Ozone Air Purifiers: What to Know Before You Buy

air filter for pet allergies from dogs

By Becky Dotson

12 min read

When you hear the word ozone, you probably think of the layer in the sky above us that helps filter out ultraviolet radiation from the sun. But it is also a molecule used in some air purifiers because it effectively reacts with and eliminates strong odors and airborne chemicals. It can naturally turn a bad smell into a good one. But before you buy an air purifier or generator that uses ozone technology – you should understand what you’re considering and know the dangers.

Air Purifier with Ozone

Better Smelling Air with Ozone – But is it Safe?

Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. It is an unstable molecule that reacts with anything it bumps into. The chemical effectively removes odors and kills mold and mildew because it can react with and break down anything it comes in contact with. Unfortunately, the very thing that makes ozone so effective at removing odors also makes it dangerous. If it is present in high enough concentrations to eliminate bad smells, then it is also reacting with your skin, eyes, lungs, and other exposed areas and causing harm. It has a pleasant smell, but if you can smell it, it reacts with you and can cause long-term damage to your respiratory system.

What are the Side Effects of Ozone Exposure?

If it’s inhaled, ozone reacts with compounds in your body and can harm your lungs. Even small amounts of ozone can cause coughing, shortness of breath, chest pains, and throat irritation. Ozone can inflame and damage your airway, make your lungs more susceptible to infection and aggravate existing breathing and lung conditions. It can even increase asthma attacks and cause Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease or COPD. Everyone is at risk, but anyone with asthma or certain vitamin deficiencies, children or older adults has a greater chance of exposure problems. The longer you are exposed to ozone, the worse the damage to your respiratory system will be.

When Buying an Air Purifier, What do I Need to Look Out for to Avoid Ozone?

Air purifiers are great ways to rid your home of all kinds of airborne particles – everything from mold to pet dander to pollen. You should always look for an air purifier that uses a HEPA filter. HEPA filters take the smallest of particles out of the air and keep them from reproducing. A high-performing purifier can help improve the air quality in your home for you, your family, and your pets.

When looking for an air purifier for your home or office, steer clear of HEPA/ionic air purifiers with built-in ozone-generating devices. These purifiers use electrostatic plates as their primary means of filtration and incorporate ozone to remove odors and freshen the air. If the purifier uses ozone technology, it will often be displayed prominently on the box or in the description. Still, it’s essential to read as much information as you can about the product to ensure you aren’t getting one that uses ozone. Manufacturers will sometimes use words or phrases like “activated oxygen,” “super oxygenated,” or “energized oxygen” in their description to imply healthy oxygen. Still, they are, in essence, just other ways to describe ozone technology.

In searching for ways to clean up your air and reduce odors in your home, you may also find consumer-grade personal ozone generators for sale. They produce relatively high concentrations of ozone but do not have any other particle filtration functions. They are used to remove odors but are entirely ineffective at removing airborne allergens like mold and pollen. The word ‘generator’ in the name will often help tip you off that the equipment uses ozone technology.

There are commercial grade ozone generators that perform the same function as a consumer-grade personal ozone generator. These should only be used by trained professionals and only in specific settings. Commercial grade ozone generators produce such a high ozone concentration. They should be used under strict guidelines and never in a room where a person is present.
If you’re in the market for a quality air purifier, here are some we recommend for safely ridding your home of airborne irritants and odors. None of them use ozone technology.

Air Purifiers That are Safe for Large Rooms in Your Home

Alen BreatheSmart
45i with Carbon
Air Purifier

$429 Buy on Amazon
IQAir
Health Pro
Air Purifier

$899 Buy on Amazon
Austin Air
Healthmate Plus
Air Purifier

$715 Buy on Amazon
Airpura V600
Specific Chemicals
Air Purifier

$900 Buy on Amazon
Blueair
Classic 605
Air Purifier

$498 Buy on Amazon

Summary Checklist

What to Keep in Mind:

  • Steer clear of air purifiers using ozone technology
  • Breathing ozone, even in small quantities, can cause health issues
  • Professionals in controlled settings should only use ozone technology

Everyone wants the air in their home to smell as good as possible. Pets, cigarettes, and even cooking certain foods like fish can cause odors we want to get rid of. But don’t invest in an air purifier that will effectively get rid of the smells but damage your respiratory system in the process. Ozone is naturally occurring and has a naturally fresh scent, but it shouldn’t be used in residential settings for general air purification.