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Top-rated quiet air purifiers for small and large spaces

These air purifiers emit noise within the CDC’s decibel threshold for adverse effects.
Blue Air Purifier
“Air purifier noise should easily fade into the background sounds and not be noticed,” says Poppy Szkiler, CEO and founder of Quiet Mark.Vivian Le for NBC News

Air purifiers can be effective at clearing your indoor air, but the noise they emit can be distracting. While air purifiers may not strike you as a loud appliance, their internal fans can produce a fair bit of noise while pushing air through their filters, according to Poppy Szkiler, CEO and founder of Quiet Mark, a UK-based, independent accreditation firm that collaborates with the Noise Abatement Society, a charity that works to identify quiet products and reduce excessive noise in society.

If you’re looking for an air purifier you can put in your bedroom (or home office), we’ve collected quiet, top-rated air purifiers for spaces large and small that hit that sweet spot between silent and clean air.

SKIP AHEAD The best quiet air purifiers in 2023 | How to shop for a quiet air purifier | How do quiet air purifiers work?

Our top picks

How we picked the best quiet air purifiers

To pick the best quiet air purifiers, we used a combination of personal experience and expert advice to pick highly rated products from top brands. In addition, we paid special attention to the following criteria:

  • Sound level: According to the CDC, prolonged exposure to sound levels above 70 dbA can annoy you or damage your hearing over time. We only selected air purifiers with a maximum sound level under 60 decibels, the sound of a normal conversation. According to our experts, however, air purifier decibel levels are self-reported by the manufacturers. Therefore, we choose our top picks based on low decibel ranges in addition to positive consumer ratings.
  • Clean air delivery rating (CADR): We looked for purifiers with a CADR equal to about two-thirds of their room size recommendations, per expert-guidance.
  • Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) verification: Unless we had personal experience using the brand, we only selected products verified by AHAM.
  • Smart features: We considered air purifiers with smart features like Wi-Fi connectivity and auto air quality detection — if those features didn’t drastically increase pricing.

The best quiet air purifiers in 2023

We rounded up the following highly rated air purifiers based, all of which emit less than 60 decibels of sound, even on their high settings. All four of our picks have a customer rating of 4 stars or higher.

Best overall: Blueair

Blueair Blue 311i+ Max

Recommended in our guide to the best air purifiers and a great option for larger spaces like living rooms, the Blue Pure 311i+ Max has stellar reviews from professionals and shoppers alike. The device has a 360 degree air intake and a simple circular design, making it easy to place in any room. We used it during allergy season and found that it helped reduce symptoms like sneezing and stuffy noses.

Room Size: 465 sq. ft. | Decibels: 23 - 50 dB(A) | CADR (CFM): smoke: 300, dust: 300, pollen: 300 | Connectivity: Yes, Blueair app | Speeds: 4 | AHAM verified: Yes

Best budget: Levoit

Levoit Core 300 Air Purifier

One of our favorite affordable air purifiers, the Levoit Core 300 is a good fit for smaller spaces like bedrooms and offices. Select Updates Editor Mili Godio uses this air purifier, and has noticed it does a great job cleaning her small apartment without interruption. “I keep it in my bedroom and can barely hear it throughout the day while working,” she says.

Room Size: 219 sq. ft. | Decibels: 24 - 50 dB(A) | CADR (CFM): smoke: 141, dust: 140, pollen: 145 | Connectivity: N/A | Speeds: 3 | AHAM verified: No

Best splurge: Blueair

Blueair Protect 7770i

The Blueair Protect 7770i is a newer, high-tech, top-rated air purifier that has the largest purification capacity of our top picks at nearly 700 square feet. It can connect with the Blueair app and, when connected to Wi-Fi, can be controlled with voice assistance like Amazon Alex and Google Home. It also automatically adjusts fan speed based on built-in “SmartFilter” monitors, according to the brand. The 7770i was awarded the 2021 RedDot award for product design.

Room Size: 674 sq. ft. | Decibels: 25 - 53 dB(A) | CADR (CFM): smoke: 435, dust: >400, pollen: 435 | Connectivity: Blueair app, Amazon Alexa, Google Home | Speeds: 3 | AHAM verified: Yes

For extra-large spaces: Alen

Alen BreatheSmart 75i

The Alen BreathSmart 75i is a large, top-rated air purifier with many smart features and an impressive 1,300 square foot rating. It automatically adjusts its speed based on smart sensors detecting dust and pollutants, according to the brand. You can also control it remotely via the Alen Air app.

I have used an Alen air purifier for years, it has been particularly helpful for calming my allergies to my cat. While its large square foot rating is useful, this BreathSmart 75i has a below average CADR when compared to other premium priced models.

Room Size: 1,300 sq. ft. | Decibels: 25 - 49 dB(A) | CADR (CFM): smoke: 347, dust: 347, pollen: 347 | Connectivity: Alen Air app | Speeds: 5 | AHAM verified: No

How to shop for a quiet air purifier

Shopping for a particularly quiet air purifier can be more of a challenge than it looks. That is because decibel levels on products are self-reported by the manufacturer — there is no official outside body verifying decibel claims. Cross-referencing brand decibel claims with consumer and professional reviews can help, in addition to reviews from outside groups like QuietMark.

In addition to finding a model with your desired noise level, you’ll need a purifier that filters particles efficiently and quickly enough to process the air in your space. “It's no good getting a model which will struggle to clean the air in your room,” says Szkiler. “On the flip side, you don't need one which is more suitable for a conference hall than your kitchen.”

You should look for HEPA-level filtration and a CADR that’s roughly two-thirds the area of your room, according to AHAM. “It sounds very scientific, but what that works out to is about four air changes per hour,” says William Bahnfleth, a presidential member of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers).

As for where to put your air purifier, bedrooms typically host high levels of indoor air pollutants, including dust, bacteria and some viruses. Since we spend around a third of our days in bed, it’s all the more important we keep the air in our room clean. Opening a window is one way to get fresh air, but cold temperatures (and additional noise if you live in an urban area) may prohibit that option.

How do quiet air purifiers work?

Most air purifiers use fans to force air through a filter, which subsequently removes pollutants from that air. But a good purifier should “blend” the sound of the fan and motor, eliminating noises like chopping through the air or an accompanying, annoying pitch, Szkiler says. Where you put the purifier also matters — any sounds it makes may reflect off other surfaces and echo back, creating even more noise.

Meet our experts

At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure that all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and with no undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.

  • Poppy Szkiler is the CEO of QuietMark, a UK-based independent global certification program that identifies the quietest products.
  • William Bahnfleth is a president member of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers) and vice chair of its environmental health committee.

Why trust Select?

Justin Redman is a former reporter at Select on NBC News. For this piece, he spoke with experts like Poppy Szkiler and researched top-rated products certified by AHAM.

Harry Rabinowitz is a reporter at Select. He has used air purifiers in his home for over four years. For this piece, he spoke with experts like Poppy Szkiler and William Bahnfleth to learn more about air purifier certifications and sound levels. The air purifiers he ultimately recommended are a reflection of expert guidance, personal research, and staff experience.

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