Best Air Purifier for Cleaning Up Your Campervan

air purifiers main 2

The number of people with allergies to dust, particulates, pollen and animal fur is growing by roughly 5% a year and an estimated 5.4 million people in the UK alone are having treatment for asthma. These are staggering numbers and as a sufferer of hay fever, wheeziness and eczema, I’m one of the statistics. I also have a tendency to start sneezing in the presence of cats which is a real shame as I truly adore them!

Interestingly though, until recently I had never really paid much attention to the quality of the air I was breathing in. Perhaps because all these particles are microscopic and hence invisible to the naked eye, I treated them as “out of sight, out of mind”. I now believe that I was wrong to ignore the air quality in our house and (especially) in the caravans and campervans we have owned.

Electric air purifiers are based on a few very simple yet highly effective principles:

  • An electric fan to pull ‘dirty’ air through the grill of the air-purifier casing.
  • A pre-filter to remove large particles, hairs and other airborne irritants
  • A HEPA filter (High Efficiency Particle Air) to remove microscopic particles. This is achieved by both blocking them and attracting them to the HEPA fibers where they stick and are removed from the air.
  • An outlet grill to distribute the newly “clean” air.

The best air purifiers use these principles to noticeably clean the air and provide an allergy-free environment.

Additional technologies are also sometimes seen in conjunction with the filters such as:

  • Ionizers which use an electric field to charge the particles which can then be trapped using an opposite charge.
  • Adsorbents which can remove odours and fumes from the air – active charcoal is a good example of an adsorbent.
  • UV Light is also sometimes used internally to the purifier which can sterilize the air through ultraviolet radiation.

Using an Air Purifier in Campervans, Caravans and Motorhomes

I would recommend the use of a small air purifier in any touring camping vehicle whether you suffer from allergies or not. This is because you often have several people living together in an enclosed space, sometimes with pets and for several days/weeks at a time. The door to the van is also open much of the time, letting all sorts of dust and pollen to blow in. And let’s be honest here – it’s sometimes also difficult to keep on top of dusting and cleaning in your leisure vehicle – you’re on holiday after all! Keeping the air clean using a compact air purifier makes sense.

Luckily there is a wide choice of air purifiers on the market which are perfect for cleaning a single room space like that of a campervan. We’ve been lucky to have access to a range of over 15 different examples from a range of different manufacturers and have selected what we consider to be the best air purifiers out of that range.

Please note that they are of roughly two different size variants – ‘desktop sized‘ for smaller camper vans (19-25cm height) and floor-standers (>35cm tall). Please make a choice based on how big your caravan/campervan is – the bigger the air space is, the bigger the purifier should be.

Italian Style - the Rigoglioso Air Purifier

Rigolioso Compact Air Purifier 3For use in a campervan or caravan, the size of the air purifier is obviously important. Some of the floor-standing purifiers can be extremely large and are obviously not viable in something as small as a VW California say.

The Rigoglioso Compact Air Purifier is the perfect size for a campervan. It’s cylindrical in shape and measures just under 20cm tall and 17cm in diameter. Think of a large jar of pickled onions, and you won’t be too far off the size!

Rigoglioso are an Italian company, and their name means “luxuriant” when translated into English. The design of their air purifier is definitely sleek and could be considered to live up to the name.

The casing of the purifier is predominantly white and incorporates a perforated grill at the top and power button in the centre of the top face. A separate banded grill around a lower circumference of the cylinder allows dirty air to be drawn in and filtered before streaming pure, clean air out of the top. It’s a great design and excellent value for money.

Three filters

Rigoglioso have added three filters to their air purifier: two for particulates (pre-filter and HEPA filter) and a final active-charcoal filter for odours. This latter filtter really helps as we had a smoky smell in our campervan after making a BBQ nearby. Within 20 minutes or so, the strong smell had gone. Impressive

Power levels

Rigolioso Compact Air Purifier in use

The central button of the Rigoglioso is used to set three levels of operation.

  1. Press once and the purifier works almost silently in the background – no lights
  2. Press again and the top of the purifier turns blue with more power on the fan. You can now clearly hear the operation of the purifier and feel some air flow with your hand near it.
  3. Press again and the top of the Rigoglioso turns red and it starts to sound like a jet engine! If you’re a fan of white noise then this is the mode for you – may help you sleep! Not for us though – we kept it on level 1) unless we needed a spurt of high power for particularly obnoxious smells!

The Rigoglioso air purifier is one of the best on the market in terms of value for money. It runs off 240V and spare HEPA filters can easily be purchased for it. We certainly noticed cleaner air after using it in our Mercedes Marco Polo over a weekend, and there are very many positive stories about it on the allergy forums. Recommended!

9.5Expert Score

Loses half a point for the volume of the fan at full power, but seriously that is the only negative we can think about for the Rigoglioso. A great value air purifier for your campervan which actually works well for particles and smells.

Best Air Purifier for Caravans: Levoit LV-H132

Levoit Air PurifierLevoit are a well-known brand in the world of air purifiers and they have a range of different sizes which can be purchased, all of them larger than the Rigoglioso reviewed above.

Our review unit was the smallest Levoit Air Purifier in their lineup and might not be suitable for <5m campervans. However if you own a 4-berth+ caravan or motorhome with a couple of rooms then it is ideal in both looks and performance.

If I had to describe it blindfolded, I would say that the Levoit is about the size of a small wastepaper bin or a bit bigger than a 2L tin of paint. With the blindfold off, it looks absolutely stunning in predominantly white gloss with some bold black design cues. Very nice work on the graphic design Levoit! It also shines on the user-interface, with a touch-sensitive set of controls on the top to set fan speed and brightness of an in-built night light.

Levoit Air Purifier close upThe Levoit follows a common approach to the best air purifiers by having an inlet grill around the lower circumference of the unit with the purified goodness being emitted from the top face. This worked well in our tests.

The purifier contains three filters: pre-filter, true HEPA and an activated carbon odour eater. Levoit claim that particles as small as 0.3 microns (where 1000 microns make 1mm) can be filtered out – impressive. This purifier will also remind you when the HEPA filter should be replaced – this normally works out at every 6-8 months.

Silent Operation

The Levoit can be switched between three power levels with the lowest being ‘ultra-silent’. We couldn’t hear it and would have no trouble sleeping.

Overall, the Levoit Air Purifier is a classy piece of gear and perfect for a larger caravan or motorhome. If you’re rocking a smaller campervan then we would choose one of the other options in our roundup.

9Expert Score

The Levoit Air Purifier is a standout performer, but possibly a little too large for the smallest campervans. We definitely recommend it from a performance standpoint and were impressed by the silent-operation mode.

Maintaining Your Air Purifier

It’s always slightly irritating having to replace consumable items in an appliance, but we recommend that the filters in your air purifier get changed every 6-12 months or so, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some of the more expensive models, like the Levoit indicate when a change is due, although this is not necessary if you just set a reminder on your calendar. For information, here is the price of a full set of replacement filters for the Levoit.

We’ve also investigated whether it’s possible to clean and reuse the HEPA filters, and the general advice is that it is not worth doing this – there is no proof that the filter will continue to work effectively after cleaning.

Best Air Purifier for Campervans - the Acekool Portable

Acekool Portable Air Purifier dimensionsFor a completely different look then we highly recommend the Acekool Portable Air Purifier. This great product is excellent value and looks very snazzy in gloss black.

The Acekool packs an awful lot of features at this price point – I’m sure they could actually put the price up and people would still pay it! Compared with the competition, it is the best value for money air purifier for smaller campervans, no question.

So what do you get? Well first off, it has a rather nice green digital LED display on the side which indicates both temperature and humidity in the room. This refreshes every 10 seconds.

It uses a three filter design of pre-filter, HEPA filter and active-charcoal odour filter. Spares for this are readily available and the Acekool will also remind you when they need changing – this is typically every 3-6 months due to the smaller size of the purifier – it quickly fills up! The spares are excellent value for money too – it seems like Acekool don’t like to make too much profit!

The dimensions of the unit are great for small campervans at only 21cm tall by 11.5cm – it is very unobtrusive. The gloss black finish went well in our campervan and I actually preferred it to the white alternatives. An air purifier doesn’t have to shout out to the world in my view.

Acekool Portable Air Purifier in useFan speed can be changed using a touch-sensitive button on the side – another nice ‘touch’. The fan noise is very quiet even on the second power level and did not interfere with my sleep – although I am notorious for dropping off quickly!

Acekool recommend that the maximum area coverage of their air purifier is 10 square metres which is about the size of a small campervan. It’s as if it was actually designed especially for the job in hand.

In summary, we totally recommend the Acekool Air Purifier for smaller campervans – if you think that the gloss black finish goes with your particular ride then performance and price-wise, we don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

10Expert Score

We very rarely give maximum marks to any product, however the Acekool Air Purifier completely justifies that accolade. It has better features than some purifiers costing twice as much, is unobtrusive and just gets on with the job. We love it.

Best Air Purifier for Motorhomes - the Philips Series 800

Philips Series 800 Air Purifier with dimensionsThe Series 800 air purifier from Philips is their second generation offering and is on the larger size of our selections. Please make sure you check the dimensions carefully, but to our mind at about 37cm tall (14.5”), this air purifier is more suited to larger caravans and motorhomes.

The 800 is the most expensive air purifier we’ve reviewed here if you only consider upfront cost, but actually over a lifetime of use it may work out to be one of the cheapest. This is because the filter only requires changing every 3 years, whereas all the other offerings are more like every 6 months.

Philips are a well-regarded company and have a good reputation for delivering excellent products. The 800 Series is no exception. The exterior design of the purifier is contemporary and uses well-moulded plastics for a premium feel – this looks like a swish bit of kit!

Philips Series 800 Air Purifier 3DThe 800 series offers a really useful automatic mode – it adjusts its fan speed based on what its sensors are reporting. This means you don’t have to keep changing the speed of the fan manually.

The purifier has a series of high grade filters including a HEPA which remove 99.5% of ultrafine particles. The design also offers ‘3D air circulation’ which means the clean air gets spread more widely than with the cheaper purifiers. This is quite reassuring. A motorhome of 20 square metres area can be fully purified in silence within 16 minutes – certainly impressive speed.

There is a four-step colour display included on the 800 which makes a good job of continuously displaying the air quality in the room. I really appreciated the fact that it just gets on with doing its job with minimum fuss and gives you as the user all the info you need.

Unusually, Philips also claim some reduction in virus-count using the 800 series. This is caveated by them explaining that it doesn’t kill or full remove influenza virus, but there is evidence it does reduce it. Worth bearing in mind in a Covid-19 world. I’m sure that eventually someone will design a Covid-killing air-purifier – now that would be something.

In summary, the Philips 800 is quite large but offers reassuring performance both in the speed and quality with which it purifies the air. The addition of the virus reduction is welcome but is not something we can verify. It looks good and has a great one-touch user-interface and a not-unreasonable price-point. 

9Expert Score

The Philips 800 is a highly competent performer and makes our shortlist of the best air purifiers. It's the most expensive we've looked at, but still good value and performed well at removing the smell of cooked bacon one morning. It's also the quickest at processing the air in a room. Certainly one to check out!

Best Air Purifier for Small Particles - Pro Breeze 4-in-1

Pro Breeze air purifierIn terms of ‘size of particle’ capture, the Pro Breeze 4-in-1 Air Purifier actually beats them all, according to the specifications from the manufacturer.

They claim that the Pro Breeze will capture up to 99.97% of all airborne particles, which if true is outstanding performance. Sadly, the maximum room size which can be covered with this air purifier is only 5 square metres which is a little less than your average VW Campervan (which is maybe 7-8 square metres of living space).

We would urge you not to discount the pro-breeze too quickly though. It includes 4 ways of removing particles: the standard pre-filter, HEPA filter and active-carbon filter are a given and include in all our best-buys. In addition, the Pro Breeze includes a negative ion generator – these ions are attracted to the air particles and effectively neutralize them. Nice!

The size of the purifier itself is perfect for a small campervan and it looks great in gloss white. Operation is simple too – there is a single button on the top which allows switching between two power modes – and these are whisper quiet. In fact, the Pro-Breeze has been certified with a ‘Quiet Mark‘. You will not hear anything in low power mode and essentially a very light whirring in the highest mode.

Overall we were very impressed with the Pro Breeze Air Purifier and it is great value for money – just not quite as good as the Acekool. If you add in the negative ion generator and the smallest particle size capture on test then at just under £50 we think it is an excellent choice.

9.5Expert Score

The Pro Breeze air purifier is great in many many ways - from its compact size to the fact it captures 99.97% of all airborne particles - the highest in our roundup. The price is competitive and it has many satisfied users. We recommend checking it out.

That concludes our round-up of the best air purifiers for campervan and caravan use. The market is constantly changing and we will be sure to keep this article updated. We dearly hope that a virus-killing air purifier can be made to help clear your campervan from the risks of Covid-19. Time will tell if this is possible.

In the meantime, happy camping!

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