Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive?

Why are air purifiers so expensive

If you are new to the air purifying world and decide to start looking for an air purifier, you will quickly notice one thing – these devices can get really expensive! So, why are air purifiers so expensive? Let’s find out.

In short, air purifiers are expensive due to a combination of product features, components, and of course marketing. Smart features, improved technology, newer components and good marketing all the major reasons that push the price up. However, there are many price range differences between various air purifier models, which you have to take into account.

In order to fully answer this question, we need to take a closer look at air purifiers as a whole. There are different types of air purifiers, which of course come with different price ranges. In general, we have these different types of air purifiers:

  • HEPA Air purifiers – these use different types of filters to clean the air. Costs range from as cheap as $30 to over $700 at the top tier.
  • Activated Carbon Air Purifiers – used specifically to remove smoke and odors. They start at $100+.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) Air Purifiers – use UV light to destroy airborne pathogens. Huge price range from $50 all the way to $800.
  • Ionic air purifiers – use negative ions to clean the air. Prices generally range between $30 and $300.
  • Electronic air cleaners – clean the air with HEPA filters, work through your HVAC system, central heating, and cooling. (whole-house solution). Prices start at around $600.

I have excluded the largest whole-home solutions such as Central Air Cleaners and air-to-air exchangers, as they can cost up to a few thousand $.

As you can see, prices can vary quite a bit. If I would have to give a rough estimate of the average air purifier price…I would say that people spend an average of $150 for their first air purifier. Next, let us take a look at what actually makes air purifiers so expensive.

Reason #1 Product features and components

I want to talk about different product features first. Generally, the more product features an air purifier has, the more expensive it will be. The number of features that an air purifier has also depends on its type. HEPA AIr purifiers are the air purifier type that has the most features, most added buttons, air quality sensors, functions, and so on. There are even different types of filters to choose from, the control panel can come with many customization options, and you can also combine HEPA filters with other air purifying technology- for example, a HEPA air purifier can have an added negative ion generator or UV-C lightbulb. All of these things drastically impact the price but do not necessarily increase effectiveness by that much.

The other major part that influences the expensiveness of air purifiers is the components. Their effectiveness depends on the material and quality that they are made of. HEPA filters have different grades of filters, air ionizers have different elements of ionization, UV-C lights have different wavelengths (some cause ozone, while some destroy it!), etc… An H13 graded HEPA filter will remove more pollutants from the air than an H10 graded HEPA filter – even tho they are both the same type of filter. So here it all boils down to the classic “what you pay for is what you get”. The vast majority of people want effective air purifiers. No one wants many harmful particles to float in the air they breate. As a result, many manufacturers include higher-quality components in their air purifiers.

a list of HEPA filter ratings

This is a list of HEPA filter classes. A H14 (top tier) quality HEPA filter will cost more than an H10 filter, as H14 is much more effective.

Reason #2 Marketing

Just because an air purifier is expensive, it does not automatically mean that it is more effective. This is where marketing comes into play. Many manufacturers of popular air purifiers are strong brands that have enormous budgets to spend. The technology behind most types of air purifiers is pretty simple and relatively inexpensive. So how do you compete in such a market where there is a lot of competition but not that much room in terms of technology differentiation? Simple, flashy marketing of unique features and addons give room for bigger margins. This is why you have air purifiers with 5 different fan speeds, advanced LED lighting, special aroma compartments, flexible placement options, built-in carrying handles, and so on. These are easy to market and create hype around, which indirectly increases their perceived value. As a result, a bigger price tag usually follows.

This is not a completely black and white situation of course. Some of these added features are very welcome and actually vital in increasing the overall effectiveness of an air purifier. However, many features are sometimes unnecessary and are mainly there to increase the price tag and not performance. Design is also a big factor, as many people are prepared to spend a little more on something that looks “sleek”, modern, and elegant. And some companies make sure to use that to their advantage when it comes to more expensive pricing of their air purifiers.

Why are air purifiers so expensive

That being said, marketing is an absolutely necessary thing, and companies should definitely use it to highlight their product. After all, how will you get your product in front of people? Many manufacturers set their price in a fair way, but some inflate those prices a bit, despite not using better air cleaning technologies than their competition. This especially holds true for newer brands on the market, which need to differentiate themselves from the powerful, already established brands.

Why Are Air Purifiers So Expensive? – The Bottom Line

If I recap everything that I wrote, I can conclude that air purifiers are so expensive due to a mix of three things: product features, quality of components, and clever marketing. Many air purifiers come with a whole lot of extra features that drive the price up, while not necessarily improving their air cleaning abilities. This is why you have to be quite careful (especially in the middle price range) when selecting a new air purifier – are you buying it for the awesome LED light show, touch display, or 7-speed settings? If not, then maybe you are about to overpay and it is time to look at a different air purifier. Pay attention to the marketing, and be sure to check what kind of components the air purifier is using.

Not all air purifiers are expensive tho. You can get good air purifiers at around $50, if you know what to look for. The majority of cheaper air purifiers are usually not worth the money, but there are exceptions. It is not that hard to find budget-friendly and at the same time effective air purifiers on the market. In another post, I already wrote about my top 5 best air purifiers under $50. This is a list that I made specifically for people new to air purifying or anyone looking for a cheap, but effective air purifier on the market.

If you are looking for something a bit more powerful, while still budget-friendly: my top air purifier for under $150.

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The author is an Air purifier expert with overall knowledge of air and ionizers.