What Is The Difference Between an Electronic Air Cleaner and an Air Purifier?

Electronic air cleaners are also known as ionizers or electronic air purifiers. It’s used to minimize the number of airborne contaminants, just like air purifiers in homes, by using electrically charged filters. However, the function of an electronic air cleaner marks slight differences from an air purifier.

An electronic air cleaner filters the air in your home, whereas air purifiers purify it. In addition, electronic air cleaners can gather huge particles, but they aren’t designed to combat viruses, mold, and other hazardous contaminants. Meanwhile, air purifiers help cleanse and sanitize the air by removing harmful airborne substances.

One challenging project that gets scientists’ attention is finding a solution to cleanse air pollution on earth entirely. Experts have come up with several air-cleaning devices to protect humanity from airborne hazardous pollutants. However, this article will educate you more about the relative functions of electronic air cleaners and air purifiers.

What Does An Electronic Air Cleaner Do?

The electronic air cleaner captures particles in a pre-filter as air travels through a heating and cooling system. Its electrical charged filter is employed to attract and trap smaller particles and prevent them from recirculating in the house.

What Is The Difference Between An Electronic Air Cleaner And An Air Purifier?

Only a few can distinguish between an electronic air cleaner and an air purifier. Though they both perform similar functions, but slightly different. The following explains the differences between electronic air cleaner and an air purifier:

Electronic Air Cleaner

An electronic air cleaner is evaluated by the number of CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) or air exchanges per hour. Furthermore, CADR only tests for larger particles (pollen, dust) and not other tiny airborne pollutants. In other words, they only test for particles that make us sneeze, not things that can make us sick, or in some cases, kill us.

Air Purifier

Air purifiers, on the other hand, serve a distinct purpose. Its purpose is to clean or sterilize the air to remove odors and sickness-causing elements. While some use heat (Airfree), UV, or negative ions, others use ozone.

Ozone isn’t a harmful gas or smog; it is a powerful oxidant that is harsh on the lungs when inhaled. Generators that use ozone are best in unoccupied spaces for shock treatments. 

Which Is Better Air Purifier Or Air Cleaner?

Electronic air cleaners are beneficial because they are pocket-friendly and are as effective as other air purifiers. Users who are sensitive to airborne bacteria, mold particles, or viruses will benefit from an electronic air purifier.

How To Maintain An Electronic Air Cleaner?

An electronic air cleaner is a wise choice, especially for asthma and allergy patients. It filters out a lot of particles and pollutants that your HVAC system’s air filter can’t deal with. However, it’s necessary to clean your air cleaner once a month to operate efficiently.

Here’s how to keep your electronic air cleaner in good working order:

  • Turn off the power to both the device and your HVAC system.
  • Remove the pre-filters and collector cells from the system. Post filters or carbon after filters are included in some air cleaners. If that’s the case, remove them as well.
  • Soak the pre-filters and collector cells for half an hour in warm water combined with dishwasher detergent (not dish soap).
  • After rinsing them, let them dry for another half hour.
  • Don’t soak your post-filters in water. Instead, use a vacuum cleaner to suck the dirt off your post filter. Then, every three months, replace your carbon after filters.
  • Turn the unit back on after replacing the filters and collector cells. Then re-start your HVAC system.
  • Allow another one to two days for the filters inside the unit to dry completely. After that, you might hear some popping or cracking noises in the unit. This is entirely normal and doesn’t indicate any cause for concern.

In addition to the above cleaning procedure, your electronic air cleaner should be serviced at least once a year by a professional. This can be done simultaneously as your HVAC specialist’s visit for annual HVAC maintenance. 

Types Of Air Purifier

Air purifiers use various technologies to reduce indoor pollution. However, these air purifiers work differently, with some more user–friendly than others. Below are different models of air purifiers you should consider:

Models With Mechanical Filters

 A mechanical air purifier contains a mesh of material commonly made of fiberglass which traps particles. They obstruct the particles while also attracting them to the fibers’ surface. The HEPA (High Energy Particulate Air) filter is the most prevalent form of mechanical air cleaner.

However, because they can obstruct ventilation, it is advised not to be used in residences. Professionals are trying to discover a mechanical filter that will catch particles while reducing air resistance.

Models With Activated Carbon Filters

Sorbent filters employ activated carbon to collect some odor-causing chemicals from the air, rather than catching particles like mechanical filters. They may be able to combat some gasses, but formaldehyde, ammonia, and nitrogen oxide aren’t among them. Many air purifiers will feature both an activated carbon filter and a pleated filter for capturing particles. 

However, activated carbon filters do not combat particles. This filters become saturated more quickly than pleated filters and must be replaced frequently in every three months. It helps to make a comprehensive account for replacements in your budget: Filters made of activated carbon can cost up to $50 apiece.

Ozone Generators

These machines create ozone, a molecule that reacts with contaminants to change their chemical makeup. This can lead to poor indoor air quality, which is why CR (Consumer Reports) doesn’t suggest these air purifiers. Ozone generator manufacturers frequently claim that their machines generate safe levels of ozone. 

Electronic Air Purifier

Electrostatic precipitators and ionizers charge particles in the air, causing them to cling to plates on the machine via a magnetic attraction. Electronic air purifiers aren’t usually tested or recommended by Consumer Reports since they can produce ozone.

What To Consider While Shopping For An Air Purifier

Before purchasing an item, you should consider some factors to avoid later regrets. Intimate elements such as effectiveness, the pros and cons, and capacity are some things to consider when shopping for an air purifier. 

So below are factors to bear in mind before purchasing an air purifier:

Cost Replacing The Filter

Pleated filters should be replaced (or vacuumed) every six to twelve months and every three months for activated carbon filters. However, most of the components tested had a light indicator that indicates when the filter needs to be changed (or cleaned). The cost of having a filter varies from $20 to $200 per unit.


There are a few labels on the packaging you should look out for. The Energy Star logo is the first. Purifiers that have earned the Energy Star label are 40% more energy efficient than normal versions. 

You may also notice an AHAM Verified seal, which indicates that the model has been evaluated by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. AHAM’s voluntary certification program has given many air purifiers clean delivery rates (CADRs) and room size guidelines on the seal.

The CADR measures the volume of clean air produced by an air purifier at its highest speed setting in cubic feet per minute. A purifier with a CADR of 250 for dust particles reduces dust particle levels to the same concentration. 

However, the higher the CADR, the more quickly and effectively the air purifier works. Room air purifiers frequently achieve the highest CADR with HEPA filters. 

A CADR of more than 240 is considered Excellent, 240 to 180 is considered Very Good 179 to 120 is considered Good. Thus, the CADR is considered Fair when it ranges between 119 to 60, and anything less than 60 is considered Poor.

Room Size

An air purifier labeled with the AHAM Verified seal assures that it can handle the recommended room size. However, manufacturers’ assertions should be taken with a grain of salt. Many air purifiers tested aren’t fit for the specified room sizes. 

You may see what room size range the AHAM recommends for each model based on its test findings looking at its ratings. Furthermore, you can consider the purifier size. Most versions designed for big rooms still perform well at lower speeds, convenient when watching TV or sleeping.


Consider not only how effectively an air purifier functions but also how well you’ll be able to live with it. Since the equipment is constantly in use; it should be as quiet as possible. 

Before buying a model, check the package or the internet page to see how many decibels it operates. Alternatively, you can look at air purifier reviews, where devices’ ranks are based on their noise levels.

Other suggestions for reducing air purifier noise include: 

  • When you’re not in the room, leave the unit on high and switch it down to low when you’re nearby. 
  • Alternatively, choose an air purifier certified for a bigger area and filter more air even at moderate speeds.
  • The type of area in which the air purifier is installed also has an impact on the noise levels. It depends on whether the room is carpeted, how it is furnished, and what kind of walls it has.