Types Of Air Purifier Filters: What’s The Difference?

Types Of Air Purifier Filters: What’s The Difference?

An air purifier can be an excellent investment for a wide variety of reasons. Most customers will get some use out of it, while some will enjoy an air purifier more than others. An air purifier is an excellent addition to your home if you find that you are always overrun by allergies.

If you are tired of spending money on allergy medicines just so you can be comfortable in your home, perhaps you would be better off filtering the air in your home so you can feel more comfortable.

Even if you do not suffer from allergies, air purifiers are an excellent way to diminish odors and other particles in the air which may have an unseen effect on your health. Filling your home with clean, healthy air is but a single appliance away.

Unfortunately, many potential customers find the wide array of potential choices in air purifiers somewhat daunting. How is a first-time customer to know the difference between a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter.

It is for this reason that we have decided to publish this guide on the various forms of air filter you will typically find available in most commercial air purifiers. While this list is by no means inclusive of every single type of air filter, you will find the vast majority of air purifiers available for sale will adhere to one of these archetypes.

4 different types of air purifiers.

It is also important to consider that not all air purifiers and air filters are manufactured to the same standards. Just because one HEPA model is better than another UV model, this is no way true across the board.

While it does help to understand just how these filter types function and the differences between them, it is equally important to comprehend the differences between individual products.

Regardless of the type of filter you intend to have in your future air purifier, it is important to ensure that you purchase a high-quality appliance. You will not want to be replacing your air purifier every time it breaks constantly.

A good air purifier is an investment, and good investments are meant to last you a long time. Regardless of whether you want to know more about an air purifier with a permanent filter or an air purifier with a washable filter, we have you covered.

HEPA Filters

The most common type of filter you will find available on air purifiers will typically be a HEPA type filter. HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and is the most effective air filter when it comes to removing particles and other small substances in the air of your home.

In fact, these air filters must function at an efficiency level of over 99.9% when it comes to trapping particles in the air to be considered true HEPA filters.

HEPA filters are quite simple in theory, and you may have even seen one before without understanding what it was.

HEPA filters illustration.

They are typically made in an accordion shape, so your filter can have the maximum surface area while taking up a smaller amount of space in your air purifier, thus making your air purifier smaller overall as an appliance.

Another aspect to consider is that HEPA filters will require replacement once they have become saturated with particles. It will not simply suffice to clean the filter, as many of the particles which are trapped are simply too small to be able to clean out.

Luckily, you will not have to replace your HEPA filters often, as they will last long enough to have to be replaced annually or bi-annually.

HEPA filters are the best choice you have when it comes to trapping minuscule particles that your eye cannot even perceive, but they do have a weakness. A HEPA filter air purifier is not ineffective at stopping odors from developing.

While HEPA filters are capable of trapping minuscule particles, you will find that odors do not cling to the filter of a true HEPA air purifier like they would on an activated carbon model.

Activated Carbon Filters

The next choice you have regarding air filters is the activated carbon type. Activated carbon filters are made out of carbon, as the name would suggest. Activated carbon is a special kind of carbon which is very porous; this allows air and other gasses to be filtered through it easily.

Fortunately, activated carbon is an excellent filtration material as it will absorb most vaporized particles and even odors and chemicals which may not be picked up by a HEPA filter.

Activated carbon filter illustrated cross-section.

Activated carbon filters have been proven over the years at filtering out chemicals. Perhaps the most famous use of activated carbon filters was in the hundreds of thousands of gas masks which were manufactured during the First World War, saving the lives of many soldiers.

UV Filters

UV filters are rarely used alone, but when they are combined with another form of filter, you will find that they are one of the best methods to kill biological pollutants in your air. This can include anything from bacteria to microbes.

If you find yourself in a position where you wish to ensure that there will be no airborne viruses or other germs in your home, a UV filter may be the ideal choice for you.

Negative Ion Filters

Negative Ion filters are not so many filters as they are a method of getting airborne particles out of the air itself. They essentially make it, so those airborne particles drop to the ground instead of being run through any filter. This makes it easier to maintain the air purifier itself, as you will not have to clean filters.

On the other hand, you will still have to vacuum or sweep the floor more often as it will often have many microscopic particles on it which have fallen from the air.

Ozone Filters

Ozone filters are another type of air purifier technology which does not exactly filter the air you are breathing. Instead, ozone air purifiers produce the ozone molecule, which supposedly decreases the risk of airborne germs and organisms developing.

Ozone air purifiers are a matter of harsh debate at the moment, with one side claiming that they are harmful to your health, and the other side claiming that they are capable air purifiers.


Hopefully, this guide has helped you come to a decision about the type of air purifier you would prefer in your home.

Happy woman next to an air purifier.

Regardless of your choice, purchasing an air purifier is an excellent first step towards improving the air quality of your home and also improving your health.

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