In this Air Purifier Wars comparison we have a matchup that puts two best selling air purifiers to the test: the Levoit Core 300 vs the GermGuardian AC4825E. These are two of the most popular air purifiers in the world and we’re excited to see which comes out on top.
We put them both through a rigorous series of tests over the period of a few weeks, including some all new tests, and the results were really interesting.
About the GermGuardian AC4825E
This GermGuardian air purifier is one of the AC4825 models. The E designates that it is black in color. The GermGuardian AC4825W is the same air purifier in white. It purifies air with a HEPA filter, a carbon filter and UV-C light and GermGuardian says it is effective for an up to 743 square foot room.
How do we know it’s popular? It has no less than 48,000 reviews on Amazon at the time of publishing this review and comparison! The GermGuardian is Energy Star certified.
About the Levoit Core 300
Like the GermGuardian Levoit kept costs down with the Core 300 by using a simple approach: offer an air purifier without smart features. Without the need for WiFi or other advanced electronics, an air purifier is far less expensive to manufacture meaning it can be sold for a much lower price.
Levoit does sell a Wifi-enabled, smart version called the Levoit Core 300S (see the difference between the Core 300 and Core 300S).
The Core 300 also has a HEPA filter and carbon filter and is available in black or white. Levoit says the ideal room size for the Core 300 is 219 square feet in size although they also suggest it can be used in larger rooms, too. It might be hard to find an air purifier with more reviews than the Core 300 on Amazon. The number of reviews on the product page at last check with over 85,000!
The Core 300 has several industry certifications including being CARB compliant, Energy Star certified, FCC certified, ETL listed, and CA PROP 65 certified.
GermGuardian AC4825E vs Levoit Core 300
These air purifiers are similar in many ways, which is why they’re a good fit for a head-to-head competition. For example, they’re both budget air purifiers and while the GermGuardian is currently a little less expensive than the Levoit Core 300, they’re both in a similar, very low price range.
They also have similar official room size recommendations, though here the Levoit is slightly higher. Finally, as mentioned above both air purifiers share the same basic air purification techniques using HEPA filters to catch particulates and carbon filters to eliminate smells, gases, and VOCs.
Although they have similar methods of purifying the air, our filtration testing showed there were some differences in the quality and speed of that air purification.
One standout difference is that the GermGuardian is the only one with a UV-C light that shines on the filter. The UV-C light can be turned on or off by pressing a button atop the unit.
We left it enabled and it didn’t seem to make much of a difference in our testing. Air purifiers with UV-C lights use them with the principle that UV-C light would kill any viruses or bacteria that are caught on the filter.
The first category we will look at is features. These are things that don’t necessarily help with air purification but are nice to have. As these are both budget air purifiers, there wasn’t all that much in the way of features.
They both have three fan speed settings, and they both have a change filter indicator. The Levoit is the only one with a timer, as well as a sleep mode.
We also include their size in the feature category, where smaller is always better, and here the Levoit is both shorter and has less cubic inches overall. So, the Levoit wins the features round.
The next round is filter quality. They both have HEPA filters rated at the exact same 99.97 percent at 0.3 microns. But, the Core 300 had more HEPA filter material than the GermGuardian did, meaning that you would need to replace the Levoit filter less often than the GermGuardian’s. However, in the end it kind of evens out since the replacement cost for the Levoit’s filter is about 40 percent more expensive.
They both have a carbon filter layer for filtering out odors, gases, and volatile organic compounds. How each air purifier goes about that layer of filtration varies.
The Levoit has actual pieces of activated charcoal, even if it’s not that much of it, whereas the GermGuardian just has a mesh layer that’s been treated with activated carbon. The treated approach is of a much lower quality, and it may come back to bite the GermGuardian in the VOC tests later on. We saw this exact same difference in the Air Purifier Wars comparison of the Coway Airmega AP-1512HH and Winix 5500-2.
In the image above you can the black media on the inside of the Levoit Core 300’s cylindrical filter and on the flat GermGuardian filter.
The Levoit was also the only one that offered other filter options. For example, you can buy an upgraded filter with the Core 300 if you’re more concerned with VOCs or odors. We bought one of those too, and we’ll reveal if there was any difference later in the VOC tests.
Airflow and noise tests
The next round is bench tests. This is where we measure things like airflow and noise level. The Levoit Core 300 had slightly more airflow on max power than the GermGuardian did.
|Levoit Core 300
|Fan Speed 1
|48db @ 38 cfm
|51db at 46 cfm
|Fan Speed 2
|54db @ 49 cfm
|59db @ 60 cfm
|Fan Speed 3
|65db @ 74 cfm
|65db @ 68 cfm
As far as noise goes we measured the same noise level on max power, meaning that the Levoit also had a slightly better airflow to noise ratio. But really, the scores for both airflow and noise were very similar, with a slight edge to the Levoit.
Let’s move on to the filtration tests. The first test we do is the fog test, where we release 12 seconds of fog into a ventless room and run the air purifier on max power. Here, performance was almost identical, reducing the 10 and 2.5 micron particles at almost the exact same speed, with a slight edge to the Levoit Core 300.
But, there was a significant difference with our VOC test. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds. We test this by pumping exact amounts of incense smoke into a sealed refrigerator and measuring how much and how quickly the air purifier can reduce the VOCs in a five-minute test on max power.
As far as our matchup goes, the Levoit was able to reduce the TVOCs by 55 percent in five minutes, whereas the GermGuardian was only able to reduce them by 12 percent in five minutes. Performance was similar with the formaldehyde test.
As mentioned before, we also tested the Levoit’s upgraded filter, which is sold separately, and it did about 25 percent better, getting 76 percent of the TVOCs in the five-minute test.
So here, we can see that the GermGuardian’s cheaper carbon filter really was noticeable, and the UV light doesn’t do much to help with this since it’s only supposed to kill live bacteria caught on the HEPA filter.
Winner: Levoit Core 300
After adding up all the scores from all the rounds, the Levoit Core 300 beat the GermGuardian 88-45, which is kind of a blowout.
Levoit Core 300
The Levoit Core 300 has better features, filters, performance, and it did better in the filtration test. So, it really is a no-brainer winner for this super budget price range.
|Energy Star Certified *
|Energy Star Room Size *
|Smoke Free CADR*
|Dust Free CADR*
|Pollen Free CADR*
|22” x 10.25” x 6.75”
|8.7” x 8.7” x 14.2”
|Where to Buy