Air Purifier Vs Humidifier: What’s the Difference

Some people prefer to use air purifiers while some others prefer to use humidifiers. Well, many people tend to use them both. While there’s an eternal debate regarding the better choice among the two, it is important to note that they both have their unique features and formulas to improve indoor air quality.

Hence, one must be fully aware of the functions, types, and the way each of them affects people with specific needs, to understand and compare the features between the two.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air Purifier Working Principle

Many people get confused between an air purifier and a humidifier. The principal purpose of an air purifier is to improve the quality of indoor air by filtering and eliminating an array of airborne contaminants. It also offers to remove odors or bad smells from the air.

To being with, the air purifier sucks the air from your indoor atmosphere into the machine through an array of filters, before releasing the fresh air into the room. It traps dust, smoke, allergens, etc to purify the air and mark safe for people, especially children and the elderly, to breathe.

HEPA air purifiers are entirely safe to use at homes as they do not release ozone into the air. Other air filtration techniques used in residential air purifiers include adsorption carbon filter, ionization, electrostatic precipitation, Photo catalytic oxidation, etc. Air Purifiers also available in two forms: portable and in-house air purification systems.

Also Read: Reasons To Have An Air Purifier At Home

Types of Air Purifiers

Air Purifier Vs Humidifier: What's the Difference 1

Let’s talk about the different types of air purifiers that are available in the market.

1. HEPA Filtration: This refers to a highly dense filtration system that traps airborne contaminations and also removes all kinds of pollutants such as allergens, particulate matter, dust, pet dander, smoke, etc. A HEPA filter also offers 99.97% of filtration, making it the safest to choose amongst others.

2. Carbon Filtration: A carbon filter refers to the process of filtration that contains a special form of activated carbon to trap gases, odors, chemicals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Carbon filter also helps to circulate fresh air with reduced toxic substances and keeps the home smelling fresh.

3. Negative Ionization: This air cleaning technology releases charged ions into the air that clasps onto contaminants. Moreover, this process weights particles down to capture them more easily through internal air filters.

4. Ultraviolet Light: Ultraviolet Light or UV is a special light that kills airborne bacteria and viruses, by damaging their molecular DNA structure. Whenever air passes through the air purifier, the UV light annihilates micro-organisms so that the air flowing back into the room is purified and clean.

Also Read:

How Do Humidifiers Work?

How Do Humidifiers Work

A humidifier adds moisture into the air by pumping a generous amount of water vapor which then is converted into cool mists, before expelling air into the room. Most of the humidifiers available in the market have a humidistat to control the desired humidity levels. To keep a humidifier running, you must keep adding water to its reservoir which then converts into a fine mist.

It is suggested that the humidity levels in the house should ideally be between 30-60 percent. A below 30% of humidity level can lead to an unhealthy environment. Moreover, excessive moisture in the air can also encourage the growth of mildew, mold, and dust mites.

There are many types of humidifiers, however, steam-based humidifiers generally produce warm visible mist by boiling the water using a heating element.

Types Of Humidifier

Types Of Humidifier

There are three types of humidifiers come in three common types:

1. Warm Mist: Warm mist humidifiers usually heat water with a simple boiling process to produce a warm mist that is easily visible and can be felt in the air.

2. Cool Mist: Cool mist humidifiers contain a particular filter that traps sediment, minerals, and other impurities while delivering a cool invisible mist that eventually evaporates into the air.

3. Ultrasonic: Ultrasonic humidifiers use a metal diaphragm that vibrates at an ultrasonic frequency, which in return creates water droplets that are pushed back into the air with a fan to create a cool mist.

Air Purifier Vs Humidifiers: Which Is Better For

1. Which Is Better For Allergic People?

Although air purifiers trap airborne allergens into their filters which is a huge benefit for allergic people, humidifiers cannot filter the air. Moreover, excess moisture can also tend to make the air worse.

2. Which Is Better For Asthmatic Patients?

Both air purifiers and humidifiers are great for people suffering from asthma, however, people mostly prefer air purifiers because of their ability to remove airborne contaminants.

3. Which Is Better For Babies?

An air purifier is undoubtedly the better option for babies since it provides contaminant-free air, whereas, on the other hand, a humidifier moisturizes dry air to make it physically pleasant for babies.


Air purifiers and humidifiers both treat the indoor air that we breathe in different ways. Air purifiers pull small particles from the air to help filter allergens, dust mites, pollens, mold spores, etc. Humidifiers, on the other hand, do not specifically clean the air. Humidifiers can help reduce nose bleeds caused due to dry weather. A humidifier also helps relieve nose block, itchy throat, dry skin, and several others.

Hence, to put an end to this eternal debate, let us conclude by saying that considering all the above-mentioned points and comparisons, it is clear that an air purifier is more beneficial to health than a humidifier.

Samarth is a Mechanical engineer from IIT Bombay with deep understanding of machines and the overall market. Samarth has been building machine from over 8 years so all his reviews on November Culture are first hand expert review. He co founded November Culture along with few other industry experts to provide reviews of daily products.

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