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14 January 2021

Should you buy a Dyson air purifier?

Want to improve your indoor air quality at home? Find out what Dyson air purifiers can do, how much they cost, whether they work to reduce indoor air pollution and how Which? tests air purifiers.
Dyson pure cool dp04_main_advice 487380
CW
Christina Woodger

While the majority of air purifiers look like uninspiring white boxes, Dyson air purifiers are works of art. Dyson is a big name in the world of household appliances, so we explore the features of its air purifiers to help you weigh up whether it's worth buying one. 

What can Dyson air purifiers do?

Air multiplier technology

Dyson air purifiers are advertised as having Air Multiplier technology, which Dyson claims mixes and circulates the air to reach every corner of the room. 

Air quality sensor and automatic mode

Like many air purifiers, Dysons have an air quality sensor, which monitors the quality of the air in the room and prompts the machine to spring into action when needed. That means you can leave the machine on automatic mode rather than needing to adjust it yourself. 

Dysons will also give you information about the different airborne pollutants in your room. For example:

  • PM 2.5 and PM 10 - particulate matter pollutants
  • VOCs - Volatile Organic Compounds, such as acetone, methanol, benzene, ethanol, xylene and formaldehyde
  • NO2 - Nitrogen Dioxide

You'll be able to see real-time information about the quality of the air in your room on a small screen on the machine itself, and also in the Dyson Link app.

An increasing number of brands are offering something similar. For example, the Philips AC3259/60 (£360) provides live data on the air in your room via a numerical digital display, which shows a number from 1 to 12, indicating how polluted your room is, and a colour ring, ranging from blue (clean) to red (polluted). 

We can't say how accurate this feature is, so you'll have to take the manufacturer's word for it. But it could be interesting if you have a deeper interest in tracking the quality of the air around you. 

Another option is to buy a personal air quality monitor that you can clip onto your bag or belt. These would suit you if you want information about the air quality outside, and you have some flexibility to make changes to your daily routes, such as walking to work via a park rather than a busy main road. We've tried out a couple of these, such as Flow, by Plume labs, or Atmotube Pro

Or, you could download a free air quality app, which will give you information about the air quality in your general area. Some examples include Plume Labs Air Quality, Air Matters (which also connects with Philips smart air purifiers) and LondonAir, the London Air Quality Network (LAQN) app, managed by King's College London. 

Filtration

Dyson air purifiers contain a filtration system that combines a HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particulate Air filter), designed to capture 99.95% of ultrafine particles, and an activated carbon filter, designed to remove gases. 

We would always recommend buying an air purifier with a HEPA filter. To use the term HEPA filter, a filter must meet certain standards of filtration efficiency. Filters with names like EPA, HEPA-type and HEPA-style aren't guaranteed to meet the same standards. 

There's more to a good air purifier than a HEPA filter, though. At least one air purifier that we've tested in our lab performed so poorly overall that we made it a Don't Buy, despite the fact that it had a HEPA filter. 

HEPA filters can't trap gases or unpleasant odours, which is why it's also good to have a carbon filter. It isn't possible for us to test the efficacy of carbon filters, but so many air purifiers have them that you lose nothing by opting for a model with one. 

Heater function

The Dyson HP04 Pure Hot+Cool Purifying Fan Heater (£549) is designed to heat or cool a room while it cleans. 

The heating function will come on once the machine senses a drop in temperature. The machine will then switch to standby mode once the target temperature has been reached. 

Read our review of the Dyson HP04 Pure Hot+Cool Purifying Fan Heater to find out whether it impressed us as an air purifier. 

You can also read our electric heater review of the Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool Purifying Fan Heater  to find out how it fared when we put it through our electric heater tests, including how long it takes to heat a room, how well it maintains that temperature and how easy it is to operate. 

Humidification function

The Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool (£599) comes with a humidifying function. 

Dyson claims that this automatically maintains the optimum moisture level in your air, making for a more comfortable environment. 

If you suffer from dry skin, a dry nose, throat or lips, or sinus congestion when the air in your home is dry, then a humidifier could help (although you should of course consult a doctor if your problems are severe). 

You can turn off the humidification function if you want to, so that it just operates as a purifying fan. 

You'll need to run a deep-clean cycle every now and then. You can input the level of water hardness in your area into the app, and then you'll get prompts when Dyson estimates that it's time to run a deep clean. 

You'll also get an alert when the tank is out of water and needs topping back up. 

Read our full review of the Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool to find out if it's a Best Buy. 

Timer

All Dysons come with a timer. This could be useful if you routinely adjust the settings at certain times - let's say, you always want to have it running hard during the day and turned off or turned down at night when you're sleeping. Most air purifiers come with some sort of timer. 

Remote control, smart control and voice control

There isn't, generally speaking, much you can do in terms of controlling the settings on Dyson machines themselves. 

Instead, some Dysons come with a remote control (magnetised, so that you can store it tidily on the machine when not in use), some can be controlled via voice assistant, and some can be controlled via the Dyson Link smartphone app - through which you'll also be able to see Dyson's measurements of the quality of the air in your room.

How much do Dyson air purifiers cost?

Dyson air purifiers start at £299, for the Dyson Pure Cool Me, and go up to £599 for the Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

The Dyson Pure Cool Me isn't making any claims to clean an entire room, though, as we'll explain later. 

For context, the air purifiers we've tested across all brands start at £70 and go up to 10 times that much. 

Unfortunately, air purifiers aren't cheap - unless we're talking tiny, plug-in purifiers such as the Puripod (£25), which are unlikely to be doing much. 

It's rare to find a great model below £250, but there are several good ones in the £250-£400 range. 

Head to our air purifier reviews to see all those we've tested. 

What Dyson air purifiers are available?

Here's a complete list of Dyson's air purifiers that we've put through our expert lab tests, in order of price:

Dyson air purifiers we've tested

Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Desk Fan DP04

Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Desk Fan DP04

£399.00
Reviewed

The Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Desk Fan DP04 has a combined HEPA filter and activated carbon filter, an air quality sensor that automatically detects and reports on the pollution in your room and Dyson's Air Multiplier technology for circulating purified air around the room. Sounds impressive, but read our review to find out how it performed in our tests.

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Dyson HP04  Pure Hot + Cool

Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool

£549.99
Reviewed

The Dyson HP04 Pure Hot + Cool Purifying Fan Heater has a heater function, a HEPA filter for particles, a carbon filter for gases and odours, 10 speed settings, an LCD screen detailing the room's current air quality and much more besides. Read our review to find out whether it impressed in our air purifier and electric heater tests.

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Dyson Pure Humidify and Cool

Dyson Pure Humidify and Cool

£599.00
Reviewed

The Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool is a combined air purifier, humidifier and fan. Like other Dysons, it looks much more attractive than your average air purifier, and it has plenty of features including the ability to control it via your smartphone. Read our full review to find out if it's a Best Buy.

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Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Tower Fan TP04

Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Tower Fan TP04

£499.00
Reviewed

The Dyson Pure Cool Purifying Tower Fan TP04 is a floor-standing air purifier that's around a metre tall. It has sensors that capture live data on the quality of the air in your room and send the data to the Dyson Link app on your phone, as well as a tiny screen on the machine itself. And you can use the app to control the fan. But read the full review to find out how good it is at actually purifying the air.

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Dyson Pure Cool Me

The Dyson Pure Cool Me is the smallest in Dyson's air purifier range (around 45cm high and 25cm across). 

You control it via its dedicated remote control (there are no buttons on the actual purifier), and it has 10 speed settings, including a quiet mode for night time and a timer mode. There's no automatic mode on this one.

The Dyson Pure Cool Me is pitched as a personal air treatment machine, and Dyson says it isn't intended to clean an entire room. As a result, we weren't able to put it through our full air purifier testing, as it's not directly comparable to others we test. However, you can read our first look review of the Dyson Pure Cool Me

We think you'd be better off putting that money towards an air purifier designed to clean a whole room. 

How does Which? test air purifiers?

We test air purifiers in a sealed chamber, measuring how well each model removes dust, pollen and smoke particles from the air. We use dust, pollen and smoke because they are common indoor air pollutants, they represent a range of particle sizes, and they are used in the air purifiers industry standard test. We calculate the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) of each machine - the rate at which each machine removes airborne pollutants from the air. 

We also check how noisy each air purifier is on high and low power, how easy it is to remove and replace the filters and, if the air purifier has smart connectivity, how easy the smartphone app is to use. 

Is it worth buying a Dyson air purifier?

The Dyson air purifiers we've tested - both those whose reviews you can read at the moment and those whose reviews we have archived because the models have been discontinued - have a significantly lower CADR than you'd get from a Best Buy. 

So, while Dysons will look terrific, and make your life easy in plenty of ways, due to all their extra features, our CADR tests indicate that they won't remove pollutants from the air as swiftly as you might expect them to, given how much you're paying. 

Head to our Dyson air purifier reviews for our full verdict on whether they're worth the high price. And check out our guide to buying a Dyson vacuum cleaner to find out more about Dyson technology and how Dyson vacuum cleaners compare to other brands. 

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