HEPA air purifier vs ionizer

A lot of people are wondering what the difference is between a HEPA air purifier vs ionizer (and an ionic air purifier)? The answer may surprise you. HEPA Air Purifiers and Ionizers are both great devices for keeping your home’s air clean. But they do serve different purposes.

An ionizer is typically used to keep an area like an office smelling fresh by eliminating bad odors.

On the other hand, HEPA Air Purifiers are more useful in larger spaces that need extra help with getting rid of airborne particles like dust or pet dander that can cause allergies or other health issues.

However, in this blog post, we’ll compare these two types of devices so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for your home.

So read on to find out what each one does and how it purifies the air.

HEPA air purifier vs ionizer

HEPA purifiers and ionizers both clean the air, but they are different. A HEPA air purifiers use filters to get rid of dirt, while ionizers use electricity to charge the particles in the air.

A HEPA air purifier works by sucking dust and other things into the device. These are all bad for you. The HEPA filter traps them, so they don’t stay in the air. An ionizer sends out ions that bond with impurities in the air, like mold spores.

That is the basic idea behind what HEPA filters do to clean air. And then ionizers are also important because they can clean air too. They are good for people who have allergies.

What is HEPA Air Purifier? 

HEPA is something that cleans the air. It is a kind of filter. It is high-efficiency, and it removes particles from the air. These things can remove almost 99.9% of the bacteria, pollen, dust, and other small objects (0.3 microns).

Note that “HEPA filter” and “HEPA-like” are different. The former will catch everything, and the latter might not. It can be that you end up with a filter that is like HEPA. There are differences in the quality of these two types of filters.

The phrase “HEPA-like” is a little misleading because a product with the label “HEPA-like” isn’t going to work in the same way that a product with the label “HEPA” works.

A HEPA-like filter is not as strong as HEPA. It does not guarantee that the smallest particles will be removed.

Air leaks can stop the HEPA filter from working. So, it is better to check that the HEPA filter fits properly.

Besides, you need to find the specifications before you buy. There is a table below that will help you find the specifications.

How Do HEPA Air Purifiers Operate?

HEPA filters are a type of air purification machine that uses an efficient principle. They work by blowing clean oxygen into the room and then sucking it back out. Dirty air goes through a filter to remove bad smells or chemicals before coming back into the room again.

These machines can catch small things like dust and pollen, as well as bigger things like smoke. We recommend using them inside because they will catch more of the smoke. Despite being simple enough for anyone to operate, these do wonder at removing almost all types of dirtiness imaginable.

HEPA filters are not like ionic air purifiers. Ionic air purifiers depend on the faster movement of the air and the filter. The ionic air purifier uses an electric charge to get rid of the things in the air that we breathe and relies on a process called mechanical means. HEPA filters stop the particles from coming out. The HEPA filters are not like the other filters which let it come out.

What is Ionizer? 

An ionizer is a machine that makes particles. It does not need anything to help it work. The particles are charged, and the air of the room has them too. It’s like a comb with paper on it.

Ions attach themselves to pollutant molecules, dust, and dirt. These are then settled down by gravity.

If you notice unusually high amounts of settled dust, this is normal. Ionizers can produce ozone gas, but it is dangerous. It’s made by a chemical reaction. The ionizer reacts with oxygen and makes a gas called Ozone.

However, you should note that ionizers are more effective as they cover a big area. The ions can travel far and quickly.

An ionizer is a device that removes excess ions from the air. You must be careful when using one, so you do not hurt yourself, or other things around you.

  • Don’t use it when you are in the room for a long time.
  • Turn off the ionizer before you go to sleep.

Basically, Ozone is a harmful thing. Some companies say that it is not bad, but still, it is better to be on the safe side. For this reason, many countries have banned ionizers also.

How Do Ionizer Purifiers Operate?

Air ionizers work by moving air through a fan that has charged plates. These plates will charge the air molecules. Ionizers are machines that make charged air molecules or ions. They can be made in different ways, but they all work the same way by getting attracted to the electrodes or plates.

A purifier with a fan will distribute the air inside of a room. The machine should move the air through it and process it to make sure that there are no contaminants in the room.

Usually, all ionizer models have a fan that pushes the air through an electrode series and plates. The first stage is when the electricity goes through it to make ions in the air.

In the second stage, an electrode with a different charge than the first one is put in, and it attracts and combines with the first electrode. After that, air that has been contaminated is removed because of what happens.

This concept is like static electricity. For example, you might think about how hair, Styrofoam, or paper pieces are attracted to the clothes and body while building up a charge on the carpet. These particles end up on the plates of related filters.

Later they get cleaned and taken away. Some models come with a standard filter that traps dirt and particles in the air. Others have an ionizer that kills bacteria inside a HEPA filter.

HEPA vs. ionizer air purifier pros & cons

HEPA Air Purifiers


  • Removes dust particles effectively.
  • The filter traps particles in it, removing them entirely from the air in your house.
  • The air filter will get rid of bad smells if you use the carbon pre-filter.


  • It is more expensive to operate in the long term (disposable filter replacement)
  • It can be noisy from the fan that blows air around.

Ionizer Air Purifiers


  • It costs less to operate.
  • Have the ability to clean a large area’s air (air ionizers)
  • Capable of catching tiny particles.


  • Particles are not effectively filtered out.
  • It is essential to vacuum your home regularly
  • It generates ozone air pollution.

Ionic vs. HEPA air purifier comparison

Ionic and HEPA purifiers work differently. You should know the difference before deciding which one to buy.

However, do you want to know how a HEPA vs. ionic air purifier compares to each other? In order to make it a bit easier, I put together a table that compares the two. This shows what is different about each one and some notes too.

Ionic vs. HEPA comparison table

The cleaning method The fan blows air through the purifier, which removes airborne particles that have settled on plates or filters. The purifier’s fan circulates the air. Air purifiers clean air by circulating air. Air is forced through HEPA and pre- and carbon filters, trapping particulates (tiny things that are not good for us).
The process of generating Ozone There are very small particles in the air that are less than one-millionth of a part per million. These are usually not dangerous. None
The germ-killing ability Depending on the product, it can be low to excellent. Only a few items are contaminated to fair (some products have germ-killing capability)
Rate of airflow Low-fair (The fan speed is not always selectable.) Good-high (An adjustable fan can go faster or slower.)
Dust cleaning Poor Good
Cleaning of smoking cigarettes Fair-good (The particles in the air are not very big and they go up to 0.01 uM.) Good (The particle size is limited to less than 0.3 microns.)
Odor elimination Poor/moderate Good (models with carbon filter)
Cleaning pet dander Fair-good Good
Cleaning of pet hair Poor Good
Relief from allergies Fair Good
Maintenance of the filter Clean plates/reusable wash filter Depending on the model, replace either all or part of the filters. (ave. 6-8 months life)
The average cost $50-$70+ $50-$100+


HEPA Air Purifier vs. Ionizers (Ozone): Side By Side Comparison

1. with filter vs. Unfiltered 

The two kinds of air purifiers are HEPA and ionic. The important difference is how they remove impurities from the air.

A HEPA filter is a good filter for removing “pollutant particles.” It can make the air feel clean and fresh.

The process is done continuously while the unit is on. This makes sure that no contaminants stay in the space. If new impurities like smoke and dirt come into the room, the device will catch them and keep them from coming back.

Instead, an ionizer emits electrically charged ions that bond with the polluting particles.

Once the pollutant particles are in the air, they will come together with something. They are too light to stay in the air. When this happens, they will fall to the ground and be picked up.

The advantage that a HEPA air purifier has over an ionizer is that it traps the pollutants present in the air.

In contrast, with an ionizer, there is always the possibility that the particles will return to the air when people walk into the room.

This results in an endless cycle in which impurities are removed from the air and returned. Units that include a collection plate are better because they prevent particles from coming back, but they are not perfect.

2. Mode of operation:

The main difference between an air purifier and an ionizer is that they work differently. An air purifier works by removing the chemicals in the air, while an ionizer makes the chemicals smaller, so they are not as dangerous.

The air purifier uses HEPA filters to trap contaminants. The ionizer releases negatively charged ions that bond with the contaminants in the air and make them disappear.

HEPA filters are used in industries to filter out particles. They are also found in high-end air filters for homes. Ionizers are less expensive and commonly used in residential environments.

3. Safety.

HEPA air filters can remove 99.97% of all harmful particles, but they cannot keep the 0.03% that includes gases or smells.

Ionizers also have limitations when it comes to removing gas or smells because they can make Ozone (O3) by interacting with their surroundings; this is unsafe for humans as well as other animals.

4. Scope of contaminants:

Ionizers are great for collecting small contaminants such as pollen and dust, but they can’t handle bigger particles like pet dander or mold.

On the other hand, air purifiers have a much wider scope of removal power- from both larger particulates to small ones like pet dander, mold, soil, ash, and dust mites in your air!

5. Design and style options:

There are not many design and style options in ionizers. You will find that they are mostly vertical, thin units that you can place in a corner. Others are square, small, which you can place anywhere.

Most ionizers have a modern design, and some have a futuristic look. Most of them should be placed on the floor or on a table; they cannot be installed on walls, limiting your options.

Instead, HEPA air purifiers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles. If you search hard enough, you can find one that goes with your room decor.

Some units come wall mountable, which means you can place them anywhere in your home or business.

In conclusion, HEPA purifiers offer many more options than ionizers.

If you want to know more about air purifiers, then we recommend that you read our guide, “How to choose an air purifier.” It explains everything there is to know about air purifiers, what they can do for you and which ones to choose from.

6. The difference in area coverage:

A HEPA air purifier uses a physical filter to clean the air. This makes the maximum coverage area less than that of an ionizer.

HEPA filters can clean up 0.15 square meters. This is enough for most homes but not enough for office spaces.

On the other hand, some ionizers can purify the air of areas of up to 325 square meters, a really huge space. The Living Fresh Sky1057 ionizer belongs to this category.

7. Maintenance:

HEPA air purifiers are difficult to maintain because they use a physical filter that needs to be replaced every year or sooner. Some HEPA filters can last for 2 to 3 years, Depending on how often you use them.

On the other hand, ionizers do not involve annual maintenance costs because they do not use physical filters. If you have an ionizer, don’t worry because it is washable and reusable. It will help you save money on the cost of replacement.

Looking for an air purifier? I invite you to read the best air purifiers for a classroom.

8. Cost:

In many ways, a HEPA air purifier is a more advanced technology, but it is more expensive than an ionizer.

Some ionizers cost as little as $50. Instead, a cheap HEPA air purifier can cost $150. So, if you want to buy a HEPA unit, you will have to spend a little more money.

Which is better, air purifier or ionizer?

It depends on the reason you have for wanting an air cleaner in your home.

HEPA air purifiers are more advanced than ionizers. They have a wider scope of removal power when it comes to contaminants in the air.

They can collect bigger particles like pet dander, mold, soil, ash, and dust mites. Also, they are better for people suffering from allergies because they remove organic molecules in the air that allergy sufferers react to.

On the other hand, ionizers have a much wider scope of removal power when it comes to removing gases and smells from your environment. This is because they can make Ozone, which is not good for your health either.

So, in conclusion, HEPA air purifiers are better than ionizers when it comes to collecting particles and allergens. On the other hand, ionizers are better at removing gases and smells from your air.


1. Are air purifiers with ionizers safe?

Answer: There have been many reports claiming air purifiers with ionizers are not safe. But in reality, these issues only occur when they’re used improperly or broken. When you use a quality one, it’s a great way to keep your home free from allergens and bacteria.

2. Do ionizing air purifiers work?

Answer: Yes. Ionizing air purifiers work by using an electric field to remove the particles in the air. Although they may be good for removing some types of particles, they can’t filter out everything, especially odors and gases.

3. Should I turn on the ionizer on my air purifier?

Answer: Yes, you should. The ionizer helps clean the air in your house by neutralizing any odors and particles. It also prevents the formation of bacteria or mold. This is particularly important during fall when leaves are falling down everywhere, and you may not be able to clean the air as often. Plus, think of the extra humidity you’ll be creating in your house and the consequent increase in well-being!

4. Which type kills mold spores in the air?

Answer: HEPA filters can take away mold spores. But they might not kill the mold. If there is a lot of humidity, then mold will grow in the filter if it is not cleaned. Ionizers will not kill the mold either.

5. Can you clean and reuse HEPA filters?

Answer: No, you cannot. It is not good to clean them because it can damage the filter and make it less effective. Only disposable filters are allowed. If the HEPA filter is reusable, then it probably is a fake one. It is best to buy a new one when you need it.

6. How often do you change HEPA filters?

Answer: A HEPA filter is a great idea for your home. It keeps the air clean and fresh. The HEPA filter lasts for about two or three years. It will last longer when the air is cleaner outside, like when it rains or when you’re in a place that has less pollution.

7. Is breathing ionized air safe?

Answer: Yes, Ionized air is safe to breathe. When the ionizer is overused, then it can be dangerous to breathe. But if it is used normally, the ionized air is never a problem.

8. Can an ionizer make you sick?

Answer: No, an ionizer can’t make you sick. But if it is overused or not cleaned, then there might be problems. There can be Ozone, which can cause allergies and breathing problems.

9. Is ionizer bad for asthma?

Answer: An ionizer is not bad for asthma. But if it is overused, then there might be a problem. There can be Ozone that you can’t see or smell, and it can cause problems for people who have asthma.


HEPA air purifier vs ionizer? Which do you think is the better choice for your home or office regarding health and wellness? It’s a difficult question to answer, so we have provided some information below that will hopefully help you make an informed decision when it comes time for purchase.

To start with, let’s take a look at what each device does differently. HEPA filters are a type of filter. They help clean the air in your home by capturing particles that are as small as 0.3 microns. This is done using electrostatic attraction and impact interception mechanisms to hold dust particulates on their surface until they can be removed by vacuuming action or other cleaning methods such as shaking out or air blowing.

On the other hand, Ionizers work by creating electrically charged particles in the air. They do this with a high-voltage corona discharge or an ultraviolet light (UV lamp). Ions attach to metallic dust particles in the environment. They cause the particles to fall into a collection tray. That is an electrostatic precipitation process.

The ions also attach themselves to tiny water droplets in the air and form into larger drops that can then fall to the ground. This has a positive effect of reducing dust mites, particulate, pollen, pet dander, and other allergens in the surrounding space.

However, ionization can make ozone gas. It is an irritant for people with asthma or allergies and also for people who have chronic respiratory and heart problems.

Both ionizers and HEPA air purifiers have their benefits and drawbacks. It is hard to say which one is better for a specific situation because it depends on their needs. However, one thing that is clear is that there are no health benefits from introducing Ozone into indoor spaces.

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