Are Expensive Air Purifiers Worth It?

by Karl von Luckwald / January 2, 2024

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for air purifiers skyrocketed, raising questions about why air purifiers are so expensive.

Let’s explore what drives up the prices of these devices and whether expensive air purifiers are worth the money.

Why Are Air Purifiers Expensive?

To understand why air purifiers can be expensive, let’s look at two of the oldest and most famous manufacturers, Blue Air and IQAir.

Blue Air, based in Sweden, started in 1996, while its Swiss rival IQAir has been around since 1963.

Now, let’s have a look at the global air pollution map below. You’ll see that there’s barely any air pollution in Europe compared to India.

global air pollution map displaying good air quality in europe and bad air quality in india

So, what does this mean for air purifiers?

It means that Blue Air and IQAir as pioneering companies focused on a small market, mainly targeting Europeans with allergies or sensitive lungs.

Products for such niche markets tend to be pricey due to limited competition. Plus, people with serious health issues often don’t mind paying more for products that provide relief.

Blue Air and IQAir charged prices ranging from $500 to $2000.

Over the years, both companies expanded worldwide, making their products available in the US and countries with significant air pollution like India and China.

For quite some time, they encountered little competition. Consequently, the global air purifier market, led primarily by Blue Air and IQAir, turned into a sector where high prices were the norm.

Are Air Purifiers Overpriced?

Expensive electronics usually consist of novel or complex technology.

Look at the iPhone. It combines a phone, a camera, and an entertainment console in one.

If you open it you’ll find a crazy complex mixture of processors, memory, display modules, cameras, and various chips, sensors, and connectors. Phones are impressive technology and we easily pay $1,000 to get one.

What Do Air Purifiers Consist Of?

But what do we find, if we’d open a $2,000 IQAir air purifier?

an opened iq air air purifier

In short: not much!

The IQAir mainly consists of a fan that sucks in dirty air and pushes it through a HEPA filter that captures all kinds of pollutants.

Is this complex technology? It’s not!

All air purifiers are just fans and filters. It’s simple and cheap. Fans are available everywhere, and so are HEPA filters. It’s so simple, that you can even DIY your own air purifier for a fraction of the cost big companies charge.

So if you’re asking me if expensive air purifiers are worth the price: I’d say – no, most likely not. Air purifiers costing thousands of dollars are most likely insanely overpriced.


Air purifiers are simple technology mainly consisting of a fan and a HEPA filter. Air purifiers costing thousands of dollars are most likely overpriced.

Why Do Some People Trust Expensive Air Purifiers?

When did you last buy something pricey, and why? You likely thought the quality matched the cost.

If you’re into cheese, you know the difference between a fine, aged blue cheese and a regular supermarket one. You understand its value and can decide if it’s worth the price.

a blue cheese on a wooden cuttin board
If you’re a cheese lover, you can judge its value for money, but what about air purifiers?

But with air purifiers, it’s trickier.

We can’t see micropollutants, so how can we tell if an air purifier is effective? Air pollution isn’t visible, and we can’t easily check if an air purifier is doing its job. This leads many to believe that more expensive air purifiers are better.

However, this isn’t always true. Tests reveal that costly air purifiers aren’t always superior. Surprisingly, budget-friendly models like the Sqair often outperform pricier ones from well-known brands.

Marketing Inflates the Price

As air pollution in Asia increases, the demand for air purifiers grows, leading to more products in the market and a significant drop in prices.

To maintain high profits, many companies use smart marketing strategies. They promote features like “patented HEPA-Silent Technology,” ionizers, or UV lights to make their products seem better.

However, these marketing tactics are just distractions from the fact that air purifiers are basic technology, only needing a fan and a HEPA filter to clean the air – both of which are simple and cheap.

How To Find a Good Air Purifier?

Finding the best air purifier can be tricky.

The market is flooded with misleading marketing and exaggerated claims, which can make it hard to know what really matters in an air purifier.

However, if you focus on specific criteria, it becomes easier to pick out a good air purifier.

Ignore the Marketing

Don’t pay too much attention to marketing, branding, and fancy terms. Remember air purifiers are simple.

Pay Attention to CADR

Focus on the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) rating, as it indicates the strength of an air purifier and whether it’s capable of adequately covering your space. The CADR rating is the key figure to consider when evaluating air purifiers.


Read more: What is the CADR rating?

Pay Attention to Noise Levels

Keep in mind that air purifiers can be loud, particularly on their highest settings, and some manufacturers might not be upfront about this.

If you’re sensitive to noise, make sure to examine the product specifications closely. Look at the noise levels for both the lowest and highest settings.

On days with high pollution, you might need to run your air purifier at full power, which can be bothersome if you find the noise level intolerable.

If you are particularly noise-sensitive you may want to look at the Blast Mini and Blast air purifier. Both are the quietest in the market.

Bottom Line

Air purifiers are simple devices, yet premium brands like Blue Air and IQAir have set high prices due to niche market targeting and little competition. Tests reveal that cheaper models often match their effectiveness, challenging the idea that higher prices mean better quality. In choosing an air purifier, it’s crucial to ignore marketing and focus on practical features like CADR rating and noise levels, instead of equating price with quality.

Karl von Luckwald

Karl von Luckwald

Since moving to Thailand in 2019, Karl noticed the lack of scientific integrity in air purifier and water filter reviews. In response, he founded WE DO AIR to champion unbiased, science-based evaluations and empower consumers to make better-informed decisions.

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