In-Duct Air Purifiers

In-Duct Air Purifiers

Choosing between an in-duct air purifier and a portable air purification system can significantly influence indoor air quality

For instance, when you consider how indoor air can be five times as polluted as outdoor air and contributes to around 4 million premature deaths every year worldwide, then greater importance to the quality of indoor air can be emphasized.

To discover which air purifier is best for your needs, our article covers the ins and outs of an in-duct air purifier, commercial and home air purification systems that are portable, and how to narrow down the best one for you.

Air Purifier Filters and How They Work

Regardless of whether you use the best in-duct UV air purifier or a little portable air purifier, all air purifiers essentially work by sanitizing the air free of air pollutants. The process by which air purifiers neutralize the air free of airborne contaminants is predominantly determined by the air filter

The main types of air filters to know and how they work are:


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HEPA Filters – (Removal of Air Particulates Based on Size)

High energy particular air (HEPA) filters are ideal for capturing dirt, dust, mold, and pollen. Removing at least 99.97% of airborne particulates with a size of 0.3 micros (µm), HEPA filters are great for removing large particles but they lose effectiveness when concerning odor removal. (They are also effective against COVID-19)

UV Light Filters – (Sterilizes Mold Spores, Bacteria, and Viruses)

UV air filters deploy UV-C light that neutralizes viruses, bacteria, mold, and mold spores. For those residing in wetter regions, the germicidal UV light from UV light filters is exceptionally effective for fighting mold.

Air Ionizers – (Induces Electrical Charges for Sanitation)

Unlike the other three filters that are mechanically based, air ionizers capture air pollutants by bumping electrons into pollutants, thereby inducing a charge to create ions. From there, those positively charged ions (once air pollutants) are attracted to a charged metal plate, leaving only clean air.

Activated Carbon Filters – (Adsorbent VOCs, Odors, and Fumes)

Activated carbon filters use adsorption (a chemical reaction that causes pollutants to become trapped inside the carbon substrate pore structure) and are often used in combination with HEPA filters. Activated carbon filters are great for collecting gases, chemical vapors, and odors.

What Is an In-Duct Air Purifier?

In-duct air purifiers are concealable air purification units that clean air of airborne pollutants

After the air passes through the HVAC’s filtration system, the air handler regulates and circulates the air as part of a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit (HVAC). Currently, there are two key types of in-duct air purifiers on the market, which include:

  • UV Duct Air Purifier In-duct UV air purifiers operate as part of a UV air cleaner whole house or commercial system and are mostly used to neutralize germs and odor molecules. 
  • Ionization Air Purifiers – Ionizes the air by electrically charging air molecules moving through the ductwork and is predominately used to capture dirt, dust, germs, and soot pollen.


Ducted Air Purifier – Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
  • Usually quiet
  • The system is not visible
  • Ideal for open spaces with very good airflow
  • Once installed requires less maintenance
  • Expensive initial costs
  • Inconsistent performance
  • Mold and algae can grow in ductwork
  • High energy consumption as the HVAC unit requires runs continuously
  • Limited to homes or commercial buildings with a forced-air HVAC system
  • In-duct air purifier installed and maintained by HVAC technicians can add additional high costs
  • Smaller particles don’t filter well due to increased demand for airflow
  • Inefficient when concerning multiple zone systems


What is a Portable Air Purification Unit?

induct air purifier

Portable air purification units are known for their energy efficiency, affordability, and versatility.

While many may envision a portable air purification unit as small and robust, there are commercial air filtration systems like the CleanAir Tower that are easily portable and capable of purifying large indoor spaces without the need for multiple units. 

When compared to the best in-duct air purifier or HVAC system, portable air systems tend to be better for workplaces as they run more quietly allowing for fewer distractions and increased productivity. 

On the home front, a whole home UV air purifier can be rather effective but their expensive costs and professional maintenance requirements won’t make it nearly as cost-effective and energy-efficient as portable air purifiers. For additional attributes here are the pros and cons of portable air purifiers:

Portable Air Purifiers – Pros and Cons
Pros Cons
  • Portable
  • Low initial costs
  • Minimum sounds
  • Highly energy-efficient
  • User-friendly installation and maintenance
  • Doesn’t require central air conditioning, ducts, or attics for installation
  • Require routine maintenance
  • Filter replacements can add up
  • May require more than one unit for very large areas

In-Duct Air Purifier or Portable: How to Choose the Best Air Purification Unit

Numerous factors play a role in determining the best air purifier for your needs. These factors include initial budgets, residing climates, the size of the living space being purified, aesthetic and auditory preferences, and the type of air pollutants and contaminants faced day-to-day. 

More importantly, it pays to know that while in-duct air filtration systems may seem like the better option (because many assume that higher prices lead to better quality), that is certainly not always, or often, the case – and here’s why:

  • An in-duct air purifier is less efficient
  • In-duct air purifiers’ performance is limited to HVAC systems
  • In-duct air purifiers are more expensive (upfront and maintenance costs) while portable purifiers are affordable
  • Requires professional HVAC assistance for installation and maintenance
  • In-duct air purifiers tend to lack transparency because there are too many options

Breathe Cleaner Air With CleanAir Tower

best in-duct UV air purifier

In the battle between in-duct and portable air purifiers, it’s obvious that portable air purifiers are not only more efficient but also more cost-effective. 

Take for instance the CleanAir Tower, a portable UV commercial air purifier that combines ionization, UV air sanitation, MERV, and HEPA for the ultimate air purification. It’s powerful enough to fight off mold and strong odors while catering to large spaces with up to 1,400 CFM.

For more information, connect with one of our specialists today.