Best HEPA Air Purifier for Dorm Room – A COMPLETE Guide
Going to college is a proud moment for every freshman, who finally has a chance to make a change in the world.
It’s a proud moment for parents as well, since their little one is finally spreading its wings and leaving the family nest.
Though living in a dorm room doesn’t involve the same set of rigid rules like in the parental nest, there are still some rules for the fresh-faced freshman.
Since the space is shared, living in a dorm room is best described as a 101 in small-space living.The most essential rule of living in a dorm room is that personal belongings are off limits but the space is shared and so is the ambient air.
If your roommate is a smoker but you abhor smoke, you’ll have a tough time living together or even just communicating with one another.
At a Glance: Our Top Picks of HEPA Air Purifiers for Dorm Rooms
Even if neither of you smoke, you’ll find that the shared ambient air can still become stuffy and smelly the more time you spend inside.
The easiest solution would be to ventilate the room but sometimes that can cause further problems, like a draft. The most convenient and effective solution comes in the form of HEPA air purifiers.
Read on and find out which is the best HEPA air purifier for a dorm room!
Best HEPA Air Purifier for Dorm Room
The modern life involves more and more time spent indoors, especially when it comes to study and work.
Spending time indoors does protect us from the elements but exposes us to a whole new set of problems that most commonly have to do with low indoor air quality!
This is a major problem that affects the quality of our time spent indoors and how well we can perform our studying and working or just how much we can enjoy our free time indoors.
This isn’t groundbreaking because we already have studies warning about indoor air pollution - which can actually be much more severe than outdoor air pollution!
What are the sources of indoor Air Pollutants?
Messy, musty rooms are often characteristic of dormitories (you guessed it!). This is often a combination of dirty laundry, a messy room, and poor hygiene amongst other reasons.
Unsurprisingly, there can even be up to 100 times more indoor than outdoor pollutants, which negatively affect the quality of our time spent in that space.
While pets can have a positive effect on us, our very same pets can also contribute to odors and bacteria buildup (Related: Best Affordable Air Purifier for Pet Dander).
Air pollutants from the outside can also find its way into the dorms, adding to an already potent mix. Some of these include:
Why is indoor air quality important?
The fresh air we breathe in is most commonly a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen and inert gasses.
When we breathe out, the gas is some 4% carbon dioxide (CO2) - which is known to make the ambient air feel stuffy and acidic at higher concentrations.
A typical adult will breathe 12-15 times a minute, exhaling about 0.04g of CO2 per breath.
This results in about a kilogram of CO2 exhaled every day.
That’s with only person in the room; the more people share the same air and the more they breathe, the more CO2 they produce.
If the ambient air is overloaded with this insidious gas, we can experience dizziness, drowsiness, and headaches (aka: hypercapnia)!
However, these symptoms are so vague that they can also be misinterpreted as signs of illness, making you overreact to what is a relatively simple problem to fix.
Hypercapnia can’t really be prevented but we can take actions to minimize the amount of pollutants (such as CO2) in ambient air without having to constantly go out for fresh air – we can actually make the indoor air fresh!
How do you get rid of indoor air pollutants?
Short of cleaning the room, the two most common methods for making the indoor air fresh are airing the room and putting in some plants.
Airing the room causes the built up pollutants to escape outside and putting in plants lets them absorb CO2 and produce oxygen, though some plants can actually produce even more CO2 depending on their variety.
However, these can’t work if you’re living in a small space.
If you don’t have a big enough window or strong enough air circulation, pollutants will still build up around you; furthermore, plants only serve to remove one kind of harmful gas and in relatively smaller amounts.
Thankfully, an air purifier can help with in removing pollutants and musty smells, both of which commonly plague a pubescent's dorm room.
Key Considerations When Buying the Best HEPA Air Purifier for Dorm Room
Presence of Carbon Activated Filters
What makes an air purifier effective? The answer lies in the filters serving to remove these harmful gases or particles.
One such filter is the High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing (HEPA) filter which represents a high-quality filter standard. HEPA filters consist of sheets of criss-crossing fibers that the air flows through.
As the air goes through the HEPA filter, the foreign particles smash into the fibers and get stuck, leaving only clean air to go forward.
A HEPA filter is capable of capturing at least 99.95% of all particles down to 0.3 microns in size, which are effectively all dust and smoke particles and droplets that cause smells.
However, a HEPA filter can’t filter out gasses, such as CO2.
This is where activated carbon comes in. Activated carbon filters (a highly absorbent material made of treated charcoal) which contains highly absorbent granules that work to trap chemicals and odors (eg: CO2).
Moreover, Carbon Activated filters work to prevent larger particles like dust and lint from reaching it, enabling the HEPA filter to perform better and last longer.
Hence, purifiers that come with both HEPA and activated carbon filters are excellent for removing harmful particles, chemicals, and odors!
Frequency of Filter Replacement
Carbon activated filters gets spent over time as it reacts with pollutants and needs to get replaced.
The same is so for HEPA filters. As the air goes through the HEPA filter, the foreign particles smash into the fibers and get stuck, leaving only clean air to go forward.
Hence, the longer the filter operates, the less efficient it becomes as the particles saturate the fibers.
Because HEPA filters are typically non-washable, they have to be replaced every once in a while or they become the breeding ground for pollution.
Choose the HEPA air purifier where the filter has the largest size and are the most numerous, since that will give you longest runtime on the same unit without maintenance.
Efficiency of Unit
CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) is a measure of how many square meters or feet the unit is guaranteed to supply with fresh air.
Get a unit whose CADR and effective coverage area aligns with the square footage of your space.
THE BEST HEPA AIR PURIFIER FOR DORM ROOM:
#1 Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier
The Winix 5300-2 is at the top of our list, and for good reason:
It is a reliable and effective unit!
With its 3-Stage Air Purification, the 5300-2 is designed to cover all bases in particle filtration - and its use of an AOC Carbon Filter and PlasmaWave Technology together with a HEPA Filter is particularly effective in this regard.
Having an air purifier that does the work for you is a step in the right direction. But, you have to become informed and aware of what exactly causes these negative air quality changes in a dorm room.
On this unit, an LED light indicates air quality as well.
This is particularly helpful when figuring out where indoor air pollution may be coming from; whether it’s your roommate or some other emission in your vicinity.
Additionally, you will be notified when it is time for a filter replacement.
However, this unit does have its downsides too. Living in a dorm room most often involves negotiating and shuffling stuff around to cram more of it in the space available.
At a hefty 18 pounds, the number of places where you can use it may also be limited.
However, overall these factors land Winix 5300-2 as the best hepa air purifier for dorm room.
Other Great HEPA Air Purifiers for Dorm Room (Honorable Mentions)
#2 VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier
Depending on the manufacturer design, filters inside an air purifier can be placed in different orders.
This also affects the unit run-time and lifespan as the filters accumulate grime that most commonly can’t be washed or vacuumed off.
In the case of the VEVA 8000, activated carbon filters come before any other, letting you easily replace them instead of buying a new main filter.
You often have to play real-life Tetris to fit in a home appliance in your room but here’s some welcomed relief.
Its removable base turns the unit from a tower to a table-top air purifier, fitting in with more surfaces than with just one unit.
A purifier working 24/7 or anywhere close to that should have top-notch circuitry and surge protection, which is the case here.
This unit is certified according to the UL Standard, ensuring the unit will fit a wide range of voltages and amperages across the US.
Complicated instructions have tormented many a few but not for the VEVA 8000, seeing how the unit is fool-proof as it is ready to run straight out of the box.
Superb for immediate air quality improvement without hassling with instruction manuals.
However, while other air purifier manufacturers typically include a filter change indicator that reminds you to replace the filter or the air might not be purified any longer, this feature is missing with this unit.
Hence, you might forget about replacing the filter(s). Having the option of programming the unit to turn on or off at a set time would be so sweet though.
Moreover, it has no automatic timer, meaning your only way of programming a timer is to hook up a timer of your own.
#3 Germ Guardian AC4825 Air Purifier
The air we’re breathing tends to be teeming with microorganisms that want to start a new life inside our sinuses and lungs, causing an infection.
If you have a propensity to sinus and lung infections, this air purifier is a great choice as its UV-C lamp roasts any microorganisms in the purified air, reducing the chance of sinus and lung infection spreading from one roommate to another.
Any sneezing or coughing produces droplets that hang in the air and infect the roommate, who then gets to reinfect you. This cycle tends to be hard to break, which is where one of these puppies come in.
Speaking of puppies, users of the AC4825 relay stories about how the filters are supremely effective at filtering the air of fine dust particles from pets. As with others, the filters do eventually get fully clogged and will need replacing.
Hassling with replacement filters is enough to ruin the joy of getting a new air purifier but not with this unit. Replacement filters can be bought in bulk from a generic supplier, cut out to size and used in this unit, saving on filter replacement.
Alternatively, simply vacuuming or shaking out any dust bunnies by hand has worked for some to prolongue the filter's lifespan. Unfortunately the filters are non-washable so that option is out.
While the UV-C lamp is a nice feature, it too has to be regularly maintained, as in this case, the UV-C bulb needs regular replacing too.
#4 LEVOIT LV-H132 Compact True HEPA Air Purifier
Three fan speeds expand the number of scenarios in which the unit can be used, letting you run it at your convenience.
Rather than having it run all the time, you can save money and extend the filter lifespan by using it only when the indoor air quality drops severely.
Filters also last up to 12 months, allowing for the unit to be stored and taken out only when needed without any planning or regular maintenance that would cut into your free time.
However, this units AC 120V power supply means it is only suitable for the US, while use in any other region would most likely require an adapter or converter.
Users of the LV-H132 also report that its sensitive buttons often lead to an accidental shut-off; which is bad news for those of us who have bad hand-eye coordination.
#5 PARTU BS-08 True HEPA Air Purifier
Different filter types inside PARTU Air Purifier synergize with one another to capture more of pollutants while also prolonging the lifespan of the filter assemblies further away from the air intake.
The 4-stage filtration prolongs the lifespan of all filters in the unit, giving you more runtime without maintenance.
The most natural position for an air purifier is next to the bed on the nightstand.
So, it makes sense that manufacturers of air purifiers started including options for sleepers, which in this case means a mood light and nightlight in one provide soft ambient lighting that lulls you to sleep.
Having an appliance that constantly whirs in the background can be distracting and alarming to the point of waking you up.
In this unit, the constant run noise at 25dB is easy to block out, letting you study, work, rest and focus without interruptions.
One con is that even when working as intended, it’s possible the unit will produce an odor when running for the first time.
While not dangerous, it is the striking nature of an odor coming out an air purifier that can be alarming, making you think something’s not right.
In addition, out of the entire filter set, only the main filter can be replaced, which can negatively impact the unit’s performance in the long run.
Bottom Line - Best HEPA Air Purifier for Dorm Room
Best for Light Sleepers or Night Owls
Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier
VEVA 8000 Elite Pro Series Air Purifier
LEVOIT LV-H132 Compact True HEPA Air Purifier
PARTU True HEPA Air Purifier (BS-08)
108 - 125 cfm
A dorm room is a first step towards independence for many. And if you intend to spend quality time indoors, you will have to set the atmosphere in a way that you like.
This includes ambient temperature and humidity, but also air cleanliness.
The air around us is constantly being polluted by tobacco smoke and chemicals released by furniture, carpets, dust and, and from outdoors.
Out of the units shortlisted, the Winix 5300-2 was evaluated to be the best HEPA air purifier for a dorm room, and for good reason. It is a reliable unit that not only does its job, but does it really well.
Not only that, it fits in well inside a dormitory. You'll find yourself breathing freely in no time.
Ultimately we all want to focus on what matters most - having an enriching dorm experience, and studying of course!