Last updated on January 1st, 2023
Dust, odors, heavy smoke or allergens are as much of an issue in small apartments as they are in large rooms or houses. Installing a HVAC system for the whole house might be too pricey or just not worth it. That’s when portable air purifiers come to play.
Many air cleaners are advertised to cover small spaces and you might think “This is it! That will solve my problem!“. However, many of them are unreliable, poorly designed or just bad, so getting one of those will end up with you spending your money on a worthless piece of plastic while the issues are still there.
I’ve been in the industry for quite some time now and have tested many air purifiers. And three of them – Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2, Coway Airmega AP-1512HH and Alen BreatheSmart 45i I can recommend to anyone who lives in a small apartment and suffers from allergies, has pets or just wants to remove dust, odors and other pollutants from their living place.
So without further adieu, I present to you my 3 best air purifiers for a small apartment in 2023.
Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2: Best Air Purifier for Small Apartments
Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2 is considered by many the best air purifier for apartments in recent years. It is made by the Korean company Winix which has a wide selection of air cleaners ranging from $100 to over $500.
The PlasmaWave 5500-2 is a great example of an air cleaner that deals with almost all pollution that can be found in a room. Its pre-filter catches large pollutants like hair or pet dander; the HEPA filter traps fine particles of dust, smoke or pollen and the washable honeycomb Activated Carbon filter removes odors. The optional ionizer uses PlasmaWave technology to help the filters catch germs and bacteria.
In addition to this, this air purifier is stuffed with many useful functions. If you set the unit in the Auto mod it will automatically adjust the speed based on the air quality inside. Let me give you an example.
You have placed your Winix air purifier in the kitchen and started cooking. When the built-in sensor recognizes the changes in the air, it will automatically increase the speed to remove the odors as quickly as possible. In the end, the smells are prevented from spreading into other rooms and the kitchen doesn’t smell as well. And you haven’t even touched a button – the Winix has done the cleaning all by itself!
Sleep mode is another useful feature many people like, including me. Another built-in sensor checks if there’s not enough light in a room, the unit goes into this mode. White calming noise is the only noise you’d hear when the Winix 5500-2 runs in the Sleep mode.
In other words, you may not even touch the unit after you had bought it, powered it on and set it to Auto – it will keep the air clean and fresh 24/7 without your assistance. The only time you’d have to touch it is to wash or replace the filters. The filter indicator will let you know when the time has come to replace the filters.
Overall, the Winix PlasmaWave 5500-2 is the best what you get for the price if you are living in a small apartment (it is AHAM-verified for spaces up to 360 sq. ft.) and want to keep your air clean from outdoor and indoor pollution without a hassle.
Coway Airmega AP-1512HH: Best Air Purifier for Small Apartment with Pets
Coway Airmega AP-1512HH is another popular choice for small apartment air purifier. Its functions resemble the previously reviewed Winix except for Sleep mode and light sensor.
When it comes to air filtration, this air purifier features the same 4-stage air cleaning technology with 3 filters (pre-filter, HEPA, Carbon) and the optional ionizer that helps the filters to catch airborne pollutants.
The Coway Airmega AP-1512HH is less noisy when compared to the Winix (27.4 dB vs 27.8 dB) and it also has a slightly higher CADR for removing dust from the air (246 CFM vs 243 CFM). However, the differences are somewhat negligible and don’t affect much neither the performance nor the sound levels.
People often use this air purifier in apartments with pets (mostly cats and dogs) for two reasons:
- It catches pet hair and dander;
- Their apartments are free from pet allergies.
As in the case with the Winix 5500-2, this air purifier made by Coway is also a great option for keeping the air clean from various pollutants and allergens in small apartments and homes.
Alen BreatheSmart 45i: Best to Remove Dust and Smoke
Alen BreatheSmart 45i is a must have air purifier for people that want to deal with their dusty apartments or smelly room. It’s the only air cleaner that comes with customized HEPA filters designed to remove specific pollutants such as VOCs (volatile organic compounds), dust, smoke, chemicals, pet or diaper odors.
Compared to the previously reviewed Winix and Coway, the Alen BreatheSmart 45i price isn’t the most affordable one. However, there are a few reasons for that.
First of all, Alen HEPA air filters are really, really good. For example, the Heavy Smoke filter contains more than 2 pounds of activated carbon to absorb chemicals and heavy odors including smoke (wildfire, tobacco) and musty smells. If you’re struggling with any heavy smell in your apartment, the Alen BreatheSmart might be your only option to remove unpleasant odors.
Secondly, it is one of the least electricity-consuming air purifier when it comes to the performance to electricity usage ratio. In a long term this will save up a lot of money that would have been spent on electricity bills otherwise.
Thirdly, in spaces smaller than 400 square feet, the Alen keeps the air clean from all allergens. However, if you are not an allergic person, the effective room coverage increases up to 800 square feet. When this number is taken into consideration, the price doesn’t seem high at all.
Noise levels are also insanely low compared to any other air purifier. At the lowest speed the air purifier is inaudible while at the highest it’s still possible to watch TV and not be disturbed by the fan’s sound. The only air purifiers that do not compromise their quality and at the same time are even quieter are made by Rabbit. But they are priced accordingly.
Lastly, a lifetime warranty is offered for anyone who buys one unit and subscribers for filter delivery at the official site. You can select to deliver an Alen HEPA filter replacement every 6, 9, 12 or 15 months. I recommend choosing 12 months as that’s the average lifespan of any Alen air filter.
To sum it all up, the Alen BreatheSmart 45i is one of the best air purifiers for small apartments if the air quality is too bad and there are too many bad smells, allergens and dust.
Do air purifiers work in small apartments?
Air purifiers are designed to work in any apartments, rooms and other spaces. Their capabilities are only limited by the airflow they generate and the quality of their filters. If you want to know more about air purifiers click here.
Do air purifiers work in small rooms?
Sure they do. Best air purifiers for small rooms are affordable and reliable units that remove dust, dander, smoke, odors, chemicals and bacteria without any hassle from small spaces.
How long does it take an air purifier to clean small apartments?
It depends on the power of a selected air purifier, the size of an apartment and how polluted the area is. Let’s say, in 350 – 400 sq. ft. lightly polluted apartments, any air purifier I have reviewed here can clean the air in a range of 10 to 20 minutes without a problem. On the other hand, if the air is polluted by heavy smoke, chemicals or any other strong odor, the time may increase to 30 minutes or even one hour.
Where should I place my air purifier?
I recommend putting your air cleaner either to the source of the odor or closer to the walls, leaving at least 8 – 10 inches between a wall and the unit. It has to be placed in an open space to easily circulate and clean the air.
How many air purifiers do you need to clean small apartments?
If you’re getting one of the air purifiers I recommend you need only one unit to clean the air in your small apartment. If you’re getting a smaller unit, you might need to buy 2 or even more to fully clean the air. That’s why I do not recommend getting smaller and less powerful units – they might be cheaper but you’ll have to get more than one and their filters are not so long-lasting, so you end up replacing them more often and paying more and more as time goes by.