Humidifiers vs Air Purifiers – How Do They Differ?

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Last updatedLast updated: April 26, 2021
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Are you on the hunt for a humidifier or an air purifier for your home? Have you been told that these devices are essential for cleaning the air in your home, getting rid of germs and unhealthy pollutants? While both of these products do play a useful role for your overall sense of wellbeing, it’s essential to understand their differences.

When deciding between humidifiers vs air purifiers products, you need to know they each function in different ways. This is because they serve different purposes. Before buying one for your home, read on to find out which device will be the best fit for your personal requirements.

We’ll take you through their differences and how they work. We’ll mention their pros and cons, and what purposes they’re actually designed for. And, if you’re searching for the right product for your baby’s nursery, you’ll find the answers here.

How humidifiers work

Humidifiers vs Air Purifiers - How Do They Differ?A humidifier is a device that’s designed to moisten dry and stale indoor air. The function of this appliance is to increase the humidity of the air, a common problem during cold, winter months. This is done either by:

  • Converting boiling water into steam which is then released into the air. This results in a hot mist which adds moisture to the dry air.
  • Using the ultrasonic method, which creates cool mist by using a transducer to detect and vibrate water molecules in the air.

Both methods increase the moisture levels of dry air which is beneficial in many ways for you and your family’s health.

Pros and cons

The advantage of having a humidifier is that the air you breathe in will be moister, helping to keep your nasal and throat passages lubricated and less irritated. Having the right amount of humidity in your home also protects you against many viruses.

Humidifiers are ideal for babies during the drier months and it’s essential to look for the safe baby humidifiers which have been designed specifically for children.

However, a humidifier can also increase allergens in the air if you don’t keep the device regularly cleaned. The other disadvantage of a dirty humidifier is that it increases the quantity of mold spores in the air. To minimize these problems, you’ll need to clean and maintain the humidifier often.

Who should use them?

If you or anyone in your family battles with any of the following health issues, installing a humidifier will be a good solution:

  • Acute and chronic sinus conditions
  • Asthma or allergy attacks
  • Persistent sore throats
  • Excessive snoring at nighttime
  • Dry skin, eyes, and hair

If you’re looking for the best humidifiers for people suffering from sinus congestions, make sure to check out features such as mist levels and water tank capacity.

How air purifiers work

Humidifiers vs Air Purifiers - How Do They Differ?The main purpose of an air purifier is to remove air pollutants. By doing so, the air becomes healthier to breathe in. This is done by either of the following methods:

  • Using a fan to remove the pollutants from the air indoors and replacing it with clean air.
  • A filtration process which uses a series of filters to capture air pollutants and emit clean air back into the room. By using HEPA filters, an air purifier will be able to remove up to 99,97% of dust, pollen and bacteria from the air.

Some people ask if an air purifier is the same as a dehumidifier and the answer is no. While an air purifier circulates air through a filter, the dehumidifier reduces humidity levels by sucking in moisture. They help to reduce any air pollutants that thrive in moist conditions.

Pros and cons

The main advantage of HEPA-based air purifiers is that they remove irritating air pollutants such as dust, smoke, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria, and pollen. By capturing these pollutants and removing them from the air, they reduce the risk of exposure to allergens indoors.

Another advantage of air purifier use is that they can include an activated carbon filter which is ideal for eliminating odors in the home. However, not all air purifiers have this feature so make sure you get the right one if your main purpose of installing this device is to remove odors.

However, if you’re looking for a device to keep the air in your room moist, an air purifier will not work. It’s not designed to release water molecules into the air like the humidifier. Air purifiers also need to be maintained regularly to keep the filters cleaned.

Who should use them?

If you’re looking for a solution to the following issues, an air purifier would be useful:

  • You or someone in your family is suffering from allergies.
  • Your home always feels stuffy and has odors caused by pets, tobacco smoke, or other smells.
  • You have a chronic respiratory condition that can be made worse by various air pollutants such as dust and tobacco smoke.
  • You or someone in your family snores throughout the night.
  • You want to improve the air quality in your baby’s nursery.

Humidifiers vs air purifiers

Humidifiers vs Air Purifiers - How Do They Differ?To ensure you get the right device for improving the air quality of your home, consider looking for key features such as odor elimination, their function in aiding with allergies and asthma and dealing with dusty spaces, and whether they’re baby-friendly. Price could also be another factor if you’re working on a tight budget.

Prices

Humidifiers are not as expensive as air purifiers. Depending on the model you get, you’ll easily find one to suit your budget. Humidifiers are easier to clean and maintain, keeping their running costs down to a minimum.

Air purifiers are generally more expensive than humidifiers especially if you’re buying a good quality model. However, if you decide to buy an air purifier you need to factor in the maintenance costs.

Both the HEPA-filters and the activated carbon filters need to be replaced regularly throughout the year. This replacement does increase the cost of using this device.

Odor elimination

Air purifiers are best for eliminating odors but you need to ensure they’ve been designed to use activated carbon filters. Mold is often the culprit for musty smells in the home and by removing the spores from the air, the air purifier will eliminate these odors.

The activated carbon filter also works well for removing any gaseous or chemical smells while the HEPA-filter helps to eliminate tobacco smoke and pets’ odors. If you’re looking for some of the best air purifiers for smoke, make sure you check out the type of filters used in the device.

Allergies and asthma

Humidifiers vs Air Purifiers - How Do They Differ?If you suffer from allergies and asthma attacks, the air purifier is the best solution for removing allergens from the air. Using a desktop air humidifier such as the Germ Gaudian AC4100 is very useful especially if you’re dealing with lots of dust and tobacco smoke in your working environment.

This device is compact and well-designed with HEPA filters for removing allergens. It also has an activated charcoal filter for eliminating unwanted odors.

Humidifiers can be used to help alleviate symptoms associated with allergies and asthma. However, make sure it’s always well-cleaned to prevent mold from being released into the air.

Baby-friendly

While both humidifiers and air purifiers work well in a baby’s room, the question to ask yourself is whether you want to improve the humidity levels of your baby’s room or if you want to remove air pollutants.

Installing a humidifier such as the TaoTronics Humidifiers TT-AH001 has been shown to help babies suffering from coughs and colds. This device has been designed to use whisper-quiet technology and you can adjust the mist levels to suit your baby’s personal needs. Babies need to have a cool mist to get all the benefits of a humidifier when not well.

However, if you want to remove air pollutants from the baby’s room, then an air purifier is a better choice.

Dusty space

The air purifier is your best solution for removing dust from any room in your home. It’s designed to capture all dust particles and even dust mites, a common problem in most homes. A humidifier won’t improve dusty spaces so don’t install one if dust is your main problem.

Seasonal use

Humidifiers vs Air Purifiers - How Do They Differ?Humidifiers are used to increase the humidity levels in your home which makes them suitable for seasonal uses. You’ll normally only use them during the colder, drier winter months.

Air purifiers, on the other hand, can be used throughout the year to remove all irritants from indoor air. For people suffering from seasonal allergies, air purifiers can become even more handy during certain times of the year.

Extra uses

Humidifiers are known to also help with limiting the side-effects of stale and dry air. These can include dizziness, lethargy, and headaches. Some users also report they help with the winter blues! Another problem often associated with dry air is frequent nosebleeds.

Air purifiers work well for removing strong odors associated with paint varnishes and other VOC products.

Final thoughts

Deciding whether you need a humidifier or an air purifier in your home depends largely on what purpose you need it for. The difference between humidifier and air purifier application lies in their different functions and they both have benefits and disadvantages. The humidifier is perfect for increasing the humidity levels of your indoor air while the air purifier is excellent for removing air pollutants.

When deciding between humidifiers vs air purifiers devices, make sure you know what they can do for you and your family. This way, you can get the best device that’ll improve your general sense of wellbeing while maintaining the air quality of your indoor environment.

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