What Does an Air Purifier Do? (Does it Work?)

If you’ve been wondering “what does an air purifier do?”, here’s your answer: An air purifier removes the contaminants in the immediate atmosphere by passing the air through a series of filters. The detail of the above process is what we’re going to tell you in the rest of this post.

what does an air purifier do
Courtesy: flickr.com

Air purifiers are important if you consider the fact that indoor airborne particles can be up to 5 times higher than the air outdoors. Don’t let this push you to fall for marketing hypes though.

Not all purifiers are equal. Some perform way better than others. What to consider when getting an air purifier is another thing you will learn today.

By the time you get to the end, you will also know the different types of air purifiers. Putting all the info together, you will not only know what an air purifier does, but you will also be able to confidently decide which is best for you.

How Does an Air Purifier Work?

As the name implies, the bottom line of what air purifiers do, regardless of the technology it uses, is to clean the air.

These devices consist of one fan that sucks air in and passes it through a filter or a series of air filters. These filters trap airborne particles. However, how much of them they manage to trap depends on the quality of the filters and the air purifier as a whole.

The “clean air” that exits the filters then blows back into your home. This process happens over and over as long as the air purifier is on.

This continuous air purification process will leave your home air free of contaminants and make the indoor air quality safe for allergic and asthmatic people to breathe comfortably.

Do Air Purifiers Really Work?

This is quite subjective. Answering “yes” will be overly optimistic as there are some that aren’t great out there. Also giving “no” as an answer might be unfair as there are models that deliver as much as they promise.

As we stated earlier, the efficacy of air purifiers is limited to the type of filter in it. Most of the filters in air purifiers do a good job of trapping mold spores, pet dander, and dust pollen. However, they cannot capture Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), dust smoke, radon, and other types of air pollution.

If you’re looking to get rid of such airborne contaminants, you will need to go for an air purifier that uses absorbents, like activated carbon or HEPA filters. These are some of the best air purifiers you can find.

HEPA filters

Germ Guardian FLT4825 True HEPA GENUINE Air Purifier Replacement Filter B for Germ Guardian AC4300BPTCA, AC4900CA, AC4825, AC4825DLX, AC4850PT, CDAP4500BCA, CDAP4500WCA, and More

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High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter is a standard for respiratory devices. It can capture 99.97% of contaminants in the air down to 0.3 microns. If you consider the fact that an average human hair is 50 microns, you will understand why true HEPA filters are the best for air purification. If you want the best result form an air purifier, go for one with a HEPA filter or activated carbon.

However, the rating above will be different in real-life conditions as the filter was tested in a controlled environment. In fact, don’t completely trust the ratings you see in commercials for this same reason.

Don’t get us wrong though, some air purifiers will do their jobs well but certain conditions in your home such as humidity, ventilation, etc. can have a significant effect on the efficacy.

If you have allergies or are asthmatic, an air purifier with a HEPA filter will certainly help clean the air to your benefit. However, you have to consider there will be the running cost of changing filters. If you want to reduce that, you can go for those with reusable filters you can wash.

Germ Guardian True HEPA Filter Air Purifier for Home, Office, Bedrooms, Filters Allergies, Pollen, Smoke, Dust, Pet Dander, UV-C Sanitizer Eliminates Germs, Mold, Odors, Quiet 22 inch 3-in-1 AC4825

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Most air cleaners come as portable air purifiers. That way you can carry them around and easily access the filters for changing or cleaning. This design makes them a convenient way to improve your indoor air quality.

Types of Air Purifiers

There are 2 approaches adopted for purifying the air with these devices. They’re active and passive methods.

The active design releases negative charge to interact with the neutrally charged contaminants in the air. The particles become negatively charged, thus heavier than the air and settle on surfaces.

Pure Enrichment PureZone Air Purifier for Home, Office, or Bedroom - 3-in-1 Air Cleaner with True HEPA Filter and UV-C Sanitizer - Helps Relieve Allergies, Eliminate Germs, Pets Hair, Smoke, and More

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The passive method, on the other hand, uses filters to eliminate contaminants from the air, as we’ve explained above.

The passive approach to purifying air is considered more efficient because it removes the contaminants and collects them on the filters. This is as against the method that collects it on exposed surfaces with the risk of them getting into the air again.


Air purifiers are great for treating the air in your home to make it safe and healthy to inhale. It is important to know the existing types and how air purifiers work. That way, it will be easy for you to choose one that will serve your specific needs.

Air purifiers that use filters are best since they trap the contaminants away from you. However, you should go for those with HEPA filters for the best results. Activated carbon filters are great for tiny contaminants but are not so effective against the larger ones but can still improve indoor air quality.

Thank you for coming this far with us, we hope you got all the information you want. You can explore the site for more information about the air in your home.

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