Mold is a common household nuisance that is tough to combat and hazardous to your health.
A great way to keep mold spores out of your home is by using a quality air purifier. Our choice for the best air purifier for mold is the Holmes Desktop Air Purifier. This compact air purifier packs a powerful punch when it comes to removing allergens and mold from the air. With its inconspicuous design, it’s easy to place anywhere in your home, and the optional ionizer deals with the musty smell that often comes with mold issues.
Mold is a microscopic type of fungi found in every environment ever encountered by humans. Generally speaking, molds and other fungi play a beneficial role in the environment, breaking down organic materials so nutrients can be transferred to plants and trees, enabling them to thrive and grow.
Through their contribution to this biological process, mold benefits us humans, since plants and trees are central to the production of the oxygen we breathe. Mold or fungi also produce or contribute to certain foods we eat, like mushrooms and cheese. Many of the antibiotics we now depend on to fight bacteria are derived from mold.
Though common and in some cases beneficial, some mold spores can produce an allergic or even toxic response in humans. There are many strategies that can and should be used to deal with mold, such as a reliable air purifier. With so many different air purifiers on the market, we have created a ranking to help you decide which one is the best for you.
The Air Purifiers for Mold We RAVE AboutIf you want to eliminate the moldy smell emanating from your basement, check out these great air purifiers:
Best Overall: Holmes Desktop Air Purifier
The Holmes Desktop Air Purifier offers versatility and affordability, and it’s very effective at removing mold and other fine particulates. Plus, filter replacements won’t break the bank!Read Full Review
Best Budget: GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier
If you are on a budget but still want a quality efficient machine you can count on to remove unwanted materials from the air, you should definitely consider the GermGuardian 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier. This device uses activated carbon, a HEPA filter, and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation to deliver excellent air quality, all for under $100!Read Full Review
In the natural environment, most molds are beneficial because they assist in the decomposition process by breaking down organic materials, then recycling key nutrients for the use of new growth.
The way mold reproduces is by discharging spores which float through the air, looking for new places to grow. Moisture is a key ingredient for the growth of mold.
There are some molds that are especially beneficial to humans. These are molds that tend to produce antibacterial microbes. The most famous of these is penicillium, which naturally produces penicillin.
Though humans have long known that some molds are useful for fighting bacteria — the Egyptians used to apply moldy bread to diseased wounds — Alexander Fleming was first able to isolate penicillin as an antibacterial substance in 1928.
Later, in the 1930s and 40s, Fleming’s initial discovery was finally developed into what we now know as antibiotics. By 1944, large-scale industrial penicillin production was well underway.
Humans also use mold in the production of some cheeses. Blue cheese, for instance, uses the same mold that produces penicillin to create a sharp and delicious taste.
Other cheeses like Stilton, Gorgonzola, and Roquefort are all produced using specialized mold cultures which are added at different points in production.
Though mold has serious benefits in the natural environment and directly enhances human life, some molds can definitely pose serious health problems. For example, most molds that can appear on food have been linked to liver cancer.
Spores produced by mold in your home are even more problematic. You can avoid eating moldy food, but it’s not always possible to avoid breathing in mold spores. When breathed in at high levels, these spores can often lead to serious reactions, such as bronchitis and other respiratory infections, or a fungal infection.
A fungal infection or mycosis happens when either the lungs or skin come into contact with high levels of airborne mold spores.
One of the worst kinds of mold is black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum. Try saying that five times fast! Seriously though, this stuff is no joke. Though a rarity, this type of mold is associated with serious respiratory symptoms, including bleeding in the lungs.
If you suspect a section of your house has this type of mold, be sure to get it tested and seek remediation as soon as possible.
Protection and Removal
Since molds in the home are often less benign than those found in the environment — or in your cheese — it may be worthwhile to consider how to best defend against mold growth and what the best mold removal methods are.
By and large, the most important factor leading to mold growth in the home is moisture. Becoming familiar with which areas in your home are susceptible to moisture is important. Keeping them dry is also key.
Also make sure your home is properly ventilated, and definitely consider using a dehumidifier in places where you suspect moisture accumulates in your home.
Another tip is to keep your gutters in good repair since overflowing water can often compromise your roof and other areas that you cannot see easily. Be sure your home has adequate airflow, and remove any mold from your household plants, eliminating any obvious sources of spore production.
Since a quality air purifier also captures dust and other allergens, it is a great investment.
If you discover mold, clean it immediately using a mold-killing solution, white vinegar, or bleach. All of these work well when diluted with water. After you clean the surface, let the vinegar or bleach solution work its magic to totally eradicate the mold for about two hours, then rinse it with water.
For more serious mold infestations, we suggest contacting a professional who can help with mold remediation.
We developed the current ranking using a rigorous research methodology including extensive meta-data analysis from multiple trusted review sites; listening to and reading reviews from cleaning experts, doctors, and consumers concerned with keeping their homes mold-free; and of course, we also used several of these products ourselves!
Through this research, we found the below criteria to be most important when choosing an air purifier for mold:
- Noise: There is no doubt that air purifiers can be noisy, but some are much quieter than others.
- Filtration effectiveness: The only reason you buy an air purifier is to filter out unwanted particles and smells, so make sure your purifier does the job!
- Price: There is no doubt that air purifiers can be pricey — some are worth it, and some aren’t.
- Area coverage: Most air purifiers have a limited range that they can cover, so make sure you know how much your purifier can handle.
- Ease of use: Is it easy to operate, clean, and change your purifier’s filter? It matters!
- Manufacturer and warranty: Since you are investing in an air purifier, it makes sense to make sure it comes from a trusted company with a good warranty.
- Filtration method: Today’s air purifiers often have more than one method for removing particulates from the air.
If you are battling mold, or just want to prevent it from taking root in your home, be sure to check out our list before you choose your next air purifier!
Holmes Desktop Air PurifierPrice: $40
Coming in first on our list is the Holmes Desktop Air Purifier. This purifier is very inexpensive and doesn’t come with a ton of frills — but it is very effective at removing mold and that moldy smell from the air.
Featuring a 3-speed motor, the Holmes purifier offers a two-stage filtration process, with an optional third. The first stage is an activated carbon filter to capture larger particles and odors in the air. The second stage is a HEPA filter which can remove 99.97% of all fine particulates — including mold — from the air. Stage three is an optional ionizer to clean the air even further.
This model is designed to either be laid on its side on a table or desk, or placed upright. Though there is no light to indicate when the filter needs to be replaced, changing it every three to four months is recommended. It doesn’t hurt that replacement filters won’t break the bank either!Shop the Holmes Desktop Air PurifierPros
- Very affordable
- Good filtration
- Extremely easy to use
- Potential traces of ozone
- Not a ton of features
GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air PurifierPrice: $160
The second air purifier on our list is the GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air Purifier. Manufactured by Guardian Technologies, this purifier’s 3-stage filtration system produces an air quality higher than its low price tag. The GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 is our choice for best budget air purifier for mold.
This machine runs quietly and can cover 155 square feet. The first step in the filtration process is a pre-filter activated charcoal layer taking larger particles like pet hair out of the air. The activated charcoal also removes various odors and gases, prolonging the filter’s lifespan.
The HEPA filter is the second step, removing almost all fine particulates like dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores. Then, the final step includes a UV light which irradiates the air and neutralizes airborne bacteria and viruses. And the sleek design doesn’t make this an eye-sore like some air purifiers!Shop the GermGuardian AC4825 3-in-1 Air PurifierPros
- Great filtration
- Outstanding price
- Can handle most odors
- Plastic smell at first use
- Expensive filter replacements
- Annoying UV light
Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air PurifierPrice: $228
Coming in third is the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier. This compact air purifier features a 4-step air filtration process, a light to tell you when to change out your filters, and a light indicator that measures your home’s air quality.
The 4-step filtration process includes an initial micro-mesh to capture larger dust and animal particulates. Then an activated carbon layer eliminates unwanted odors, while the true HEPA filter removes the vast majority of fine particles in the air. The final stage is an ionizer which negatively charges the air exiting the device, causing dust particles to fall to the floor where you can easily vacuum them up.
This model is not inexpensive, and finding replacement filters can be difficult, so we recommend you purchase the Coway refill pack containing two activated carbon filters as well as the smaller HEPA filter. For its size, though, it’s a powerful filter that can clean a relatively large space in a short amount of time, making it perfect for getting mold under control!Shop the Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air PurifierPros
- Effective 4-stage filtration
- Good design
- Great coverage
- Higher price
- Some ozone from ionizer
- Replacement filters hard to find
Molekule Air PurifierPrice: $800
If you have had no luck getting rid of mold spores in the air in your home, then it might be time to consider the Molekule Air Purifier. This device uses a unique filtration system which is light activated and able to break down pollutants at a molecular level.
The Molekule uses photo electrochemical oxidation (PECO) technology, where pollutants are broken down at the molecular level after passing through the light-activated nano-filter and are effectively no longer pollutants. What is more, this process goes down without producing any ozone.
But it’s going to cost you. This machine is definitely expensive, and the nano-filter is also quite pricey. But it is the only machine on the market that can actually neutralize and remove pollutants, including mold, from your home.Shop the Molekule Air PurifierPros
- Outstanding filtration
- Good room coverage
- Very expensive
- Pricey replacement filters
Fellowes AeraMax Air Purifier 200Price: $169
The Fellowes AeraMax 200 Air Purifier is next on our list. This unit is large, delivering coverage of up to about 200 square feet. And even when on the highest speed, it is still relatively quiet.
This machine features a 4-stage filtration process. There is an activated carbon filter, followed by a unique HEPA filter. Unlike other filters, this HEPA filter is coated with an antimicrobial material Fellowes calls AreaSafe. This material protects the machine and prolongs the life of the filter. The final stage is an ionizer.
The AeraMax 200 comes with some helpful features, such as an auto mode that determines the required speed based on air quality readings. The machine is also Energy Star rated, adding to its economic profile.Shop the Fellowes AeraMax Air Purifier 200Pros
- Good filtration
- Energy efficient
- Nice features
- Limited coverage range
- Not very powerful
Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air CleanerPrice: $199
Next on our list is the Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air Cleaner. This 3-stage air purifier uses a unique PlasmaWave technology that produces positive and negative ions to help neutralize odors and harmful bacteria. The Winix also features both a carbon pre-filter as well as a HEPA filter, giving it excellent and efficient filtration.
It comes with a number of interesting features such as a sleep mode. When the filter sensor detects that the lights are out, the machine will switch over to the quietest mode. There is also a useful filter light which tells you when it’s time to switch out the filter, which is very easy to do.
Over all, the sleek design and very competitive price make this purifier a great deal and an excellent choice for getting rid of mold and other allergens in your home.Shop the Winix PlasmaWave 5300 Air CleanerPros
- Very good filtration
- Really good price
- Limited 1-year warranty
- Questionable odor removal
Alen BreatheSmart Flex Pure
The Alen BreatheSmart FLEX Pure offers great coverage and is unique in its ability to allow the user to customize the device to address specific pollutants. Consumers can choose between four different types of HEPA filters designed to tackle different issues, like smoke, dust, odors, and mold. The HEPA-Silver is definitely the best filter to use for mold spores.
The unit offers four speeds and includes a variety of useful features, like a timer setting, a sleep mode, and a filter-life light. Another great feature is that you can choose from 14 different color options.
The BreatheSmart FLEX offers a very powerful air flow, and is able to clean rooms of up to 700 square feet without much of a problem. Though the highest setting can get a bit noisy, the WhisperMax feature ensures that the lower speeds are relatively quiet.Shop the Alen BreatheSmart Flex PurePros
- Good room coverage
- Excellent filtration
- Attractive unit
- Pricy replacement filters
- Doesn’t have UV-C lamp
Austin Air HealthMate HM400Price: $595
The Austin Air HealthMate HM400 is the recommended choice for consumers living in lower Manhattan, which is still dealing with contaminates from the 9/11 disaster. Its filtration system features a medical grade HEPA filter that can remove up to 0.1 microns of fine particulates. Normal HEPA filtration can only remove particles 0.3 microns or larger.
In addition to the HEPA filter, two additional pre-filters and a durable activated carbon filter help remove odors and gases. This air purifier is made from steel, so it’s not very light. Both the exterior and internal components are very durable, and the filters don’t need to be changed for up to five years.
This air filter’s one major weakness is that it is loud. However, since it does cover between 400 and 900 square feet and the filters last a long time, it’s a worthy long-term investment for your home’s air quality.Shop the Austin Air HealthMate HM400Pros
- Excellent filtration process
- Durable construction
- Long-lasting filters
- Questionable customer service
- Very loud
Honeywell True HEPA HPA300 Air PurifierPrice: $250
Honeywell is a well-known name in the air purifier industry. The HPA300 is one of their top purifiers, offering great coverage and purification at a decent price. Using both activated carbon and HEPA filtering technology, this purifier is capable of clearing the air of a good sized room.
Activated carbon removes odors, while the HPA300’s three HEPA filters remove 99.97% of all fine particulates 0.3 microns or larger. The machine is constructed so that you can situate it against a wall, giving you many placement options.
It features four different speeds, and the highest speed is able to circulate the air in a 465 square foot room up to five times in one hour. Of course, at that speed, it’s also quite loud. The machine also comes with a 5-year limited warranty.Shop the Honeywell True HEPA HPA300 Air PurifierPros
- Good room coverage
- 5-year limited warranty
- Good filtration
- No UV-C lamp
- Very loud on highest speed
- Difficult filter changing
PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPAPrice: $129
Our last air purifier is the PureZone 3-in-1 True HEPA Air Purifier by Pure Enrichment. With a 4-stage filtration process, this air purifier gets the job done. After a pre-filter stage, an activated carbon filter captures odors and removes them from the air. The HEPA filter then removes most of the fine particulates.
The final stage, a UV-C lamp, helps remove airborne viruses and bacteria, giving you a fresh and clean environment. One of the things consumers especially rave about is how quiet this machine is. With three speed settings, even the highest level is remarkably quiet.
The PureZone 3-in-1 is also relatively inexpensive, and the replacement filters can be found for very cheap, making it one of the most economical options. If you are on a budget and really appreciate knowing an air purifier is working without having to hear it, this may be the machine for you!Shop the PureZone 3-in-1 True HepaPros
- Very quiet
- Very easy to use
- Room coverage is small
- UV light doesn’t have a dimmer
- Not very powerful
Are air purifiers really good for mold?
Indoor mold can pose a serious health risk and is particularly problematic for people with allergies, asthma, or other COPD-related illnesses, so keeping it under control is important.
The problem is that by the time you can actually see mold, it has more than likely already spread through the air around your house. Mold spores are microscopic, and if you come across mold in your home, you are actually seeing clusters of thousands upon thousands of mold spores.
That means there is more than likely a lot of mold floating through the air in your home.
Aside from cleaning moldy areas with bleach or other detergents, another great way to deal with mold is with a good air purifier.
Most of the air purifiers on the market today use HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters. These filters are really the best defense against mold spores because they can capture up to 99.97% of all fine air particulates 0.3 microns or larger. The average size of a mold spore is from 3 to 40 microns.
There are also specially designed HEPA filters woven with silver threads, making them particularly effective at eliminating mold.
But remember, that an air purifier alone won’t defeat your mold problem, so be sure to check out other recommendations for dealing with mold. If you have a serious mold problem, it may be worthwhile to contact a professional.
Does an ionizer kill mold?
If you are using an air purifier in your battle against mold in the home, the best way to deal with your problem is to make sure your machine is equipped with a HEPA filter. These filters are extremely effective at removing mold from the air.
You should also be sure that you are changing out the filters within the recommended time frame, as mold can actually still grow inside of your filter if left too long.
Another useful tool can be an ionizer. Ionizers cannot kill mold, but they can reduce the amount of mold that is in the air you breathe.
Ionizers work by charging the air with negative ions that attach to particles, which become too heavy to float through the air and fall to the ground.
The same process happens to mold spores, but you have to keep in mind that they are still there; the spores are just not in the air any longer. You need to be sure to vacuum the area around your purifier and keep it clean.
One more note about ionizers is that they generally emit trace levels of ozone, which is very toxic when breathed in at high levels. If you have an ionizer on your air purifier, be sure to use it intermittently to keep ozone from building up in your home.
What is the best air purifier for mold?
Getting rid of mold can be a tough task. Along with cleaning surfaces where mold has formed, it is a good idea to use an air purifier to remove microscopic mold spores. But with so many different air purifiers on the market, deciding which one is right for you is no easy task. Our rankings list is here to help!
During our thorough research, we found the following questions to be especially important when looking for a good air purifier to combat mold:
- What kind of filtration system does the device use?
- How expensive is the machine?
- How much do replacement filters cost?
- How loud can the device get?
- What sized room can it handle?
- Is the manufacturer trustworthy?
- What does the warranty cover?
- Is it easy to use?
These questions helped us hone in on some of the key qualities of a good air purifier to help deal with mold.
Our research led us to choose the Holmes Desktop Air Purifier as the best choice for mold.
Check out our list before your choose which air purifier to enlist in your anti-mold army!
Check out these other great products to help get mold under control:
- Nispira 4 Replacement Carbon Booster Filter: Don’t forget filter refills for our top choice for the best air purifier for mold.
- RMR-86 Instant Mold Stain & Mildew Stain Remover: Mold and mildew can be tough to remove, but this cleaner can help.
- Inofia 30 Pints Dehumidifier: If you are dealing with mold issues, you definitely want to invest in a dehumidifier.
- NoStench Kitchen Sponge by Everest Microbial Defense: When you’re trying to scrub away stubborn mold and mildew, these sponges can really help.
- Shop-Vac Stainless Steel Wet Dry Vacuum: If your basement floods, this will be a lifesaver. It’ll help you remove water quickly, before mold starts to grow.