How to Make a DIY Air Purifier

Today, we let you in on the trick of how to make a DIY air purifier. If you’re wondering if you can make your own air purifier, the answer is yes, you can. However, do not expect this to be a permanent solution.

Instead, you can use it in an emergency such as a sudden wildfire or a sudden increase in air pollutants. We’re calling it an emergency because it would take some time for an air purifier that you order online to arrive. Also, the efficiency will be lower than that of an actual air purifier.

Why You Would Need to Make Your Own Air Purifier

There are several reasons why you may be interested in making your air purifier:

You’re low on cash or saving to buy an air purifier

The best air purifiers are costly, with some costing upwards of $1,000. Even though you can still get a good air purifier for less than 200 dollars, sometimes you need to use the money for more pressing needs.

Making an air purifier yourself can cost less than 50 bucks, so this is one of the reasons why people explore the DIY option. Also, some of the things you need to make a DIY air purifier could be lying around in your home.

There’s a pollution emergency

Imagine a wildfire starting when you have no plans of buying a new air purifier or when you’re still waiting for your replacement filters to arrive. Quick thinking will point you towards making a DIY air purifier.

This temporary solution can save you lots of suffering while waiting for the real thing.

You like DIY projects

Another reason to want a DIY air purifier could be that you love DIY projects. You love engaging your brain with challenging tasks, and you enjoy it. Also, DIY projects offer an excellent way to let off steam and create tighter family and friendship bonds.

Low pollution levels in your neighbourhood

If you live in a leafy suburb, the chances are that pollution levels are low unless pollen season starts. However, you may want a simple solution to remove airborne particles that may cause allergies and other complications.

You can choose to buy the best air purifier in Canada or undertake a DIY project to make your own.

How to Make a DIY Air Purifier – Step by Step Guide

The procedure is pretty straightforward if you know how an air purifier works. How an air purifier works is that a motor rotates the fan at a pre-set speed, making it draw air into the unit.

As the air enters the air purifier, it passes through a pre-filter then through the primary filter (or filters) before going back into your indoor space. The filters quickly capture unwanted pollutants such as dust and pollen.

Since the process is continuous, you should see a change in the air quality within an hour.

We’ll follow the same principle to make a DIY air purifier.

First, instead of an air purifier fan, you’re going to need a box fan, preferably a square one. We recommend that you get a 20-inch box fan such as the one below:

How to Make a DIY Air Purifier - Lasko White Air Circulating Box Fan 20 Inch
Lasko White Air Circulating Box Fan 20 Inch

The next thing you need is a 20-inch filter like the one below. The thickness should be 2 inches for better performance.

Then, put the filter at the end of the box fan and tape them together using regular duct tape or packaging tape. As you do this, also make sure that the airflow arrow is pointing towards the fan.

How to Make a DIY Air Purifier - Filterbuy 20x20x2 Air Filter MERV 13
Filterbuy 20x20x2 Air Filter MERV 13

For the air purifier to work well, ensure that there is no space between the filter and the box fan as you put them together using the tape. Place the DIY air purifier with the filter facing away from the wall and plug in the fan to get going.

There you have it! You have made a DIY air purifier.

Alternatively, you can use a box fan and four filters as shown in the YouTube video below by This Old House:

Filters to Avoid While Making a DIY Air Purifier

For the best results, use a white felt filter and avoid the basic ones that look like they can allow fine particles to pass through. These are usually blue or green with nylon-like fibres and can only trap large particles

But how do you know that the filter is good?

Filters are rated using the MERV rating that starts from 1 to 16. The higher the MERV rating is, the better the air purifier will perform. We recommend that you pick a MERV 13 filter because anything lower will let tiny particles pass through.

Why DIY Air Purifiers Should Only be a Temporary Solution

DIY air purifiers are great for many reasons. However, it would be best not to permanently rely on them to solve indoor air pollution. Here’s why:

  • DIY air purifiers are not as efficient and effective as actual air purifiers with HEPA or True HEPA filters.
  • You need activated carbon to remove odours, gases, chemicals, and VOCs from the air. While you may include it in the setup, an activated carbon filter will hamper the DIY air purifier’s efficiency. It would help if you had an actual air purifier for this task.
  • You may damage the fan resulting in more expenses or replacing it. Remember, in this case, you will be unconventionally using the fan.


It’s pretty easy to make a DIY air purifier. It is also very cheap, and the air purifier can outperform some air purifiers. So, in the end, it can prove a worthwhile investment of your time and money.

However, do not expect a DIY air purifier to be better than an actual air purifier, especially one made by one of the leading manufacturers.

Therefore, you should use a DIY air purifier only temporarily when you’re financially down or when there’s an emergency. Unless you are doing it for fun and intend to use an actual air purifier more often.

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