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If you live in the city, chances are the air quality around you isn’t great. Fortunately, there are a couple of devices like air humidifiers and air purifiers that’ll help with that.

But how do these devices actually work, and are there any actual benefits to using them?

Read on below for the low-down on Air Purifier vs Air Humidifier, and we’ll go through which of these devices are better for you.

Table Of Contents:

What is the Difference Between Air Purifiers and Humidifiers?

The key difference between the two is that air purifiers filter out airborne contaminants, while air humidifiers only control the humidity levels in the room.

Air Purifier VS Air Humidifier

Given that both of these devices accomplish different things:

And whether one or both of these devices might be worth it for you depends on what you’re looking for.

You’ll find a more in-depth discussion of the pros and cons of each device below, but if you’d like a quick summary, have a look at the video below.

What Is An Air Humidifier?

An air humidifier is a device that introduces moisture into the air in the form of water vapor.

This is usually achieved by first boiling water into steam. And then vibrating water droplets into the air (via ultrasound technology), or a fan pointed at a wet wick.

Air humidifiers are useful for helping people who have conditions such as dry skin, cracked lips, irritated eyes, airway dryness, etc.

These conditions are often caused by a dry atmosphere (I.e. staying in an air-conditioned room the whole day).

An Air Conditioned Office Environment Can Be Very Drying
An Air Conditioned Office Environment Can Be Very Drying – Photo credits to Startup Stock Photos (Pexels)

As such, using a humidifier to add moisture to the air may help with these issues, especially if you’re experiencing them on a daily basis.

However, it’s important that you don’t overuse humidifiers, as you can introduce too much humidity into the air, which may worsen respiratory problems. And lead to mildew in your home!

Air Humidifier Pros:

  • Improved Health – Air humidifiers can make the air in your room more comfortable if you experience flu or cold symptoms. Whilst also improving symptoms caused by dry air conditions, such as cracked lips or dry skin.
  • Longer-Lasting Furniture – With the right humidity levels, you can substantially increase the lifespan of your furniture, although this is pretty niche given the variety of furniture you might have present.
  • Better Plant Health – If you’re someone who takes care of plants, you’ll know that humidity levels are key to keeping your plants alive, which is why investing in a humidifier may be a good idea.
Sometimes Flu Like Symtoms May Be The Result Of A Dry Environment
Sometimes Flu-Like Symptoms May Be The Result Of A Dry Environment – Photo credits to Andrea Piacquadio (Pexels)

Air Humidifier Cons:

  • Regular Maintenance – Apart from having to constantly top up water levels, humidifiers need to be consistently cleaned to ensure there’s no potential for microorganism breeding.
  • Excessive Humidity/Condensation – Running a humidifier for too long can lead to overly humid air. Which can exacerbate respiratory illnesses, encourage mold and bacteria growth, as well as being generally uncomfortable on the skin.
  • Noise – Some humidifiers do produce notable noise, which isn’t great if you’re someone who prefers a quiet environment.
  • Health Concerns –
    • Humidifiers may become breeding grounds for fungi and bacteria growth, which may be concerning due to the airborne nature of these microorganisms.
    • Certain humidifiers may also deposit mineral particles into the air as white dust, which can be a health concern as well.

What Is an Air Purifier?

Air purifiers are devices that filter and circulate air throughout a room and are commonly touted as being able to improve indoor air quality.

Air Purifiers Can Improve The Air Quality Of Your Room For Better Sleep
Air Purifiers Can Improve The Air Quality Of Your Room For Better Sleep – Photo credits to William Fortunato (Pexels)

In an air purifier, a fan usually pulls air in from around the living space, with the filter trapping pollutants and irritants whilst pushing ‘clean’ air back into circulation.

Some purifiers are also equipped with sanitizing tech, such as ionization or UV light, which helps clumps particles and kill bacteria respectively.

While air purifiers do work to some degree:

They’re not capable of filtering and purifying out every particle and irritant in the air, and their effectiveness will vary depending on the surroundings too.

If you’ll like to know more, check out our article on the benefits of air purifiers for all you need to know.

Air Purifier Pros:

  • Great At Filtering Out Dust and Pollen – If you live in the city, getting an air purifier (especially a HEPA purifier) may significantly improve the air quality in your home, offering you easier breathing, better sleep, and less sinus-related issues.
  • Improved Odor – Smoke and haze getting you down? Certain types of air purifier can help filter out odors in your home, allowing you to breathe a lot better in your own home.
Staying In The City Usually Means Air Pollution
Staying In The City Usually Means Air Pollution – Photo credits to Donald Tong (Pexels)

Air Purifier Cons:

  • Ionizing Purifiers May Aggravate Asthma – Certain types of ionizing purifiers may produce ozone, which is a harmful substance.
  • May Not Be As Effective As Advertised – Air purifiers are often tested in controlled, laboratory environments. As such, the real-life practicality of an air purifier making your surrounding air cleaner really depends on your surroundings.
  • Requires Maintenance – As with most filtration devices, you do need to replace the filter of an air purifier every now and then, which can add up to a significant amount of money over time.

Are Air Humidifiers or Air Purifiers Better For Asthma?

Given that the most common triggers of asthma are airborne pollutants (tobacco smoke, outdoor air pollution, etc.):

Air purifiers are the better option for asthmatics, as they’re able to remove various irritants and odors that may trigger an asthmatic attack.

And according to a study, excessive humidifier use can exacerbate asthma and allergen-related symptoms due to the increased humidity.

There are, however, devices that work both as an air humidifier and purifier, which might be what you’re looking for if you want both cleaner and more humid air conditions in your home.

Can You Run An Air Humidifier and Air Purifier At The Same Time?

As both an air humidifier and air purifier function differently from one another, you can definitely run both at the same time.

However, try not to put both the humidifier and purifier too close together.

This is because the added moisture from the humidifier may negatively affect the purifier’s filter performance, and may even lead to mold growth on the filter.

Is There an Air Purifier and Humidifier in One?

Some devices combine both the moisture-adding properties of a humidifier and the filtration quality of an air purifier.

If you do intend on getting both an air purifier and humidifier, getting a two-in-one combination device may be the cheaper alternative than getting them separately.

Plus, air purifier-humidifier devices are tailor-made to have both aspects work with each other, which might not be the case with separate purifier and humidifier devices.


So now you know whether an air purifier or humidifier would suit you best! And the respective advantages, disadvantages, and differences between them.

And if you would like our recommendation on which air purifier or humidifier to get:

Have a look at both our best air purifiers in Malaysia and best air humidifiers in Malaysia articles for our curated list of the best devices on the market.

Guan Hong

Guan Hong is the tech writer for He grew up loving stories so much he did a degree in English. Currently works as a content writer and has written far more listicles than he’d like to admit. His interests include tech, music, video games, and animation.

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