Air Purifier vs Humidifier

What’s the Difference Between Air Purifiers and Humidifiers?

Air purifiers and humidifiers are both devices that can help make the air inside your home better to breathe.

But what exactly do they do?

And what is the main difference between them? Let’s take a closer look.

Air Purifiers

An air purifier is a machine that cleans the air in a room by removing pollutants, allergens, and other particles. There are many different types of air purifiers, but they all work in a similar way.

Most air purifiers have a filter system that the air passes through. As air cycles through the purifier, the filters trap harmful particles like:

  • Dust
  • Pollen
  • Mold spores
  • Pet dander
  • Smoke particles
  • Odors

The filters used in air purifiers are very effective at capturing even tiny, microscopic particles that you can’t see with your eyes. This leaves the air cleaner and fresher after passing through the purifier.

Some key benefits of using an air purifier include:

  • Removing allergens from the air that cause sneezing, coughing, or watery eyes
  • Getting rid of bad smells like smoke, pet odors, or cooking smells
  • Trapping mold spores and preventing mold growth
  • Capturing germs, bacteria, and viruses

Air purifiers are especially helpful for people with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues. The cleaner air can allow them to breathe easier. An air purifier won’t eliminate all allergens or pollutants from your home, but it can significantly reduce them.


While air purifiers clean the air, humidifiers add moisture to the air. A humidifier is a device that releases water vapor to increase the humidity level in a room or building.

Humidity is a measure of how much water vapor is in the air. When the humidity is low, the air feels very dry. This dry air can cause problems like:

  • Dry skin and lips
  • Nose bleeds
  • Scratchy throat
  • Static electricity shocks

Breathing very dry air for too long can also irritate your airways and make illnesses like colds or flu worse.

A humidifier puts more moisture into the air to raise the humidity to a comfortable level. The ideal indoor humidity level is between 30-50%. Adding a humidifier can provide relief from dry air issues caused by low humidity.

There are different types of humidifiers that produce moisture in different ways:

  • Cool mist humidifiers release a invisible cool mist or vapor into the air
  • Warm mist humidifiers heat water to create a warm, visible vapor
  • Ultrasonic humidifiers use high-frequency vibrations to create a cool mist

No matter what type you use, a humidifier can provide many benefits including:

  • Relieving dry skin, lips, eyes, and respiratory symptoms
  • Preventing static electricity
  • Protecting furniture and wood floors from cracking or damage
  • Creating a more comfortable indoor environment

However, it’s important to not let humidity get too high. Excess moisture can lead to problems like mold growth. Using a humidifier properly and monitoring the humidity level is important.

The Main Difference: Purifiers vs Humidifiers

So to summarize, an air purifier cleans the air by removing pollutants and particles, while a humidifier adds moisture to dry air. An air purifier improves air quality, while a humidifier improves air moisture or humidity.

You could use both an air purifier and a humidifier together to get the benefits of cleaning particles from the air while also adding the right amount of moisture. This can create optimal indoor air quality that is clean and comfortable to breathe.

Many people find using both devices helpful, such as during dry winter months when indoor air gets very dry from heaters running. The humidifier adds moisture while the air purifier removes allergens, pollutants, and airborne germs.

In the end, the main goals of each device are different:

  • Air Purifier: Removes allergens, dust, smoke, and other particles to clean the air
  • Humidifier: Adds water vapor to increase moisture and humidity in dry air

Using an air purifier, humidifier, or both together can go a long way in creating a healthier indoor environment.

The specific device(s) you need depends on your home’s air quality issues and moisture levels. But understanding the difference is the first step!