Where to Place Your Air Purifier: Avoid These Mistakes!

Determining the ideal location for placing an air purifier in your home can be challenging, but it’s crucial for ensuring optimal performance. In fact, a poorly placed air purifier can be more harmful than helpful. Based on years of experience in testing these devices, I created this comprehensive guide to help you find the best location for your air purifier.

This is a properly placed air purifier
This is a properly placed air purifier. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

When placing an air purifier, several factors need to be considered, such as the size of the room, the type of air purifier, airflow, noise levels, and more. In addition to providing general placement suggestions, I will offer specific tips and things to avoid to help you maximize your purifier’s efficiency. 

By following these tips and suggestions, I’m sure you will immediately notice a difference in the air quality around you.

Key Findings on Air Purifier Placement!

  • Room Size Matters: The size of the room should dictate the choice of your air purifier to ensure optimal performance.
  • Noise Levels Can Impact Comfort: The noise produced by an air purifier can affect your comfort, so consider this when choosing a device for specific rooms.
  • Accessibility to Power Outlets: Ensure the air purifier is conveniently located near a power outlet to avoid unsafe setups.
  • Bedroom Placement: Place the air purifier 6-10 feet from the head of the bed. Ensure the air doesn’t blow directly at your face.
  • Living Room Placement: Position the air purifier away from electronic devices and in areas of frequent movement to effectively capture dust particles. Ideally but not necessarily, it would be in the center of the room.
  • Kitchen Placement: Put the air purifier near the source of odors, near the stove, for example. Always opt for an air purifier with a high-quality activated carbon filter.
  • Office Placement: In a private office, place it somewhere where it won’t catch any unnecessary attention.
  • Basement Placement: Place the air purifier close to sources of mold and unpleasant odors to target and eliminate them effectively.
  • Pet Areas: Position the air purifier as close as possible to where your pets spend most of their time, avoiding direct airflow towards them.
  • Placements to Avoid: Avoid positioning the air purifier near walls, corners, behind or below furniture, in high-humidity areas, or near heat sources and electronics.
  • Efficiency Tips: Placing the air purifier on a raised surface, close to pollution sources, and regular cleaning and maintenance filters can improve its performance.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Perfect Location

Before we jump to the placement of an air purifier in different rooms, there are some factors that you have to pick up. These factors can significantly impact the air purifier’s efficiency, so I strongly recommend not overlooking them.

Size of the Room

First and foremost, you need to determine the room size in which you plan to use your air purifier. The rules are simple: if you buy an air purifier with a smaller coverage than your room size, it won’t provide optimal performance. However, purchasing an air purifier that is too powerful could lead to unnecessary costs and a waste of resources.

I always recommend using an air purifier that can clean the air 4.8 times in one hour in a room, as suggested by AHAM. So, before purchasing one, carefully examine the manufacturer’s recommendations and look for CADR and Room Coverage values to ensure that you choose one suitable for your room.

Type of Air Purifier & Airflow

When referring to the types of air purifiers, I want to discuss airflow and filtration technology.

Regarding airflow, it’s crucial to know that almost every air purifier draws air in and releases it differently. Therefore, it’s essential to consider its airflow when deciding on a placement location. For instance, in order not to block the airflow, you can move the device away from the wall and other objects by at least 15 inches (38 cm).

Please make sure that you do not block the airflow of the air purifier.
Please make sure that you do not block the airflow of the air purifier. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

Another essential factor to consider is the filtration technology used by the device. For example, you should never place an air purifier that lacks an activated carbon filter in a room where people smoke or where there is exposure to various VOCs. Likewise, you should never place an air purifier that doesn’t use a proper True HEPA filter in a room with exposure to allergens, mold spores, or similar contaminants.

Noise Levels

One of the factors I consider when testing air purifiers is the noise they produce. I use a specialized device to measure the noise level of an air purifier.

I use a special tool to test the noise levels of an air purifier
I use a special tool to test the noise levels of an air purifier. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

I have noticed that the quality of the motor varies across devices, which affects the optimization of the noise they produce. Therefore, it’s essential to consider this factor when choosing an air purifier, as a loud one can be unbearable, especially in a bedroom, living room, or office.

As a result, my recommendations always include noise level tests, and I carefully suggest air purifiers that best suit the specific situation.

Accessibility to Power Outlet

It may not have crossed your mind, but most air purifiers have a relatively short power cord, typically around 80 inches (2 meters) long. Therefore, when deciding where to place it, it’s essential to consider the location of your power outlets.

Ensure the purifier is close enough to a power outlet without creating a tripping hazard. Doing so will prevent the need for an extension cord or other potentially unsafe solutions.

Ideal Locations for Air Purifiers

Based on my experience with daily use and testing of air purifiers, I analyzed the characteristics of some of the most common rooms and provided suggestions for the proper placement of air purifiers in there.

Please place the air purifier on a stable, flat surface to prevent it from tipping over.

Bedroom

The positioning of an air purifier depends on the room in which it will be used. If using an air purifier in a bedroom, it’s recommended to place it between six (1,8m) to ten (3m) feet away from the head of the bed. It’s best to face the air intake towards the bed so the air around the sleeping area is filtered first. It’s essential to avoid having the air blowing directly into your face, as this can be disruptive to your sleep and may cause discomfort. Some individuals may be susceptible to wind and may even experience headaches in the morning if the air purifier is directed toward their heads.

It is important to place an air purifier properly in a bedroom
Ensure the air doesn’t blow directly into your head when placing an air purifier in the bedroom. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

As I said, the most important is ensuring that the air purifier is positioned at an appropriate distance. Stronger air purifiers can create a powerful airflow and be very noisy, which may disturb your sleep if they are placed too close. Therefore, you should consider choosing an air purifier with the sleep mode feature, as well the one that isn’t too loud overall.

Living Room

For many people, the living room is typically the most crowded place, with always someone there. Therefore, this is one of the most polluted rooms in the home, so it’s crucial to have an air purifier in it.

Although the good location for an air purifier would be in the center of the living room, it’s not always the solution, mainly because an air purifier needs a power outlet nearby. However, I wouldn’t recommend placing it behind or under furniture or next to electronic devices like a TV. For example, we positioned the air purifier about six feet (1,8m) away from the TV in my parent’s living room, and it performed effectively in that location, even though it wasn’t in the center of the room.

Never place an air purifier below or behind the furniture
Never place an air purifier below or behind the furniture. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

As frequent movement in the living room can create a lot of dust, a great idea would be to place the air purifier where people often step. By doing so, the air purifier can quickly and effectively capture airborne dust particles.

Another example is again in my parent’s living room, where someone constantly smokes. After testing air purifiers in these specific situations, my parents confirmed that if someone smokes in the living room, it’s best to open a window during smoking and turn on the air purifier after to eliminate cigarette smoke further and clean the air thoroughly.

Overall, the position of the air purifier in the living room depends on individual situations. Still, I believe placing it near the source is the best.

Kitchen

Removing the bad smells of fried food, especially when preparing onion, garlic, or fish, can be difficult. Often, our kitchen hood is not powerful enough to remove these odors, so placing an air purifier near the source of the odors showed as an excellent solution.

Placing an air purifier in the kitchen
Positioning an air purifier beside the stove is the best location in the kitchen. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

The most important factors for an air purifier in the kitchen are a high-quality activated carbon filter and proper placement.

The kitchen is my wife’s favorite place; we are food lowers. We typically place the air purifier on the work surface near the cooker or on the floor if using a larger, more powerful unit. This placement works well for us and would be our absolute recommendation for placing such a device in the kitchen.

Office

In recent years, more and more people in the corporate world are starting to consider air quality in their workplaces. In the offices, dirt being brought easily in from outside and lack of attention to cleanliness makes the air inside very unhealthy. Therefore, buying an air purifier for the office is an excellent decision.

Placing an air purifier on the office desk
The best location for placing an air purifier in the office is directly on your desk. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

However, the question arises of where to place the air purifier. After much analysis and research, I’ve concluded that using a small air purifier on your desk in an open office is best. Whereas, if you have your own office, you can place the air purifier almost anywhere, but my advice is to place it near your desk and run it at a low speed, inconspicuously. This way, no one will ask about the device, and it won’t interfere with your work.

Assuming you spend at least 8 hours a day in the office, purchasing an air purifier is one of the best possible investments.

Basement

In the last few years since I’ve been doing air purifier reviews, I’ve received a lot of questions about what the best air purifier for a basement is. Still, I’ve seldom been asked about where to put an air purifier in a basement.

Basements are known to be damp and musty, which can lead to mold growth and worsen allergies. Therefore, using an air purifier in such an environment is an excellent choice, but incorrectly positioning the device can significantly reduce its efficiency.

I placed an air purifier near the moldy wall
I suggest placing an air purifier close to the moldy wall in your basement. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

I use various spaces for testing air purifiers. There is one very moldy place, which is not a basement, but more like an old underground garage, where I tested a few different air purifiers that successfully removed bad smells from the place. As you can see in the picture above, the mold has long been clinging to the wall. Just try to imagine that bad and unbearable smell.

A good location for removing this unpleasant smell is to place the air purifier as close as possible to the source of the mold, i.e., near the moldy wall. This way, the air purifier will directly fight and adsorb these unpleasant odors. Additionally, it will capture airborne mold spores and thus slow down the creation of new mold on the wall.

Pet Areas

For placing an air purifier in pet areas, things are pretty simple. The only rule you must follow is to place the device as close as possible to where the pet most often stays or defecates. For instance, an excellent location to put it is near the cat litter box, if you have one, of course.

However, remember that pets, like people, are very sensitive. So, please make sure that the device doesn’t blow air directly to your pet.

Which Room is Best For My Air Purifier?

If you have a mobile air purifier that is easily transferred between rooms, then you should keep it with you. For example, in the morning, you can use it in the kitchen when preparing food. Once you move to the living room to have some relaxing time watching tv, bring the air purifier with you and later at night you can use it in the bathroom and then in the bedroom. The advantage of mobile air purifiers is described above. It can follow you wherever you go and keep the fresh air with you.

If the air purifier is too heavy and too large to move from room to room, then you should place it in a room with the most pollution. If the highest pollution in your home is coming from the kitchen, then put it in the kitchen. We all know that food can leave nasty smells, especially when it is burnt. 

If the problem is dust or pet dander, then the best air purifier location will be a living room. And if you have deep concerns about the air when you sleep, then it is also an excellent choice to put air purifier in the bedroom, after all, we all spend eight or more hours in the bedroom.

Placements You Must Avoid

After providing suggestions and ideas for placing air purifiers in various rooms, it’s time to list things to avoid regarding air purifier placement.

Near Walls or Corners

As I explained earlier, air purifiers have openings for drawing air in and out. So, these openings should not be blocked under any circumstances.

Please don't place the air purifier next to a wall
Please don’t place the air purifier next to a wall. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

Blocked openings lead to significantly less airflow, reducing the device’s efficiency. Additionally, blocking the openings could cause overheating and eventual failure of your air purifier.

Therefore, it’s advisable not to place the air purifier next to a wall or any other object that may obstruct its airflow.

Wall-mounting air purifiers are not subject to these rules, as they are optimized for hanging on walls.

Behind or Below Furniture

In addition to the situation in the previous example, airflow can also be blocked in other ways, such as placing the air purifier behind furniture, under furniture, under a table, or in any similar location. This is also not recommended, and I strongly advise against putting air purifiers in these places.

Make sure not to place the air purifier behind curtains, as it can also block the airflow.

Humid Areas like Bathrooms

To clarify, air purifiers usually use a paper HEPA filter, which is sensitive to high humidity above approximately 85% RH. This means that it is not recommended to use the air purifier in the bathroom (or other high-humidity places) as it can damage the filter.

Never place an air purifier in the bathroom
Never place an air purifier in high-humidity areas such are bathrooms. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

When exposed to high humidity or directly to water, the filter can result in mold growth on it. Over time, this mold can easily spread throughout the room where you use the air purifier. Hence, I strongly advise not putting air purifiers in the bathroom.

Next to Heat Sources or Electronics

Avoid positioning your air purifier near heat sources, such as radiators or electronics, which can release heat and negatively impact the device’s performance.

Tips on Improving an Air Purifier Efficiency

I want to provide a few more tips that can be very beneficial for improving the efficiency of your air purifier.

Keep it High

It has been proven that placing an air purifier on a higher surface, such as a table or shelf, can help improve its efficiency by allowing it to draw in air from a higher level.

Placing the air purifier on the shelf
Placing an air purifier in tight spaces like shelves can block its airflow. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

I recommend placing air purifiers on raised surfaces, especially if you use small air purifiers, most commonly found in households.

Large and some medium air purifiers don’t need to be placed on a table, as they are generally powerful enough to circulate air in the room without any trouble, even from the floor.

Proximity to Pollution Sources

It is always better to place the air purifier as close as possible to the source of pollution. This means that if you have a fireplace in the room where you are staying, place the air purifier as close as possible, but not too close, so that the device does not catch fire.

Likewise, if you have smoking areas or a home workshop, ensure your air purifier is nearby to help eliminate pollutants.

Regularly Clean and Maintain the Air Purifier

In addition to placing the air purifier in the right location, it is important to pay attention to regular maintenance of the device to ensure it remains highly efficient. This requires regularly cleaning the pre-filter, replacing the old/dirty filters, and cleaning the overall device if necessary.

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Final Thoughts

Choosing the perfect location for your air purifier can be challenging, but it is one of the most important things to consider if you want fresh and clean air in your place.

When placing an air purifier, several factors should be considered, such as room size, type of air purifier, airflow, noise level, and accessibility to power outlets. In addition, it is essential to identify pollution sources, determine which rooms in your home are the most polluted, and decide on the purpose of using an air purifier.

In conclusion, you will drastically improve your air purifier’s efficiency by following provided suggestions on placing air purifiers in different rooms, such as kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, offices, basements, and more.

If you have any questions about the placement of your air purifier, please use the comment box below.

15 responses to “Where to Place Your Air Purifier: Avoid These Mistakes!”

  1. Mary West

    I have a great air purifier but I’m still a little confused about the direction of intake of dirty air and outflow of clean air. I’m a lite smoker and have cats. Should I have the intake facing the dirty air to pull it in or the outflow of clean air facing the center of the room? Seems like you would want clean air that is blowing out to face the center of the room.

    • Milan Antonic

      The most important thing in your situation is to place the air purifier near the source of the pollution. So, place it where your cats move the most, and of course, near the cigarette smoke pollution.

  2. blue WhatsApp

    Great post! I completely agree with you that placing an air purifier in a central location is crucial for effective purification. I recently moved into a new apartment and was struggling with allergies until I realized I needed to place my air purifier in the right spot. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

  3. SoundofText

    Great tips! I never knew that placing an air purifier near windows or doors could affect its efficiency. Thanks for sharing this informative post!

  4. Cathy

    Hi, I have been given a large air purifier that can be used in spaces up to 100 meters square. I am looking to use this in our bedroom, which is around 16 meters squared. It has cleanable filters, so I’m not worried about the maintenance costs, but can it be harmful to use a purifier that is too big? Thanks in advance, Cathy

    • Milan Antonic

      Just use it at a lower speed, as the airflow is much smaller on low than at the max speed; the same applies to the room coverage.

  5. Charlie

    We get a lot of dust in our home living on a dirt road. I was thinking about an air purifier placed in the open loft overlooking our living room that has 20’ ceilings. Or, should it be on the floor in the living room? I would greatly appreciate your opinion.

    • Milan Antonic

      Hi Charlie, I would place it on the floor, but I also recommend considering purchasing a more powerful air purifier due to the 20′ ceilings.

      If that wouldn’t work, then another good idea would be placing an additional (small) air purifier in the open loft.

  6. Confused

    I read another article that says air experts recommend putting on the floor as that is the highest concentration of pollutant. Now here says off the ground. So which is which?

    • Milan Antonic

      Could you please share that research with me? I’m interested in reading it! I can understand that a large concentration of pollutants may be present on the floor, but an air purifier can’t clean pollutants that are on the floor; it can only clean airborne pollutants. Therefore, it seems more reasonable to me to place it at a higher level.

      Typically, I place large air purifiers (those designed for large rooms) on the floor, while I place small and portable air purifiers on a small desk, no taller than 3 feet (approximately 1 meter).

  7. Sharon

    Should I face my air purifier facing bedroom window ?

  8. Amy

    Hi there! I live in a small apartment and just purchased the Winix A231 for my bedroom. The problem I am having is finding placement for the air purifier. The only good spot for it is on top of a free-standing freezer (I told you the apartment was small!). I know you should not place the air purifier near electronics but does the freezer count since it’s not a television or stereo? Thanks in advance for your help!

  9. Theresa ANN Connelly

    Hi, We have a woodburning fireplace-now I found out awful they are on our health.Hubby and I are purchasing highly rated air prurifiers.We are reading about all pros and cons on each.Is there a way to burn wood (it’s a stove right now) and heat our house safely??? I am afraid of switching to gas,-fear we will blow up our house!! And electric, we already have with still high bills for that even with the stove-I’d gladly move to Hawaii,but we have 7 acres,-a horse and 2 dogs,and do LOVE our home!!!
    I am not sure what I am trying to ask from you- maybe the best air purifiers to put around our fireplace? Thank’s- Lost in Washington,TC*

    • Milan Antonic

      Hi Theresa, you have a very interesting situation.
      Frankly, I don’t know how much smoke you get from the fireplace, but considering the Winix 5500-2 or Austin Air HealthMate is my suggestion.

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