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The air purifiers that rated extremely low in our lab tests 

Some units 'purified' so poorly, we had to check they were switched on.

worst air purifiers greentech pureair 500 and pureair 3000 Radic8 Hextio H 100
Last updated: 23 April 2021

Thinking of buying an air purifier to help your family breathe a little easier? Avoid these ones like the plague. 

Our expert testers have seen plenty of good models on the market, but two GreenTech air purifiers rated so low in our tests, our stunned staff had to keep checking they were even switched on. Yes, they were that bad. And a model from Radic8 barely performed any better.

Their poor performance is especially disappointing given how many people – with allergies, asthma or respiratory issues – rely on air purifiers to improve their quality of life by filtering out dust, pollen, smoke and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) at home. 

In a time of horrendous bushfires and COVID-19, it's even more vital these products do the job they claim to do.

These ones don't even get close, which is why CHOICE added the worst – the GreenTech PureAir 500 – to the 2020 Shonky Hall Of Fame.

CHOICE's air purifier expert Chris Barnes offers a scathing appraisal of the three bottom performers: "These models performed badly in all aspects. I would certainly avoid these duds. In fact, the GreenTech models performed so poorly that we wondered if they were working at all, but as far as we can tell they were operating normally," he says.

Thankfully, Chris and other experts found some very good air purifiers that do what people pay for – see our air purifier reviews. Just don't count on these three models to extract anything except the money from your wallet.

The worst performing air purifier

GreenTechPureAirRoomGTEPA-500.01

The PureAir 500. Spoiler: it's terrible.

GreenTech PureAir 500

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 20%
  • Performance score: 7%
  • Price: $179

Our testers were blown away by just how bad this unit rated. Yes, it's the cheapest model in our current test group at $179, but that's no excuse for such a shoddy performance. By comparison, a model from another brand cost less than $100 more but rated a lot, lot better.  

The PureAir 500 scored a dismal 7% for dust performance and 5% for smoke performance. Its overall Expert Rating would have been even lower, except it managed to score 50% in our 'ease of use' test. 

The unit also had very poor comparative energy efficiency and was very noisy when operated on the low setting, so it's a fail all round.

The second-worst performing air purifier

GreenTechPureAirGTEPA-3000.01

The GreenTech PureAir 3000 – also terrible.

GreenTech PureAir 3000

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 25%
  • Performance score: 10%
  • Price: $889

Costing nearly five times as much as the PureAir 500 model, you'd expect at least a notable improvement in performance, right? 

Sadly, this unit – the second most expensive in the whole test – 'purified' just as poorly as its cheaper cousin with the same low, low scores for overall filter performance, dust and smoke. 

It did rate marginally better for 'ease of use', which bumped its Expert Rating up to a staggering 25% overall. It also has five fan settings (compared to the PureAir 500's one), but it's still noisy to run on the lowest setting. Avoid.

The third-worst performing air purifier

Hextio H 100

The Radic8 Hextio H-100: barely better than the bottom two performers.

Radic8 Hextio H-100

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 27%
  • Performance score: 8%
  • Price: $499

Although it won't burn quite as big a hole in your wallet as the GreenTech Pure Air 3000, this $499 Radic8 air purifier won't do much in the way of purifying the air in your house, either. 

While it scored a whisker more overall than the Pure Air 3000, it scored worse for overall performance and dust performance. It's also very noisy when operating on its lowest setting, so it'll keep you awake at night – and not just because you're wondering whether you've wasted 500 of your hard-earned dollars by buying this dud. 

And then there's the annual cost of replacing the filters: $221. That's more than just about every other air purifier we tested – even the top-performing models that our experts recommend. 

Our advice? Avoid this one. Check out our air purifier reviews and pick up a model that actually does what it says on the packaging. 

What to look for in an air purifier

CHOICE household expert Chris Barnes shares tips on what to look for in an air purifier.

We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE