A lot of households use air purifiers, a lot more use humidifiers while others own both. Both devices are used to improve the quality of air in indoor environments. That makes it easy to mistake one device with another. So what qualities make them the same, and what sets them apart? First, you need to understand the basic functions of each device.
Air purifiers versus Humidifiers – Working Principle
Let’s see how air purifiers and humidifiers work:
The main purpose of an air purifier, as the name suggests, is to improve the quality of indoor air by trapping and eliminating a range of airborne contaminants. It serves to remove such particles as mold spores, bacteria, smoke odors, allergens, and dust particles.
When in operation, the air purifier sucks air from indoor environments into the machine through an array of filters before releasing the fresh air. HEPA filter air purifiers are the most popular ones as they are capable of trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns.
An air purifier with HEPA filters can eliminate 99.7% of the contaminants in your home. Please note that the air purifier removes the pollutants and does not alter the air by adding anything.
Besides fibrous media filters, there are other air filtration techniques used in residential air purifiers like activated carbon, ionization, electrostatic precipitation (ESP), Photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), ozone generation, and others.
HEPA filters air purifiers are entirely safe to use at home as they don’t emit ozone or other harmful byproducts.
Please read our blog post on different air cleaning technologies.
As you can roughly tell by the name, a humidifier adds moisture in the air by pumping a regulated amount of water vapor into your room. It converts water into a cool and fine mist before expelling it into the air.
To keep the humidifier operating, the reservoir is replenished with cold water from time to time. This functionality makes a humidifier a must-have device in hot and dry areas because they cool and moisturize the hot air.
If the winter air becomes too cold to bear, you can add hot water in the reservoir and let the humidifier add a stream of warm mist in the air. In moisturizing the air and making it cool or warm, humidifiers can be used to relieve nosebleeds, breathing problems, throat irritation, and dry skin.
It’s important to understand that humidifiers raise the room’s relative humidity. If you keep running your humidifier when the room is already saturated with moisture, an environment that favors mold growth will be created.
The indoor humidity level should be in the region of 30 to 50%. A humidity level below 30% is too dry and could cause the problems, as mentioned earlier. Humidity levels above 50% can encourage the growth of mold, mildew, and reproduction of dust mites.
Most of the humidifiers in the market have a built-in humidity sensor to show relative humidity in the air, and some have an automatic mode.
Humidifiers make mist in two ways, either evaporative or ultrasonic technology. In an evaporative way, a humidifier operates on the conductivity of water to produce steam through boiling. Two electrodes are sunk in an appropriately designed cylinder, and a current is passed between them. The current causes the water in the cylinder to heat and reach the boiling point.
On the other hand, an ultrasonic humidifier creates mist from water by applying ultrasonic waves by a transducer. The oscillating ultrasonic soundwave breaks the water molecule from the water surface, and it releases into the air like a cool mist. Ultrasonic humidifiers are the most popular.
Air Purifiers versus Humidifiers – which is useful to whom?
Both devices are great for an asthma patient, but air purifiers are a better option because they remove allergens and other air contaminants. Humidifiers make the atmosphere pleasant to breathe.
Both devices are helpful for babies. An air purifier provides contaminant-free air to breathe while the humidifier moisturizes the air with the correct temperature during hot and cold seasons. Babies will be comfortable.
Air purifiers would be better options because they are designed to eliminate contaminants from the air and prevent allergens from getting in your lungs or eyes. Humidifiers are not intended to filter the air.
Check out our top picks >>> The 7 Best Air Purifier and Humidifier Combo
Air Purifier versus Humidifier – Comparison
Air Purifier versus Humidifier – FAQs
Q. What are the consumer concerns about Air Purifiers?
A. Primary filtration, the noise level, harmful gaseous by-products like ozone, filters life, room coverage, and the power consumption,
Q. What are the health risks that can arise from the use of humidifiers?
A. The tap water that is used in humidifiers often contains minerals (hence referred to as “hard water”) and creates a “white dust” of calcium carbonate which adherences on furniture and can be hazardous when inhaled for extended periods.
Q. Can I have both devices running in the same room?
A. Yes, it is perfectly okay to have both devices running in the same. The air purifier will remove the contaminants, and the humidifier will moisturize the air.
Air purifiers can be used throughout the year as the indoor air always has some degrees of pollution, while humidifiers can only be used during the dry air condition. Both of them have contributed to the improvement of air quality, and you can own both.