Difference between an Air Purifier and an Ionizer

If you have ever considered having cleaner air in your home, you have probably heard that you need an air purifier or an ionizer. You were then probably left scratching your head. What is the difference?

We are going to explore the difference between these two different methods of air purification.

An Air Purifier

When you are talking about an air purifier, many people default to picturing a HEPA air filter, whether they know that or not. HEPA air filters are the most common air filters out there. The operation of a HEPA air filter is pretty easy to understand.

The HEPA air filter sucks air from a room into the device, where it is pushed through a physical filter. While the air can travel through the HEPA filter, contaminants cannot. Once the contaminant free air is on the other side of the filter, it is pushed out of the unit and into the room.

As long as the machine is left on, it will continue to repeat the process so that the room air is clean.

A HEPA filter is capable of remove a large amount of impurities and contaminants from the air. That includes smoke, dust, and many other unseen threats.

By requiring air to be pulled into the HEPA filter in order for it to be cleaned, they are able to clean less space. The most a regular HEPA filter will purify is around 700 square feet. That is great for a room or two.

You can find HEPA air filters in a wide variety of designs. From wall mountable units to smaller, floor based units. They also are available in a wide range of colors and construction materials.

HEPA filters start off around $150. With that you get what is considered by a lot of consumers to be the more advanced purification technology. You will also need to buy new filters for the unit on an annual base. For areas with a lot of contaminants, you will need to replace the filter more often.

Despite a higher price, HEPA air filters have been the most popular on the market. In the early 2000’s, Ionizers received bad reviews based on new air filter testing standards and abilities.

Before the early 2000’s, ionizers were more popular. Sharper Image had released one of the most popular, and the futuristic look and operation made them attractive to consumers.

The Ionizer

Instead of using a filter, the ionizer combats contaminants from the air while they are still in the air. When turned on, the ionizer emits ions into the air. These ions go throughout a room and attach to any impurities. Once the two bond, the particles fall out of the air.

Most of the time, these particles then just fall to the floor. Eventually they need to be cleaned up. On the other hand, some units come with a collection plate that attracts the particles and can easily be cleaned.

While sitting on the floor, there is a chance that the particles can be kicked back up. This makes having a collection plate a smart move.

The most space that an ionizer can cover is around 3.500 square feet. That is larger than most people’s home. It is because the unit doesn’t rely on the air being sucked in.

Design wise, ionizers have a very futuristic looking. They either come in the form of a high tech looking blade or a small box. They are compact and can fit just about anywhere.

Out of the two types of air purifier we are discussing here, the ionizer is often the cheaper. A basic ionizer often starts out around $50. There is also very little maintenance involved in these kinds of units, the only exception being to clean the collection plate.

Making the decision of what unit is right for you is completely up to you. It depends on the type of area that you are trying to purify. For many people an ionizer is great if you want one unit to purify a large area. On the other hand, a HEPA filter is great if you can afford a unit for each room.


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