Differences Between an Air Purifier and an Air Cleaner
Learn the Differences Between Air Purifiers and Air Cleaners
By Denny Bulcao
12 min read
Air quality has become a major concern in recent years, especially with the rise of air pollution. As a result, many people have turned to air purifiers and air cleaners to improve the purification of the air quality in their homes. Although these two terms are often used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. Understanding the fundamental differences between air purifiers and air cleaners is crucial if you want to make an informed decision about which one of these products is right for you, especially if you have hay fever or an HVAC system.
Air Purifiers: Removing Impurities from the Air
Air purifiers are designed for the purification of air. They use advanced technology to capture and eliminate pollutants such as smoke, dust, pet dander, and other harmful particles that can cause respiratory problems or allergies. Some of the most common types of air purifiers include HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, UV-C lights, and ionizers. Air purifiers can be integrated with HVAC systems to improve indoor air quality. Ozone generators are also used for air purification, but they should be used with caution as they can produce harmful byproducts. Those who suffer from hay fever can benefit greatly from using air purifiers to reduce the amount of allergens in the air.
HEPA filters are considered one of the most effective types of air purifiers because they can capture up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. Activated carbon filters work by absorbing odors and chemicals from the air, including cigarette smoke. UV-C lights use ultraviolet radiation to kill bacteria and viruses in the air, while photocatalysis products can also be used to remove harmful substances such as ozone. Ionizers release negatively charged ions that attach themselves to positively charged particles in the air making them heavy enough to fall out of circulation.
Air Cleaners: Removing Larger Particles from the Air
On the other hand, air cleaners are designed to remove larger particles from the air such as dust, pollen, and other allergens that can trigger asthma attacks or allergic reactions. However, some air cleaners may produce ozone, which can be a problem for people with respiratory issues. To address this problem, newer air cleaners use photocatalysis and ultraviolet light to neutralize pollutants without producing harmful ozone. They typically use a filter system consisting of pre-filters followed by HEPA filters or electrostatic precipitators.
Pre-filters trap larger particles like pet hair or lint while HEPA filters capture smaller particles like pollen or dust mites. Electrostatic precipitators use an electric charge to attract and trap particles in the air. However, a problem with these methods is that they may not eliminate all harmful pollutants. Photocatalysis and ozone are additional technologies that can be used to address this issue.
Which One is Right for You?
The choice between an air purifier and an air cleaner depends on your specific needs. If you suffer from allergies or asthma, an air purifier might be the better option as it can remove smaller particles that can cause respiratory issues. However, if you are more concerned about larger particles like dust or pet hair, then an air cleaner might be a better fit. Additionally, if you are looking for an option that can also remove ozone, make sure to check the specifications of the device before making a purchase.
Differences Between Air Cleaners and Air Purifiers
Air cleaners and air purifiers are two devices that are commonly used to improve indoor air quality. While both of these devices have the same goal, there are some key differences between them. Air cleaners are designed to remove large particles from the air, while air purifiers are specifically designed to eliminate ozone and other harmful pollutants. In this section, we will explore the main differences between air cleaners and air purifiers in terms of their ability to remove large particles and ozone.
One of the main differences between air cleaners and air purifiers is their filtration capabilities. Air cleaners are designed to remove larger particles from the air such as pet dander, dust, and pollen. They typically use filters such as activated carbon or pre-filters to trap these particles. On the other hand, air purifiers can remove smaller particles from the air such as smoke, mold spores, bacteria, and viruses. Many air purifiers use HEPA filters which can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. However, it is important to note that some air purifiers may emit ozone as a byproduct, which can be harmful to human health if not used properly.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are different types of air purifiers available on the market today. One type is an ionic air purifier which uses electrostatic charges to remove particles from the air. These types of purifiers work by releasing negatively charged ions into the environment which attach themselves to positively charged particles in the room such as dust and allergens. This causes these particles to become heavier than normal so they fall out of circulation and settle on surfaces where they can be easily removed through cleaning. Some ionic air purifiers also produce ozone, a gas that can help eliminate odors and kill bacteria in the air.
Another type of air purifier is a UV-C light purifier which uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses in the surrounding area. These types of units are often used in hospitals or other medical facilities where there is a high risk of infection.
Which One Should You Choose?
When it comes down to it, choosing between an air cleaner or an air purifier depends on your specific needs. If you suffer from allergies or asthma then an air purifier may be a better choice for you since they can remove smaller allergens such as dust mites and mold spores. On the other hand, if you have pets or smoke in your home, then an air cleaner may be a better choice since they are designed to remove larger particles from the air.
Do Air Purifiers Really Work?
Yes, air purifiers can make a difference in indoor air quality. In fact, studies have shown that using an air purifier can reduce the number of airborne particles in a room by up to 99%. However, it’s important to note that not all air purifiers are created equal. It’s important to choose a unit with a HEPA filter which has been certified by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) as being able to capture 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Benefits of Using an Air Purifier or an Air Cleaner
Air purifiers and air cleaners have become increasingly popular in recent years due to their ability to improve indoor air quality. These devices are designed to remove indoor air pollutants such as dust, pollen, and pet dander, which can cause respiratory problems. In this section, we will discuss the benefits of using an air purifier or an air cleaner.
Clean Air with Air Purifiers
Air purifiers work by filtering the air that passes through them. They use various methods such as HEPA filters, ionizers, and UV-C light to purify the air. HEPA filters trap harmful particles such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander which are larger particles, while also filtering smaller particles. Ionizers release negatively charged ions into the air that attach themselves to positively charged particles like allergens and bacteria, making them too heavy to remain airborne. UV-C light kills germs and viruses by breaking down their DNA structure.
Using an air purifier can improve indoor air quality significantly. According to a study conducted by NASA on houseplants’ ability to clean indoor air pollution, it was found that certain plants could remove up to 87% of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the atmosphere within 24 hours. However, not everyone has space for plants or wants the responsibility of maintaining them; this is where an air purifier comes in handy.
Air Filters Keep Indoor Air Pollution at Bay
One of the primary benefits of using an air cleaner is its ability to filter out harmful particles from the atmosphere. The device’s filter traps particulate matter such as fine dust particles that can cause respiratory problems like asthma attacks or allergies.
There are different types of filters available in the market today – mechanical filters like HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters capture small particles like smoke and pollen while activated carbon filters absorb odors from pets or cooking fumes.
Eliminating Cigarette Smoke with Ozone Generators
Ozone generators are another type of air cleaner that can eliminate cigarette smoke and other strong odors. They work by producing ozone, which is a highly reactive gas that oxidizes pollutants in the air, making them less harmful.
However, it is essential to note that ozone generators can be dangerous if used incorrectly. The EPA warns against using these devices in occupied spaces and recommends following manufacturer instructions carefully. Additionally, electronic air cleaners, ionic air purifiers, and air filters are effective alternatives for reducing indoor air pollutants.
How to Choose Between an Air Purifier and an Air Cleaner Based on Specific Needs and Preferences
Consider the Type of Pollutants You Want to Remove
When choosing between an air purifier and an air cleaner, it’s important to consider the specific types of pollutants you want to remove from your indoor air. Air purifiers are designed to filter out allergens like pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. These devices use HEPA filters that can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns in size with 99.97% efficiency. This makes them ideal for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.
On the other hand, air cleaners are better suited for removing larger particles like dust and pet hair. They use filters that can capture particles up to 10 microns in size, which means they’re not as effective at removing smaller allergens. Average size of allergy-producing pollen is 25 microns (one micron equals . 000039 inches), but some may be as small as 2.5 microns or as large as 200 microns. Since each plant species produces its own unique pollen, each grain can be identified.
Look at the Size of the Room
Another important factor to consider when choosing between an air purifier and an air cleaner is the size of the room where you’ll be using it. Air purifiers are designed for smaller rooms like bedrooms or home offices. Air purifiers typically have a coverage area of around 100-300 square feet, but some larger models can cover 750-1000 square feet.
Air cleaners, on the other hand, can handle larger spaces like living rooms or open-concept areas. They usually have a coverage area of around 500-800 square feet or more depending on their size and power.
Evaluate the Noise Level
Noise level is another consideration when choosing between an air purifier and an air cleaner. Air purifiers tend to be quieter than air cleaners because they use HEPA filters that don’t require as much fan power to circulate air through them.
If noise is a concern for you, look for an air purifier with a decibel rating below 50 dB(A). This is about as loud as a quiet conversation or background music and won’t disrupt your daily activities.
Understanding the Limitations of Each Type of Device in Terms of Air Quality Improvement
Air purifiers and air cleaners are both designed to improve the quality of indoor air. However, each device has its limitations in terms of the types of pollutants it can effectively remove. It is important to understand these limitations to choose the right device for your specific needs.
Air Purifiers: Effective Against Small Particles
Air purifiers use HEPA filters that can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, such as pollen, pet dander, and dust mites. These filters work by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps particles and prevents them from circulating in the air. However, air purifiers may not be effective against gases and odors since they do not have an activated carbon filter. Activated carbon filters work by adsorbing gases and odors onto their surface.
Air Cleaners: Suitable for Large Particles
Air cleaners use filters with higher MERV ratings that can capture larger particles such as mold spores, bacteria, and viruses. These filters work by trapping particles on their surface as air passes through them. However, air cleaners may not be as effective in removing smaller particles such as allergens since they do not have a HEPA filter.
Effectiveness Depends on Pollutant Levels
Both devices can improve indoor air quality but their effectiveness depends on the levels of pollutants present in the air. For example, if you live in an area with high levels of outdoor pollution or have pets at home, an air purifier may be more suitable since it can effectively remove small particles like pet dander or pollutants from outdoor sources like traffic exhaust. On the other hand, if you live in an area with high humidity levels or are concerned about mold growth, an air cleaner may be more appropriate since it can effectively remove larger particles like mold spores.
Suitability for Different Health Conditions
The choice between an air purifier and an air cleaner also depends on your health condition. Air purifiers are more suitable for people with allergies or asthma since they can effectively remove allergens and irritants from the air. Air cleaners may be better for those with respiratory issues since they can effectively remove larger particles like bacteria and viruses that can cause respiratory infections.
The Working Mechanism of Air Purifiers: Electronic vs. Filter-Based
Electronic air cleaners and filter-based purifiers are two popular types of air purifiers available in the market. While both work towards improving indoor air quality, they differ in their working mechanisms. In this section, we will discuss how electronic and filter-based air purifiers work.
Electronic Air Cleaners:
Electronic air cleaners use an electrical charge to trap particles in the air. These purifiers use a process called electrostatic precipitation to remove pollutants from the air. The device ionizes the air using an electrical charge, which charges the particles present in the air such as dust, pollen, or smoke. The charged particles then stick to a collector plate that has an opposite electrical charge. This method is highly effective at removing small particles from the air.
However, electronic air filters have some drawbacks too. They generate ozone as a byproduct of their operation which can be harmful to people with respiratory problems. Moreover, they produce electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that may interfere with other electronic devices. Despite their effectiveness in removing indoor air pollutants, it is important to consider the potential negative effects of using an air filter that generates ozone and EMFs.
Filter-Based Air Purifiers:
HEPA filters are highly effective at removing particles from the air and are one of the most common types of filters used in filter-based purifiers. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and these filters capture 99.97% of airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns such as pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and bacteria.
Another type of filter-based purifier is an electrostatic precipitator that uses an ionic charge to attract and trap particles on metal plates within the unit before releasing clean air back into your home environment.
The main advantage of filter-based purifiers, also known as electronic air cleaners, is that they do not produce any harmful byproducts like ozone or EMFs during their operation making them safe for people with respiratory issues or allergies.
Capturing Smaller Particles: How Effective Are Air Purifiers?
HEPA Filters: A Highly Efficient Way to Capture Airborne Particles
HEPA filters are the gold standard for capturing airborne particles. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and these filters are designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns with an efficiency rating of 99.97%. This means that HEPA filters can effectively capture large particles like dust and dust mites, as well as pollutants like bacteria and viruses.
One study found that using an air purifier with a HEPA filter reduced the concentration of airborne particulate matter by up to 60% in just one hour. Another study showed that using an air purifier with a HEPA filter could reduce the number of viable influenza viruses in the air by up to 80%.
It’s important to note that while HEPA filters are highly efficient at capturing smaller particles, they may not be as effective in removing larger particles like pet hair or pollen. In these cases, it may be helpful to choose an air purifier with additional filtration technologies such as activated carbon or pre-filters.
Photocatalysis: Breaking Down Organic Compounds and Eliminating Odors
Another technology used in some air purifiers is photocatalysis. This process involves using a catalyst (usually titanium dioxide) and UV light to break down organic compounds into harmless substances like water vapor and carbon dioxide. Photocatalysis can also eliminate odors by breaking down volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause unpleasant smells.
While photocatalysis can be effective at eliminating certain types of pollutants, it’s important to note that this technology is not effective against all types of contaminants. For example, photocatalysis is not effective at capturing or removing particulate matter from the air.
Choosing an Air Purifier with a High CADR
When choosing an air purifier, it’s important to look for one with a high CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). The CADR measures the volume of clean air that an air purifier can deliver per minute and is calculated based on the unit’s efficiency at removing three types of pollutants: tobacco smoke, pollen, and dust. A higher CADR means that the air purifier can remove pollutants from a larger area more quickly.
It’s also important to consider the size of the room where you plan to use the air purifier. Most manufacturers provide guidelines for the recommended room size for each model of air purifier. Choosing an air purifier that is appropriately sized for your space will ensure maximum effectiveness in removing pollutants from the air.
The Working Mechanism of Air Cleaners: Filtration Technology Explained
Filtration Technology Explained: The Working Mechanism of Air Cleaners
Air cleaners are essential devices that help to remove pollutants from the air, making it safe for human consumption. They use various filtration technologies to ensure that the air in a room is free of harmful particles such as dust, pollen, and smoke. In this article, we will discuss how air cleaners work and the different types of filters they use.
How Do Air Filters Work?
Air filters work by trapping pollutants as they pass through them. They have a mesh-like structure that allows air to pass through while capturing harmful particles. The most common type of filter used in air cleaners is a HEPA filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and these filters can capture up to 99.97% of airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns.
What Is A HEPA Filter?
A HEPA filter is made up of layers of fine mesh-like material that traps pollutants as they pass through it. These filters are highly effective at removing allergens such as pollen and dust mites from the air, making them ideal for people with allergies or respiratory problems.
What Do Air Filters Filter?
Air filters can remove various types of pollutants from the air, including:
How Does An Air Filter Work?
As mentioned earlier, an air filter works by trapping pollutants as they pass through it. When you turn on your air cleaner, it draws in polluted air from the room into its filter system. The filter captures the harmful particles while allowing clean air to pass back into the room.
Some air cleaners also use activated carbon filters alongside their HEPA filters. Carbon filters are designed to remove odors and chemicals from the air by absorbing them onto their surface area.
Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Device for Your Space
Room Size: Consider the Square Footage of Your Space
When choosing between an air purifier and an air cleaner, one of the most important factors to consider is the size of your room. Air purifiers are typically designed to clean smaller spaces, while air cleaners can handle larger areas. It’s essential to match the device’s capabilities with your room’s square footage to ensure it effectively removes pollutants.
If you have a small bedroom or office space, an air purifier may be sufficient. However, for more extensive living areas or commercial spaces, you’ll need an air cleaner that can handle a higher volume of air. Be sure to check the device’s specifications before purchasing and contact the manufacturer if you’re unsure about which product is right for your space.
Filter Type: Look for HEPA Filters in Air Purifiers and Activated Carbon Filters in Air Cleaners
Another critical factor when selecting an air purifier or cleaner is filter type. For example, HEPA filters are effective at trapping tiny particles like pollen and dust mites commonly found in homes. On the other hand, activated carbon filters work well at removing odors from pets, cooking, and smoke.
It’s essential to choose a device with the appropriate filter type based on your needs. If you suffer from allergies or asthma-like symptoms due to airborne particles such as pollen or mold spores, then a HEPA filter would be ideal for you. If there are lingering smells in your home from cooking or smoking cigarettes/cigars/pipes/hookahs/vapes/etc., then opt for an air cleaner with activated carbon filters.
Noise Level: Check Decibel Level Before Purchasing
The noise level produced by an air purifier or cleaner can impact its usability significantly. Some devices emit loud noises that can disrupt daily activities such as sleeping or working from home. When selecting a device, it’s crucial to check its decibel level beforehand and consider how it will affect your daily routine.
If you’re looking for an electronic air cleaner or air filter that won’t disrupt your sleep or work, then opt for one with a decibel level of 40 or below. However, if you don’t mind some background noise and need a more powerful device, then choose one with higher decibels. Ionic air purifiers can also be a great option for those looking for a quiet and efficient way to clean the air in their home or office.
Maintenance: Consider Cost and Frequency of Filter Replacements
Another essential factor to consider when choosing between an air purifier and an air cleaner is maintenance. Both devices require filter replacements periodically to maintain their effectiveness. It’s important to factor in the cost and frequency of filter replacements when selecting a product.
Typically, air purifiers require filter replacement every six months to one year, depending on usage. In contrast, air cleaners may last longer due to their larger filter capacity. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s recommendations before purchasing to ensure you can afford the device’s ongoing maintenance costs.
Price: Compare Different Products Before Buying
Finally, price is always a critical factor when making any purchase decision. When selecting an air purifier or cleaner, compare different products’ prices to find one that fits your budget while still meeting your needs.
Be sure not to sacrifice quality for price as cheaper options may not be as effective at removing pollutants from the air as more expensive ones. Look for products that offer good value for money by offering high-quality features at reasonable prices.
Room Size: Choosing the Right Air Purifier for Your Space
Choosing the Right Air Purifier for Your Space: Room Size Matters
An air purifier can be a valuable solution. However, choosing the right one for your space can make all the difference. One of the most critical factors to consider is room size. In this section, we’ll discuss how to select an air purifier based on the size of your room.
Small Rooms: Up to 300 Square Feet
For small rooms up to 300 square feet, a compact air purifier can do wonders. These units are typically affordable and portable, making them ideal for smaller spaces such as bedrooms or offices. Some models come equipped with HEPA filters that capture tiny particles like dust mites and mold spores. Others use activated carbon filters that absorb odors and gases.
One example of a small but mighty air purifier is the GermGuardian AC4825E. This unit features a True HEPA filter that captures 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns, including pet dander and pollen. It also has a charcoal filter that reduces common household odors from pets, smoking, and cooking.
Larger Rooms: Over 300 Square Feet
For larger rooms over 300 square feet, you’ll need a more powerful air purifier or multiple units placed strategically throughout the space. Look for models with higher CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) ratings to ensure they can handle larger volumes of air.
The Coway AP-1512HH Mighty Air Purifier is an excellent option for medium to large rooms up to 361 square feet in size. It features four-stage filtration with a pre-filter, True HEPA filter, activated carbon filter, and ionizer that work together to remove pollutants like dust and smoke from the air.
Another solution for improving indoor air quality throughout your home is by installing an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system that uses air purification technology. These systems can filter the air as it circulates through your home, removing pollutants like dust and mold spores.
One example of an HVAC system that incorporates air purification technology is the ActivePure Technology system. This system uses UV light and positively charged ions to destroy harmful viruses, bacteria, and gases in the air.
Avoid Ozone Generators
While some air purifiers use ozone generators to clean the air, it’s essential to avoid these units as they can produce harmful ozone gas. Ozone can irritate your lungs and worsen respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD.
Making an Informed Decision Between Air Purifiers and Air Cleaners
Helpful Air Purifiers and Better-Suited Air Cleaners
Air purifiers and air cleaners are two popular options. However, they serve different purposes, and choosing the right one for your needs can make a significant difference in the effectiveness of your efforts.
Air purifiers are designed to help people with allergies or respiratory issues by removing impurities from the air. They work by using filters to trap pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and other irritants that can trigger allergic reactions or asthma attacks. This makes them an excellent choice for those who suffer from allergies or have respiratory issues.
On the other hand, air cleaners are better suited for removing larger particles like dust and pet hair. They work by using electrostatic charges or ionizers to attract particles that are too large for traditional filters to capture effectively. This makes them ideal for homes with pets or children who create a lot of dust.
Consider Your Specific Problem
When deciding between an air purifier and an air cleaner, it’s important to consider the specific problem you’re trying to solve. If you have allergies or respiratory issues, then an air purifier is likely the best option for you. However, if you’re dealing with larger particles like dust and pet hair, then an air cleaner may be more effective.
It’s also essential to consider other factors such as room size and placement when choosing between these two devices. An air purifier is generally more effective in smaller spaces like bedrooms while an air cleaner may be better suited for larger areas like living rooms.
The ActivePure Technology System: A Helping Hand
If you’re looking for a device that can do both jobs effectively while also eliminating bacteria and viruses from the indoor environment, then consider investing in an ActivePure Technology system. This advanced technology uses a combination of UV light rays and photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) technology to eliminate contaminants from the air and surfaces.
The ActivePure Technology system is particularly helpful for those with respiratory issues, allergies, or other health concerns. It can also be useful in homes with pets or children who create a lot of dust. This technology is effective at removing harmful bacteria and viruses from the indoor environment, making it an excellent choice for those concerned about illness transmission.
Conclusion: Understanding the Difference Between Air Purifier and Air Cleaner
In conclusion, it is important to understand the key differences between air purifiers and air cleaners. While both devices aim to improve indoor air quality, they use different technologies and mechanisms to achieve this goal.
Air purifiers are electronic devices that use filters or electrostatic charges to capture pollutants and particles from the air. They are highly effective at removing allergens, dust, smoke, and other airborne contaminants. Some models also feature UV-C lights or ionizers to kill bacteria and viruses.
On the other hand, air cleaners are mechanical devices that rely on filtration technology to remove particulate matter from the air. They typically use HEPA filters or activated carbon filters to trap dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, and odors. They are ideal for people with allergies or respiratory problems who need a constant supply of clean air.
When choosing between an air purifier and an air cleaner, it is important to consider your specific needs and preferences. Factors such as room size, budget, noise level, maintenance requirements, and energy efficiency should be taken into account before making a decision.
It is also worth noting that while both devices can improve indoor air quality significantly, they have their limitations. Air purifiers may not be effective at capturing larger particles such as pet hair or pollen grains. Similarly, some types of air cleaners may not be able to eliminate chemical pollutants or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air.