Air purifiers and humidifiers are both used to enhance the quality of the air indoors, but deciding on the machine that’s right for your needs can be a little confusing.

This post covers the main uses of air purifiers and humidifiers, as well as the key features that make them different from one another. 

How Air Purifiers & Humidifiers Work 

Air Purifiers 

Air purifiers have a filter that collects pollutant particles that are in the air. They can be great for people suffering from allergies and asthma, as well as those simply wanting to keep the air in their home clean.

These machines remove pet dander, mold, pollen, smoke, and bacteria. 

There are various types of air purifiers that work differently. Some of them cause the air to be taken in through the filter where it’s cleaned from pollutants and released back into your home.

Others release charged particles that attach themselves to pollutants in the air to drag them down. These particles may then be collected on a plate in the air purifier that you can dispose of. 

So, the main function of an air purifier is to rid the air of pollutant particles. 


Humidifiers can help people who have asthma, and it can also be useful for helping people to deal with respiratory problems as a result of the air being too dry.

They work to increase the amount of moisture that’s in the air. This makes it easier for people with respiratory issues to breathe more comfortably. 

Water vapor is what’s used to increase the moisture in the air. There’s a reservoir that requires filling up with water. It turns the water into vapor and releases it to surround the room.

As a result, the humidity levels in the room are increased. The recommendation is to keep the humidity levels in the 30-50% range. This prevents too much moisture that can cause mold to grow indoors. 

Who Should Use An Air Purifier?

People who suffer from allergies could benefit more from an air purifier than a humidifier. This is because the machines remove the allergenic particles from the air.

Asthmatics would also be able to improve their condition by using an air purifier. It decreases any particles that could be inhaled that make breathing more difficult. 

In addition to this, people with pets who want to limit pet dander would want to use an air purifier instead of a humidifier. Air Purifiers are also effective at expelling dust, smoke, and cooking smells.

Other Signs That You Should Use An Air Purifier

  • You use a lot of household products that release VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds).  
  • Your allergies are becoming increasingly worse.
  • People in your home become ill too often 
  • There are people who smoke in the house 
  • You have pets who produce a lot of dander

Who Should Use a Humidifier?

If you suffer from respiratory issues, increasing the moisture in the air in your home would be more effective at relieving your symptoms, compared to just removing pollutant particles.

Humidifiers don’t clean the air. They help to make it easier to breathe by preventing the air in your home from becoming too dry. 

Other Signs That You Should Use A Humidifier

  • Your skin or hair is drier than usual 
  • You, or people in your home, suffer from sinus congestion 
  • Nosebleeds happen too often 

Humidifier vs. Air Purifier Comparison Table 

HumidifierAir Purifier
Increases moisture in the airFilters pollutant particles
Best for people with respiratory issues and asthmaHelps people suffering from allergies and frequent illnesses
Humidifier operate quietlyAir purifiers make more noise


Can air purifiers and humidifiers be used at the same time?

Installing an air purifier and humidifier in the same room could be a fantastic set up. The air purifier would keep the air clean and the humidifier would increase the moisture.

Should you use an air purifier or humidifier for babies?

If your baby is having breathing problems, a humidifier may be what they need to feel more comfortable. However, an air purifier may also be worth using to ensure the air they’re breathing in is clean.

Can a humidifier or air purifier help with snoring?

A humidifier may be the right machine to use to help with snoring that’s excessive. The added moisture in the air can make it easier to breathe, which can reduce snoring at night.

Having said that, if the snoring is caused by an allergy, an air purifier may be the more effective option.


Now that you know more about the key differences between humidifiers and air purifiers, you can be sure to pick the one that suits your needs best.

You may even want to consider using them both if you want to experience the benefits of the two types of machines.