Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier – Which Is Better?

Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier–which should you choose?

When I went to buy my first air purifier, I had yet to learn that there were filter and filterless air purifiers.

And if you’re in the same situation and looking for a filter vs. filterless air purifier comparison to help you find the best option for your needs, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we’ll discuss what filter and filterless air purifiers are, their differences, and which one is the best option for you.

Read on to learn more.

Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier – Which Is Better?

An Overview of Filter Air Purifiers

LEVOIT Filter Air Purifier Core 300

Filter air purifiers are the most common type on the market.

As the name suggests, these air purifiers use filters to capture airborne particles and clean the air in an indoor space.

These air purifiers can use various filters. 

Many of the best options use a multi-stage filtration system to capture as many particles as possible.

If you’re looking for a filter air purifier, I’d recommend getting a model with a True HEPA filter.

A High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filter is one of the best filters for air purification available today.

Some of the top HEPA filters can capture particles up to 1.0 microns small, which is why HEPA filter air purifiers are considered the best option for home air purification.

That said, filter air purifiers aren’t the best option for spaces larger than 1,000 square feet, so they aren’t ideal for commercial spaces.

There are advantages and drawbacks to getting a filter air purifier, so it’s up to you to determine if these are the right pick for your needs.

An Overview of Filterless Air Purifiers

Filterless air purifiers don’t use filtration to clean the air.

Airfree P3000 Filterless Silent Air Purifier

Many filterless air purifiers are on the market today, but the most common option is the ionic air purifier.

These air purifiers release ions, which are electrically charged molecules, into the air.

The molecules then charge the particles in the air like dust, pet dander, and pollutants, which causes them to stick to walls, floors, and other flat surfaces.

This removes the harmful particles from the air and makes the air much safer to breathe.

Other ionic air purifiers have a fan that sucks air into the purifier.

From there, the air passes between electrically charged metal plates, causing the particles to stay inside the air purifier.

Another common type of filterless air purifier is the UV air purifier.

These air purifiers clean the air by emitting a UV-C light with germicidal qualities, deactivating the DNA of bacteria, dust mites, and other viruses.

Filterless air purifiers are great for larger spaces. However, some evidence shows the by-products of filterless air purification can be dangerous.

We’ll discuss that in the later sections, where we dive into more detail.

But like filter air purifiers, there are pros and cons to using a filterless air purifier. 

At the end of the day, it’s all about your need and preferences.

Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifiers – What’s the Difference?

The only similarity between filter and filterless air purifiers is that these appliances are designed to clean the air and remove harmful particles. 

Aside from that, these are completely different machines, and it’s important to understand their differences when choosing between a filter and a filterless air purifier.

So, let’s dive into the key differences between these two air purifiers so you can easily decide which works best for you.

How Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifiers Work

First, let’s talk about how these air purifiers work.

A filter air purifier, whether it uses a HEPA filter, carbon filter, or another type of filtration system, will use a fan to suck air from the room and force it through the filter.

These high-quality filters are designed to capture small airborne particles that would otherwise end up in the lungs.

Some models even use multiple filters to capture different types of particles.

This is why filter air purifiers capture pollutants and dust and can even eliminate foul odors.

On the flip side, most filterless air purifiers work by emitting specific molecules or lights into the air.

When these molecules are in the air, they cause particles and pollutants to fall to the ground.

With some filterless air purifiers, UV light neutralizes harmful particles and bacteria.

So, even if the filter and filterless air purifiers work toward the same goal, they achieve that very differently.

Size of the Room Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier Can Handle

Another primary difference between filter and filterless air purifiers is the rooms they can handle.

If you’re buying a home air purifier, you might want to avoid filterless air purifiers.

A filter air purifier is best used in spaces under 1,000 square feet.

When used in spaces larger than 1,000 square feet, filter air purifiers don’t work as efficiently and effectively.

For larger spaces, filterless air purifiers are the best option.

Most filterless air purifiers on the market will not be effective when cleaning areas of 1,000 square feet. 

In comparison, there are many filterless air purifiers available that can handle up to 3,000 square feet.

So, suppose you’re looking to manage the air quality in a large commercial area. In that case, you might be better off with a filterless model.

Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier Maintenance

Maintenance is a significant concern for many people when buying an air purifier.

That said, both air purifier types require maintenance, depending on the kind of maintenance you’re willing to perform.

For example, if you get a filter air purifier, you must change or clean the filters every few months.

This can be quite a hassle since you must buy replacement filters designed for your device.

On the other hand, if you have an ionic air purifier, you will have to clean the metal plates and wires that release the charged molecules.

Additionally, some ionic air purifiers will cause dust to fall on flat surfaces, meaning you must also clean these surfaces on top of the air purifier.

While you don’t have to pay for additional filters with an ionic air purifier, you might have an easier time simply replacing the filters instead of cleaning the charged plates.

Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier Noise Levels

One of the things you have to deal with if you get a filter air purifier is that these air purifiers produce more noise.

Returning to how these air purifiers work, you can’t use a filter air purifier without turning on the fan.

And no matter what technology they use, the fan will make noise.

Even some of the quietest filter air purifiers on the market make significant noise.

Conversely, you can use some filterless air purifiers without a fan.

Not all filterless air purifiers require a fan, so you’ll have much lower noise levels.

So, suppose you’re sensitive to sounds and like to have the most silent appliances possible. In that case, you might want to consider a filterless air purifier.


Filter vs. Filterless Air Purification By-Products

A significant concern with filterless air purifiers is a by-product of the air purification process.

This is because most filterless air purifiers produce ozone as a by-product of air purification.

When the charged molecules react with dust in the air, this produces ozone. This is also why you may notice a chlorine-like odor when using a filterless air purifier.

Inhaling large amounts of ozone indoors is dangerous and can cause headaches and trouble breathing.

You don’t have to worry about harmful by-products when you get a filter air purifier.

This is why filter air purifiers are a much safer and more effective option, especially if you only need one for your home.

Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier Design

You won’t find the best or most diverse designs with a filterless air purifier.

Most filterless air purifiers have the classic tower design, with the most recent options featuring a slimmer profile.

But with filter air purifiers, you have a much wider range of designs that you can choose from.

So, suppose you’re looking for an air purifier that can also complement your interior design. In that case, you might have better luck with a filter air purifier.

Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier Price

Many filter and filterless air purifiers are available at different price points.

In my research, I found two filter and filterless air purifiers for as low as $40 and as high as $1,800.

That said, you don’t have to spend as much to get a high-quality filter air purifier, while the best filterless air purifiers tend to cost a bit more.

FAQs on Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifiers

Should I Get a Filter or Filterless Air Purifier?

If you’re looking for a home air purifier, a filter air purifier is the best option. These are great at filtering out harmful particles from the air and are ideal for most situations.

What Is the Safest Air Purifier?

The safest air purifiers available right now are HEPA filter air purifiers. These air purifiers produce no harmful by-products while also cleaning the air efficiently.

Is It Good to Use an Air Purifier Every Day?

For the best protection, we recommend using an air purifier every day. That way, you know you are protected against harmful particles and pollutants.


Filter vs. Filterless Air Purifier – Conclusion

We didn’t find a definite winner in this filter vs. filterless air purifier comparison.

Instead, we determined that different air purifiers are designed for various purposes.

If you’re looking for a good air purifier at home, a filter model will be a better pick.

But if you need an air purifier for a large commercial space, you might be better off with a filterless option.

READ NEXT: Airocide: The NASA Approved Filterless Air Purifier