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What is the difference between an Air Filter and an Air Purifier?Updated 3 months ago

Short Answer: 

The key difference is that an air purifier is a standalone device used to clean the air of a single, specific room, whereas an air filter is instead a necessary component of your HVAC system that is used to protect your unit and clean the air of your entire home




Long Answer: 

The key difference is that an air purifier is a standalone device used to clean the air of a single, specific room, whereas an air filter is instead a necessary component of your HVAC system that is used to protect your unit and clean the air of your entire home

Sometimes, air purifiers are referred to "air filters." This makes things a bit confusing but in reality they both function by using the same principles of air filtration: 

  • A fan sucks in air 
  • That air passes through a filter, which captures unwanted particles and contaminants from that air 
  • That now clean air is pushed back out for you to breathe in 
  • The process then repeats to further clean your air

Air purifiers are small machines that use HEPA filters, which are the highest grade filters with the tightest possible fibers (you can think of this filter as an N95 mask). HEPA filters are extremely effective at filtering out even the smallest contaminants (which is why they are the de facto filters in hospitals and operating rooms). However, the big tradeoff is that they easily block air from passing (just imagine, it can start to get a little tough to breathe after wearing an N95 mask for too long). 

Your HVAC system, on the other hand, is a very large machine that requires lots of energy because it powers and cleans the air of your entire home. Putting a HEPA filter in your HVAC unit would restrict airflow way too much leading to increased energy bills and potential system damage. Instead, it is recommended to use a high filtration filter that 1) was specifically built for your central air, 2) allows for proper airflow, and 3) still successfully cleans your home air where it matters. 

Using a Windmill Filter in your HVAC acts more like a surgical or KN95 mask --  it's more affordable, gets the job done on the important contaminants, keeps your machine safe, and is made specifically for your home (and not a hospital).

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