Let’s get the two most asked questions out of the way. Air purifier and humidifier are not the same things. YES, you can run them both at the same time. With that, I probably answered 90% of you guys that landed on this page. If not, stick around as I will dive deep on the differences between these two home appliances. If you have to pick one to buy (for now), I will give you a clear answer on which one to go for.

Short answer

Air purifier cleans air. Humidifier adds moisture.

Air Purifier VS Humidifier

The classic same difference. An air purifier removes airborne contaminants from the air. This includes dust, mold, pollen, spores, pet dander, bacteria, smoke, and odors. A humidifier pump moisture back into the air to curb the spread of viruses. Air purifier typically has a bigger body to fit its multi-layer filtration. Humidifier is much smaller in size that is mostly covered by a water reservoir. Air purifier stops airborne contaminants from spreading and aggravating respiratory diseases. This includes sinusitis, pulmonary edema, respiratory tract damage, asthma and more. Humidifier moisture skin, nasal airways and relieve discomfort from dry cough, and dehydration. Humidifier also reduces static electricity. Air purifier does not change a room humidity level but humidifier does. Anyone can benefit from an air purifier or humidifier but children, asthmatic, and an allergenic person would reap the most.

Moving to location, air purifier can be placed anywhere in the house. We recommend placing it in the bedroom or living hall where you will spend the most time in. Humidifier is frequently placed in a bathroom or bedroom when one is applying skincare. Noise wise, an air purifier is distinctly louder with its spinning motor fan. Finally and perhaps most importantly for some, the cost of ownership. Air purifier is generally pricier without even accounting for the filter replacement cost. Humidifier is a one-off cost excluding any optional essential oil add-on.

The Difference Between Air Purifier and Humidifier

Air Purifier


Varies that highly dependent on the air purifier features and performance. Most mist humidifier is compact as opposed to the 2-in-1 air purifier humidifier combo.
Trap harmful airborne particles like dust mites, mold, dander, bacteria, smoke and odor. Release cool or warm mist to increase the humidity level in a room.
Health Benefits
Protect the lungs from harmful respiratory illness. Improve skin condition and breathing quality.
Does not affect the room humidity level. Increase room humidity level.
Best Used
Bedroom, Living hall, Kitchen or places with poor air quality. Bedroom, Bathroom and during winter season.
• Mechanical (HEPA)  • Activated carbon/ Deodorizer  • UV-light/ Ultraviolet  • PCO cleaner  • Ionic/ Ionizer  • Electrostatic  • Ozone generator • Evaporative  • Steam vaporizer/ Mist  • Ultrasonic  • Impeller
Target Group
Suitable for all age group especially for allergenic and asthma sufferer. Suitable for all but children must stay away from warm mist humidifier. The heat can cause burns if is too close.
Noise Level
Varies based on airflow output and fan speed. Subtle for ultrasonic, cool mist humidifier. White noise for impeller, warm mist (steam) humidifier.
Cost with Upkeeping
For compact air purifier, price starts from $20 to $150. Anything priced above is for mid to high-range air cleaners. Most vaporizer/ cool mist humidifier would cost between $20-50. Air purifier humidifier combo is at the range of $100-500.

Do I Need an Air Purifier or a Humidifier?

Get a humidifier if your house humidity level falls below 30% (Ideal level is between 30-50%). When the air feels stale and stuffy (winter is coming), humidifier would ease the breathing space. Look for symptoms like itchy/ flaky skin, chapped lips, or dry cough. Static shock is also a sign of dry air. Get an air purifier if you are allergic to dust, mold, pet dander or anything that floats. Air stinks from fire burning, cigarette, or chemical emission, get one. Just had a baby, asthmatic person or anyone with weaker immune system, you know the answer, get one!

An average adult breathes in about 12-20 times per minute. That’s around 7-8 liters of air. Over the course of a day, one will breathe it a total of 11,000-37,000 liters of air per day. Shocking numbers isn’t it? So would you want to inhale dirty, contaminated air or you want the purest, finest air anyone could find? While we might be over-selling on the last part, there is no doubt air purifier and humidifier can do that. Through different technologies, both appliances will eventually provide you with cleaner air.

Frequently Asked Questions FAQ

Can You Use Humidifier and Air Purifier In Same Room?

Yes absolutely. You can safely use air purifier and humidifier together because they serve different needs. An air purifier cleans the air from pollutants while a humidifier adds moisture to the air for better breathability. Both complement each other existence but you only use a humidifier if the air feels dry e.g. during winter. On the other hand, we only recommend mechanical HEPA air purifier as it is proven on its efficiency.

Air Purifier or Humidifier For Asthma

Air purifier because it can treat asthma symptoms from being active. The HEPA filter in an air cleaner will trap all surrounding airborne irritants. Without the enabler allergens around, there is less likelihood of an asthma attack from triggering. Humidifier can create a comfortable breathing environment but does little in preventing asthma.

Which is Better? Air Purifier VS Humidifier for Baby

Tied. Humidifier can relieve nasal congestion for a baby that has breathing difficulty. It is not necessary if the baby is breathing well or the air humidity is ideal. Air purifier can protect the baby from any allergies or virus attack especially with their developing immune system. It can also remove stinky diaper odors with the right carbon filter installed.

Air Purifier or Humidifier for Sinus

Both will help clear sinusitis but in a different way. Air purifier will remove airborne particles associated with sinuses like dust, mold, pollen, spore, or pet dander. Humidifier disperses moisture that keeps air from being over-dry. This reduces the mucus layer in the airway and prevents sinus infection.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.