Air Purifier for 3D Printers: Why You Need One + Top 3 Picks

If 3D printing is your casual hobby or a key part of your career, you must invest in a good air purifier for 3D printers.

Observing certain safety measures when 3D printing, including maintaining air quality, is important.

As 3D printers print, they heat the plastic to high temperatures. 

In doing so, they cause the plastic to release fumes and nanoparticles, which can be extremely dangerous when inhaled.

To reduce the number of nanoparticles and plastic fumes you are exposed to when using a 3D printer, the best practice is to use an air purifier for 3D printers. 

These air purifiers will pull the plastic fragments out of the air and prevent them from entering your lung and bloodstream.


Why Should You Use an Air Purifier for 3D Printers?

At this point, you may be wondering why air purifiers are needed when using a 3D printer.

The most common risk associated with 3D printers is house fires.

Since the printers run for hours, they can overheat and catch fire if not set up properly.

However, that is not the only health risk that air purifiers can create. 

As 3D printers are printing, they generate fumes and tiny nanoparticles made from whatever material they are printing with, usually PLA or ABS.

Over time, these particles can accumulate in the air and cause lung irritation and increase symptoms from any respiratory condition. 

However, that isn’t all that they do.

Studies have shown that over time, ultrafine particles, like the ones generated by 3D printing, can enter the bloodstream through the lungs and be absorbed into all different parts of the body. 

These particles also correlate with heart and lung cancer when found in high levels in the body.

To avoid heart and lung cancer when frequently working with 3D printers, you must protect yourself from inhaling fumes and nanoparticles. 

One option is to wear a high-quality mask, which isn’t always comfortable or conducive to your work with 3D printers.

Fortunately, another solution to reduce the number of nanoparticles in the air is an air purifier for 3D printers. 

The best air purifiers for 3D printers will remove over 90% of the particles from the air.

Air Purifier for 3D Printers: What Pollutants Should be Filtered

The pollutants that 3D printers produce are typically grouped into two categories: plastic fumes and plastic particles.

Plastic fumes occur when the plastic used in the 3D printer is heated to high temperatures. 

When this happens, chemicals like formaldehyde and carbon monoxide are produced, which can be extremely dangerous at high levels.

Plastic particles also occur when the plastic is heated to high temperatures and molded into different shapes. 

However, instead of chemical fumes, tiny plastic fragments break off and become airborne.

Although they are not inherently dangerous, when plastic particles are inhaled, they can be absorbed by your body and end up in your bloodstream, which can have damaging long-term effects.

How does an Air Purifier for 3D Printers Work?


Air purifiers work by removing tiny particles from the air that may be causing lung irritation and reducing air quality.

In a regular home, they are usually used to remove dust, pet dander, mold, and other allergens from the air. 

However, they can also remove other particles, including the nanoparticles generated by 3D printers.

The air purifier for 3D printers will pull the air in the room through its ultrafine filters and remove any particles from the air. 

This will keep the particles from accumulating in the air and improve overall air quality.

Which Filters Work Best for 3D Printers?

There are multiple types of filters that you can use to filter nanoparticles from your 3D printer out of the air. 

The most popular are HEPA filters and activated carbon or charcoal filters; the best purifiers will have both.

HEPA Filters

HEPA filters are often considered the gold standard for in-home air filtration and purification; almost all of the best purifiers include them. 

These filters have been proven to remove 99.97% of particles from the air down to 0.3 micrometers in size.

They also have a relatively long working life and can last up to a year before they need to be changed, depending on how many hours per day you use your air purifier.

The downside to HEPA filters is that they cannot remove all of the ultrafine particles from the air. 

These particles can be down to 0.1 micrometers, meaning they are too small for the HEPA filters to remove.

Fortunately, these particles tend to stick together or to other molecules, increasing their size and making them easier to filter out.

One study which examined the current workplace regulations regarding the use of 3D printers found that in an enclosed room, HEPA air filters could reduce the number of particles in the air by 98%. 

Although this isn’t perfect, it can still greatly improve the air quality in the environment and reduce the number of nanoparticles that you’ll be breathing in.

Helpful Hints

When using a HEPA filter, no matter what you’re using it for, it’s important to regularly change the filter according to manufacturer guidelines.

As the filter becomes saturated with particles, it will begin to break down and will not pull particles out of the air as effectively. 

If you want to maintain your air quality, you must change the filters as soon as they become saturated with debris.

The easiest way to manage changing your HEPA filter on time is by purchasing an air purifier for 3D printers with filter monitoring technology. 

This technology automatically tracks how long the filter has been used and if the air is still flowing through the filter easily.

Once it determines that the filter is no longer functioning optimally, it will signal that it is time to change your HEPA filter.

Activated Carbon or Charcoal Filters

The second most popular type of filter to use in an air purifier for 3D printers is an activated carbon or charcoal filter. 

Activated carbon and activated charcoal are technically different. Still, both serve the same purpose in this context and are typically grouped and used interchangeably.

The benefit of activated carbon and charcoal filters is that they can pull extremely tiny particles from the air that other filters often miss. 

This is why they are often used to eliminate odors since they can absorb tiny odor-causing particles that other filters cannot.

These filters work differently than others because they absorb contaminants instead of physically filtering out them. 

The surface of activated charcoal and carbon is extremely porous and highly absorbent.

As nanoparticles pass by the carbon or charcoal, they will be pulled into the surface and absorbed, keeping them from continuing to float around the air and causing odors.

The best purifiers for 3D printers will have both activated carbon and HEPA filters to improve the air quality as much as possible.

Helpful Hints

There are two important procedures when using an activated carbon or charcoal filter to remove nanoparticles from the air. 

You must regularly change the filter and use a pre-filter with the activated carbon filter.

Just like HEPA filters, activated carbon and charcoal filters become saturated over time and will stop working. 

On average, companies recommend changing your carbon or charcoal filters at least every six months, more if used specifically to remove odors.

However, the best way to keep track of this is by purchasing an air purifier for 3D printers with filter monitoring. 

This will track how long your filter has been used for you and tell you when to change it.

The second tip is always to use a pre-filter with your activated carbon or charcoal filter. 

Activated carbon filters are designed to remove tiny nanoparticles from the air and can easily become clogged if made to filter larger debris.

A pre-filter will remove larger debris like pet hair and clumps of dust from the air and prevent them from clogging your interior filters. 

If you want to keep your air purifier functioning as efficiently as possible, a pre-filter is needed.

Air Purifier for 3D Printers: Our Top 3 Picks

Having covered the different filter types available, you may still need to decide which specific model to consider for your purchase. 

Thankfully, we’ve taken the weight off your shoulder by narrowing it down to our top three favorites for 3d printing. 

Here they are:

1. Molekule Air Purifier with PECO Technology

Molekule-Air-Purifier-with-PECO-Technology - air purifier for 3d printers

Known for its impressive pollution-removal results, the Molekule Air Purifier with PECO Technology is one of the most popular choices for people with 3D printers. 

Thanks to its PECO technology feature, the filter will collect pollutants produced by the printer and attack them at a molecular level for ultimate results.

2. Medify Air Purifier with H13 True HEPA Filter

Medify-Air-Purifier-with-H13-True-HEPA-Filter - air purifier for 3d printers

As mentioned, HEPA filters are among the best options for combatting 3D printer pollutants. 

The Medify Air Purifier with H13 True HEPA Filter model offers 3 fan speeds to choose from while allowing you to select up to 8 hours on the timer. 

Still, the best part is that it is backed by countless studies showing that this purifier can remove 99.9% of harmful particles, making it perfect for 3D printer use.

3. ELEGOO Mini Air Purifier for Resina 3D Printers

ELEGOO-Mini-Air-Purifier-for-Resina-3D-Printers - air purifier for 3d printers

Those looking for a more compact air purifier model will love the ELEGOO Mini Air Purifier for Resina 3D Printers and its long list of features, including a strong 2000mAh battery, ELEGOO Mars series printer compatibility (as well as other models) and lifespan of up to 6 months. 

This model is undoubtedly the go-to choice for buyers looking for smaller air purifiers.

Air Purifier for 3D Printers – FAQs

Is it safe to use a 3D printer indoors?

When a 3D printer is used indoors, it can cause potentially dangerous levels of plastic fumes and nanoparticles to build up in the air. 

However, due to the nature of a 3D printer and its delicate internal components, it is unsafe to use it outside, where it could be damaged by the elements or passersby.

Fortunately, there are some ways to mitigate the negative effects that using a 3D printer indoors can have. 

The easiest way to prevent health issues from microplastics is to use an air purifier for 3D printers in the same room.

This will remove the microplastics from the air and prevent you from breathing them in and entering your body, where they can wreak havoc on your health.

Is it safe to run a 3D printer 24/7?

As long as your 3D printer has been properly set up, running a 3D printer for days on end is safe. 

Some larger projects may require this as 3D printers are notorious for taking a long time to print.

Just make sure that your 3D printer is in a properly ventilated room, preferably with an air purifier for 3D printers, and is away from any flammable materials. 

As a 3D printer works, it becomes extremely hot and can cause fires if placed too close to flammable objects.

Are PLA or ABS fumes worse?

There is a common misconception in the 3D printing world that PLA is a safe alternative to ABS, but that’s not true.

ABS is known for producing a strong odor and fumes when heated. 

PLA does not do this to the same extent. However, it still releases toxic fumes and microplastics and should always be cautiously used.


Air Purifier for 3D Printers – Conclusion

To prevent the inhalation of microplastics and plastic fumes, it is important to use an air purifier for 3D printers whenever you have your 3D printer running. 

Using one of the best purifiers, you can reduce the number of microplastics in the air by over 90%, greatly reducing the risk of developing cancer from plastic inhalation.

When looking for an air purifier for your 3D printer, try to find one that uses a HEPA air filter and an activated carbon or charcoal filter. 

These filters can remove even the smallest particles from the air that many other filters cannot.

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