Where Should You Put an Air Purifier in the Bedroom?

Most people spend around a third of their lives in their bedrooms (assuming you get around eight hours of sleep a night, which is one-third of the day). So, it stands to reason that placing an air purifier near your bed can give you uninterrupted access to clean air for hours at a time.

You may not be able to control the air pollution you are exposed to at the office or around town, but you do have the power to improve the air quality in your home and, more specifically, your bedroom. By adding an air purifier to your room, you can help reduce your overnight exposure to air pollution.

However, the exact placement of your air purifier can drastically impact its effectiveness. For example, hiding it behind a television or sticking it in a corner can reduce an air purifier’s efficiency by over 50%. Read on for our guide on the best placement for your bedroom air purifier, as well as some reasons you may choose to have an air purifier in your bedroom in the first place.

Where should you put an air purifier in your bedroom?

The best place to put an air purifier is somewhere in your breathing zone. The closer the unit is to your head, the shorter distance clean air has to travel before it reaches you. In the bedroom, this usually translates to putting the air purifier on a nightstand or small table close to the bed. 

Though your first instinct may be to place your air purifier on the floor, in a corner or somewhere hidden — especially if your unit does not fit in with your home decor — doing so may prevent it from cleaning the air effectively. 

When deciding where to place an air purifier, you need to consider two main things: the airflow in the room and the spaces in which you spend the most time. In the bedroom, the place where you spend the most time is probably your bed. As for airflow, HVAC vents and fans can cause horizontal air movement, and temperature changes can cause vertical air movement. 

Placing your air purifier around three feet off the ground can help it capture air that is flowing both vertically and horizontally. However, any walls, furniture or other objects near the unit can interfere with this airflow, decreasing the rate at which it takes in and cleans the air. This can reduce the volume of purified air that reaches your breathing zone over the course of the night. 

By placing the unit on a nightstand near your bed, away from any obstructions, you give it the best chance to remove airborne pollutants efficiently and deliver clean air directly to you while you sleep.

What should you avoid when placing an air purifier in your bedroom?

Finding the perfect place for your bedroom air purifier is all about creating a balance between noise level and efficiency. To get the most benefit from your air purifier, you should keep it on all the time, even while you sleep

While some people may like the white noise created by an air purifier, others may find that it makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. If putting your air purifier on your nightstand interrupts your sleep at night, you should try moving it a little farther away instead of decreasing the speed setting.

Avoid placing your air purifier in a corner or against the wall. That can block the air intake and reduce the rate at which the unit can take in and clean the air in the room. You should also make sure your air purifier is clear from upholstery, furniture, electronics or other objects that may impede airflow. If possible, try to clear around three feet of space around all sides of the unit.

An air purifier’s effectiveness depends on how often it can turn over the air in the entire room. By making it more difficult for the unit to take in air, you may decrease how thoroughly it captures airborne pollutants. Clearing a space around your air purifier makes it easier for it to do its job.

Note: Where you place your air purifier is important, but it is not the only thing that can affect your unit’s efficiency. Running your air purifier with old, clogged filters can reduce the rate at which air moves through the unit. To maintain maximum airflow, make sure to replace the filters regularly according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Why should you be concerned about air pollution in the bedroom?

Exposure to air pollution is always concerning because of its link to negative health effects, such as respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Airborne pollutants in the bedroom can pose a unique danger because of their ability to impact your quality of sleep (and their potential link to the development of sleep apnea).

  • Musty, stale air — caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and airborne pollutants — can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. It can also lead to next-day feelings of fatigue and decreased cognitive function
  • Mold, dust mites, pollen and other allergens in the air can also affect how well you sleep at night. Overnight exposure to these asthma and allergy triggers may lead to symptoms, such as nasal congestion, that can affect how well you sleep.
  • Particle pollution, including dust and pet dander, may also keep you from getting quality shut-eye at night. Exposure to airborne particulate matter can affect your respiratory health and lead to nighttime breathing issues that cause disrupted or restless sleep.

A good night’s sleep is essential for your mental and physical health. Struggles with insomnia or restless sleep can cause brain fog, fatigue and increased risk of injury. Chronic sleep issues may raise your risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other health problems. 

Placing an air purifier in your bedroom can significantly decrease the presence of airborne pollutants that may affect your sleep at night, especially if you put it on a nightstand near your headboard.

What are the most common pollutants found in the bedroom?

Bedrooms can be home to a variety of airborne pollutants, both particulate matter and toxic gases. Out of all the rooms in a home, bedrooms commonly contain the most fabrics — including mattresses, bedding, curtains, carpets and upholstered furniture. These places can accumulate pollutants quickly and reintroduce them into the air when disturbed by airflow or human activity.

Some of the most common types of particle pollution found in the bedroom include dust and dust mites, pet dander, mold spores, cockroaches and pollen. You can also find gaseous pollution, such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in the bedroom. Sources of VOCs can include off-gassing furniture and carpets, air fresheners and personal cosmetics products. 

For tips on spotting the different sources of pollution in your bedroom, check out our blog post on finding and mitigating pollutant sources.

Finding an air purifier that fits with your home decor

People often choose to place their air purifier in a corner or behind a television because it may clash with their bedroom decor. Not all air purifiers are aesthetically pleasing, and it is not easy (or fun) to sacrifice personal style for air quality. 

Earlier, we mentioned that the ideal place for an air purifier is on a nightstand, dresser or other surface that is in your breathing zone while you sleep. This placement is easiest when you have an air purifier that you actually like to see every day. The good news? There are air purifiers out there to fit with any home decor, as long as you know where to look

All Molekule air purifiers were designed with this specific concern in mind. Our founders knew that an air purifier is only at its most effective when it is placed in a central location. So, they devised a way to combat the urge to hide unsightly air purifiers away where airflow is weakest — drastically reducing the unit’s ability to clean the air in a room. This focus on human-centered design means that mindful consideration went into the aesthetic design of Molekule air purifiers, down to the tiniest detail, to ultimately maximize the benefits to air quality.

Note: You should also consider the size of your bedroom when shopping for a new air purifier. Different air purifier models are created for different size rooms, and you should be able to find the manufacturer’s recommendations on their website. You can also use an air purifier’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) number to help gauge how much air flows through the air purifier when it is in use. A lower CADR number may not be suitable for larger rooms.

Placing an air purifier in your bedroom can allow you to breathe clean air for hours at a time, which you may not be able to experience during the day. However, to get the most benefit to your indoor air quality, you should make sure that your air purifier is in an ideal spot, like your nightstand, while you sleep.

Written by

Catherine Poslusny is an experienced writer and content marketing strategist based in Oklahoma City. She has written for tech and healthcare brands since 2016, focusing on companies that prioritize healthcare accessibility and inclusivity. Catherine has written extensively about air quality, medical procedures, healthcare costs and insurance, and reproductive health. You can find her at catherinerosewrites.com.