If I posted that list, consisting entirely of hospital and cleanroom grade machines, nobody could afford them.
This list goes from top to bottom of the market.
Products at the low end, Group 3, all have issues of one kind or another.
Some, like Honeywell 50250, are manually controlled and too loud.
Winix 6300 has antibacterial prefilters with an odor that bothers the chemically sensitive, though it can be quickly and cheaply replaced by do-it-yourself types.
In general, air cleaners in the below $200 arena may have a defect rate higher than models listed in the top 2 groups.
Searching for best-value air cleaners, I waded through hundreds of quick-web-riches flukes and found precious few decent sources.
Bogus “air cleaner review” and numeric ranking sites abound, using a variety of deceptive marketing practices.
My recommendations are based on objective analysis - I don't control the ads displayed, or accept advertising from manufacturers.
Despite their serious limitations, I consulted CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) reports from AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers), and the controversial Consumer Reports (CR) air cleaners rankings.
Comprehensive testing may prove impossible, considering the limited quality of results from these institutions.
Key websites, among thousands consulted, were; Amazon.com customer reviews, Air-Purifiers-America.com, AllergyBuyersClub.com, allergyconsumerreview.com, epinions.com, consumersearch.com and Reviewboard Magazine.
I personally use two air purifiers on my list: IQAir HealthPro Plus, and Honeywell 50250.
My oldest son has a (currently out of production) Rabbit Air 421A with no issues after 4 years.
1. First do no harm; minimal out gassing, no ozone.
2. Serious gas and odor removal is a requirement if health benefits are expected: Air purifying devices with real carbon VOC capability rank higher.
3. Quality construction; case, gaskets, seals, and precision fitting eliminate bypassing and assure high efficiency at filtering sub-micron particles.
4. The design maximizes the lifespan of each air filter stage by allowing independent filter replacement. Ideally this is combined with electronic monitoring of filters.
5. Air cleaner has long filter life, low maintenance requirements, and reasonable operating costs.
6. Purifier produces low noise levels and meaningful air flow rates relative to noise.
7. Manufacturer has a track record, with many purifiers in the field and a reputation for supporting what they sell. Warranty period and average service life are long.
8. Air cleaner is a value in terms of price/performance ratio. Every price range should be included, “models above $1,200 are best”, while true, is not useful to most consumers. The list is generally in order of descending price.
9. No dirt; purifiers and manufacturer should be devoid of class-action suits, high returns, recalls, and consumer complaints. Few legitimate negative consumer reviews on air purifiers.
10. Air cleaning machine is stylish, portable, comfortable, and convenient for consumer use.
The above criteria will be used for Air Purifiers throughout the site, as well as for judging those listed here.
After considerable study, I feel confident in advocating proven, safe, HEPA technologies combined with carbon adsorption.
Only those electronic units which have solved the ozone emissions problem will be considered.
Photocatalytic (PCO) air cleaners are growing in popularity and the technology is advancing. However, there are still unanswered questions, so none are listed here.
The air purifier industry is overbuilt, with new manufacturers, especially in China, still trying to gain entry.
There are thousands of good air cleaners which do not have enough market share to ever qualify for consideration.
It takes many thousands of units sold to support replacement filter and parts inventories.
In the "recession" (2009-present), the filters/support issue has gotten worse as many manufacturers slash costs to survive.
This reinforces my conviction that obscure brands represent risk.
These are not cheap.
I recommend premium air cleaners to folks who have severe allergies or environmental illnesses.
These companies are long-time quality and sales leaders, but are conservative about modernizing their products with electronics and new cleaning technologies.
Machines in group 2 are gaining popularity at the expense of group one.
Using an analogy to the auto industry, these are the American and European premium brands; the Volvos, BMWs, Cadillacs, and Mercedes of air cleaning.
1. IQAIR HealthPro Plus, $899.00, made in Switzerland, the easy winner.
A lifetime multiple chemical sensitive, I am a poor boy fer sure, but bought one after months of research for this website. IQ Air Purifier review: everything about the IQAir HealthPro Plus
2. BLUEAIR 650e: $799.95, Swedish-built Blueair 650E Review: the automated Blueair flagship
3. Blueair 503, $599.
4. AUSTIN Air HealthMate: Real Value $499.00, made in Buffalo, NY, USA.
Austin Air Purifiers HealthMate review: "Heart of Gold"
These have big money engineering, sophisticated electronic automation, and lower ownership costs than group one above.
This group is gaining market share, and my admiration, as time goes by.
These have brushless direct current (BLDC) motors, the quietest technology.
They use fewer resources and make far less noise and emissions, running on high only when airborne impurities are sensed.
In the car comparison these are the Toyotas, Hondas, and Hyundais of the air purifier world.
5. SHARP Plasmacluster Japan's long time market leader.
My old favorites are the "dry" Plasmaclusters.
My 2005 model FP-N60CX is actually my all-time favorite air cleaner, still running the original "5 year" HEPA since 2005.
Sharp Plasmascluster FP-A80U New for 2012, is a very strong air cleaner for $300.
The new FP-A60U sells for just $228. Sharp Plasmacluster FP-A60U Air Purifier Review
Humidifier Sharps require water tank filling daily. I own a KCC150U, but consider it slightly inferior to previous models.
Folks who live in dry climates, and might need the humidifier function, should consider the "wet" Sharp Plasmacluster line.
Sharp Plasmacluster KC-860U is the top humidifier/purifier: Sharp Plasmacluster KC-860U Air Purifier Review
6. RABBITAIR is a successful California importer selling rebranded Coway air purifiers.
These Korean designs with the latest bells and whistles including BLDC motors and sensor driven quiet/economical operation.
First time air cleaner buyers, with medium to small rooms, who feel a bit overwhelmed by all the tech info should consider the $370 Rabbit Air BIOGS SPA-550A or $400 BIOGS SPA-625A.
The folks at Rabbit are very good at new-customer hand holding and are real Americans, experienced enough for the customer service new users may need.
Of course, buyers are paying for this service with the purchase.
Here is my review, which contains discussion of my preference for Korean products over those made-in-China;
The Koreans copy Japanese market leaders at reduced prices, and are beginning to take market share. Using the car analogy, think "Hyundai."
The Winix Plasmawave air cleaners have done a good job of underselling the Sharp Plasmaclusters with similar technology.
Winix Plasmawave 5000 sells for under $300.
In this category there are many inexpensive products, but watch out for loss-leaders - low priced machines with high-priced replacement filters.
In the car industry parallel, these are the Fords, GM products, Isuzus, Suzukis, Kias, and Chryslers.
As with the cars, these economy class air cleaners have higher manufacturing defects and warranty claims than upscale products.
8. WINIX 6300: This is the 5000 series stripped of its filter cassette tray and fiberglass prefilter screen to cut costs and hit big-box retail price targets. Users who are just a little bit mechanically inclined can rework this unit with prefilter materials and score a bargain.
The 6300 is an upgraded of 5500, without the "washable" HEPA filter fantasy. 6300 is far from perfect, but at around $200 the Winix 6300 remains an attractive budget alternative.
9. Honeywell 50250S $170: Good Value, Heavy Duty, but noisy.
My 50250 still runs after 10 years, but I no longer run it 24/7 due to noise.
10. The $46 Honeywell HHT-011 - only for the extremely cash-short and as an alternative to the Hunter and Holmes brands at Wal-Mart.
Air-purifier-power is proud to be sponsored by online allergy store Sylvane.com.
Sylvane Carries Top Selling Air Purifiers
In a world of mass merchandising and impersonal internet dealers, www.Sylvane.com stands out.
The president of Sylvane is a fellow allergy sufferer and, while this a compensated endorsement, Sylvane makes no attempt to comprise air-purifier-power's objectivity.
Sylvane's in-house (not outsourced) customer service is happy to work with customers to find the right product to solve their problem.
Sylvane carries a wide range of home-cleaning appliances, and looks beyond each sale, since repeat customers are the core of their business.
In researching Sylvane, here is what I found;
standard manufacturer's pricing adhered to,
no shipping charges for the lower 48 states, except on returns.
ships high percentage of orders with amazing speed.
30 day liberal return policy, no restocking fees, user pays return shipping.
promptly responds to e-mail.
has e-Bay store with over 1,000 feedback responses
99.3% positive. Experienced e-Bayers know this is rare.
has Amazon store with about 500 ratings over the past 12 months yield 4.8 stars,
Sylvane responds to all negative remarks.
at epinions.com there several sylvane.com buyer reviews, averaging 4.5 stars, in the Online-Stores-and-Services section.
secured hacker-proof connection accepts virtually all forms of payment.
no internet store is perfect, but Sylvane.com is among the best.
I routinely order filters from Sylvane.com, they arrive in 4 to 7 days with no discrepancies.
Top Ten Air Purifiers
Try searching within air-purifier-power, many products are mentioned in eMail replies.