Air Purifiers and Humidifiers: What's the Difference? - Home & Texture
Home Maintenance Air Purifiers vs. Humidifiers

What's the Difference Between Air Purifiers and Humidifiers?

Don't be fooled into thinking that air purifiers and humidifiers are one and the same.

April 26, 2024 at 1:46 AM PST
Home Maintenance Air Purifiers vs. Humidifiers

What's the Difference Between Air Purifiers and Humidifiers?

Don't be fooled into thinking that air purifiers and humidifiers are one and the same.

April 26, 2024 at 1:46 AM PST

Part of having a healthy space involves having clean and healthy air. And luckily, air purifiers and humidifiers are two tools that can seriously level up the air quality in your living space. But even though these devices are useful for optimizing home air quality, they serve very different purposes. Many people think air purifiers and humidifiers are one and the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only that, but believing this common misconception can keep you from experiencing the full benefits of both devices.

If you want to know the difference between air purifiers and humidifiers, take a look at our quick guide below.

Close up Air Humidifier machine with Air Purifier tree with light from window
Photo Credit: skaman306

Air purifiers clean the air.

First up, air purifiers. These special devices are designed to clean the air in your space by removing pollutants like dust, soot, smoke, etc.

An air purifier is kind of like a bouncer at a club; it keeps the undesirables — i.e. dust, pollen, pet dander, and smoke — out of the air. This is especially helpful for people who have allergies, asthma, or any other respiratory issues.

But how exactly do they work?

Basically, air purifiers contain a system of internal fans that pull the air in your home through multiple filters that catch pollutants before pushing the clean air back into the room. What’s important to note here is the High Efficiency Particulate Air filter — or HEPA, for short — which is super effective at trapping tiny particles down to 0.3 microns in size.

This process happens several times per hour, constantly working to improve your home’s air quality.

Woman enojying an air purifier in her home
Photo Credit: Doterra International

Humidifiers add moisture to the air.

Next, we have humidifiers. Humidifiers aren’t as popular as air purifiers, but they’re just as useful. Instead of cleaning the air, they add moisture to it.

Low humidity is a common problem in many homes. It typically happens during the winter when people turn on their heaters, which can dry out the air. Low humidity can lead to a whole lot of problems, including:

  • Dry skin
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Nosebleeds
  • Static electricity
  • Dry or watery eyes
  • Nasal congestion

But fortunately, this is where humidifiers come in.

Humidifiers work by expelling water vapor or steam, which is how they put moisture back into the air. This is great news for people who live in arid climates where dry air not only causes discomfort but makes pre-existing health conditions even worse.

Types of Humidifiers

There are actually quite a few types of humidifiers, but the most common you’ll see in stores are ultrasonic and evaporative.

Ultrasonic humidifiers use a vibrating metal diaphragm to create really teeny, tiny droplets of water that are pushed into the air.

On the other hand, evaporative models blow air over a wet wick filter to make the water evaporate into thin air.

Both ultrasonic and evaporative models do a fantastic job of humidifying a room. But ultrasonic models tend to be quieter, which makes them the more popular choice to use in living spaces.

How To Know Which Device You Need

Now, deciding which device is right for you depends largely on what you need. If you have allergies or poor air quality in your area, an air purifier is usually the way to go. It can provide relief by removing allergens and irritants from your space so you have clean air.

Or, if you experience one or more dry air symptoms like itchy eyes, dry throat, or static electricity, a humidifier can introduce some much-needed moisture into your home.

But keep in mind that these devices aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, many households benefit from using both. For example, if someone suffers from asthma that’s triggered by dry air, a humidifier can alleviate that dryness while an air purifier gets rid of the pollutants that are causing irritation.



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