Air Scrubber vs Air Purifier: Differences You Need to Know

Do you know that every year, millions of people die because of breathing the air that surrounds us? Sadly, you can’t completely protect yourself from the air present outdoors. However, the good news is that you CAN control the air you breathe indoors.

air scrubber vs air purifier

How? By using air scrubbers and air purifiers, of course. Let’s take a closer look at what they can do.

What is an Air Scrubber, and How Does it Work? 

No, an air scrubber doesn’t scrub the air with soap and sponge. An air scrubber is used for cleaning the air in large areas (warehouses, commercial buildings, etc). It is a portable device, and this means that a single device will be able to clean hundreds and hundreds of square feet of land. 

So how does an air scrubber work? It sucks the air inside itself, runs it through filters, and blows it out. In other words, it sifts the air and removes dirt particles from it, like you would sift flour with a sieve. 

Now, there are different types of scrubbers with various filters that you should know of. First, every air scrubber has a pre-filter in it. This filter removes large particles like dust and pollen from the air. After this, the air passes through a primary filter for further cleansing.

There are two types of primary filters and two types of methods they use, which differentiates air scrubbers. One of these uses wet scrubbing and the other, dry scrubbing. 

  • Wet Scrubber: In a wet scrubber, the primary filter is moist with a special fluid. This traps toxic particles in the air while letting clean ones pass through. 
  • Dry Scrubber: On the other hand, dry scrubbing uses a sorbent instead of the liquid. This stuff traps dirty air particles as well and cleans the air.

The primary filters remove chemicals, gases, and other harmful particles from the air. After this, a part of the machine called a blower blows out the cleaned air. This also sucks in the air in the first place. 

This is the basic functioning of an air scrubber. Other types also come with a HEPA or carbon filter. For the most part, air scrubbers are best for commercial use, mainly because they are costly.

Benefits of an Air Scrubber 

The most obvious advantage is the improved indoor air quality. An air scrubber removes toxic gases and chemicals from the air. This is especially helpful if you live near an industrial area or on a very busy street. The gases from a car’s exhaust, or the dusty air, you won’t have to worry about them anymore. 

Another major benefit is that it can remove mold spores and other allergens from the air. Thus, this improved air is safe for people with asthma and other respiratory issues, like mold allergies. 

Although it is mostly used in commercial buildings, you can get an air scrubber for your house as well. They are available in smaller sizes for homes and at cheaper rates. What’s more, you can even directly install them in your HVAC system!

To sum up, an air scrubber:

  • Is a portable device 
  • Cleans large areas with a single unit
  • Rids the air of pollutants and chemical gases
  • Comes in various types 
  • Can be installed in an HVAC system too

Air Purifier and its Function

What else are your options to get cleaner air for you and your family? An air purifier, of course! These are devices that are usually fit into your HVAC system, unlike an air scrubber, which is portable. There are options available for portable ones on the market, though.

So what is an air purifier? An air scrubber and an air purifier do the same job. They both rid the air of harmful substances and provide you with fresh, clean, and safe air to breathe. There are a few differences in how they work, though.


READ MORE: Do Air Purifiers Work?


Most air purifiers have a HEPA filter. They filter out tiny particles as well as bacteria and remove 99.9% of pollutants. So when an air purifier is installed in your HVAC system, this HEPA filtration system cleans the air of all harmful particles before letting it in your house. 

Another type of air purifier blows out negative ions into the air. These negative ions then stick themselves to toxic particles in the air, making them heavy. This eventually causes them to fall. After this, these particles need to be vacuumed.

Furthermore, most air purifiers use an activated carbon filter. This activated carbon removes odors. For instance, it removes cigarette smoke. So now you don’t need to worry about smokers in your house, you’ll be breathing clean air anyway!

Moreover, good air purifiers come fitted with not only HEPA or carbon but also with UV light filters. This UV light helps kill germs and viruses in the air. Hence, you’ll stay protected from seasonal flu and viruses as well.

Benefits of an Air Purifier 

Not only does an air purifier eliminate dust and pollen, but they can also remove germs and viruses. Although there are a variety of options available, a good air purifier will have most of the above-mentioned filters. 

Air purifiers are mostly installed in your HVAC system. This means they don’t take up extra space in your house. Moreover, these filters are suitable for household use, and their filters need to be changed once or twice a year.

Although you can attach some air scrubbers with carbon filters too, most air purifiers can remove odors and gases from the air inside your house. Moreover, air purifiers are affordable enough for domestic use.

So, an air purifier:

  • Fits into your HVAC system
  • improves indoor air quality by removing dust, pollen, bacteria, viruses, and smells
  • Has a HEPA filter
  • Uses carbon filter and UV light
  • Is available as a portable device as well
  • Is cheaper

Air Scrubber and Air Purifier: Which One Do You Need?

As we mentioned earlier, air scrubbers and air purifiers do the same job. They only have different costs, maintenance needs, and operating methods, some being more effective than others.


See: Air Purifiers with Washable Filters to Save You Money


So, if you or anyone in your family suffers from respiratory issues, then go for an air purifier. It can remove substances that trigger asthma and allergies. It is also suitable for small areas, like a house.

On the other hand, a good air scrubber with the appropriate filters will prove beneficial as well. They are especially useful in industrial areas, but you can use them in your house too. They are costly but more cost-effective. So go ahead and buy one of these, and make the air in your home safer and healthier for you and your family.