An air purifier is not a dehumidifier. Period. They might look the same, comes with air vent and filter, but the functionality is on a different spectrum. In this post, we will touch on every little detail about both home appliances, how they work, and what are they here for. We will also list down the differences between an air purifier and a dehumidifier for comparison. At the end of it all, you will have a better understanding of your needs and make the right purchase.

Short answer

Air purifier cleans air. Dehumidifier removes moisture.

PARTU BS-03 True HEPA Air Purifier

What Does An Air Purifier Do?

An air purifier circulates air through a series of filters and traps airborne contaminants like dust, pet dander, dust mites, mold spore, pollen, germs, smoke, and odors. With harmful particulates removed from the air, you will enjoy breathing in purified, clean air. One will feel a gradual improvement in their health physically and mentally. An air purifier can be placed anywhere indoor with the bedroom and living hall the most popular spot. You can even integrate an air purifier in the ductwork of the HVAC system for whole-house purification.

Types of Air Purifiers

  • HEPA air purifier – The most popular type that uses a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter. A True HEPA filter is certified to capture 99.97% microscopic particles down to 0.3 microns. Combine with filters such as a pre-filter, carbon filter, HEPA air purifier can remove any types of airborne contaminants at home.
  • Carbon air purifier – Also known as deodorizer or charcoal air purifier. Uses adsorbent material like activated carbon filter or charcoal to remove smoke, chemical fumes, and odors.
  • UV air purifier – A proven and safe sanitization technology powered by a germicidal light. The ultraviolet radiation will kill bacteria and viruses by damaging their DNA cells.
  • Photocatalytic Oxidation – Uses broad-spectrum UV light to reacts with a thin film of titanium dioxide resulted in oxidization. PCO cleans the air through oxidization that accelerates the decomposition of microorganisms.
  • Ionizer – A safe, eco-friendly, filterless air purifier that uses corona discharge to create an electrical field. The negative ions will merge with opposite positive ion particles in the air. The charged ions will fall due to increased weight resulting in much cleaner air.
  • Electrostatic precipitators – Works just like an ionizer but it comes with a collector plate to collect the dropped particles.
  • Ozone generator – A fake air purifier that will do more harm than good. An Ozonator will split oxygen molecules in the air into a single atom. The single atom will then merge with other oxygen molecules to form ozone. Inhaling to ozone is bad for our health as it can damage lung tissue cells and aggravate diseases like asthma.

Maintenance, Care, and Price

A conventional air purifier requires filter replacement every 6 to 12 months. To know when to change the filter, wait till the filter indicator light is illuminated or follow the manufacturer’s guideline. Some models do come with a washable filter that requires periodic cleaning. An air purifier can be expensive to own with recurring costs because of the complexity of filtration and features. Filter costs vary from $10 all the way up to $1000.

The most distinctive difference of all, an air purifier cannot reduce or manage the humidity level in your home.

Frigidaire FFAD3033R1 30-pint Dehumidifier

What Does A Dehumidifier Do?

A dehumidifier draws moisture out of the air thus killing mold, mildew, dust mites, and other microbes that thrive in a humid environment. The collected moisture will drip down to a bucket or straight to a drainage hole via a garden hose/ built-in pump. Without excessive moisture, a dehumidifier will effectively halt microorganisms’ growth and spread. You will breathe comfortably without the damp odors and microbes triggering your allergies or asthma.

Types of Dehumidifiers

  • Mechanical /refrigerative – The most common type that works just like an air conditioner. Moist air is drawn in via a fan to the refrigerated coil for freezing. Through condensation, water will be collected in the bucket, and air will be heated and dispersed as mist. Very effective at ambient room temperatures with RH level above 45%.
  • Thermoelectric/ Peltier dehumidifier – AKA electronic dehumidifier. Drain moisture by converting energy into temperature differences. The heat generated from the heat sinks will create a cool surface for condensation and water collection. With no moving parts to account for, The entire humidification process is silent and energy-efficient. Commonly found in smaller dehumidifier.
  • Desiccant dehumidifier – Often used in a renewable humidifier due to the smaller parts and silent operation. Works just like a desiccant packet that reduces humidity through moisture absorption material. The rotating wheel belt will automatically collect moisture from the passing air until it reaches its max capacity.
  • Ionic membrane – Micro-size dehumidifier that can be found in electronic devices, fuel cells, and water applications. Designed to be maintenance-free and silent by using an ionic pump to remove moisture from sealed enclosures.
  • Makeshift – An uncommon windows air conditioner that sends heat exhaust back inside the room. Operate similarly to a mechanical/ refrigerative dehumidifiers.

Maintenance, Care, and Price

Dehumidifier requires cleaning every 1 to 7 days from emptying the bucket to washing the plates, and permanent filter. With regular care, you can extend the dehumidifier usage lifespan, inhibit mold growth, and prevent the coils from frosting. Dehumidifier is often placed in the basement due to poor ventilation and no sunlight. A dehumidifier comes in a typical boxy shape in different sizes to accommodate a reservoir. There is no recurring filter cost to bear with a dehumidifier.

A dehumidifier cannot remove airborne contaminants in your home. It can make you feel less hot and stuffy by reducing moisture in the air.

The Difference Between Air Purifier And Dehumidifier

Air purifier and dehumidifier can relieve discomfort from allergic reactions including cough, nasal irritation, sinus, itchiness in eyes/ skin, headache, and breathing problems. That’s where the similarities end. Here’s a quick air purifier VS dehumidifier comparison table with pros and cons.

Features Honeywell HPA300
Air Purifier
Ivation 30 Pint IVALDH30PW Dehumidifier
Dimension Compact, tower, portable, and console Medium, large framework size to accommodate the reservoir
Functions Circulates air and trap airborne particles, allergens, smoke through a series of filters Remove moisture in a room and stop microorganisms from growth
Health Benefits Provide clean air that is beneficial to asthmatics and allergy sufferers Kill mold, mildew and alleviate running nose, cough, headache, respiratory problems
Dehumidification No Yes
Best Used In Bedroom, living hall, kitchen, basement with poor air quality Basement, living hall, or bedroom with musty smell and humidity level greater than 50%
  • Mechanical/ HEPA air purifier
  • Activated carbon/ Deodorizer/ Adsorbents
  • UV-light/ UV air purifier
  • PCO cleaner
  • Ionic/ Ionizer
  • Electrostatic precipitators
  • Mechanical or refrigeration
  • Absorption/ Electronic desiccant
  • Thermoelectric
  • Ionic membrane
  • Makeshift
Noise Level Subtle to loud Subtle to very loud
Maintenance 6 – 12 months (filter change) 1 – 7 days (water emptying, cleaning the filter)
  • Compact air purifiers ($20-150)
  • Medium-sized air purifiers ($200–400)
  • Large-sized air purifiers (>$400)
  • Mini renewable dehumidifiers ($30-50)
  • Small dehumidifiers ($40-80)
  • 30-pint dehumidifiers ($100-200)
  • 50-pint dehumidifiers ($150-250)
  • 70-pint dehumidifiers ($200-400)

Air Purifier VS Dehumidifier: Which Is Better For Allergies?

Depends on the air quality condition of your home and the type of allergies you are dealing with. Both devices can remove allergens and alleviate allergies from triggering. Get an air purifier if you are allergic to dust, mold, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, viruses, smoke, or odors. It is the best option for cleaning the air from allergens. If the air feels damp with hint of musty smell, get a dehumidifier. If you are still unsure, get an air quality monitor and hygrometer/ humidity meter first to keep track of the indoor air condition.

An Air Purifier Would Work Best If You:

  • Enjoy breathing in clean air free from allergens.
  • Stay in the city or industrial area with heavy outdoor pollution.
  • Constantly suffer from eyes, throat, and nose irritation due to Dusty home.
  • Suffering from health conditions like hypersensitivity, asthma, or other respiratory diseases.
  • Can’t stand lingering odors coming from cigarettes, mold, cooking, pets, chemicals like paint, detergent.
  • Allergic to pet dander from indoor pets like cats, dogs, and even birds.

A Dehumidifier Would Work Best If You:

  • Stay in coastal areas (air absorbs moisture directly from the sea).
  • Go through summer season without an air conditioner. An air conditioner will cool the air and reduce moisture.
  • Live in an exceedingly damp environment (more than 50 percent in humidity level) e.g. Florida and Louisiana.
  • After a flood or heavy rain.
  • The sight of mold, mildew, and dust mites thriving in your home.
  • Air feels heavy and hard to breathe. Made worse if you or your family member have respiratory problems like asthma.
  • Condensation can be seen on windows or pipes.
  • Detect stale and musty smell of mold, mildew, fungi especially in basement.

What’s Next: Selecting the Right Model For The Job

Once you have made up your mind on which appliances to go with, you will need to decide the right model to buy. There are hundreds of devices out there for both air purifiers and dehumidifiers. Each model will vary in performance, equipment, the price range. Most units are designed to handle a type of particulate matter or specific square footage. Understand your need and purchase a unit that can handle the required room size. For example, if you need the air purifier or humidifier to cover a 400 square feet basement, choose a model that supports at least a room capacity of 400 square feet.

Rather than comparing 1 by 1, we took the initiative and filtered the best one for you by category. Find the best models on our website that catered to your budget, performance, and needs.

Can You Use a Dehumidifier and Air Purifier In The Same Room?

You can use an air purifier and dehumidifier concurrently in the same room. Both devices can coexist together as each has different functionality in improving indoor air quality. An air purifier cleans the air by capturing contaminants like dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses. A dehumidifier sucks moisture out of the air so microorganisms will not survive and stop spreading. By running the air purifier and dehumidifier at the same time, you will feel more relax with cool, fresh air free from musty smell.