Finding the right air cleaning machine can be tricky. There are so many types of air cleaning methods and not all are suited for your immediate needs. Getting to know a few and what they do is a great place to start.
So let’s give it a go…
Table of Contents
Machines that Cleans the Air- 12 Types
1. HEPA air purifier
HEPA filtration is the most widely used type of machine for air cleaning.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorber) filters are engineered to capture particles as small as .03 microns. And collect
Which works very well for large particular looks like dander and pollen, as well as dust mites.
HEPA filters are a very dense media made up of random fiberglass fibers.
Interestingly, there are so many knock offs filters that do not meet regulations that HEPA is known as True HEPA now to help consumers find the real thing.
HEPA filter air cleaners are primarily single room purifiers that work better for smaller areas.
Levoit Core is our pick for Best Hepa air purifier- See it Here
2. Negative ion Generator
A negative ion generator is a machine that cleans the air by electronically charging particles and emitting them into the air.
This works because when the negatively charged ions from the machine are dispersed into the air, they instantly latch onto the positively charged ions already in the air, trapping any pollutants in the way into the newly formed bond.
Once these newly formed bonds accumulate, they clump together and fall out of the air.
Negative ion generators also work best in a small area.
3. Ozone Generator
Ozone or activated oxygen as it’s also sometimes called is an oxygen molecule (O2) that contains a third atom. (O3)
Ozone (O3) is very unstable. So much so that when it comes into contact with any airborne contaminant, it destroys it through oxidation.
Ozone is a very potent air cleaner and is never used in an area occupied by people, or animals.
The reason being is that ozone gas will oxidize your lung tissue if it is breathed too heavily.
It is important to follow the guidelines when dealing with ozone.
A Humidifier is a device that does not normally come to mind when you’re talking about a machine that cleans air but you might be surprised.
A humidifier is simply a device that adds moisture to the air.
But when the air is dry, dust is easily kicked up into the air stream. Leaving you wide open for an allergy attack.
A humidifier can help control dust by adding moisture to the air so that dust particles get wet and bind together.
Making the dust particles adhere to surfaces rather than float in your breathing space.
Air Innovations are the Mother of All Humidifiers- See Them Here
5. Bi polar ionization
Bi polar ionization is a type of machine that emits anions and cations simultaneously.
This dispersion of both positive and negative ions have an immediate purifying effect on the air quality of a room.
Air pollutants like cigar smoke can be instantly removed.
Bi polar ionization also has a dramatic effect on bacteria and viruses.
By surrounding the pathogens with negative and positive ions , the cells become damaged and rendered inactive.
Winix Uses Plasmawave Bi-Polar in Their Units- Check Them Out Here
A dehumidifier reduces the humidity in a room by turning it into condensate and capturing it in a localized container.
What does that have to do with air cleaning?
High levels of moisture in the air creates droplets that act like traveling containers for air pollutants like mold spores and bacteria.
Humidity is also a major food source for dust mites.
By reducing the humidity in your home or office, you are effectively reducing dust mites and mold spore populations in the air.
7. Air Washer/Water Air Purifier
An air washer is a machine that cleans the air by filtering it through water.
The air is pulled in and literally thrown against a series of vats that wash the air before it is released through the other side.
The machine also doubles as a humidifier.
The plus of this type of air cleaning machine is that it never requires any replacement filters and it also moisturizes the air.
The minus is that it is not useful in the humid months.
Air washers also come in compact devices called Revitalizers.
Revitalizers throw aromatherapy into the mix. The machine comes with its own brand of essential oils to use in it.
8. Activated Carbon
Activated Carbon is an age-old method of reducing pungent odors.
Activated Carbon is like a naturally occurring sponge that instead of absorbing water, adsorbs fumes and gases.
It is particularly good at reducing offending smells. Which makes it great for areas like crafting rooms and kitchens.
Types of carbon include charcoal and coconut husk.
The most popular being charcoal.
Activated Carbon is also sold by weight.
Most Hepa Air Purifiers Combine a Carbon Filter as a Set-
Blueair top the list of Best Air Purifiers With A Carbon Filter- See One Here
9. Ultraviolet Irradiation
Ultraviolet light has the ability to destroy any type of pathogen that it is targeted on.
The optimal word being “targeted”.
UV as an air cleaner means targeting the ultraviolet light on a source of air pollution.
One source of air pollution that can be targeted by a UV lamp is the condensation runoff and drip pans inside of a central heat and air handler (HVAC).
Because of the environment of moisture and the absence of light inside a HVAC unit, mold can become an issue that becomes distributed throughout your home whenever your heat or air comes on
By placing UV Germicidal lamps at the source of the mold, you can reduce it before it ever becomes an air quality problem.
10. Photo catalytic oxidation
Photo catalytic oxidation or PCO is another way UV can be utilized as a machine to clean the air.
PCO targets Ultraviolet light onto a titanium oxide catalyst in a hydrated cell.
This process creates a mass blanket of hydroxyls and hydroperoxide ions.
This air cleaning method is essentially like pouring hydrogen peroxide solution, the same stuff used to disinfect a wound, on every airborne germ floating through the air.
11. Air Conditioning
Air conditioning is another type of machine that you may not automatically equate with air purification.
But if you have an air conditioner that has a button on it to enable something called dry mode, then your air conditioner is outfitted with a dehumidifier.
Dehumidification is a type of air purifier because it removes the moisture from the air that is a primary source of food for dust mites in the high humidity season.
It also reduces the humidity that nourishes mold, which in turn releases mold spores into the air.
Even if your air conditioner does not have a dry mode setting, refrigerated air dehumidifies as it cools the air as part of its primary function.
That’s why you have condensation that drips out of your air conditioner.
Central heating and air is another way that air conditioning reduces pollutants in the air.
The air filter that you replace in your HVAC system is not only there to protect your system from getting dirty, it is also there to reduce the pollutants in the air that are circulated through your house every time the air conditioning unit kicks on.
12.Essential oil diffusers
Diffusers can be a great machine for helping clean the ambient air.
Not only do they function as a humidifier to a certain extent, they also disperse whatever essential oil you add to them.
There are many essential oils that have medicinal qualities that help remove airborne pollutants like mold.
Tea tree oil for example is known for its antimicrobial properties.
Likewise Eucalyptus and Lavender, which are both very popular aromatherapy oil additives, are both known to have antifungal properties.
A warning though, essential oils like eucalyptus and tea tree oil can be very potent and even dangerous to animals, especially dogs.
Some air cleaners are made to reduce dust while others are intended to destroy germs and viruses.
Knowing what types of machines that clean air and what they do is a great place to start when searching for an air cleaner.