Most air purifiers utilize a replaceable filter that helps the device purify the air properly. These filters collect debris and pollutants and are usually quite effective. But, the downside of using these filters is that they need replacing from time to time, which represents a cost.
Some filters can be quite expensive. While the prices of these filters vary, you will have to be prepared to spend hundreds of dollars on these filters every few months or years. Luckily, there is an alternative to that: air purifiers with permanent and washable filters.
These devices have filters that will stay there forever, saving you from the cost of replacing one. But, you will have to be prepared to spend more time on maintenance.
These filters will have to be cleaned regularly, and even more so if the purifier works in a highly-polluted environment. Like regular, replaceable filters, these will get dirty after some time and will start to lose effectiveness. Cleaning them is a must. Perhaps we compromise on the performance a bit, but not by much.
The technology of purifiers with permanent filters has evolved in recent years. They are almost as effective as regular purifiers with replaceable filters and more cost-effective in the long-term.
Though, picking the right one matters a lot, which is where we will help you out. Here are the five best air purifiers with permanent/washable filters.
Best Air Purifiers with Washable Filters
Here are the best air purifiers with washable filters for your money.
1. Winix 5500-2 Air Purifier with True HEPA
The Winix 5500-2 air purifier is one of the best air purifiers for the money. It features a True HEPA filter that will eliminate 99.7% of all the pollutants, bacteria, and unwanted particles from the air. It has the following CADR rating: Smoke (232), Dust (243), Pollen (246). Winix will cover an area of 360 sq. Ft., which is a lot for a filter of its size.
Winix 5500-2 has three filtering stages: True HEPA filter that clears most of the harmful particles from the air, the washable AOC carbon filter for the removal of odors, and the permanent PlasmaWave filter, which puts the finishing touches to the filtration process. The True HEPA filter is a replaceable filter that will last you 2-5 years, depending on the demands of filtration.
The other two filters (the carbon filter and the PlasmaWave filter) are permanent. It means that they are washable, so proper maintenance is required. It is recommended to clean the weekly or bi-weekly for better results, especially if the purifier is put in a very demanding room to clean.
This purifier features smart sensors that detect and measure the air specifications, so it turns on and off automatically, based on those measurements. It also has an auto mode, which switches the operation modes of the filter. The two main modes of operation are the sleep mode (silent), and normal mode.
There is a lot to love about this purifier, especially for the price we pay. The performance is top-notch, and you will have to wash the carbon filter and the PlasmaWave filter regularly for better results.
- Powerful True HEPA filter
- Smart sensors automatically detect when the purifier needs to operate
- Relatively low short-term price for the performance
- Permanent carbon filter and PlasmaWave filter
- Sleep mode for a silent operation
- The carbon filter needs regular cleaning
- Relatively heavy
- The True HEPA filter will need replacing
2. Blueair Air Purifier 211+
Blueair is a modern air purifier with a Swedish design. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular air purifiers out there, and it even allows for some personalization. Here, you can choose the way your purifier will look with the many colors to choose from when it comes to the bottom compartment of the filter.
This purifier features a relatively unique technical design. It provides a three-stage filtration: first, it has a washable pre-filter, which is used for capturing larger particles from the air. Then, the air moves through a combination filter – the particle and odor filter combined in one filter. This filter utilizes activated carbon fur better purification, while also saving plenty of space.
Perhaps the best feature of this purifier is its very quiet operation. Even at the highest performance levels, it will still be tranquil compared to other filters (56DB). You can also tweak the noise levels, and they can go all the way down to 31DB at the lowest speeds. It is a very environment-friendly purifier.
The filtering process will remove 99% of all airborne pollutants, or so the providers claim. It will get rid of viruses, pollen, mold, dust, pet dander, bacteria, and more. While this combo filter is perhaps not as powerful as a True HEPA filter, for example, it will certainly consume less energy and will work quieter than most cleaners. It will cover 540 sq. Ft.
It’s easy to see why this purifier is a crowd favorite: an exquisite and sleek design, powerful filtration, washable pre-filter, and very quiet operation.
- Very elegant design with customization options
- Washable pre-filter
- Covers a large area
- Quiet operation, especially at lower speeds
- The combo filter might not be as powerful as True HEPA filters
- Relatively expensive
3. Honeywell Washable Filters
If you are looking for a compact, relatively cheap, and effective purifier for smaller rooms, then the Honeywell should be considered. This purifier design has 3-stage filtration with washable filters, which will save you a lot of money in the long-term. You won’t need to replace them, but you will have to wash them from time to time.
A big positive of this purifier is its silent operation. The filters will work together to clean the air, and they will eliminate 99% of all the harmful material and residue from the air. The CADR ratings for this filter are 100 smoke, 110 pollen.
Honeywell air purifier is ideal for smaller rooms. It will cover 170 sq. Ft. of space, making it ideal for bedrooms and smaller bathrooms. Even though you will need to spend some time to clean the filters, the whole package will save you plenty of money. Compared to purifiers with replaceable filters, this one is perhaps slightly less powerful, but viable for those looking to save some money.
But still, the performance will be more than enough, especially in smaller spaces. You can turn the filters on and off willingly, but they will mostly operate on an automatic basis. The purifier will automatically detect the air specifications, which will enable the purifier to work automatically.
All in all, a great choice for those looking for a purifier for smaller rooms. Here are the pros and cons of this purifier.
- 3-stage filtration with washable filters (99% efficiency)
- Will work very silently
- Autonomous mode of operation
- Filter indicator
- Perfect for smaller rooms
- Not suitable for larger rooms
- Not as powerful as some other filters
4. OION Technologies B-1000
Pet odors, smoke, dust, bad air, and more – this is all that this compact air purifying tower can handle. This purifier combines a washable, permanent filter with an ionizer, making sure that the air is free of all pollutants and, more importantly, free of unwanted odors.
If you are suffering from bad odors in your home, or you want to clear your room from smoke odors, you can’t go wrong with this purifier. Also, it is very energy-effective, as it only consumes 7.5W, saving you plenty of money in the long run. Another thing that will save you money is the fact that you won’t need to replace the filter, as you will have to wash it.
But, you will have to wash it quite regularly if you will want your filter to work to its maximum capacity. As it is relatively powerful, then the certain thing is that the filter will become clogged, and that will minimize the performance massively.
The electrostatic ionizer purification will take care of the smallest particles in the air; they will clean particles of 0,01 microns or even smaller. So, in addition to clearing odors, it will also remove mold, pollen, smoke, allergens, pet dander, and all sorts of smaller particles. This purifier is a friendly option for a large variety of users.
If there is anything wrong or you have some questions about the product, you can always contact the customer support. They will be happy to help you, and they will typically respond in 24-48 hours. There is a lot to like about this product, and here are some pros and cons of this purifier.
- Very energy-efficient
- Washable filter
- It doesn’t have a CADR rating
- The filter needs to be washed regularly
5. Hamilton Beach TrueAir
If you are looking for a more lightweight and compact version, then the answer is the Hamilton Beach TrueAir purifier. It features a HEPA-grade filter that is permanent, and will not need to be replaced.
Instead, all you need to do is wash it regularly and give a good vacuum. But the good news is that the HEPA-grade filter will work just as effectively as the True HEPA filters, removing 99% of dirt and unwanted particles from the air, perhaps even more.
So it is a relatively small air purifier suitable primarily for smaller rooms and spaces. It has only the HEPA filter, but the performance is excellent. Besides, you can easily tweak the power of the filter, and you can set it to the night mode, where the filter will operate quietly, or to the Quick mode, where the filter will work tirelessly until the air is purified as fast as possible.
You can use this purifier just about everywhere, and you can move it to the room where you need it. This simplicity and ease-of-use are welcome to everyone that is looking for an effective portable air purifier. It will work in spaces of about 160 sq. Ft.
It has a 3-speed operation that you can tweak at any time. The slowest mode is geared towards bringing a quiet activity to the table, while the fastest mode will work towards cleaning the air as fast as possible.
- Very compact and efficient for smaller rooms
- Powerful and washable HEPA-grade filter
- It will fit anywhere
- Relatively quiet at slower speeds
- Not as powerful as True HEPA filters
- The filter will need to be cleaned regularly
Are Washable Air Filters Good?
Washable air filters bring a lot of convenience to the table. Those who want to minimize the long-term running costs that True HEPA filters bring will find washable air filters a good option.
One thing that might be leaving behind the washable air filters is the filtering proficiency. But let’s get one thing straight: the difference between True HEPA filters and washable filters is usually not as big as some people try to portray. That is especially the case for the higher-level washable filters; the technology is pretty advanced, so the difference is often minimal.
Some washable air filters have a replaceable True HEPA filter in combination with a washable carbon filter or pre-filter. That is an excellent combination to have: you will get the powerful filtration system from the HEPA filter, and the convenience of having a washable carbon and pre-filter.
Washable filters are only for those people who are willing to put in the time weekly to clean the filters. As the filters work for prolonged periods, they will lose effectiveness due to the accumulation of mold, particles from the air, and other residues, which is to be expected. Especially with higher loads and where the air is worse, these filters will need more regular cleaning.
Replacing filters can be quite expensive, and that is where washable filters have the advantage. Although the initial investment might be higher (sometimes), the long-term costs will be zero or close to zero.
Washable vs Replaceable Filter – Which is Better?
Some owners of purifiers with replaceable filters will argue that it is simply not worth compromising the performance, but is it the case?
Let’s take a closer look at the comparison between washable and replaceable filters.
Yes, the replaceable filters might be more useful for cleaning, especially the smaller air particles. Some True HEPA filters will remove up to 99.7% of all the harmful particles from the air, including bacteria. The truth is that washable filters are not that far behind, though.
Many of these washable filters will get rid of up to 99% of all the particles, although the numbers vary quite significantly here. For a more robust filtration, you might need to spend more. In terms of performance, replaceable filters might have the edge.
Winner: replaceable filters.
Let’s talk about price. In terms of short-term investment, the difference between washable and replaceable filters is not that big. For the higher performance replaceable filters, you will have to spend a lot, just like with washable filters.
It is the long-term costs that set the washable filters apart here. With replaceable filters, you will have to consider spending additional hundreds of dollars on replacement filters. Some will have to be replaced every few months or even years, depending on the quality. With washable filters, you only need to wash them regularly.
Winner: washable filters
When it comes to comfort, it boils down to what you are personally looking for. If you are prepared to spend time cleaning the filter weekly, then washable filters are the way to go. If you don’t have that luxury, then replaceable filters are for you.
The fact is that washable filters require much more time for cleaning them regularly. With replaceable filters, you will only need to replace them every once in a while. So it depends on your preference here.
At the end of the day, it is really up to personal preference. Some people will love the cost-effective nature of washable filters, while others will look for a higher performance of the replaceable filters. But the difference is minimal, and the long-term costs are higher for replaceable filters.
How to Wash & Disinfect Air Purifier Filters?
Cleaning washable filters is more comfortable than imaginable. Depending on the type of the filter, here are some guidelines as to how to wash and disinfect them.
- Look out for the indicator to see whether it needs cleaning. If you don’t have one, then wash it every week.
- Check out the instructions of the provider. If they allow you to clean the filter with water, then do so. You can also use mild soap with it if the filter allows you. Some filters require only regular vacuuming.
- Make regular checks on your filter and clean it weekly or bi-weekly.
Washable filters are certainly a popular option for many people. They represent a more cost-effective option in the long-term, as you won’t need to replace them. In the end, it depends on each person’s preferences.