One of the key reasons that people buy air purifiers is to help with sleep and improving air quality of the bedroom. When using an air purifier at night, noise levels are incredibly important, so you need to choose a purifier that is quiet, unobtrusive and subtle.
Noise is somewhat subjective and what is considered noisy for some people may be unnoticeable to others. So checking noise levels listed by purifiers manufacturers isn’t enough! When choosing a quiet purifier, you will need to think about where you going to use the air treatment device, how sensitive to noise you are and understand what the listed decibel level of noise produced by the unit when operating actually means!
Hopefully this content will help people choose a quiet purifier, which is pleasant to use and delivers a great many benefits including improved health, better sleep and mental wellbeing!
What is the quietest air purifier on the market?
No one model is the quietest but anything around 30 decibels with a dedicated sleep mode will be hard to hear and won’t affect sleep negatively.
Phillips Air Purifier 1000 – AC1213-40
The quietest air purifier we found when carrying out the research for this article was the Philips-Air-Allergens-AC1213-40, which has a listed minimum noise level of 18 decibels and max noise level of 33 decibels which is incredibly quiet.
- Ultra quiet noise range of 18 to 33 decibels
- 3 auto purification settings including general, night mode and allergen
- Professional-grade air quality sensors
- Auto air quality monitoring and fan speed adjustments
- AHAM & Energy Star certified
This may not be the absolute quietest air purifier on the market but it certainly a very quiet air purifier from a well-known and trusted brand.
If you are looking for an incredibly quiet air purifier then this is our top pick!
I need an incredibly quiet air purifier
If you are looking for an incredibly quiet, almost silent device then we would suggest an purifier with a decibel range of 20-30. When using the purifier make sure to use the sleep mode and place the device in a well-ventilated spot, away from walls and yourself. This may be for use in a setting like a small bedroom, nursery or library or very quiet workplace.
Dyson Purifier Cool – TP07
The Dyson Purifier Cool TP07 is a great air purifier which boasts very quiet operating decibel levels.
This purifier is a great option for someone looking for a oscilating purifier, which also doubles up as a fan with a huge range of fan speeds!
- Incredibly quiet at 45db min and 60db max noise range
- Doubles as a fan with 350 degrees of oscillation
- 10 fan speeds
- Small + portable personal unit – can easily move room to room
- Captures 99. 97 degree of allergens and pollutants, including pollen, bacteria, and pet dander
I need a quiet air purifier (average)
Choose something which sits firmly in the 30-40 decibel range and a max noise level of 50 decibels.
This would be a good solution for average sized bedroom, office or living room.
Alen BreatheSmart Flex
The BreatheSmart Flex from Alen is a great all-rounder and would make a good option for most settings and has awesome sleep and night mode settings like ‘lights out’ and pink noise generation.
- Noise range of min 39db and max 55db
- Very quiet and energy efficient unit
- Good sleep mode settings and lights out features
- Produces a comforting pink noise
- Specific filters for dust/allergies or mold/bacteria
I need a quiet(ish) air purifier
Anything which range between 30-40 decibels and the low range and up to 70 decibels at the high end will be fine. This type of purifier could work well in kitchens, living rooms, bustling offices or kids rooms.
The Winix 5300-2 is a comprehensive air purifier with a three stage air purification process, advanced smart sensors and a dedicated sleep mode for night time use. A great option in terms of operating noise level as it runs between a quiet 28 decibels to a maximum of 60 decibels.
- Listed noise range of 28db to 60db
- Dedicated sleep mode for night time use
- Three stages cleaning process (no ozone usage)
- Smart sensors and auto mode
- 4 fan speeds – versatile
Do purifiers make noise?
Yes, all purifiers make some level of noise as they rely on moving parts within fan systems to clean the air of a room. Purifiers work by drawing air from a room into a rotary fan, the air is then pushed through a filter (generally True HEPA) to remove pollutants and dust. The air is then pushed back into the room once it has been cleaned.
Noise levels of purifiers varies massively depending on fan speeds, purifier unit size, power and features in use.
Several purifiers also feature multiple stages of air filtration which may add extra noise to the purifier when running.
For example, a lot of purifier feature an activated carbon filter, which is incredibly effective in removing odors and unwanted smells from a rooms air.
Other purifiers may have pre-filters for dust to remove large particles of airborne dust before the HEPA filter is put into action, this is an effective method to length the live of your HEPA filter but may come with the downside of added noise.
So, to recap yes, all purifiers make noise but some will run quieter than others. Your choose of air purifier should be based on your personal priorities and tolerance to noise.
How much noise do purifiers make?
Noise is incredibly subjective as some people can tolerate more noise than others and the impact of various noise levels will depend of where you want to use your purifier.
For example, if you are looking for a purifier for a living room or kitchen then noise levels of the purifier will be less of a consideration than choosing a purifier for use in a bedroom.
Most air purifiers have an average level of noise of 30-40 decibels when running.
Anything around or below 30 decibels can be considered ‘quiet’ and is unlikely to affect most users.
Below is a list of noise levels for purifiers to help understand what average noise levels when operating an air purifier look like:
- Very quiet level – under 30 decibels
- Good purifier noise level 30 decibels
- Average 30 – 40 decibels
- Noisy – higher speed fan settings 50 – 70+ decibels
Another point to note is that purifiers will run at different noise levels depending on the fan speed being used an additional features like carbon filters or dust pre-filters.
Some air purifiers have settings which automatically change the fan speed depending on the level of pollutants in a rooms air. This is a great way to stay on top of active sources of poor air but may not be what you want is trying to use an air purifier quietly. As the varying fan speeds which increase when new pollutants are detected in the air may cause disturbance when sleeping.
Most purifiers operate in a decibel range of 25 decibels at the low end and 50-60 decibels at the top end.
How quiet does quiet need to be?
The level of quiet you need will be a personal choice and vary depending on where you are planning to use a purifier.
If you want to use a purifier in the bedroom which is going to be running overnight then it needs to be really really quiet, however if you would like a purifier for an office to run whilst working it needs to be quiet but not absolutely silent!
To help understand what the various decibels range listed for purifiers actually mean we have put together a list which gives context to decibel levels:
- 30dB* — Whispered conversation (hard or impossible to hear beyond close distances)
- 40dB — Hushed conversation, a quiet library
- 50dB — Normal conversation, moderate to heavy rainfall
- 60dB — Louder conversation, a dishwasher
- 70dB — Traffic, a vacuum (disruptive but bearable in short bursts)
Is silent realistic?
Often air purifier brands will market their products as silent or noiseless, which is obviously an embellishment. Nothing can be truly silent.
A quiet purifier is enough and truly silent isn’t possible.
If you are particularly sensitive to noise and want an incredibly quiet and unobtrusive device then opt for a purifier with a listed noise level of around or below 30 decibels.
Also check out the purifiers customer reviews and seek out mentions from people about noise and sound when the purifier is being used.
How are purifiers made to be quiet?
Although no purifier can be truly silent most are staggeringly quiet considering what they actually do. Basically air purifiers are like fans in reverse, instead of pushing air around a room they draw air in clean it and then push it back into circulation.
Most purifiers use brushless motors, have sleep mode settings which make the fan almost noiseless when running.
Several purifiers also boast white noise generators and extremely low energy usage.
All of which contribute to quiet noise when operating.
As manufacturers know that a lot of purifiers are used in the bedroom, offering quiet air purifier products is not a welcome bi-product.
Creating and selling quiet air purifiers is a key selling feature for most brands so there is a wide range of quiet air purifiers to choose from!
How to use a purifier quietly?
Although most purifiers are generally very quiet, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the level of noise created by your air purifier device.
This section runs through seven steps you can take to reduce the noise or level of sound disturbance your purifier will create.
Sleep mode – when noise is a concern operate your purifier in sleep mode as this will often mean using an ultra-quiet fan setting which drastically lowers the amount of noise put out by the air treatment device.
Low fan speed – if no sleep mode is available set the purifier to run at the lowest fan speed as this will mean the lowest level of noise when in operation.
Simple features – avoid advanced features or settings if low noise is important. Often additional features like specific filters, pre-filters for dust will add extra noise to the operating sound levels. If you want a quiet purifier keep it simple!
Location – make sure your purifier is elevated, away from walls and not too close to where you will be sitting or sleeping in the room. If you have a large room place the purifier away from you and allow the device to works its magic on the whole room without causing a disturbance.
No automated fan speed or air quality detection – Allowing the purifier to automagically vary fans speeds due to the current level of air quality of the room is an excellent feature but will mean changes in fan speed and thus noise levels which could cause unwanted disturbances. Avoid using automatic features when focusing on quiet.
Timer – If you set a timer for the purifier to turn on or off at a certain time or after a time duration this could disturb you when the purifier suddenly bursts into life in the middle of the night or the change in a rooms noise level when the purifier turns of may be enough to wake you up or break your concentration.
Avoid chimes or sounds – Some purifiers make pleasant chimes or alarms when they turn on or off. In most cases these cute noise or fine but a purifier is making a chime when turning off in the middle of the night it may be enough to wake you up or at the least disturb your sleep. Choose a purifier without chimes and alarms or one that has a silent mode which turns these sounds off.
Why quiet is important? – common locations for using a purifier
Depending on where you are going to be using your air purifier sound a noise levels will have different reasons and levels of importance.
Having a quiet air purifier can be a must for many reasons, so why is quiet so important for people!
Sleep and bedroom use
This is the single most important and common reason for someone to care about the level of noise and quietness of an air purifier.
If you are a light sleeper than a quiet purifier is an absolute must and average noise levels of 30-40 may not be enough!
If you want an incredibly quiet air purifier then choose a device with lowest decibel production of 20-30 decibels.
Office space for concentration
If you want to improve the air quality of your office but don’t want to disturb workers or your concentration then noise is important but not silence level isn’t critical.
Most purifiers will well suit an office environment and anything which comes in at around 30-40 decibels will work fine!
Living room – invasive sounds + TV
If you want to ensure you are breathing in clean fresh air when relaxing and recharging at home then a quiet purifier may also be important to ensure that the purifiers noise doesn’t disturb reading, TV time of computer games.
Generally living areas of the home can be noisy places so a purifier which creates a little more noise can be manageable.
Kids bedroom or baby nursery (sleeping children)
Noise is a key consideration when choosing a purifier a kids room of babies nursery. When selecting an air purifier for this setting you will want to opt for a very quiet purifier within the 20-30 decibel range which also has a very high CADR capability to ensure kids and babies are reading the best air possible in terms of quality and cleanliness.
What features to look for in a quiet purifier
The number of features on offer from air purifier brands can be overwhelming. When choosing a quiet air purifier they are several features and factors which you need to take into account.
This section lists features to look out for when choosing a quiet purifier:
Room size capacity
Make sure you choose a device which can handle the size of your room. If you buy a device which will struggle to circulate the air of your room, then it may well mean the purifier makes extra noise. It may well be better to choose a purifier which is more powerful than actually needed for the room size.
This will mean the purifier doesn’t have to work really hard to improve the air quality of the room and as such can run at lower fan speeds which mean less noise.
Number of fans speeds available
More fan speeds will mean more noise so choosing a purifier with a lot of fan speed settings will mean you can choose fan speed based on level of noise it produces.
If you only have two fan speeds to choose from this may not give you the flexibility you need manage the level of noise created by the device.
Noise level indication (decibel range)
Often purifier brands will list the decibel at the lowest possible noise level which is only half the story. You also need to understand the purifiers max noise level to avoid buying a device which can run at low speed and produce a low level of noise but all other fan speeds are too noisy to be manageable.
When researching purifiers make sure you understand the minimum and maximum level of noise the purifier will create.
This can often be found on the manufacturers website, product descriptions or user manuals.
The comparison table we produced for this content lists this information for the top quiet purifiers we have found!
CADR is an indication of the time it takes for the purifier to change the air in a room. This is a important factor for noise levels as if you opt for a purifier with a low CADR it will need to use more energy and noise to change the air in a larger room.
Opt for a purifier with a high CADR level as this will mean than sound is produced by the device.
Fan technology (brushless motor etc.)
If you are looking for a really really quiet purifier unit, then you may want to research the fan technology used by the purifier and opt for a brushless motor. This method relies on less moving parts and will be a lot quieter than a purifier which uses fan blades.
Brand specific silent technology
Lot of companies will use their own terminology of brand specific names for showcasing how quiet their purifier products are. Such as terms like ‘whisper quiet’ or ‘ultra-silent’.
All of these company specific terms are brand speak and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Generally, the best way to understand how quiet a purifier is, is to use the device firsthand. This is why customer reviews are a great way to understand what users of the purifier you are considering think.
Reading through customer reviews for purifiers you are researching can give you information from the horses mouth away for brand influence or bias.
Generally most air purifiers on the market are incredibly quiet and effective at clean air without creating high levels of noise.
When choosing a quiet air purifier, there is a tradeoff between noise levels and fan speed, effectiveness.
As mentioned previously the most important factor for choosing a quiet air purifier is considering where you will be using the device and how sensitive you are to noise.
We hope this content has helped you understand how quiet purifiers can be what listed decibel levels really mean and what features to look out for when choosing a truly quiet air purifier!