Where To Buy An Air Purifier? – The Ultimate Showdown Of Online And Offline Platforms

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Amidst this critical time of social distancing due to the Covid-19 pandemic, stuffy and clogged up air would be the last thing homebodies want on Earth.

In order to bring that fresh biosphere back to your house to Netflix & Chill, you should go for an air purifier.

Online shopping must be the first idea popping up in your mind regarding where to buy air purifier, well social distancing after all, but in case you are becoming a desperate fish at home, going driving for a direct visual check wouldn’t seem too bad either.

That’s why we’re here, to give you some brief reviews about where to buy air purifier before you hop on your car.

Where To Buy An Air Purifier?

Online

Amazon & Best Buy

where to buy an air purifier
Amazon interface

The Titan of virtual retailers, Amazon, has established themselves as a leading trendsetter for e-retailers to walk into the real world with their acquisition of Whole Food (2017) via cashier-less AmazonGo franchise.

In the same fashion, Best Buy is deciphered to become one of Amazon’s flagship stores for providing frontline electronics retail presence, while Whole Food’s in charge of grocery.

where to buy an air purifier
Air Purifier Display Inside A Costco’s Warehouse

To put it simply, in the near future, you can find Amazon’s air purifiers in Best Buy’s pop-up stores (here’s a Best Buy walkthrough), which feature some of the most common makes of air purifiers such as Holmes, Honeywell, Alen (for Amazon) and Dyson, GermGuardian (for Best Buy).

If these items aren’t up to par upon delivery, remember 30 days are standard to Amazon for returns, while those of Best Buy fall short a half. Elite members at Best Buy would be granted twice the date and the return period for Elite Plus members lasts for 45 days.

If there’s no return midway and you’ve used up all warranties, Amazon won’t cover any extra term.

Pros
  • Time and stamina saving.
  • Reduce vehicles’ carbon footprint.
  • Read product reviews and manufacturer specs with minimal exertion.
  • Daily discount promos.
  • On-the-spot in-stock/out-of-stock check.
Cons
  • Out of direct contact and trials with the product.
  • Risk of identity theft.
  • Risk of fraud.
  • Textbook customer services maintained by bots.

Offline

Big box retailers have never died down, and in fact, via Ommichannels, they are faring strong and even ahead of online retailers in terms of shipping time and customer interaction.

Their early debut on e-commerce sites, coupling with the expertise of human staff and the birth of store-turn-warehouse shipping decks have made this growth in sales possible.

Here are some of the biggest giants at the scene!

Walmart

The godfather of all American retailers with roughly 4700 stores nationwide. Walking into a Walmart is likely to be the quickest way for you to find an air purifier, for which Honeywell and Holmes are currently their biggest partners.

If there is anything controversial along the long list of Walmart services for your purchased item, it must be about their warranty and protection plan. In fact, this extended warranty plan is a common fad that retailers apply to get some extra coin by entrusting all the mending tasks to a third-party company (Asurion in case of Walmart). Yet whether they want to repair something or not is left to their discretion.

Pros
  • There’s always a Walmart store at your disposal.
  • A 90-day return window.
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Cons
  • It’s such a hassle that any procedures from placing an order to filing a complaint takes too many steps.
  • Limited in-store tech support.
where to buy an air purifier
Air Purifier Display Inside A Costco’s Warehouse

Costco

If you sign up for a 120-buck Costco membership card, you get two special offers: Costco’s exclusive doubled manufacturer’s warranty term and two years of tech support. This service package will be put into good use if you need to maintain some good HEPA filter air purifiers and ionizers like BlueAir, Honeywell or GermGuardian.

As great as it may sound, you won’t be able to find some household names such as Dyson, Holmes, Hunter or Therapure Costco. This stems from their partnering filter system, where they only collaborate with a few brands for large bulks.

Pros
  • Elongated warranty.
  • Premium price bundles.
Cons
  • Limited portfolio.

Target

Honeywell, Dyson and GermGuardian air purifiers are top endorsed air purifiers at Target. Here’s a demo of how they’ll be displayed inside a Target store, in resemblance of coffee makers.

Imagine having spotted some defects with your freshly bought Honeywell HPA300, then by standard, it can be rendered within 90 days to one year, provided that you’ve got a receipt, gift receipt, packing slip or order detail page as proof. And you’ll get an extra 30-day return window on top of the standard term, if you’ve opened a Target RedCard.

In contrast to all these efforts to step up the game against Amazon and Walmart, and even to confront Costco head-by-head in terms of return perks, Target seems to be indifferent about extending warranty periods, except for that one SquareTrade electronic warranty delegation to Allstate company.

Pros
  • Longer return window than Walmart.
Cons
  • Limited tech savvy staff.
  • Rigid return procedures and documents.

The Home Depot

This is an ideal place to tour around for an Alen or Honeywell (check out some quick walk-through).

Now let’s go through Home Depot’s famous customer-centric return and warranty policies a little bit to see why it’s the best place if you want a DIY assembled air purifier.

Officially speaking, Home Depot adopts a generous 90 – 180-day return term for all of their merchandise, even if it’s already been used or open, as long as you keep the original packaging and receipt. And they also allow you to track your order in their system in the absence of the receipt.

But check if your air purifier is labeled major appliances, as for these items, you can only return within 48 hours upon delivery. To be able to verify whether your purifier is Returnable or not, please browse for the Home Depot online catalog.

As a guest, you could have claimed all the return perks above, but if you register a Home Depot account, you can take it to another level and sign up for extended warranty plans after that of the manufacturer has expired.

One caveat: Check if the plan is applied for in-home or in-store service.

Pros
  • Nice store display and visual effects.
  • Flexible case-by-case return situations.
  • Competence instructor staff.
Cons
  • Tedious shipping delivery and hotline.
  • Some Home Depot Approved lumbers aren’t fully licensed.

The Most common Air Purifier Brands

where to buy an air purifier
Best Places To Buy Air Purifiers

Holmes: Based in Massachusetts, The Holmes Group is the one to trust when it comes to desktop air purifiers. They grant you a 5-year warranty for their products, the best among low-range air purifier segments.

Honeywell: A Fortune 100 listed American multinational enterprise that developed powerful air purifiers sleek in design for different room capacities. Yet they emit bad odors and loud noise.

Alen: Based in Austin, Texas, Alen is the only company that grants buyers a lifetime warranty with excellent customer services. They targeted the middle class with their noise-proof non-True HEPA filter air purifiers.

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Dyson: Its headquarter is located in Britain. Dyson’s air purifiers are a bit fancy since they’re a hybrid child of a cooling fan and an air purifier with cool extensions such as high fan power or high-quality air filtration.

Blueair: Located in Sweden, Blueair is a powerhouse in China or India, where air pollution is bitterly severe. It’s kind of hard to find the middle ground for Blueair consumers, as their reviews are polar different, either love them or despise them. Yet their CARD and ACH fulfill the duties adequately.

GermGuardian: It’s an indispensable household item for the mass. GermGuardian has dedicated from True HEPA filters, Activated Carbon filters to UV Light filters in each of their models to produce fresh air for both you and your pets.

Where to buy air purifier? – A Showdown Between Online And Offline Channels

Price contrast

You should shuffle among three or four brick-and-mortar stores to be able to compare retailers’ margins. Or you can take the following comparison table as a reference (the full list of these products will be recommended in our Best Air Purifier 2020 review).

buy an air purifier
Price Slips Among Major Retailers

Winner: Amazon.

Time lag

You have to gauge the total course of suspended time from the second you see the targeted product until you’ve grabbed hold of it in order to work out your schedule and patience.

Prior to sealing a deal, it’s inevitable for customers 4.0 to browse through online product reviews via retailers’ sites, no matter where you may place that order.

Yet that’s just step one!

On both in-store or virtual platforms, it’s essential that you get to touch an air purifier first handedly so that you could get the faintest idea about its actual dimensions. Thus, the time you spend hop-on-hop-off between aisles and aisles are equal for both shopping experiences.

It comes down to the logistics process that will decide which platform has the edge!

When you make a purchase at a neighbour Walmart or Costco in person, you get to self-drive your air purifier back home within the same day. This is not worth mentioning, if a little song-and-dance in front of the counter is tolerable to you.

However, the story is a bit trickier regarding online shipping.

Winner: It can be counted as a draw, but if we’re being a bit nitpicking, then e-retailers may take the win since there’s no queuing.

Shipping policy

Let’s just say you’ve added an item to your cart.

Via e-retailers, goods would be shipped from fewer warehouses.

Amazon, for instance, operates their own fulfillment centers (75 in the U.S and 17 in the U.K) close to their customers. Their most popular policy must be the free two-day Prime subscription. Same-day and next-day delivery has only been pre-launched to Seattle and Los Angeles markets, so it’s not been popularized.

buy an air purifier
Walmart Density

Big box retail giants like Walmart or Target, on the other hand, can deliver groceries faster to you by turning their physical stores into shipping hubs. Within 5 miles of a Walmart, there’s two-thirds of the U.S population. As a result, you can always resort to a Walmart in your neighborhood.

In general, it may take 2-4 hours for an air purifier to make it to the nearest store once an order is placed before 2p.m. If you forgo the in-store pickup, your air purifier would have to go through some extra fraud check.

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Walmart also offers other pick-up services such as curbside pickup or car-loading if you can’t appoint a specific time lot beforehand. In addition, look out for the “Next-day Eligible” label next to your item if you want to get shipped the next day. 2 and 3-5 day delivery are also available, TMI.

Winner: Literally, it’s brick-and-mortar retailers. Yet, Walmart is notorious for having 8-10 day delayed shipping, so it’s a draw.

Customer Satisfaction

E-retailers like Amazon, for the most part, are dealers between customers and their outsourcing partners (original manufacturers) who you can dial in need of technical support.

Everything will sail through if they understand your English accent, but it can quickly take a heavy toll once the opposite happens or what you get in return are useless robotic emails and apologies after filing a complaint or refund claim.

But the worst demerits are non-existent live chats or call backs from Amazon’s help center to assist with customer issues. You have to navigate your own problems on the site, whether they’d pop up or not.

Walmart personnel or associates may be quick on response and dedicated, but it’s solely by chance. Not everyone would have enough expertise and work ethics to address your problems.

In fact, Walmart scored the second worst in the 2018-2019 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) for retail stores and websites in the supermarket department, while it’s Costco that secured the crown with a whopping score of 83 in the internet retailer category.

Walmart has lost their touch in recent years for having got some beefs with their consumers over deceptive product specs and promo codes on Walmart.com app, forceful self-checkout on customers, delayed shipping, search box incompetency or beaten-around-the-bush refund honor. Yet at least you get to talk with real people, not just Amazon bots.

Costco may come after Amazon in terms of quantity, but they place core values on personal and convenient services. It starts with their collaboration with Instacart for same-day delivery. That’s a smart move to get loyal customers to involve in bulk prices without arriving at Costco’s warehouses.

But what turned Costco the top dog in the online retail scene are their superior return policy and staff’s etiquettes.

An used grill years ago? No problem! You can return it.

And they even excelled in harmonizing value, technology and human edges to bring out the best customer experiences. You can track an order or file a complaint via the hot line and the website, and expect for the most amicable human staff to reach you soon.

Home Depot is another trusted cemented store that’s famous for their competent staff. They’re household appliance connoisseurs and they’ve done a decent job in giving advice on which air purifier to buy, how to assemble it or where to place an air purifier in your master room. This is indeed an ideal place to get educated about your incoming product.

Winner: Costco.

Bottom Line

With the final scores of 2 to 1, online retailers, especially Amazon, have been conferred the ultimate win, thanks to their well managed delivery system and pricing strategies.

On the other hand, big box retailers like Walmart or Costco are still faring well against their digital rivals, solely because there’s nothing that’s supposed to replace human interaction and flexibility.

Nowadays, the lines between online and offline retailers are strictly blurred because everyone has a website and a warehouse, so in the end, it’s absolutely up to your preferences to self-pick where to buy air purifier.

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