Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive? What You Should Know

People asking, “why are air purifiers so expensive” makes me think of those old MasterCard commercials.

Here’s how it runs in my head. 

The price of a major brand’s low-end air purifier–$199.00. The price of a replacement HEPA filter–$30.00. Getting to breathe pure, clean air? Priceless. 

But to get back to the question, air purifiers are so expensive for a good reason. A few good reasons, actually.

Assuming you’re not buying a budget or knockoff air purifier, the filtration technology comes at a high cost.

The filters alone must pass rigorous testing to be certified, which happens in very expensive labs. 

The cost of simply getting the filter to market is high, and that isn’t even factoring in the cost of the appliance it sits within.

But is that it?

Nope. There are several more valid reasons for the price tag on an air purifier that does what it says it can do—because not all of them can. 

But before we get to that, it makes sense to let you know first about all the bits and pieces that make up an air purifier.


Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive? Because of How They are Made

A good air purifier could—or should—go through the following manufacturing process.

However, some parts, like the filters, may be manufactured and purchased by third parties.

Note that there are two main types of air purifiers, and the following will be included in one or the other. 

The two types are mechanical and electronic air purifiers. HEPA or carbon filters go in mechanical air purifiers, while electrostatic precipitators are in electronic models.

Here’s how most air purifiers are actually made:

  • The plastic case is designed and molded.
  • A motor and fan are inserted and attached to the case.
  • HEPA filters are created or purchased—at a significant cost—then enclosed in a case or frame. Then they are inserted into the air purifier’s plastic casing.
  • Activated carbon filters may be added as well.
  • Electrostatic precipitators—the ionizing part of an air purifier—are a collection system made up of steel plates in their own plastic casing. The plates are placed parallel; some have high-voltage wires attached to them, while the alternating plates are grounded. 

Of course, we can’t discount another important factor that adds to the overall manufacturing cost of air purifiers–how much of the work is done by hand.

Other Factors that Contribute to Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive

I’ve already mentioned two reasons why are air purifiers so expensive in the above section. 

But there are even more reasons! Let’s identify and discuss them further.


We went through the production process in the How Air Purifiers are Made section above. 

Honestly, it is pretty simple. There are only a few basic components to an air purifier, after all.

So where does the technology come in?

All air purifiers are not the same, just like all cars are not the same. 

A Mitsubishi has the same basic components as a McLaren, but there’s no comparison — in terms of technology or price.

Air purifiers also come in low-end models and high-end models. They’ll basically do the same thing, but for whatever reason, some come at a much higher cost.

As you may know, the most important thing about an air purifier is the filter technology.

HEPA filters are more expensive than activated carbon filters, and they do different jobs. As we have mentioned in the beginning, manufacturing filters really do come at a steep price.

Additionally, there are purifiers made by companies like Dyson that use cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology. As you would imagine, there’s a price tag associated with that.

Another thing to consider is the number of knockoff HEPA filters on the market. Or air purifier filters that don’t claim to be HEPA; they’re really just cheaper. You gotta be careful with those.

AHAM Certified Room Air Cleaners

Suppose an air purifier has received certification from the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). In that case, it likely has their Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) included.

This rating will tell you the rate at which pollutants and other airborne particles can be removed from your air. 

The higher the number rating, the better. 

And this rating applies to whichever type of particles the purifier and filter can remove, for example, dust, pollen, or smoke.

However, manufacturers don’t need their air purifiers to undergo the certification program. Still, most high-end manufacturers who know they’ve developed a product that will live up to its marketing will surely be AHAM Verifide®. 

There’s also a good chance that these air purifiers are expensive.


Energy Star Efficiency Rating

With the skyrocketing costs of energy over the last year, more and more consumers are looking for products that are energy efficient. 

Unfortunately, appliances with an Energy Star rating often incur a higher upfront cost. But they will actually save you money in the long run!

Additional Features

To some extent, this goes hand-in-hand with the technology section mentioned above.

Higher-end air purifiers can be expensive because of additional features and technology that will go beyond the basics of cleaning your air. 

A few examples of additional features that some air purifiers provide are as follows:

  • Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation. This is a method of disinfecting or purifying the air utilizing ultraviolet-C (UV-C) radiation. Don’t worry; this is not the same harmful type of radiation that x-ray machines use.
  • Photocatalytic Oxidation. This technology is powerful enough to destroy air particles as small as .001 microns. To put that in perspective, a HEPA filter is only guaranteed to remove particles down to .03 microns. 
  • Electrostatic Precipitators. These work like a magnet, pulling dust and other airborne particles from the air and holding onto them.

Clearly, including these high-end features would add to why air purifiers are so expensive.

Extended Warranties

Not only do you get what you pay for, but the more you spend for something, the greater the chance of a decent warranty.

Many budget purifiers, which may use knockoff filters, don’t necessarily have quality built-in. 

Manufacturers aren’t too quick to warranty products that are manufactured on the cheap. That would significantly cut into their bottom line.

If you’re shopping for an air purifier, don’t forget to research what type of warranty they offer. 

Some manufacturers offer no warranty at all, some provide five-year warranties, and others offer something in between.

FAQs on Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive

Are air purifiers worth it?

Well, air purifiers aren’t really for everyone. 

But if you have someone in your household with severe allergies, an air purifier with a genuine HEPA filter is definitely worth it.

Do air purifiers run up your electric bill?

They run on electricity, so they’ll have an impact.

To determine how much it will cost, multiply the wattage by how many hours you plan to use it daily. Then divide that number by 1000. 

Finally, multiply that by the kWh price on your electric bill. 

This will tell you how much it will cost daily to run your air purifier.

How much should I spend on an air purifier?

This depends on if you’re purchasing from budget brands or major brands. 

Depending on features, major brands will cost you at least $200 and up.

Okay, Air Purifiers are Expensive—But Why are Some so Cheap?

Good question! And if you understand the saying, “you get what you pay for,” you already have an answer.

Many people are looking for cheaper alternatives — for whatever reason. 

Unfortunately, cheaper alternatives are typically cheaper because of lower-quality components, less to no quality control, and a throwaway, disposable mindset.

On top of that, many less-than-ethical manufacturers and marketers will imply that their products do the exact same thing that higher-end products manufactured by trusted brands do. But that often isn’t the case.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with buying an air purifier from a budget brand. Just be aware of what you may be getting into. 

Something that probably doesn’t have a genuine HEPA filter or a good CADR raving — if it has a rating at all. Despite marketing material that claims otherwise. 

Do your research! You may be wasting money instead of saving money.

why are air purifiers so expensive - purifier in living room

Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive? – Conclusion

Some air purifiers are expensive for good reason.

Remember the fictitious MasterCard commercial at the beginning?

Getting to breathe pure, clean air? Priceless.

Sure, some air purifiers are expensive. 

But if you buy one that lives up to its hype and you happen to have a family member with bad allergies or respiratory issues, then being able to breathe pure, clean air is priceless — and you’re not wasting your money.

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