Air Ionizers vs Air Purifiers – Which One You Should Buy

air ionizer vs air purifier

Recent studies reveal that indoor air has up to five times more pollutants than outdoor air. These pollutants are known to cause allergies and other respiratory diseases. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, the threats have just become a lot more serious. This has led many to consider the choice between an air ionizer vs air purifier; read on to find out which is right for you. 

We’ll cover:

  • An overview about the differences between the two appliances
  • How they eliminate airborne contaminants
  • Their pros and cons
  • Which type of air purifier might be right for you

By understanding how these appliances work, you should be able to know which one is best for keeping your offices, classrooms, and homes safe from airborne diseases. 


Air Ionizers vs Air Purifiers – Differences in a Nutshell 

Both appliances are designed to purify the air, although the term “purifier” is more loosely associated with appliances that use filters. By contrast, ionizers purify and clean the air by using electrostatic charges.

These differences in how they work bring their own implications not just in how effective they can be, but also in their pros and cons with practical use which is important to understand in further detail. 

Air Ionizers Explained 

Ionizers, as the term suggests, use ionization to clean the air. What they do is release negatively charged ions which then bind into airborne particles like dust, smoke, and other pollutants.

As these particles become heavier, they’ll eventually land on surfaces like floors, tabletops, and may even stick to walls. 

Note that these pollutants will still remain in the room and you’ll have to sweep them off in order to really get rid of them. 

Air Purifiers Explained 

On the other hand, air purifiers work by sucking in air through a filter or a series of filters. These filters trap particles, letting clean air be pushed out back into the room to circulate. 

Depending on the model of the air purifier, they may use a single or a combination of many types of filters to clean the air. There are many types of air filters, but the two most common are:

  • Aluminum Pre-Filters – these primarily trap larger particles like pet dander, hair, and coagulated dust. They are usually first in line when used in combination with other filters.
  • HEPA Filters HEPA is an acronym that stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. This filter is a staple and the minimum standard in all air purifiers. HEPA filters are known to be effective for particulate matters like mold spores, pollen, and dust. 

For maximum effectiveness, an air purifier may use a combination of filters. For instance, AirFixture’s CleanAir Tower combines mechanical air filters (such as HEPA filters or MERV) with bipolar ionization and UV light to trap and destroy airborne pathogens. 

Pros & Cons of Air Ionizers


Larger area of coverage

  • Typically, ionizers can cover twice as much area as compared to a purifier, which is an asset if you have larger spaces. 

Lower maintenance requirements

  • Unlike purifiers with filters that require regular maintenance, ionizers don’t have parts that need to be constantly replaced to keep functioning.  


Harmful emissions from certain types of ionizers 

  • Some air ionizers emit ozone which can be bad for your health
  • Being exposed to ozone is closely related to a number of health issues like coughing, respiratory infections, and shortness of breath, just to mention a few.

Doesn’t get rid of pollutants 

  • As already mentioned before, air ionizers don’t really get rid of air pollutants. They simply make them heavy enough to drop and not be airborne. 
  • You might find your surfaces like floors and tabletops a lot dustier which would require you to clean more often.
  • This can be much of a hassle especially if these particles fall on beds or other similar non-smooth surfaces.


Ready to Learn More?


Pros & Cons of Air Purifiers


Filters contaminants

  • Unlike ionizers that leave contaminants where they fall, purifiers trap contaminants inside. 
  • This keeps harmful particulates unexposed and out of reach to those inside the room. 

No harmful emissions

  • Air purifiers don’t have any harmful emissions because they do not emit anything at all. There is nothing harmful added to the air while removing harmful airborne contaminants.

More efficient and effective in cleaning air

  • Studies on HEPA filter vs ionizer air cleaners show that air purifiers do a much better job in cleaning the air compared to air ionizers. 
  • Some special filters are also able to kill microbes that can cause health problems. 

Design variety

  • Comparing an air ionizer vs purifier, HEPA-based air cleaners have more variety in design than those ion-based. 
  • They have various shapes and sizes that can blend well in different rooms, visually and functionally. There are also wall-mounted option designs that you can’t get with current air ionizers.


Requires regular maintenance 

  • Pre-filters should be cleaned at least every 30 days. Clogged pre-filters lose their effectiveness and put a strain on the fans’ motors which can eventually lead to faster wear and tear.
  • HEPA filters can last you up to a year. Beyond that, it’s recommended that you replace them which costs money. This makes choosing HEPA vs ionizer the more costly option. 

Air Purifier vs Air Ionizer Answered – Now What?

air purifier vs ionizer

When making a choice between getting an air purifier vs ionizer for your office or home, it’s important that you choose the appliance based on your needs and preferences. If you need to cover a larger area and regularly perform house cleaning, an air ionizer can be a good choice. 

But when it comes to thorough cleaning, sanitizing, and killing microbes, purifiers are still best. For buildings or homes with large indoor spaces, what you need is a commercial-grade HEPA ionizer that can keep up with a more demanding environment. 

AirFixture’s CleanAir Tower, with its fan that can push 1400 CFM of air, is specially designed for your office spaces, classrooms, and large homes. The combination of multi-layered filtration is effective at maintaining safe indoor air, reducing airborne particles by up to 90% less.

Furthermore, the built-in UV light is also an effective measure to eliminate viruses like COVID-19. 

Get in touch to find out more about CleanAir Tower and how it can promote an overall healthy and safe indoor environment.