Water Air Purifier vs. HEPA

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Written By Jamila W.

Air purifiers are necessary for people interested in improving their indoor air quality. As you plan on buying your next air purifier, you will have a decision: water-based or HEPA air purifier? By comparing the two, we want to end the water air purifier vs. HEPA debate. Knowing which type of air purifier is essential to ensure all your air cleaning needs are taken care of. Let us get started.

What Are Water Air Purifiers?

A water air purifier relies on water in their filtration system to make the air cleaner. Water is naturally sticky on a molecular level making it ideal for trapping contaminants from the air. Water air purifiers double as humidifiers as they improve humidity during cleaning. This air purifier cleans several household contaminants, including spores, dust, pollen, and cigarette smoke. Some models also act as aroma diffusers. 

How does a water air purifier work? Inside the purifier, there is a water basin. The water is constantly made to be in waves to increase its surface area. A high surface area ensures that the air purifier captures more contaminants. The air purifier pulls air through a vent and directs it towards this water basin. Water then traps all the pollutants, leaving the air clean and humid. The air is then released back into the room.  

A water air purifier uses a simple technique to clean the air and is suitable for home use. A water air purifier is less effective than HEPA air purifiers for removing tiny particles. However, water air purifiers are less costly and help improve indoor air quality. 

What Are HEPA Air Purifiers?

HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. This type of filter is capable of removing tiny particles from the air. HEPA air purifiers can trap 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. The air purifiers also work well with bigger contaminants. With HEPA air purifiers, you do not have to worry about dust, bacteria, and cigarette smoke. The only downside of this filter is that it cannot effectively remove ozone, VOCs, and other fine particles. 

What makes a HEPA filter highly effective? The filter is made of synthetic fiber and glass that is woven together. The glass acts as a contaminant trap, while the synthetic fiber acts as the membrane. These two materials are tightly woven to ensure that almost all particles are trapped in the air during filtration. 

HEPA filters come in two grades, H13 and H14. These two grades are professionally tested, representing the different levels of filtration your air purifier can achieve. H13 filters are capable of removing 99.95% of contaminants. H14, on the other hand, boasts a 99.995 effectiveness on contaminants up to 0.3 microns. 

So how does a HEPA air purifier work? Like other air purifiers, a suction fan draws air from the room through the intake. This air is then directed towards the HEPA filter which traps contaminants leaving the air clean. The clean air is released back into your living area.

Which Is More Effective?

When removing common household air pollutants, a purifier with water filtration can be very effective. However, they don’t meet the standards set by the best air purifier for smoke, which uses a HEPA filter. Due to the increased humidity levels, you should select a purifier with water filtration. Plus, some are good at reducing bad smells using scented essential oils. 

Most air purifiers use air filters to capture large particles like mold spores and other airborne pollutants. When preventing indoor pollution, HEPA-based air purifiers are the best. Consider factors like replacement filters price. Many water-based systems can use free tap water.

Which Is More Costly?

Regarding cost, water air purifiers are cheaper than HEPA air purifiers. The difference in price may be because they perform differently. All in all, water air purifiers are generally cheaper. What about maintenance? If you own a water purifier, you must change the water after a while to prevent it from having bacteria.

Since water is cheap and available, maintaining a water air purifier is easy. With regular air filters, you are required to replace the filter every once in a while. The good thing is that HEPA filters last for a year before needing a replacement. They, however, cost a lot compared to water-based purifiers. As a result, the overall cost of having a water air purifier is cheaper than that of a HEPA air purifier. 

What Are The Pros and Cons?

Each participant in this water air purifier vs HEPA comparison has its benefits and drawbacks. Let us look at the pros and cons of each. 

Water Air Purifier Pros

  • Water air purifiers clean household pollutants like dust particles, pollen, and bacteria. 
  • A water air purifier is affordable. Maintenance costs are also lower since no filter replacements are required.
  • Water filtration is silent and produces no noise.
  • Water air purifiers can be used with essential oils and act as a home diffuser.
  • A water-based air purifier can be used as a humidifier. It increases the moisture levels in your home.
  • It can be used to prevent allergic reactions and Eczema symptoms.

Water Air Purifier Cons

  • They cannot trap particles. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are much better at removing tiny airborne particles from the air compared to water-based air purifiers.
  • It can lead to you having excess humidity. Additional humidity can be good for your home, but too much of it can be a problem.
  • You must clean the tank regularly or risk having bacteria.
  • They have small room coverage and cannot remove bad smells like an activated carbon filter.

HEPA Air Purifier Pros

  • can remove up to 99% of particles present in the air
  • They come with different carbon filters and design options
  • They are effective at removing pollutants
  • HEPA air purifiers have a larger room coverage compared to water air purifiers
  • They can remove volatile organic compounds from the air

HEPA Air Purifier Cons

  • Filters require regular replacement
  • Not effective at removing odors compared to activated carbon filters
  • The replacement filters are expensive

What Should You Consider Before Buying a Water or HEPA Air Purifier?

As you plan on buying your next air purifier, your home benefits-we have a large effect on the best choice to make. As a result, knowing the factors to consider before buying your air purifier will help you make the right choice. Let us take a look. 

  • Price: Water air purifiers are highly affordable compared to HEPA air purifiers. Your budget will determine which of the two you will buy. However, with its amazing performance, a HEPA air purifier offers you value for money.
  • Maintenance: When it comes to maintenance, a water air purifier requires the water to be changed severally to avoid bacteria build-up. If you are busy, you may need help with maintenance, but with water being free, maintenance costs are lower. A HEPA air purifier requires the filter to be changed once in a while. Some models require a filter change after close to a year, making it perfect for busy users. However, the HEPA filter is expensive.
  • Noise Level: Water air purifiers work silently compared to HEPA air purifiers. If you worry about noise, a water air purifier will benefit you. However, there are some advanced HEPA models with a night mode that, when engaged, makes the air purifier operate silently. 
  • Design: HEPA air purifiers come in different shapes, colors, and sizes. As a result, you can easily match the air purifier with your home setup. On the other hand, water air purifiers have limited designs. While equally appealing, they offer owners few options to match their homes.
  • Coverage: Water air purifiers have limited coverage. This is because water is less effective at removing airborne contaminants than HEPA filters. If you need to clean larger rooms, a HEPA air purifier with a large coverage will get the job done. 
  • Water capacity. Remember that the water tank needs to be cleaned regularly. The water tank capacity determines how soon you clean the tank. Consider getting a water-based air purifier with a larger tank. This will allow it to run for longer periods without the need for maintenance.
  • Needs of The Owner: If you want to remove harmful pollutants from your home, a water air purifier is a good option. It is cheaper and easy to work with. The purifier will also be perfect for users living in dry conditions where the air needs to be humidified. However, a HEPA air purifier will do you good if you require your indoor air to be well-cleaned. It uses advanced air purification technology with different air filters. However, note that HEPA air purifiers come at a higher cost, and you lose some of the water purifiers’ functionalities.

Other Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Opening Your Windows

Opening your windows allows clean air flow through your house. Clean Air comes in, and gaseous pollutants pass through the windows. Keep your windows open and allow fresh air circulation in your home. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends this method as the easiest.

Having House-Based Plants

Plants act as natural air cleaners. They absorb airborne pollutants and also trap dust particles. They will reduce the levels of air pollution in your home.

Keep Rugs and Carpets Clean

Rugs and carpets may have dust. These will cause dust mites to circulate through the air. Breathing polluted air can be harmful to your lungs and affect your breathing.

Clean Pet Areas

Many people live with pets in their homes. Pet areas need to be regularly cleaned to get rid of pet odors and pet hair that might be stuck in the house. When you breathe in pet hair, it might cause allergic reactions. Cleaning where your pets sleep and spend most time will reduce the pet dander in your home.

Control Humidity

High Humidity Levels in your home might lead to the growth of mold. Mold produces mold spores which affect the indoor air quality. Reduce the amount of moisture in the air to prevent bacteria and other pollutants from developing in your home.

Water Air Purifier vs. HEPA FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Does the Use of Air Purifiers or Humidifiers Help With Eczema?

A normal air purifier can offer help to people with eczema. If you wish to prevent eczema, raising the humidity levels of your house will greatly help. Consider using a humidifier or water air purifier. 

Can I Replace My Humidifier With a Water Air Purifier?

Whether to replace your humidifier with a water air purifier or not depends on how much humidity you would like in your home. If you would like to increase the humid conditions of your indoor air marginally, you can replace your air humidifier. However, consider keeping the humidifier if you need to increase your home’s humidity levels. 

Can Air Purifiers Help Filter Outdoor Air That Comes Into Your House?

An air purifier will drastically increase the air quality of your home. However, leaving your windows open as your air purifier runs reduces its effectiveness. The air purifier will still clean the air but at a lower speed than normal. 

How Often Should You Change the Water in an Air Purifier?

It depends on how often you use the water air purifier. If you run the purifier daily, you need to change the water after every three days. You can take longer if you don’t use the air purifier more often. You can also check for the condition of the water. If the water looks murky or cloudy, it requires an immediate change. 

Wrapping Up – Water or HEPA Air Purifier?

We have now come to the big question, which is better? Water or HEPA air purifier? Water-based air revitalizers are affordable and highly effective for household contaminants. If you only want to remove dust, bacteria, and pollen from your indoor air, consider buying one. Note that you will be required to change the water regularly. You also get your air humidified as a bonus. On the other hand, HEPA air purifiers boast higher effectiveness at a higher cost and lower maintenance. A true HEPA filter is the way to go if you wish to clean your air at a slightly higher cost!