Air Purifier Vs Humidifier Vs Dehumidifier – Comparison with Pros & Cons

By Consumer Advise Team
Edited On

Air purifiers, humidifiers, and dehumidifiers are very similar terms that we have heard quite often but do not know the exact difference between the three. Although all these three machines serve a similar purpose to make the air easy for you to breathe, they are different from each other in certain aspects.

Moreover, these three devices serve comparatively different purposes and in fact, need to be purchased according to your need. Thus, you need to consider the exact functioning of these three machines before finally deciding upon which one to purchase according to your requirement and the purpose it serves.

These three machines also have a very similar appearance but very different ways of functioning. In fact, they are all also available in various sizes and can be brought according to your preference and the size of your room. Before we can compare air purifiers vs humidifiers vs dehumidifiers properly, we need to check the basic functions of each of them.

How Humidity Affects Humidifier, Dehumidifier, & Air Purifier?

Humidity, for starters, is nothing but the presence of water vapor in the air. Too much of it, and you can expect nasty things like mold to grow inside your home. However, humidity can be a lifesaver in winters. It considerably helps in keeping the temperature levels in check. 

So, how does humidity affect all these appliances?

You can artificially manipulate the humidity levels inside your house with humidifiers and dehumidifiers. Air purifiers, for that matter, don’t help much. Excess humidity can inhibit the efficacy of a humidifier. Using humidifiers in a humid climate isn’t recommended at all.

Air purifiers are the worst affected due to excess moisture. The activated carbon filter inside an air purifier can easily get damaged due to excess humidity. As for dehumidifiers, the moisture in the air doesn’t affect them much. 

Comparison of Air Purifier vs Humidifier vs Dehumidifier

Comparison of Air Purifier vs Humidifier vs Dehumidifier

Point of DifferenceAir PurifierHumidifierDehumidifier
FunctionIt purifies air by removing dust particles, VOC, and bacteria.It adds moisture to the room and increases humidity.A dehumidifier removes moisture, mildew, and mites from your room. It functions just opposite to a humidifier.
Health BenefitsActs against allergens. It also prevents respiratory problems.It helps get rid of dry throat, mouth, skin, or lops. It also helps sinus patients.It removes irritants from damp air. It also helps to reduce asthma.
Size & Space RequirementThe size of an air purifier varies from small to medium, depending on the capacity.Humidifiers are smaller in size compared to air purifiers and dehumidifiers. They need less space to fit in.The size of dehumidifiers is similar to air purifiers- small to medium.
Filtration SystemMost air purifiers feature multistage filtration with HEPA, activated carbon, etc.Humidifiers do not have any filtration system.Most dehumidifiers have a single stage filter.
Number of VariantsYou can find at least 6 types of air purifiers in the market.Humidifiers are of 3-4 types.Dehumidifiers do not have as much as variants than air purifiers.
Cleaning and MaintenanceQuarterly cleaning and maintenance are required for air purifiers.Humidifiers need regular maintenance.The cleaning and maintenance frequency of dehumidifiers is high because of the moisture.
Noise LevelAir purifiers produce low noise during operation.Humidifiers are almost silent when used.The noise level of dehumidifiers is comparatively higher than the others.
PriceAir purifiers are the costliest among the three. They usually cost in the range of Rs. 8000 to Rs. 40000.Humidifiers are the cheapest of all. They cost only Rs. 500-3000.Dehumidifiers are costlier than humidifiers and, in most cases, cheaper than air purifiers.
Recurring CostsThe upkeeping cost of air purifiers is the highest.The recurring cost for a humidifier is the least.The recurring cost to upkeep dehumidifiers is more than humidifiers but less than air purifiers.

What does an Air Purifier do?

An air purifier is a device whose main focus is to remove all the pollutants from the air and as a consequence improve the quality of air in your room. The air purifier is built with layers of filters that trap all the pollutants in the air and thus give back cleaned and purified air in the room.

Moreover, the filters need to be changed very frequently to allow them to function properly. These machines are available in various sizes. The certain areas where air purifiers are beneficial are: cleaning the air of a room, reducing sickness and infections, good for your pets too.

air purifier working

However, the points of a disadvantage here are that those air purifiers using ozone are extremely bad for your health and can cause long-term rupture to lungs and olfactory cells.

Also Read: Best Air Purifiers in India

Benefits of Using Air Purifiers

  • Get Rid of Bacteria: Air purifiers excel in killing bacteria with the topmost efficacy. These devices can get rid of bacteria and dust particles like nothing. Thanks to a powerful activated carbon filter, bacteria have no way to escape. Besides bacteria, air purifiers work against microdust particles like a charm. 
  • Eliminate Harmful Chemicals in the Air: VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds aren’t very friendly with the human body. Some of these chemicals are considered harmful and all around us. Air purifiers can get rid of these gases for you without a hitch. In addition, gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide also pose a threat to your health. Thankfully, air purifiers filter them out like a charm. 
  • Neutralize Odors: Pungent smells of gasoline, paint, formaldehyde, etc., can cause severe health issues like nausea and headache in the long term. Air purifiers with HEPA and activated carbon work against particles and pollutants in the atmosphere. This provides you with fresh and breathable air. 
  • Improve Sleep: Bacteria, fungi, and dust mites trigger hay fever and other nasty allergies. These allergies can induce issues like runny nose, coughing, sneezing, and nose congestion. Installing an air purifier will keep all those allergies at bay, providing you with a friendly and sound sleep. 
  • Reduce Cardiovascular Diseases: Chemicals released from regular household items can damage your cardiac and respiratory systems. The particles can get accumulated in your lungs and enter the bloodstream, causing nasty infections. Air purifiers can help eradicate these disease-causing chemicals with ease. 

Drawbacks of Air Purifiers 

  • Need to Have Windows Closed: You must sacrifice your room’s ventilation to carve out better efficacy from your air purifier. Open windows allow new bacteria to enter the room, rendering your air purifier useless. 
  • Demand Strong Maintenance: Unmaintained air purifiers with old filters can worsen the situation. If left unmaintained, air purifiers can worsen the air quality. You should keep this in mind, especially if you or someone in your home is suffering from breathing-related issues. Unmaintained air purifiers will only increase the severity of the situation. 
  • Expensive: Air purifiers can often make you break the bank. They’re costly to buy, require heavy maintenance, and consume loads of electricity. The filters also need to be replaced frequently to ensure better air purification. 

Suitable Uses of Air Purifiers 

  • Reducing the Transmission of Covid-19 Virus: Air purifiers with HEPA filter effective in reducing Covid-19 transmission. That’s because air purifiers with HEPA filters can trap as high as 99.97% of airborne particles. The Philips AC1215/20 Air Purifier features a 4-stage filtration mechanism. The 4 filters include 1 pre-filter, 1 activated carbon filter, and 2 H13 grade true HEPA filters. This 4-stage filtration mechanism traps 99.97% of airborne pollutants, including bacteria and viruses. 
  • Making Your Home Fido-friendly: Pets are cute and loyal, but some of them can cause issues. For example, your dog spreads tiny danders every time he wags his tail. Use air purifiers to filter them out, leaving fresh and pure air behind. 
humidifier working in room

The functions of Humidifiers

A humidifier serves the purpose of adding moisture to the air in your room, thus increasing the humidity of the room. Generally, humidifiers are used during the winter season as the humidity stoops very low during those days.

A humidifier increases the level of humidity in the room with relatively low humidity by releasing moisture into the air. Humidifiers, thus, help in getting rid of several problems like dry nose, throat, and lips. In fact, it is helpful for patients with sinuses too.

Humidifiers are available in various sizes ranging from portable to large sizes. Humidifiers also have certain areas where it shows some specs of benefit which are: no dry air, reduces irritation to the skin, reduces pain in the throat, treats and prevents sore throat.

Some side effects of humidifiers are also present like excessive use of humidifiers can make you sick. Even an unclean humidifier is harmful as it can produce bacteria or molds.

Also Read: Best Humidifiers in India

Advantages of Humidifiers

  • Healthier Skin in Winters: It’s known that subtle moisture works wonders for the human skin. Humidifiers add that extra moisture to the air to keep your skin warm and moist. Loss of moisture can even cause cracked and itchy skin. Humidifiers can prevent all that and maintain the glow of your skin. These appliances also protect your hair from dry air. 
  • Warmer Indoors: If you live in an area with a rather cold climate, humidifiers can be your best friend indoors. Various studies have concluded the effects of humidity over temperature. Humidifiers come in handy, especially in winter seasons when the climate is dry and cold.
  • Healthy Houseplants: If you love to have plants indoors, investing in a humidifier can give great returns. Your houseplants may become more vibrant and full of life. All thanks to the added moisture in the air by humidifiers. 
  • Cost-effective: Despite being this useful, humidifiers are reasonably priced. For example, you can grab the Allin exporters ultrasonic cool mist humidifier for as low as Rs 1790 online. Just load the device up to its maximum capacity (2.4L) and enjoy humidification for 12 hours. You can even adjust the mist output based on the humidity levels. The germ-free tank adds to the value for money this device packs. 
  • Long-lasting Furniture: These cheap yet powerful appliances can make your wooden furniture last longer. Wood absorbs the moisture in the air and keeps the furniture healthy. Humidifiers are also helpful in keeping the paint and wallpapers in shape. Overall, arid climates can be harsh for your furniture. It’s better to ensure better health for your furniture with humidifiers. 

Disadvantages of Humidifiers

  • Bacteria Growth: Humidity breeds a perfect ground for bacteria to grow strong. This can be problematic at times, especially when you have people more prone to sickness. Even if your humidifier has an anti-bacterial tank, the breeding of bacteria on your walls is imminent. Pneumonia-causing bacterium Legionella pneumonia should be your point of worry if you’re installing a humidifier in your home. 
  • Harmful for People with Respiratory Illness: Humidifiers pose a severe threat to people with unexplained respiratory illnesses. You should always consult a doctor if the severity of your illness increases due to humidifiers. 
  • Demand Frequent Cleaning: Humidifiers may be cheap, but they need quite a bit of maintenance. That is if you want them to function ideally for years. You should examine the appliance and clean stagnant water once every 2-3 days. Frequent checkups and cleaning are the only ways to prevent serious problems. Unmaintained humidifiers are known to cause more problems than they initially solve.
  • Occasionally Cause Excess Moisture: Almost all air humidifiers, when left unchecked, can release too much moist air in the room. Experts suggest that moisture levels higher than 50% are unpleasant and harmful to your health. Humidifiers can take these levels up to 70% if left unchecked. It’s better to install a hygrometer to keep the humidity levels in check. Alternatively, you can purchase humidifiers with inbuilt hygrometers, but they can be expensive. 

Best Uses of Humidifiers

  • In Cold and Arid Climates: Say goodbye to cracked lips and dry skin. Air humidifiers can supply your skin with the moisture it needs. They work exceptionally well in cold climates with no signs of moisture. The moisture released by humidifiers also prevents heat from escaping. It considerably helps to keep the average temperature indoors under acceptable levels. 
  • To Prevent Flu: If you catch a cold or flu too quickly, humidifiers can reduce the odds. Moisturized air lubricates your nasal passage and allows you to breathe easier. This also prevents excess mucus build-up and keeps flu or cold at bay. Humidifiers also effectively help you fight flu, thanks to the added moisture in the air.
  • Helpful for Asthma Patients: Subtle moisture in the air soothes tissues in the nose and throat. This significantly relieves asthma and other allergy symptoms. 

What is the importance of Dehumidifiers?

Unlike humidifiers, dehumidifier functions by absorbing the extra moisture present in the air of your room, thus decreasing humidity. The moisture-laden air in your room once it enters the dehumidifier is sent out with a relatively less amount of moisture, as the dehumidifier absorbs the moisture from the air.

Generally, a dehumidifier cools down the air in your room before finally absorbing the excess moisture from it and then warming up the air. This process is called refrigeration. Other than refrigeration, dehumidifiers also use the absorption method where the moisture is first absorbed in a material and then the moisture-free air is released in the air of your room.

dehumidifier in our room

Some areas of benefit from dehumidifiers include: reduces allergies, helps in preventing asthma attacks, and decreases the risks of infections. 

Apart from these benefits, some disadvantages of dehumidifiers include the formation of molds and bacteria if not cleaning the dehumidifier and emptying its bucket on time. Excessive use of humidifiers is also not good for one’s health.

Also Read: Best Dehumidifiers in India

Advantages of Dehumidifiers 

  • Reduce Mold and Mildew: If you’re annoyed by the build-up mold and mildew in your home, dehumidifiers are the way to go. They can extract the excess water from your room, preventing mold from growing further. They also actively work to improve the air quality in your house. 
  • Prevent Nasty Odors: High levels of moisture can induce unpleasant odor in your home. Thankfully, air dehumidifiers fight moisture and dampness quite effectively, keeping musty at bay. The operation of a dehumidifier is the most apparent in basements, where moisture levels are generally high. 
  • Reduce Pest Related Issues: Various studies have concluded that excess moisture is one of the leading causes of pest infestations. Termites also find dampness and moisture to be perfect breeding grounds. Dehumidifiers can prevent such annoying issues by keeping the moisture levels controlled. 
  • Promote Comfort: Ever got annoyed by that stickiness in the rainy season? That’s due to the presence of excess moisture in the air. You can install a dehumidifier to restore the moisture to reasonable levels again. These appliances are more helpful in tropical areas where humidity levels are extremely high. 
  • Protect Household Items from Moisture Damage: Items like photos, books, etc., are the household items most susceptible to moisture damage. Dehumidifiers can protect such valuable belongings from moisture damage like a charm. 

Limitations of Dehumidifiers

  • High Power Consumption: Expect your utility bills to take a hit after you install a dehumidifier in your home. High electricity usage is probably the primary drawback of owning a dehumidifier. The electricity consumption also depends on the manufacturer and the price of your air dehumidifier. Cheaper and low-quality ones tend to consume power. 
  • Noise: These compact machines are indeed helpful, but the noise they produce can often be annoying. Bigger units consume more noise (up to 55 dB). You should buy a dehumidifier based on the noise you can tolerate. 
  • Costly: Not only do dehumidifiers demand high recurring costs, but their upfront costs can also go out of budget. For example, the Pro Breeze Store PB-02-US dehumidifier will cost you around Rs 8,000 on a good day. Although the unit is worth the price, the price is high enough to put some users off purchasing. 
  • Some Models Involve Heat: Dehumidifiers come in 2 variants, compressor-based dehumidifiers and desiccant dehumidifiers. The latter produces less noise, but they tend to heat the surroundings considerably. For example, the air coming out from a desiccant dehumidifier can be as much as 10-12°C hotter than the air that went in. This alone makes some of these dehumidifiers unsuitable in summers, exactly when they’re most needed. 

Ideal Uses of Dehumidifiers

  • Drying Clothes: Yes, that’s right, air dehumidifiers work wonders when it comes to drying clothes. So effective that you don’t even need a separate drier for this purpose if you have a powerful dehumidifier at hand. 
  • Assisting your Air Conditioner: A dehumidifier can indirectly enable power savings by reducing the excessive load from your AC. While working in humid climates, an AC has to cool the air while removing moisture side by side. This forces your AC to consume more power than usual. A humidifier, in that case, takes half the load of your AC, ensuring better long-term health for your AC.

Air Purifier Vs Humidifier Vs Dehumidifier: Conclusion

So, among air purifier, humidifier and dehumidifier – which one is the best for you?

That solely depends on your needs and requirements. Humidifiers work best in dry climates. Installing one can be an excellent decision for you if you live in an area with similar conditions.

On the other hand, dehumidifiers are suitable to get rid of excess indoor moisture, protecting your home from mold and mildew.

In addition, both these appliances are seasonal in most cases. For example, humidifiers are best suited in winters when there are no signs of moisture whatsoever. It’s the opposite for dehumidifiers. Air purifiers target a whole different set of users.

While one can use a dehumidifier for moderate air purification, it can’t replace full-blown air purification systems.

Furthermore, one of the most significant advantages an air purifier has is its ability to inhibit Covid-19 transmission. In the end, it all boils down to your usage patterns and needs. We recommend you assess your needs thoroughly before making a purchase. 

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