How Does An Air Purifier Work?

Wondering how does an Air Purifier work? Keep reading!

As you may know, an air purifier is a device that can sanitize the air removing impurities, polluting particles, allergens, bacteria, and viruses.

But how do they work?

How Does An Air Purifier Work?

Key Takeaways

  • Air purifiers blow back clean air, which is why some of them can also be used as fans.
  • There are four types of filters to choose from- Lonic, HEPA, Carbon, and UV light filters.
  • Air purifier maintenance requires you to change or clean filters periodically.
  • All the harmful air particles are trapped in the air filter, which is why it needs to be cleaned or replaced periodically.

Air Purifiers & Air Filters: What’s the Difference?

Air Purifiers Are Different From Air Filters

First of all, we should make it clear that air purifiers are different from air filters (even though they also work with air filters).

Air filters remove particles from the air, and that’s all. As we are about to discover, air purifiers do more than that.

Read: How Long Should I Run My Air Purifier?

Also Read: How Do We Review Air Purifiers?

The Working of Air Purifiers

To simply things, we could divide air purifiers’ functioning into three phases.

Phase 1: First, an air purifier sucks air in. It uses a fan that takes air from the environment and blows it towards the filters.

Phase 2: The air goes through the air purifiers’ filters. Air purifiers can have different types of filters, and this is where all harmful particles (whether they are bacteria, allergens, or polluting elements) are trapped within the filters.

Phase 3: Clean air is blown back into the environment. This is why sometimes air purifiers can also be used as fans!

During a particularly hot day, you could move closer to your air purifier to enjoy some fresh and clear air. 1

Types Of Filters in Air Purifiers

Types Of Filters

As we’ve mentioned, the mechanism of air purifiers is always the same, but the type of filters they use can be different.

These are the most common types of filters:

  • Lonic air filters: produce negatively charged ions which then attract particles in the air in the same way as static electricity. As the particles come into contact with the anions (the negatively charged ions), they are removed from the air.
  • HEPA filters: these are more effective than Ionic filters. They are comprised of fiberglass fiber mats which trap the particles as the air flows through them. These filters can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles.
  • Carbon air filters: carbon is a very porous material, and as air flows through it, particles remain trapped in its pores.
  • UV light filters: with these filters, we have air flowing in an area where it is exposed to UV light. UV lights killed bacteria and viruses. This type of filter is more effective against pathogens than polluting elements because it doesn’t remove particles but kills microorganisms. 2

Read: What Makes A Good Air Purifier?

Do Air Purifiers Need Maintenance?

Air purifiers need maintenance because filters, in order to be effective, need to be clean. Basically, air purifier maintenance requires you to change or clean filters periodically.

If you don’t do so, with time, you end up polluting the air instead of purifying it because particles would begin detaching from the filters and being blown into the environment. 3

Read: Activated Carbon Filters


We hope you liked reading this article on how does an Air Purifier work.

And now that you know how air purifiers work, you can understand how they are effective.

Furthermore, knowing about the different types of filters can help you with your choice when you need to purchase your first air purifier.


Do air purifiers remove dust?

If you have a HEPA-filter air purifier, then yes it does remove dust. However, if you have just a carbon filter air purifier, then it is not going to help you in removing dust, but gases and odor rather.

Should I sleep with the air purifer on?

Air purifiers are supposed to be kept on 24×7 especially if you have dust allergies or other breathing problems.

Do air purifier consume a lot of energy?

No, they do not consume a lot of energy. In fact, even if you keep in on 24×7, you will get an extra bill of only $5-$10.

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