Air Purifier vs. Ionizer: Which Is Better to Keep Your House Contaminant-Free


If you are concerned about indoor air quality, you may be going to shop for a purification device to purify the air.

I’m sure you’ve heard something called air purifiers and ionizers. What’s the difference between them? Which one should you pick? If you are puzzled by these two appliances, we are here to help. Keep reading!


1. What Is an Air Purifier

2. What Is an Ionizer

3. Comparison: Air Purifier vs. Ionizer

4. Pros & Cons: Air Purifier vs. Ionizer

5. Which Is Better: Air Filter vs. Ionizer

6. FAQs Part on Air Purifier vs. Ionizer

1. What Is an Air Purifier

Most air filters purify the air in a physical way. They use a fan to draw air into the device, filtering particles and pollutants from the air and allowing only clean air to return to the room.

Depending on the types of filters and technologies adopted, there are many types of air purifiers. Air purifier with HEPA filter is the most common type in the market.

HEPA is an acronym of High Efficiency Particulate Air. HEPA filters are efficient in capturing 99.99% of airborne particles with a size of as small as 0.3 microns.

This kind of air purifiers is the most recommended choice for people who are sensitive to dust, mold or pollen. It has no side effects and requires simple maintenance. You only need to replace the filter every 3-6 months.

For maximum effectiveness, some air purifiers would use a combination of many types of filters to purify the air.

For example, Purivortex AC400 combines a H13 filter with an activated carbon filter to remove most solid particles and absorb unwelcome odors.


2. What Is an Ionizer

Ionizers are also used to purify the air. They work by releasing negatively charged ions into air, which will bind into airborne particles like dust, viruses, mold and other pollutants.

Ionizers make the contaminants too heavy to stay in the air rather than filtering them out of it. Airborne particles after combining with negative ions will drop to the floor or land on other surfaces, and be removed with a duster or vacuum cleaner during ordinary cleaning.

That's to say, even if you put an ionizer in the room, these pollutants will still exist in the space. You'll have to sweep or vacuum regularly to truly get rid of them, especially if you have a toddler or pet.

3. Comparison Between Air Purifiers and Ionizers

The purpose of both appliances is to clean the air. They differ in four main aspects. Let’s unveil their differences.

#1. Purification Mechanism

HEPA air purifiers come with filters to trap contaminants inside and then push clean and fresh air into the room. These particles have no chance of returning to the atmosphere.

On the other hand, ionizers emit negative ions into the air that attract positively charged dust and pollutants. This causes the pollutants to become heavier and lose their capacity to float in the air, and then finally fall to the ground or other surfaces in the room.

In other words, the ionizer will remove dust particles from the air, but you still need to sweep or vacuum to completely remove these particles from your home.

#2. Size of Particles Handled

Air purifiers, especially with HEPA filters, have the ability to capture particles between 0.3-10 microns in size, including large particles (such as dust, pollen, pet fur...) and fine particles (like pet dander, mold and dust mites).

Ionizers can capture contaminants as small as 0.1 microns. However, as you walk around your home, these particles may be stirred up and returned to the air again.

#3. Maintenance

HEPA air purifiers use physical filters to capture particles. As the filter collects pollutants, it gets dirty and clogged, which will reduce the efficiency of purifying the air.

So you need to replace the HEPA filter every 3-6 months. Some air purifiers with washable filters should be washed at least every 30 days.

Conversely, ionizers require less maintenance. It doesn’t apply a filter that needs to be replaced constantly to maintain purification efficiency. If the ionizer has a metal plate, you only need to wipe it with a dry cloth, without purchasing a new accessory.

#4. Side Effect

Air purifiers have no negative effect on air quality, while ionizers would produce ozone as a byproduct of the operation.

Ozone may cause a series of health problems, such as cough, respiratory infection and shortness of breath. If you have asthma, allergy or other respiratory diseases, an ionizer isn’t right for you.

4. Pros and Cons of Air Purifiers Versus Ionizers

Both air purifiers and ionizers have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to removing contaminants from indoor air. There are some pros and cons related to them.




Air Purifier

  • Remove pollutants from air permanently
  • Activated carbon-based air filter for absorbing odors
  • Ozone-free (HEPA filter & activated carbon filter)
  • Good for people with allergies or asthma
  • Extra filter replacement cost
  • Need regular maintenance
  • Generate ozone (ionic and UV light types)
  • Work not effectively in ultra-fine particles smaller than 0.1 microns




  • Work efficiently for fine particles down to 0.1 microns
  • Less maintenance requirements
  • Generate ozone
  • Simply drop them to floors rather than get rid of them really

5. Which Is Better: Air Filter VS Ionizer

If you have asthma, allergy or other respiratory diseases, a HEPA air purifier is better. It can trap particles as small as 0.3 μm and lock them in the filter screen to stop them from returning to the air you breathe.

In addition, HEPA filters do not produce ozone and will not cause potential health risks.

If the air problem you’re faced with relates to molds, viruses or bacteria, the ionizer is your first choice. Ionizers perform well in capturing particles smaller than 0.1 microns in diameter.

If you just want something to keep the air fresh, a home air purifier with HEPA filter is the best choice for your house. It can truly remove allergens and other contaminants in the air, providing an atmosphere filled with clean, fresh air for your family.

Considering the cost, you can choose an ionizer. You don’t need to replace the filter, and the maintenance cost is very low.

6. FAQs on Air Purifier and Ionizer

Q1. Are air ionizers safe?

No. Air ionizers produce ozone, which will damage the lungs when inhaled. Thus, for your health, choose a HEPA air purifier.

Q2. Do air ionizers really reduce dust and pollution?

Yes, indeed. Air ionizers can be used to reduce dust and pollution. But you won’t get rid of dust and pollution really because they still exist in your room. You have to sweep and vacuum regularly.

Q3. Are ionic air purifiers better than HEPA filter purifiers?

No, HEPA filter purifiers are better since they remove at least 99.99% of contaminants down to 0.3 microns, including dust, pollen, dust mites, pet dander/dander and other allergens. They also don’t generate ozone, unlike ionic air purifiers.

Q4. Is air ionizer same as air purifier?

No. Although they are both designed to purify the air, they apply different technologies to operate. Air purifiers improve indoor air quality by trapping contaminants, while air ionizers just make particles become heavy and drop to the ground by sending ions into the air.

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