Testing Methodology

Our thorough testing of each air purifier means you can trust our reviews to know exactly what you're investing in.

How We Test Air Purifiers

Every air purifier on the Air Purifier First website undergoes specific procedures and tests before being published. We conduct all tests in a home environment, using specialized devices to measure air quality, noise levels, and power usage.

It’s important to note that our tests are not laboratory-based but are conducted in home conditions, which more closely reflects an air purifier’s real-life performance.

We evaluate each tested air purifier using a predefined scale and algorithm, considering five fundamental parameters: Performance, Noise Level, Operating Cost, Value for Money, and Ease of Use. Each parameter is rated on a scale of 1 to 10, and the average score serves as the primary rating for a device.

9.5 and moreOutstanding Score
9.0 – 9.4Excellent Score
8.0 – 8.9Good Score
7.0 – 7.9Fair Score
6.0 – 6.9Mediocre Score
5.0 – 5.9Poor Score
4.9 and lessTerrible Score

Performance Tests

The performance tests for each air purifier consist of several stages, ultimately contributing to the final performance rating. The main goal of these tests is to measure how efficient an air purifier is.

We use various rooms and locations to test air purifiers in real-life conditions. Common testing locations include bedrooms, living rooms, and kitchens, effectively showcasing an air purifier's performance.

Particle Removal Test Room - Comparison

Comparison between the Levoit Core 300 and its competitors in particle removal tests in a 320 sq. ft. (30 m²) room. All tests were conducted using the Temtop LKC-1000S laser particle monitor.

Our approach involves testing air purifiers in real-life environments to observe their direct impact on air quality. For example, we use a room with an old moldy baseline to test how well air purifiers neutralize musty smells. We also use our kitchen to test whether an air purifier can help neutralize cooking odors.

However, the main procedure for evaluating an air purifier's performance is to test it in a room that matches its coverage (CADR) and measure the results with the Temtop LKC-1000S air quality monitor. This device measures PM2.5 (µg/m3), PM10 (µg/m3), particles (per/L), and HCHO (mg/m3) in the air, and also calculates the AQI.

We use the Temtop LKC-1000S air quality monitor when testing an air purifier's performance.
We use the Temtop LKC-1000S air quality monitor when testing an air purifier's performance. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

In this test, we first measure initial air quality values using the Temtop laser particle meter, then leave the air purifier running at maximum speed for 60 minutes, after which we measure air quality improvements. We use seven different rooms for this testing, as detailed in the table below:

Room sizeHow frequently is it used?
120 sq. ft. (11 m2)Used when testing small air purifiers.
180 sq. ft. (17 m2)Rarely used room for testing.
194 sq. ft. (18 m2)Frequently used room for testing.
230 sq. ft. (21.5 m2)Also rarely used room for testing.
320 sq. ft. (30 m2)The most used room for testing.
560 sq. ft. (52 m2)Used when testing large room air purifiers.
730 sq. ft. (68 m2)Used when testing extremely powerful air purifiers.

Furthermore, we tend to use air purifiers in our homes for some time. For example, during pollen season, we use air purifiers indoors and measure their efficiency in eliminating airborne pollen.

These precise tests allow us to compare different air purifiers easily, write highly accurate and detailed comparisons, and address nearly all concerns potential users may have about air purifiers.

Smoke Box Tests

The smoke test is a unique test that is rarely performed by other reviewers. Being different makes us incredibly proud!

This image shows smoke tests of four different air purifiers.
This image/video shows smoke tests of four different air purifiers. Photo (GIF): Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

We place an air purifier inside a glass box, then fill the box with smoke and turn the air purifier on at maximum speed to measure the time it takes to remove all the smoke from the box.

Smoke Box Test - Comparison

In this chart, you can see how quickly the Levoit Vital 100 removes smoke from a glass box compared to its competitors.

This test facilitates the comparison of different air purifiers and visually demonstrates the superiority and power of some models over others.

Operating Costs

Power Usage Tests

We thoroughly test the power consumption of every air purifier at each speed setting individually to ensure a comprehensive evaluation.

Measuring power consumption with our power testing tool.
Measuring power consumption with our power testing tool. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

We measure the device’s kWh usage and calculate the expected power consumption for potential buyers based on the measured data. For reference, we use an energy price of $0.12 per kWh. You can also calculate how much your air purifier will cost you using our power consumption calculator.

Replacement Filters Price

Besides power use, the operating costs include the replacement filter price and the availability of third-party replacement filters.

Noise Level Tests

Assessing the noise level produced by an air purifier is crucial. We use a specialized tool to measure noise levels on the dBA scale and test each air purifier at each speed setting individually.

Measuring noise levels with our specialized noise testing tool.
Measuring noise levels with specialized noise testing tool. Photo: Airpurifierfirst.com / Milan Antonic

We use these test results as references when comparing devices and deciding whether an air purifier is suitable for a bedroom or other room that requires silence.

ValueEqual to
20 dBAWhisper, quiet room.
30 dBASoft music.
40 dBAHome computer fan.
50 dBAHome air conditioning, light outside traffic.
60 dBANormal conversation.
70 dBAFlushing toilet, home dishwasher, noisy room.
80 dBAServer room, alarm clock, inside an airplane.

Features Evaluation

Evaluating an air purifier’s features, such as smart options, design principles, outdated options, and everyday usability, is another essential aspect of testing.

Warranty information also contributes to the overall rating and reliability of an air purifier.