I Tried The Internet's Three Favorite Air Purifiers So You Don't Have To

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It seems like there’s always something in the air. I mean this quite literally: from fire season to cold and flu season, we’re regularly trying to ~air things out~ inside of my home. An air purifier is the obvious solution to whatever particles are floating about, but deciding which air purifier to buy is a whole project in and of itself. Luckily, it happens to be the type of project we love tackling here at TQE. 

In my research, I repeatedly found Molekule, Blueair, and Levoit recommended as best-in-class options. So, I tried all three. 

Below, I’m giving the lowdown on everything from the technology inside of each to their efficacy, features, sound, and price. And then I’m declaring one clear winner. Welcome to the air purifier throwdown! 

The Players: 

Mokeluke: Lauded for their gorgeous aesthetic and patented PECO technology (more on that shortly), Molekule offers two purifiers: the Mini+ (for rooms up to 250 sq ft) and the Pro (for spaces up to 1000 sq ft). If you look closely, you might just see a Molekule Air purifier in the background of your favorite show or in an influencer’s home.

Levoit: Levoit is a brand from Chinese parent company VeSync that has built a solid reputation for selling efficient and affordable air purifiers, in addition to vacuums, fans, humidifiers and air purifiers. 

Blueair: An award winning company, Blueair specializes in air purifiers and offers several models designed for anywhere between 92 and 601+ square feet.

Coverage/Longevity

Mokeluke: Because I live in an older house that’s been renovated but definitely still boasts some, we’ll call it old-school charm, I invested in the larger Air Pro, which is made for spaces up to 1000 square feet. The device comes with one PECO-HEPA Tri Power filter, which lasts around 6 months before needing to be replaced. 

Levoit: The Core® 300S is  one of Levoit’s smart purifiers, and it has solid reviews. It covers a smaller area (221 square feet) and comes with a pre-installed combination filter that should be changed every 6-12 months.

Blueair: Blueair’s most popular extra large purifier (designed for spaces 601+ square feet) is the Blue Pure 211i Max. Each purifier arrives with a washable pre-filter (in the shade ‘Stockholm Fog’ if that’s important to you) and should be replaced every 6-9 months depending on its usage.

Technology

Molekule: Molekule air purifiers use both HEPA and PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) technology. While the HEPA filtration in each device destroys 99.97% of small particles, light-activated PECO technology steps in to destroy organic pollutants that HEPA might leave behind, and a layer of carbon removes odors and gases. PECO technology goes beyond traditional filtration methods by actually destroying (instead of just collecting) pollutants, including VOCs, bacteria, mold, and viruses – and I like the sound of that! 

Levoit: The brand advertises that its 3-stage filtration filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in size: the Nylon Pre-Filter captures large particles; the Main Filter traps small particles; and a High-Efficiency Activated Carbon Filter helps neutralize smoke, fumes, VOCs, and household odors. It’s worth noting that Levoit no longer advertises this purifier as ‘HEPA,’ or a "high efficiency particulate air [filter].” I’m not sure if this is just a technicality or means something, but I do appreciate the verification the other brands offer. 

Blueair: Blueair purifiers are renowned for their HEPASilent™ technology, which combines mechanical filtration with an electrostatic charge to capture 99.97% of airborne particles down to 0.1 microns in size. That covers everything from pollen to cooking odors, dust and pet dander.

Efficacy

Molekule: Overall, I’ll admit that it can be difficult to really tell when your air purifier is working (unless your air feels really dirty, which mine did not). However, while my space didn’t feel dirty before, the cleanliness I feel in my newly purified space is pretty great. Perhaps it’s one of those peace of mind things, which Molekule certainly offers: in a recent test where SARS-CoV-2 was introduced directly to the Molekule PECO filter, it killed over 99% of the virus in an hour. This is made possible via the PECO HEPA Tri-Power filter, one of the most advanced filters on the market. It’s also worth noting that this is just a slick and reliable device – during the time I spent testing it, it worked as noted and consistently offered me a reliable Air Score in the companion app. 

Levoit: Levoit is known for making solid, affordable products, and this air purifier lives up to that – but doesn’t go above or beyond it. It works, but not particularly efficiently. I noticed it took a while to remove cooking odors from my home – that’s the most tangible example I have, but it did make me worry about how well it was removing other particles I couldn’t see or smell from my space. Perhaps I was extra wary given the fact that it is no longer advertised as a HEPA device, or maybe I was just underwhelmed after such a positive experience with Molekule.

Blueair: It took me a bit more time to get this purifier set up (the carbon filter wasn’t working properly to start), but once it got working, it felt like a pretty solid product (again, when this device is working as it should, you don’t necessarily notice it a ton). The issues began about two weeks in when it started to give me trouble. From there, it just wasn’t as reliable (several reviews on the brand’s site offer a similar tale). It especially felt like a headache after the ease with which I was able to use the Air Pro from Molekule.

Sound and Settings

Molekule: As I’ve alluded to a lot at this point, this device is slick. I’m giving it the highest possible compliment I can give to an air purifier when I say that for the most part, I totally forgot about it. The one thing I will say is that the device can run a bit loud at times (the brand explains that’s because its fans are working overtime to rid your space of pollutants as quickly as possible), but you can easily switch it to ‘Silent Mode’ in its companion app which helps. Speaking of the app, use it to track things like your air history, what pollutants the device finds, and daily air-quality ratings if you’re interested, but only if you want – there is a display screen on the Air Pro for easy navigation and adjustments if needed (rarely, if ever if you’re me, as Auto Protect mode takes care of things for me). 

Levoit: This device boasts ‘smart functions’ via the VeSync app, Alexa, or Google Assistant (a nice touch!) in addition to voice controls. Setup was easy, and everything worked as it should. It can be loud, but I’ve realized that may just be part of the experience.

Blueair: While every Blueair device doesn’t offer WiFi connectivity, this one does. Unfortunately, I had a lot of trouble getting it set up. It sounds like the connectivity has a lot of benefits (going on standby when you leave, turning on when you’re almost home; voice control; filter re-ordering), but I wasn’t able to enjoy them as I should. I ended up just controlling the device from the device itself, which was fine. Ultimately, it’s quiet, which I care about more than any other feature anyway!

Price and Warranty

Molekule: Certainly a high-end product, Molekule’s Air Pro is $1,014.99 USD. It also comes with a 2 year limited warranty The Air Pro is a quality-made product with exceptional workmanship, and even more importantly, features innovative technology that’s a step above the rest to ensure your health is in tip top shape – and you’re paying for that! It’s pretty cool and comforting that you can track your air quality over time in the app, so you can actually see your money at work (in addition to how to continue optimizing your space and health).

Levoit: At $149.99, the Levoit is certainly the most affordable of the three options. It’s not as sexy as the Air Pro, and its app isn’t nearly as slick or granular. Plus, again, it’s worth noting here that this is not technically a HEPA device. Still, it has a two year warranty. The one thing I will flag is that it uses more electricity than the other options, so your power bill may go up a decent amount each month.

Blueair:
At $349.99, the Blue Pure 211i Max is much more moderately priced than the Air Pro. However, based on my experience, you’ll likely have to replace it a couple of times as it doesn’t seem to have a very long life span. It has a one year warranty that you’re able to extend to three years by filling out a form online. Also, the reviews claim that customer service isn’t great – I can’t speak to this, as once it stopped working, I kept things moving for the sake of this test.

Aesthetics

Molekule: I don’t have to say much here – it’s pretty obvious that Molekule is hands down the most gorgeous option. It’s pretty funny receiving compliments from people on an air purifier, but I have!

Levoit: This one looks pretty industrial and can harsh the vibe of a home pretty easily. While it fits into an office, it’s not exactly living room material. 

Blueair: I don’t mind the aesthetic of this option, but it’s not exactly beautiful. It’s fine, though a bit bulky-looking thanks to its texture. 

Overall Winner: Molekule

It’s an investment, but is there anything better to invest in than your health and safety? I love that investing in the Air Pro means you’ll receive a device that works (extremely well!), taps into amazing technology, and looks great in your space – for years to come. 

It’s not expensive for the sake of it – the Air Pro truly is a superior product that’s easy to use, easy to forget about (again, a big compliment!), and therefore easy to love. Whether it’s fire season, flu season, or pollen season, it’s nice to have reassurance that you’re breathing easy. And Molekule’s Air Pro offers just that! 

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