You’ve most likely heard of HEPA air purifiers and ionic air purifiers before. But, when it comes to an ionic air purifier vs. HEPA, which one is best?
Although you could argue for either side, air purifiers with HEPA filters have been the more popular choice since the early 2000s. We’ll uncover why below.
Understanding the Difference Between HEPA and Ionic Air Purifiers
The main difference between the two types of air purifiers boils down to filter vs. filterless air purifiers. One type of air purifier comes equipped with a filter system and the other relies on negatively and positively charged ions.
Both ionic air purifiers and HEPA air purifiers work well to clean the air, but it can be argued that HEPA filters are more efficient.
HEPA Air Purifiers
A HEPA air purifier uses a series of filters that are extremely dense. The air purifier uses a motor and fan to suck the surrounding air inside and forces it through those filters. Only air is allowed to pass through while any pollutants get caught and trapped.
HEPA filters are designed to catch 99.97 percent of contaminants down to 0.3 microns in size. Standard HEPA filters usually need to be replaced every 6-12 months depending on their size and use. The highest quality HEPA filters can potentially last for years without needing to be swapped out, and they do the best good job at improving your indoor air quality.
Ionic Air Purifiers
An ionic air purifier is a type of air cleaner that doesn’t have a filter system. Instead, it works by either releasing negatively charged ions into the air or uses plates that have negative and positive charges that trap contaminants as they pass through the unit.
Ionizers can remove pollutants as small as .01 microns which is much smaller than a HEPA filter can trap. However, there is no guarantee of the percentage of air they can clean since the particles are not trapped inside a physical filter.
Ionic air purifiers are truly filterless which means you never have to pay for a filter replacement. It also means that the run quieter than a HEPA air purifier because there are no motors or fans to cause noise. You can read our review of the best ionic air purifier on this page.
One potential issue regarding ionizers is the fact that some models do produce trace amounts of ozone as a by-product. It’s usually not a concern for most people but if you suffer from any type of respiratory condition like asthma or COPD, then you may notice an increase in lung irritation.
Air Purifier vs. Ionic Air Purifier: Which is Best?
When it comes to efficiency, it’s hard to beat HEPA air purifiers. Simply because they can give you a more thorough cleaning of the air by trapping and locking particles that are too small for the human eye to see.
A noticeable drawback to HEPA air purifiers is that they’re slightly louder to run because they use motors and fans. Plus, you have to factor in the cost of annual or semi-annual filter replacements. This makes HEPA air cleaners more expensive to maintain over the long-term.
You can save a lot of money by going with an air ionizer because they’re the cheapest way to purify the air. However, a lot of people wonder are ionizers safe? For the most part, the answer is yes. Just keep in mind that they work best for people who don’t have respiratory issues and who are not too concerned with getting rid of every single harmful particle inside a room.
If you want to know what is the best ionic air purifier, we have a post on that topic too.
Due to their design, HEPA air purifiers are generally better for people who have allergies, sensitivities, or respiratory problems and need as many contaminants removed as possible.
Additionally, you’ll want to go with a HEPA air purifier if you’re worried about ozone emission because HEPA filters don’t emit any amount when they run.
You can see why it’s so important that you take the time to compare the different air purifiers available and see which side of the ionic air purifier vs. HEPA air purifier debate you fall on. Once you have a category chosen, you can continue to compare them until you find the best choice.