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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: 18 February 2022

Need to know

  • Our experts test 40 air purifiers from brands including Samsung, Dyson, Kmart, Ikea, Breville and more to help you decide which is the best to buy
  • We give each air purifier scores based on how well they remove dust, smoke and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, as well as how energy efficient and quiet they are, and how easy they are to use
  • Consider joining CHOICE to see our full reviews and the best performers

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. 

During the time of COVID-19, some people are also turning to air purifiers as a way to help keep the air in their homes clear of germs (a job air purifiers can indeed do, although with limitations – find out more on how effective air purifiers are against viruses and germs).

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," he says. "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."

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: $129

Our testers were blown away by just how bad this unit rated. True, it's the one of the cheapest models we tested at $129, but that's no excuse for such a shoddy performance.

By comparison, a Kmart Anko air purifier we tested has a similar price tag of $159 but scores significantly higher at 66% (although it still not recommended by our CHOICE experts).

The PureAir 500 scored a dismal seven percent for dust performance and five percent for smoke performance. Its overall CHOICE 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: $569

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

Sadly, this unit '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 with 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: $630

Although it won't burn quite as big a hole in your wallet as the GreenTech Pure Air 3000, this $630 Radic8 air purifier won't do much in the way of purifying the air in your house either. 

Although it scored a whisker higher 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 yearly 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.