Levoit Air Purifier Review: DoesThis Budget-Friendly Air Purifier Perform? We Tested it to Find Out!
I tested the Levoit air purifier to see how well it removed airborne impurities. Find out what I liked (and didn’t like) about this little purifier.
Breathing fresh air in the home shouldn’t cost a fortune, yet some of the most popular air purifiers on the market today run hundreds of dollars. Enter the Levoit Air Purifier (LAP-C161-WUS), the Core Mini—an affordable model that won’t break the bank.
I recently tested a slew of the best air purifiers, and the Levoit air purifier performed well enough to be chosen as the best bang for the buck pick in our lineup. While I don’t have access to a laboratory with professional testing gear, I set up a test booth in a closet where I subjected each air purifier to dust, dirt, and smoke. I also used an air quality monitor to take readings throughout the tests and document how each purifier performed.
The Levoit air purifier was not the top performer in my tests, but it was reliable, easy to use, and compact enough not to take up precious real estate in a small room. Read on to learn more about this budget-friendly air purifier and to determine if it’s a good fit for your home or office.
The Levoit Air Purifier: At a Glance
- Removes airborne pollutants in rooms up to 178 square feet
- Affordable in comparison to other air purifiers currently on the market
- Quieter than other tested air purifiers on all power levels
- Compact model is not suitable for use in medium-size or large rooms
- Took almost 3 times longer in tests to remove airborne pollutants than other models
- Internal filter comes prewrapped in plastic, which must be removed before use
Get the Levoit air purifier at:
What is the Levoit air purifier?
Levoit’s Core Mini Air Purifier (LAP-C161-WUS) is considered a personal space model, meaning it’s designed for small areas. It will purify the air in a room up to 178 square feet, making it well suited for use in a nursery, bedroom, or small home office.
The cylindrical unit is compact—just 6.5 inches in diameter and 10.4 inches tall. It doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it features three power levels and a three-stage filter with an outer prefilter that traps large particulates, such as pet dander, fur, or hair. The following layer is a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that traps up to 97 percent of particles as small as 0.3 microns. For comparison, human hair is about 100 microns thick. The innermost layer contains activated carbon, which works to absorb odors, such as burned food smells and smoke.
One last little perk I liked was a tiny pull-out drawer near the top of the unit with an absorbent disc for adding a bit of essential oil. After testing, I added 8 to 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to the disc and turned the purifier on Low. Within 10 minutes, the room filled with the aroma, and I wished I’d added just one or two drops. Lesson learned: Go easy on the essential oil!
Is the Levoit air purifier easy to set up?
Yes, except for one small detail. The Levoit air purifier comes preassembled, which is nice; however, users must remove the plastic covering from the internal air filter. Fortunately, the device had a prominent sticker on top directing me to remove the plastic wrap before using the machine.
I’m fairly dextrous and I use a lot of tools, but I found it rather challenging to take the two halves of the air purifier apart to remove the Levoit air purifier filter. I pulled and twisted, and finally, the top half of the case came loose, and I could lift the filter out and unwrap it. It would have been nice to have a button or lever to depress to unlock the halves.
Once the filter was unwrapped and put back into the machine, the Levoit was ready to go. All I had to do was plug it into the outlet and press the Start button on the top of the machine.
How loud is the Levoit air purifier when it’s running?
The Levoit air purifier isn’t completely silent, but it was quieter than some of the other models I tested. On High, the Levoit generated 42.5 decibels, which I recorded with a decibel tester from 3 feet away. This is comparable to relatively soft home noise, such as a running refrigerator. Compared to some of the other purifiers I tested that generated nearly 60 decibels of noise, the Levoit was pleasantly quiet.
When I ran the Levoit on Low, it was even quieter—registering just 20 decibels on my tester. That’s as soft as a whisper, and I could easily tune out the sound. In fact, the sound on Low was similar to a sleep machine I own that generates white noise. Users might even find it soothing unless they’re especially sensitive to sounds.
How well does the Levoit air purifier remove pollutants?
In my testing, the Levoit air purifier successfully removed airborne particulates and smoky smells, but it took longer than other models I tested. That’s not really surprising since the Levoit is a fraction of the size and consumes less electrical power.
For testing, I used a closet where I’d removed all the contents and wiped down the walls, ceiling, and floor to ensure they wouldn’t be a source of dust. Then I placed the Levoit air purifier and an air quality monitor in the closet next to one another, and I shook a dirty rug above them. In about 20 seconds, the monitor indicated the particulate matter in the air was in the hazardous zone. I turned the Levoit on High, closed the door, and let it do its thing.
I took another reading in 30 minutes, but the monitor still showed the air was in the hazard zone. After letting the Levoit run an additional 30 minutes, I checked again, but the air quality was still unsafe, although it was improving. I waited another 30 minutes and took another reading. This time, the air quality was in the safe zone.
The next test was to see how well the Levoit purifier absorbed smoke and odors. I lit five incense sticks in the closet and let their smoke fill it. The air quality monitor quickly climbed to indicate unsafe levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), carbon monoxide (CO), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). I turned on the air purifier and checked the monitor after 30 minutes. The smell in the closet was still strong, but the NO2 and CO levels had begun to drop.
I waited another 30 minutes and took another reading. This time the NO2 and CO levels were in the safe zone, and the incense odor was much milder. The VOC level was still slightly elevated, however. In fact, after another hour of testing, the air was at safe levels for all pollutants except VOCs. I ended the test at that point, but it’s important to remember that the Levoit isn’t explicitly designed to remove VOCs. However, it did get rid of smoke, odor, and particulates.
Is the Levoit air purifier right for you?
Ultimately, it’s up to the individual to determine whether the Levoit air purifier is a good fit for the home or office. Personally, I think it’s well worth the cost to keep the air fresh in most small rooms. However, it might not be the best pick for a craft or hobby room if VOC-producing products, such as paints and varnishes, are frequently used. In addition, it’s not powerful enough for large spaces, and it doesn’t offer fancy features like smart connectivity, a remote control, or a programmable timer.
However, it’s affordable—at the time of this writing, it sells for about $50 and removes several airborne pollutants, including dust, pet dander, and pollen. I found it to be an excellent value for the money, and it was the only model I tested that came with an Energy Star rating, meaning it uses less electricity to clean the air. For users who vacuum and dust regularly to keep dust levels down, the Levoit is likely to be more than adequate for keeping the air in a small room fresh and clean.
Where to Buy the Levoit Air Purifier
Get the Levoit air purifier at:
Meet the Tester
Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industry. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.