Air Purifier vs. Dehumidifier: What’s the Difference?

Air Purifiers vs. Dehumidifiers


Everyone wants their homes to be filled with clean, fresh air free of pollutants. We also want our home environment to be comfortable – just the right temperature and humidity level. HVAC systems handle most of the heavy lifting when it comes to climate control, but there are other tools out there that homeowners can use to enhance the comfort of their living spaces. But what tools should be used to get the desired result?

We often have questions about air purifiers and dehumidifiers. Both are incredibly useful when it comes to keeping things clean and comfortable, but these devices work in different ways. Let’s take a closer look at each product.


What’s An Air Purifier?

For homeowners suffering from allergies or issues from indoor air pollution issues, air purifiers are great tools in the battle for clean air. Air purifiers do exactly what they sound like they do – they filter dust, dirt, animal dander, and other particulate matter from the air. These products work in tandem with your home HVAC system, which contains its own filter. But for some homes, an additional purifier can be helpful, especially for those suffering from allergies.


What’s A Dehumidifier?

Dehumidifiers act completely differently than air purifiers – they don’t deal directly with particulate matter in the air. Instead, a dehumidifier pulls excess moisture from the air in your home. This is very helpful, as humid air holds on to heat longer, making it harder to cool your home. The other major benefit is that dry air is less hospitable for mold and mildew, two major causes of indoor air pollution and allergic reactions in homes.


Which One Do I Need?

Whether or not you need an air purifier or dehumidifier for your home is completely dependent on what environmental issues you are experiencing. Before you decide to make a purchase consider this question: What is the biggest air quality issue I’m currently experiencing in my home?

If you are not experiencing an air quality issue, then you might not need an air purifier or dehumidifier! For many homes, a working HVAC system is able to keep humidity levels under control, while filtering out an acceptable level of dust, dirt, and allergens. For those experiencing issues with allergy symptoms, such as itchy eyes, scratchy throat, and runny nose, it is possible that an HVAC filer with a higher MERV rating will help to clear out allergens that are causing the issue. Check out our article on filters to see what might work for you (and remember to change your filter regularly).

If you are having issue in your home with mold or mildew, the first step to getting rid of the problem is making your home the last place they want to grow. Mold and mildew love humid environments, and no amount of cleaning will get rid of the issue while there is too much moisture in the air. To help rid your home of mold and mildew, and possibly the musty smell that can go along with both, a dehumidifier is the way to go.

To determine which dehumidifier you should purchase, figure out the square footage of the area you need to keep moisture-free. There are a lot of different sizes out there, but get a unit made to handle the problem area. Some units may need a drain to work properly, while others have water collection units that need to be emptied occasionally.

Have smells in your home due to pets or indoor smoking? Or are you suffering from allergy symptoms that just won’t stop when you get home, even if your HVAC filter has a high MERV rating and is cleaned regularly? Have you verified that there are no problems with mold in your home? Then your problem likely involves removing particulate matter from the air – go with an air purifier.

Much like dehumidifiers, air purifiers come in a range of sizes, so be sure to check the details and pick one that will work for the area where you intend to use the unit. Air purifiers also come with different filter strengths, with HEPA filters being the best choice for those suffering from allergies. Like HVAC filters, you will need to routinely check to make sure the filter isn’t clogged or dirty and replace filters that are past their prime.