Air Purifier vs. Humidifier: Head-to-Head Comparison & Purchase Tips


If you are puzzled by "Which is better, air purifier or humidifier?" or if you are confused by the two stuff, you are not alone! We have summarized everything about air purifier vs. humidifier, helping you pick the ideal one based on your specific needs!

Here we GO! 😊

Blog Contents:
#1. Differences of Air Purifier & Humidifier
#2. How Does an Air Purifier Work
#3. How Does a Humidifier Work
#4. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier (Table)
#5. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Sinus
#6. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Asthma
#7. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Hay Fever
#8. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Babies
#9. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Dogs/Cats
#10. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier FAQ Part

#1. What Are the Differences Between Air Purifier and Humidifier

Air purifiers and humidifiers have different purposes and different working mechanism.

Air purifiers are designed to clean particles, contaminants, smells, VOCs in the air and offer clean, fresh air.

Humidifiers are built to increase the humidity in the air, making the air much moister.

Both of them can improve the air for your health

But not in the same way.

#2. How Does an Air Purifier Work

The core of an air cleaner is the filter, especially for those HEPA air purifiers.

The air purification device works by dragging the outside dirty air into the device with the motor, and then the outside air enters the filter. Dust, dust mites, pet fur/dander, pollen and other impurities & contaminants are purified by the filter.

If the filter of the air cleaner contains the activated carbon or cold catalyst, smells, odors and VOCs or chemical smells will be adsorbed too.

The purified, filtered and clean air will be delivered from the air outlet. You can feel the breeze since the built-in fan will keep rotating.

Take Purivortex V3 as an example. It is equipped with a 4-layer filtration system, including the washable fabric prefilter, the H13 true HEPA filter, the activated carbon filter and the cold catalyst filter, which is able to block all particles down to 0.3 microns, and adsorb odors.

Watch the video below to see how this large room air purifier works in real action.

#3. How Does a Humidifier Work

A humidifier is commonly seen as an evaporative humidifier. A reservoir holds the cold water and dispenses the water into a basin. A wicking filter adsorbs the water from the basin and then disperses the water vapor through your room, helping increase the humidity level.

So, is air purifier better than humidifier or is humidifier the same as air purifier?

Air purifiers and humidifiers are totally 2 difference devices and improve the air in 2 different ways.

It doesn't mean that air purifiers are better than humidifiers. It depends on your own specific needs. Keep scrolling down for the comparison table for more details.

#4. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier Comparison Table


Air Purifiers


Purify the Air



Humidify the Air



When to Use


When Heating Is On
When the Weather Is Dry


Replace Filters

Replace the Humidifying Filters and Descale the Water Tank

If you don't know which one is better, air purifier or humidifier, get the ideal with the below purchase tips and select the best one within seconds!

#5. Air Humidifier vs. Air Purifier for Sinus

If your sinus is caused by pollen and other particles, air purifiers with HEPA filter will help release your sinus symptoms.

Fine particles and pollutants in the air can irritate your nose and trigger your sinus, resulting in nasal congestions.

Air cleaners function by removing both large and micro-particles and pollutants, preventing them from entering your throat and lung, which relieves your nasal congestion.

If your nasal congestion or cough is caused by dry air, a humidifier would be the better choice to relieve your respiratory problems.

Golden rule: Air purifier or humidifier for cough, sinus, stuffy nose or COPD? Get air purifiers if caused by particles and pollutants. Opt to humidifiers if caused by dry air, especially when the heating is on in winter.

#6. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Asthma

Asthma allergens that are commonly seen your home may include hay fever, dust, dust mites, mold, pet fur or pet dander, smoke, smog, wood dust, etc.

When inhaling these allergens, your immune system reacts to these substances, which triggers allergic reactions.

So, what's better, humidifier or air purifier for asthma?

If your asthma is triggered by particles and VOCs, a home air purifier is the best solution.

If your asthma is related to dry air, a humidifier is the way you should go. But, there are cautions when using a humidifier to reduce your asthma reaction.

Humidifiers can worsen asthma if they run continuously or too high, making the air too humid.

If you fill the humidifier with tap water, airborne minerals from water may irritate your lungs, worsening your asthma.

If you don't clean the humidifier regularly and properly, the humidifier will harvest bacteria and fungi which will make asthma worse.

Golden rule: after balancing the function of air purifiers and humidifiers, air cleaners are the best choice for asthma.

#7. Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Allergies or Hay Fever

Hay fever is also an allergic response causing itchy, watery eyes, sneezing. It is often caused by grass pollen, ragweed pollen, dust mites, cockroach droppings, dander or fur from pets.

Besides the above allergens, other common allergy triggers include dust mites, mold, dust and other ultrafine particles & pollutants.

When it comes to airborne allergens, air purifiers for allergies are undoubtedly the best and most effect choice, as they are capable of keeping all allergens, contaminants and particles at bay.

Humidifiers may help reduce your allergy symptoms caused by inflammation. However, the extra humidity can also create a breeding ground for dust mites, mold and mildew.

Golden rule: When comparing the two devices to combat hay fever or allergic rhinitis, air purifiers win this game.

Check this post for more information about air purifiers for hay fever. This post is created by Penny York, an editor with over 10 years of experience in home gadgets.

#8. Room Air Purifier Versus Humidifier for Babies

Both of room air purifiers and humidifiers are beneficial for babies' health.

Air purifiers for newborns can help your baby breathe cleaner and healthier air while improving their quality of sleep.

Air purifiers filter out all indoor air pollutants and particles that lead to stuffy, congested noses, itchy throats, watery eyes, coughing, etc. and offer truly fresh, clean air for your baby's health.

Humidifiers are the protection from dry air, especially in the chilly winter months. And this type of devices also keeps dry skin from your baby, helping your baby sleep better.

Golden rule: air purifiers and humidifiers are both necessary and indispensable for your baby's health and for pregnancy.

#9. Home Air Purifier vs. Humidifier for Dogs/Cats

If you have cute dogs and cats but are allergic to pet fur and dander, air purifiers for pet are a must.

The true HEPA filter of the air cleaner drags the dirty air full of pet fur and dander and traps the contaminants & particles (pet fur & dander, dust mites, etc.) and then delivers clean air.

Humidifiers, on the other hand, can only increase the humidity to your house but can do nothing about removing hair and dander from pets.

Golden rules: Air purifiers are the winner when it comes to removing pet hair and dander.

#10. Air Purifier & Humidifier Hottest FAQs

Hey, my dear readers. It's time to share your questions and insights with me in this FAQ list! I am really keen to see your feedback of this article! 😊

1. If I have sinus problem and eye itch which should I buy, air purifier vs. humidifier?

If you have sinus problems and eye itch, sore throat or eczema, an air purifier would be a better choice, since it can remove all allergens that may trigger your sinus, while ensuring you breathe clean air.

2. Anyone know if a humidifier or air purifier would help with sleep & morning congestion?

Both air purifiers and humidifiers would help with sleep and morning congestion.

Allergen-free and dust-free air will improve your sleep quality and sinus congestion. The suitable humidity will ease your sinus congestions and protect you from dry air when your turn on the humidifier.

3. Can air purifiers and humidifiers work together?

Can I turn on humidifier and air purifier in the same room?

Can I place an air purifier and a humidifier next to each other on a nightstand next to my bed, or should I separate them?

Do a humidifier and an air purifier running at the same time cancel each other out?

If I ran a humidifier and a dehumidifier simultaneously, would it clean the air in my house?

Yes, you can run both air purifiers and humidifiers simultaneously at the same room. However, you will need to keep them at least 2-3 feet apart when putting them in the same room.

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