Air purifier vs dehumidifier: What’s the difference, which one is right for you and the best options to buy - Hindustan Times

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: What’s the difference, which one is right for you and the best options to buy

Jun 24, 2024 04:28 PM IST

Understanding air purifier vs dehumidifier: We will compare the types and effectiveness, their pros and cons and recommend the best options on the market.

With pollution levels on the rise and allergens becoming more common than ever, many of us are struggling to maintain a healthy environment at home. Allergies, asthma, and other respiratory issues are increasingly affecting our daily lives. So, how can we create a safer and healthier living space? That's where air purifiers and dehumidifiers come in. These devices can make a big difference, but it's important to understand the difference between an air purifier and a dehumidifier. In this guide, we'll explore what air purifiers and dehumidifiers do, how they work, which one is right for you, and which ones are the best to buy. Whether you're wondering "what is an air purifier" or "how does a dehumidifier work," we've got you covered.

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: Find out which device is the best for you!
Air purifier vs dehumidifier: Find out which device is the best for you!

Moreover, we will also recommend you some of the best air purifiers and dehumidifiers you can buy.

What is an air purifier?

If you've ever wondered, "What does an air purifier do?"—it essentially makes the air you breathe cleaner and safer.

An air purifier is a device designed to clean the air in your home or office. It works by removing pollutants like dust, pollen, pet dander, smoke, and even bacteria and viruses from the air. This helps improve the air quality, making it easier to breathe, especially for people with allergies or asthma. Air purifiers usually have filters that trap these tiny particles as air passes through the device. Some models use additional technologies like UV light or ionizers to kill germs and neutralise odours. By continuously cycling air through its filters, an air purifier can significantly reduce the amount of harmful particles in your living space, providing a cleaner and healthier environment.

How does an air purifier work?

Air intake: The air purifier pulls in air from the surrounding environment using a fan.

Filtration: The air passes through one or more filters. Common filters include HEPA filters, which trap tiny particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander, and activated carbon filters, which absorb odours and gases.

Additional technologies: Some air purifiers use extra technologies such as UV light to kill bacteria and viruses, or ionizers that release negative ions to attract and neutralize airborne particles.

Clean air release: After the air is cleaned, the purifier releases it back into the room, significantly reducing pollutants and allergens in the air.

Continuous operation: The air purifier continuously cycles the air in the room, ensuring that the air remains clean and fresh over time.

Check out some of the best air purifiers here:

What is a dehumidifier?

What does a dehumidifier do? In simple words, it keeps your home dry and comfortable by removing unwanted moisture from the air.

A dehumidifier reduces the humidity level in the air. It works by drawing in humid air and passing it over cold coils, which cause the moisture to condense into water droplets. These droplets are collected in a tank or drained away through a hose. The now-drier air is then reheated slightly and released back into the room. Dehumidifiers are especially useful in damp areas, such as basements, bathrooms, or places prone to mould and mildew. By reducing humidity levels, dehumidifiers help prevent mould growth, protect your belongings from moisture damage, and create a more comfortable living environment.

How does a dehumidifier work?

Air intake: The dehumidifier pulls in moist air from the room using a fan.

Cooling coils: The moist air passes over refrigerated coils inside the dehumidifier. These coils cool the air, causing the moisture in the air to condense into water droplets.

Water collection: The condensed water droplets collect in a built-in tank or are drained away through a hose connected to the dehumidifier.

Reheated air release: The now-dry air is slightly reheated to room temperature and then released back into the room, lowering the overall humidity.

Continuous operation: The dehumidifier continuously cycles air through the device, maintaining a consistent humidity level and preventing excess moisture buildup in the room.

Check out some of the best dehumidifiers here:

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: What are the key differences?

Now that we know the individual functionality of the two, let's understand the basic difference between an air purifier and a dehumidifier.

The major difference is that an air purifier cleans the air by removing things like dust, smoke, and pollen, while a dehumidifier takes out extra moisture from the air.

Air purifiers work well for making the air cleaner by getting rid of various pollutants. On the other hand, a dehumidifier focuses on controlling humidity which in turn helps prevent mould, viruses, and dust mites from spreading.

Let's understand the difference between an air purifier and a dehumidifier along with the benefits of the two with the help of a table.

FunctionsAir PurifierDehumidifier
Improves Air QualityRemoves airborne pollutants like dust, pollen, and pet danderReduces humidity levels, preventing mould and mildew growth
Helps Allergy SufferersFilters out allergens that can trigger allergies and asthmaCreates a less hospitable environment for dust mites and mould
Removes OdoursEliminates odours from pets, cooking, smoke, and moreReduces musty odours caused by excess moisture
Prevents Mold GrowthDoes not directly prevent mould, but reduces airborne sporesControls humidity to inhibit mould and mildew growth
Enhances ComfortKeeps the air clean and fresh, improving overall comfortMakes indoor air feel less clammy and more comfortable
Protects FurnitureHelps reduce dust accumulation on furniture and surfacesReduces moisture damage to wooden furniture and structures
Energy EfficiencyEnergy-efficient models availableEnergy consumption varies, but generally efficient
Ease of UseEasy to operate with simple controlsSimple operation, often with automatic settings
Coverage AreaCovers specific rooms or areasCan be whole-house units, treating entire home
Noise LevelGenerally quiet operationQuiet operation, though noise levels can vary
CostInitial purchase cost varies; ongoing filter replacementInitial cost varies; ongoing energy and maintenance costs

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: What are the types?

Types of air purifiers

The type of air purifier depends on the air filter technology it uses to clean the air. Here are the 5 most common air purifier filters:

1. HEPA filters: These purifiers use High Efficiency Particulate Air filters to trap tiny particles like dust and pollen.

2. Activated carbon filters: They absorb odours, gases, and chemicals from the air, making it fresher.

3. Ionic air purifiers: These emit ions that attach to airborne particles, causing them to fall to the ground and out of the air.

4. UV light air purifiers: They use ultraviolet light to kill bacteria, viruses, and mould spores in the air.

5. Ozone generators: These produce ozone to neutralize odours and kill bacteria, though they are controversial due to ozone's potential health risks.

Know more about air purifier filters and the purpose of each filter in our comprehensive air purifier buying guide

Air purifier buying guide: Get rid of allergens and pollutants indoors with the right air purifier for your home

Types of dehumidifiers

Check out the three common types of dehumidifiers listed below

Refrigerant dehumidifiers: A refrigerant dehumidifier operates similarly to a refrigerator, cooling metal plates to extract moisture from air. It's effective in typical room temperatures but less so in colder conditions due to potential ice formation on coils. Refrigerant dehumidifiers are suitable for most home environments but may not perform well in consistently cool spaces.

Desiccant dehumidifiers: A desiccant dehumidifier uses a material, like silica gel, to absorb moisture from the air. It rotates through incoming air, absorbing moisture, and then reactivates by passing through warm air to release collected water. Desiccant dehumidifiers are ideal for colder areas but consume more energy and are less reliable than refrigerant types.

Whole house dehumidifiers: Unlike portable dehumidifiers that only treat one room at a time, a whole house dehumidifier is integrated into the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) system of the house. It works in conjunction with the HVAC system to remove excess moisture from the air as it circulates throughout the home.

Whole house dehumidifiers are ideal for larger homes or homes located in humid climates where controlling indoor humidity is important for comfort and maintaining a healthy indoor environment.

Also read: Best dehumidifiers for your home: 9 worthy mentions

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: Which one is more effective for your region?

Now the question stands, should you buy an air purifier or a dehumidifier? There are several factors that can help you decide that.

Is air purifier good for you?

If you or someone in your family suffers from allergies or respiratory conditions like asthma, you can benefit greatly from air purifiers. They help remove allergens such as dust, pollen, and pet dander from the air. Additionally, individuals living in urban areas with high pollution levels can also benefit significantly from using air purifiers to reduce exposure to harmful pollutants.

Which regions of India need air purifiers the most?

Urban areas in northern India, especially cities like Delhi, Gurgaon, Faridabad, and Noida experience high levels of air pollution, particularly during the winter months due to factors like vehicle emissions, industrial activity, and crop burning. These regions often have poor air quality indexes (AQI), making air purifiers essential for households to mitigate the health risks associated with prolonged exposure to pollutants.

Is dehumidifier good for you?

People living in areas with high humidity levels or frequent moisture issues should consider buying a dehumidifier. This includes individuals residing in coastal regions, areas with high rainfall, or places prone to dampness such as basements, bathrooms, and kitchens. Those experiencing musty odours, mould growth, or condensation on windows and walls can also benefit from using a dehumidifier to maintain a healthier indoor environment.

Which regions of India need dehumidifiers the most?

Coastal regions of India such as Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata experience high humidity levels throughout the year due to proximity to the sea and tropical climate. Additionally, regions in the southern part of the country, including Kerala and parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, also have high humidity levels, especially during the monsoon season. In these areas, where humidity can lead to mould growth and discomfort, dehumidifiers can be particularly useful in controlling moisture levels.

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: Are there any disadvantages of the two?

Now that we have covered the advantages of using air purifiers and dehumidifiers, the question stands - Are there any disadvantages of air purifiers and dehumidifiers?

Check out the table below and find out the cons of each device.

Cons of air purifiersCons of dehumidifiers
Do not control humidity or dampness levels in your home.Do not remove dust, pollen, or smoke from the air
While generally lower than dehumidifiers, air purifiers still consume energy and impact your utility bills.Can use a lot of energy, especially with prolonged use.
Most air purifiers are meant for single-room use, requiring multiple units to cover larger spaces or entire homes.Can be noisy, potentially disrupting quiet areas of your home.
Require regular filter replacements, which can increase long-term costs.Need regular maintenance, including emptying the water tank and cleaning the filter.

Knowing these cons, are you now wondering if an air purifier is worth buying, or should you still invest in a dehumidifier?

Rest assured, both air purifiers and dehumidifiers are worth buying because they offer significant health benefits and maintain a comfortable environment for us to breathe clean air.

Also read: Experience the top 10 best dehumidifiers for your home to optimize air quality

Can you use a dehumidifier and an air purifier together?

Yes, you can use a dehumidifier and an air purifier together.

Using a dehumidifier and an air purifier together can significantly enhance the quality of indoor air. A dehumidifier reduces moisture levels, which helps prevent mould growth, dampness, and musty odours. It is especially useful in humid climates or areas prone to dampness, such as basements and bathrooms.

On the other hand, an air purifier removes airborne pollutants like dust, pollen, pet dander, and even bacteria and viruses, improving overall air cleanliness. By combining these devices, you address both humidity control and air purification, creating a healthier and more comfortable indoor environment.

Strategically placing these devices in different areas of the home ensures comprehensive air quality management, promoting better respiratory health for occupants.

Do air purifiers remove dust?

Yes, air purifiers effectively remove dust from indoor air. They use filters like HEPA filters that can capture dust particles and other airborne pollutants as air passes through. These filters are designed to trap even small particles, improving overall air quality by reducing dust levels in the environment. This is particularly beneficial for individuals sensitive to dust, such as those with allergies or respiratory conditions, as it helps alleviate symptoms and creates a cleaner and healthier indoor environment overall. Regular use of an air purifier can significantly reduce dust accumulation on surfaces and in the air, promoting better respiratory health.

Does a dehumidifier cool a room?

A dehumidifier does not lower the actual temperature of a room, but it can make you feel cooler. This is because as it removes moisture from the air, it reduces humidity levels, which can enhance comfort by making the air feel less muggy and easier to breathe. However, the dehumidification process itself does not change the temperature of the room. For significant temperature reduction, an air conditioner or other cooling device would be necessary, as dehumidifiers primarily focus on managing humidity rather than cooling the air.

Also read: Best air purifiers under 3000: Elite 10 choices to enhance air quality

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: Factors to consider before buying one

How to find the right air purifier for your home?

When purchasing an air purifier for home, consider these key factors:

Filter type: Choose a purifier with effective filters like HEPA (captures small particles) or activated carbon (removes odours and gases).

Room size coverage: Ensure the purifier is suitable for the size of the room or area where you intend to use it.

CADR rating: Look for a purifier with a high Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) for efficient air cleaning.

Noise level: Consider the noise level of the purifier, especially if you plan to use it in bedrooms or quiet spaces.

Energy efficiency: Opt for an energy-efficient model to minimize operating costs over time.

Additional features: Check for features like air quality sensors, timer settings, and ease of maintenance (filter replacement, etc.) to suit your preferences and convenience.

How to find the right dehumidifier for your home?

When purchasing a dehumidifier for home, consider these key factors:

Capacity: Choose a dehumidifier with the appropriate capacity for the size of the area you need to dehumidify. Capacity is typically measured in pints of water removed per day.

Humidity control: Look for a dehumidifier that allows you to set and control humidity levels.

Energy efficiency: Check the Energy Star rating or energy consumption details to ensure the dehumidifier operates efficiently and doesn't significantly increase your utility bills.

Noise level: Consider the noise output of the dehumidifier, especially if you plan to use it in living areas.

Drainage options: Determine how the dehumidifier drains water. Some have built-in pumps for continuous drainage, while others rely on manual emptying of water tanks.

Portability and size: What size dehumidifier do you need? Consider the size and weight of the dehumidifier, especially if you plan to move it between rooms or store it when not in use. Compact and lightweight models are easier to handle.

Also read: Best air purifiers under 5000: Top 6 smart investments for improved breathing

Now that you've considered whether to purchase an air purifier or a dehumidifier, let's explore further. Discover our top recommendations for each device category: we've curated a list of the 4 best air purifiers and 4 best dehumidifiers. Each product comes with user reviews and a comparison table, providing you with valuable insights to make the right choice for your home. Whether you're seeking a dehumidifier for a room or specifically for a bedroom, our recommendations are designed to assist you in finding the ideal device to meet your needs effectively.

4 best air purifiers

1. Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool Air Purifier with heater

The Dyson Hot+Cool Air Purifier combines HEPA and activated carbon filters to capture 99.95% of allergens and pollutants as small as PM 0.1, including dust, pollen, mould spores, and odours. It functions as an air purifier, heater, and bladeless fan in one, projecting purified air and offering features like real-time pollutant sensing, Wi-Fi connectivity for remote control via the Dyson Link app, and voice control with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant. This Dyson air purifier operates quietly at 56 dB, weighs 3.33 kilograms, and uses an app for control.

Specifications of Dyson Air Purifier:

Filter type: HEPA and Activated Carbon

Noise level: 56 dB

Control method: App

Weight: 3.33 kilograms

Dyson Air Purifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon?

Buyers are saying that this Dyson air purifier is a standout, stylish device with unique hot-cold purifying, real-time pollution updates, and weather integration. Ideal for winter air quality and unmatched in features.

2. Levoit 300S Smart Air Purifier for Home

The LEVOIT 300S Smart Air Purifier for Home features a powerful three-stage HEPA filtration system that captures 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns, including viruses and PM 0.1 particles. It boasts a quiet operation with a noise level as low as 22 dB, making it ideal for bedrooms and ensuring a restful sleep. With a 240 m³/h CADR, it cleans rooms up to 50 m² twice an hour. The purifier is controlled via an app (VeSync) and is compatible with Alexa, offering real-time air quality monitoring and coloured feedback.

Specifications of Levoit Smart Air Purifier:

Filter type: HEPA

Noise level: 22 dB

Control method: App (VeSync)

Weight: 6 pounds

Levoit 300S Smart Air Purifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon?
Buyers praise Levoit air purifier for its smart Wi-Fi features, quiet operation, and effective dust and pet hair removal. They find it ideal for improving indoor air quality with user-friendly controls and reliable performance, making it a top choice for health-conscious homes.

3. Coway Airmega 150 Professional Air Purifier For Home

The Coway Airmega 150 Professional Air Purifier is designed for home use with a special Green Anti-Virus True HEPA filter that captures 99.99% of viruses and PM 0.1 particles, ensuring a safe indoor environment. It covers an area of 355 square feet with a CADR of 303 cubic meters per hour and operates quietly at 22 dB. The purifier features a long-lasting HEPA filter that can run up to 8500 hours before replacement is needed. Controlled via touch, it is compact, weighing 5.5 kilograms, and is designed for efficient and effective air purification.

Specifications of Coway Airmega 150 Professional Air Purifier:

Filter type: Special Green Anti-Virus True HEPA

Noise level: 22 dB

Control method: Touch

Weight: 5.5 kilograms

Coway Airmega 150 Professional Air Purifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon?

Buyers commend the air purifier for its quietness, rapid and efficient performance, and improvement in sleep and air quality. They appreciate its sleek design and practicality. However, some criticize the display system.

4. Philips AC1711 Smart Air Purifier for Home

The Philips AC1711 Smart Air Purifier is an ideal choice for bedrooms, covering up to 380 square feet with a CADR of 300 m³/h. It features a 3-layer HEPA filtration system that captures 99.97% of particles as small as PM0.003, including viruses, allergens, and dust. With real-time AQI display and 360° air suction, it ensures thorough purification. This Phillips air purifier operates quietly at 15 dB in sleep mode and is energy-efficient, using only 27W. It includes a long-lasting NanoProtect HEPA filter with a smart change indicator for hassle-free maintenance.

Specifications of Philips AC1711 Smart Air Purifier for Home:

Filter type: HEPA (NanoProtect)

Noise level: 15 dB (sleep mode)

Control method: App, Touch

Weight: 3.78 kilograms

Philips AC1711 Smart Air Purifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon?

Buyers find the Phillips air purifier easy to use with simple installation and operation, praising its user-friendly features and quality. However, concerns arise over lighting issues, inconsistent performance, and perceived value.

Top 3 features of the best air purifiers

Best air purifiersPower sourceWeightSpecial feature
Dyson Purifier Hot+Cool HP07Corded Electric3.33 kilogramsHEPA H13 & activated carbon filtration, Air Multiplier technology, Wi-Fi connectivity
LEVOIT Core 300S Smart Air PurifierCorded Electric6 poundsQuiet sleep mode (22 dB), VeSync app control, Real-time air quality indicator
Coway Airmega 150 AP-1019CElectric5.5 kilogramsSpecial Green Anti-Virus True HEPA filter, Longest filter life (8500 hours), Compact
Philips AC1711 Smart Air PurifierCorded Electric3.78 kilograms3-layer HEPA filtration, 360° air suction, Energy-efficient (27W)

Also read: Best air purifiers under 20000: Top 10 purifiers delivering clean air in budget

4 best dehumidifiers

1. POWER PYE ELECTRONICS ABS 3 In 1 Dehumidifier

The POWER PYE ELECTRONICS ABS 3-in-1 Dehumidifier efficiently removes up to 12 litres of moisture per day, making it ideal for dealing with dampness, condensation, and drying clothes. It features Wi-Fi connectivity with Alexa and Google Assistant support for easy control. The device also includes automatic turn-off, defrost, laundry, and timer settings for convenience.

Specifications of POWER PYE ELECTRONICS ABS 3 In 1 Dehumidifier:

Capacity: 12 litres/day

Noise Level: Not specified

Floor Area: 280 square feet

Tank Volume: 4.5 gallons

POWER PYE ELECTRONICS Dehumidifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon?

Buyers appreciate the dehumidifier's comfort, compactness, and performance. It effectively brings temperatures to a comfortable range, emits dry warm air, and is highly portable. While noise, quality, and performance are generally praised, some report issues with the drainage pipe and air filter.

2. TABYIK Dehumidifier

The TABYIK Dehumidifier is a compact and portable solution for removing excess moisture from small spaces like bedrooms, bathrooms, and closets. It can collect up to 450ml of water daily and features ultra-quiet operation and auto shut-off protection for convenience and safety.

Specifications of TABYIK Dehumidifier:

Capacity: 1000 millilitres/day

Noise Level: 28 dB

Floor Area: 280 square feet

Tank Volume: 800 millilitres

TABYIK Dehumidifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon

Buyers appreciate the timely delivery, excellent packaging, and handling. The product works well with satisfactory performance, though some find the price relatively high.

3. SHARP dehumidifier

The SHARP dehumidifier not only reduces moisture but also purifies the air using Plasmacluster technology and a combination of HEPA, carbon, and pre-filters. It is effective for areas up to 550 square feet, making it ideal for large rooms.

Specifications of SHARP dehumidifier:

Capacity: 20 litres/day

Noise Level: Not specified

Floor Area: 550 square feet

Tank Volume: 4.6 litres

SHARP dehumidifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon?

Buyers appreciate the dehumidifier's value, appearance and quality. However, some complain about noise, durability, and heat, mentioning a rattling noise and slightly warm air.

4. Origin De humidifiers

The Origin Novita ND 298 dehumidifier effectively reduces humidity and purifies the air with built-in ionizer technology. Ideal for rooms up to 184.21 square feet, it helps keep your home free from dust mites, allergens, and mould.

Specifications of Origin De humidifiers:

Capacity: 12 litres/day

Noise Level: Not specified

Floor Area: 184.21 square feet

Tank Volume: 2.6 litres

Origin De dehumidifier reviews: What are buyers saying on Amazon?

Despite its higher price, the buyers are satisfied with its performance. However, it's a bit noisy at night and shows some inconsistency in humidity readings compared to separate hygrometers.

Top 3 features of the best dehumidifiers

Best dehumidifiersCapacityFloor areaSpecial feature
POWER PYE ELECTRONICS ABS 3 In 112 litres/day280 square feetAutomatic Restart
TABYIK Dehumidifiers1000 ml/day280 square feetPortable, 7-color romantic atmosphere lights
SHARP Dehumidifier with Air Purifier20 litres/day550 square feetPlasmacluster Technology, HEPA+Carbon+Pre-Filter
Origin Dehumidifiers Novita ND 29812 litres/day184.21 square feetBuilt-in Ionizer Technology

Air purifier vs dehumidifier: Which one is right for you?

So, what is better, an air purifier or a dehumidifier?
To conclude, choosing between an air purifier and a dehumidifier hinges on your specific needs. You must opt for an air purifier to cleanse indoor air of allergens and pollutants, while a dehumidifier is best for reducing moisture levels to prevent mould and dampness. Assess your priorities to make the right decision for your home environment.

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FAQs on air purifiers and dehumidifiers:

1. Can you leave the dehumidifier on all night?

Yes, you can leave your dehumidifier on all night for continuous humidity control and comfort.

2. When not to use a dehumidifier?
Avoid using a dehumidifier in extremely dry climates where humidity levels are naturally low.

3. How often should you replace the filters in your air purifier?

The frequency of filter replacement depends on the type of purifier and usage. Generally, HEPA filters should be replaced every 6 to 12 months, while carbon filters may need replacement every 3 to 6 months.

4. What size air purifier or dehumidifier do you need?

The size you need depends on the square footage of the room. Measure your room's dimensions and choose a model recommended for that size to ensure efficiency.

Disclaimer: At Hindustan Times, we help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and products. Hindustan Times has an affiliate partnership, so we may get a part of the revenue when you make a purchase. We shall not be liable for any claim under applicable laws, including but not limited to the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, with respect to the products. The products listed in this article are in no particular order of priority.

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