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How to Buy a Used Air Purifier

Mar 14, 2024Mar 14, 2024

Published August 2, 2023

Katie Okamoto

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An air purifier is, alas, swiftly becoming a wellness investment for many households. New air purifiers cost between $100 and $300, plus the annual price of replacement HEPA filters, but sometimes you can find decent used models for less. That may be a good option if you’re facing an air-quality emergency and need something fast.

Air purifiers efficiently scrub smoke particles from your home’s air and can also help with asthma triggered by bad air quality (high AQI) or allergens such as pollen, mold spores, and pet dander. They can also lower concentrations of airborne bacteria and viruses, including the virus that causes COVID-19, in closed settings.

Buying a used purifier can save you money, as well as lower your impact on the environment. Here’s how to find one that will still do the important job of cleaning your air.

You’re likely to find more secondhand air purifiers in larger metro areas. We’ve seen the most options in a general “air purifier” search on direct-from-seller sites such as Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and OfferUp.

No matter the listing site, search locally; unless you find yourself in urgent need, the cost and delay of traveling to purchase the unit or paying for shipping may outweigh any savings.

Here are a few more places we recommend looking:

As with any secondhand purchase, the more specifics you know about what you want ahead of time, the better your chances of scoring a deal.

Consider the size of your space, how you’re using it, and your personal preferences. Our guide to air purifiers can help you get a sense of the differences between models. Narrow down your first, second, and third picks and then make a note of what they sell for new so that you know what prices to jump on.

Any working air purifier with an undamaged filter is better than none. So you don’t need to be picky if you’re facing an air-quality emergency, or if someone in your household is in a sensitive group, such as people with lung disease like asthma, older adults, infants, children, or teens.

If you want an air purifier for a single situation that you won’t be living around day in and day out, such as a home renovation or a dusty workshop, you probably just need a purifier in good mechanical condition.

But if you’re planning to use your purifier in a bedroom or other quiet space, whether during sporadic periods of bad air quality or more habitually, you need a model that is quiet and efficient and for which replacement filters are readily available. Our guide to air purifiers includes tips on how to set up and maintain your machine.

If you’re really in a pinch, just buy any mechanically sound machine with an intact HEPA filter, big brand name or not, says senior staff writer Tim Heffernan, Wirecutter’s resident air purifier expert.

This article was edited by Christine Cyr Clisset and Harry Sawyers.

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