What Does an Air Purifier Do? A Comprehensive Guide to Its Functions

What does an air purifier do? Many people ask this question when searching for ways to improve indoor air quality. This comprehensive article provides all the necessary information you need to know about air purifiers.

Let’s dive in and see how these essential appliances work!

Quick Answer

Regular cleaning of your home or office can improve indoor air quality and mitigate breathing problems, allergies, and exposure to harmful substances like carbon monoxide or cigarette smoke. However, an air purifier can provide additional protection by eliminating smog, fugitive gasses, viruses, fungi, and bacteria from your space. 

Many air purifiers, especially modern and innovative models, have several functions that are beneficial health. Some of these functions include:

  • Eradicating pollutants
  • Ionizing the air
  • Eliminating allergens
  • Getting rid of odors

These appliances are commonly used in homes, offices, hospitals, and learning centers to prevent allergy-related problems and respiratory diseases and eliminate air pollution. Keep reading this guide to learn about all the functions and benefits of air purifiers.

I recommend you to consider the Best Levoit air purifier: 12 best models for healthy air

What is The Function of an Air Purifier?

Air pollutants can enter our homes through various sources, including natural ventilation and open windows. Therefore, air purifiers are essential in eliminating these pollutants and creating a clean and safe environment:

  • Air purifiers play a crucial role in ensuring clean and healthy indoor air.
  • These devices achieve this by capturing polluted air, filtering it, and releasing clean air back into the room.

Some of the primary functions of air purifiers include the following.

What is The Function of an Air Purifier

1. Eliminates Smoke Particles from the Air

Smoke particles from cigarettes, burning firewood, and cooking in the kitchen can pose significant health risks. Fortunately, air purifiers, equipped with carbon filter and True HEPA filter, possess outstanding absorption abilities, which can effectively eradicate these harmful particles from indoor air.

Important! However, before you purchase your air purifier for this purpose. Make sure that you obtain it from reputable home appliance manufacturers to ensure the quality and reliability of the product.

2. Providing Clean Air for Kids

Young children need a pollution-free environment for optimal development of their immune and nervous systems. Dirty air makes kids more susceptible to infections, respiratory diseases, allergies, and cerebral hypoxia.

Having a portable air purifier in your children’s rooms will neutralize pollutants like fungal spores, allergens, and viruses.

Providing Clean Air for Kids

Read More: Best Air Purifier for the Nursery: 14 Top Models for Your Child’s Health

3. Acting as a Smog Cleaner

Smog is a dangerous type of air pollution because it contains harmful agents. When inhaled, smog may cause asthma, circulatory issues, fetal growth retardation, respiratory failure, stroke, asthma, chronic bronchitis, and cardiac arrhythmias.

Air purifiers can safely and quickly eliminate harmful smog from the rooms of your home or building.

4. Capture Animal Hair

Air purifiers work is essential if you have pets, you probably have struggled with hair on the chairs, sofas, furniture, and floor. Manual cleaning of pet hair can be time-consuming and monotonous.

An air purifier will pick up pet hair particles and exfoliated skin, and remove unwanted pet odors leaving your house clean and spotless.

5. Purifier Viruses and Bacteria

The indoor air is full of disease-causing pathogens like bacteria and viruses. You can use air purifiers in your home to keep the circulating air decontaminated and free of bacteria or viruses.

Purifier Viruses and Bacterias

With this device, you will be breathing in clean and fresh air, preventing diseases caused by these pathogens.

6. Air Humidifying Function

When the air around your home is too dry, it can cause unpleasant effects on your health:

  • Dry mucous membranes.
  • Respiratory problems.
  • Skin problems.
  • Headache.

Furthermore, adequate air humidity is crucial while sleeping and during illness. Some air purifiers can humidify the air around your home, providing you with pleasant living conditions.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

The operating principle of air purifiers is simple. The fan sets the air in motion to pass through a series of filters, and the purified air is then released for recirculation in the room.

For a more detailed process, the air filtration process in these devices involves the following steps:

  • Step 1: Polluted air enters into the air purifier devices through the sides or rear.
  • Step 2: The polluted air passes through a pre-filter that filters out large dirt clusters, hair, pet dander, and dust to help protect other filters from premature wear.
  • Step 3: Air then passes through the activated carbon filter that absorbs unpleasant odors and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
  • Step 4: Afterwards, air passes through the HEPA filter (high-efficiency particulate air), eliminating the smallest pollutants with 100% efficiency.
  • Step 5: Clean air is then released into the room for recirculation.
Note: For most air purifiers in the market today, the polluted air is drawn into the device at the rear or sides, and the filtered air is released at the top of the appliance. This operational system guarantees good air circulation in a room and ensures thorough cleaning of all polluted air.
How Do Air Purifiers Work

Important! The quality of air purification depends on each filter in the device. Technologically innovative portable air-cleaning devices work using a combination of two or three filters. To guarantee the optimal performance of an air purifier, it is important to get one with multiple filters.

What Pollutants Can Air Purifiers Filter Out?

The main aim of purifying devices is to provide fresher and cleaner air for people to breathe. These devices are particularly useful to people with respiratory conditions like asthma or allergies.

Air purifiers can filter out the following:

  • Dust mites
  • Mold spores
  • Dander
  • Pollen grain
  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Volatile organic compounds
  • Smoke
What Pollutants Can Air Purifiers Filter Out

It is noteworthy to know that purifiers with activated carbon filters can remove pungent odors and smells from a room. Additionally, portable air purifiers can effectively clean air within a specific area or room. However, they lack the capacity to clean the entire home or building at once.

Read Also: How Long Do Carbon Filters Last? Change Or Replace Time

The Common Types of Air Purifiers

Before buying an air purifier, you need to know the different types available in the market today. Not all air purifiers fully capture indoor air pollution elements in every indoor environment.

To find the right device, continue reading and learning the different types of air purifiers.

The Common Types of Air Purifiers

1. Air Purifiers with HEPA Filters

HEPA air purifiers can target tiny pollutants of about 0.3 microns. These particles cannot be seen by the naked human eye.

Home appliance manufacturers use HEPA filters because they can eliminate these particles, which include dust mites, mold, and pet dander, and deliver cleaner air.

2. Ultraviolet Light Air Purifiers

UV light air purifiers use ultraviolet rays to kill germs and bacteria:

  • As air moves through the device, it passes through a UV lamp that directly disinfects it through germicidal irradiation.
  • Although they do not eliminate indoor particles, these purifiers help to sterilize the air using UV radiation.
Important! To ensure effective air purification, UV purifiers should be used in conjunction with cleaners with air filters to attain excellent indoor air quality. However, some of these purifiers may release ozone gas, so it is important to confirm this before purchasing.

3. Air Purifiers with Activated Carbon Filters

An air purifier using activated carbon filters will effectively:

  • Trap odors like fresh paint and cigarette smoke.
  • Capture gases, especially volatile organic compounds like benzene or formaldehyde.

However, the activated carbon air cleaner have some downsides:

  • Cannot eliminate bacteria and viruses with the same efficiency as HEPA filters.
  • They also cannot completely eliminate carbon monoxide.
  • It’s difficult to determine when the filter is saturated and requires maintenance and replacement services.

4. Ionizer Air Purifiers

Ionizer air purifiers:

  • They work using ions to trap pollutants by attracting them magnetically.
  • This attraction makes the ion heavy, forcing it to settle down on the floor of the room.

Ionic air purifiers eliminate nearly all airborne particles except odors and smell.

Note: Vacuuming and floor cleaning can help to eliminate this type of contamination. Additionally, some models do not require routine cleaning, which can be a great advantage, especially if you have a busy schedule.

Factors Affecting the Efficiency of Air Purifiers

When the conditions and environment are conducive, air purifiers will work optimally and guarantee a cleaner indoor air environment. However, there are many different factors that you must keep in mind if you want maximum efficiency from your cleaner.

They include the following:

Factors Affecting the Efficiency of Air Purifiers

1. Type of Filters Used

The most efficient filtration comes from True HEPA filters because they can eliminate minute pathogens. If you seek to avoid gases and odors, you should buy purifiers with a combination of activated carbon and HEPA filter systems.

2. Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

Air purifiers’ CADR ratings show how quickly the device can filter the air in the room. An air purifier that functions faster and more efficiently will have higher CADR ratings.

3. Pollutants

To find the most effective air purifiers for your space, you need to know which air pollutants are the most prevalent there:

  • Some portable air cleaners are designed to trap particles like dust, pollen grains, and tobacco smoke.
  • Others can capture viruses and bacteries.
  • Third can remove unpleasant odors and VOCs.

Therefore, the air pollutant type will largely determine the kind of air purifier you should buy.

4. Room Size

Consider your room size. Each air cleaner is designed for a specific coverage area. Therefore, to maintain excellent room air quality it is important to choose a suitable air purifier.

Important! In some cases when you want to purify your home at the same time consider buying a few air purifiers.

5. Available Ventilation

The ventilation you have in your home and office will impact the effectiveness of your air purification system:

  • When your home has several ventilation systems, you can purchase simple portable cleaners.
  • However, for enclosed spaces, you will need to invest in a more sophisticated air purifier.

6. Frequency of Use

Frequent use of an air purifier can help maintain air freshness and boost the effectiveness of the device.

7. Regulating Pollution Sources

Restricting the contamination sources such as dander and smoking can make an air purifier work efficiently.

The Surprising Benefits of An Air Purifier

Air purifiers have become quite popular in recent years because of their immense advantages. But are you familiar with the air purifier benefits? Keep on reading to find out about them.

The Surprising Benefits of An Air Purifier

1. Eradicates Chemicals

Air in some cases can contain external toxins like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide and cleaning agents chemicals like:

  • Benzene
  • Phthalates
  • Formaldehyde
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine.

Fortunately, many air cleaners can remove most of these harmful chemicals. Eliminating indoor pollutants not only protects our health but ensures that we live a stress-free and happy life.

2. Reduces Allergens Concentration

Circulating air is full of pollutants like dust, pet hair, mold, and pollen. Air purifiers will filter them to reduce allergy symptoms and prevent certain ailments like hay fever.

3. Protects People From Airborne Diseases

Air cleaners with multiple air filters capture pathogens like viruses and bacteria that travel in the air and prevent them from spreading diseases such as cold and flu.

4. Traps Harmful Asbestos Particles

Asbestos was a common insulation pipe and roofing material in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Therefore, you may be exposed to asbestos dust if you live or work in an old building.

Traps Harmful Asbestos Particles

When breathed in, asbestos particles may cause lung cancer. You can buy an air purifier with True HEPA filter to protect yourself and your family from dangerous asbestos particles.

Read Also: Top 5 Best Air purifier for Asbestos Removal in 2023

5. Neutralizes Unpleasant Odors

Air purifiers can control odors in your space by removing them and recirculating fresh air back into the room. They can even help to eliminate the smell of paint, cigarettes, and cooked food.

6. Improves Sleep

You will enjoy your sleep when the indoor air is cleaner and healthier. This will also make you feel more rested during the day.

Sleep improvement

7. Boosting Life Expectancy

Poor air quality can impact your respiratory, cardiac, and neurological systems. Harmful gases and chemicals may accumulate in your lungs and trigger different respiratory ailments.

A good air purifier comes with multiple air filters and will boost your life expectancy by trapping fine particles to provide better air quality and improve your overall health.

The Limitations of Air Purifiers

Even though most air purifiers trap pollutants from the air in your home or office, they may not be helpful in all circumstances. You may experience the following restrictions when using air purifiers:

  • Highly contaminated air may need a blend of different air purifiers in the market and applying measures for boosting air quality, such as improving ventilation and sealing air leaks.
  • Complete elimination of mold may need specialized filters
  • Inability to eliminate heavy or larger particles of pathogens and pollutants
  • Some animal dander may need HEPA filters specifically designed for animal allergens
  • Smoke particles from nicotine may require specialized devices with activated carbon filters.

Alternative Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

In addition to using air purifiers, people have many techniques for improving the indoor air quality of their homes and business premises. Some of these ways can reduce the concentration of airborne particles in your space and ensures your environment has clean and fresh air.  

Alternative Ways to Improve Your Indoor Air Quality

To know all about these alternative techniques include, read below.

  • Ventilate Your Home: You should open windows and doors to allow in fresh outdoor air. For those who avoid open windows because of allergens or pollen, you can simultaneously run your air conditioner or HVAC unit with your air purifier to retain clean, healthy indoor air.
  • Vacuuming Regularly: Most home air purifiers may not eliminate larger allergens like pet hair and dust mites that settle on carpets and furniture. You can improve indoor air quality by cleaning your furniture and floors once or twice weekly using a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA-certified filtration system.
  • Utilize an Exhaust Fan: You should use an exhaust fan in your kitchen, laundry rooms, and bathrooms to get rid of indoor air pollutants.
  • Avoid Smoking At Home: You can eliminate cigarette smell and smoke particles from your home by choosing to smoke outdoors and restricting the unnecessary burning of wood fires and candles.
  • Reduce Chemicals Use: You should restrict the use of chemical-heavy cleaning products such as store glues, insecticides, and house paint in your space.

Read Also: Best Ionic Air Purifier: Pick from 11 Industry-leading Units


Do Air Purifiers Really Make a Difference?

Yes, air purifiers really make a difference. A highly effective air purifier will help remove all the pollutants and allergens that trigger asthma, hay fever, or other respiratory ailments. In addition, it can clear the air of odors and smoke from firewood or tobacco.

Do Air Purifiers Get Rid of Dust?

Yes, air purifiers get rid of dust. Air purifiers available today are designed to eliminate large dust particles from indoor air.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most portable air purifiers with HEPA filters can eliminate about 99.9% of dust.

Are Air Purifiers Worth It?

Yes! Buying an innovative air purifier is worth it, as you will be investing in your well-being and overall health. With this device, you will gain more benefits than the initial buying cost, especially if your locality has frequent air pollution or has someone with respiratory ailments.


So, now you know that air purifiers capture from the air harmful substances, viruses, bacteria, and other pollutants. It makes the air in your home cleaner and reduces the risk of respiratory diseases, allergies, and asthma.

Also, in my guide, I’ve deeply reviewed the factors you need to look for when buying an air purifier. Such as filter type, CADR rating, area coverage, type of pollutants, etc.

With all of this information, you’ll be able to purchase an air purifier that meets your unique needs and delivers a superior rate of clean air.