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Bottom Line

The Blueair 503 is a solid performer capable of cleaning moderately large rooms, such as a living room. Though not inexpensive -- especially if you opt for the optional SmokeStop Filter (Est. $150) for better odor suppression -- both the purchase price and ongoing operating costs are lower than some other well-regarded air cleaners. The Blueair is both fast and effective, tests say. The five year warranty is another plus -- but you'll need to register (free) to get that and remember to change the filters as recommended.

ProsExceptionally quiet at low speed, Ability to clean air in large areas, Captures particles down to 0.1 micron, Energy Star-qualifiedConsNoisy at high speed, Filters must be changed every six months

Breaking it down

Performance

Noticeable improvement in air quality. The Blueair 503 is capable of filtering air from medium to large rooms, up to 580 square feet according to its AHAM rating, though some experts say that 400 square feet -- or the size of a typical living room is more realistic. Testing at TheSweethome.com revealed that the 503 was the fastest of any air cleaner tested, making it an especially good choice for busy spots. According to testers at one professional consumer organization, the Blueair 503 does an excellent job at removing dust, pollen and cigarette smoke at its highest setting, and a good job at the low setting. The best results in removing odors requires upgrading to the SmokeStop filters set, but with those in place, the 503 is competitive with the best air purifiers in that regard. Owners note that they notice a difference in allergy symptoms within hours of turning the unit on. The Blueair 503's filter is capable of removing 99.7 percent of particles down to 0.1 microns in size.

Ease of use

Easy to use, simple filter changes. The expert reviewer at AllergyBuyersClub.com give the Blueair 503 a perfect 5-star rating for ease of operation and filter changing. The filters do require replacing every six months, although a filter-change indicator lets owners know when it's time for a replacement and the task is said to be easy. This air purifier weighs about 35 pounds, but caster wheels make the Blueair 503 easier to move from room to room.

Noise

Low noise in most regards. In one professional test, the Blueair 503 gets only a fair rating for noise level at the highest speed setting, but an excellent score for noise at the low setting. However, we saw few complaints from owners about the noise levels, even at the highest settings. A few even say they find the noise Òsoothing,Ó more like white noise than an annoyance. As we see with any product that produces any sound at all, there are those who complain that it's too loud.

Cost of ownership

Filter changes every six months add up. The Blueair 503 is one of the more expensive room air purifiers available, although it costs less than some other premium models. It uses Blueair Particle Filters (Est. $80 per set) that must be changed every six months. This ongoing cost contributes to the overall cost of ownership -- and that goes up even more if you opt for the upgraded SmokeStop filters instead. The Blueair 503 is backed by a five-year warranty in case of defects or malfunctions, but you must register the air cleaner to qualify (free), and be able to prove that you've kept up with the filter replacement schedule, so hang on to your receipts.

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Blueair Replacement Particle Filter for Blueair 500/600 Series Air Purifiers
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Blueair Smokestop Filter for Blueair 500/600 Series Air Purifiers
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from Amazon.com
New: $179.95 $146.00   
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Average Customer Review:  

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Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

Blueair 503 Air purifier, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated

The Blueair 503 is one of the more than 25 room air purifiers tested by editors at ConsumerReports.org. Each model is evaluated for performance -- dust, pollen and smoke removal -- at low and high speeds, as well as noise levels. Room size and cost of ownership are also considered.

2. TheSweetHome.com

The Best Air Purifier, John Holecek, March 22, 2016

While the Blueair 503 is in the second rank of "Also Great" air purifiers here, John Holecek finds a number of positives. Cost is a concern, but performance is excellent and it's the fastest at clearing a room of allergens and other particles. As long as the premium price is not an obstacle, Holecek recommends the 503 to those who have "severe allergies to particle allergens or other health issues related to air quality." It's tested here with the optional SmokeStop filters.

3. AllergyBuyersClub.com

Blueair 503 Air Purifiers, Editors of AllergyBuyersClub.com, As of June 2016

The Blueair 503 earns an expert rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars at AllergyBuyersClub.com. Editors praise its quiet operation and ability to clean air in large rooms. In fact, they say the third speed setting is quiet enough to be used in a bedroom at night. The 503 earns a perfect 5-star score from users, but there are only a handful who weigh in.

4. Amazon.com

Blueair 503 HepaSilent Air-Purification System, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of June 2016

More than 80 owners contribute reviews of the Blueair 503 at Amazon.com, where it earns an overall rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. Owners say this air purifier is a great choice for larger rooms, and many have noted a definite difference in air quality, dust, dander and even pet odors. There are a few reports of durability issues, but those who donÕt experience that say itÕs a terrific product.

5. HomeDepot.com

Blueair 503 HEPA Silent Air Purifier, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of June 2016

Though many of the reviews here are drawn from the Blueair site, nonetheless HomeDepot.com hosts lots of feedback for the Blueair 503. Following about 50 reviews, it earns a rating of 4.8 stars and 96 percent say that they would recommend the 503 to a friend. Most say it lives up to its claims and does a great job of improving air quality.