Sore throat starting your morning on the worst note? Maybe your kids are missing far more school than you’d ever want them to with stuffy noses. The sinister culprit could very well be your air and what’s floating around in it. Fortunately clean air is within your reach, but when it comes down to either an air purifier or an ionizer, which gives you and your family the most relief?
If you’re anything like us, you know it’s hard enough dragging yourself out of bed in the morning.
Isn’t it bad enough that you have to deal with your boss?
Unfortunately for many of us, there’s far more to combat during your morning rituals than just being out of coffee creamer.
Indoor air quality has become a major concern for all of us as of late. In fact, according to the EPA, the air inside your home could be two to five times MORE polluted than what’s floating around outside! This results in a whole bunch of health problems, including:
Luckily, an air purifier can have you and your entire family feeling better in no time. Or...was that the ionizer? Aren’t they the same thing?
Of course not! But we’re here to help you figure out the difference - AND determine which one is the best for your stuffy sinuses.
What the Heck Do These Things Do? Clean the Air?
Well, sort of. They don’t really “clean” the air as much as they improve the quality of it.
Let us explain. Regardless of the type of purifier you purchase the end goal is the same - to rid the air around you of harmful pollutants and irritants - at least as much as is possible. This can be done in a variety of ways (more on that later), but most air purification systems claim to rid their owners of most, if not all of the following:
Of course, you and I both know that if it sounds too good to be true, many times it is. But the truth is, many of these systems do provide results.
What Do Ionizers Do?
With a name like that, it sounds like they could do anything from doubling as a lightsaber to teleportation. Unfortunately, ionizers are limited to strictly air quality control - though maybe with the right mind they could be repurposed for time travel.
Ionizers utilize active purification as their main purification process.
In active purification, ionizers release negative ions out into the atmosphere. These negative ions then latch themselves onto harmful pollutant particles in the air. Once their charges are transmitted on to these floating particles, they drop out of the air - sticking either to each other or to solid objects in the room.
With the particles out of the air, many times it’s up to you to completely rid yourself of them. Unless your unit comes equipped with an electrostatic collection plate inside of it, these particles will settle on a solid surface waiting to be scooped up. Even ionizers that do come with a plate installed won’t always collect all of the debris.
Adding to the negatives (no pun intended) is the fact that ionizers release harmful ozone as a byproduct of their purification. Ozone is a respiratory irritant - it can produce a cough in even the healthiest of people and can further aggravate pre-existing respiratory issues such as Asthma.
What Do Air Purifiers Do?
What standard air purifiers lack in a cool name they more than make up for in performance and efficiency.
Air purifiers that use passive purification as their process are a different machine entirely than their ionizer counterparts.
Passive purification uses a fan inside of the unit to suck in polluted air. That air is then passed through a filter and released back into the atmosphere, clean as a whistle.
The industry standard for the filters these machines use is a HEPA filter. HEPA filters can remove 99.7% of indoor pollutants - which means for every 10,000 particles that pass through the filter, only three will make their way back out into the air. Unlike ionizers, HEPA filters use the physics of the particles floating to suck them out of the air flow.
There's no harmful byproducts that come along with the use of passive purification air purifiers. However, some of their claims are a bit exaggerated. For example, the 99.7% removal claim for a HEPA filter is based on the product being used in laboratory conditions. So unless you’re Professor Xavier, don’t expect that sort of air purity.
What’s the Verdict?
The important thing to remember before buying an air purifier or ionizer is that there is no cure-all for any situation. These devices won’t magically get rid of your allergies, they won’t cure your asthma, and they won’t have the entire house smelling clean.
That being said, there’s a clear cut winner between the two, and that is the classic (or passive) air purifier.
Aside from not having to deal with potentially harmful byproducts when using this air purifier, there’s also scientific evidence that backs up the claims of passive air purifiers:
Combine that with a study that shows that ionizers don’t really have any sort of positive effect on your health, and the choice is clear. In the battle between purifiers and ionizers, air purifiers stand as the undisputed champions of clean air.