Air purifiers are some of the most valuable products to keep in the home–but their recurring costs with filters can be a big problem.

Air purifier filters accumulate debris and pollutants and lose their effectiveness over time to the point where they become completely unusable. That means that if you want an air purifier that keeps working indefinitely, you will need to consider replacement filters.

This article explores air purifier options with at least one permanent/washable filter. This means that some of them may come with a reusable filter along with conventional ones that still need to be replaced, but they nevertheless will offer lower costs in the long run by being cheaper to maintain.

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Top 5 Air Purifiers

  • Smart sensors built into the unit track ambient light and odors automatically
  • 3-stage filter system is highly effective and includes carbon filtration
  • True HEPA filter included
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

  • Optional UV light offers unique was of bacteria control
  • 24-hour automatic timer yields greater control over when the machine is working
  • Dedicated ionizer adds to multi-effort filtration methods
  • Includes a 1-year warranty

  • Oscillation control evenly distributes filtered air throughout the room
  • Unique iFD filter captures up to 99% of airborne particles and never needs replacement
  • Includes certification for ozone emissions
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty

  • Combination filter utilizes activated carbon for better purification
  • 360-degree intake makes for better air circulation
  • Filter replacement indicator keeps homeowners on top of the combination filter
  • Includes a 1-year warranty

  • Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation is proven to reduce respiratory conditions
  • Carbon filtration pulls bacterial and irritants out of the air supply
  • High-efficiency unit can purify up to 1,000 square feet of space
  • Comes with a 3-year warranty


According to Winix, the 5500-2 is a formidable weapon against particulates, pet dander, germs, smoke, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and odors. And we agree: an air purifier that sports the combination of a 99.97% True HEPA filter, a carbon filter, and plasma technology exudes promise and potential. Its room coverage and CADR specs are also great selling points.

The pre-filter is permanent, but it has to be cleaned every 14 days. The carbon filter, on the other hand, is washable and should be cleaned every three months. As such, it’s not exactly the most low-maintenance air purifier on the market. Washing the carbon filter significantly extends its lifespan, yet Winix still recommends to jointly replace the HEPA and carbon filters annually. Luckily, the 5500-2 has a filter replacement indicator to help you out with this.

Aside from its impressive filter lineup, this model makes a mark for having extra bells and whistles that benefit the user experience. Its smart sensors detect VOC, odor, and lighting levels in the room, enabling it to automatically adjust the fan speed and LED brightness to suit its environment.

The 5500-2 also has a sleep mode for silent operation, and at a mere 27.8 dBA, it really is an exceptionally-quiet machine. Aside from a bunch of dedicated indicators and controls, the included remote control brings in added convenience. While it’s true that the short warranty and bulky design can be discouraging for some consumers, this air purifier is so loaded with features that make it impossible to write off.

The Winix 5500-2 boasts a 3-stage purification process that includes a True HEPA filter, a washable carbon filter, and PlasmaWave technology, all on top of a permanent, cleanable pre-filter. Covering areas up to 360 sq. ft. in size,  it’s a great all-around option for highly-discriminating consumers considering its robust array of features.

Pros

  • HEPA filter
  • Quiet
  • Sleep mode & air quality indicator
  • Fights germs
  • Automatic fan speed adjustment using Smart Sensors

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy design
  • Filters need to be cleaned regularly


The Envion Therapure TPP240 is chock-full of features and boasts four stages of purification: a permanent HEPA-type filter for particle contaminants, a UV bulb to combat germs, a photocatalyst filter to eliminate smoke and VOCs, and an ionizer to aid the HEPA-type filter. Since it doesn’t use a True HEPA filter, you can’t expect it to be as effective as the Winix model described above. This might explain why Envion decided to add a supplementary ionizer in the mix.

Its CADR ratings are on the modest side of the spectrum, but it’s not the weakest of the bunch. It also technically doesn’t have any filters that need replacing since the HEPA-type filter is permanent and only requires regular vacuum cleaning, but the UV bulb (to which the photocatalyst filter is attached) needs to be replaced every year.

Another selling point that really stood out is its 24-hour timer, seeing that it’s the only model on this list that offers such a convenience. Along with convenient dedicated controls for the ionizer and UV bulb, it’s clear that Envion didn’t leave ease of use out of the equation.

Overall, the TPP240 definitely seems like a steal, as it offers promising features and a great value for the price. If you don’t require outstanding CADR ratings, then you can definitely consider this air purifier a strong contender.

Pros

  • Has a digital display
  • With a timer
  • Clean filter indicator
  • Dedicated ionizer and UV light switches
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Relatively-low CADR ratings
  • Not a True HEPA filter
  • Not as effective against odors
  • Short warranty

The Honeywell QuietClean Tower Air Purifier is the sole model on this list with filters that are all washable and permanent, which makes it a compelling choice for the savvy penny pincher. It captures up to 99% of airborne pollutants like dust, pet dander, tobacco smoke, and pollen using an ionizer and iFD technology—the latter being a relatively-new filter type that’s comparable to HEPA in terms of performance.

The filter requires only rinsing and drying. There’s an electronic filter check indicator that tells you when it’s time to clean the patented filters, but generally, you shouldn’t have to bother washing it more frequently than once a month. Regularly running your vacuum cleaner over the filters should further lengthen the duration between washes.

Note that it has the lowest CADR ratings of the bunch, which makes it ideal for use in smaller spaces up to 170 sq. ft. Its CADR values also suggest that it purifies air at a slower rate compared to the other models listed here. Though it lacks a timer function and a carbon filter for handling odors and VOCs, its lengthy 5-year warranty should tell you that you can depend on it for a long time. In summary, the Honeywell HFD-120-Q is an excellent option if you’re looking for a small-room air purifier that screams dependability and demands minimal maintenance costs.  

Pros

  • iFD filter
  • Quiet
  • Oscillation controls
  • Electronic filter check indicator
  • Easy to maintain
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Small room coverage
  • Relatively-low CADR ratings
  • No timer
  • Not as effective against germs and VOCs

The Blue Pure 211+ claims to specialize in removing pollen from the air, but it also handles 99% of other pollutants like dust, pet dander, smog, and traffic exhaust.

Its outer sleeve doubles as a pre-filter for larger particles while a combination filter takes care of things on the inside. The latter combines a particle filter for finer pollutants and an activated carbon filter that rids the atmosphere of foul odors and fumes. The particle filter isn’t HEPA, but it still appears to do a respectable job in that particular area.

Note that only the pre-filter is washable in this particular model. As such, the combination filter still has to be regularly replaced after its capacity has been exceeded. It may not be as low-maintenance as the other models mentioned above, but if it’s any consolation, it has a filter replacement indicator to help you.

Its one-button operation gives it a simpler vibe. It can, however, get annoying when you’re trying to go back to a particular mode since it requires cycling through the rest of the settings. Still, having an air purifier that’s quiet yet powerful should uplift your mood more than anything. This is a pretty darn solid model after all, with CADR ratings for smoke, pollen, and dust that are at a whopping 350 CFM. This makes the 211+ the most powerful air purifier on this list. If you appreciate a lean, mean, purifying machine and don’t mind the short warranty and the rest of its relatively minor setbacks, the 211+ is certainly an air purifier to consider.

Pros

  • Outstanding CADR ratings
  • Removes VOCs and particulates
  • Energy-efficient
  • Completely recyclable materials
  • Filter replacement indicator

Cons

  • One control button only
  • No HEPA filter
  • Some non-washable parts
  • No timer
  • Doesn’t eliminate germs

Our final air purifier pick utilizes a unique filtration system and offers one of the highest overall ranges–making it a great choice for larger homes and apartments.

The OION Technologies S-3000 air purifier uses what the manufacturer refers to as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation–which can reduce respiratory issues and symptoms. Likewise, the filter works in conjunction with a carbon filter, which gives a considerable edge to purification volume.

However, we weren’t able to find official CADR ratings for any of the filters included in this unit–which means that there’s no clear way to compare the purification levels with the other picks on our list.

Still, the higher volume and larger overall capacity of the OION Technologies S-3000 air purifier, alongside some seriously powerful purification, makes this a great option for getting large rooms purified. Likewise, this is one of the most affordable options on our list by a considerable margin, so if cost is a concern, there are lots to be gained by taking a chance on this tower purifier.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Quiet fan
  • Energy efficient design
  • Night light included
  • Carbon filtration

Cons

  • No CADR rating
  • Difficult filter cleaning

Comparison Chart

FEATURESWinix 5500-2Envion Therapure TPP240Honeywell HFD-120-QBlue Pure 211+OION Technologies S-3000
TypeTower, plug-inTower, plug-inTower, plug-inConsole, plug-inTower, plug-in
Size8.2 x 15.0 x 23.69.6 x 7.9 x 26.110.4 x 9.65 x 28.7421 x 13 x 135.5 X 6.5 X 17
Weight15.4 lbs10.3 lbs12.32 lbs13 lbs3.8 lbs
Filters/
Technology
Pre-filter + True HEPA + Carbon + WINIX PlasmaWaveHEPA + UV light + Photocatalyst + IonizerPre-filter + IFD + IonizerPre-filter + Combination particle and activated carbonLight + Electrostatic Ionizer + Carbon
Room Coverage 360 sq. ft.500 sq. ft. 170 sq. ft. 540  sq. ft.500 – 1,000 sq. ft.
CADR Ratings Smoke: 232
Dust: 243
Pollen: 246
Smoke: 137
Dust: 132
Pollen: 155
Smoke: 110
Dust: 100
Pollen: 132
Smoke: 350
Dust: 350
Pollen: 350
None avaliable

Buyer’s Guide:

Air Purifiers with Permanent/Washable Filters

Still not sure which of these five options seem to be the best for you? Our Buyer’s Guide and FAQs should help you uncover what may be important for you and your home, as well as answer some common questions and help you find the air purifier that’s right for you.

You’ll notice that our comparison chart notes exactly which filters are included in each of the five units on our list–and that’s for a very good reason.

Different filters are going to work in different ways–and if you want an air purifier that doesn’t have any replaceable elements in it, you’ll need each of these varied filters to work in tandem with one another to remove the most pollution from your home possible.

You’ll also want to take note of which of our units require no filter replacement, and which ones may need one or more elements replaced over time. While each of the five air purifiers on our list come with permanent & washable filters, the multitude of filters means that not every filter in a given unit will be replaceable.

Which air purifier is right for you may come down to whether or not you’re comfortable replacing certain elements seasonally if you absolutely need a filter that can stand the test of time and not invoke any recurring costs.

Air purifiers are only as effective as the rooms that they’re situated in. As such, being aware of room coverage is highly important.

Do you know where your air purifier is going to live in your home? Is that room a bedroom or other enclosed room, or does that room flow into other rooms like in open-concept homes?

We think it’s useful to measure the room that you will be placing your prospective air purifier within. All it takes is some simple match to uncover the room’s square footage–which you can compare to the room coverage available for each of the air purifiers on our list.

Keep in mind that the quality of the air purifier is dependent upon the size of the room. Should you choose to place an air purifier in a room or space much larger than the room coverage given, you may be surprised to notice a significantly reduced ability to purify the air.

Finally, you’ll find that many of the air purifiers on our list utilize UV bulbs or activated carbon filters.

While bulbs don’t typically sound like a good way to combat bacterial infection, keep in mind that ultraviolet radiation is proven to kill bacteria and germs that can make their way into your air. However, remember that these bulbs may need to be periodically replaced to ensure their effectiveness.

Likewise, the carbon filters in many of the options on our list utilize the natural pull activated carbon has on smaller particles. The carbon works almost like a magnet–pulling particles towards it and away from the air supply. However, that also means that you may need to periodically clean this filter to remove the collected dust and debris.

Both bulbs and carbon offer powerful solutions to your home’s air quality, so be on the lookout for one or both of these options in your next air purifier. There are pros and cons to each, so be sure to note them moving forward:

UV Bulbs

Pros

  • Long-lasting
  • Use light energy to kill bacteria and germs
  • Silent operation

Cons

  • Needs periodic long-term replacement
  • Can be costly
  • Doesn’t remove dust
(Activated) Carbon Filters

Pros

  • Lasts indefinitely
  • Silent operation
  • Removes dust and dirt particles

Cons

  • Does not kill bacteria
  • Needs fans to operate, which can be noisy
  • Needs washing to be effective

  • Is there a difference between washable and permanent filters?
  • Although these two terms are commonly used interchangeably, they’re actually technically different. Washable filters are filters that you clean using water and sometimes soap. It’s important for these filters to be dried thoroughly before they are placed back inside the air purifier.

    Permanent filters, on the other hand, need to be treated differently. Like washable filters, they need to be maintained through regular cleaning, however, they require the use of a vacuum cleaner, a cloth, or a brush to remove dirt buildup. Permanent filters shouldn’t be cleaned with water.

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of air purifiers in this category?
  • The biggest advantage of having an air purifier with washable or permanent filters is the lower long-term costs. As you may already know, standard filters need to be replaced regularly with new ones, which requires you to buy replacement filters every now and then. Permanent/washable filters negate this need since you only have to clean them once they’ve reached their maximum capacity in order to re-use them. Cleaning typically requires more effort, though, than simply popping in a fresh, new filter in place. As such, these said air purifiers require a bit more maintenance than their conventional counterparts.
  • Who would benefit from air purifiers with permanent/washable filters?
  • People who are all about saving money long-term will surely benefit from air purifiers with permanent/washable filters, This holds true especially for homeowners dealing with a lot of dust, pet dander, and allergens since it calls for more frequent filter replacements. If you think that the pollution level in your home would require you to change filters more frequently than the average household, then you’d really maximize the savings brought in by permanent/washable filters.

Final Thoughts

As you may have noticed, the realm of air purifiers with washable/permanent filters is a dynamic one, with each model being as unique as the next. They all have their own sets of pros and cons, so careful consideration is needed to make an informed purchase.

In the end, we think that the Winix 5500-2 is the greatest of them all. It has managed to offer a formidable lineup of filters and technology while maintaining a reasonable price. It’s also the only air purifier on this list that handles everything: germs, particles, VOCs, odor, and smoke. It’s not perfect, but the pros massively outweigh the cons.

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