Do Air Purifiers Use A Lot Of Electricity?

When trying to find ways to purify and cleanse the air in your home, the main concern may be the whole effect on your budget. Do air purifiers use a lot of electricity? Let’s find out!

How much electricity do air purifiers use?

how much electricity do air purifiers use

One of the hardest things to find out is how much it will cost you to run your air purifier normally.

Most manufacturers only give the power rating for an air purifier when used on its highest setting. This makes it hard to know exactly how much electricity and power a unit will use on standard or medium settings.

For the Winix 5500-2, a medium-sized HEPA air purifier for medium to large rooms covering an average of 390 square feet, there are some specific power usage statistics. While off, the air purifier uses 1.1 watts of power; low is 5.4 watts; medium uses 6.6 watts; high is 10.6 watts; on the turbo setting, the purifier uses 61.2 watts.

The Honeywell 50250-S purifier is also a medium-sized appliance for medium to large rooms. There are two other purifiers in Honeywell’s line – the HPA300 (covers 465 sq ft) and the HPA200 (310 sq ft.) This filter is also a HEPA purifier or high-efficiency particulate air filter.  While off, the 50250-S uses 0 watts of power; 93.1 watts on low; 146 watts on medium; 187 watts of power on Turbo.

A GermGuardian AC4825 air purifier is a mid-sized appliance for medium rooms that cover 167 sq ft. This purifier has a UV-C light that kills germs and is also a true HEPA filter. The UV-C germ killing mode uses around 4 watts of power across the board – for the measurements that follow, add 4 watts to the overall power use when using the filter with the UV-C mode on. While off, the GermGuardian uses 0 watts of power; low is 38.6 watts; medium is 42.2 watts; and high uses 46.4 watts of power.

The small but powerful Levoit LV-H126 purifier packs a punch in a little body. Levoit also offers 6 other air purifiers, but the H126 is the only purifier in that family suited for small rooms. This true HEPA filter has a 99.97% filter efficiency and will purify rooms up to 161 sq ft. While off, the LV-H126 uses 0 watts of power; 12.1 watts on low; 20.4 watts on medium; and 38.4 watts on high.

For comparison, a smartphone uses an average of 6 watts of power while it is currently charging, and the charging cable uses around .5 watts while just plugged in but not in use.

How do air purifier energy costs compare to AC or fans?

On average, air purifiers use 50 watts of power while on high.

When you think about how much electricity a lightbulb uses (incandescent bulbs use 60 watts, classic bulbs use 100 watts, but LEDs are more efficient,) running an air purifier won’t cost you very much over the span of a week or even a year.

A small window AC unit uses 500 watts of power, while a large window unit will use 1,440 watts. On average, a central air conditioning unit will use 3,550 watts of power – depending on your usage and home size, that average could be closer to 5,000 watts or more. There are even British Thermal Units (BTU) that use 10,000 watts or more!

A ceiling fan uses around 50-80 watts of power to run, making it one of the cheapest cooling options. A pedestal fan uses about 30-70 watts, and tower fans use around 50-100 watts to run.

How much does it cost to run an air purifier?

how much does it cost to run an air purifier

How much it costs an individual air purifier to run will be different based on how much you are using it per day and your area’s electricity costs.

The average cost of electricity in the United States is 13.19 cents kWh, or cents per kilowatt-hour.

How to calculate how much electricity your purifier costs to run

The general formula to use to calculate how much money your purifier will use is this:

[Amount of kWh] x [local kWh rate] = monthly cost

Let’s use a high-end cleaner that is rated at 135W. Running this unit continuously, it would need .135 kWh. This comes out to 3.24 kWh a day and 97.2 kilowatt-hours for a 30-day month.

This unit will cost about $.43 per day to run continuously, $13 a month, or $156.10 extra per year to run 24/7.

You can use this electricity bill calculator to find out exactly how much your unit will cost to run.

Can you run an air purifier all day?

can you run an air purifier all day

Yes, you can run an air purifier all day and night!

Because the primary purpose of an air purifier is to make the air in your home cleaner, you can leave it running continuously with no problems.

However, you will need to change the filter regularly. Check the device’s manual for other instructions, such as routine maintenance, regular cleaning, and other parts that need to be watched during continuous use.

How often do you need to change an air purifier filter?

Depending on the type of filter that your air purifier uses, you will need to regularly change out the filters.

A HEPA will need to be replaced every 12 months. Carbon filters should be swapped out every 3 months, and pre-sponges or dust and particle filters should be replaced in two weeks to 30 days, depending on how much they are used.

Some air purifiers come with permanent filters – this does not mean that you never have to clean them, though! If your unit has a permanent filter, ensure you are cleaning them regularly and inspecting them every year.

Consult the user manual for details on the recommended replacement and cleaning interval for your filter.

Energy-efficient air purifier options

energy efficient air purifier options

Air purifiers will have a few options, such as HEPA purification, air-to-air exchange, Ultraviolet purifying, HVAC-compatible electronic air cleansing, central AC-compatible cleaners, ionic, and activated carbon.

When researching purifiers, look for filters that can capture a higher level of pollutants that move in the air while also making use of multiple filters. Air purifiers that require less densely-packed filters will need lower amounts of air pressure. In turn, the airflow can run more consistently on high for longer.

Sleep or ultra-low power modes money-saving feature

While an air purifier is on, it will create a small amount of noise.

Most units will emit around 30-40 decibels while running, which is very low – 30 decibels, and below is considered quiet to most people. While on high or turbo some air purifiers will emit around 50-70 decibels of noise, which is still not terribly loud but can be noticed.

Some purifiers also have ECO or sleep modes. These usually run at 35 decibels or lower while in sleep or low-power mode.

How long does it take for an air purifier to work?

how long does it take for an air purifier to work

Air purifiers work quickly to remove harmful particles from the air. On average, the purifier will make a noticeable difference in about 30 minutes. It can take around 2 hours for an air purifier to completely purify a room.

If you are trying to cleanse a large room, it may take a couple of hours, whereas smaller, enclosed spaces will experience healthier air quality levels faster.

How long should you leave an air purifier running?

As a general rule of thumb, you should only run your air purifier when you are in the same room or while you are at home. Try not to leave the air purifier running while you are not home.

How much do air purifiers cost?

how much do air purifiers cost

An air purifier’s cost will vary widely depending on the features you want, the level of cleaning you need, and the size of the room or space you are trying to cleanse.

  • Basic-level purifiers that are designed for tiny spaces average around $50. You can find small desk-sized units for as little as $15.
  • Small room units average around $50 – $75; mid-sized coverage units will cost around $100, and large units may cost you up to of $200 or more.
  • Whole-home units or commercial-grade air purifiers cost around $1,000. HVAC add-on air purifiers come in around the $500 – $800 range, and central air add-on units will cost about $300 – $600.

While it might seem like a whole-home system is the cheapest long-term solution, it actually isn’t. It is more effective (and efficient!) to get a portable unit that can be moved from room to room. When choosing a model, look for a good clean air delivery rate (CADR) specification.

James Marshall

About the author

James is a business management professional and consultant with a former background in maintenance, repair, and hands-on projects. He enjoys DIY tasks and maintenance around the home as well as part-time writing. Read more »