July 13, 2024


Living – be prepared

Our Favorite Allergy-Busting Home Air Purifier

10 min read
Our Favorite Allergy-Busting Home Air Purifier

You know I love writing a spare-no-details product review (like this one and this one), so when enough people pointed out that when they search the blog for info about our beloved air purifier, nothing really comes up, I thought… I shall remedy that today.

I know. I’m a hero.

I feel like I should also point out that we bought these ourselves with our own money and nobody at their company knows us from Adam.

Blueair Air Purifier 211 Next To Open Bookcase In Upstairs Family Room

Sherry has always suffered from bad seasonal allergies, so we were thrilled to find a home air purifier that finally gave her the allergy relief that so many companies promise. The allergy difference that it makes for Sherry is night and day. So much so that when they were packed in the pod while we were moving she was like “WHY ARE MY ALLERGIES KILLING ME?!?!” and then we were like…. “oh, we packed the air purifiers in the pod… this is what life is like without them.”

She even notices an uptick in allergy symptoms whenever we travel and stay at an Airbnb or a hotel, because… you guessed it… the air purifier isn’t there to relieve her. So yeah, it makes a real difference in her life and her sleep and her stuffiness (or lack thereof). So she travels with allergy medicine but doesn’t actually have to take any when we’re at home.

And since this particular purifier is easy on the eyes as well as extremely effective, we recommended them to pretty much anyone who will listen – hence this post.

How Do You Choose The Best Air Purifier?

After buying a more expensive “designer purifier” (the trendy and pricier Molekule – which Sherry bought, noticed zero difference in her allergies, and subsequently returned) – we now swear by the Blueair Blue series of home air purifiers. Because after you buy something expensive and notice zero difference and then google it only to see tons of complaints about that company/product, Sherry was feeling pretty sheepish (see this article, and this article for example).

So she did tons of research and looped me in on it too (you know I love research). We wanted something that would WORK HARD and help her sleep easier and wake up a lot less congested. And when you do the research the choice actually gets pretty easy. Our beloved Blueair Blue Pure 211+ purifier is consistently included on lists of “the Best Air Purifiers” including these from Good Housekeeping, Wirecutter, CNet, and the holy grail that is Consumer Reports. And this article is especially stunning when you look at the graphic that shows how much it beat out the other purifiers – including the $800 Dyson!

Just like many of these articles point out, we find these Blueair purifiers to be:

  • Effective
  • Easy to use
  • Attractive
  • Affordable

We’ll get into each of these in more detail in a moment. They’re also Energy-Star rated and identified as one of the quietest air purifiers out there, which is definitely a plus. We leave ours on low 24/7 and it’s as low of a hum as when our house’s heat runs – even softer than that. If you’re not standing right next to it, it’s hard to tell it’s on (except for how you feel).

What Blueair Models Do We Own?

Within Blueair’s Blue series, there are four sizes designed for small rooms (100-250 square feet), medium rooms (250-400), large rooms (400-600), and extra-large rooms (600+). About four years ago we bought two of the large-room-sized Blue Pure 211+ purifiers, which have worked great for us ever since. We use one of them to cover our entire upstairs living room, and another one downstairs in our bedroom, which also covers the nearby hangout spot by our front door as well as our kitchen.

BlueAir Blue air purifier in bedroom next to door to kitchen

More recently – around 2 years ago – we also bought one of the small Blue Pure 411 purifiers for each of our kids’ rooms, which have also been great. Zero issues with any of them.

Blueair 411 Air Purifier Under Boy's Built-in Desk

Does It Really Work?

Along with our anecdotal evidence about how much of a difference it makes for Sherry’s allergies, she has also heard from other people who got the same one and said it helped with everything from keeping their homes smoke free during the California and Oregon wildfires to helping someone with severe asthma to avoid hospitalization and steroids (which used to occur 2-3 times a year for her before she got the purifier).

Someone else wrote to say that she had chronic hives from an unknown allergen which resolved within a week of getting the air purifier. A mom of an 8-year-old with asthma that doesn’t respond well to steroids bought one and said he not only didn’t need a rescue inhaler anymore, he doesn’t even need his daily maintenance inhaler since getting the purifier. Lots of others also said their snoring (or their partner’s) completely resolved after getting one. And there were many stories about how someone thought they had a cold with a drippy nose and then discovered their purifier was unplugged, so they plugged it back in and that was the end of their sniffling. Note: You can read more about what other people said after getting one by clicking the archived circle that’s called “Air Purifier” on our Instagram profile page (you might have to scroll to the right to find it).

We also get some definite visual evidence that tells us our Blueair purifiers are working. Before I show it, I should explain how the Blueair Blue purifiers are designed. They’re basically made with 3 layers of filtration to capture a smorgasbord of nasties:

  1. An outer fabric “prefilter” cover to trap large particles like dust bunnies, hair, and pet fur
  2. A standard particle filter (similar to what you have in your HVAC unit) to catch pollen, dust, dander, and mold
  3. An inner activated carbon lining to absorb odors, gases and VOCs

Inserting New Clean Air Filter Into Blueair Blue 211 Air Purifier

And while I can’t inspect the charcoal lining for VOCs, it’s easy to see the other two layers hard at work. Take the side-by-side below, which shows an old filter (left) that we’ve taken out to replace it with a new filter (right). See how black the old one is? Yuck!

Blueair Blue 211 filter before and after

The outer “prefilter” layer also gradually becomes a dust bunny convention, as you can see below. Not only does that fabric layer grab dust and hair, it also stops it from entering the device, which helps extend the life of the filter inside.

Blueair Air Purifier Dust On Prefilter Cover Detail

And if you see all that dust and worry that this puppy is a lot to maintain, it’s not, so let’s dive into that.

How Do You Operate & Maintain It?

Another thing we love about these air purifiers is that they’re super user-friendly and totally uncomplicated. Both models (again, we own two of these, and two of these) have a single button that reacts to the touch (not push) of a finger.

Adjusting The Fan Speed

With each tap it cycles through four speeds: off, low, medium, and high. A soft white light indicates which speed you’re on (although you can also tell by how loud the fan is).

Filter Replacement Light

This same light even turns colors (orange) when it’s time to order a new filter and (red) when it’s time to replace it. That way you don’t have to mark anything in your calendar or set a reminder on your phone. Once the new filter is installed, just hold your finger on the button until the light resets to white again.

Red Light On Blueair Blue Air Purifier Indicating Filter Change

Replacing The Filter

The filters come flat packed in a box and fold out to fit the shape of the purifer. Just lift off the fan motor (the top portion of the unit) and slide the new filter into place.

Inserting New Clean Air Filter Into Blueair Blue 211 Air Purifier

Cleaning the Prefilter

The fabric prefilter can get pretty dusty, like I showed you earlier. It’s literally just a big spandex-like sock that stretches over the bottom portion of the air purifier.

Stretching Blueair Fabric Prefilter Cover Over Air Purifier

So while you can vacuum the dust off in place for a quick touch-up, when it gets really dusty we like to remove the outer covers entirely, shake them off outside, and throw them in a quick wash cycle. That’s all four of our prefilter covers in my hand below, so they’re really small when they’re not stretched out.

Blueair Air Purifier Washable Fabrid Prefilter Going In Wash

The other cool thing about the prefilter covers is that they come in different colors! The bright blue and medium gray covers that came with ours were a little bolder than we liked, so we purchased new ones in their lighter “Lunar Rock” color to help them blend in better. But they also come in more colorful options as well as some with more of a heathered texture.

Colorful Prefilter Covers On Blueair Blue Air Purifiers

I know, I know. It sounds silly and expensive to be buying new fabric covers just because we didn’t love the color, but they were around $9 and make Sherry weirdly happy. Let her have her $9 fabric air purifier covers, ok?

Now let’s talk about how much this whole operation costs.

Affordability: How Much Do They Cost?

Obviously, affordability is relative, and buying no air purifier is clearly cheaper than buying one. But after shelling out over $1000 for two pricier brand air purifiers (don’t worry, we got our money back) we were pleased to spend just $280 for each of our large 211 models (we ordered this 2-pack) and $119 for each of the smaller 411 versions. In the end, we got TWICE the number of air purifiers for more than $200 less than we had originally spent.

Smaller Blueair 411 Air Puriifer In Front Of Colorful Wall Mural

Of course, there are ongoing filter costs to consider as well, but thankfully ours last us a good long time – especially since we wash the outer covers to extend the life of the inner filter and run everything on low 24/7 (the frequency of replacement depends on your home and what speed you run your purifier). Based on my order history, it looks like a 211 filter usually lasts us around 9 months and a 411 filter goes a full year before it needs to be replaced for us.

One thing to note is that the air purifier will show you an orange light when the filter is winding down and will need replacement soon. This orange light doesn’t mean to change it then – that’s usually just when we order a replacement filter. We wait for the purifier to change that orange light to red – and that’s when we actually replace the filter to get the maximum life out of it.

It helps to know that we’re getting every last bit of use from each filter, and we like that each purifier tells us (first with an orange warning, and then a true red light for when to actually change it) so we don’t need to remember when it’s time to replace them (the larger 211 filters with carbon are $70 and the smaller 411 filters with carbon are $22 to replace).

What Do They Look Like Around The House?

As mentioned, we have four – two big ones and two smaller ones in the kids rooms. Our main objective was that we wanted air purifiers that performed well, so it’s truly a bonus that they’re easy on the eyes. I mean, we have a home with six rooms and we own four air purifiers. We like them with our eyeballs and our sinuses. They really do seem to fit right in.

Blueair Air Purifier 211 Next To Open Bookcase In Upstairs Family Room

So many others on the market look like compact HVAC units or a futuristic fan on steroids, and if that’s what it took to get a good working purifier we’d do it – but dang it’s nice that they don’t scream “I’M AN AIR PURIFIER.”

The smaller 411 models are compact enough (17″ high, 8″ diameter) that they tuck nicely into corners of our kids’ rooms. Our son’s even fits under his desk and he appreciates the soft white light on the button as a nightlight of sorts. The larger 211 models are bit bulkier (21″ high, 13×13″ square) but they’re still low enough to not draw too much attention to themselves (you can see that in the photo above).

Blueair 411 Air Purifier Under Boy's Built-in Desk

They also don’t draw much attention to themselves in the noise category. Again, we operate ours on low pretty much 24/7 and the fan volume is virtually indetectable. Like a barely-there white noise that’s only heard when you’re really listening for it or standing right next to it. If you crank it up to medium or high speeds, you’ll probably notice it more. To me, the medium speed is like having a tabletop oscillating fan running on low and the high speed is like running the exhaust fan in your bathroom. So nothing too crazy or annoying, but definitely more detectable than the low speed.

Ok, I think that’s literally everything you could ever want to know about our air purifiers. I mean what else could you be wondering? Are they fun to cuddle? Negative. Very bad at being either the little or the big spoon. But they are very entertaining to kids if you place a balloon above them. Thank me for that tip later…

If you want to read a few other product reviews by yours truly, here you go:

*This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

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