What Is The Difference Between Air Purifier and Humidifier

When you are looking for options to narrow down your searches, you might come across the option of difference between air purifier and humidifier. Yes, both have similar uses but you need to know the purpose and practical technology before making your final decision. The operational process of air purifier and Humidifier are completely different.

Air purifier as its name suggests - built to draw air through its HEPA filters or new PECO technology which is designed to pull out the small particles, dust, odor. After purifying through these filters it releases fresh air. Air purifiers can’t increase humidity or moisture of the air in your room.

Humidifier as it names suggest - increases humidity by creating steams or mists to spread across the room which improves air moisture. Humidifier does not draw any air inside it to clean the air.

Table of Contents

What is the difference between an air purifier and a humidifier?

Air purifier aims to purify surrounding air while the Humidifier spread steams to raise humidity in its contiguous area. The functional difference is the core variance among air purifier and humidifier. Humidifiers need reserve water to produce moisture to spread across the room. You need to refill regularly this reserve tank to maintain the service continuously. Once the water is finished you won’t get any moisture from it unless you refill it. Pouring water regularly can cause some disturbance in your busy schedule. But keep in mind that water is key element of a humidifier to raise the moisture of a room. If you want to modify the dry air of your room, then humidifiers can be a perfect choice in your list.

An air purifier works to remove floating dust, tiny germs, odor and any other particles which pollute the air. Its main objective is to clean air through its high efficiency filters. Air purifiers draw surrounding air inside it and pass it through different filters. These filters trap dust and odor inside and release fresh air after filtering through the process. Air purifiers can’t increase the moisture level of the air in your room. But Air purifiers can modify the air quality in your room and turn it healthy. If you think your room's air is dusty and if you have allergy problems, then an air purifier can be a good option to pick.

How Do Air Purifiers and Humidifiers Affect Your Health?

Many people have sensitive allergy issues from dust mites. Dust mites are very tiny objects which can’t be seen in bare eyes. If you have dust allergy then airborne small particles, dust, malodor, pollen, smoke can make your house air quality miserable for you. Dust allergy can cause you to suffer from wheezing, coughing and tightness in your chest. You may notice unusual sneezing, runny or stuffy noses. Your eyes can be red, itchy or you may have unusual tears running through your eyes because of unhealthy air quality around you. In the long term You can suffer from asthma or eczema due to the polluted air in your house. Air purifiers can be helpful to improve air quality and make it safer and breathable.

 A resource shows that most of the good quality air purifiers can clean 99.97% through its HEPA filters. Air purifiers absorb your room’s air and trap these small particles inside its various filters to clean the air from dust mites, malodor, pollen, and smoke. Therefore, an air purifier can play an active role to clean and improve your room’s air quality which will help you to fight dust allergy.

If you have dry skin, then a low humidity environment can make health problems for you. Cold air in winter carries less moisture than warm weather which drops the humidity level of your room’s air. Low Humidity and dry air also affects your skin and lips, causing painful cracking and itching on dry skin which may lead to eczema. Extreme Low level humidity can create pain on joints and cause nose bleeding.

Humidifiers can help you to maintain moisture level in your house air. Good quality humidifiers can measure your room's moisture and create vapor to spread across your room. Humidifiers raise the moisture of your house to your desired humidity level for your comfortable breathing and relieve dry skin complications.

Air Purifier VS Humidifier: Which one works better on which purpose?

Considering your pick between Air Purifier VS Humidifier depends on your house air environment. For best comfort You need to keep the balance of your home air quality and humidity. You can also look for the reaction of your health to define which one will work better for you.

• For baby

Your baby’s health is your top priority and their health is very delicate and reacts to germs or dust very easily. Air purifiers cleans impure objects and releases clean fresh air in your room. Humidifiers add moisture into air and increase humidity level to breathe comfortably. Using Humidifiers and Air purifiers together in the same room can be more comfortable for your baby. You can consider using both for improving your room’s air quality.

• For asthma and allergens

Asthma is mostly caused from dust allergy. Dust mites, malodor and pollen are very harmful for sensitive people who are suffering from asthma. Air purifiers will be useful for removing this type of tiny little objects which may become hazardous for your health if you have asthma.

• For eczema

Humidity level is crucial for dry skin, itching and eczema suffering people. Warm weather can carry enough moisture to give you a comfortable feeling even if you have dry skin. But when the winter comes the cold weather cannot carry enough moisture which makes painful cracks on your dry skin. Itching on your skin and pain on the joints can be very scratchy for you due to low moisture during winter. A humidifier can release you from this problem and make your dry skin feeling more comfortable even if you live in a low humidity level region.

How Does An Air Purifier Work?

Air purifier works best in a closed room. Air purifiers are designed to pull adjacent air and pass through its filters. The floating particles in the air trap inside in this process. Some air purifiers use ultraviolet (UV) Light to separate these small particles. Nowadays you can find some good brand air purifiers using Carbon filtration and negative ionization technology to clean the air of your room. Let’s find out the various types of Air Purifiers -

Types of Air Purifiers:

• HEPA Filtration:

Most of the common brands air purifiers use HEPA filtration technology to clean air. Air purifiers circulate your room's air and drift through its HEPA filters. HEPA filters meaning High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters. This is the most common technology to draw air and pass through various filters to handle the tiny stuffs. Many impure objects jam the filters if your room's air is too dusty. You need to check these filters regularly and need to wash or replace your air purifiers’ filters to get the utmost result of this cleaning process. These filters are easy to replace and even you can wash some filters to reuse.

• Ultraviolet (UV) Light:

Short wave Ultraviolet (UV) light is used to kill germs, viruses and bacteria in the air. This UV light can’t refine air from dust mites, pet hair or dander. Ultraviolet light along with HEPA filters air purifiers can be the best option to maximize the air quality. But this UV light can generate OZONE which you should notice for your safety concern.

• Carbon Filtration:

Activated carbon filtration can be a great option in your air purifiers. Carbon filtration can remove gases, smoke and odor in air purifiers’ coverage area. Carbon filtration is effective to remove Tobacco smell from your personal space.

• Negative Ionization:

Ionic air purifiers release negative ionizer to drop dust and pollutant particles from the air making it breathable. The ionizer produces negatively charged ions and spreads in the air to electrify the dust, dander or other floating particles. The positively charged plates attract these negatively charged airborne particles and collect inside the air purifiers. Many critics mix ionic filters with ozone generator devices which creates confusion to use it as a safe device. Ionizer air purifiers are completely safe to use if you have asthma. Negative Ionization doesn’t generate OZONE therefore they are harmless for your health.

How Does a Humidifier Work?

The basic function of the humidifier is to discharge vapor in the rooms using water from its reserve. This vapor, steam or mists increases the humidity level of the surrounding air. This mists generating type defines the Humidifier types. Let’s have a close look on the types of Humidifiers -

Types of Humidifier:

• Cool Mist:

Some humidifiers use a water pad to flow and hold water up to a fan. This fan breaks down the water into droplets and generate mist. The fan also flows this cool mist out from the humidifier into the air. This cool mist increases the moisture level of the air and releases you from the dryness. Cool mist humidifiers can’t control the room’s temperature but slightly give you a better feeling in the harsh weather. As a cool mist humidifier uses an internal fan to produce and spread mist, it can be a little nosier at calm night.

• Warm Mist:

This type of humidifier creates vapor from its reserve water. The warm mist humidifiers use an electric device to heat its reserve water to create steam. This steam spreads in the air to increase moisture of your room. Warm mist humidifiers perform better to kill bacteria and germs in the air of your room.

• Ultrasonic

This type of Humidifiers doesn’t have any filters. Ultrasonic humidifiers use high frequency vibration to produce droplets from its reserve water and spread this mist in your room’s air. This high frequency vibration is quiet. This humidifier doesn't use any fan or heating device to release mist, therefore you will get cool mist without any noise.

Which is Better for You: An Air Purifier or Humidifier?

We have discussed what’s the difference between air purifier and humidifier with their purpose of use and how they perform to change the air quality. I hope at this point you already know which one is suitable to meet your requirements. But to summarize air purifier and humidifier difference, let’s check head to head comparison table for air purifier vs humidifier:

Check it

Air Purifiers


What is the purpose of use?

Air purifiers are used to eliminate airborne particles, dust and odor from your room's air.

Humidifiers are used to increase the moisture level of your room’s air to avoid dryness.

How does it change air quality?

Your room’s air is circulated through air purifiers’ filters to trap airborne dust, pet’s hair or dandruff. After cleaning polluted air, it releases fresh air into your room.

Cool mist or warm steams are spread across your room to increase the moisture level. This moisture can help to drop airborne dust to clean your room’s air.

When to use?

You can use Air purifiers, if you have asthma and you want to improve your room's air quality by removing dust, odor and germs. Air purifier is also useful to trap your pet's floating hair or dandruff.

You can use Humidifiers, if you feel your room’s air is too dry and itching in your skin. Humidifiers also remove strong smoke odor. It helps to ease off nose bleeding due to dryness.

Health facts

Ultraviolet (UV) air purifiers may generate OZONE which can be harmful for your lungs even if it is produced on a small scale.

Too much use of humidifiers can grow molds and harmful bacteria. Overuse of humidifiers can cause respiratory problems.


You need to perform maintenance checks and replace or wash filters regularly to get best out of your air purifiers.

You need to refill the reserve tank with water regularly and wash this tank to remove bacteria or any harmful germs.


Comparatively expensive as it functions more to clean your room’s air through its filters.

Comparatively Inexpensive as it spread mist only to increase humidity of your room’s air.

Air Purifier versus Humidifier – FAQs

How Do I Know If I Need an Air Purifier?

If you think air quality inside your room or car is poor. You breathe in and you find a foul odor or feel dust mites in the air. If you have furry pets which may produce dandruff and release hair in the air. At that point you should consider buying an air purifier to clean and improve the air quality of your room.

Do humidifiers clean the air?

Humidifiers spread mist in the air to increase humidity with moisture. Higher moisture removes odor and wets airborne particles to drop on the floor. Warm mist helps to reduce bacteria and germs.

Do humidifiers help with dust?

Humidifiers can help to reduce dust in the air. In higher moisture conditions dust mites can’t float and drop on the floor. But it can’t collect dust as it doesn't trap or filters air to clean.

Can I have both devices running in the same room?

Using Air purifier and Humidifiers in the same room at the same time can give you the best quality air. Absolutely there is no harm to run air purifiers and humidifiers together.


We have delved and provided you with all the information based on our personal experience to find out the difference between air purifier and humidifier to pick the perfect go with to make your choice. You can check your room's air quality and dryness. After that you can consider your requirements of air purifier or humidifier. You can use both to change and improve the air quality for your best comfort.

We, (Dominic and Ignatius) are the editors of Elegant Home Pro, we are Senior Air Quality and Comfort Specialist. We do in-depth research and analysis for high-performance home products with reputation and reasonable preferences to make your day-to-day exertion at ease.

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