Air Quality

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an Air Cleaner or Humidifier


The Ultimate Guide to Choosing an Air Cleaner or Humidifier

Share —

When it comes to the indoor air health of our homes or offices, we often encounter the debate between an air cleaner and a humidifier. Managing the indoor air quality is crucial to our health and well-being. That's why we look to familiar products like air cleaners and humidifiers with high hopes. Before choosing one over the other, we must understand the purpose, functionality, and benefits of each device to make an educated decision on which is the ideal solution for our specific necessities. Here, we'll dive into the details and explore whether an air cleaner or a humidifier is the best fit for you.

Understanding Air Cleaners

Also known as air purifiers, air cleaners are designed primarily to cleanse the air of pollutants. This includes substances like dust, pollen, mold, pet dander, and a plethora of other particles that could prove harmful to some individuals, especially those with specific allergic reactions or respiratory conditions.

Types of Air Cleaners

  • HEPA Filters: Known for their ability to capture 99.97% of particles, they are excellent for those with severe allergies or asthma.
  • Activated Carbon Filters: Particularly proficient at absorbing odours, chemical gases and smoke, making them ideal for individuals living in polluted cities or homes with smokers.
  • UV Germicidal Lights: Utilize ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms as they pass through the air cleaner.

Air cleaners may be used throughout the entire year and are beneficial for people with allergies, asthma, or other respiratory issues. They efficiently minimize indoor pollutants, significantly improving the overall air quality inside your living space.

Delving into Humidifiers

Humidifiers, as their name indicates, add moisture to the indoor air. Dry indoor air can lead to a range of issues such as dry skin, irritated nasal passages, and aggravated allergies. By increasing the humidity levels, these devices aid in creating a more comfortable living environment, particularly during the colder months when the air naturally tends to be drier.

Varieties of Humidifiers

  • Ultrasonic: They use ultrasonic vibrations to produce a cool fog and are generally quieter than other types.
  • Evaporative: They work like a natural evaporation process, using a fan to blow air through a moistened wick or filter.
  • Steam: Also known as vaporizers, they heat water until it turns into steam.

Humidifiers are generally beneficial during the winter season when the indoor air can get extremely dry due to the heating systems. They can help alleviate symptoms related to dryness like irritated skin, dry throat, or sinus congestion.

Choosing Between an Air Cleaner and a Humidifier

The decision to choose between an air cleaner and a humidifier largely depends on the specific needs of your living environment and your health. If you live in an area with high pollution levels or suffer from allergies or asthma, an air cleaner may be more beneficial. On the other hand, if you typically experience dry skin, throat, or nose, particularly in the winter season, a humidifier might be a more suitable choice.

Why Not Both?

Given that both air cleaners and humidifiers serve different purposes, it's also possible to consider using both in different parts of the year or even simultaneously. An air cleaner could be used throughout the year to consistently provide clean and healthy breathable air, while a humidifier could come in handy during those particularly dry months of winter.

Identifying whether an air cleaner or humidifier is best for you boils down to understanding your specific needs regarding air quality and then selecting a device that can most effectively address those requirements.

FAQs on Air Cleaners and Humidifiers

What is the primary function of an air cleaner?

An air cleaner, also known as an air purifier, works to extract contaminants from the air within a particular area. These devices are highly beneficial for people who suffer from allergies or other respiratory conditions, as they can help to improve indoor air quality.

How does a humidifier function?

A humidifier works by adding moisture to the indoor air. This is particularly useful in dry weather conditions or climates where indoor air can often become too dry, which can lead to issues such as dry skin, sinus problems, and an increased chance of catching colds and infections.

How does an air cleaner differ from a humidifier?

An air cleaner differs from a humidifier in terms of its primary function. While an air cleaner is designed to purify the air by removing pollutants, a humidifier simply adds moisture to the air to prevent it from becoming too dry. You might require either of these devices - or even both - depending on the specific needs of your indoor environment and your health requirements.

Can an air cleaner remove all particles from the air?

While air cleaners are designed to filter and remove as many contaminants as possible, they may not remove 100% of particles from the air, especially the smaller, microscopic ones. However, a high-quality air purifier can significantly reduce the number of harmful particles in the air, improving overall air quality.

When should I use a humidifier?

Consider using a humidifier during colder seasons when the air tends to be drier. This can provide relief from dry, itchy skin and can also reduce the occurrence of respiratory problems caused by dry air such as sinus congestion, nosebleeds, and certain types of coughs.

Can a humidifier or air cleaner alleviate symptoms of allergies?

Yes, both devices can help alleviate allergy symptoms. An air cleaner can remove allergens such as dust mite debris, pet dander, and pollen from the air. Meanwhile, a humidifier can keep your nasal and throat passages moist, making them less susceptible to irritating allergens.

How often should I clean my air cleaner or humidifier?

The cleaning frequency for both air cleaners and humidifiers can vary based on usage and the specific model in question. However, as a general rule of thumb, you should aim to clean your air cleaner's filters every 3-6 months and your humidifier at least once a week to prevent the build-up of mold and bacteria.

Can I use an air cleaner and a humidifier in the same room?

Absolutely! In fact, using both in conjunction can often provide a more comprehensive solution to improving indoor air quality. While the air purifier works to remove contaminants from the air, the humidifier ensures that the air does not become overly dry.

Can an air cleaner or humidifier affect energy consumption?

While both air cleaners and humidifiers do consume energy, modern models are designed to be energy efficient. However, the specific impact on your energy bill could depend on factors such as the device's power rating, how long it's run each day, and the energy rates in your region.

Pros and Cons of Air Cleaners and Humidifiers

Pros of Air Cleaners

Enhanced Air Quality

  • Air cleaners are designed primarily to improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants, allergens, and particulates. This is especially beneficial for people with allergies or respiratory conditions.
  • The air purifiers with features like HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97% of airborne particles, including dust, mold spores, pet dander, and pollen, which greatly improves the air within your living space.

Reduction of Unpleasant Odors

  • Air cleaners not only purify the air but also reduce unpleasant smells. Whether it's cooking odors, pet smells, tobacco smoke, or just a musty scent, an air cleaner can help keep your home smelling fresh.

Sleep Improvements

  • By removing allergens and contaminants from the air, air cleaners can aid in providing a healthier environment for better sleep.

Cons of Air Cleaners


  • Good quality air cleaners can be expensive, not only to purchase but also the maintenance cost (filter replacement).
  • The ongoing cost of replacing filters can add up over time – particularly with air cleaners that require more frequent filter changes.

Can Be Noisy

  • Certain air cleaners can produce consistent noise, which might be distracting or annoying, especially when running at a higher speed setting.

Effectiveness Issues

  • Some air cleaners can't remove gases or odors effectively, so they may not be suitable if you're trying to get rid of particular contaminants in your home.
  • Additionally, they do not remove particles that have settled down on surfaces within the room.

Pros of Humidifiers

Health Improvement

  • Humidifiers add moisture to the air, which can alleviate symptoms of dry skin, sinus congestion, dry throat, or nose irritation.
  • By maintaining and increasing the humidity level in dry environments, these devices can also potentially reduce the chance of influenza transmission.

Sleep Enhancements

  • Humidifiers can help individuals sleep better, particularly those who snore or have sleep apnea, by keeping the throat and nasal passages hydrated.

Protection for Wooden Furniture

  • By reducing the dryness in the air, humidifiers can prolong the life of wooden furniture, flooring, and musical instruments that can crack when the air is too dry.

Cons of Humidifiers


  • Humidifiers require regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent mold or bacteria growth, which can add to your work and cost.


  • Excess humidity can lead to increased growth of mold, dust mites, and allergens which can further deteriorate indoor air quality.

Risk of Burns

  • Steam humidifiers, also known as warm mist humidifiers, can pose a safety risk due to the hot steam they produce, particularly in homes with children.

Both air cleaners and humidifiers provide benefits and also come with some drawbacks. By understanding these pros and cons, you can make an informed decision based on your specific needs and conditions.


After all that we have learned about air cleaners or humidifiers, it's clear that these devices play a significant role not only in refining our home air quality but also in boosting our health. The air cleaner works magic in getting rid of unwanted pollutants and allergens, while a humidifier ensures the right level of moisture is maintained. Therefore, whether you're seeking a remedy for allergies, dry skin, or seeking to improve your overall comfort, an air cleaner or humidifier could be the answer to your needs.

The beauty of an air cleaner or humidifier lies in its simplicity and ease of use. You can have it working flawlessly in any room, making your living space more accommodating within minutes. Plus, these devices don’t require much maintenance, making them suitable for people with busy lifestyles. Always ensure to change filters or clean your device as needed to ensure its longevity and optimal effectiveness.

Ultimately, incorporating an air cleaner or humidifier into your indoor environment can be beneficial in many ways. While they might seem like an unnecessary investment at first, the benefits they offer in terms of improved air quality, health, and comfort are entirely worth it. So, feel free to explore the various options available on the market and choose one that best suits your specific needs and preferences.

About Perfect Air & Water Services

Welcome to Perfect Air & Water Services, your trusted and reliable solution for all air and water needs located in Lakewood, NJ. We encompass a team of experts proficient in providing exceptional maintenance, installation, and repair services for your HVAC systems and water purification needs. We are dedicated, reliable, and ready to handle your concerns, offering unparalleled customer service and the highest quality services at competitive prices. We are committed to ensuring you live comfortably in your home, no favoring functionality over comfort or vice-versa. No job is too big or small for us at Perfect Air & Water Services!