the Differences between an Air Cleaner and Air Purifier

What are the Differences between an Air Cleaner and Air Purifier?

Breathing in clean air is one thing that many homeowners are not willing to compromise on. As such, people are frequently and constantly in search for ways to clean out the air in the house. But with all the technology going around, not mentioning terminologies, it is very easy to get lost. For instance, many people have the notion that air purifiers and air cleaners are different. Well, the words used are but they mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably, understanding what air cleaners are and how they actually work will help you to make the right choice and avoid the confusion.

Air Pollutants

Air Cleaner and Air Purifier

However, before you head out to make a purchase, you should have an understanding of the pollutants that you are working against. This will make it easier for you to choose the best and most effective air purifiers for your home. The following are some of the most common air pollutants.

Volatile organic compounds otherwise known as VOC’s

These are vapors or gases that are emitted by many of the items that you have in your home. They are given off by items such as paints, carpeting, adhesives, glues, varnishes and disinfectants. Products that contain toluene, ethylene, chloride, formaldehyde ad benzene as ingredients are the ones you should be on the lookout for. There are air purifiers that are able to get rid of VOC’s from the air while others do squat. As such, if these gases are your problem, you should ensure that you get an air cleaner that is equipped to get rid of them.


There are some air cleaners that can with the greatest of ease get rid of odors from the air in your home. They achieve this by their activated carbon filters that they come with. These carbon filters are nowadays fitted in almost all of the cleaners that there are in the market. The filter adsorbs the gases through a chemical reaction. These odors and gases are such as smoke, aerosols, cooking odors, indoor pesticides, toxins and kitty litter.

Airborne particles


These are the number one reason as to why many people are running to get air cleaners and air purifiers. These airborne particles include pet dander, mites, plant spores, pollen, mold and fungi. These pollutants are the causative agents of conditions such as asthma and most of the allergies. As such, it is wise to get rid of them before they can cause any damage. For such pollutants, HEPA filters are considered to be the best and the most effective. These particles may vary in size and there are others that are even microscopic. HEPA filters; however, conquers regardless of the size.


There are even other purifiers that are designed to pull in microorganisms from the air. These micro-organisms, if left in the air may cause different diseases or conditions. They are gotten rid of by UV rays or by the use of any other technology that has been fitted in the air purifier. Viruses, bacteria, antigens and pathogens are all microorganisms that can be gotten rid of by air purifiers that feature the above type of technology.

Filter Types

Regardless of the name that you give it, either an air purifier or an air cleaner, the filter is the most important part of the machine and cannot do anything without. Most contain at least two filters. There are however other purifiers that have more than two filters. But it is not always that the more the filters, a machine has, the more efficient it will be. Efficiency is determined by many things. For instance, the type of air pollutant is what will determine the efficiency of the purifier you get based on the filter type.

Activated carbon filters are the most common type of filters but there are also other types that include: electrostatic precipitators, ion and ozone generators, charged media filters, Pre-filters, Germicidal and antibacterial filters and HEPA filters.

They all work in different ways and are specialized to get rid of different pollutants in the air. As such, knowing the type of pollutant that you are fighting should be the first step you take before you head out shopping for an air purifier or air cleaner.