Skip to content

Air Purifier vs. Humidifier: Which is What You Need?

Air Purifier vs. Dehumidifier, one is to purify the air and another is to add moisture to the room. Then when will you need it? How do they help improve the indoor air? Read to find out.

How Humidifier Works

How Humidifier Works

IAQ Boost is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Air Purifier and Humidifier both impact indoor air quality in distinct ways. They offer different benefits and fill in the gap of what your home air is missing.

In order to use them in the right way, you first need to understand your home air situation and each machine’s major functions.

Only then can you decide which item to buy. So, the post of Air Purifier vs. Humidifier is here to inform you of the ultimate information about these two machines and help you out with your decision. Let’s start right now.

The Purpose of Air Purifier vs. Humidifier

Air purifier’s purpose is to eliminate harmful pollutants such as chemicals, particles, germs, odors, allergens, bacteria, and more.

After steps of purification, the air emitted out is clean and fresh for breathing. Hence, an air purifier is a perfect item for those who struggle with allergies, irritating smell, and respiratory disease.

Humidifiers are machines that add to the air humidity that efficiently improve dry-air problems. It creates an air that is easier to breathe. Other than that, it also provides moisture so your skin won’t feel itchy or struggle with cracked skin because of dryness.

Humidifiers don’t clean air, so the bacteria in the air and smell remain the same when the machine works.

How Do They Work?

Step of Air Purifier Filtration
Step of Air Purifier Filtration

Air Purifier needs two basic components to work, the fan and filters. When turning on the machine, many items first report the pollutant rate via a small screen on the machine or via a phone app. Then it adjusts the suitable fan speed to vacuum the air.

The air enters and goes through the filters. At this stage, particles and pollutants are trapped at the multiple filters. The non-chemical air will pass through the filter layers and reach outside.

Common filters on the market that most air purifiers have is the HEPA filter. It can purify 99,97% particles, bringing you super fresh, healthy air.

Or even better, you can have an air purifier with PECO technology which not only captures but eliminates the pollutants forever.

How Humidifier Works
How Humidifier Works

Humidifiers only add water to the air so that it can be more comfortable. Aside from that, it also carries some relieving smell if you add essential oil to it.

Humidifier’s way of working is easy to understand. First, the machine needs water – its basic condition to operate. Then inside the engine, the water will be transformed into mist and spread out in the air.

Humidifier uses various technologies to turn the water to mist. In general, here are the common methods:

  • Ultrasonic humidifiers use ultrasonic vibration to create the cool mist.
  • Impeller humidifiers made water mist with a rotating disk.
  • Evaporators need a strong fan motor to blow the air through the wet wick, filter, or belt; so the air propelled out can carry water.
  • Steam vaporizers use electricity to create hot steam. The steam is then cooled down before coming out from the machine.

If you have children, you shouldn’t use these kinds of humidifiers as the water inside is really hot. It can hurt the children if it spills.

The Usage of Each Machine for Different Human’s Condition

Whether it is Air Purifier or Humidifier, it offers you benefits that are essential for breathing healthily. However, there are some abilities that this machine can do and the other cannot and vice versa. Here are some big advantages and disadvantages of each item that have been approved:

For Asthma and Allergens

Air purifier is an effective device to reduce asthma, allergies, or anyone who has a respiratory disease.

This machine vacuums in the substances that are floating in the air. These pollutants do harm to the lung and cause allergies. They are dust mites, particles, odors, germs, pet dander, mold, VOCs, and pollen.

Traditional air purifiers can catch most of these pollutants but the Molekule with PECO tech can forever destroy them, marking the milestone in the air purifier industry.

Meanwhile, humidifiers don’t have much impact on allergens and asthma victims as they don’t clean the air. Instead, they can help you breathe smoother and relieve the symptom of dry or irritated nasal passages.

However, when using a humidifier, you need to clean it regularly since if you don’t, the machine will become an ideal environment for bacteria and mold to grow. And when the machine is turned on, it will directly spread out substances that trigger asthma and allergy symptoms.

Colds and Flu

Viruses that cause diseases are microscopic that cannot be purified by standard air purifiers. Though air purifiers cannot help you with the current colds, it can ease the colds and flu symptoms by catching the respiratory irritants existing in the air.

Humidifiers are also like air purifiers; they cannot help you to get away with the cold that you have already had.

However, humidifiers can ease the colds and help you feel less miserable, according to NIH. It provides moisture to the air and prevents dry, scratchy throat and nose.

Dry Air

Air purifiers cannot do anything to solve the dry air problem as they don’t create moisture.

Humidifier’s strong point is to moisturize the air. Thus it reduces the dry air condition rapidly and is the most effective device to solve this situation.


A baby’s body resistance is still weak. Hence everything that applies to their body, including the essential factor – air, needs to be in good condition. In this case, an air purifier is the best way to help the baby breathe in quality and guaranteed clean air.

As stated above, humidifiers increase moisture in the air and help moisturize our skin from outside and relieve respiratory symptoms.

Hence, they can relieve infants’ cough and colds symptoms and remain moisture to babies’ skin. Therefore, humidifiers are invaluable for babies.

Here, we have the list of top-rated humidifiers for babies. Check if this is what you need.

The Right Way to Use Air Purifier and Humidifier

When using the air purifier and humidifier, you should notice these ways of using so that you can have the best of what they have to offer:

Hours of using

Air purifiers cannot clean the air instantly or in a couple of hours. It needs a longer time to purify the whole room’s air. So, to make sure the air is well filtered, you should turn on the machine all day or during the night when you are asleep.

When you leave the house for business and expect relatively fresh air when you return, you should set the machine to turn on a few hours before you arrive.

Hours to use a humidifier is not less than an air purifier. If you want the room to remain the appropriate humidity, you should turn on the humidifier from 11-16 hours a day.

It is because the moisture can go away after you turn off the machine for a couple of hours. So, before going to bed, you should fill the water tank to ensure continuous operation.

When to use

Air purifiers can be used all around the year as long as you need them. It is helpful throughout the allergic season and environment that isn’t healthy for those with respiratory disease.

In contrast, humidifiers can only be used in dry rooms, or in the dry season, usually on cold winter days. In the rainy season or summer, when the humidity rate is high, running a humidifier can worsen the air condition.

According to some studies (Lapidus et al., 2013), room’s humidity should remain from 40 – 60%. More than that, your room could turn into a nest of harmful bacteria.


When it comes to cleaning air purifiers, it is straightforward. You just need to change the filter periodically to make sure the machine can purify the air well. Usually, the changing time of the filter should be 6 months after using.

About humidifier cleaning, you need to take these steps more carefully. It would be best if you cleaned the water tank regularly with hot water and vinegar to prevent the growth of mold.

And if possible, you should use distilled water instead of mineral water to make sure there are no other components emitted when using the humidifier.

Brief Comparison between Air Purifier and Humidifier

CharacteristicAir PurifierHumidifier
PurposePurify particles, odors, germs, dust, smell, pollutants, v.v floating in the airAdd moisture to the air
How Does It Work?Takes in the unclean air and purify it through filtersTurn water into water steam and then spray it out
Who Is It For?Allergy, asthma sufferers and for all that wants clean home airSky skin, smooth breath, improve sleep and good smell with aromatherapy
When to UseThroughout the yearIn dry season or dry environment only
Hours of UsingAll day if you are regularly at home11-16 hours a day


Can I Turn On Both Machines in the Same Room?

It is absolutely fine to use both machines in the same room. The two machines can fill in each other’s gaps.

The air purifier can purify the air to offer quality home air. In the meantime, the humidifier will add moisture, bringing to the room with both fresh air and appropriate humidity.

Does Air Purifier Make the Air Dry?

No, it doesn’t; the air purifier doesn’t have the function to draw moisture existing in the air. It simply purifies pollutants. It cannot filter humidity in any appreciable quantity.

How to Prevent Mold in a Humidifier?

The best way to clean mold is to clean the humidifier each week. When cleaning, the most effective method to remove scales of mold is using hot water and white vinegar.

After pouring the mix liquid in, use the soft-bristle brush to clean the interior properly and get rid of mold clinging on the unit surface. After that, use hot water to rewash the unit and let it dry completely before reassembling.

What to Put in Humidifiers to Prevent Mold?

There are many ways you can make to prevent mold buildup inside the humidifier. Here are some easy ways:

Tea tree oil

Just a few drops of tea tree oil, you can stop mold buildup and, at the same time, help those with respiratory disease or asthma feel better.

Humidifier’s tablets

The tablet helps the unit remain clean longer and less smellyYou can purchase this product easily online. Using it is simple, just drop the tablet in the water tank and fill the water in, and there it goes.

White vinegar

Vinegar is a natural and safe antibacterial substance for your home air. All you need to do is mix one cup of vinegar with the humidifier’s water. Then let the machine run and it will stop the mold growth.

Wrap Up

In conclusion, if you need good air to breathe, which everyone definitely needs, come and buy an air purifier for your home. If the air inside is too dry that makes you feel irritated, purchase a humidifier right away.

But to enjoy the best quality air with both factors – clean and comfortable, we suggest you should have both of these machines.

Hope the info about Air Purifier vs. Humidifier can help you clear some issues you wondered about, and good luck with your decision.

Featured on

Yahoo News