Air pollution is one of the major health issues in our life. Polluted and dirty air causes diseases such as allergy, asthma, influenza, and so on. Our indoor air can also be contaminated as much or even more than the outdoor air. To ensure safe breathing, air purifiers can be the best and effective solution. When we decide to purchase or replace an air purifier, it becomes too difficult to choose the right one from a variety of types available in the market. The most common variation happens in the type of air filters that are the main part of the air purifiers. In this article, we will discuss the most common types of air filters available in markets so that you can get the basic knowledge about the filters used in an air purifier and make the right decision when choosing a new one.
Types of the air filter
There are seven types of air filters available in the market that are widely used. These are different in terms of utility and function. The types are in below.
- HEPA Filter
- ULPA Filter
- Preliminary Filter
- Carbon Filter
- UV-C light
- Ionic Air Filter
- Ozone Generator
HEPA air filters
Nowadays, the most popular and effective air filter is the HEPA filter. The word HEPA means High-Efficiency Particulate Air or High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting. The HEPA filter must maintain a standard that can catch at least 99.95% to 99.97% airborne particulates from air as small as 0.3 microns.
The HEPA filter is proved to be very effective to control the contamination of the air. It is capable of catching air contaminant particles such as dust, allergens, pollen, virus, etc. The HEPA filter is used in the home, markets, vehicles, hospitals, and even in the factories.
Type of HEPA filter
Sometimes people get confused about the variations of the HEPA filter. Manufacturers sometimes claim that their filter is a true HEPA filter. For example, the main filtration system of Levoit Vista 200 is a true HEPA filter. Sometimes the manufacturers claim the filter to be HEPA type, HEPA grade filter, and sometimes a 99% HEPA filter. Always remember that these terms have no scientific value. These are nothing but tricks to market their products differently. Only the ‘true HEPA filter’ is a HEPA filter and maintains the HEPA standard. Other HEPA terms do not maintain the HEPA principle but they are very close to HEPA standard.
ULPA is one of the most powerful and efficient air filters. The term ULPA means Ultra Low Particulate Air. It can catch 99.99% airborne particulate as tiny as 0.12 microns. Therefore, ULPA is more efficient than HEPA. But most of the air purifier comes with the HEPA filter because ULPA is not necessary for everywhere such as home, car or office. The use of ULPA is restricted and the cost is too much. Air circulation rate and the lifespan of ULPA are not as good as HEPA.
The preliminary filter is used as an additional filter to protect the main filter such as HEPA or ULPA. We also call the preliminary filter as a pre-filter. It cannot catch tiny airborne particles but can catch comparatively large contamination such as hair, fur, lint, pet dander, and so on. The main function of a pre-filter is that it increases the longevity of the expensive main filter. Sometimes preliminary filters are washable and sometimes you can only vacuum it.
Carbon air filters
We also call the carbon air filter as a charcoal filter or activated carbon filter. The carbon filter is a very common filter that is used in different kinds of applications. The function of a carbon filter is different from other types of filters. This is not usually used to catch air particles such as dust or dander. It is used to remove the unwanted odor of air. It works as a natural odor eliminator and provides you a pure and fresh odorless air that can give you a better breathing experience.
UV-C light air filters
UV-C light technology is a modern addition of air purifiers. Although HEPA filter and ULPA filter are the most popular in the field of the fine air purification system, they can only trap the air particles but cant kill the airborne tiny living creatures. As a result, these kinds of germs, mold, or mildew can still grow inside the filter. On the contrary, the UV-C light kills the germs and keep the environment safe. However, improper use of UV-C light can be harmful to humans. Before using any appliance with a UV-C light air purifier, you should properly read the instruction manual.
Ionic air filters
We also know the ionic air filter as an air ionizer or an ion generator. Ionic air purifiers work in a formula called electrostatic attraction. It produces negative ion or anions which attract pollutant molecule and deionize these and remove from the air. Therefore, ionizer doesn’t catch or trap airborne particles like the HEPA filter. Usually, the ionizer is not used in a residential grade air purifier. The main use of ionizer is in the commercial sector. All kinds of ionizers or ionic air filters produce ozone. Therefore, excessive use of ionizer can be harmful to human health.
Some air purifiers produce ozone to purify the air from contamination which is termed as ozone generators. Manufacturers claim that air purifiers with ozone generators are safer and effective than any other air purification system. But the ordinary ozone generators are not as effective as other types of air filtration systems. Therefore, this type of filtration system might not be that effective. Excessive and unrestrained production of ozone can be harmful to human health as well. Using this system should be controlled by experts. This system is also good for commercial use only.
Comparison Table- Different types of Air filters
|Filter type||HEPA||ULPA||Preliminary||carbon||UV-C light||Ionizer||Ozone generator|
|Function||Trap 99.97% airborne particulate as small as 0.3 micron||Trap 99.99% airborne particle as small as o.12 micron||Trap comparatively large air particle||Remove bad odor||Emit ultraviolet ray to kill germs and living air contaminants||Deionize airborne particle and remove them||Produce ozone to remove air pollution|
|Ozone production rate||no||no||no||no||no||less||high|
|Life span||6 months||3 to 4 months||3 to 6 months||4 to 6 months||1 year||3 to 10 years||1 to 5 years|
I think now you know all different options available for you during choosing the right one from different types of air filters for home. You can also try odor eliminators to enjoy a fresh home environment. If you find the article useful, you can share it with others. I also encourage you to share your experience about air purification at home through the comment section. Have a good day.