Air Purifier vs Humidifier: What is the Difference?

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If you live in the city, you know how the polluted air outside can negatively affect your health.

While you can’t do much about that, you can make the air inside your house a lot better.

Indoor air quality is an important aspect of ensuring the safety of one’s home. Unfortunately, it is also something that is often overlooked.

The good thing is that there are appliances you can get for your home to improve indoor air quality.

Among the most popular ones are air purifiers and humidifiers. They are curiously frequently mistaken for one another, though.

Today, we’ll make a comprehensive comparison between an air purifier vs humidifier to help you decide which one you need for your home.

Air Purifier vs Humidifier

Both purifiers and humidifiers work to improve indoor air quality. However, this is also where their main difference lies.

The biggest difference between an air purifier and humidifier concerns their purpose.

Air purifiers work to clear indoor air of airborne contaminants, such as dust, allergens, and mold particles.

Meanwhile, humidifiers control the humidity levels in an indoor space, which can then reduce mold growth.

As you may already know, mold is one of the main culprits that can significantly decrease indoor air quality.

Therefore, you can say that one prevents indoor air issues while the other works on those that already exist.

Another difference between humidifier vs purifier is how often they are used.

Air purifiers function best when set to operate constantly, while humidifiers can simply be turned on as needed.

Is There an Air Purifier and Humidifier in One?

To get the best results, we recommend getting an air purifier and a humidifier separately.

Still, we understand why many people would prefer to get an air purifier and humidifier combo instead.

This device is equipped to clean the air and control humidity levels at the same time. It provides the following benefits:

1. It minimizes maintenance.

The first advantage that this device offers is that it lessens maintenance requirements.

When talking about air purifiers vs humidifiers, both require regular maintenance to ensure they work optimally.

The air filters in an air purifier must be inspected, cleaned, and replaced regularly.

This is because they can get clogged easily with filthy particles that will hinder the device’s filtration power.

Washable filters must be cleaned every two weeks, while HEPA filters should be replaced every year.

On the other hand, an unkempt humidifier can produce the very mold that it should have prevented in the first place, so don’t forget to clean it regularly, as well.

It is recommended to empty and rinse the tank every day. Meanwhile, you can clean it further with soap and water at least once a week.

Check the user manual that comes with your appliances to determine the maintenance steps suggested by the manufacturer.

2. It saves on space.

While air purifiers and humidifiers come in different sizes, they can still occupy some floor space, which can be problematic for those with limited room.

Keep in mind that some brands tailor-fit their models to different room sizes.

Measure your room and check the capacity of your chosen appliance first before purchasing to make sure that you get the best results.

3. It saves on power.

Finally, an air purifier/humidifier combo means you would only have a single device plugged in instead of two.

This results in lower power consumption as opposed to two devices running at the same time.

air purifier vs humidifier

Do Humidifiers Help Clean Air?

Here’s one of the questions we frequently get from our readers, and the answer is both yes and no.

No, because air humidifiers are simply not designed to clean air particles. That’s an air purifier’s task.

This is one difference between air purifier and humidifier.

On the other hand, it does prevent mold growth that can ensure cleaner air later on.

Some humidifiers are also equipped with filters that can help trap air contaminants, but only up to a certain point.

So, yes, an air humidifier can make a difference in improving air quality, but it is not enough if you need to clean indoor air 24/7.

Is It OK to Use a Humidifier Every Night?

Provided that your humidifier is clean and in good condition, having it run all night is fine.

Using a Humidifier While You’re Sleeping

In fact, here are some of the benefits of using your humidifier at night:

1. Improves Sleep Quality

Have you ever slept in a room with dry air? It can lead to irritation of the nose, mouth,throat and dry eyes.

It can also cause increased mucus production, which may hinder breathing and lead to snoring. This, in turn, will significantly impact sleep quality and consolidation.

2. Provides Relief From Allergic Reactions

According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health, there is a connection between dry air and flu outbreaks.

In one study, 55% to 60% of flu outbreaks showed drops in humidity levels weeks before.

Even more worrying is the fact that these dry air spells also increased the transmission and survival rate of the pathogen.

This translates into an increased influenza infection and mortality rate.

3. Increases Recovery Rate From Wounds and Ailments

Better and faster recovery from wounds and ailments were also observed, thanks to the increased oxygen levels that help moisturize the skin.

Humidity also helps thin out mucus layers, making them a lot easier to expel together with any infection present.

4. Promotes Glowing Skin

In line with that, a more moisturized skin also prevents redness, itchiness, flaking, irritation, and more.

It helps prevent wrinkles, too, making your skin look more radiant every morning.

5. Improves Home’s Appeal

Finally, humidity levels can keep houseplants healthy, protect wooden furniture from dry rot, and keeps leather pieces hydrated.

Do Air Purifiers Help With Dry Air?

Yes, an air humidifier can totally work wonders in the quality of our life, but can an air purifier provide the same advantages?

While using an air purifier has its own merits, helping out with dry air is, unfortunately, not one of them.

This is yet another difference between humidifiers and air purifiers.

So, Why Use an Air Purifier?

Here are some of the advantages of using an air purifier to give you an idea of what to expect:

1. It helps prevent breathing issues.

Most breathing problems, like asthma, can be triggered by a milieu of air contaminants. These include dust, carbon monoxide, and mold, just to name a few.

Fortunately, home air purifiers can get rid of most of them, including the odors that some of them produce.

It is also important to keep in mind that there are odorless yet equally toxic contaminants out there.

These are actually what we should be more wary of, given the added challenge of detecting their presence in the first place.

2. It can help ward off weird smells.

Don’t enjoy the weird odors coming from food, cleaning products, and pets?

Air purifiers can help with that, as well.

In fact, there are air purifiers specifically designed for pet owners and people who are allergic to pet odor, fur, and dander.

3. It can ward off second-hand smoke.

Second-hand smoke is one of the leading culprits of lung disease.

While it is always ideal to stop smoking entirely, or to at least avoid smoking indoors, there are air purifiers that utilize a HEPA filter.

This special filter efficiently removes smoke along with the haze of air pollutants that it brings with it.

4. It can keep outside pollutants at bay.

We can all agree that there are air pollutants that can be difficult to prevent, especially those that are beyond our control.

It can be the second-hand smoke coming from the next-door neighbor or the dust and smell of burned diesel from a busy street.

Fortunately, an air purifier can help prevent those types of air contaminants. Just make sure to clean or replace the filters regularly.

5. It can get rid of mosquitoes.

Finally, an air purifier can help eliminate disease-harboring insects, like mosquitoes, minus the stench of chemical sprays.

Some even say that air purifiers are more efficient in eliminating these bugs compared to sprays and other pesticides.

Still, please note that using an air purifier alone may not be enough to get rid of a severe mosquito issue.

You might want to seek professional help to exterminate your bug problems for good.

air purifier vs humidifier

Humidifier vs Purifier: Which One Should You Get?

One of the reasons why you are reading this post is to determine which of the two appliances you should get.

The answer will boil down to your specific needs and preferences.

Those who have a newborn or those living with people who have asthma and allergies would find an air purifier life-changing.

On the other hand, those who suffer from the discomfort brought about by dry, stuffy, and crusty nose every morning will find more relief in using an air humidifier instead.

It’s something that you should definitely consider if your baby is constantly experiencing cold symptoms.

Should You Get Both?

We recognize how difficult the choice may be, so why don’t you get them both instead?

Since we now know that the difference between a humidifier and air purifier lies in their primary function, we can’t see why they can’t be used together.

You will also be able to get the best of both worlds this way.

More Tips in Using Your Air Purifier and Humidifier

Here are additional tips for using these two devices more efficiently:

1. Position your air purifier and humidifier on opposite sides of the room.

Doing this will prevent your air purifier from filtering out the moisture being produced by your humidifier.

This moisture can potentially clog your filters anyway.

It is also recommended to place them in locations that will allow the air and moisture to circulate.

This means that you shouldn’t place them behind large pieces of furniture or cabinetry.

2. Place your air filter towards your favorite spot.

Try to position your air filter in a spot where you will be able to take advantage of the fresh, clean air that it will produce.

This can mean keeping it close to your bed or your favorite spot in your living room.

3. Get appliances with energy-saving features.

It is ideal to keep air purifiers constantly running, especially for those who live with smokers or people who suffer from respiratory issues.

Meanwhile, though not really required, you might want to consider running your humidifier all night, too.

It always helps to get units that come with energy-saving features. This way, you won’t have to worry about your utility bills piling up even with extended use.

4. Keep your windows and doors sealed.

This is especially important for those who live in areas with poor air quality. Don’t allow those pollutants to get inside your home.

On the flip side, you also wouldn’t want your clean and moisturized air to escape. Deal with it in the same way you would keep your cooled or heated air inside.

To Sum Up

The main difference between an air purifier vs humidifier is their function.

Air purifiers filter the air of contaminants, while humidifiers keep air humidity at optimal levels.

There are also units that combine the functions and features of these two devices.

They are recommended for people who have limited floor space at home and those who want to save on cost and maintenance.

A combined unit can be quite limited when compared to the power of getting separate pieces, though.

This is because the moisture that a humidifier produces can clog air purifier filters and hinder its air cleaning capacity.

You’d actually be better off getting two separate appliances and positioning them on opposite sides of the room, as they will be able to complement each other this way.

Using a humidifier, especially as you sleep at night, improves sleep quality, prevents snoring, and can even keep wrinkles at bay by moisturizing your skin.

On the other hand, those who decide to use an air purifier will find their indoor air quality significantly increased.

Any foul odor, as well as mosquitoes and other disease-causing bugs, are also kept at bay.

Make sure to get pieces equipped with energy-saving features since you will obviously be running both for extended periods.

Keep windows and doors closed to prevent your purified air from escaping.

Finally, don’t forget to clean both the air purifier and humidifier regularly to prevent clogged filters and mold growth.

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