and smart scheduling will make the higher price tag worth it.
For our full thoughts, check out our full review of the Samsung AX5500 air purifier.
Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Purifying Fan Heater
- Price: $899
- Coverage: Not specified
- Noise: Up to 64 decibels
- HEPA filtering: Yes
- Warranty: 2 years
If you’re already a fan of Dyson’s air convection tech, its latest range of cooling, heating and purifying hybrids might be the best pick for you. As our reviewer Jacqui noted, the Dyson Pure Hot Cool Purifying Fan Heater might be a little too pricey and a little too noisy but it’s one of the few hybrid solutions on the market that will give you a PM2.5 readout (smoke), app monitoring and scheduling and remote control.
The ability to check the air quality of your home while you’re at work or on holiday is invaluable if you have small pets or children at home while you’re away. For many people, that reassurance will be worth the price tag alone.
And to top it all off, you also get the added benefit of both cooling and heating, which is going to be essential as we journey further into Summer.
Best air purifier for large areas
Philips PowerCube Series 6000
- Price: $1,349
- Coverage: Up to 169m2
- Noise: Up to 65 decibels
- HEPA filtering: Yes
- Warranty: 2 years
While there are various office solutions when it comes to air purification and conditioning, few off-the-shelf consumer purifiers can match the Philips PowerCube when it comes to coverage. The eye-watering $1,349 price tag is consistent with the vast coverage claims made by Philips: remaining efficient in areas up to 169 metres squared. Sure it’s one of the noisiest consumer solutions out there, hitting 65 decibels on its maximum setting, but that will hardly be an issue in most office setups.
The PowerCube Series 6000 also features live PM2.5 readouts, perfect for monitoring the amount of smoke in the air.
The only big missing feature for an air purifier at this price is scheduling and app monitoring. If you’re intending to use the Series 6000 at home, there’s no way to keep track of the air quality while you’re out of the house.
Best cheap air purifier
HoMedics True HEPA Medium Room Purifier
- Price: $169
- Coverage: Up to 17.6m2
- Noise: Up to 53.3 decibels
- HEPA filtering: Yes
- Warranty: 3 years
This is a case of getting what you pay for. The HoMedics True HEPA Medium Room Purifier is light on features in comparison to the picks above and it will only work efficiently in spaces up to 17.6-metres squared but $169 is still a great price for a HEPA filter air purifier.
Users have reported that it can also be a noisy little soldier, clocking in at 53.3 decibels at its highest, and operating in such a small space, that’s to be expected.
But again, $169 is a small price to pay if you’re particularly interested in keeping one room of the house (such as nursery) allergen and smoke-free. The replacement filters are also among the cheapest at $44.99 a pop so you won’t have to break the bank when it comes time to replace the filter. Plus, it comes with a generous 3-year warranty in case it ever goes kaput.
Best air purifier for bedrooms
Dyson Pure Cool Me
- Price: $549
- Noise: Up to 63.3 decibels
- HEPA filtering: Yes
- Warranty: 2 years
Let's get one thing straight: we don't recommend the Dyson Pure Cool Me as an air purifier alone. Sure it offers a little extra support for filtering out smoke and dust but it's more of a personal fan than it is a fully-fledged air purifier. Dyson doesn't advertise the Pure Cool Me's coverage range but it's intended for smaller areas, such as bedrooms and nurseries. It will also set you back $320 - $499, which is a small fortune considering its limited capability. With that said, it is a superb little cooling/purifying solution for your office or bedside table if you can justify the price.
Dyson also means it when it says this is a 'personal purifying fan' and the 70-degree oscillation arc will make sure it's you and you only copping its cool breeze. If that's likely to cause a bit of drama around who gets the Dyson and on what days, you might be better off investing in something with a more generous airflow.
How we rate the best air purifiers in Australia
We’ve reviewed several air purifiers already but to cover the scope of what’s available out there, we analysed the price, coverage, HEPA filter efficiency, filter replacement cost and availability, alongside less important nice-to-have features, such as app control, and scheduling.
If a manufacturer wasn’t transparent enough with its testing and filtering efficiency, they were removed from the list.
We also removed all products that used meaningless marketing jargon, such as 'HEPA-type', 'HEPA-like' and any 'Permanent HEPA' brand that didn’t require filter replacements. Manufacturers also lost marks if they didn’t specify coverage size (an important consideration). Air purifiers that were transparent about their PM2.5 filtering and CADR (clean air delivery rate) were also given bonus points.
We disregarded any product where there was a conflict of information (e.g. products that make simultaneous claims of 'HEPA' and 'EPA' filtering or mixed messaging on coverage).
We’ve also removed products that aren’t currently available in Australia, such as the Rabbit Air MinusA2.
Lastly, we removed manufacturers that didn’t provide enough information about replacement filters. For example, the TruSens range, which is stocked by JB HI-FI doesn’t list any information on filter replacement pricing and when we got in touch with the customer care centre, we were told to get in touch with a local reseller. JB HI-FI also doesn’t stock replacement filters on its website.
Overall, that left us with a small list of options for air purifiers available in Australia.
Do air purifiers work?
Absolutely. As we’ve discussed above, some work better than others of course. Air purifiers with HEPA-grade filters and pre-filtering do the best job of filtering out small and large particles but most air purifiers (unless they are super dodgy) will improve the quality of the air in your house or apartment somewhat. It’s just important that you buy the right air purifier for your needs (e.g. health concerns vs. general wellbeing) and living space (the square-metre size of your room).
Can air purifiers filter out bushfire smoke?
Yes. An air purifier that uses both HEPA filtering for fine particles and a pre-filter for larger particles might be your best defence against dangerous smoke levels in the home.
HEPA filters can catch particles as small as 0.3 micrometres with 99.97% efficiency, which covers most airborne toxins and allergens. They will do a reasonable job of catching larger nasties too. However, for the most efficient filtering of smoke particles (measuring at 2.5 micrometres or PM2.5), a combination of HEPA and pre-filtering is most efficient.
For example, the Philips and Samsung range of purifiers use an Active Carbon pre-filter that can catch gases and other TVOCS (Total Volatile Organic Compounds).
Some air purifiers (such as Samsung's AX5500 Air Purifier), are even specifically designed to give you a PM2.5 readout so you can tell exactly how much smoke’s managed to creep its way into your house.
Air purifiers are not a panacea for all your air pollutant problems and for people living with allergies or respiratory conditions like asthma, the 0.03% of particles that slip through can do some damage. Read on for more tips on keeping your house allergen and smoke-free.
What is a HEPA filter? And what does HEPA stand for?
HEPA, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air, grading is the measurement standard for air filtering. HEPA filters are often used in medical settings to minimise the risk of spreading airborne viruses and bacteria. Usually, medical-grade HEPA filters are used in conjunction with anti-microbial UV (ultraviolet) filters that eliminate bacteria and viruses caught by the HEPA filter.
HEPA filters are also commonly used in high-quality vacuum cleaners for the same purposes, trapping finer particles instead of kicking them into the air.
There are plenty of air purifier solutions that claim to have HEPA-graded filtering. However, since there is no regulatory authority that monitors the claims made by air purifier manufacturers. This makes buying an efficient air purifier difficult as many domestic solutions use “HEPA-like” filters that don’t adhere to the medical grading system.
Others claim to use HEPA grade filtering but fail to offer more crucial information, like the filtering efficiency and coverage. Others simply don’t offer any kind of pre-filtering for larger particles such as smoke.
How do I clean a HEPA filter?
The short answer? You don’t clean a HEPA filter. While some brands claim to have washable HEPA filters, your best bet will always be to replace your HEPA filter. We realise that sounds incredibly wasteful and expensive but washing HEPA filters disintegrates the ultra-fine fibres that catch all the dust and air pollution so you can’t count on the 99.97% efficiency.
This is especially pertinent if you’re using an air purifier for medical purposes. Washing a filter could put you at risk.
If the indicator on your air purifier is telling you it’s time for a replacement and you don’t have a spare filter on hand, you can try cleaning the air purity sensor with a cotton tip or, if you must, giving the filter a light vacuum with a soft brush head.
Certain brands have set (and publicly available) sustainability goals. For example, most Philips air purifiers are made with over 90% recycled materials.
More tips on reducing exposure to bushfire smoke
In the event of a bushfire or any other event that reduces the air quality in your area, there are a few extra steps you can take to help reduce your exposure to smoke and dust .
Close all windows, reduce outside air exposure
Unfortunately, without sealing your home, fine particles like smoke will always find a way inside. While completely hermetically sealing your home won’t be an option for most Australians (especially renters), there are a few steps you can take to minimise air leakage.
The first and most obvious is closing all doors and windows (especially where an air purifier is present). Next, consider using door snakes (or draft stoppers) around the house to minimise the airflow through the gaps. It’s not going to be airtight but it’s a simple, budget-friendly solution that’s bound to help.
Next, look for any errant gaps around windows and doors. If spot a gap where smoke and particles can enter, you can always use a silicone sealant (like Sealys from Bunnings) to temporarily plug the gaps (though this probably isn’t recommended in rental properties). There are also more rental-friendly tapes, such as Rust-Oleum available through hardware stores.
It’s also worth checking things like cat flaps, architraves, fixed vents, floorboards, chimneys and downlights for air leakage.
For a more comprehensive guide on sealing your home, head over to yourhome.gov.au.
Yep, as tough as it sounds, vacuuming more regularly is a must for people living with lung disease or respiratory issues. It’s not going to help with the airborne smoke but when that smoke settles, it’s best to catch it before it embeds itself too deep in your carpet.
Vacuuming more regularly is particularly important for people renting in apartments where the carpet hasn’t been replaced for a long time. Lastly, shoot for a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter if you can manage to track one down.
If vacuuming every single day sounds like a chore you're just never getting around to, you might want to consider getting some automated assistance with a robot vacuum cleaner.
Minimising exposure outside
Out and about, a face mask could help limit your exposure to bushfire smoke but not just any facemask sold at the chemist or supermarket. To effectively filter out bushfire smoke, you will need a P2-grade face mask (typically sold at hardware stores). You also need to check the packaging and make sure the mask you’re buying is capable of filtering out PM2.5 particles.
You also need to make sure that the mask is fitted correctly. Any gaps will allow toxic bushfire smoke to enter, rendering the mask near useless.
Get yourself a good weather app
Worried about how much energy you'll consume running an air purifier all day, every day? Compared to a typical air conditioning system, the air purifiers we've tested are surprisingly energy efficient. Still, if it's the smoke you are worried about and not everyday allergens, we'd recommend downloading a quality weather monitoring app so you can schedule your air purifier accordingly.
Looking to add more automated gadgets to your smart home? Check out a few of our round-ups for some of the smartest home helpers in the market: