It’s no secret that air purifiers provide health benefits, and of the best ways to protect your home from air pollutants is to invest in a good quality whole house air purifier.

Unlike room air purifiers which are designed to cover individual spaces, whole house air purifiers are connected to your existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. They provide additional protection from air pollutants for your entire home 24 hours a day, in areas up to thousands of square feet in size. Furthermore, the added filters from a whole house air purifier makes your HVAC system much more efficient at blocking out air pollutants.

For those who suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory diseases, and who want to learn more about how whole house air purifiers and how they can improve your quality of life, keep reading. In this article, we take a look at the best whole house air purifiers on the market today.

  • Low maintenance (no filters)
  • 3,000 sq. ft. coverage
  • ActivePure technology
  • Remove 99% of contaminants
  • Doesn’t produce ozone
  • 5-year warranty

  • Four IQAir HyperHEPA filters
  • 2000 cfm airflow rate
  • MERV 16 Rated
  • 20,000 sq. ft. coverage
  • Energy efficient
  • 10-year guarantee

  • Affordable price
  • MERV 16 Rated
  • Traps 94% of respirable dust
  • Event-Based control panel
  • Low maintenance
  • 2,500 sq. ft. coverage

  • 3-stage filtration system
  • Long-lasting HEPA filter
  • 1000 cfm air flow rate
  • Large 11,250 sq. ft coverage
  • Great for odors, gases, and VOCs
  • 5 year warranty

Sanctuairy by Beyond by Aerus

Beyond by Aerus is not the most popular air purifier brand, but their Sanctuairy whole house air purification system is definitely making waves with the latest technology in air purification: “ActivePure technology”. This technology involves photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), which uses UV light as a catalyst to clean the air. It is so advanced that it is certified as Space Technology and is being used by NASA on space missions.

The ActivePure technology from Sanctuairy is directly attached to your HVAC system to remove 99% of VOCs, surface contaminants, pet dander, odors, and dust across a 3,000 sq. ft coverage. Unlike other photocatalytic oxidation cleaners, the ActivePure technology does not produce ozone as a byproduct and it uses no filters whatsoever – which makes this purifier virtually maintenance-free.

On the downside, like most whole house air purifiers, the Sanctuairy needs to be installed by a professional so this will likely incur some additional costs aside from the upfront fee. Furthermore, the Sanctuairy doesn’t have a fixed air-exchange rate, since it depends on your HVAC system air handler.


  • No filters to replace (low maintenance)
  • Affordable
  • 3000 sq.ft coverage
  • Space Technology certified
  • Removes 99% of contaminants
  • Doesn’t produce ozone like other PCO cleaners


  • Air-exchange rate depends on air handler of HVAC system
  • Needs to be installed by a professional

IQAir Perfect 16 Whole House Air Purifier

The IQAir Perfect 16 Whole House Air Purifier comes in 2 variations: the Perfect 16 ID-2225 and Perfect 16 ID-2530, with the cheaper ID-2225 having a lower airflow rate of 1200 cfm and smaller dimensions.

However, the main selling point of the Perfect 16 system is that it makes use of four IQAir HyperHEPA filters, which is IQAir’s own brand of True HEPA filters. Both systems make use of these filters, arranged in a unique double V formation to ensure airflow is 50 times more powerful than ordinary filtration systems. With an impressive 2000 cfm airflow rate, the Perfect 16 ID-2530 is able to scrub extremely large amounts of air per minute.  

In addition to being True HEPA filters, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) rated the model’s Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filter at 16, the highest possible rating that a filter can get. This means they’re able to remove at least 95% of particles 0.3 microns in size and at least 75% of particles 0.003 microns in size.

Offering 20,000 sq. ft. coverage, you can definitely count on this system to trap a range of pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, and pollution particles. In addition to this efficiency, the Perfect 16’s filters also last 3 years on average. This means you can enjoy longer periods of no maintenance. Furthermore, it’s highly energy efficient, since it’s non-motorized and relies on your existing HVAC to run.

Unfortunately, the Perfect 16 ID-2530 is very expensive and will cost you more than $3,000 to install. Luckily, the installation fee is covered by the upfront payment, but you’ll also need to consider the added cost of replacement filters. Overall, though, the Perfect 16 is a very high quality and high efficiency air purification system that will greatly benefit any household.


  • High efficiency filters
  • 2000 cfm airflow rate
  • 20,000 sq. ft coverage
  • Low maintenance
  • Energy efficient
  • 10-year warranty
  • Large area coverage


  • Expensive
  • Needs to be installed by a professional

Aprilaire 5000 Air Cleaner

The Aprilaire 5000 Air Cleaner is the oldest air purifier in this list and was introduced back in 2006. However, it has stood the test of time and, even to this day, remains one of the most budget-friendly and effective whole house air purifiers. Admittedly, it does have a very dated design compared to the other air purifiers on this list, but this doesn’t affect its performance in the slightest.

With a 2,500 sq. ft. coverage and equipped with an Aprilaire 501 filter rated at MERV 16, the 5000 model is definitely one of the best at trapping even the smallest air pollutants. Tested independently in a laboratory, results showed that the 5000 model trapped 98% of bacteria, fungi, dust mites, and pollen; 95% of visible smoke and smog; 80% of particles as small as 0.01 micron in size, and 99% of particles 1 micron in size or larger.

A set of ionizing cables draw in air pollutants and trap them in the filter to make sure that no pollutants escape. In addition, it has an event-based control panel which tells you if it’s running, if the filters need changing, and allows you to manually turn the cleaner on or off. Overall, the 5000 model is very easy to use and maintain – and considering its very modest price tag, it’s definitely great value.

Unfortunately, like the Perfect 16, the 5000 model needs to be installed by a professional at additional cost. Its filters also need to be replaced more often compared to other whole house air purifiers, as they last a year at most. This will eventually add up to more expense in the long run.


  • Affordable
  • High-efficiency filter
  • 2,500 sq. ft. coverage
  • Traps very small pollutants
  • Easy to use
  • Low maintenance
  • Energy efficient


  • Old model
  • Needs to be installed by a professional
  • Filters need to be replaced yearly

Amaircare 10000

The Amaircare 10000 is the most expensive whole house air purifier on this list at just under $4,000, but it’s also one of the most powerful against different types of air pollutants.

It features a more comprehensive 3-stage filtration system comprised of a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and carbon filter that can trap odors, gasses, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). It even comes with an optional VOC filter to increase its capacity to capture chemical and gas pollution. Impressively, the Amaircare 10000 is able to cover homes as large as 11,250 sq. ft. in size and has a variable speed switch so that you can control the airflow rate. Furthermore, the Amaircare 10000 has a decent standard airflow rate of 1000 cfm, and is incredibly easy to maintain.

Unfortunately, though, the frequency of filter-changes let this product down. The pre-filter and carbon filter have a relatively short lifespan. The pre-filter has to be replaced yearly and the carbon filter has to be replaced every 6 months. This means that the Amaircare is more high maintenance than some other whole house air purifiers. However, the more expensive HEPA filter only needs to be replaced every 3 to 5 years.

On a further note, the Amaircare 10000 is rated to consume about 600 watts of energy, which may be problematic for people who would rather avoid increased electricity costs. This is because it uses its own motor to run the entire system.


  • Long-life HEPA filter
  • Large 11,250 sq. ft. coverage
  • Good for odors, gases, and VOCs
  • Optional VOC filter
  • 1000 cfm airflow rate


  • Expensive
  • Short life pre and carbon filter
  • High energy consumption
  • Needs to be installed by a professional

Comparison Chart

FEATURESIQAir Perfect 16 ID-2530  Whole House Air PurifierAprilaire 5000 Air CleanerAmaircare 10000Sanctuairy by Beyond by Aerus
TypeWhole house air purifier, in-ductWhole house air purifier, in-ductWhole house air purifier, in-ductWhole house air purifier, in-duct
Size29.25 x 25.25 x 21.2512 x 31 x 1617.3 x 27.9 x 47.28.5 x 8.5 x 11
HEPAAprilaire 501 filter MERV 16 + Ionizing wiresPre + HEPA + Carbon Photocatalytic Oxidation
Coverage 20,000 sq. ft.2,500 sq. ft.11,250 sq. ft. 3,000 sq. ft.
Airflow 2000 CFM 2000 CFM1000 CFMn/a

Buyer’s Guide:

Whole House Air Purifiers

Whole house air purifiers are connected to your existing HVAC system. So while your air is being cooled or heated, it also goes through a purification system that removes pollutants such as allergens, bacteria, viruses, odors, and other unhealthy particles.

Unlike plug-in air purifiers that are only rated to cover individual areas, whole house air purifiers are designed to reach every corner of your home. It’s important to note, though, that there are plug-in air purifiers that are able to cover entire residences up to 3000 sq. ft. in size, and some might consider these whole house air purifiers as well. While these are cheaper alternatives compared to whole house air purifiers, they are also costlier in the long run and often require more frequent maintenance.

Whole house air purifiers use pretty much the same filters and technologies as room air purifiers, except they perform at a much larger scale. There are 3 main filters/technologies that are used in whole house air purifiers:

Mechanical Filters

Mechanical filters physically trap the particles in the air as they circulate through your system, holding them in the filter and preventing them from being introduced into your home environment. There are two types of mechanical filters: flat filters and pleated filters.

Flat filters are commonly used in residential furnaces and air conditioners to protect the buildup of unwanted materials in the HVAC equipment, while pleated filters increase the efficiency of flat filters by layering with them to make airborne particulates easier to trap and remove. Examples of mechanical filters include pre-filters, HEPA filters, and carbon filters.

Electronic Filters

There are two main types of electronic filters: electromagnetic filters and ionic filters. Electromagnetic filters use electrically charged wires to give particles a positive electrical charge, which causes them to become magnetically attracted to a collection plate. Ionic filters work in a similar way, but give particles a negative charge and attract them to positively charged collectors.

Electronic filters need to be professionally installed. They are very effective at removing very small particles and odors, but may be less effective at removing larger particles. Therefore, they’re often used in conjunction with other filters to increase efficiency.

Ultraviolet Light

Like some room air purifiers, whole house air purifiers also make use of UV light to disable biological pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi, and dust mites. Ultraviolet air cleaners are often installed as add-ons to an electrostatic system.

Below, we take a look at some of the other benefits of using a whole house air purifier:

  • Defends Against Allergens & Irritants – If you’re someone who suffers from allergies and asthma, you stand to benefit greatly from using a whole house air purifier.

    This is because whole house air purifiers provide 360° protection from allergens and asthma triggers, regardless of which part of the house you’re in. Whole house air purifiers are also great for families with pets who are looking to cut down on irritating dust, dirt, pet dander, and hair circulating around your home.

  • No Need For Multiple Air Purifiers – Whole house air purifiers eliminates the need for multiple air purifiers around the house. Regardless of where you are in your house, you can be sure that the air you’re breathing in is as clean as possible.
  • Low Maintenance – Whole house air purifiers are designed to last as long as possible, so filters don’t need to be cleaned or replaced as often as those in room air purifiers.
  • Space-Saving – Because they’re installed in your HVAC system, whole house air purifiers don’t take up any space in any of your living areas – unlike single room air purifiers which are often noticeable and may take up a lot of space.
  • Quiet – Unlike room air purifiers, whole house air purifiers run very discreetly in the background, making little to no extra noise.
  • 24/7 Background Operation – Whole house air purifiers can be left to run all the time, unlike room air purifiers that need to be plugged in first and then shut off after some time.
  • Limited by Location of Air Return – Because whole house air purifiers are connected to the HVAC system, it will only be able to take in air and pick up pollutants in areas of the house where the air return is located. Room air purifiers, on the other hand, can be transferred from room-to-room, cleaning the air of the space you utilize the most.
  • May Be Ineffective – Certain configurations (such as bypass configuration) may lower the efficiency of whole house air purifiers because they let in unfiltered air. Duct-based air purifiers may use this configuration so as not to impede the airflow to the HVAC system, thus allowing pollutants to enter.
  • Performance Varies – It’s more difficult to determine the effectiveness of a whole house air purifier because its performance depends on the home, its HVAC system, and its associated ductwork. And because all homes are unique, it’s difficult to tell which whole house air purifier will really work for you. In contrast, room air purifiers perform based on specified square footage only, so it’s easier to gauge their performance.
  • Energy Inefficient – Whole house air purifiers may not be as energy efficient as we’d like to believe. Because whole house air purifiers are married to your HVAC system, the HVAC system will need to constantly run to actually filter the air, thus increasing your energy bills.
  • Cost – It’s no secret that whole house air purifier systems are incredibly expensive to install, especially when you take into consideration the labor cost from an HVAC servicing vendor.
  • Complicated System – When compared to room air purifiers, there are many more things you’ll need to take into consideration before installing a whole house air purifier. Is it compatible with your existing HVAC system? What changes in ductwork need to be done? How will it affect airflow? These are just a few of the questions you’ll need to have answers to before deciding.
Whole House Air Purifiers


  • Run 24/7
  • Integrate with HVAC system
  • Efficiently clean the air of allergens and irritants
  • Require little maintenance
  • Save space
  • Quiet operation


  • Expensive
  • Must be compatible with your current system
  • Performance varies
  • Require professional installation
  • May increase energy bills

  • What Are the Different Types of Whole House Air Purifiers?
  • There are three main types of whole house air purifiers, which differ in the way they’re installed into your HVAC system:
    1. Filter-based units – These are installed into your HVAC furnace systems and air intake points
    2. Duct-based units – These are installed directly into the air duct path, either before or after the air handler in your HVAC system
    3. Stand-alone units – These types of systems are installed in closets or attics, followed by installing additional air intake and exhaust into the home
  • What Area Coverage Rating Do I Need?
  • Whole house air purifiers are able to cover much larger spaces as compared to room air purifiers, with some whole house air purifiers being able to cover thousands of square feet.

    However, as a rule of thumb, you should purchase an air purifier which has an area coverage slightly larger than the actual footprint of your home, to ensure you’re getting the most out of it.

  • What Performance Metrics Should I Take Into Consideration?
  • Air flow in CFM – This value provides insight into the efficiency of the air purifier by indicating how many cubic feet it’s able to scrub per minute. The number describes the amount of air that is passing through the system at a certain point. CFM is usually measured as the air exits the unit. The higher the CFM count, the larger the space the air purifier can clean.

    In order to figure out how high the number for your air purifier should be, you need to know the size of your indoor space. Alternatively, you can use the general rule of thumb which is that you need roughly 100 CFM for each 250 square feet of space.

    MERV – MERV stands for “Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value” and was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to determine the efficiency of an air filter in trapping airborne particles.

    The higher the rating, the more efficient. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with MERV 16 filters being able to trap more than 95% of particles 0.3 microns in size or larger.

  • Why Are CADR Ratings Not Available for Whole House Air Purifiers?
  • Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) was developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and is the "measure of a portable air cleaner's delivery of contaminant-free air, expressed in cubic feet per minute," according to the EPA.

    Therefore, although CADR is a very reliable performance metric, it’s only applicable to portable units and not whole house air purifiers.

Final Thoughts

A lot of people may be intimidated by the amount of money and effort that goes into installing whole house air purifying systems: they never come cheap, they require you to determine how your existing HVAC system will be affected, and they almost always need to be installed by professionals. With the steady rise of pollution, however, we need to be taking extra precautions to keep our homes and our family safe.

After considering all the above options, our budget pick is no doubt the Aprilaire 5000. For a reasonable price , you’re getting a long-lasting, high quality air purifier that has a MERV 16 rated air filter and ionizing cables capable of removing all the common household air pollutants over a 2,500 sq. ft. space.

However, our overall winner for the best whole house air purifier for 2019 is the Sanctuairy by Beyond by Aerus. For a very reasonable price, you’re getting an air purifier that uses ActivePure Technology which is not only environmentally friendly, but also highly efficient at removing 99% of both surface and airborne contaminants as well as odors and VOCs.

If NASA trusts this technology for use in outer space, then you should trust it to purify the air in your home too.

Further Reading