Difference Between Air Purifier and HEPA Filter (With Table)

Air purifiers are usually used to freshen up stale air which works by lowering the risk of health problems that are caused due to health problems and are instrumental when it comes to causing various infections in the respiratory tract, various neurological difficulties and can worsen the condition of people who are already suffering from asthma. These devices keep you healthy by removing the containment from the air.

Air purifiers that use the filters of HEPA technology can remove up to 99.7% of the total % of airborne particulate matter that is usually present in the air you breathe. Removing the containments present in the air can result in a variety of immediate and long-term health advantages, including improved sleep quality and enhanced life expectancy.

Air Purifier vs HEPA Filter

The main difference between a traditional air purifier and a HEPA air purifier is that the electrostatic collecting plates on a traditional air purifier may be cleansed and reused when they become unclean. When the HEPA filter of a HEPA air purifier becomes clogged, it must be changed and chances of the HEPA filter getting dirtier are more than that of an air purifier.

An air purifier is a device that purifies the air in a confined space by filtering the air. It has filters that emit ions of negative energy which reacts with the air in a room and then removes the contaminants from that air so that it gives out fresh air that helps people with various allergies.

HEPA filters are air purifiers that are capable of filtering very small particles and use a larger motor. They work more efficiently by absorbing the air present in the room and then by removing the impurities from the air. They work more efficiently when it comes to containing the spread of various viruses. 

Comparison Table Between Air Purifier and HEPA Filter

Parameters of Comparison

Air Purifier

HEPA Filter

Size of particles filtered

A standard air filter can mostly remove particles that are 5-7  microns or larger than that.

A standard HEPA filter can remove particles that are 0.3 microns in size or larger than that.

Area covered

Standard air purifiers cover an area of up to 2000 square feet.

HEPA filters cover an area of up to 3000 square feet.

Effectiveness in Covid-19

Air cleaning or filtration is not enough to protect people from COVID-19.

HEPA filters can successfully remove Coronavirus particles from the air.

Cleaning procedure

Immerse the warm and soapy filter in warm and mild detergent water and then rinse it in clear water.

Clean with vacuum cleaners if the label reads non-washable or rinse it in hot water.

Electricity Consumption

17 watts to 100 watts.

40 watts to 200 watts.

What is Air Purifier?

An Air Purifier or Air Cleaner is a device that uses a filter to remove the contaminants present in the air of a room or that of a confined space in order to improve the quality of the air and make it fit for breathing. They are usually marketed to people who suffer from various allergies or people who live in areas that have really polluted air.

The commercially manufactured air purifiers are stand-alone units mostly. There are also air purifiers for industrial units which are usually larger in size and they can also be attached to an air handler unit. In industries, they are used to remove the impurities that are present in the air of the room before the processing of a product starts.

There are two types of air purifiers and they are classified based on the purifying technique they use. The two types are namely: Active air purifier and Passive air purifier. Active Air Purifiers are those air purifiers that work by releasing negatively charged ions into the air so that the pollutants present in the air react to them and the reaction makes them stick to the surface. Passive Air Purifiers are more efficient when it comes to removing pollutants from the air as the dust and pollutants are extracted from the air instead of sticking onto the surface rather stick to the filter.

What is HEPA filter?

Hepa filters basically stand for High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filter. This type of air purifier is basically an upgraded version of the air purifier that is usually used. Common standards require that a HEPA filter must remove 99.95% of the pollutants from the air that passes through it if it follows the European standard or 99.97% if it follows the U.S, standard. 

The particles which should be absorbed must have a diameter of 0.3 μm and the filtration capacity of the purifier can be increased to absorb particles with greater or less diameter than the aforementioned one. This type of filter was commercialized in the 1950s. They are used to prevent airborne bacteria and viral organisms and the infections caused by them.

They are also used to capture the droplets in the air of SARS-CoV-2 which is crucial in stopping the spread of Covid-19. They are also used in vacuum cleaners. This is used as the other air purifiers for the benefit of asthma patients or people suffering from allergies. This filter can trap finer particles such as that of pollen and faeces of the house dust mites.

However, a lot of vacuum cleaners that claim to have a HEPA filter don’t really have it as the presence of one requires more powerful motors.

Main Differences Between Air Purifier and HEPA Filter

  1. Air Purifiers just let the pollutants stick to the surface while the HEPA filters absorb the pollutants.
  2. You can easily clean the Air Purifiers but HEPA filters are usually non-washable.
  3. Air purifiers can’t capture smaller particles in the air but HEPA filters can capture the smallest particles present in the air.
  4. Power consumption is less in air purifiers and they are smaller in size but HEPA filters are bigger in size and they can use bigger motors which consume more power.
  5. There is a chance that the air pollutants might re-enter the air after the air purifier is turned off but HEPA filters absord the pollutants so there is no chance of them getting into the air again.


Even though the two air purifiers serve the same surface, the difference can be noticed in the power usage as well as the particles they filter. So, chose according to your use.

Amidst the rise of COVID-19, HEPA purifiers have become really popular because it captures the particles inside a physical filter, a HEPA air purifier can be more effective at eliminating contaminants from the air. An air purifier, on the other hand, causes impurities to drop out of the air you breathe rather than removing them.

When comparing an air purifier to a HEPA air purifier, the air purifier works similarly to a HEPA air purifier, but it collects contaminants using electrically charged plates. These metal plates may be cleaned and reused as pollutants accumulate on them. Air purifiers are therefore a more cost-effective alternative than HEPA air purifiers; but, they are not as efficient as a HEPA filter in terms of total square footage covered.

However, regardless of the sort of air cleaner you use, research shows that “reduction in particulate matter and allergens resulted in symptom reduction and, in some cases, disease progression across all age groups, including the elderly and children.” “The data is clear in chronic respiratory disorders like asthma, as well as in cardiovascular health.”


  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02770903.2016.1218011
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0021850217303749